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"Stealth" Bomb: Also, "Bad News Bears," "Mad Hot Ballroom," and "The Devil's Rejects" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 02 August 2005 18:00

Jamie Fozz, Jessica Biel, and Josh Lucas in StealthSTEALTH

If you can love a movie, and hate a movie, I guess there’s no reason you can’t feel sorry for a movie, and boy, does my heart go out to Stealth. It’s the kind of dear, sad little flick that makes you want to pat it on the head and whisper, “It’s okay, it’ll all be over soon … They’ll make fun of you for two weeks and then no one will even remember your name.”

 
Bay’s Latest a Personal Best – and an OK Movie: "The Island," "Hustle & Flow," "Wedding Crashers," and "March of the Penguins" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 26 July 2005 18:00

Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor in The IslandTHE ISLAND

If we absolutely must endure movies by Michael Bay, we could do a lot worse – we have done a lot worse – than The Island. As usual, there isn’t a plot point or turn of character here that Bay doesn’t make wincingly obvious, and, apparently, there’s no getting rid of either his tiresome sentimental streak or his sniggering, insulting stabs at “humor.” (When Bay attempts to be serious I giggle, and when he tries to make jokes, I go numb.) But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being reasonably entertained by The Island. Bay has hold of an intriguing story idea, and even if the movie eventually turns into routine action-thriller nonsense, at least that nonsense is delivered with speed, a few memorable images, and even something resembling humanity. Like all Michael Bay movies, The Island runs a good bit over two hours. Unlike the others, I barely noticed.

 
Burton’s "Chocolate Factory" Less Treat Than Toothache: "Charlie & the Chocolate Factory" and "Howl's Moving Castle" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 19 July 2005 18:00

Johnny Depp in Charlie & the Chocolate FactoryCHARLIE & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

For the life of me, I can’t figure out what director Tim Burton was trying to accomplish with Charlie & the Chocolate Factory that wasn’t previously accomplished by Roald Dahl’s book or the beloved 1971 film.

 
A Surprisingly "Fantastic Four": Also, "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" and "Rebound" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 12 July 2005 18:00

Chris Evans, Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, and Michael Chiklis in Fantastic FourFANTASTIC FOUR

Fantastic Four is the first comic-book adaptation in ages that doesn’t seem ashamed to be a comic-book adaptation, for which I applaud it. No one could possibly argue that the film is better-made than something such as Batman Begins, but I, for one, certainly preferred it; given the choice between this obvious, goofy time-waster or Christopher Nolan’s dour mope-fest, I’d go with Fantastic Four every time. What we might lose in subtext, technical precision, and performance quality is more than made up for in inspiration and good humor, and the film has a true sense of playfulness. Finally – screen superheroes who are actually enjoying themselves!

 
When the Spielberg Touch Goes Deeply Wrong: "War of the Worlds" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 05 July 2005 18:00

Tim Robbins, Tom Cruise, and Dakota Fanning in War of the WorldsWAR OF THE WORLDS

My first thought after seeing Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds was: Thank God for the aliens, because although the creatures themselves aren’t particularly memorable – a gooey blend of the director’s beatific Close Encounters visitors and H. R. Giger’s 1979 Alien design – their spacecrafts certainly are. The ships’ enormous tripod legs, crushing everything in their paths, exude a wriggling, snakelike suggestiveness, and they have vicious talents besides; these tentacles have the ability to either incinerate their victims instantly – making the human race resemble ants at the mercy of a magnifying glass – or toss them into the spaceships’ grotesque “mouths,” producing more grisly, prolonged executions. (A couple of killings are reminiscent of Steve Buscemi’s demise in Fargo.) To the War of the Worlds aliens, humans are a combination of entertainment, nuisance, and snack, and whenever Spielberg gives us evidence of just how queasily horrifying an attack of this nature might be, his movie is gripping and evocative.

My second thought was: Steven Spielberg has lost his mind.

 
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