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In Too Depp: "Mortdecai," "The Boy Next Door," and "Strange Magic" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 24 January 2015 15:38

Johnny Depp in MortdecaiMORTDECAI

Mortdecai, a Clouseau-esque slapstick about a bumbling art dealer and a missing Goya, isn’t so much a movie as it is a test, and one with a single question: Just how much Johnny Depp can you still stomach? For me, the answer turned out to be “more than I expected,” because while director David Koepp’s comedy is crummy in many ways, it did crack me up a good dozen times, and every time because its generally overexposed star did or said something that caught me completely, joyously off-guard.

 
Wrestling with Demons: “Foxcatcher” PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 18 January 2015 20:24

Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo in FoxcatcherFOXCATCHER

Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher isn’t a horror movie, per se. There are no bogeymen, no cats jumping out from the shadows, and, with one crucial exception, very little bloodletting beyond that which could be incurred on a wrestling mat. Yet when I caught the film this weekend, it sure seemed like one, considering the collective gasp that greeted the climax’s simple yet surprising appearance of a handgun. Actually, it was more of a swallowed shriek than a gasp – the sort of involuntary sound you’d make if you were fearing the worst and the worst came, only far sooner, and scarier, than you were anticipating.

 
Tickler, Failure, Soldiers, Spies – Notes on a Quadruple Feature: "Blackhat," "Paddington," "The Wedding Ringer," and "American Sniper" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 17 January 2015 19:22

Wei Tang and Chris Hemsworth in BlackhatFriday, January 16, 10:05 a.m.-ish: My first and final quadruple feature of 2015 (yeah, right) begins with the Michael Mann thriller Blackhat, which opens with the camera racing within a computer module and deeper and deeper into the internal workings of binary code, like a burrowing reverse of Robert Zemeckis’ introductory shot in Contact. At its climax, we discover that we’ve been watching the process by which a faraway cyber-terrorist sets off an explosion at a Chinese nuclear facility, and it’s a juicy, unsettling prelude – so good, and so promising, that it probably takes longer than it should to realize the movie is goofy as hell.

 
For King and Country: "Selma," "Inherent Vice," and "Taken 3" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 11 January 2015 18:27

David Oyelowo in SelmaSELMA

Movie violence is so prevalent – be it in horror films or action franchises (see Taken 3, if you must) or the PG-13 pummelings of every Marvel entertainment ever – that it’s shocking to see one whose brutal acts have the power to make you cry. But within the first minutes of the extraordinary Selma, director Ava DuVernay stages a literal explosion of historical violence so frightening, repellent, and emotionally overwhelming that, in the awestruck moments of silence that followed, it was absolutely no surprise to hear viewers sniffling.

 
Blitz Creep: "The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death" and "The Gambler" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 04 January 2015 15:03

Phoebe Fox in The Woman in Black 2: Angel of DeathTHE WOMAN IN BLACK 2: ANGEL OF DEATH

For those keeping track, the newly annual tradition of each film year opening with a horror sequel continues, thanks to the release of The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death. But I should mention that, beyond the presence of the titular ghost, director Tom Harper’s follow-up doesn’t share many traits with the original. There’s no Daniel Radcliffe, for one thing. And instead of taking place in the London outskirts of the Edwardian era, this one is set during World War II. And ... . Um ... . Wow. Does anyone recall anything else about the original?

 
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