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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.

 
Take Me Out of the Ball Game: "The Benchwarmers," "Take the Lead," and "ATL" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 11 April 2006 18:00

Jon Heder, Rob Schneider, and David Spade in The BenchwarmersTHE BENCHWARMERS

The audience laughter at The Benchwarmers chilled me to the marrow. What in God’s name are we allowing to pass for “children’s entertainment” these days? Dennis Dugan’s “comedy” is about a trio of aging dweebs (Rob Schneider, David Spade, and Jon Heder) who – seeking retribution for their childhood humiliations – arrange to play in a Little League tournament, and it’s better for everyone’s mental health that I ignore the logistics of the plotting.Suffice it to say that the film is an empowerment fantasy for middle-aged booger-eaters everywhere. But it isn’t geared toward adults. (At least, not adults with IQs in the triple digits.) The Benchwarmers is a diversion aimed squarely at kids, and as such, it’s almost unspeakably repellent – the movie is so hateful that you want to file a restraining order against it.

 
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