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items tagged with action movies

Fasten Your Seat Belts. It’s Going to Be a Bumpy Ride.: "Ride Along 2" and "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of the Benghazi"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2016-01-16 14:36:14

Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in Ride Along 2RIDE ALONG 2

It’s impossible not to notice that for roughly 75 percent of Ride Along 2, even when he’s indoors, Ice Cube is wearing dark sunglasses. I’m reasonably sure it’s because he was asleep. What other excuse could there be for Cube, as one of this action comedy’s producers, allowing the witless slapstick of Kevin Hart being accosted by a CGI alligator? Or the moment in which a recently shot man sits up, and panicky Hart is convinced he’s a zombie? Or the interminable foot chase in Miami underscored by (wait for it ... ) Miami Sound Machine’s “Conga”? I mean, really – “Conga”? Still?! It’s been more than 30 years since that single was released! I’m not laying all the blame for the song’s clichéd inclusion at Cube’s feet, but surely the rap legend could’ve put one of those feet down with a practiced “Aw, hell no!” and demanded wittier musical accompaniment.
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Forest Gumption: "The Revenant" and "The Forest"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2016-01-11 00:21:45

Leonardo DiCaprio in The RevenantTHE REVENANT

As you may have heard, The Revenant – given its bloody violence, grisly survival tactics, and almost complete lack of levity – is strong medicine. It also inspires the same reaction that strong medicine does; you’re glad it exists, but ugh, the taste. There are images and battle sequences in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s neo-Western that I didn’t think movies were even capable of, let alone capable of making transcendently beautiful and utterly horrifying in equal measure. Yet all that beauty and horror turn out to be in the service of a dispiritingly one-note, unduly protracted revenge saga that, miraculous visuals aside, could have easily starred Charles Bronson in his mid-1970s heyday. It’s Death Wish in fur coats – or, more accurately, The Passion of the Christ if Jesus survived his crucifixion and was determined to get even with that bastard who hammered the nails.
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Step-Daddy Issues: "Daddy’s Home," "Point Break," and "Youth"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2016-01-03 01:30:41

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in Daddy's HomeDADDY’S HOME

I wasn’t terribly happy to sit through Daddy’s Home, given that director Sean Anders’ slapstick starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as über-competitive caretakers is a major comedown from the duo’s inspired pairing in 2010’s The Other Guys. But I was, at least, happy to have seen the movie during a well-populated screening with loads of grade-schoolers in attendance, as their frequent cackling clarified that the film was a family comedy, and therefore not designed to be as funny as, you know, a real comedy. I guess I was confused by the many jokes about Ferrell having to produce a sperm sample, and Bobby Cannavale manhandling Wahlberg’s prodigious package, and Ferrell’s stepdaughter (who appears to be about six) castigating him for “crying like a little bitch.” But what do I know? Bring the kids!
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Bored. Mike Bored. : "Spectre" and "The Peanuts Movie"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-11-07 23:25:53

Daniel Craig in SpectreSPECTRE

Watching the opening credits to the new James Bond thriller Spectre, I leaned back in my seat, smiled, and thought, “Man, I love these things.” Not Bond movies, per se, but their opening credits. The lushly rendered colors. The serenely gliding camera pans. The artful poses and undulating torsos. The charming, deferential formality of the star’s name followed by “ … as Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007 in … .” The mystery of the accompanying pop song, which is as likely to be atrocious as marvelous. (Spectre’s “Writing’s on the Wall,” sung by Sam Smith, leans more toward the former. And call it gender bias or even blatant sexism, but I do think that unless you’re Paul McCartney or maybe Simon Le Bon, these duties should really be handled by women.)

But my absolute favorite thing about the James Bond title sequences is that in the 53 years since Dr. No, they’ve hardly changed a whit, meaning that those serving such below-the-line positions as second-unit assistant director, supervising sound editor, and “Mr. Craig’s makeup” get listed at the start right alongside Ian Fleming and Daniel Craig themselves. It’s a lovely gesture and a touching hat-tip to the series’ longevity, and it’s got to be cool for those professionals whose names usually flash on-screen while patrons are leaving the auditorium. I bet it’s cool even if, as in Spectre, your eye is being averted from those names by the silhouetted octopus tentacles shown embracing Bond and his two nubile lady friends. At first, I wondered: Why an octopus? To suggest the elastic, multi-limbed reach of evil? To prepare us for an underwater Bond in the vein of Thunderball? I never really got my answer, but after two-and-a-half punishingly long hours, I started thinking the creature was merely there to create a perverse nostalgia for the comparative wit and excitement of Octopussy.


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The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree: "Steve Jobs," "The Last Witch Hunter," and "Rock the Kasbah"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-10-24 23:45:02

Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Fassbender, and Kate Winslet in Steve JobsSTEVE JOBS

Steve Jobs, the thunderously enjoyable new movie by director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, doesn’t look or sound quite like any other bio-pic. It does, however, look like a lot of other Boyle films and sounds like every Sorkin ever, and this might’ve been a deal-breaker if (a) I meant that insultingly, (b) the world actually needed another traditional telling of the late CEO’s saga, and (c) Boyle’s and Sorkin’s seemingly mismatched talents didn’t prove absolutely ideal for one another.
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