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items tagged with Documentaries

Future Imperfect: "Premonition" and "Deep Sea 3-D"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-03-21 08:14:37

Sandra Bullock in PremonitionPREMONITION

Note: Plot details will be revealed, so here's the Spoiler Alert for those of you who haven't seen the film, and for the two or three of you who haven't seen the film's previews, which give away the entire movie.)

Hollywood entertainments, in general, aim so low that it's disheartening to chastise one for aiming relatively high. But the psychological thriller-cum-melodrama Premonition is infuriating precisely because of its lofty ambitions. For a goodly stretch of the film - nearly the entire first hour - the plotting is clever enough and the direction (by Mennan Yapo) suggestive enough to keep you focused and alert; you're eager to solve the movie's many mysteries along with its heroine. But I left the auditorium frustrated and a little bit angry, and still haven't figured out exactly whom to blame this on.


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Tears of a Clown: “Stranger Than Fiction,” “A Good Year,” and “Wordplay”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-11-22 08:26:14

Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal in Stranger Than FictionSTRANGER THAN FICTION

While watching an emotional climax toward the end of Marc Forster's Stranger Than Fiction, I experienced the oddest case of déjà vu. In the film, a man discovers that his life may be in the hands of an unseen puppet-master - that he, himself, has no control over his own existence - and all of a sudden I was transported back to June of 1997, watching Peter Weir's The Truman Show. Yet what set me off wasn't just that the metaphysics of the two films are similar, or even that a comedian (Will Ferrell instead of Jim Carrey) was enacting the situation; it was that the protagonist's seemingly hopeless circumstances had me in tears, and yet all around me, people were laughing.


Read More About Tears Of A Clown: “Stranger Than Fiction,” “A Good Year,” And “Wordplay”...


The Jig Is Up: “Saw III,” “Catch a Fire,” “Flicka,” and “Roving Mars”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-11-01 04:31:53

Shawnee Smith and Bahar Soomekh in Saw IIISAW III

There's a shot in Saw III - one of the less repellent ones, and one of the few that makes any sense whatsoever - that proves pretty emblematic of the movie as a whole. A middle-aged man, attempting to escape the machinations of the serial killer Jigsaw, runs down a dank hallway and vomits, and as he does, the camera pans down for a close-up of the bile. In a nutshell, that's Saw III - having our faces shoved in puke. (Also blood, entrails, and, in one sequence, pureed pig.) Whatever ultra-violent wit the Saw series may have once boasted is nowhere on display here; the film is 105 minutes of solid torture, both for Jigsaw's hapless victims and for the audience.


Read More About The Jig Is Up: “Saw III,” “Catch A Fire,” “Flicka,” And “Roving Mars”...


Stark Raving: “All the King’s Men,” “Jackass: Number Two,” “The Covenant,” and “Everyone’s Hero”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-09-27 04:41:49

Jude Law and Sean Penn in All the King's MenALL THE KING'S MEN

In his role as the initially idealistic, eventually corrupt Louisiana governor Willie Stark in All the King's Men, Sean Penn delivers a series of impassioned orations to Stark's constituency, and every time he does, the movie displays a robust, dramatic fire. A self-described "hick" preaching to those he feels have been similarly politically oppressed, Stark barks out his plans for a better future, and Penn, with a thick drawl and a timbre that rises and falls in waves, attacks these scenes with an egocentric bluster that, at first, veers dangerously close to parody - close your eyes, and he could be Jackie Gleason on a dyspeptic tirade in Smokey & the Bandit. Yet you don't laugh at him. Penn's Stark is such a powerful, daunting presence that he transcends hammy Southern caricature through the legitimate emotion in his outbursts and the intensity of his gaze, and during the governor's stump speeches, King's Men writer/director Steven Zaillian has the good sense to get out of Penn's way and let him run the show.


Read More About Stark Raving: “All The King’S Men,” “Jackass: Number Two,” “The Covenant,” And “Everyone’S Hero”...


Yo-Ho-Hum: "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," "The Devil Wears Prada," and "An Inconvenient Truth"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-07-12 04:24:02
Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST

I know a bunch of you bought tickets for it this past weekend, so allow me to ask: Did anyone else find Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest a little, you know, incoherent? A degree of senselessness, of course, has to come with the territory, but while I'm positive that I didn't nod off during Gore Verbinski's opus - the booming soundtrack and relentless, CGI-enhanced action won't let you - I'm not sure I ever quite understood it. There seemed to be a whole lot of plot in Dead Man's Chest but none of it meant anything or was revealed with an urgency that might make it mean anything; at some point, I simply gave up trying to figure the damned thing out, and just waited for Davy Jones and the rest of his barnacled baddies to show up again.


Read More About Yo-Ho-Hum: "Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," "The Devil Wears Prada," And "An Inconvenient Truth"...





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