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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.

 
Foreign Affairs: "Force Majeure," "Goodbye to Language 3D," and "The Pyramid" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 07 December 2014 18:37

Force MajeureFORCE MAJEURE and GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE 3D

On Friday, I caught a foreign-language double-feature at Iowa City’s FilmScene venue, and was happy to do it. In retrospect, I might’ve been even happier had I only stuck around for half of it.

 
Fight or Flightless: "Penguins of Madagascar," "Horrible Bosses 2," and "Rosewater" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 30 November 2014 16:54

Penguins of MadagascarPENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR

Penguins of Madagascar opens with a sweeping overhead shot of an (animated) Antarctic expanse, which eventually lands on an orderly march of flightless waterfowl. This introduction is narrated by a documentarian voiced by Werner Herzog, who informs us, in the director’s unmistakable German-accented English, that we’re to witness penguins in all their natural glory – right before he orders a crew member to shove a few off a cliff, just to see what will happen. Between Herzog, the environmental-doc satire, and the sheer goofiness of it all, this prelude is such a fantastically funny way to start directors Eric Darnell’s and Simon J. Smith’s spin-off that it immediately leaves you anticipating a movie that’ll be smart and hilarious throughout. Would you settle, though, for smart and moderately amusing?

 
Compound Fractured: "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Friday, 21 November 2014 13:02

Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part ITHE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1

Like its immediate predecessor Catching Fire, director Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 is reasonably gripping and rarely dull, although its presentation – as was bound to happen – does make the movie feel less like a satisfying two-hour entertainment than the not-bad first half of a much better four-hour entertainment. (Or five-hour entertainment, depending on how plushly Lawrence and Lionsgate pad the goodbye in next year’s Part 2.) But I was really put off by one moment in the film, which found Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch complaining that the makeup worn by Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss needed to be scrubbed off, as it was making the young warrior look 35. The line was amusing and Haymitch wasn’t wrong, but why wasn’t anyone bothered that the rest of Mockingjay 1 was making her look 13?

 
Winged Crusader: "Birdman" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 16 November 2014 15:51

Michael Keaton and Edward Norton in BirdmanBIRDMAN

Hands-down the most technically audacious backstage farce ever attempted, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman finds its director in a cheeky, playful frame of mind. The movie’s many miracles pretty much start right there, because who knew that Iñárritu was even capable of a cheeky, playful frame of mind?

 
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