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(How) Freddy Got Fingered: “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Furry Vengeance” PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 03 May 2010 07:33

Jackie Earle Haley in A Nightmare on Elm StreetA NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET

Before its title card appears, director Samuel Bayer's reboot of A Nightmare on Elm Street opens -- as these things usually do -- with a dream sequence, in which a frightened, sleep-deprived teen finds himself face to face with the scarred and monstrous personage of Freddy Krueger. Granted, the murderous apparition with the razor-blade gloves and snappy sweater-and-hat combo, last seen in 2003's Elm Street/Friday the 13th mashup Freddy Vs. Jason, hasn't been away from cineplex screens for terribly long. But Freddy's arrival should still provide both a jolt and a kick, especially with the creepy, ferrety Jackie Earle Haley taking over the role from Robert Englund, whose initially horrifying figure in Wes Craven's low-rent classic descended into camp long before the series reached (what we incorrectly presumed was) its conclusion.

 
How Lo Can You Go?: "The Back-up Plan," "The Losers," and "Oceans" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 25 April 2010 13:07

Alex O'Loughlin and Jennifer Lopez in The Back-up PlanTHE BACK-UP PLAN

"All right. Let's hear your pitch."

"Well, we're calling it The Back-Up Plan. It's about this successful single woman named Zoe, desperate for a baby but fed up with the New York dating scene, who decides to get artificially inseminated and raise the child on her own."

"Ah. So you're thinking an intimate character drama about the hardships of pregnancy and single-motherhood?"

"Oh, hell no. Slapstick romantic comedy! You see, only a few minutes after her procedure, Zoe hails a cab and gets inside at the exact same moment that a handsome stranger does! They argue about who saw the cab first, Zoe storms off in a huff, and whammo! They're in love!"

 
Not So Much, No: “Kick-Ass” and “Death at a Funeral” PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 19 April 2010 07:48

Aaron Johnson in Kick-AssKICK-ASS

Considering that its climax finds 46-year-old actor Mark Strong beating the holy hell out of 13-year-old Chloë Grace Moretz - who was 11 during filming - I didn't hate the comic-book adaptation Kick-Ass the way I thought I would. I actually hated it in a completely different way.

 
’Til Death Threats Do Us Part: "Date Night" and "Letters to God" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 11 April 2010 13:53

Tina Fey and Steve Carell in Date NightDATE NIGHT

Playing husband and wife in the marital action comedy Date Night, Steve Carell and Tina Fey partner each other with such skillful ease, and radiate such genuine affection for one another, that my issues with the film have come to feel insignificant, and even a little petty. I had a not-bad time at director Shawn Levy's latest. But reflecting on the experience, I've found it awfully difficult to wipe the grin from my face; surrounded by an exceptional cast of second bananas, Carell and Fey are so genial and inventive together that it's easy to ignore the dully synthetic, determinedly formulaic Hollywood product they're appearing in.

 
Gods and Monsters: “Clash of the Titans” and “The Last Song” PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 05 April 2010 10:30

Sam Worthington in Clash of the TitansCLASH OF THE TITANS

For pure, unadulterated pop kitsch, it's hard to top 1981's Clash of the Titans, in which a blow-dried Harry Hamlin, as Perseus, waged war against the Greek gods while a glowering Laurence Olivier, as Zeus, gnashed his teeth from high atop Mount Olympus. And while I'm not suggesting that director Louis Leterrier's remake of this legendary swords-and-sandals extravaganza actually does top it, the not-so-guilty delight of his new version is that it stays remarkably faithful to the original's spirit; it, too, seems content merely to serve up a tasty helping of cinematic junk food - trash wrapped in cheese. With its blend of legitimately spectacular encounters and (I hope) intentionally retrograde visuals, this Clash of the Titans never pretends that it's anything other than a silly, instantly disposable good time, and consequently, can be easily enjoyed on its own, happily unpretentious terms.

 
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