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Our Father, Who Art in "Evan": "Evan Almighty" and "1408" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 27 June 2007 02:08

Steve Carell in Evan AlmightyEVAN ALMIGHTY

Thank God for lowered expectations.

I adore Steve Carell, and so I was initially jazzed about Evan Almighty, as director Tom Shadyac's sequel was a vehicle for the comic who handily stole 2003's Bruce Almighty away from hard-working star Jim Carrey. Yet after I saw the trailer, my excitement quickly turned into dread. Not only did the three-minute preview appear to give away every second of the movie - it showed the climactic flood approaching, for Pete's sake! - but the sight of a gray-bearded, robe-attired Carell looking benevolent while surround by all those cu-u-u-ute animals instantly set off my gag reflex; watching brilliant comedians sell out in witless kiddie flicks is to be expected, yet I was praying that it wouldn't happen with Carell. (At least, I was praying that it wouldn't happen again - does anyone else recall the actor's involvement in the 2004 atrocity Sleepover?)

"Hostel" Environment: "Hostel: Part II" and "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 20 June 2007 02:27

Richard Burgi in Hostel: Part IIHOSTEL: PART II

(Spoiler Alert: If it matters, details of Hostel: Part II's plot will - sorry - spill out.)

Upon returning to the office after seeing Hostel: Part II, my editor asked me what I thought of Eli Roth's horror sequel, and my immediate reply was, "Oh, it's crap." There was no anger or disappointment in my tone; having intensely disliked the first Hostel, I expected its follow-up to be awful, and it was awful. Yet four days after viewing the movie, I still can't get it out of my head, and I'm forced to admit that while my initial, gut response may have been honest, it wasn't entirely fair.

Vegas, baby! Vegas!: "Ocean's Thirteen," "Surf's Up," and "Mr. Brooks" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 02:35

Matt Damon, George Clooney, and Brad Pitt in Ocean's 13OCEAN'S THIRTEEN

Memories of the meandering, tiresome, and ceaselessly smug Ocean's Twelve - Steven Soderbergh's first sequel to his 2001 heist flick Ocean's Eleven - were enough to make me leery about Ocean's Thirteen, and during the film's first reel, that feeling rarely subsided; it, too, seemed both simplistic and maddeningly convoluted, and inordinately pleased with itself from the get-go.

Great Expectation: "Knocked Up" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 06 June 2007 03:26

Katherine Heigl, Leslie Mann, Seth Rogen, and Paul Rudd in Knocked UpKNOCKED UP

A few hours before I saw the film, a friend asked if I was looking forward to Knocked Up, and as a devoted fan of writer/director Judd Apatow, I responded, only half-jokingly, that I was because "Judd Apatow is going to save movie comedy." After seeing the movie, I'm not sure there was reason to even half-joke: Judd Apatow just might save movie comedy. Over the past 10 years, there are only a handful of TV series that hold a candle to Apatow's Freaks & Greeks and Undeclared, and his directorial debut The 40-Year-Old Virgin is pretty much the current dirty/sweet-comedy standard-bearer; Knocked Up suggests that beyond being a sensational entertainer, Apatow may be that rare comic pioneer who is also (gasp!) a comedic artist.

My Eyes Are On the Sparrow: "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 02:26

Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush, Johnny Depp, and Mackenzie Crook in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's EndPIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END

Roughly 30 minutes into Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow makes an entrance that perhaps only Johnny Depp, being directed by Gore Verbinski, would be permitted to make: All we see is Depp's nose, in enormous close-up, as it hungrily sniffs out a peanut. Eventually we're treated to a full view of the sloshed swashbuckler we've been waiting a half hour to see, yet before Sparrow can pop the peanut in his mouth, he's shot dead. By Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow.

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