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items tagged with Dwayne Johnson

The Agony of the Ecstasy: "Snitch" and "Escape from Planet Earth"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-02-24 17:48:56

Barry Pepper, Susan Sarandon, and Dwayne Johnson in SnitchSNITCH

As a film star, Dwayne Johnson possesses a lot of gifts – or, at least, sufficiently impressive gifts for what his résumé has required. Though God knows he’s physically intimidating, Johnson is also our most thoroughly genial of ass-kickers, with even his most violent of big-screen endeavors leavened by a welcome lightness of touch and hint of amused self-mockery. And as he has proved in all those bland family entertainments over the years, Johnson still manages to appear game and committed in movies that don’t deserve his considerable charisma, often salvaging entire scenes through unexpectedly silly gestures or readings that show just how inventive a comedian he can be. (I was happy for 10 whole minutes following his brief channeling of co-star Michael Caine in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. They were about the only 10 minutes during the movie in which I was happy.)


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The Time-Traveler Wife: "The Vow," "Safe House," and "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-02-12 18:42:17

Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum in The VowTHE VOW

Even though I’m frequently annoyed, if not downright appalled, by them, I really don’t ask a lot from traditional romantic weepies. If the actors involved share more-than-sufficient chemistry, and the film provides at least a decent amount of legitimate passion and pathos – with a few good jokes thrown in to keep the proceedings human – I’ll generally feel that I’ve gotten my money’s worth. And happily, I got my money’s worth at The Vow. I’d hardly argue that director Michael Sucsy’s love-among-the-mental-ruins effort is a good movie, but despite never being as interesting as it keeps threatening to be, this audience-friendly drama fulfills its basic requirements with the utmost sincerity and even something approaching wit.


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McCarthyism ... the Good Kind: "Win Win," "Fast Five," and "Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-05-02 13:33:21

Paul Giamatti and Alex Shaffer in Win WinWIN WIN

When I say that writer/director Tom McCarthy’s Win Win could easily serve as the inspiration for a long-running TV series, I don’t mean it in any way insultingly, partly because our current small-screen options are, in general, vastly superior to our big-screen ones. Mostly, though, it’s because this serious-minded comedy is so teeming with nuanced, empathetic characters and complicated yet wholly plausible situations and circumstances that you want to luxuriate in Win Win’s universe for far longer than the movie’s too-brief 100 minutes – like, for an hour a week over several seasons.


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Schadenfreude-ian Slips: “Inside Job,” “Dogtooth,” and “The Mechanic”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-01-30 22:16:31

Elliot Spitzer in Inside JobINSIDE JOB

You might not think that director Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job, the newly (and deservedly) Oscar-nominated documentary about 2008’s global economic meltdown, would offer much in the way of participatory, audience-goosing entertainment. After all, this isn’t exactly a Michael Moore doc we’re dealing with here. Employing dozens of lucid, well-reasoned interviews with financial experts and reams of statistics and graphs, Ferguson’s strong, angry, yet level-headed explanation of our current financial crisis is the polar opposite, in temperament and tone, of a Fahrenheit 9/11 or Capitalism: A Love Story. But while the experience of the impeccably photographed, sharply edited Inside Job is a mostly dead-serious one, damn but my audience appeared to have a good time at it – or, perhaps it’s more appropriate to say, a cathartic time.


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"Love" and Other Flicks: "Love & Other Drugs," "Tangled," "Faster," and "Burlesque"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2010-11-28 23:43:18

Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal in Love & Other DrugsLOVE & OTHER DRUGS

In my 2009 review of the director’s turgid World War II drama Defiance, I opened by asking, “Am I the only person who wishes that Edward Zwick would go back to making sharp, bitchy comedies like his 1986 Rob Lowe-Demi Moore romance About Last Night ... ?” Well, less than two years later, Zwick has returned to those romantic-comedy roots with Love & Other Drugs. Because, apparently, I needed another reminder to be careful what I wish for.


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