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Lawless Execution: "The Purge" and "The Internship" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 09 June 2013 12:40

Ethan Hawke in The PurgeTHE PURGE

If you blended The Hunger Games, David Fincher’s Panic Room, and Shirley Jackson’s classic short story “The Lottery” with generous helpings of ice, you’d wind up with the scare-flick smoothie that is The Purge. An eventually underwhelming yet bluntly effective chiller by writer/director James DeMonaco, the movie, admittedly, does lose its way before its 90 minutes are up. But considering how few modern releases in its genre find their way at all, it’s hard to deny the primal pleasures of DeMonaco’s outing, even if the film remains more thought-provoking in concept than it proves to be on-screen.

 
Hocus Bogus: "Now You See Me" and "After Earth" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 02 June 2013 16:49

Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, and Dave Franco in Now You See MeNOW YOU SEE ME

Given its premise, its cast, and the fact that it’s a summertime release without a superhero or a number (or both) in the title, it was easy to feel jazzed about the prospect of Now You See Me, director Louis Leterrier’s effects-driven caper about larcenous Las Vegas magicians scoring the heist of the century. Unfortunately, it took all of three minutes for that anticipatory excitement to turn, for me, into irritation, which then turned into active aggravation, which then turned into a disengaged torpor that lasted until the end credits rolled. Ta da.

 
Dead Sober: "The Hangover Part III," "Epic," and "Fast & Furious 6" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 26 May 2013 16:16

Bradley Cooper, Zach Gailianakis, and Ed Helms in The Hangover Part IIITHE HANGOVER PART III

Not long into The Hangover Part III, our mishap-prone heroes portrayed by Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis are seen sipping beers at a karaoke bar, discussing the best way to handle their latest mess initiated by Ken Jeong’s eccentric gangster/eternal thorn-in-the-side Mr. Chow. Though this might constitute a minor spoiler, the casual drinks consumed in this scene are, to my recollection, the only drinks – indeed, the only judgment-impairing substances of any kind – consumed in the entire movie. That makes director Todd Phillips’ outing a Hangover without hangovers. In the end, it’s also a Hangover without The Hangover.

 
Lively, Long, and Prosperous: "Star Trek Into Darkness" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 18 May 2013 12:09

Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine in Star Trek Into DarknessSTAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

Star Trek Into Darkness opens on a note of frenzied, almost satiric busyness. For reasons initially left unexplained, and in a set piece suggesting a futuristic Raiders of the Lost Ark, Captain Kirk and “Bones” McCoy are first seen racing through a jungle of crimson foliage on a foreign planet, attempting to escape the clutches of dozens of yowling savages with black eyeballs and papier-mâché skin. The chase eventually leads the pair to the edge of a cliff where they leap into the water below, just as Mr. Spock – much to the concern of his unusually panicked fellow crew members – beams into the belly of an active, ready-to-burst volcano. Director J.J. Abrams’ franchise extender isn’t even five minutes old, and between the shouting, the manically staged mayhem, the whiplash editing, and composer Michael Giacchino’s pummeling score, it already feels like a typically overstuffed blockbuster sequel, yet one without any of the wit that Abrams brought to 2009’s terrifically witty Star Trek reboot. But then something wonderful happens.

 
Out with the Old Sport, in with the New: "The Great Gatsby," "Mud," and "Peeples" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 12 May 2013 16:34

Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great GatsbyTHE GREAT GATSBY

Although, in the end, the film wound up an engaging and surprisingly touching entertainment, and it’s visually spellbinding throughout, the first half hour of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby felt, to me, exactly like the first half hours of all Baz Luhrmann movies: annoying as hell.

 
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