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Not-So-Merry Men: “Robin Hood” and “Letters to Juliet” PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 17 May 2010 06:51

Russell Crowe in Robin HoodROBIN HOOD

With director Ridley Scott's heavy-spirited adventure Robin Hood, the audience waits nearly an hour for its first reprieve from the grimness and grime, and when it finally arrives, the moment consists of Max von Sydow's blind land baron getting a whiff of Russell Crowe's gamy Robin and growling, "You stink." As mood lighteners go, so does that gag. And so, for the most part, does the movie.

 
Isn’t It "Iron"-ic?: "Iron Man 2" and "Babies" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 09 May 2010 15:35

Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 2IRON MAN 2

As expected, the rocket-fueled title character flies across the screen pretty damned quickly in director Jon Favreau's Iron Man 2, but this might be the very first comic-book movie to boast dialogue that zips by even quicker. By now, summer-blockbuster crowds are so used to being wowed - or, for some of us, "wowed" - by pricey visuals and gargantuan action set pieces that the true thrill of Fevreau's and screenwriter Justin Theroux's sequel comes as both a relief and a shock; how on earth did Paramount (thankfully) agree to shell out some $200 million for what is, in essence, an updated take on a '30s screwball comedy? The climax in which our metal-plated superhero takes on more than a dozen artillery-laden robots is enjoyable enough, I guess, yet in terms of actual celluloid magic, it doesn't hold a candle to the sight of Iron Man 2's Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow arguing over whether Latin is, or is not, a dead language.

 
(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.

 
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