Schulz's MediaCom VOD Picks
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McCarthyism ... the Good Kind: "Win Win," "Fast Five," and "Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 02 May 2011 07:33

Paul Giamatti and Alex Shaffer in Win WinWIN WIN

When I say that writer/director Tom McCarthy’s Win Win could easily serve as the inspiration for a long-running TV series, I don’t mean it in any way insultingly, partly because our current small-screen options are, in general, vastly superior to our big-screen ones. Mostly, though, it’s because this serious-minded comedy is so teeming with nuanced, empathetic characters and complicated yet wholly plausible situations and circumstances that you want to luxuriate in Win Win’s universe for far longer than the movie’s too-brief 100 minutes – like, for an hour a week over several seasons.

 
Cirque du Soulful: "Water for Elephants," "Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family," "Rio," and "African Cats" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 23 April 2011 22:27

Robert Pattinson in Water for ElephantsWATER FOR ELEPHANTS

After his where’s-my-paycheck? turn in The Green Hornet, I was mildly concerned that, following his Oscar-winning Inglourious Basterds portrayal, Christoph Waltz might be resigned to a career of forever playing Euro-trashy über-villains in Hollywood action dreck. With director Francis Lawrence’s Water for Elephants, though – a Depression-era romance based on Sara Gruen’s beloved novel – my fears have proved unfounded. As the egomaniacal, possibly sociopathic owner and ringleader of a second-tier traveling circus, enraged by the blossoming affections between his star-performer wife (Reese Witherspoon) and the troupe’s young veterinarian (Robert Pattinson), Waltz is every bit as mesmerizing – charming, unpredictable, terrifying – as he was in Quentin Tarantino’s World War II opus. Yet fantastic though he is, Waltz’s talents here aren’t a shock. The bigger surprise is that the movie itself is so bloody marvelous.

 
A-Stabbin' the Dorks: "Scream 4," "The Conspirator," "Soul Surfer," and "Your Highness" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 18 April 2011 11:44

Neve Campbell in Scream 4SCREAM 4

Directed, as all of the franchise’s outings have been, by Wes Craven, and written by Kevin Williamson, Scream 4 is a sequel, a reboot, and a big middle finger to reboots, all in one bloody, meta, mostly tedious package. It opens beautifully and features a bunch of (mostly verbal) horror-comedy pleasures, yet its overall effect is wearying; Craven and Williamson are so focused on deconstructing the genre – the Scream series in particular – for a media-soaked, hipper-than-thou young audience that even its “surprises” are in quotation marks. Watching Scream 4 is like watching a movie with its commentary track running before you’ve had a chance to experience the film without it.

 
Moore, or Less?: "Arthur," "Hanna," and "Born to Be Wild 3D" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 11 April 2011 10:41

Helen Mirren and Russell Brand in ArthurARTHUR

There were better comedies released in the ’80s, to be sure. But I don’t think I have a stronger affection for any of them than I do for 1981’s Arthur, writer/director Steve Gordon’s screwball-farce throwback that featured Dudley Moore’s drunken multi-millionaire sharing brilliantly barbed repartee with caretaker John Gielgud. Consequently, I came dangerously close to booing when I first saw the preview for director Jason Winer’s Arthur remake. True, Russell Brand seemed the only logical choice to fill Moore’s (diminutive) shoes, and while Gielgud is irreplaceable, Helen Mirren seemed a reasonable enough sparring partner. But, I mean, come on – is nothing sacred?!

 
Haunted Man's Son: "Insidious," "Source Code," and "Hop" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 03 April 2011 13:02

InsidiousINSIDIOUS

It features every cliché in the haunted-house handbook. It borrows liberally from other, iconic horror movies. It’s by the director of the original Saw and the slightly more bearable killer-mannequin flick Dead Silence. And for all of the momentary jolts provided by the loud bangs and shrieking violins on its soundtrack, the most shocking thing about Insidious is how irrationally good it is.

 
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