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Another Ron Howard Fairy Tale: "Cinderella Man" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 07 June 2005 18:00

Russell Crowe and Paul Giamatti in Cinderella ManCINDERELLA MAN

Every time Hollywood releases a prestigious drama between June and August – Saving Private Ryan, The Road to Perdition, Seabiscuit – a big deal is made about whether audiences are “ready” for weightier fare in the summer months, as if the movie-going public, en masse, annually says, “But it’s summer vacation! I don’t want to think!” To my mind, this question of “Will audiences show up?” is a mostly pointless one, because (1) these movies don’t expect you to think much, and (2) they generally go on to earn a bundle, having cornered the market on cineplex heft.

"Madagascar" Deserves to Be a Hit: Also, "The Longest Yard" and "Millions" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 31 May 2005 18:00


See enough movies, especially ones geared to the younger set, and you all but stop expecting to be surprised by the arc of the plot; our heroes will learn valuable Life Lessons, generally while embarking on A Perilous Journey, good will triumph over evil, the comforts of home, family, and friends will prove more beguiling than any possible adventure, yada yada yada. The joy – the shock – of the new computer-animated comedy Madagascar is that, from scene to scene, you might find yourself having no clue where events will lead, yet you’re laughing too hard to pay the matter much mind.

Lucas’ Revenge: Goodwill Triumphing Over Evil: "Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 24 May 2005 18:00

Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen in Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the SithSTAR WARS, EPISODE III - REVENGE OF THE SITH

I’ve spent a lot of time – both in print and in person – making fun of George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels, and for a reason: It’s pretty easy. The prosaic (and endless) exposition, the flat staging, the unspeakable dialogue, the ba-dum-ching! clunkiness of the comedy, the videogame-inspired mayhem, Jar Jar Binks … there’s practically no end of topics worth goofing on.

"Unleashed" Starts Out Fun but Ends Up a Dog: Also, "Kingdom of Heaven" and "House of Wax" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 17 May 2005 18:00

Jet Li in UnleashedUNLEASHED

After its opening credits, Unleashed gets right down to business. Even if you haven’t seen the trailers, the first five minutes of director Louis Leterrier’s thriller will have you up to speed: Set in Glasgow, the film stars Jet Li as Danny, a young man raised by the malevolent crime boss Bart (Bob Hoskins) to be a human pit bull. If any of Bart’s associates owe him money and refuse to pay, Bart introduces them to Danny, removes the Tiffany dog collar, and the welshers find themselves in a world of hurt.

Explosive "Crash" an Early Contender for Best of 2005: Also, "Melinda & Melinda" and "XXX: State of the Union" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 10 May 2005 18:00

Jennifer Esposito, Don Cheadle, and Kathleen York in CrashCRASH

Crash, the magnificent drama by Million Dollar Baby screenwriter Paul Haggis, fits alongside such sprawling, ensemble-driven works as Grand Canyon, Short Cuts, and Magnolia, movies in which plotlines dovetail within one another and themes enmesh, and where bitter, dissatisfied characters might not wind up more content than before – some might not even wind up alive – but they will definitely have shared, for better or worse, An Experience. (These characters might not receive traditional happy endings, yet they almost invariably find degrees of solace and a measure of hope.) Moviegoers who crave a clearly delineated moral to their stories can be driven batty by films of this ilk; more than once I’ve heard someone ask, apropos of one of these works, “But what was its point?” Crash, like its predecessors, explores characters so hungry for contact and meaning and understanding in a chaotic universe that they’re ready to explode, and oftentimes do. That hunger becomes the point.

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