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items tagged with action movies

"Saw II" Effective, But Not Much Fun: Also, "Doom," "Stay," and "Prime"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-11-02 00:00:00

Saw IISAW II

Since we’re no longer forced to endure Cary Elwes shrieking his hammy little head off for 90 minutes, Saw II was inevitably going to be a less annoying experience than 2004’s Saw, but the movie is pretty effective in its own right. Not entertaining, mind you, but effective. Last fall’s surprise horror hit saw Elwes and another mad overactor at the mercy of the serial killer Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) – who devises for his prey wildly elaborate devices of torture that defy both description and belief – and in one of Saw II’s few impressive twists, he’s apprehended at the end of the movie’s first reel. What follows resembles what might result if you watched The Silence of the Lambs and Seven in picture-in-picture format. As Jigsaw – in sinister, I-know-something-that-you-don’t Hannibal Lecter mode – is interrogated, and his master plan dissected, by Donnie Wahlberg’s quick-to-boil cop, a whole new slew of potential victims, including Wahlberg’s teenage son, try to survive a vicious spook house by evading Jigsaw’s contraptions and deconstructing the maddeningly obtuse sets of clues the killer has left them. (Like its precursor, Saw II makes explicit what Seven left to your imagination.)


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"North Country" - For the Easily Outraged: Also, "Domino"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-10-26 00:00:00

Frances McDormand and Charlize Theron in North CountryNORTH COUNTRY

At a serious, well-intentioned “issue movie,” you will periodically hear from a sect of the audience whom I refer to as the tsk-ers. Tsk-ers are especially vocal at works in which the leading figure – always righteous and noble, and prone to suffering in silence – finds him- or (generally) herself experiencing painful hardships in the cause of Doing the Right Thing, while their families, friends, and the world at large all turn against them.


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"Stealth" Bomb: Also, "Bad News Bears," "Mad Hot Ballroom," and "The Devil's Rejects"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-08-03 00:00:00

Jamie Fozz, Jessica Biel, and Josh Lucas in StealthSTEALTH

If you can love a movie, and hate a movie, I guess there’s no reason you can’t feel sorry for a movie, and boy, does my heart go out to Stealth. It’s the kind of dear, sad little flick that makes you want to pat it on the head and whisper, “It’s okay, it’ll all be over soon … They’ll make fun of you for two weeks and then no one will even remember your name.”


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"Batman Begins" Is Faithful, but Not Much Fun
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-06-22 00:00:00

Christian Bale in Batman BeginsBATMAN RETURNS

Many Hollywood blockbusters feel so generic as to have been formed by committee, and in Batman Begins, that committee appears to be comprised entirely of comic-book bloggers. Just how afraid of Internet fanboys have movie studios become? It has been widely reported that this new installment in the superhero franchise is a deliberate rebuke to director Joel Schumacher’s beyond-campy Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, and I couldn’t be more on board with that; Schumacher managed to turn Warner Brothers’ moody franchise into a half-assed Mardi Gras spectacle, minus the debaucherous fun. (Only in Schumacher’s hands could Uma Thurman come off as a depressed drag queen.)


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"Mr. & Mrs. Smith" Is Criminally Enjoyable: Also, "The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl in 3-D"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-06-15 00:00:00

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Mr. & Mrs. SmithMR. & MRS. SMITH

If it accomplished nothing else, Mr. & Mrs. Smith would easily nail a primal attraction for going to the movies: Getting to spend two hours staring at people who are infinitely better-looking than we are.


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