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Ten Little Indies: "Begin Again," "Life Itself," "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me," "Stranger by the Lake," "Interior. Leather Bar.", "Nymphomaniac: Volume One," "Nymphomaniac: Volume Two," "The Unknown Known," "The Immigrant," and "Snowpiercer" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 13:29

Keira Knightley in Begin AgainLike many reviewers who publish year-end recaps featuring top-10 rankings and such, I keep a running list of every new movie I see during the year, arranged in order of preference. (Wow. Seeing it in writing, that seems really anal-retentive. Maybe only I do that.) And after updating this list over the weekend, I scanned my current 10 favorites and thought, “For July, that’s a pretty great lineup.”

Of course, that lineup is only impressive because five of its titles – Life Itself, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, Stranger by the Lake, Nymphomaniac: Volume One, and Snowpiercer – are 2014 films I caught on home video and through streaming services. If I only included movies that played at area cineplexes, my top-10-to-date wouldn't look so hot. I mean, sure, Muppets Most Wanted, 22 Jump Street, and Hercules were a lot of fun, but come on ... . Two sequels, both inferior to their predecessors, and Brett Ratner directing The Rock? (With apologies to Dwayne Johnson, who’s actually awesome.) Hell, the new-to-our-area indie musical Begin Again would almost land in my cineplex top 10, and I didn’t even like it that much.

 
And a Little Cub Will Lead Them – Notes on Yet Another Quadruple Feature: "Pandas: The Journey Home," "Hercules," "And So It Goes," and "Lucy" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 26 July 2014 16:28

Pandas: The Journey HomeFriday, July 25, 12:30 p.m.-ish: I take my seat for the latest big-screen edu-tainment at the Putnam Museum, and can’t imagine a better way to begin my third quadruple feature of the month. For one thing, the movie I’m at is only 40 minutes long, which will shorten my work day considerably. For another, the movie is all about pandas. Pandas! Who doesn’t love pandas? I figure that, at worst, the National Geographic presentation Pandas: The Journey Home will be adorable. So I’ll admit to some more-than-mild surprise when, not 10 minutes into the film, we’re treated to the (tasteful) sight of a female panda being artificially inseminated, right after witnessing the (tasteful) sight of a male panda mating with her. Hmmm, I think. Didn’t see that in Disney’s Bears.

 
Mike and the Bearable, Horrible, Not-Good, Fairly Bad Day – Notes on Another Quadruple Feature: "Planes: Fire & Rescue," "Persecuted," "Sex Tape," and "The Purge: Anarchy" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 20 July 2014 07:44

Planes: Fire & RescueFriday, July 18, 10:30 a.m.-ish: My 3D glasses in place, I prepare to watch the animated sequel Planes: Fire & Rescue with surprisingly vivid memories of its precursor, probably because it was released a mere 11 months ago. I’m really hoping that, this time around, director Roberts Gannaway’s tale of anthropomorphic vehicles with bulging eyes and recognizable celebrity voices won’t remind me of Pixar’s Cars every three minutes, and happily, it doesn’t. Instead, I’m frequently reminded of the astronaut epic The Right Stuff, which is a much cooler movie to pilfer from.

 
Optimus Primate: "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 12 July 2014 21:29

Andy Serkis in Dawn of the Planet of the ApesDAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Following a brief, artful prelude introducing us to the film’s post-viral, post-apocalyptic setting, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opens with an extreme closeup on the eyes of Caesar, the highly evolved chimpanzee memorably portrayed (with CGI enhancement) by Andy Serkis in 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. An extreme closeup on Caesar’s eyes will also be the final image in director Matt Reeves’ sequel, yet the differences between these cinematic bookends are as wide and varied as the differences between Rise, a half-great, half-clumsy hit, and Dawn, which is, hands down, the most exciting, resonant, and humane Hollywood blockbuster of the summer, if not the millennium.

 
Four-of-July Weekday – Notes on a Quadruple Feature: "Deliver Us from Evil," "Tammy," "America," and "Earth to Echo" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 03 July 2014 10:12

Eric Bana in Deliver Us from EvilJuly 2, 10:40 a.m.-ish: My screenings begin with the demonic-possession thriller Deliver Us from Evil, and I notice, during the “found footage” prelude, that the action begins on the Fourth of July. So, clearly, the film is being released at the right time. Ninety minutes later, I notice, during the climactic exorcism, that the action ends on 4/20. So, clearly, the filmmakers were high.

 
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