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Near-Def Experience: "Heaven Is for Real," "Transcendence," "Bears," and "A Haunted House 2" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 21 April 2014 12:25

Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly in Heaven Is for RealHEAVEN IS FOR REAL

So far this year, audiences for faith-based films at the multiplex have been treated to Son of God, God’s Not Dead, and Noah, and now there’s director Randall Wallace’s Heaven Is for Real to add to the mix. Have the Hollywood powers-that-be heard something about an imminent Rapture that the rest of us haven’t? Should I now be feeling awkward and guilty about my raucous laughter at This Is the End?

 
Taking One for the Team: "Draft Day," "Oculus," "Rio 2," and "Mysteries of the Unseen World" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 13 April 2014 13:59

Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner in Draft DayDRAFT DAY

Draft Day casts Kevin Costner as the Cleveland Browns’ general manager on the titular day in which his professional and personal crises reach their boiling points. And 20 minutes before its climax, director Ivan Reitman’s pro-football saga lands on what is simultaneously its most ironic and most perverse moment, which finds a roomful of executives and analysts bickering about a potential trade, and Costner’s Sonny Weaver Jr. ending the squabble with the incensed directive “Just give me a moment of silence so I can think!” The moment is ironic because, to this point, the movie has already been flooded with silence. The moment is also perverse because, after 90 minutes of pause-heavy introspection and hushed build-up – with the audience all but slavering for a scene of biting, fast-paced bickering – now is when Sonny demands some quiet?

 
The Inn Crowd: "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Captain America: The Winter Solider," and "Veronica Mars" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 06 April 2014 16:48

Paul Schlase, Tony Revolori, Tilda Swinton, and Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest HotelTHE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

Generally speaking, I’m not one to argue for the inclusion of more foul language and bloody violence in a director’s oeuvre, and feel especially awkward doing so a mere week after being bored silly by the endless profanities and exploding squibs in the latest Schwarzenegger flick. But I’ll happily make an exception in the case of Wes Anderson, at least based on his most recent outing, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Like all Anderson efforts, this one, too, could be filed in the “precious comic bauble” category, given its deliberately artificial production design and obsessively controlled compositions and overall suggestion of an improv-free zone. Yet this endlessly inventive and funny new work might boast more interior life than any of the writer/director’s other live-action achievements, and for that I’m afraid we have to thank the forcible removal of Jeff Goldblum’s fingers, and Ralph Fiennes’ tendency to drop the F-bomb into every other sentence.

 
There’s Gonna Be a Floody, Floody: "Noah" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 31 March 2014 08:47

Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe in NoahNOAH

Like most of you, I’d presume, I’ve known the biblical story of Noah’s Ark since early childhood. And also, presumably like most of you, I’ve always kind of wondered how Noah was able to construct a floating vessel big and sturdy enough to carry “two of all living creatures, male and female” through 40 days and 40 nights of torrential downpours and Earth-engulfing floods. But with the release of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, the answer to the question of “Who built the Ark?” has finally been provided, and – who woulda thunk it? – apparently we have Frank Langella and Nick Nolte to thank.

 
Bee Prepared: "Bad Words," "Enemy," and "Sabotage" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 31 March 2014 08:41

Rohan Chand and Jason Bateman in Bad WordsBAD WORDS

It’s not impossible to make a comedy centered on an angry, sullen, emotionally inaccessible bastard, as Oscar Isaac recently proved in Inside Llewyn Davis. In that film, however, Isaac had a Coen-brothers script and a bunch of sensational folk songs to help carry him through. In Bad Words, director/star Jason Bateman merely has a half-workable comic conceit and access to unlimited profanities. The anger, sullenness, and inaccessibility, I’m sorry to say, win out.

 
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