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Quentin Unchained: "The Hateful Eight" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 02 January 2016 19:38

Kurt Russell and Samuel L. Jackson in The Hateful EightTHE HATEUL EIGHT

Its opening credits remind us that the vengeance-minded Western The Hateful Eight is “the 8th film by Quentin Tarantino.” That’s actually helpful. Because by the time the closing credits roll some two-and-three-quarter-hours later (the movie’s 70-millimeter “roadshow” version lasting some 20 minutes more), you’d swear it was at least the 28th film by Quentin Tarantino. I admire the man’s output to no end, and five of his seven previous features are firmly entrenched amidst my 10 favorites for their particular years. But despite its flashes of brilliance, I found myself as annoyed with The Hateful Eight as I was with 2012’s Django Unchained, and for much the same reason: Its auteur, by now, appears so immersed in the act of loving Quentin Tarantino that he leaves almost no room for us to love him, or his films, back.

 
Step-Daddy Issues: "Daddy’s Home," "Point Break," and "Youth" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 02 January 2016 19:30

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in Daddy's HomeDADDY’S HOME

I wasn’t terribly happy to sit through Daddy’s Home, given that director Sean Anders’ slapstick starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as über-competitive caretakers is a major comedown from the duo’s inspired pairing in 2010’s The Other Guys. But I was, at least, happy to have seen the movie during a well-populated screening with loads of grade-schoolers in attendance, as their frequent cackling clarified that the film was a family comedy, and therefore not designed to be as funny as, you know, a real comedy. I guess I was confused by the many jokes about Ferrell having to produce a sperm sample, and Bobby Cannavale manhandling Wahlberg’s prodigious package, and Ferrell’s stepdaughter (who appears to be about six) castigating him for “crying like a little bitch.” But what do I know? Bring the kids!

 
Crash! Crunch! Clunk! "The Big Short," "Concussion," and "Joy" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 27 December 2015 18:20

Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling in The Big ShortDuring my extended holiday stay in the Chicago area, I saw a fantastic movie, a sizable disappointment, and an utter clunker. But as Carol, Legend, and The Danish Girl aren’t currently playing at a theater near you (at least if you live in the Quad Cities region), let’s instead focus on the other fantastic movie, sizable disappointment, and utter clunker I saw.

 
I’ve Got a Great Feeling About This ... : "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 19 December 2015 20:40

Peter Mayhew and Harrison Ford in Star Wars: The Force AwakensSTAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

What a relief that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has finally opened. Now we can actually talk about it! Wasn’t it amazing when the Stormtroopers collectively rebelled against their oppressors and found new careers as human bowling pins? And when George Lucas made a cameo as a Jawa? And when it was revealed that everything in the previous trilogy had only been an Ewok’s dream? And ... .

Oh, sorry. Um ... . Spoiler alert?

 
Tonight We’re Gonna Party Like It’s 1989: "Sisters" and "Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Road Chip" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 19 December 2015 20:33

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in SistersSISTERS

Sisters is about two 40-something siblings (Tina Fey and Amy Poehler) who, on the eve of its selling, decide to throw one last, big, balls-out get-together in the Orlando home of their youth. And the movie feels like some debaucherous parties that you might’ve thrown: It’s awesome at the start, intermittently enjoyable while it’s happening, and the people who showed up don’t seem to understand when it’s time for them to just leave already. As with such parties, you’re not all that upset that they decided to stick around – you’re happy they came. But less of them, and their being less wasted, would’ve definitely been more, just as director Jason Moore’s two-hour comedy would’ve likely been a stronger, more satisfying entertainment if it clocked in at 90 minutes, and had given us fewer scenes with Fey and Poehler in hostess mode.

 
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