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items tagged with Alien

Mike's Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2007
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-10-30 00:41:02

Eduardo Verastegui and Tammy Blanchard in BellaBella (PG-13) - Alejandro Monteverde's drama, which concerns the friendship between a chef and a newly pregnant, newly unemployed waitress, received the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Um... who are these "people," exactly? Space people? Because I can see how Bella might be confused with a great movie if you didn't understand a word of human conversation. Even then, of course, you might still be put off by the film's bizarre editing (with flash-forwards routinely, meaninglessly interrupting scenes-in-progress) and lackluster photography; Montevrede shows more interest in food than in his stars. And then there's that baffling ending, which seems to set the film up for a sequel - one that fills in that massive "Huh?!?" of a climactic plot hole. But it's still the mawkish, maudlin screenplay that does it in; Eduardo Verástegui (looking uncannily like Jim Caviezel as Christ) and Tammy Blanchard (as ever, looking uncannily like Judy Garland) are stuck with unplayable dialogue and baldly written characters, and the movie shamelessly plies on the merely-functional supporting stereotypes. The movie is pro-life and pro-family with a vengeance, which might account for its (limited) popular success. I just wish it were also a little pro-brain, and a lot anti-cliché.


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When the Spielberg Touch Goes Deeply Wrong: "War of the Worlds"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-07-06 00:00:00

Tim Robbins, Tom Cruise, and Dakota Fanning in War of the WorldsWAR OF THE WORLDS

My first thought after seeing Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds was: Thank God for the aliens, because although the creatures themselves aren’t particularly memorable – a gooey blend of the director’s beatific Close Encounters visitors and H. R. Giger’s 1979 Alien design – their spacecrafts certainly are. The ships’ enormous tripod legs, crushing everything in their paths, exude a wriggling, snakelike suggestiveness, and they have vicious talents besides; these tentacles have the ability to either incinerate their victims instantly – making the human race resemble ants at the mercy of a magnifying glass – or toss them into the spaceships’ grotesque “mouths,” producing more grisly, prolonged executions. (A couple of killings are reminiscent of Steve Buscemi’s demise in Fargo.) To the War of the Worlds aliens, humans are a combination of entertainment, nuisance, and snack, and whenever Spielberg gives us evidence of just how queasily horrifying an attack of this nature might be, his movie is gripping and evocative.

My second thought was: Steven Spielberg has lost his mind.


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Script, Performers Elevate "Stepford" Remake to Guilty Pleasure: "The Stepford Wives," "The Chronicles of Riddick," and "Garfield: The Movie"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2004-06-23 00:00:00

Matthew Broderick and Nicole Kidman in The Stepford WivesTHE STEPFORD WIVES

As crummy movies go, Frank Oz’s remake of The Stepford Wives is pretty darned terrific. The film has been plagued by rumors of trouble on the set and post-production nightmares and general confusion throughout, and you can practically see these turmoils on the screen; the movie is bizarrely assembled and terribly edited – characters’ motivations change from scene to scene with little rhyme or reason – and it all falls apart before your eyes. Oz doesn’t seem to have a clue how to treat the material, but one person does: screenwriter Paul Rudnick. He knows exactly what he’s up to – a bitchy, campy tale involving a group of nerdy men who enact revenge on the successful women they feel inferior to – and individual scenes in this Stepford Wives are so hilarious and dead-on smart that you wind up enjoying the movie despite being aware of how awful much of it is. Like last summer’s Rudnick-written Marci X, it’s a perfect example of a comedy in which individual set pieces far exceed the whole, and it can be blissfully enjoyed on its own underwhelming terms.


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"Evolution" Could Have Used Some: Also, "The Animal"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2001-06-13 00:00:00

David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, Seann William Scott, and Orlando Jones in EvolutionEVOLUTION

The sci-fi comedy Evolution is like Ghostbusters without Bill Murray, which isn’t surprising since both films were directed by Ivan Reitman, but it also means that it’s like Ghostbusters without the big laughs. In that 1984 blockbuster, Murray delivered his lines with an italicized innuendo that made even his throwaway quips hilarious; without his presence, the film (and its underrated 1989 follow-up) would just have been a moderately pleasant, cheesy, overscaled, haphazardly paced affair. That’s Evolution.


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Sci-fi Misfires: "Space Cowboys" and "Hollow Man"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2000-08-09 00:00:00

Tommy Lee Jones and Clint Eastwood in Space CowboysSPACE COWBOYS

There’s so much goodwill invested in Clint Eastwood’s Space Cowboys, mostly stemming from its venerable and accomplished cast, that I feel like a killjoy for saying that the movie itself is really mediocre.


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