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items tagged with dramas

United They Stood: "United 93," "Friends with Money," and "Silent Hill"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-05-03 00:00:00

United 93UNITED 93

The question of whether it’s too soon for United 93 is endlessly debatable. Yet United 93 we have. And having seen Paul Greengrass’ dramatic re-creation of those shattering minutes aboard the doomed Newark-to-San Francisco flight on the morning of September 11, 2001, it seems that the timing of its release isn’t just acceptable but – for this particular film, at any rate – absolutely essential.


Read More About United They Stood: "United 93," "Friends With Money," And "Silent Hill"...


Take Me Out of the Ball Game: "The Benchwarmers," "Take the Lead," and "ATL"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-04-12 00:00:00

Jon Heder, Rob Schneider, and David Spade in The BenchwarmersTHE BENCHWARMERS

The audience laughter at The Benchwarmers chilled me to the marrow. What in God’s name are we allowing to pass for “children’s entertainment” these days? Dennis Dugan’s “comedy” is about a trio of aging dweebs (Rob Schneider, David Spade, and Jon Heder) who – seeking retribution for their childhood humiliations – arrange to play in a Little League tournament, and it’s better for everyone’s mental health that I ignore the logistics of the plotting.Suffice it to say that the film is an empowerment fantasy for middle-aged booger-eaters everywhere. But it isn’t geared toward adults. (At least, not adults with IQs in the triple digits.) The Benchwarmers is a diversion aimed squarely at kids, and as such, it’s almost unspeakably repellent – the movie is so hateful that you want to file a restraining order against it.


Read More About Take Me Out Of The Ball Game: "The Benchwarmers," "Take The Lead," And "ATL"...


DVDs to Watch, and Watch Again: "The Squid & the Whale" and "The Dying Gaul"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-03-29 00:00:00

THE SQUID & THE WHALE and THE DYING GAUL

Before accepting his career-achievement prize at the Academy Awards this year, director Robert Altman – his voice-over accompanying clips from his works – explained his raison d’etre: “Stories don’t interest me,” he said. “Basically, I’m more interested in behavior.” Considering his contributions to film, the admission made perfect sense – how do you adequately describe the story of M*A*S*H or Nashville or Short Cuts? But it also touched on something elemental about the movie-going experience, in terms of the emotional connections we often make with the characters on-screen. When these literally two-dimensional figures reveal themselves to be as complicated and unpredictable, as human, as we are – when we recognize their behavior with a laugh or a nod or a wince – “story” doesn’t really matter a damn; the experience of watching characters just being can be its own spellbinding reward.


Read More About DVDs To Watch, And Watch Again: "The Squid & The Whale" And "The Dying Gaul"...


Radioactive Blast: "The Hills Have Eyes," "The Libertine," "Failure to Launch," and "Ultraviolet"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-03-15 00:00:00

The Hills Have EyesTHE HILLS HAVE EYES

The setup for The Hills Have Eyes – Alexandre Aja’s remake of Wes Craven’s 1977 horror classic, with Craven himself on board as a producer – couldn’t be simpler. A vacationing family, headed for California, stops for gas at a filling station near an abandoned nuclear-testing site in New Mexico. The station’s gnarled and suspiciously friendly attendant guides them to a shortcut. The shortcut is a trap, set by the attendant and a family of horribly mutated, not-entirely-inhuman cannibals. And from there on, the plot boils down to three words: Us Against Them.


Read More About Radioactive Blast: "The Hills Have Eyes," "The Libertine," "Failure To Launch," And "Ultraviolet"...


Host with the Most: "Dave Chappelle's Block Party," "Madea's Family Reunion," "16 Blocks," "Running Scared," "The World's Fastest Indian," and "Doogal"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-03-08 00:00:00

Dave Chappelle in Dave Chappelle's Block PartyDAVE CHAPPELLE'S BLOCK PARTY

Dave Chappelle’s Block Party is teeming with something that has been sorely absent from 2006’s movie crop: joy. In the late summer of 2004, Chappelle, fresh from signing his now-legendary – and currently defunct – $50-million contract with Comedy Central, spontaneously decided to throw a block-wide bash, and recruited a batch of rap and R&B performers (including Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Kanye West, Jill Scott, and Lauryn Hill and the reunited Fugees) to perform a day-long gig in Brooklyn; the resulting concert doc features highlights from the concert interspersed with scenes of Chappelle kicking back with the stars and the block-party attendees, and the movie, directed by Michel Gondry, is a giddy, oftentimes exhilarating spectacle. It’s hard to determine who’s having more fun – the musicians, whose on-stage performances are heartfelt and vital; the Brooklyn masses, whose enjoyment of the show is palpable; or the movie’s audience.


Read More About Host With The Most: "Dave Chappelle's Block Party," "Madea's Family Reunion," "16 Blocks," "Running Scared," "The World's Fastest Indian," And "Doogal"...





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