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From Sequel to Shining Sequel: "22 Jump Street" and "How to Train Your Dragon 2" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 15 June 2014 15:27

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in 22 Jump Street22 JUMP STREET and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

This past Friday was my birthday. (Aw, thank you for asking! Belated gifts can be sent care of the Reader!) And like a present delivered specifically for me, the day brought with it not only two movies featuring Jonah Hill – even if one only features the voice of Jonah Hill – but two follow-ups I wasn’t at all dreading: 22 Jump Street, the sequel to a comedy I loved, and How to Train Your Dragon 2, the sequel to an animated adventure I liked just fine. I suppose it was both fitting and inevitable, then, that I wound up liking the former just fine, and the latter ... well, I didn’t love it, but I did enjoy it a heck of a lot more than the original.

 
The Kids Aren’t All Right: "The Fault in Our Stars" and "Edge of Tomorrow" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 08 June 2014 14:53

Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley in The Fault in Our StarsTHE FAULT IN OUR STARS

The first words heard in the romantic tearjerker The Fault in Our Stars come from Shailene Woodley’s cancer-stricken teen Hazel, who tells us, in voice-over narration, that Hollywood movies are never honest in their depiction of sad stories, and promises that when it comes to the sad story she’s about to relate, “This is the truth.” And in retrospect, the film lost me with those four little words, because almost nothing that happened over the next two-plus hours felt even close to true.

 
Horns Aplenty: "Maleficent" and "A Million Ways to Die in the West" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 01 June 2014 16:53

Angelina Jolie in MaleficentMALEFICENT

Disney’s Maleficent is director Robert Stromberg’s re-imagined fairy tale told from the perspective of, and with much empathy for, the sorceress who put the “Sleeping” in Sleeping Beauty. If this is the beginning of a trend – one in which the studio, in effect, remakes its animated classics so that their evil villains are no longer evil or villainous – I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next. A baby Scar who seeks vindication after other lion cubs make fun of his unfortunate birthmark? A young, svelte Ursula the Sea Witch driven to malice and gluttony when her sister is turned into caviar?

 
Quicksilver Takes the Gold: "X-Men: Days of Future Past" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 26 May 2014 16:54

Hugh Jackman and James McAvoy in X-Men: Days of Future PastX-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

Director Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past opened this past weekend, and generally speaking, I liked it. At random moments throughout, I even loved it. And in one glorious, exquisitely crafted sequence about 40 minutes into the picture, I even fell madly in love with it.

 
Adam and Evil: "Blended" and "Chef" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 26 May 2014 16:51

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler in BlendedBLENDED

Without a gun pressed to my head, I’m not sure I could narrow down my list of “Things I Detest About Happy Madison Productions” to fewer than 20 elements, but I’m reasonably sure that the embarrassingly inept slapstick, humiliation of frequently enjoyable co-stars, distractingly rampant product placement, and presence of Adam Sandler would all make the cut.

The very first scene in the latest Happy Madison production, director Frank Coraci’s Blended, finds Drew Barrymore shrieking while attempting to wash down ultra-spicy buffalo shrimp with French onion soup, consequently getting most of it on her blouse, and the chain-restaurant Hooters name-dropped a half-dozen times while Sandler sits opposite Barrymore wearing a Dick’s Sporting Goods polo shirt.

Sweet Jesus, I thought. It’s like a big-screen nightmare made just for me.

 
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