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Washington Can’t Save the Witless "John Q.": Also, "Collateral Damage" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 19 February 2002 18:00

Denzel Washington in John Q.JOHN Q.

In Nick Cassavetes’ soapbox-lecture-cum-thriller John Q., Denzel Washington stars as blue-collar worker John Archibald, a middle-aged Chicagoan struggling with tight finances but deeply in love with his wife, Denise (Kimberly Elise), and a great father to their only son, Mike (Daniel E. Smith). While rounding the bases at a little-league game, Mike collapses, and it’s revealed that Mike’s heart is three times the size it should be; unless the Archibalds can come up with the enormous fee required for a heart transplant, Mike will die. The Archibalds do have health insurance, but because their insurance company recently switched to an HMO (cue the duh-duh-dun music), their coverage is no longer sufficient for Mike’s operation, and when all of their other money-raising options have been eliminated, John arms himself, takes the hospital’s emergency room hostage, and announces that, yes, Mike will be getting that transplant.

 
A Critic’s Guide to the 2002 Oscar Nominees PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 12 February 2002 18:00
ALI (in theatres): Covering Muhammad Ali’s personal and professional life from 1964 to 1974, Michael Mann’s biopic has everything except what it can’t live without: a reason for being. You really have no better understanding of Ali after seeing the film than you had before; director Mann, along with his topnotch cast and crew, has dedicated an enormous amount of time, money, and talent to a technically adept yet vacuous experience.

 
Story Saves "The Count": "The Count of Monte Cristo," "Birthday Girl," and "Slackers" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 05 February 2002 18:00

Henry Cavill, Dagmara Dominczyk, James Caviezel, and Luis Guzman in The Count of Monte CristoTHE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO

The best reason to see the latest remake of The Count of Monte Cristo is the source material. You can easily shrug off the movie’s unimaginative staging, corny laugh lines, and obtrusive score for the chance to enjoy an opulently designed adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ audience-grabbing tale; it’s the sort of story that was once called “a ripping good yarn.”

 
I Damn "Sam": "I Am Sam," "The Mothman Prophecies," and "No Man's Land" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 29 January 2002 18:00

Sean Penn and Dakota Fanning in I Am SamI AM SAM

How does one begin to discuss the blinding idiocies of I Am Sam? This comic weepie about Sam (Sean Penn), a mentally challenged Starbucks employee trying to retain custody of his young daughter Lucy (Dakota Fanning), is so shockingly offensive, both thematically and as a work of cinema, as to defy rational analysis, so here’s a brief checklist of what made me want to bash my head in:

 
"Black Hawk Down" a Massive Misfire: Also, "Orange County" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 22 January 2002 18:00

Black Hawk DownBLACK HAWK DOWN

It has been widely reported that Ridley Scott’s war drama Black Hawk Down, originally due later this year, had its release bumped up to qualify for year-end awards consideration and, in theory, serve as a balm for a country forever damaged by the tragic events of September 11. There’s no reason to refute this, and there might even be a kind of self-serving nobility in Columbia Studios’ decision, yet the film in question is a technically impressive atrocity, one that’s perhaps even more heinous in light of last fall’s terrorist attacks. Although based on true events and Mark Bowden’s well-regarded book, Black Hawk Down is jingoistic, dramatically inert, and sometimes shockingly racist; expect nominations and awards to follow.

 
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