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Lay It Forward: "It Follows," "Get Hard," and "Home" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 28 March 2015 16:22

Jake Weary and Maika Monroe in It FollowsIT FOLLOWS

Any horror fan who came of age with Halloween, Friday the 13th, and their many sequels knows the ironclad rule regarding imperiled teens: If they have sex, they’re gonna die. So maybe you’ll have to be of a certain generation – or have an affinity for a certain breed of shocker – to get the most from It Follows, writer/director David Robert Mitchell’s intensely witty, pretty damned scary tale of a young woman diagnosed with a literally murderous, and ambulatory, STD.

The Woods Beckon: Bluebox Films’ "Nightlight," Available on VOD March 27 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 26 March 2015 12:16

Shelby Young in NightlightOnly six actors appear in writers/directors Scott Beck’s and Bryan Woods’ supernatural thriller Nightlight, and the film’s most inventive performance, by a considerable margin, is given by its lead. That this lead isn’t actually one of the aforementioned six – and is, in fact, an inanimate object – isn’t quite the detriment you’d think.

Dire to Be Different: "Insurgent," "Do You Believe?", and The Gunman" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 22 March 2015 16:46

Theo James, Shailene Woodley, and Miles Teller in InsurgentINSURGENT

As was destined to happen at my well-attended-by-teenage-girls screening of Insurgent, I heard plenty of nervous titters when Shailene Woodley and Theo James finally unzipped their faux X-Men garb and got (PG-13) busy with one another, and solemn silence during most of the rest of this tear-stained, thematically pushy action adventure. But I did hear one other occasional sound, because nearly every time Miles Teller opened his mouth for a throwaway retort or vicious insult, the girls in my crowd laughed, and were completely right to. As Teller’s Peter is an eternal thorn in our heroes’ sides and a grade-A prick to boot – a character you’d presume more deserving of hisses than giggles – this was somewhat surprising. It was also hugely cheering. Those teen patrons may have collectively enjoyed the rampaging mediocrity of this Divergent sequel, but they also, just maybe, recognized true greatness when they saw it.

Bibbidy-Bobbidi Boon: "Cinderella" and "Run All Night" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 14 March 2015 16:04

Richard Madden and Lily James in CinderellaCINDERELLA

Given its sumptuous production design and its array of multi-hued gowns so breathtaking that costumer Sandy Powell should just be sent her inevitable Oscar via express mail, Disney’s new, live-action Cinderella has to be the most opulent deeply unnecessary movie ever made. Somewhat unexpectedly, it’s also one of the more satisfying deeply unnecessary movies ever made. Director Kenneth Branagh’s fairytale adaptation, with its script by Chris Weitz, may have no reason to exist beyond the obvious mercenary one, but it’s strong and heartfelt and quite beautifully acted – proof that even in the revisionist age of Maleficent, it’s not always necessary to re-invent the wheel.

RoboCrip: "Chappie," "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," and "Unfinished Business" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 08 March 2015 15:05



The sci-fi-action-comedy-thriller Chappie is the tale of an insentient creature who gains a soul and learns to love, just like Pinocchio and WALL•E and Short Circuit’s Number 5. But this is a film by Neill Blomkamp, the writer/director of the violence- and profanity-laden District 9 and Elysium, so don’t expect Disney-style warmth or Guttenberg-ian sweetness from this similarly R-rated outing. Instead, prepare to be amazed – though “stupefied” is the more appropriate term – by just how mawkish a movie can be despite boasting a title character who proves expert at carjacking, and whose most frequent malapropism involves his spirited twist on a 12-letter cuss word.

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