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Brush with Greatness: "Art School Confidential," "Poseidon," "An American Haunting," "Akeelah & the Bee," "Hoot," and "RV" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 17 May 2006 02:25

John Malkovich and Max Minghella in Art School ConfidentialART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL

I’ve read critics who have described Terry Zwigoff’s Art School Confidential as nihilistic, sour, and mean-spirited. They’re saying it like that’s a bad thing. Working with screenwriter Daniel Clowes – adapting the film from his comic book, and again collaborating with the director who helmed 2001’s Clowes-scripted Ghost World – Zwigoff has, here, fashioned a wonderfully nihilistic, sour, and mean-spirited comedy; it might take easy potshots at the politics and posturings of the art community, but those potshots are funny and clever, and the film’s refusal to sentimentalize any of its characters (even our protagonist) is incredibly refreshing. Still, the movie has been met with much dissatisfaction, if not outright annoyance. Art School Confidential seems, to me, the most thoroughly misunderstood movie of the year.

 
Cruise in for a Bruisin’: "Mission: Impossible III" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 10 May 2006 03:00

Tom Cruise and Keri Russell in Mission: Impossible IIIMISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III

Call it envy, call it sour grapes, call it schadenfreude, but I’ll admit to hugely enjoying the public meltdown of Tom Cruise, mostly because it’s finally making him interesting. Cruise has always been too bland to be true. He’s moderately proficient, and in several of his films – most recently Collateral and Minority Report – he’s even been impressive. But he has too few resources to draw upon as a performer. It would be hard to accuse Cruise of slouching on the job – he’s determined and earnest, and you can sense him trying to suggest interior life. But his line readings have no surprise and his on-screen performances rarely build; whenever a new scene begins, Cruise appears to have forgotten everything his character experienced in his previous scenes. He can’t seem to play more than one emotion, or one thought, at a time.

 
United They Stood: "United 93," "Friends with Money," and "Silent Hill" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 02 May 2006 18:00

United 93UNITED 93

The question of whether it’s too soon for United 93 is endlessly debatable. Yet United 93 we have. And having seen Paul Greengrass’ dramatic re-creation of those shattering minutes aboard the doomed Newark-to-San Francisco flight on the morning of September 11, 2001, it seems that the timing of its release isn’t just acceptable but – for this particular film, at any rate – absolutely essential.

 
Idle "American": "American Dreamz," "The Wild," and "Scary Movie 4" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 25 April 2006 18:00

Mandy Moore in American DreamzAMERICAN DREAMZ

American Dreamz is like a middling Saturday Night Live skit that never ends. In writer/director Paul Weitz’s conception, the president is a slow-witted dolt being puppeteered by his staff, the participants on an American Idol-type mega-hit are a combination of talentless sweeties and fame-hungry monsters, and the American public happily buys every piece of pop-fueled mediocrity placed before it, especially when it’s swathed in the sentimental, jingoistic guise of “patriotism.” Wherever did Weisz come up with such fresh objects of ridicule?

 
A Thank You for "Smoking": "Thank You for Smoking" and "Lucky Number Slevin" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 18 April 2006 18:00

Katie Holmes and Aaron Eckhart in Thank You for SmokingTHANK YOU FOR SMOKING

Jason Reitman’s Thank You for Smoking, adapted from Christopher Buckley’s satiric novel, doesn’t have much visual flair, but one recurring image in the film lends it worlds of variety: Aaron Eckhart’s smile.

 
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