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It Must Be January: Collapsing Drama ("The Pledge"), Clichéd Gothic ("The Gift"), and Tired Teen Farce ("Sugar & Spice") PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 30 January 2001 18:00

Helen Mirren and Jack Nicholson in The PledgeTHE PLEDGE

Sean Penn is one of the few dependably downbeat figures in American film, and those who like their dramas moody, atmospheric, and richly detailed will get some initial pleasure with The Pledge, Mr. Penn’s third directorial outing.

 
It Ain't Good for You, but It Ain't Bad: "Snatch," "Chocolat," and "Save the Last Dance" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 23 January 2001 18:00

Jason Statham, Brad Pitt, and Alan Ford in SnatchSNATCH

First, the bad news: Guy Ritchie’s latest crime thriller, Snatch, is nearly a carbon copy of his sizzling 1998 debut film, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. The good news: Who cares? Those who like their thrills fast, bloody, twisty, and awfully funny will be in B-movie paradise here; we’re only three weeks into January, and we already have a movie that’s more enjoyable than 90 percent of what was released last year.

 
Enjoyable Junk Triumphs over Dull Intelligence: "Thirteen Days" and "Finding Forrester" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 16 January 2001 18:00

Steven Culp, Kevin Costner, and Bruce Greenwood in Thirteen DaysTHIRTEEN DAYS

Just because a movie is smart doesn’t mean it’ll avoid dullness. Roger Donaldson’s Thirteen Days, which documents the terrifying two weeks of the Cuban Missile Crisis, is evidence of this, a well-scripted, well-acted drama that might still cause you to doze off.

 
Gripping "Traffic" Is One for the Ages: Also, "All the Pretty Horses" and "Miss Congeniality" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 09 January 2001 18:00

Catherine Zeta-Jones in TrafficTRAFFIC

Sitting in the audience for Steven Soderbergh’s drug drama Traffic, I heard a sound that had been sorely missing from 12-plus months of moviegoing: rapt, appreciative silence. It was the sort of silence that you only get when a director is in full control of his work, when the actors are working at peak form, and when the storyline is so gripping that you can’t wait to see where it will lead you next. Based on a British mini-series, Traffic is something increasingly rare in modern films: a large-scale epic with a human pulse, in which every character and nuance is sharply defined, and in which your alliances and points of view change with each passing scene. The accolades and awards already bestowed on the film aren’t simply a matter of it being the best of a bum year; it’s one of the best movies released in many years.

 
The Eyes Have It, and an Apology from Hollywood: "Cast Away" and "The Family Man" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 02 January 2001 18:00

Tom Hanks in Cast AwayCAST AWAY

In Cast Away, Robert Zemeckis’ most fully satisfying work in ages, Tom Hanks stars as Chuck Noland, a FedEx engineer for whom the world can’t move fast enough; he’s obsessed with time-saving, whether it be with associates in Moscow or friends at home. Before boarding a plane for a business conference, he even goes so far as to give his girlfriend (Helen Hunt) a wrapped engagement ring, instructing her to open it when he returns. (He saves lead-in time on its actual presentation.) But somewhere over the Pacific, the plane crashes (in one of cinema’s most terrifying airplane disasters), and Chuck is washed up on a deserted island with little hope of escape or rescue; suddenly, he has all the time in the world, and the film, which had previously been lightning quick, slows down to a crawl.

 
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