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items tagged with dramas

Bay’s Latest a Personal Best – and an OK Movie: "The Island," "Hustle & Flow," "Wedding Crashers," and "March of the Penguins"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-07-27 00:00:00

Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor in The IslandTHE ISLAND

If we absolutely must endure movies by Michael Bay, we could do a lot worse – we have done a lot worse – than The Island. As usual, there isn’t a plot point or turn of character here that Bay doesn’t make wincingly obvious, and, apparently, there’s no getting rid of either his tiresome sentimental streak or his sniggering, insulting stabs at “humor.” (When Bay attempts to be serious I giggle, and when he tries to make jokes, I go numb.) But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being reasonably entertained by The Island. Bay has hold of an intriguing story idea, and even if the movie eventually turns into routine action-thriller nonsense, at least that nonsense is delivered with speed, a few memorable images, and even something resembling humanity. Like all Michael Bay movies, The Island runs a good bit over two hours. Unlike the others, I barely noticed.


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"Madagascar" Deserves to Be a Hit: Also, "The Longest Yard" and "Millions"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-06-01 00:00:00

MadagascarMADAGASCAR

See enough movies, especially ones geared to the younger set, and you all but stop expecting to be surprised by the arc of the plot; our heroes will learn valuable Life Lessons, generally while embarking on A Perilous Journey, good will triumph over evil, the comforts of home, family, and friends will prove more beguiling than any possible adventure, yada yada yada. The joy – the shock – of the new computer-animated comedy Madagascar is that, from scene to scene, you might find yourself having no clue where events will lead, yet you’re laughing too hard to pay the matter much mind.


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Explosive "Crash" an Early Contender for Best of 2005: Also, "Melinda & Melinda" and "XXX: State of the Union"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-05-11 00:00:00

Jennifer Esposito, Don Cheadle, and Kathleen York in CrashCRASH

Crash, the magnificent drama by Million Dollar Baby screenwriter Paul Haggis, fits alongside such sprawling, ensemble-driven works as Grand Canyon, Short Cuts, and Magnolia, movies in which plotlines dovetail within one another and themes enmesh, and where bitter, dissatisfied characters might not wind up more content than before – some might not even wind up alive – but they will definitely have shared, for better or worse, An Experience. (These characters might not receive traditional happy endings, yet they almost invariably find degrees of solace and a measure of hope.) Moviegoers who crave a clearly delineated moral to their stories can be driven batty by films of this ilk; more than once I’ve heard someone ask, apropos of one of these works, “But what was its point?” Crash, like its predecessors, explores characters so hungry for contact and meaning and understanding in a chaotic universe that they’re ready to explode, and oftentimes do. That hunger becomes the point.


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"Fever Pitch" Wins Despite Its Directors: Also, "The Upside of Anger"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-04-13 00:00:00

Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon in Fever PitchFEVER PITCH

As long as there’s a Hollywood, there will be a surfeit of romantic comedies, but when was the last time you saw one that was as charming and magical as it pretended to be? Granted, Hitch made oodles of money, but the platonic love between Will Smith and Kevin James was more engaging than either of their characters’ eventual hook-ups, and The Wedding Date, in which Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney made flirtation look like an act of desperation, was just slightly less romantic than any given episode of Will & Grace.


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Unexpected Moments Enliven "The Pacifier": Also, "Stage Beauty" and "Robots"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-03-16 00:00:00

Vin Diesel in The PacifierTHE PACIFIER

There’s a moment in the Vin Diesel family comedy The Pacifier that should have really pissed me off, but instead it made me almost unaccountably happy: About midway through the film, Diesel, playing a former Navy SEAL entrusted with the safety of five fatherless youths (you’ve seen the trailers, you get the idea), enters their suburban digs covered in raw sewage, the victim of a practical joke pulled by the family’s oldest siblings.


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