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items tagged with action movies

A Song of Ice and Mire: "The Huntsman: Winter's War" and "Elvis & Nixon"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2016-04-24 22:19:17

Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain in The Huntsman: Winter's WarTHE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR

Imagine a live-action version of Disney’s Frozen minus the songs and charm, and designed by the production team behind HBO’s Game of Thrones. That’s The Huntsman: Winter’s War. Now stop imagining that, because it’ll give you nightmares – though probably more coherent ones than the nightmare that is this tonally baffling hodgepodge of suffocating seriousness, incoherently staged combat, and baggy-pants comedy.
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PETA Principle: "The Jungle Book," "Barbershop: The Next Cut," and "Criminal"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2016-04-18 20:40:00

The Jungle BookTHE JUNGLE BOOK

Nearly all action movies, even those in which the action is determinedly family-friendly, live or die by their villains, and director Jon Favreau’s remake of Disney’s The Jungle Book has a phenomenal one: the Bengal tiger Shere Khan, voiced by Idris Elba. Scarred from a murderous tussle with a human and left with only one functional eye, this creature – created, as all the film’s animals and landscapes are, via the magic of CGI – prowls his kingdom with lithe, dangerous authority, and manages to one-up even Jeremy Irons’ Lion King meanie in terms of fierceness and frightening malevolence. Yet Shere Khan’s visage and movements aren’t half as scary as Elba’s maliciously insinuating vocals that fall somewhere between a purr and a growl, and while listening to these deliciously evil readings, I had a perhaps heretical thought regarding this movie and its reported $175-million budget: Wouldn’t all this have worked much better as a radio play?
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Half-Baked Goods: "The Boss," "Demolition," and "Hardcore Henry"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2016-04-10 23:00:44

Kristen Bell and Melissa McCarthy in The BossTHE BOSS

As far as her recent movies are concerned, only one thing separates a good Melissa McCarthy comedy from a bad one, and that thing is Paul Feig. (Those awkwardly unfunny previews for Feig’s forthcoming Ghostbusters reboot, however, make me wonder how long that’ll be the case.) In the director’s Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Spy, McCarthy has been a blistering and wonderfully human riot, but the films themselves are so solidly constructed that you know they would’ve worked even with someone less naturally gifted in her roles. Yet the same can’t be said for the dismal Identity Thief, or the tonally nuts Tammy, or the debuting The Boss, which finds McCarthy’s ex-con entrepreneur Michelle Darnell seeking redemption through a makeshift Girl Scout troop, homemade brownies, and excessive bullying techniques. In each one, when she isn’t being humiliated, McCarthy is the best thing in it. In each one, that’s hardly saying much.
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Chicago Hopeless: "Allegiant"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2016-03-19 21:54:16

Zöe Kravitz, Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Theo James, Miles Teller, and Maggie Q. in AllegiantALLEGIANT

Over the past seven months, YA-lit adaptations have arrived in the forms of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, The 5th Wave, and now Allegiant, the first part of the second sequel (yeah, I know ...) to 2014’s teen-dystopia thriller Divergent. And in each one of these releases, we’re taken to a hidden facility where our heroic youths are trained in combat and wartime procedures, sleep in bunk beds, eat in mess halls, and don nearly identical outfits designed, one presumes, to give them a collective sense of unity, purpose, and pride.

For adolescent readers feeling suffocated by a society that’s presumably determined to quash their freedom and individuality, it’s easy to see why a militaristic life is so frequently the metaphor of choice for novelists including the Divergent franchise’s Veronica Roth: What, to your average teen, could be more oppressive or insulting than being forced, night and day, to wear the exact same things your friends are wearing? But I didn’t think about that while watching director Robert Schwentke’s Allegiant. Instead, I thought about the same thing I thought about during the second Maze Runner and fourth Hunger Games and first (and hopefully last) 5th Wave: Who’s responsible for making all those matching leather ensembles and body-hugging jumpsuits and fitted tees? Do the compounds in these films also feature on-site Old Navys and Dick’s Sporting Goods? Are there underground sweatshops in which youths less attractive than Shailene Woodley and Theo James are made to toil? Were the outfits ordered and shipped in from Korea pre-apocalypse, y’know, just in case?
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Dogged Walker: "The Choice" and "Pride & Prejudice & Zombies"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2016-02-07 21:55:37

Teresa Palmer and Benjamin Walker in The ChoiceTHE CHOICE

Arriving just in time for women and gay men not entrenched in Super Bowl hoopla, this past weekend brought with it the debut of director Ross Katz’s The Choice, the 11th (!) adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks weepie to hit cineplexes since 1999. This one finds its rain-drenched North Carolina romantics portrayed by the Georgia-born Benjamin Walker, which is regionally close-enough, and Australian actress Teresa Palmer, which is regionally not-even-close. Oh, and British actor Tom Wilkinson plays Walker’s homily-spouting father. I’m fine with Walker’s casting. But have these things really become so noxious, and obnoxious, that we can no longer find Americans willing to play major roles in Sparks movies, forcing us to farm those assignments out to foreigners? Is Trump aware of this?!
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