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The Delighted: The Memorable Flicks of 2006 PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 02:30

Reader issue #614Most of my friends have all but given up on going to the movies, and considering the quality of most movies nowadays, it's pretty hard to blame them. But what's alarming is that the people I talk to don't seem to be boycotting the cineplex in protest of what they're showing; they're protesting the audiences. And in that case, it's really hard to blame them.

 
"Girls" Power: “Dreamgirls” and “The Good Shepherd” PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 02:19

Anika Noni Rose, Beyonce Knowles, and Jennifer Hudson in DreamgirlsDREAMGIRLS

You may have heard that, in the middle of Bill Condon's Dreamgirls, former American Idol belter Jennifer Hudson lets loose with a power ballad that has the audience cheering and applauding at its finish. If the screening I attended is any indication, this rumor is untrue. The audience cheers and applauds the number way before Hudson's finale. And no one in their right mind could blame them.

 
K-Yo'd: "Rocky Balboa" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 27 December 2006 03:27

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky BalboaROCKY BALBOA

With few exceptions, the reviews for Rocky Balboa have been pretty charitable. No one is proclaiming it a masterpiece, but the consensus seems to be that Sylvester Stallone could have missed by a mile with his latest, presumably last installment and didn't; the film was almost predestined to receive a critical flaying, yet there's barely a whiff of mean-spiritedness in the reviews. "Rocky Balboa isn't great," seems to be the prevailing opinion, "but it's sweet, and kind of touching, and it's by no means an embarrassment."

Assuming I'm not completely off-base in my assessment of these critical tones, I now feel compelled to ask: Exactly what would Stallone have had to do to make Rocky Balboa a bigger embarrassment? Forget his lines? Trip over the furniture? End the film by beaming Rocky aboard the Starship Enterprise? Make no mistake: Rocky Balboa is a humiliating experience, as grand an exercise in masturbatory excess as M. Night Shymalan's Lady in the Water, and as depressing an ego-trip for the writer/director/icon as could be imagined.

 
It’s Cryin’ Time: "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "Charlotte's Web" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 20 December 2006 02:17

Jaden and Will Smith in The Pursuit of HappynessTHE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS and CHARLOTTE'S WEB

A few days ago, in preparation for my forthcoming year-end recap, I was perusing the list of movies I've caught in 2006, and among my favorite cineplex offerings, I noticed several rather surprising themes. Very few family-friendly works, and none that were animated, despite the release of what felt like a new one every other week. An unusual preponderance of sequels and remakes. And, oddly, almost no works that really got to me emotionally - very few that made me cry.

 
Mad Mel: “Apocalypto” and “The Holiday” PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 13 December 2006 04:08

Rudy Youngblood in ApocalyptoAPOCALYPTO

There was a lot that I hated about Mel Gibson's Mayan-language action epic Apocalypto.

I hated the obviousness of the opening 20 minutes, with the director crudely working overtime to make the Mayans "relatable." (Look! They played practical jokes! And teased their friends about their sex lives! And gave blow jobs! Just like us!) I hated the way Gibson was cranking up the audience's bloodlust via the sentimental idylls; our hero, Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood), is given not only a sage, loving father and a devoted, nine-months-pregnant wife, but perhaps the cutest toddler on God's green earth.

 
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