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Forget "The Mummy Returns"; "Memento" Spellbinds PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 15 May 2001 18:00

Guy Pearce and Carrie-Anne Moss in MementoMEMENTO

It has taken quite a while, and an especially long while here in the Quad Cities, but the first unequivocally great movie of 2001 has finally appeared: writer-director Christopher Nolan’s crime thriller Memento. And its greatness is of a very particular kind – you want all of your friends to see it immediately, so you can share your excitement with them and work out passages of the film that you’re almost sure you understood. (Getting to review works like Memento is the absolute best thing about being a published film critic.) Like The Truman Show, Memento is so clever, so smart, so full-to-brimming with detail and wit and filmmaking passion that it feels miraculous, and within its genre, it just might be a new classic.

 
"The Tailor of Panama" Shows Its Seams: Also, "Town & Country" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 08 May 2001 18:00

Geoffrey Rush and Pierce Brosnan in The Tailor of PanamaTHE TAILOR OF PANAMA

It’s been a very long time since a movie was released in our area that wasn’t abjectly stupid, so it’s easy to get some initial enjoyment from John Boorman’s The Tailor of Panama, an adaptation of John LeCarré’s 1996 bestseller. It’s partially a spy thriller, but unlike the James Bond installments or the recent smash Spy Kids, the goofiness is kept to a minimum. Beyond that, the plot is smartly established, the cast is promising, the locations are exotic, and director Boorman shows from the start that he’s in a frisky, playful mood; this is easily his most lighthearted work since 1987’s Hope & Glory. So with all this going for it, and considering the undisputed wretchedness of the year’s cinematic output, I have to admit that I feel like an ungrateful jerk for finding The Tailor of Panama itself rather disappointing.

 
Affronts to Good Cinema: "One Night at McCool's" and "Freddy Got Fingered" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 01 May 2001 18:00

Liv Tyler in One Night at McCool'sONE NIGHT AT MCCOOL'S

One Night at McCool’s, the noir-esque comedy by debuting director Harald Zwart, begins promisingly enough: Three men – a good-natured bartender (Matt Dillon), a snaky lawyer (Paul Reiser), and a hangdog detective (John Goodman) – visit three separate confessors (hit-man Michael Douglas, incredulous shrink Reba McEntire, and randy priest Richard Jenkins), each detailing their obsession with the mysterious, definitely dangerous Jewel (Liv Tyler), the beauty who ruined their lives. Physically, emotionally, financially, this trio of saps couldn’t be more disparate, and we’re initially curious to see how their stories connect, how Jewel wound up seducing them, and what, exactly, her intentions are.

 
Spring (2001) Cleaning: Recent Releases and Oscar Holdovers PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 24 April 2001 18:00

ALONG CAME A SPIDER – Lee Tamahori’s thriller doesn’t feature a single scene that works on a realistic level; thank goodness we gave up looking for realism in Hollywood flicks ages ago. If you can shut off your brain and ignore every logical thought that enters it, this Kiss the Girls prequel can be enjoyed enormously on its own ridiculous terms, and Morgan Freeman’s astonishing blend of dignity, authority, and concentration gives the film more weight than it deserves. He might be the best thing to ever happen to a silly action-thriller, and he leads a fine cast of snarky character actors – Monica Potter, Michael Wincott, Jay O. Sanders, Dylan Baker, and Michael Moriarty among them – who might or might not turn out to be creeps. The film is a miasma of thriller clichés, yes, but it’s unerringly paced and a lot of fun nonetheless.

 
Zellweger Shines (Again) in “Diary”: “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” “Blow,” and “Josie & the Pussycats” PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 18 April 2001 06:00

Renee Zellweger in Bridges Jones's DiaryBRIDGET JONES'S DIARY

A terrific leading character can atone for a lot of wrongs in a film, and there might be no better proof of that thesis than Bridget Jones's Diary, Sharon Maguire's adaptation of Helen Fielding's incredibly popular novel. Our heroine, a 32-year-old British woman who works a dead-end publishing job, is a completely realistic type we almost never see in movies: a chain-smoking, wine-slurping, slightly overweight, unsatisfied-in-relationships flirt who wants desperately to better herself but doesn't have the motivation or discipline to do so. Flawed as she is, she's intensely endearing, and as perfectly played by Renée Zellweger, she's a magically comic creation, even more wonderful than Zellweger's previous incarnations of Dorothy Boyd and Nurse Betty. That the moviemakers spend the film's running length putting her in one humiliating situation after another, and that she's trapped in a predictable love triangle between a cad and a sweetie, aren't to be held against her; Bridget Jones, and Zellweger herself, triumph over their circumstances, creating a totally enjoyable cinematic work, flaws and all.

 
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