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Biting (Off) the Hand That Feeds You: "The Cabin in the Woods," "The Three Stooges," "The Raid: Redemption," and "Lockout" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 15 April 2012 15:33

Fran Kranz, Chris Hemsworth, and Anna Hutchison in The Cabin in the WoodsTHE CABIN IN THE WOODS

Hollywood’s been leading toward it for decades, and with the blithely enjoyable, exceedingly clever The Cabin in the Woods, it’s finally happened: A movie has been released in which practically everything about it – its plot, its twists, its performers, its characters, its themes, its jokes – could be considered a spoiler.

 
Up for a Slice: "American Reunion" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 08 April 2012 15:09

Eugene Levy and Jason Biggs in American ReunionAMERICAN REUNION

You know that feeling you get when you receive a Facebook friend request from someone you went to high school with, and you don’t quite recognize the name, and a smile slowly forms as you think, “Oh, ye-e-eah ... that guy!” That, in a nutshell, was my reaction to American Reunion, the third big-screen sequel to the beloved coming-of-age slapstick American Pie, and easily the most endearing of the lot. It took me a while to succumb to the movie’s charms, but in the end I not only liked it; I would’ve happily “liked” it.

 
Fairly Stale Fairy Tale: "Mirror Mirror," "Jeff, Who Lives at Home," and "Wrath of the Titans" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 05 April 2012 12:15

Julia Roberts and Lilly Collins in Mirror MirrorMIRROR MIRROR

Mirror Mirror is a slightly modernized, family-comedy version of the Snow White fairy tale, and offhand, I can think of few directors less suited to the material than this film’s Tarsem Singh, the music-video veteran whose big-screen credits include those wildly baroque (and decidedly adult) spectacles The Cell and Immortals. Yet every once in a while, when a director is spectacularly wrong for a project, the results can be much more interesting than if he were right for it, and that certainly seems the case here; this aimless, pointless little trifle is mostly a drag, but I can only imagine how deadening it might’ve been without Singh at the helm.

 
Assassin Nation: "The Hunger Games" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 25 March 2012 16:57

Elizabeth Banks and Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger GamesAs you’re probably aware, director Gary Ross’ The Hunger Games is the movie version of the first in a trio of wildly popular young-adult novels by author Suzanne Collins. And perhaps the highest compliment I can pay the film, among the many compliments it deserves, is that unlike with the Harry Potter and Twilight screen adaptations, at no point are viewers such as myself punished for being too blasé or lazy to have read the book.

 
Getting High School: "21 Jump Street" and "Casa de Mi Padre" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 20 March 2012 12:14

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in 21 Jump Street21 JUMP STREET

As an undercover police officer who, in 21 Jump Street, can say to his platonic partner “I cherish you, man” in a way that’s both hysterical and intensely touching, Jonah Hill possesses a rare gift for completely unembarrassed sincerity. By now, it should go without saying that Hill is a sensational verbal comedian and a fearless physical one. But as in his bro-mantic scenes opposite Michael Cera in Superbad, the actor brings to this action comedy something few others would think to: absolute honesty and emotional transparency. Hill is funny as hell here, but his character is never a joke.

Yet the delightful shock of this parody of and homage to the late-’80s TV drama – a series that famously cast Johnny Depp as a pretty-boy cop who infiltrates schools and youth hangouts disguised as a student – is that Hill’s co-star actually matches him in earnestness and hilarity, and his name is Channing Tatum.

 
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