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In-Laws, Breaking Laws: "Meet the Parents" and "Get Carter" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 10 October 2000 18:00

Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller in Meet the ParentsMEET THE PARENTS

I’m not sure that any movie genre is harder to critique than the Sitcom Disguised as Feature Film. You know the sort: a comedy, usually with faux-dramatic undertones, filled with likable actors playing likable people (even the antagonists are more pesky than dangerous), where the characters’ dilemmas are sorted out neatly in under two hours, and with no serious harm coming to any of them in the end. The dialogue is moderately witty, the physical gags are predictable but amusing, the lighting is overly bright, and the score is bouncy, with moments of sap when the characters show their “souls.” What’s to discuss? You know going in what to expect, and when the film in question is pulled off well, as Jay Roach’s Meet the Parents is, you leave feeling serene and comfortable.

 
Family Fun and Football: "Remember the Titans" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 03 October 2000 18:00

Denzel Washington in Remember the TitansREMEMBER THE TITANS

No one could have been less enthused than I at the prospect of Remember the Titans, the inspirational high-school-football flick starring Denzel Washington. The film’s omnipresent previews – which, I swear, seemed to precede every movie released from June through September – not only appeared to give away all aspects of the film’s plot but all aspects of the film’s subplots, and it was being released right on the heels of the scabs-play-football bomb The Replacements, arguably the most wretched movie of the past summer.

 
An Empty Sleeve: "Almost Famous" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 28 September 2000 18:00

Almost FamousALMOST FAMOUS

Almost Famous, writer-director Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical hymn to the joys and heartbreaks of rock ’n’ roll, is filled with extraordinarily lovely details and an uncanny fondness for the film’s 1970s setting. It’s engaging, gorgeously lit, and filled with goodwill. The things it’s not are believable, challenging, or memorable. It has obviously been made with great love – Crowe spent years trying to turn his youthful experiences into a movie – and Crowe’s attention to the minutiae of the rock scene is heady and alluring. But Almost Famous ends up as far less than the sum of its parts, a movie so intoxicated by its period that elements like character and conflict barely exist; despite its look and the rave reviews being showered on it, the film itself feels empty.

 
Cheerleader Rivals and Other Maniacs: "Bring It On," "The Way of the Gun," and "The Watcher" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 21 September 2000 18:00

Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union in Bring It OnBRING IT ON

It took me quite a while to catch up with the battling-cheerleader hit Bring It On because, quite frankly, most teen flicks these days make me feel about a hundred years old. It’s not just that the casts of these films seem obscenely young, or that adults are completely marginalized – those qualities have been staples of the genre at least since Rebel Without a Cause.

 
In Praise of Renee Zellweger: "Nurse Betty" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 13 September 2000 18:00

Renee Zellweger in Nurse BettyNURSE BETTY

It’s one of the iconic movie moments of the ’90s: Renee Zellweger, as Dorothy Boyd, responding to husband Jerry Maguire’s declaration of love with a throaty “You had me at hello.” It was at that point that audiences everywhere lost it, not just because of the perfection of the line itself, but because Zellweger delivered it with such vulnerability and delicacy that it was emotionally overwhelming; you not only wanted to reach out to her, you wanted to hug her and not let go.

 
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