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Boy Oh Boy(hood): The Most Enjoyable Movies of 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 06:00

Ellar Coltrane in BoyhoodThere are quite a few promising titles I’ve yet to see, including wintertime Oscar hopefuls such as Selma, American Sniper, Mr. Turner, Still Alice, A Most Violent Year, and Inherent Vice, and most everything bound to be nominated for Best Foreign-Language Film and Best Documentary Feature. The Quad Cities area is a relatively small movie market in the Midwest, and I don’t get to Chicago (or New York or Los Angeles) very often. C’est comme ça.

So the films and the order of their placement on this list of “10 Favorite Movies of 2014” will, no doubt, eventually change. Baring a miracle, though, we’re good to go on that first one.

Blitz Creep: "The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death" and "The Gambler" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 04 January 2015 15:03

Phoebe Fox in The Woman in Black 2: Angel of DeathTHE WOMAN IN BLACK 2: ANGEL OF DEATH

For those keeping track, the newly annual tradition of each film year opening with a horror sequel continues, thanks to the release of The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death. But I should mention that, beyond the presence of the titular ghost, director Tom Harper’s follow-up doesn’t share many traits with the original. There’s no Daniel Radcliffe, for one thing. And instead of taking place in the London outskirts of the Edwardian era, this one is set during World War II. And ... . Um ... . Wow. Does anyone recall anything else about the original?

100 Favorite Movies, 2000-2014: Mike Schulz PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 01 January 2015 09:02

BoyhoodWa-a-a-a-ay back at the tail end of 2009, my editor Jeff Ignatius and I thought it’d be fun to compose lists of our 100 favorite movies of the millennium. That, of course, led to a completely predictable fight over which year the millennium actually started in ... .

But once we put that past us, it was a lot of fun. (You can read Jeff’s article from January of 2010 here and mine here.) So we decided, with five additional years behind us, to do it again – if, in Jeff’s case, slightly differently this time around. Creature of habit that I am, though, I stuck to a good-ol’-fashioned ranking of 100 favorites in preferential order. In doing so, I also made some interesting discoveries.

100 Favorite Movies, 2000-2014: Jeff Ignatius PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 01 January 2015 09:01

MementoWhen Mike Schulz suggested revisiting and updating our lists of favorite movies of the 2000s, I looked back at my early-2010 article and thought: “Ghost Town? What the hell is that?” Sorry, Ricky Gervais, but it took a few seconds to recall anything at all about a movie I’d listed as one of my top 100.

Such are the perils of composing lists covering long periods of time with a memory as leaky as mine. Unlike my colleague Mike, I don’t have a record of my thoughts about most of the movies I’ve seen, and therefore I can’t say with much certainty whether I still like the 100 favorite movies I selected for 2000 through 2009. So I started from scratch here, with the idea that I wouldn’t include anything so poorly (if fondly) remembered as Ghost Town. (Favorites from the 2010 list that aren’t included here haven’t necessarily fallen in my esteem; in many cases, I just don’t have a recent experience or firm memory of them to rely on).

I’ve also decided to include television in the mix – everything from a single episode to a show’s entire run – partly because of changes in consumer viewing habits and platforms, but mostly because short-run television has changed the nature of the beast so radically; television isn’t the new movies, but the lines between them have blurred to the extent that the distinction hardly matters anymore. Just ask any A-list actor or director who’s signed on to a TV project.

It should go without saying that this list says more about me than it does about the movies of the past 15 years, especially considering that I seek out what interests me rather than having Mike’s professional obligation to see just about everything. My hope is that some folks might watch, based on these recommendations, something they would have otherwise missed or skipped. (And Mike's updated list can be found here.)

Finally, in the interest of full disclosure: I’ve recently re-watched a bunch of movies to see how I feel about them now, but in some cases I’m falling back on (and even stealing from) my previous writings rather than fresh viewings.

True Defective: "Unbroken," "The Imitation Game," and "Big Eyes" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 28 December 2014 19:20


Among other titles, Christmas Day brought with it the area releases of Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, and Tim Burton’s Big Eyes. Each of them opens with a title-card variant on “This is a true story.” Each of them ends with a series of title cards informing us what happened to characters after the films’ narratives concluded. And each of them, for occasional better and more frequent worse, feels absolutely, 100-percent Hollywood.

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