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Queen of the Guilty Pleasures: "Queen of the Damned," "Hart's War," and "Dragonfly" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 26 February 2002 18:00

Aaliyah in Queen of the DamnedQUEEN OF THE DAMNED

Granted, the new year is only eight weeks old, but I already have a nominee for Best Guilty Pleasure of 2002: the Anne Rice adaptation Queen of the Damned. I’m not suggesting the movie is great, or even good, but this tacky amalgam of vampire clichés, hard rock, and MTV posturing is a surprisingly deft and confident work, and about a hundred times more fun than the pompous, enervated Interview with the Vampire.

Washington Can’t Save the Witless "John Q.": Also, "Collateral Damage" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 19 February 2002 18:00

Denzel Washington in John Q.JOHN Q.

In Nick Cassavetes’ soapbox-lecture-cum-thriller John Q., Denzel Washington stars as blue-collar worker John Archibald, a middle-aged Chicagoan struggling with tight finances but deeply in love with his wife, Denise (Kimberly Elise), and a great father to their only son, Mike (Daniel E. Smith). While rounding the bases at a little-league game, Mike collapses, and it’s revealed that Mike’s heart is three times the size it should be; unless the Archibalds can come up with the enormous fee required for a heart transplant, Mike will die. The Archibalds do have health insurance, but because their insurance company recently switched to an HMO (cue the duh-duh-dun music), their coverage is no longer sufficient for Mike’s operation, and when all of their other money-raising options have been eliminated, John arms himself, takes the hospital’s emergency room hostage, and announces that, yes, Mike will be getting that transplant.

Story Saves "The Count": "The Count of Monte Cristo," "Birthday Girl," and "Slackers" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 05 February 2002 18:00

Henry Cavill, Dagmara Dominczyk, James Caviezel, and Luis Guzman in The Count of Monte CristoTHE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO

The best reason to see the latest remake of The Count of Monte Cristo is the source material. You can easily shrug off the movie’s unimaginative staging, corny laugh lines, and obtrusive score for the chance to enjoy an opulently designed adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ audience-grabbing tale; it’s the sort of story that was once called “a ripping good yarn.”

I Damn "Sam": "I Am Sam," "The Mothman Prophecies," and "No Man's Land" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 29 January 2002 18:00

Sean Penn and Dakota Fanning in I Am SamI AM SAM

How does one begin to discuss the blinding idiocies of I Am Sam? This comic weepie about Sam (Sean Penn), a mentally challenged Starbucks employee trying to retain custody of his young daughter Lucy (Dakota Fanning), is so shockingly offensive, both thematically and as a work of cinema, as to defy rational analysis, so here’s a brief checklist of what made me want to bash my head in:

"Black Hawk Down" a Massive Misfire: Also, "Orange County" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 22 January 2002 18:00


It has been widely reported that Ridley Scott’s war drama Black Hawk Down, originally due later this year, had its release bumped up to qualify for year-end awards consideration and, in theory, serve as a balm for a country forever damaged by the tragic events of September 11. There’s no reason to refute this, and there might even be a kind of self-serving nobility in Columbia Studios’ decision, yet the film in question is a technically impressive atrocity, one that’s perhaps even more heinous in light of last fall’s terrorist attacks. Although based on true events and Mark Bowden’s well-regarded book, Black Hawk Down is jingoistic, dramatically inert, and sometimes shockingly racist; expect nominations and awards to follow.

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