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What the "Flux"?: "Aeon Flux," "Bee Season," "The Ice Harvest," and "Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3-D" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 06 December 2005 18:00

Charlize Theron in Aeon FluxAEON FLUX

By all rights, Aeon Flux should be godawful. (Certainly, Paramount is treating it like it is, as the studio opted against pre-release screenings for fear of lousy advance notices.) Set some 400 years in the future, director Karyn Kusama’s film – a big-screen vehicle for MTV’s Liquid Television character – takes place after 99% of the earth has been eliminated by a virus, the most humorless 1%, apparently, having been left to roam the earth. Charlize Theron’s Aeon leads a Spandex-clad revolt against the government, and the movie is, for the most part, a joke; the effects are particularly shoddy, and as they recite their clunky dialogue, you feel badly for several performers – when they were being feted as Oscar nominees, did Theron, Frances McDormand (in a red fright wig), Sophie Okenedo and Pete Postlethwaite ever think it would come to this? (The film’s one impressive performance comes from Marton Csokas, who’s like a more rugged version of Kevin Spacey.)

 
Slightly Off-Key: "Rent" and "Pride & Prejudice" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 29 November 2005 18:00

RentRENT

During its first 10 minutes or so, the film version of Jonathan Larson’s Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent is so thrilling you might want to applaud. As the opening credits unfurl, the movie’s cast – all but two of whom reprise their original stage roles – sings Rent’s signature number, “Seasons of Love,” on a bare stage in dramatic downlight, and performs with fervent, passionate joy.

 
A Summer Sleeper Trumps a Trio of New Releases: "Happy Endings," "Walk the Line," "Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire," and "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 22 November 2005 18:00

Lisa Kudrow and Bobby Cannavale in Happy EndingsHAPPY ENDINGS

This summer, I was fortunate enough to catch a special screening of writer/director Don Roos’ Happy Endings at the University of Iowa, but decided to hold off on a review until the film made it to our area.

 
A Goofy Thriller and a Glove-ly Romance: "Derailed" and "Shopgirl" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 15 November 2005 18:00

Jennifer Aniston and Clive Owen in DerailedDERAILED

There’s nothing all that wrong with director Mikael Hafstrom’s thriller Derailed, until, that is, it turns into a thriller. Chicagoan Charles Schine (Clive Owen) is a harried family man with a wife (Melissa George) and a young, diabetic daughter. While commuting to work one morning, he meets a stranger on the train: the beguiling, flirtatious – and similarly married – Lucinda (Jennifer Aniston). Over the course of a few days, the two enjoy snappy conversation, meet for drinks, and eventually find themselves a hotel. But before their affair can be consummated, LaRoche (Vincent Cassel), a scruffy-looking nightmare with a gun and a thick French accent, breaks into their room, takes their wallets, beats Charles within an inch of his life, and rapes Lucinda. Then everything goes to hell, both for the characters and, unfortunately, for the movie.

 
Killer Instincts: "Jarhead," "Good Night, & Good Lunck.", "Chicken Little," and "The Weather Man" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 08 November 2005 18:00

Jake Gyllenhaal in JarheadJARHEAD

In movies, nothing is harder to define than tone, and the tone of Sam Mendes’ Jarhead, based on Tony Swofford’s Gulf War memoir, is so elusive that, hours after it ends, you might still not know what to make of it. In many ways, the movie is like a two-hour expansion of Full Metal Jacket’s first 40 minutes, as the 20-year-old Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his fellow Marine recruits, pumped up to an almost insane degree, train for their mission in the unbearable desert heat and prepare for battle. In Mendes’ film, however, there is no battle for his protagonists to respond to; the war ends while the Marines’ bloodlust is still reaching a boil. The film is, in many ways, about the maddening banality of service, and it has resulted in an occasionally maddening movie, but its shifting tones and air of unpredictability make it impossible to shake off; at the finale, you might not know exactly what you’ve seen, but you certainly know you’ve seen something.

 
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