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No Guts, No Glory: "Letters from Iwo Jima," "The Last King of Scotland," and "Pan's Labyrinth" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 24 January 2007 02:16

Letters from Iwo JimaFor devoted movie hounds, and those who enjoy getting caught up with potential Academy Award nominees, this past weekend was an embarrassment of riches, as Davenport's Showcase 53 presented the local debuts of Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima, Kevin Macdonald's The Last King of Scotland, and Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth. Of course, the wide(r) release of these three films makes good business sense - what better time for such specialized works to attract audiences if not the weekend after the Golden Globes and before the announcement of 2006 Oscar nominees? (Showcase 53 and Moline's Great Escape Theatre also, wisely, brought The Queen back to area screens - seriously, folks, it's so much fun! - and Great Escape re-opened Babel.)

 
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.

 
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