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Optimus Primate: "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 12 July 2014 21:29

Andy Serkis in Dawn of the Planet of the ApesDAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Following a brief, artful prelude introducing us to the film’s post-viral, post-apocalyptic setting, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opens with an extreme closeup on the eyes of Caesar, the highly evolved chimpanzee memorably portrayed (with CGI enhancement) by Andy Serkis in 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. An extreme closeup on Caesar’s eyes will also be the final image in director Matt Reeves’ sequel, yet the differences between these cinematic bookends are as wide and varied as the differences between Rise, a half-great, half-clumsy hit, and Dawn, which is, hands down, the most exciting, resonant, and humane Hollywood blockbuster of the summer, if not the millennium.

 
Four-of-July Weekday – Notes on a Quadruple Feature: "Deliver Us from Evil," "Tammy," "America," and "Earth to Echo" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 03 July 2014 10:12

Eric Bana in Deliver Us from EvilJuly 2, 10:40 a.m.-ish: My screenings begin with the demonic-possession thriller Deliver Us from Evil, and I notice, during the “found footage” prelude, that the action begins on the Fourth of July. So, clearly, the film is being released at the right time. Ninety minutes later, I notice, during the climactic exorcism, that the action ends on 4/20. So, clearly, the filmmakers were high.

 
Dismayed in Hong Kong: "Transformers: Age of Extinction" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 29 June 2014 12:55

Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, and Jack Reynor in Transformers: Age of ExtinctionTRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION

After the conclusion of its dialogue-free, if very noisy, prelude – one in which we discover that it was actually extraterrestrial robots, and not the Ice Age, that killed off the dinosaurs – the first words heard in Transformers: Age of Extinction are “Oh, shit!” I took that line as a metaphor for what we could expect over the next two and a half hours, but then, during my Friday-morning screening, it was immediately followed by another outburst: the sound of the little kid behind me laughing his ass off.

 
Under the Streetlamp: "Jersey Boys" and "Think Like a Man Too" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 22 June 2014 14:41

Vincent Piazza, Erich Bergen, John Llyod Young, and Michael Lomenda in Jersey BoysJERSEY BOYS

Jersey Boys, Clint Eastwood’s film version of 2005’s still-running Broadway smash, is a big, bizarre, cornball, clever, terrible, wonderful movie. It’s hard to fathom what, beyond its inherent appeal, made Eastwood want to take on the project; this bio-musical about 1960s pop sensations the Four Seasons seems so clearly designed for Scorsese that’s it’s almost some kind of joke that it instead wound up in the hands of a man who, stylistically and temperamentally, is Scorsese’s polar opposite. Yet somehow, astonishingly, the damned thing works. Its parts may be stronger than the whole – at least if you’re allowed to cherry-pick the parts – but the film is affecting and entertaining and alive, and exudes more sheer joy than any other title on Eastwood’s 43-year directing résumé.

 
From Sequel to Shining Sequel: "22 Jump Street" and "How to Train Your Dragon 2" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 15 June 2014 15:27

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in 22 Jump Street22 JUMP STREET and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

This past Friday was my birthday. (Aw, thank you for asking! Belated gifts can be sent care of the Reader!) And like a present delivered specifically for me, the day brought with it not only two movies featuring Jonah Hill – even if one only features the voice of Jonah Hill – but two follow-ups I wasn’t at all dreading: 22 Jump Street, the sequel to a comedy I loved, and How to Train Your Dragon 2, the sequel to an animated adventure I liked just fine. I suppose it was both fitting and inevitable, then, that I wound up liking the former just fine, and the latter ... well, I didn’t love it, but I did enjoy it a heck of a lot more than the original.

 
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