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items tagged with action movies

The Agony of the Ecstasy: "Snitch" and "Escape from Planet Earth"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-02-24 17:48:56

Barry Pepper, Susan Sarandon, and Dwayne Johnson in SnitchSNITCH

As a film star, Dwayne Johnson possesses a lot of gifts – or, at least, sufficiently impressive gifts for what his résumé has required. Though God knows he’s physically intimidating, Johnson is also our most thoroughly genial of ass-kickers, with even his most violent of big-screen endeavors leavened by a welcome lightness of touch and hint of amused self-mockery. And as he has proved in all those bland family entertainments over the years, Johnson still manages to appear game and committed in movies that don’t deserve his considerable charisma, often salvaging entire scenes through unexpectedly silly gestures or readings that show just how inventive a comedian he can be. (I was happy for 10 whole minutes following his brief channeling of co-star Michael Caine in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. They were about the only 10 minutes during the movie in which I was happy.)


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Caster Roiled: "Beautiful Creatures" and "A Good Day to Die Hard"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-02-17 23:28:25

Viola Davis, Alice Englert, and Alden Ehrenreich in Beautiful CreaturesBEAUTIFUL CREATURES

As it concerns a sensitive high-schooler who enters a world of trouble after falling for a moodier version of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, it should come as no shock to learn that the supernatural romance Beautiful Creatures is based on the first in a series of popular young-adult novels. But while I’d never argue that the YA-lit genre is completely humorless, surely the gender-reversed Twilight knock-off by co-authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl can’t be as legitimately, intentionally hilarious as this big-screen adaptation, right?


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Skit-ish: "Movie 43," "Parker," and "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-01-28 00:40:01

Leslie Bibb, Justin Long, and Jason Sudeikis in Movie 43MOVIE 43

Ordinarily, Movie 43 would be the sort of unsatisfying, throwaway release that I’d dispense with in a paragraph, or maybe just a sentence or two. And it’s not as though its opening-weekend box-office intake – a meager $5 million, despite the presence of nearly every star in Hollywood – necessitates longer consideration of the film. But this anthology comedy in the style of those ’70s cult classics Kentucky Fried Movie and The Groove Tube seems to me a special case. How often, after all, do you get the chance to write about what might be your all-time least-enjoyable experience at the cineplex – including that time during the early ’90s when you had to leave a screening for emergency root-canal surgery?


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It Takes a Vile Witch to Raise a Child: "Mama," "Broken City," and "The Last Stand"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-01-20 18:28:33

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jessica Chastain, Isabelle Nélisse, and Megan Charpentier in MamaMAMA

A new film titled Mama opened this past weekend, and it stars Jessica Chastain. Given the current Oscar nominee’s cinematic omnipresence over the past two years, you may be inclined to say, “Well, of course it does.” But I’m leading with that information because in addition to being almost insanely prolific, Chastain (whose recent résumé also boasts The Tree of Life, The Help, Take Shelter, and, of course, Zero Dark Thirty) is about as reliable an indicator of quality as this decade’s movies have provided. And against considerable odds, not the least being its unpromising January release date, director Andrés Muschietti’s outing is a supernatural fright flick of considerable quality – gripping and nerve-racking and sensationally well-made, and yet another showcase for Chastain’s stirring soulfulness and remarkable versatility.


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A Star Is Reborn: "The Guilt Trip," "This Is 40," and "Jack Reacher"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-12-24 00:20:27

Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand in The Guilt TripTHE GUILT TRIP

Aside from her appearances as Ben Stiller’s hippie mom in those increasingly labored Meet the Parents sequels, Barbra Steisand hasn’t been seen in a film since her 1996 directorial effort The Mirror Has Two Faces, and considering what an ego-fueled embarrassment that picture was, some of us have been grateful for the break. It’s worth remembering, though, that when her material doesn’t let her down (and she’s not directing her own star vehicles), Streisand can still be a fantastically smart and inventive comedienne – which, happily, she’s allowed to be in nearly every scene of The Guilt Trip.


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