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items tagged with adventure movies

The Fraudulent World of Disney: "Saving Mr. Banks" and "Walking with Dinosaurs"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-12-22 21:39:01

Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks in Saving Mr. BanksSAVING MR. BANKS

Saving Mr. Banks concerns the efforts of the crinkly-eyed Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) in getting the persnickety, Hollywood-averse British author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to sign over the book rights to Mary Poppins. (Spoiler Alert: He does.) And as it’s a Disney movie about a Disney movie with Disney products and Disney people – including Uncle Walt himself – popping up nearly every time you blink, the cynic in me resisted director John Lee Hancock’s dramatic comedy for as long as humanly possible. Then Thompson’s seemingly impenetrable Travers broke down while watching the Banks family sing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” at Mary Poppins’ first public screening, and I was a goner. Aw crap, I thought while wiping away tears. Two more minutes and I would’ve been fine.


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Smaug Alert: "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" and "Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-12-16 04:34:43

Martin Freeman in The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugTHE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

The first great sequence in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – and, sadly, one of the few truly great sequences in Peter Jackson’s second (or fifth, if you’d rather) J.R.R. Tolkien installment – is an escape scene. At its start, hobbit protagonist Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his dwarf companions sneak out of the Elven dungeon cells in which they’ve been imprisoned, and hope for clean getaways by stashing themselves in empty wine barrels and floating down a nearby river. Sounds simple. And it might have been if it weren’t for the rapids, and the waterfalls, and the whizzing arrows, and the savage orcs, and Orlando Bloom gingerly bouncing atop our heroes’ heads.


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Kat-and-Mouse Game: "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-11-25 03:44:23

Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Catching FireTHE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

My unfamiliarity with its source material was, I’m convinced, a large part of why I enjoyed last year’s The Hunger Games movie so much. To be sure, I dug the film itself, with its exciting and moving survival-of-the-fittest encounters, and its fierce Jennifer Lawrence performance, and its bevy of grandly outré supporting figures (and, in the Capitol sequences, beyond-outré production design). But not having read any of the three books in Suzanne Collins’ seminal young-adult adventure series, what I was most taken with was the surprise of the experience. Hunger Games newbies such as myself were allowed to take in Collins’ richly imagined dystopian saga with gradual understanding and horror, much the way (I’m presuming) the books’ readers did, and while we had every reason to expect Lawrence’s teen warrior Katniss Everdeen to survive, the storyline was just spiky and unpredictable enough to make us wonder how, exactly, she ever would.


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Labored Day Weekend: "Closed Circuit," "Instructions Not Included," "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones," "One Direction: This Is Us," and "Getaway"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-09-02 05:01:17

Eric Bana and Ciaran Hinds in Closed CircuitIt’s a commonly held belief, mostly because it’s generally true, that no worthwhile movies open on either the last weekend of August or Labor Day weekend. So I hope I wasn’t alone, among reviewers, in feeling trepidation about my most recent cineplex duties, given that this year, in a calendar rarity, those weekends were one and the same. (Would the films be twice as bad as usual? Would there be twice as many bad films to contend with?) But I’m pleased, and somewhat shocked, to report that my latest movie-going experiences weren’t relentlessly grim. They were just relentlessly weird, especially considering I had the best time at the weekend’s worst picture, and the lineup’s most professionally rendered offering made me fall dead asleep.


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Tiger Beat: "Life of Pi" and "Red Dawn"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-11-25 22:25:31

Suraj Sharma in Life of PiLIFE OF PI

Some 45 minutes into director Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, there’s an image that’s so deeply resonant and beautiful and sad – one that’s presented with so little melodrama or fuss – that I immediately welled up and felt compelled to stifle a sob. I remember the image clearly because I rarely stopped feeling that way for almost the entire hour-and-a-half that followed.


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