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New Woody Film Marks a Return to Form: "Anything Else," "Secondhand Lions," "Cold Creek Manor," and "Cabin Fever" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 23 September 2003 18:00

Jason Biggs and Woody Allen in Anything ElseANYTHING ELSE

As a lifelong fan of Woody Allen’s cinematic oeuvre, the last five years have been rather painful. Sure, Small Time Crooks was a lot of fun and Sean Penn delivered a truly inspired performance in Sweet & Lowdown, but The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, though intermittently amusing, felt pretty stale, and Celebrity and last year’s Hollywood Ending were just plain awful. (Part of being a true fan includes admitting when your heroes fail, and feeling somewhat heartbroken when they do.)

 
"Matchstick Men" Feels Like a Con: Also, "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," "Owning Mahowny," and "The Order" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 16 September 2003 18:00

Nicolas Cage and Alison Lohman in Matchstick MenMATCHSTICK MEN

Ostensibly, Ridley Scott’s dramatic comedy Matchstick Men deals with Roy (Nicolas Cage), a professional con artist, connecting with Angela (Alison Lohman), the 14-year-old daughter he never knew he had, and trying to better himself as a father figure.

 
"Whale Rider" Surprises as One of the Year’s Best: Also, "Jeepers Creepers 2" and "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 09 September 2003 18:00

Keisha Castle-Hughes in Whale RiderWHALE RIDER

Among its many, many virtues, what I loved most about Niki Caro’s Whale Rider is its toughness. In the past year, we’ve seen so many variants on the ethnic-female-overcoming-her-family’s-prejudices theme – My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Real Women Have Curves, Bend It Like Beckham – that the idea of sitting through another one, even one set on a staggeringly gorgeous New Zealand seaside, filled me with more ennui than expectation.

 
Summer Movies 2003: Top 25 Grossers PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 02 September 2003 18:00

AMERICAN WEDDING – I know a lot of people get a kick out of these guys, but if, like me, you’re tired of viewing nebbishy Jason Biggs’ outré sexual humiliations and Seann William Scott’s compulsive need to swallow things that should be coming out of a human body, this’ll be a very tiresome follow-up indeed. Boasting insanely contrived gross-outs and phony “sincerity,” this second sequel reeks of contract obligation; even Scott’s facial-muscle contortions feel phoned-in. With the wasted talents of Eugene Levy, Fred Willard, and Jennifer Coolidge ... where the hell is Christopher Guest when we need him?

 

 
Costner the Actor Kills Costner the Director: "Open Range," "Freddy Vs. Jason," "Uptown Girls," and "Marci X" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 26 August 2003 18:00

Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall in Open RangeOPEN RANGE

What will it take for Kevin Costner to give a performance again? His new movie, the western Open Range, which he also directed, has a lot going for it – beautiful camerawork, impressive editing, a strong, simple storyline, a marvelously cantankerous Robert Duvall – yet smack at the center is sweet, dear, painfully inadequate Kevin Costner, looking and sounding so uninvolved with his surroundings and his fellow actors that he weakens his entire film. (It took great restraint to laugh at him only once, at his hysterically unmotivated reading of the cowpoke classic “Let’s rustle up some grub.”) Some will argue that Costner is actually deeply in character, playing an uncivilized man for whom conversation and companionship offer little comfort, but look at him onscreen: His Zen blankness is indistinguishable from a coma, and his “concentration” resembles nothing so much as a somnambulist struggling to stay awake. As usual, Costner is fine with rare moments of fringe comedy – reminding us why we once liked him in movies like Bull Durham and Field of Dreams and Tin Cup – but he’s positively deadly in Open Range, and not because of his character’s prowess with a gun.

 
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