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Don’t Believe the Hype on "Open Water": Also, "AVP: Alien vs. Predator" and "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 24 August 2004 18:00

Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis in Open WaterOPEN WATER

We all know that shoestring-budgeted independent works aren’t necessarily going to have the professional sheen of Hollywood output, but after reading the rave reviews for Open Water, I feel compelled to ask: Just how much amateurishness are we expected to endure in the name of cinematic political-correctness (i.e., loving an indie solely for being an indie)? Barring an ingeniously edited sequence during a thunderstorm and a few stomach-tightening moments when sharks make surprise appearances, I didn’t find Open Water the least bit scary, let alone “Riveting!”, “Electrifying!”, and all the other superlatives currently being lavished on it (and this from someone who still gets freaked out watching The Blair Witch Project). Worse still, the movie is so badly performed and overwritten that it has the unintentional effect of coming off as totally phony, and since the film was notoriously shot with the leading actors surrounded by real sharks, realism is Open Water’s only true draw. Are we film critics now so openly hateful toward CGI-heavy Hollywood blockbusters that we’ll happily convince ourselves that tedious, flatly staged thrillers such as Open Water are actually great?

 
Despite Contrivances, "Collateral" Is Spectacular Summertime Fare: Also, "Little Black Book," "De-Lovely," and "Coffee & Cigarettes" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 17 August 2004 18:00

Tom Cruise in CollateralCOLLATERAL

Collateral’s plot is so High Concept you can barely believe it hasn’t been filmed before: A cab driver (Jamie Foxx) unknowingly picks up a hired assassin (Tom Cruise) as a fare, and spends a long, strange evening chauffeuring him from one execution site to another, all the while trying to prevent the killer from performing his rounds without, of course, getting himself killed in the process.

 
"Harold & Kumar" No Masterpiece, But It’s Smart and Fun: "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle," "The Manchurian Candidate" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 10 August 2004 18:00

How strange that, of the two movies I recently caught as a double-feature – Jonathan Demme’s The Manchurian Candidate and Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, directed by Dude, Where’s My Car? auteur Danny Leiner – not only is Harold & Kumar the better of the two, it’s the only one really worth discussing in any detail.

 
"The Village" Proves Shyamalan Needs a New Formula: Also, "Catwoman" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 03 August 2004 18:00

Bryce Dallas Howard in The VillageTHE VILLAGE

Nobody likes a know-it-all, so I have nothing to gain by admitting that I figured out The Big Twist in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village after about 15 minutes. But I’ll venture that this popular writer-director has everything to lose by continuing to make his cinematic spook shows so repetitively, predictably “surprising." If you find yourself less than enthralled by The Village’s narrative, you have far too much time to ruminate on how Shyamalan will attempt, yet again, to pull the rug out from under you; he’s undermining his talent – and the man does have some – with his implied “Bet ya didn’t see that coming!” finales. (It’s becoming easy to respond with, “Oh yeah I did.”)

 
"Super Size Me" Funny and Scary, but Far from Perfect: Also, "The Bourne Supremacy" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 27 July 2004 18:00

Morgan Spurlock in Super Size MeSUPER SIZE ME

At its best, Morgan Spurlock’s hit documentary Super Size Me plays like an adaptation of Eric Schlosser’s exposé Fast Food Nation: smart, funny, well-researched, and scary as hell.

 
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