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Off-Key: "Pitch Perfect 2" and "Where Hope Grows" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 17 May 2015 11:28

Hailee Steinfeld, Anna Kendrick, and Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect 2PITCH PERFECT 2

Pitch Perfect 2 opens strongly, with the peerlessly funny Elizabeth Banks (who also directed the film) and John Michael Higgins performing an a cappella rendition of the Universal Pictures theme song and launching into the hilariously bitchy byplay that made their vocal-contest judges among Pitch Perfect’s many highlights. And while it’s true that this musical-comedy follow-up, like director Jason Moore’s 2012 predecessor, is set in the world of collegiate a cappella groups – and specifically the world of Anna Kendrick’s fledgling mash-up artist Beca – it’s more accurately set atop a steep precipice. Because although it starts promisingly, as the saying goes, it’s all downhill from there.

 
Feminine Protection: "Hot Pursuit" and "Clouds of Sils Maria" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 10 May 2015 19:41

Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon in Hot PursuitHOT PURSUIT

All movies provide at least one reason to feel grateful, because even the worst movies eventually, mercifully end. Director Anne Fletcher’s action comedy Hot Pursuit provides exactly one reason to feel grateful.

 
Super Salad: "Avengers: Age of Ultron" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Friday, 01 May 2015 13:03

Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth in Avengers: Age of UltronAVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

Whatever your feelings about Avengers: Age of Ultron, even if your feelings can be summed up in a succinct “Meh,” you can’t say that writer/director Joss Whedon is merely giving audiences an exact replica of 2012’s comic-book behemoth The Avengers. There’s some romance here, for one thing. There’s also a lot more plot, now that we’re spared its predecessor’s hour-plus of super-team origin story. And rather than being granted all of his film’s best, most thrillingly unexpected moments, that rampaging mass of CGI id known as the Hulk is instead stuck with the worst scene in the movie – which, unfortunately, also happens to be its most prototypical one.

 
A.I., A.I. ... . Oh!: "Ex Machina" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 26 April 2015 16:04

Alicia Vikander in Ex MachinaEX MACHINA

If you’re a fellow fan of the high-tech Twilight Zone that is the BBC’s Black Mirror and last year’s Christmas special with Jon Hamm didn’t sate your craving for more, you won’t want to miss the sci-fi creep-out Ex Machina. (If you’re not a fan of Black Mirror, which is currently streaming on Netflix, you clearly haven’t watched it yet. Get cracking.) Like a 105-minute episode of that haunting anthology series, Alex Garland’s quasi-futuristic morality fable boasts a simple premise that grows more complicated and nightmarish as it progresses. Also like a super-sized Black Mirror, the experience leaves you feeling a little shaken and happily freaked out, and kind of antsy to see it again.

 
The Crash of 29: “The Age of Adaline," "Little Boy," and "Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 26 April 2015 15:54

Michiel Huisman and Blake Lively in The Age of AdalineTHE AGE OF ADALINE

In director Lee Toland Krieger’s The Age of Adaline, Blake Lively plays a 29-year-old who, following a supernatural accident involving a car crash and a bolt of lightning, goes through life never again aging a day, and 82-year-old Ellen Burstyn plays her daughter. You may recall that Burstyn also recently portrayed Matthew McConaughey’s elderly daughter in Interstellar. If this is the continuation of a trend for the magnificent actress, I’m really hoping she keeps acting for another decade or more, because I’m dying to eventually see her cast as the great-grand-niece to that adorable little girl on Modern Family.

 
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