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Out of Step: "Stomp the Yard," "Alpha Dog," and "Curse of the Golden Flower" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 17 January 2007 02:14

Columbus Short in Stomp the YardSTOMP THE YARD

Before seeing Stomp the Yard, in which a young hip-hop dancer from Los Angeles adjusts to fraternity life at Atlanta's Truth University, I didn't know much about step dancing. But after watching director Sylvain White's inspirational drama, I discovered that there are apparently two distinct types - there's great step dancing and then there's really great step dancing. Though the movie is ostensibly a coming-of-age story wherein our hero, DJ (Columbus Short), finds respect and love during his first year of school, it's really just 8 Mile or Bring It On for the dance world, as warring frats compete to see whose moves out-step whose. (Step dancing - frequently practiced at African-American universities - is a combination of marching and precise choreography, generally accompanied by chants and, in this movie's case, taunts.) Yet it's pretty easy to guess which groups of dancers will be considered the greatest in Stomp the Yard - it's whichever dancers go next.

 
It’s the End of the World as We Know It: “Children of Men” and “Freedom Writers” PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 10 January 2007 02:13

Clive Owen and Julianne Moore in Children of MenCHILDREN OF MEN

The year is 2027, and the world is in chaos. Scratch that: The world is chaos. For nearly 20 years, women have been infertile, and the planet's youngest citizen has just been murdered at the age of 18. Random bombings and guerrilla warfare have become an element of daily life - a newscast shows "the siege of Seattle" entering its 1,000th day - and internment camps are as commonplace as coffee shops. In England, refugees are routinely rounded up for deportation and execution. And it is in this hopeless, unspeakably dangerous universe that director Alfonso Cuarón, in Children of Men, has fashioned one of the most supremely intelligent, forceful, and exhilarating movies of recent years.

 
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.

 
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