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Air, Sea, and Land Travels: "Planes," "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters," and "We’re the Millers" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 11 August 2013 13:41

PlanesPLANES and PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS

From a grown-up’s perspective, I guess that as far as family entertainment at the cineplex goes, Disney’s animated Planes and the mythology adventure Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters could both be considered “harmless.” But can you really apply that adjective when something, in both movies, is indeed being killed – namely, your time?

 
Blues 2 Men: "The Smurfs 2" and "2 Guns" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 05 August 2013 04:09

Hank Azaria in The Smurfs 2THE SMURFS 2

Upon returning from my screening of The Smurfs 2, a buddy asked what I thought of the film, and I told him that Hank Azaria – the comic genius who plays the nefarious, Smurf-loathing wizard Gargamel – was awfully funny in it. My friend asked, “When isn’t he?”, and beyond the TV-movie tearjerker Tuesdays with Morrie, I couldn’t provide an example. (And in truth, at appropriate moments in his Emmy-winning dramatic turn, the actor is awfully funny in Tuesdays with Morrie.) Consequently, as he’s nearly always this inspired on-screen, Azaria’s hilariously outlandish performance probably isn’t reason enough to see director Raja Gosnell’s blue-hued sequel, at least if you don’t have small children pressuring you to do so.

If, however, you’re a childless adult who chooses to attend The Smurfs 2 anyway, your secret’s totally safe with me, because Azaria actually does make this kiddie comedy worth sitting through – though perhaps only if you catch it during bargain-matinée hours, or have a cineplex gift card that you were just gonna throw out otherwise.

 
Logan’s Run: "The Wolverine" and "The To Do List" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 28 July 2013 16:00

Hugh Jackman in The WolverineTHE WOLVERINE

As much as I adore the character and the actor who has now played him in six films, I’ll admit that I entered director James Mangold’s comic-book spectacular The Wolverine with more than a touch of trepidation, as I was still smarting from the bloated, boring mess that was 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Weren’t there other costumed crime-fighters in the X-Men universe – Anna Paquin’s Rogue, perhaps, or Ben Foster’s Angel – who might’ve enjoyed their own solo projects before we were given yet another go-around with the growling softie with the adamantium claws and questionable grooming habits? Hadn’t poor Hugh Jackman, and poor us, suffered enough?

 
New Year’s Resolution: "Fruitvale Station" and "The Way Way Back" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 28 July 2013 15:56

Michael B. Jordan and Melonie Diaz in Fruitvale StationFRUITVALE STATION

Marvel Studios’ recent spate of superhero movies has trained us – or tried to train us, at any rate – to stick around for at least the first few minutes of the end credits, offering the promise of a bonus scene designed to build excitement for comic-book adventures yet to come. (Not to give the details away, but Marvel’s new The Wolverine features a happy doozy of one promoting 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.) Yet while they couldn’t possibly have been expecting this same sort of credit cookie at the independent drama Fruitvale Station, the audience members with whom I saw the film stayed similarly glued to their seats, almost as though none of them was quite ready for the experience to be over. Given how haunting and emotionally overpowering writer/director Ryan Coogler’s debut feature is, it would be impossible to blame them.

 
Ghost World: "The Conjuring," "R.I.P.D.," "RED 2," and "Turbo" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 21 July 2013 10:59

Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Vera Farmiga, and Ron Livingston in The ConjuringTHE CONJURING

I was about halfway through my screening of The Conjuring when I noticed that I was having a most unusual reaction to director James Wan’s haunted-house opus: For the life of me, I couldn’t stop smiling.

 
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