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One Night in Bangkok: "The Hangover Part II" and "Kung Fu Panda 2" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Friday, 27 May 2011 12:38

Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha, and Ed Helms in The Hangover Part IITHE HANGOVER PART II

Todd Phillips’ The Hangover Part II is the sequel to the director’s box-office smash from the summer of 2009, and it’s just like the original.

Let me re-punctuate that: It is just. Like. The original.

 
Privateerible: "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 22 May 2011 12:15

Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger TidesPIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

During the first hour of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the third sequel in Disney’s hugely successful franchise, characters are routinely told to beware of the mermaids – half-woman/half-fish beings who use their comely looks and tranquil siren songs to drag seafaring men to their deaths. Our adventurers take note of the warnings but pay them little mind, and really, why should they? Disney, after all, is the studio that gave us the benign cutie-pies of The Little Mermaid and (through its Touchstone Pictures label) Splash. Just how nasty can these things be?

We eventually find out, and as a result, I’ll likely never look at Ariel or Daryl Hannah the same way again.

 
O Holy Nightmare: "A Cadaver Christmas," May 29 at the Establishment Theatre PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Friday, 20 May 2011 11:00

Ben Hopkins, Hanlon Smith-Dorsey, Daniel Rairdin-Hale, Yosh Hayashi, Andrew Harvey, and Jessica Denney in A Cadaver ChristmasLast month, the locally produced zombie comedy A Cadaver Christmas was named Best Professional Feature at the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival, and given its title, you’d rightly expect the movie to have its tongue stuck firmly in its cheek. Most likely, after being gnawed off and spit out by the groaning, lumbering undead.

 
Single Wiped Female: “Bridesmaids,” “Jumping the Broom,” and “Priest” PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 15 May 2011 18:07

Ellie Kemper, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Maya Rudolph, and Kristen Wiig in BridesmaidsBRIDESMAIDS

You wouldn’t necessarily think that exhaustion and depression would be fertile subjects for a big-screen slapstick – at least, for a big-screen slapstick that didn’t star Paul Giamatti. Yet in director Paul Feig’s buoyant and brainy Bridesmaids, Kristen Wiig plays a sad, discouraged, frequently humiliated maid of honor with such inventiveness and style that she seems to be creating a new comic archetype right before your eyes. Hiding her misery behind a thinly veiled mask of courtesy and good cheer, and letting her anger and resentment spill out in sarcastic asides and messy, chaotic bursts, Wiig’s Annie – like many of the brilliantly talented performer’s most memorable characters – is a singular creation. And so, too, is Bridesmaids, a female-driven Judd Apatow comedy (he’s a co-producer) with the rare distinction of being smarter than it is funny, though it’s still plenty funny.

 
If He Had a Hammer ... : "Thor" and "Something Borrowed" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 08 May 2011 16:53

Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman in ThorTHOR

Prior to the film’s release, I wouldn’t have thought any director a worse candidate for helming the hugely budgeted comic-book adaptation Thor than Kenneth Branagh, that frequent interpreter of Shakespeare whose one foray into Hollywood-blockbuster(-wannabe) terrain was 1994’s monstrously terrible Frankenstein. In retrospect, I’m not sure any director would have proved a better choice. Two days after seeing Branagh’s grandly produced yet subtly frisky entertainment, I’m still a bit shocked at how strong the results are; against all logic, Thor’s director has successfully melded his movie’s wildly disparate elements into an action-packed thrill ride (in 3D!) that, incredibly, also manages to be emotionally satisfying, and oftentimes funny as hell.

 
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