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Step-Daddy Issues: "Daddy’s Home," "Point Break," and "Youth" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 02 January 2016 19:30

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in Daddy's HomeDADDY’S HOME

I wasn’t terribly happy to sit through Daddy’s Home, given that director Sean Anders’ slapstick starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as über-competitive caretakers is a major comedown from the duo’s inspired pairing in 2010’s The Other Guys. But I was, at least, happy to have seen the movie during a well-populated screening with loads of grade-schoolers in attendance, as their frequent cackling clarified that the film was a family comedy, and therefore not designed to be as funny as, you know, a real comedy. I guess I was confused by the many jokes about Ferrell having to produce a sperm sample, and Bobby Cannavale manhandling Wahlberg’s prodigious package, and Ferrell’s stepdaughter (who appears to be about six) castigating him for “crying like a little bitch.” But what do I know? Bring the kids!

 
Crash! Crunch! Clunk! "The Big Short," "Concussion," and "Joy" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 27 December 2015 18:20

Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling in The Big ShortDuring my extended holiday stay in the Chicago area, I saw a fantastic movie, a sizable disappointment, and an utter clunker. But as Carol, Legend, and The Danish Girl aren’t currently playing at a theater near you (at least if you live in the Quad Cities region), let’s instead focus on the other fantastic movie, sizable disappointment, and utter clunker I saw.

 
I’ve Got a Great Feeling About This ... : "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 19 December 2015 20:40

Peter Mayhew and Harrison Ford in Star Wars: The Force AwakensSTAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

What a relief that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has finally opened. Now we can actually talk about it! Wasn’t it amazing when the Stormtroopers collectively rebelled against their oppressors and found new careers as human bowling pins? And when George Lucas made a cameo as a Jawa? And when it was revealed that everything in the previous trilogy had only been an Ewok’s dream? And ... .

Oh, sorry. Um ... . Spoiler alert?

 
Tonight We’re Gonna Party Like It’s 1989: "Sisters" and "Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Road Chip" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 19 December 2015 20:33

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in SistersSISTERS

Sisters is about two 40-something siblings (Tina Fey and Amy Poehler) who, on the eve of its selling, decide to throw one last, big, balls-out get-together in the Orlando home of their youth. And the movie feels like some debaucherous parties that you might’ve thrown: It’s awesome at the start, intermittently enjoyable while it’s happening, and the people who showed up don’t seem to understand when it’s time for them to just leave already. As with such parties, you’re not all that upset that they decided to stick around – you’re happy they came. But less of them, and their being less wasted, would’ve definitely been more, just as director Jason Moore’s two-hour comedy would’ve likely been a stronger, more satisfying entertainment if it clocked in at 90 minutes, and had given us fewer scenes with Fey and Poehler in hostess mode.

 
War of the Sexless: "Chi-raq" and "In the Heart of the Sea" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 12 December 2015 18:49

Teyona Parris in Chi-raqCHI-RAQ

Last month, Spike Lee received an honorary Oscar at the 2015 Governors Awards ceremony. It was an earned and long-overdue recognition, especially given that, for many of us, the writer/director’s Do the Right Thing should’ve made him an Academy Award winner more than a quarter-century ago. (Then and now, Driving Miss Daisy notwithstanding, Do the Right Thing remains the true Best Picture of 1989.) But while Lee’s statuette may have been late in coming, I can’t help but think that the timing of its arrival could hardly be better. His new film Chi-raq, after all, is nowhere to be found in this year’s Oscar conversation. Yet its creator deserves trophies and more for this gut-wrenching, hilarious, deeply profound satire that’s stronger than at least 95 percent of the year’s more-likely awards candidates – and maybe riskier than 100 percent of them.

 
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