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Four Stories and Seven Hours or So – Notes on a Quadruple Feature: "Divergent," "Muppets Most Wanted," "The Earth Wins," and "God’s Not Dead" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 14:01

Theo James and Shailene Woodley in DivergentMarch 24, 10:30 a.m.-ish: After several days spent visiting friends in Ohio – among them, now, my hosts’ adorable 17-month-old daughter – I return to my movie-reviewing duties filled with fresh perspective and hope for the future. Then I see Divergent, which earned $54.6 million over the weekend, and is already green-lit for two follow-up films. Well, the feeling was fun while it lasted.

 
Stale Magnolias: "Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club" and "Need for Speed" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 16 March 2014 15:57

Nia Long, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Zulay Henao, and Cocoa Brown in Tyler Perry's The Single Moms ClubTYLER PERRY’S THE SINGLE MOMS CLUB

In Tyler Perry’s new movie, a quintet of women with seemingly nothing in common beyond their single-parent status decide to ... .

I’m sorry. Can we stop for a moment? Tyler Perry has another new movie?! Is the yuletide corpse of A Madea Christmas even cold yet?

 
Get Her to the Greeks: "300: Rise of an Empire," "Mr. Peabody & Sherman," and "Titans of the Ice Age 3D" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 09 March 2014 19:35

Eva Green in 300: Rise of an Empire300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE

No movie that opens with Gerard Butler being beheaded, even off-screen, can be all that bad, and so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised by the not-so-bad-ness of director Noam Murro’s 300: Rise of an Empire. I still am, considering how little fun I had at Zack Snyder’s smash-hit predecessor from 2007, yet personally speaking, it’s not hard to identify what makes this CGI-heavy bloodbath an overall better time – a much better time – than 300. But we’ll get to her momentarily.

 
Airport '14: "Non-Stop" and "Son of God" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 01 March 2014 13:02

Liam Neeson in Non-StopNON-STOP

Every Academy Awards season, the idea of adding a Best Casting category appears to gain some traction among film journalists and professionals. (This past autumn saw the limited release of a documentary – Tom Donahue’s Casting by – devoted to the subject, and Woody Allen, whom one would’ve thought indifferent to the Oscars at best, even wrote an open letter to the Hollywood Reporter in support of a casting trophy.) I’m personally fine with restricting the ceremony to the two dozen categories we do have, but if such recognition were to be included, voters could do worse than to consider Amanda Mackey and Cathy Sandrich Galfond – casting directors for the enjoyably ludicrous Non-Stop – for the prize. To be sure, it doesn’t take much wit to suggest that Liam Neeson play a grieving alcoholic with a bad temper and a gun. But casting, as two beleaguered flight attendants, 12 Years a Slave’s abused slave Patsey opposite Downton Abbey’s rigid Lady Mary? Now that’s witty.

 
Are You Not Entertained?!: "Pompeii," "3 Days to Kill," and "Winter’s Tale" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 23 February 2014 13:23

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Kit Harington in PompeiiPOMPEII

About a half-hour into Paul W.S. Anderson’s Pompeii, the film’s protagonist – a gladiator-turned-slave amusingly named Milo – hears the unfamiliar sound of the nearby Mount Vesuvius preparing to erupt. “It is the mountain,” says Milo’s comrade Atticus. “It grumbles from time to time.” So do movie reviewers, and this latest 3D action spectacle by the director of Mortal Kombat, Death Race, and a trio of Resident Evil flicks would, at first glance, appear to be exactly the sort of thing I’d personally grumble about: a predictably corny, derivative, overscaled costume party with loads of generic violence and nothing in the way of subtlety or emotional nuance.

Yet while it’s easy to name the movie’s most direct influences, Gladiator and Titanic chief among them, what I didn’t at all expect was for this swords-and-sandals outing to be so thoroughly, cheerfully indebted to 1970s disaster epics in the vein of The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure; Pompeii, to its cheeky credit, is kind of like 1974’s Earthquake with the ancient Roman city cast in the role of Los Angeles.

 
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