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items tagged with Dwayne Johnson

86ed: "Get Smart" and "The Love Guru"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-06-25 08:18:23

Anne Hathaway and Steve Carell in Get SmartGET SMART

I can only imagine the business conversation that led to remaking TV's Get Smart as a big-budget summertime blockbuster. But I'm guessing it went something like this: "Let's remake TV's Get Smart as a big-budget summertime blockbuster!" "Okay! Let's!"


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Between The Rock and a Heart Place: "The Jane Austen Book Club" and "The Game Plan:"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-10-10 08:11:54

Maria Bello and Hugh Dancy in The Jane Austen Book ClubTHE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB and THE GAME PLAN

On their surfaces, The Jane Austen Book Club and The Game Plan would seem to have nothing in common. One's a dramatic-sitcom wherein a sextet of bibliophiles dissect a noted author's works and unintentionally enact her plotlines; the other's a Disney slapstick wherein an adorable moppet teaches fatherhood lessons to a professional quarterback. (No points for guessing which film is which.)


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A Lighter Shade of Noir: “The Black Dahlia,” “Gridiron Gang,” “The Last Kiss,” and “The Protector”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-09-20 04:34:58

Aaron Eckhart and Josh Hartnett in The Black DahliaTHE BLACK DAHLIA

The opening sequence of Brian De Palma's L.A. noir The Black Dahlia is so busily choreographed that, at first, you think it has to be some sort of put-on. A melee involving a street full of cops and sailors in downtown Los Angeles circa 1946, the balletic, slow-motion punching and flailing is orchestrated within an inch of its life; nothing about it seems real, but it's so dazzlingly executed that you hardly care. But with Josh Hartnett's ersatz tough-guy narration droning away, it quickly becomes clear that the scene isn't meant to be funny. It isn't comedy that De Palma's going after here but stylization, and as The Black Dahlia progresses, it's obvious that the director doesn't have the cast or screenwriter required to give his baroque touches a context. A few nastily enjoyable moments aside, the film is dour, dull, and confusing, enlivened only by a few zesty supporting portrayals and whatever directorial wit De Palma can bring to it.


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"Saw II" Effective, But Not Much Fun: Also, "Doom," "Stay," and "Prime"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-11-02 00:00:00

Saw IISAW II

Since we’re no longer forced to endure Cary Elwes shrieking his hammy little head off for 90 minutes, Saw II was inevitably going to be a less annoying experience than 2004’s Saw, but the movie is pretty effective in its own right. Not entertaining, mind you, but effective. Last fall’s surprise horror hit saw Elwes and another mad overactor at the mercy of the serial killer Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) – who devises for his prey wildly elaborate devices of torture that defy both description and belief – and in one of Saw II’s few impressive twists, he’s apprehended at the end of the movie’s first reel. What follows resembles what might result if you watched The Silence of the Lambs and Seven in picture-in-picture format. As Jigsaw – in sinister, I-know-something-that-you-don’t Hannibal Lecter mode – is interrogated, and his master plan dissected, by Donnie Wahlberg’s quick-to-boil cop, a whole new slew of potential victims, including Wahlberg’s teenage son, try to survive a vicious spook house by evading Jigsaw’s contraptions and deconstructing the maddeningly obtuse sets of clues the killer has left them. (Like its precursor, Saw II makes explicit what Seven left to your imagination.)


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