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Slumberless Party: "The Overnight" and "The Wolfpack" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 13:15

Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling in The OvernightTHE OVERNIGHT

Even with a goatee, Adam Scott has such a sweet baby face, and can exude such endearing boyishness, that when you see him in an early playground scene in his latest film, you’re half-surprised that a more towering adult isn’t pushing him on a swing. Yet longtime fans know that Scott also possesses a canny understanding of how to employ his naturally guileless countenance for tension (as in the 2002 thriller High Crimes) or melancholy (HBO’s sadly ignored Tell Me You Love Me) or acerbic wit (Party Down, Parks & Recreation, and numerous et ceteras). And that chameleon-ic talent makes him perhaps perfectly cast in the new comedy The Overnight, writer/director Patrick Brice’s three-quarters-successful chronicling of an alternately invigorating and deeply uncomfortable grown-up sleepover.

He Be Back: "Terminator Genisys," "Magic Mike XXL," and "Me & Earl & the Dying Girl" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 02 July 2015 10:18

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator GenisysTERMINATOR GENISYS

Following some requisite, necessary backstory, Terminator Genisys opens in 2029 Los Angeles, where resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) transports fellow revolutionary Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) to 1984, where he’s to hopefully prevent global apocalypse and protect John’s mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke) from a murderous robot (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Upon arriving, however, Kyle finds that Sarah doesn’t need saving and the robot isn’t murderous, so off they go to 2017, where the planet is still imperiled, and John Connor himself proves to be the source of the planet’s eventual ruin. After one of these whisks through the decades, Kyle says, “Time travel makes my head hurt,” and time-travel movies generally make my head hurt, too. But for a fifth installment in an increasingly confounding series, this particular time-travel movie is actually a fair bit of fun.

Fuzzy and Furry: "Ted 2" and "Max" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 28 June 2015 20:30

Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane-ish in Ted 2TED 2

Every fan of Family Guy knows that when he wants to, Seth MacFarlane can be really offensive. (I am in no way a fan of Family Guy, and even I know that.) But the biggest problem with MacFarlane’s Ted 2 – which is likely to at least occasionally infuriate anyone who isn’t a white, straight alpha-bro – isn’t that it’s offensive; it’s that it’s too often sincere. This is a movie in which Morgan Freeman, as a benevolent civil-rights attorney, invokes the 16th Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation when arguing for the rights of a talking teddy bear, with the scene’s moved onlookers and swelling score matching him in earnestness and integrity. My audience, meanwhile, watched and listened to Freeman’s impassioned oration in what felt like stunned silence. Can MacFarlane possibly be serious about this – that his foul-mouthed teddy’s rights are equal to those of hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised human beings? And if he’s not serious, why isn’t this scene in any way funny?

Emotion Picture: "Inside Out" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 20 June 2015 19:14


There appear to be two ideal ways to discuss, in review form, Pixar’s hugely entertaining animated comedy Inside Out. One is through something short and sweet that suggests the experience of director Pete Docter’s hilarious, incredibly sophisticated charmer without giving away all of its best jokes and most trenchant observations. The other is through a dissertation of some 20,000 words that digs deeply into the rather staggering psychological nuance of this thing, with lengthy footnotes exploring, say, The Role of Abstract Thought in the Prepubescent Female Psyche, or The Singular Comedic Melancholia of Phyllis from The Office. I’m opting for short(-ish) and sweet. And you’re welcome.

Life’s a Beach, Then You Get Meds: "Love & Mercy" and "Dope" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 20 June 2015 19:07

Paul Dano in Love & MercyLOVE & MERCY

Receiving a wide national release on the same weekend as Inside Out’s debut, director Bill Pohlad’s Love & Mercy is also an exploration of the brain – specifically, the brain of Beach Boys wunderkind Brian Wilson, alternately portrayed by Paul Dano (during the film’s Pet Sounds-era 1960s sequences) and John Cusack (during Wilson’s heavily-, and incorrectly-, medicated period in the late 1980s). And rather astonishingly for a work of its type, it boasts numerous scenes in which it really, truly feels like we’re allowed to roam around in a legendary musician’s head, feeling what he feels and, even more importantly, hearing what he hears.

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