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Late-Summer Odds and Ends: "Hero," "Napoleon Dynamite," "Without a Paddle," "Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid," "Suspect Zero," and "The Exorcist: The Beginning" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 07 September 2004 18:00

Jet Li in HeroHERO

Does any moviegoer really care what Zhang Yimou’s Chinese martial-arts epic Hero is actually about? You get to see adversaries battling one another while running on water! You get to see a woman warding off a bow-and-arrow onslaught using only her dressing gown! You get to see a guy splitting raindrops in half with a sword, for Pete’s sake!

 
A Look Back at 2004’s Summer Crop PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 31 August 2004 18:00
ALIEN VS. PREDATOR – I probably would have enjoyed it just fine if the damned humans didn’t keep showing up to ruin the fun. For fans of the genre, there’s certainly entertainment to be had here – the Aliens are allowed some tense, shivery moments, and writer-director Paul W. S. Anderson has hold of a strong story idea – but it comes after almost 75 minutes of protracted build-up, with wretched dialogue and mostly abysmal acting that makes you want to bash your skull in. The worst of the Alien flicks; the second-best of the Predators.

 
Don’t Believe the Hype on "Open Water": Also, "AVP: Alien vs. Predator" and "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 24 August 2004 18:00

Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis in Open WaterOPEN WATER

We all know that shoestring-budgeted independent works aren’t necessarily going to have the professional sheen of Hollywood output, but after reading the rave reviews for Open Water, I feel compelled to ask: Just how much amateurishness are we expected to endure in the name of cinematic political-correctness (i.e., loving an indie solely for being an indie)? Barring an ingeniously edited sequence during a thunderstorm and a few stomach-tightening moments when sharks make surprise appearances, I didn’t find Open Water the least bit scary, let alone “Riveting!”, “Electrifying!”, and all the other superlatives currently being lavished on it (and this from someone who still gets freaked out watching The Blair Witch Project). Worse still, the movie is so badly performed and overwritten that it has the unintentional effect of coming off as totally phony, and since the film was notoriously shot with the leading actors surrounded by real sharks, realism is Open Water’s only true draw. Are we film critics now so openly hateful toward CGI-heavy Hollywood blockbusters that we’ll happily convince ourselves that tedious, flatly staged thrillers such as Open Water are actually great?

 
Despite Contrivances, "Collateral" Is Spectacular Summertime Fare: Also, "Little Black Book," "De-Lovely," and "Coffee & Cigarettes" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 17 August 2004 18:00

Tom Cruise in CollateralCOLLATERAL

Collateral’s plot is so High Concept you can barely believe it hasn’t been filmed before: A cab driver (Jamie Foxx) unknowingly picks up a hired assassin (Tom Cruise) as a fare, and spends a long, strange evening chauffeuring him from one execution site to another, all the while trying to prevent the killer from performing his rounds without, of course, getting himself killed in the process.

 
"Harold & Kumar" No Masterpiece, But It’s Smart and Fun: "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle," "The Manchurian Candidate" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 10 August 2004 18:00

How strange that, of the two movies I recently caught as a double-feature – Jonathan Demme’s The Manchurian Candidate and Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, directed by Dude, Where’s My Car? auteur Danny Leiner – not only is Harold & Kumar the better of the two, it’s the only one really worth discussing in any detail.

 
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