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Cruel Yule: “The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause” and “Flushed Away” PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 07 November 2006 22:20

Tim Allen, Spencer Breslin, and Martin Short in The Santa Clause 3: The Escape ClauseTHE SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE

Unless you have small children there to chaperone you - or are a small child yourself - you probably won't be caught dead at a screening of The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. (Your only other excuses for seeing it, of course, are if you're a movie critic and/or a major Tim Allen fan, and please, God, let the "ands" be in the minority there.) So you certainly don't need me to recommend steering clear of this second sequel to the holiday hit of 1994. The jokes are as lame as could be imagined; the ultra-bright, hyper-chipper presentation - with its candy-colored gaudiness - could easily cause a toothache; and the plotting features less spirit, cleverness, and heart than you'll find in the 56 lines of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." Can any of this be considered a surprise?

 
The Jig Is Up: “Saw III,” “Catch a Fire,” “Flicka,” and “Roving Mars” PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 31 October 2006 22:31

Shawnee Smith and Bahar Soomekh in Saw IIISAW III

There's a shot in Saw III - one of the less repellent ones, and one of the few that makes any sense whatsoever - that proves pretty emblematic of the movie as a whole. A middle-aged man, attempting to escape the machinations of the serial killer Jigsaw, runs down a dank hallway and vomits, and as he does, the camera pans down for a close-up of the bile. In a nutshell, that's Saw III - having our faces shoved in puke. (Also blood, entrails, and, in one sequence, pureed pig.) Whatever ultra-violent wit the Saw series may have once boasted is nowhere on display here; the film is 105 minutes of solid torture, both for Jigsaw's hapless victims and for the audience.

 
Imaginary Heroes: “Flags of Our Fathers,” “The Prestige,” and “Marie Antoinette” PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 24 October 2006 22:18

Flags of Our FathersFLAGS OF OUR FATHERS

Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers is serious and noble, but it isn't resonant - despite some harrowing battle scenes, this World War II drama is surprisingly easy to brush off. Based on the James Bradley book, the film provides the back story to the historic raising of the American flag during the battle of Iwo Jima - a moment eternalized in Joe Rosenthal's famed photograph - and then follows the flag-raisers as they cope with their newfound status as American heroes, sent on a nationwide tour promoting war bonds. Yet with the exception of Rene Gagnon (Jesse Bradford), who is seduced by the limelight, the men don't feel heroic - John Bradley (Ryan Phillippe) falls into a jittery depression, and Native American Ira Hayes (Adam Beach) becomes a despondent alcoholic. These men didn't ask to be heroes. They just wanted to stay alive.

 
Private Dick: "Shock to the System" at the QCAD Fundraiser, October 21 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 17 October 2006 22:34

Chad Allen and Shawn Roberts in Shock to the SystemSHOCK TO THE SYSTEM

A 2003 episode of Will & Grace finds Will on the phone with an acquaintance who recently came out of the closet, and who is initiating himself into the gay lifestyle by watching appropriately themed movies on DVD.

"Barry," Will explains, "it's okay that you didn't like The Broken Hearts Club or Kiss Me, Guido. Let me tell you a little secret that we try to keep within the community. Gay movies suck. But until the laws change, we're still obligated to go see 'em."

 
Hail to the Cheat: “Man of the Year,” “One Night with the King,” and “The Grudge 2” PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 17 October 2006 22:24

Laura Linney and Robin Williams in Man of the YearMAN OF THE YEAR

The best I can say about Barry Levinson's Man of the Year is that, considering its advertising, it isn't at all the movie I was expecting.

 
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