Friday, March 24, 10 a.m.-ish: My latest back-to-back-to-back-to-back screenings start with Power Rangers, director Dean Israelite’s big-screen reboot of the 1990s’ Mighty Morphin Power Rangers franchise. If you’re wondering whether the film is just like the TV series, I’m gonna take a stab and say no, unless that Fox Kids show also opened with a gag about a high-schooler masturbating a bull. But until it inevitably turns into typically noisy and endless action-flick nonsense, this unashamedly juvenile entertainment is actually kind of endearing, primarily because it appears less interested in being the new Transformers than the new Breakfast Club.

Now playing at area theatres.

Here you’ll find links to all of Mike Schulz’s movie reviews from March 2000 to the present.

Watching the new Beauty & the Beast, I wouldn’t have wanted to be within spitting distance of anyone who didn’t instantly well up at the performance of the title song, with Emma Thompson’s teapot crooning that glorious, Oscar-winning tune while Emma Watson’s Beauty and Dan Stevens’ Beast swirled and spun in that majestic castle ballroom. I also wouldn’t have wanted to be within spitting distance of anyone who thought director Bill Condon’s live-action remake was in any way superior to Disney’s animated smash of 1991. I may well have spit.

Kong: Skull Island is a massively budgeted resurrection of familiar property designed as part of a universe-building series, and it boasts pricey visuals, earth-shaking sound, remedial plotting, cornball humor, talented leads giving paycheck performances ... . Oh, God. Is it summer already? What the hell happened to spring?!

Friday, March 3, 10 a.m.-ish: I've managed to avoid them for more than seven months, but it's time for yet another quadruple-feature, and this one begins with the comic-book movie Logan. I take that back. It actually begins with a comic-book mini-movie whose title I wouldn't reveal even if it had one, and whose star just might make genre fans wet themselves with happiness. (A crude image, yes, but one not nearly crude enough for this particular anti-hero.) From the employment of John Williams' Superman theme to the unexpected nudity to the climactic image of a blood-soaked alley and a carton of ice cream not going to waste, it's a true beauty of a short-film-slash-coming-attraction, to say nothing of the thus-far-funniest four minutes of the movie year. Enjoy the laughs while you can, Logan viewers – you'll be wincing and jumping and weeping soon enough.

Many, many people were made happy – and more than a little surprised – by the final minutes of last night’s Academy Awards ceremony. But you know who had to be the happiest of all? Marisa Tomei.

It would be easy, and fairly accurate, to describe Jordan Peele’s Get Out as the horror-comedy flip side to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – kind of like what you’d get if the 1967 Sidney Poitier were less noble than monumentally panicked, and the Tracy-and-Hepburn clan were enacted by the Manson family. But that wouldn’t begin to suggest the singularity and incredible inventiveness of Peele’s achievement, which is so thrillingly scary-funny, and so deeply satisfying, that it might take you hours or days to also recognize it as one of the angriest genre entertainments ever made. Given the results, I couldn’t possibly mean that as a higher compliment.

For a brief period during the mid-aughts, Chinese director Yimou Zhang was the first international helmer in decades to find his foreign-language titles – 2004’s Hero, 2005’s House of Flying Daggers, and 2006’s Curse of the Golden Flower – receiving wide U.S. distribution. Predictably, the novelty soon wore off for mass audiences, and Zhang’s subsequent films, when we got them at all, were confined solely to specialty houses. But China has recently become such a yu-u-uge bottom-line consideration that Zhang is apparently again in-vogue – especially with action adventure The Great Wall having already earned some $200 million abroad. Since money talks, it isn’t surprising that Hollywood has re-embraced Zhang. In return, it seems that Zhang, for better and for worse, has fully embraced Hollywood. How else to explain a movie in which thousands of fierce Chinese warriors would be annihilated if not for the ass-kicking abilities of Matt Damon?

La La Land has 14 Oscar nominations. It won seven Golden Globe Awards – a new record – out of seven nominations. It won the Producers Guild and Directors Guild awards, both of which have led to Best Picture wins eight times out of the past 10 years. The movie is still in the box-office top 10 more than a month after its wide release, has grossed more than $125 million domestically, and is such a pop-culture touchstone that Saturday Night Live recently aired a skit in which two cops attacked a perp for the cardinal sin of insufficient admiration for the movie. The guy liked it; he just didn’t love it.

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