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Parrots and Cats and a Pageant for Bunnies: "Video Art from Israel," May 4 at the Figge PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 29 April 2014 06:00

The Days of the Family of the BellOn May 4, in an event co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities, the Figge Art Museum will host the screenings of a feature-length documentary and seven shorter works, all of them by award-winning Israeli filmmakers. Yet if the you enter the Video Art from Israel: A One-Day Sensory Experience presentation with preconceived notions about the films’ collective subject matter – anticipating explorations of Israel’s foreign policy, say, or the country’s ongoing struggle with Palestine – you’re likely to be in for a surprise or two. Or eight.

 
Cheat Wave: "The Other Woman," "The Quiet Ones," and "Brick Mansions" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 27 April 2014 19:16

Cameron Diaz, Kate Upton, and Leslie Mann in The Other WomanTHE OTHER WOMAN

Unduly high expectations, as we all know, can sometimes ruin your movie-going experience. Unduly low expectations, on the other hand, generally yield nothing but benefits, and so I’d like to thank film-critic consensus for making me so fearful of Nick Cassavetes’ The Other Woman. This revenge comedy may be indefensibly weak, but the unbridled and unwarranted zeal with which so many people are attacking it – The Dispatch/Rock Island Argus used Richard Roeper’s description “excruciatingly awful” as the review’s headline – makes me feel that some defense might be necessary.

 
Near-Def Experience: "Heaven Is for Real," "Transcendence," "Bears," and "A Haunted House 2" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 21 April 2014 12:25

Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly in Heaven Is for RealHEAVEN IS FOR REAL

So far this year, audiences for faith-based films at the multiplex have been treated to Son of God, God’s Not Dead, and Noah, and now there’s director Randall Wallace’s Heaven Is for Real to add to the mix. Have the Hollywood powers-that-be heard something about an imminent Rapture that the rest of us haven’t? Should I now be feeling awkward and guilty about my raucous laughter at This Is the End?

 
Taking One for the Team: "Draft Day," "Oculus," "Rio 2," and "Mysteries of the Unseen World" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 13 April 2014 13:59

Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner in Draft DayDRAFT DAY

Draft Day casts Kevin Costner as the Cleveland Browns’ general manager on the titular day in which his professional and personal crises reach their boiling points. And 20 minutes before its climax, director Ivan Reitman’s pro-football saga lands on what is simultaneously its most ironic and most perverse moment, which finds a roomful of executives and analysts bickering about a potential trade, and Costner’s Sonny Weaver Jr. ending the squabble with the incensed directive “Just give me a moment of silence so I can think!” The moment is ironic because, to this point, the movie has already been flooded with silence. The moment is also perverse because, after 90 minutes of pause-heavy introspection and hushed build-up – with the audience all but slavering for a scene of biting, fast-paced bickering – now is when Sonny demands some quiet?

 
The Inn Crowd: "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Captain America: The Winter Solider," and "Veronica Mars" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 06 April 2014 16:48

Paul Schlase, Tony Revolori, Tilda Swinton, and Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest HotelTHE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

Generally speaking, I’m not one to argue for the inclusion of more foul language and bloody violence in a director’s oeuvre, and feel especially awkward doing so a mere week after being bored silly by the endless profanities and exploding squibs in the latest Schwarzenegger flick. But I’ll happily make an exception in the case of Wes Anderson, at least based on his most recent outing, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Like all Anderson efforts, this one, too, could be filed in the “precious comic bauble” category, given its deliberately artificial production design and obsessively controlled compositions and overall suggestion of an improv-free zone. Yet this endlessly inventive and funny new work might boast more interior life than any of the writer/director’s other live-action achievements, and for that I’m afraid we have to thank the forcible removal of Jeff Goldblum’s fingers, and Ralph Fiennes’ tendency to drop the F-bomb into every other sentence.

 
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