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"The Score" Hits Its Mark Amid Summer Dregs: Also, "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within," "Kiss of the Dragon," and "Cats & Dogs" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 17 July 2001 18:00

Final Fantasy: The Spirits WithinFINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN

I can’t imagine who could make sense of the gobbledygook plotting of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, yet I can’t imagine who will fail to be wowed by the movie’s effects; it might be the most visually extraordinary, intellectually banal sci-fi work since 2001: A Space Odyssey. There isn’t a moment in the film that isn’t amazing to watch, and that includes the moments when the heroine (voiced by Ming-Na) simply walks alone with her hair blowing lightly past her cheeks; Final Fantasy stands as the current standard-bearer in computerized realism.

 
"Baby Boy" Shows Singleton All Grown Up: Also, "crazy/beautiful" and "Scary Movie 2" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 10 July 2001 18:00

Ving Rhames and Tyrese Gibson in Baby BoyBABY BOY

It’s a small movie, but the scope of John Singleton’s Baby Boy is enormous; the film is nothing less than a critique of young African-American males, a warts-and-all look at the infantilization of those who consider themselves true men. Singleton received great acclaim a decade ago for his writing/directing debut, Boyz N the Hood, and while his take on Shaft last summer was an enjoyably over-the-top romp, Baby Boy is his first work to make good on the promise he showed in 1991: The movie is superb. Where nearly every scene in Boyz N the Hood was filled with dread and the threat of violence, the images in Baby Boy are steeped in sadness and resignation, with exquisite moments of joy, fear, and strength throughout.

 
Surprisingly, Spielberg’s "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" Is Missing Its Heart PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 04 July 2001 18:00

Haley Joel Osment and Frances O'Connor in A.I.: Artificial IntelligenceA.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

After all the months of secrecy, of waiting, of wondering, we can finally analyze Steven Spielberg’s A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. And “analyze” is the appropriate term, because this is a movie for your brain rather than your heart. Those of us who were leery about how the sensibilities of warm, huggy Spielberg would gel with those of icy, cynical Stanley Kubrick (who initiated the project) might be in for a shock; for much of the film, Spielberg mimics the famously clinical, detached Kubrickian style flawlessly. In fact, he’s almost too good at it; when actual emotion is called for, the movie falters. A.I. is never less than riveting, stunningly well-designed, and technically miraculous. But I’m still not sure that it’s a success.

 
Movie Makes “Mindless Action Spectacle” a Compliment: "The Fast & the Furious" and "Dr. Dolittle 2" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 26 June 2001 18:00

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in The Fast & the FuriousTHE FAST & THE FURIOUS

In The Fast & The Furious, that stolid, basso profundo actor Vin Diesel is forced into a close friendship with the blond, pretty, incredibly bland Paul Walker, so you know immediately that you’re in make-believe territory once again.

 
Incoherence Rules Summer Screens: "Swordfish," "Atlantis: The Lost Empire," and "Lara Croft, Tomb Raider" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 19 June 2001 18:00

Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman in SwordfishSWORDFISH, ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE, and LARA CROFT, TOMB RAIDER

Within a four-day span, I sat through Swordfish, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, and have become convinced that they’re all the same movie. True, one is a sleek action-thriller, one a Disney cartoon, and one inspired by a popular videogame, but consider:

 
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