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Into the Weeds: "Into the Woods" and "The Homesman" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 28 December 2014 19:06

Emily Blunt and James Corden in Into the WoodsINTO THE WOODS

Do you know what you wish? Are you certain what you wish is what you want?” – lyrics from Into the Woods

 

Like a lot of stage-musical fans, I’ve been wishing – patiently but eagerly for more than 25 years now – for a film version of Stephen Sondheim’s modern classic Into the Woods. Now, thanks to Sondheim, original book and screenplay author James Lapine, director Rob Marshall, and the fairytale-happy folks at Disney, we have one.

So here’s the good news: Barring some minor changes, the movie is incredibly faithful to the show’s stage roots. But here’s the bad news: It’s so faithful that it’s under-imagined and kind of suffocating. And here’s the worst news: It isn’t much fun.

 
Unclean and Sober: "Top Five," "Wild," and "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 21 December 2014 16:02

Rosario Dawson and Chris Rock in Top FiveTOP FIVE

Chris Rock is on-record as being a fan of Woody Allen movies and Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight trilogy, and the comedian’s funny and thoughtful Top Five – Rock’s first film as a writer/director since 2007’s I Think I Love My Wife – is like a 100-minute blend of those influences. Then again, Allen, and certainly Linklater, would be much less likely to cap a scene with the image of a naked man getting a Tabasco-soaked tampon shoved up his ass.

 
Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way: "Annie" and "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Friday, 19 December 2014 18:50

Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhane Wallis, and Rose Byrne in AnnieANNIE

Sony’s last-remaining grab for the holiday box office, the much-downloaded reboot of Annie, opened this weekend, and it must be said that as a musical – especially as a musically faithful interpretation of the stage show – it kind of sucks. The choreography’s a shambles and the mixing is poor and the original numbers are terrible, while familiar, enjoyable Annie tunes such as “Little Girls” and “Easy Street” are merely sampled, their melodies and lyrics awkwardly woven into new pop and hip-hop arrangements. (Three of the film’s myriad producers are Jay-Z and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, so I guess we should just be grateful that the titular orphan is played by Quvenzhané Wallis and not Willow. Or Jaden.)

 
Holy Moses!: "Exodus: Gods & Kings" and "Whiplash" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Friday, 12 December 2014 14:44

Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods & KingsEXODUS: GODS & KINGS

You can tell a lot about a movie by its trailers. I don’t mean the trailers for the movie itself, although that’s also, usually, the case. I’m talking about the ones that play before the main attraction – the previews for future releases that generally share a genre or overall flavor with whatever film you’re paying to see, collectively acting as a sort of “Because you watched ______” recommendation list on Netflix.

 
Hawking: "The Theory of Everything" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 07 December 2014 18:50

Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of EverythingTHE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

After being released in larger markets several weeks ago, the Stephen Hawking bio-pic The Theory of Everything has finally landed locally. For those of you who loved the trailers, it’s probably going to be exactly the warm, touching, inspirational romance you were led to expect. For those of you who rolled your eyes at the trailers, as I did, it’s probably going to be exactly the banal, formulaic, desperately Oscar-bait-y domestic drama you feared it might be, and perhaps even worse.

 
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