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items tagged with Eddie Murphy

It Ain’t Over ’Til It’s Ogre: "Shrek Forever After" and "MacGruber"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2010-05-23 21:15:00
Shrek Forever After

SHREK FOREVER AFTER

Has there ever been a cinematic storybook adventure - to say nothing of an animated, comedic one - as profoundly joyless as Shrek Forever After? It's not just that the subject matter for this latest, potentially last, and certainly least of the Shrek series concerns middle-aged dissatisfaction and inertia, themes that aren't exactly conducive to lighthearted escapism. The bigger problem is that nearly everything about the film, from the plotline to the jokes to the voice acting, is lethargic and heavy-spirited, and that air of fatigue is likely intensified if, like me, you catch it in 3D, with the gray of your eyewear dulling the movie's already-pretty-dull color palette. From its opening beats, Shrek Forever After feels less like a follow-up than the grudging fulfillment of a contract obligation, and I left this third sequel feeling about 10 years older than I did before it began.
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Subway Training Day: "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3" and "Imagine That"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-06-14 21:51:47

Denzel Washington in The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3

Set in modern-day New York City, director Tony Scott's action-thriller The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 finds Denzel Washington playing transit-authority executive Walter Garber, a conscientious worker and devoted family man accused of accepting bribes, and consequently - 799 WORDS TO GO!!! - demoted to the rank of dispatcher. One afternoon, while monitoring routine subway transport, Garber notices an irregular stop made by one particular train, and attempts to make radio contact with its motorman. Instead, he makes contact with the train's hijacker, a tattooed psychopath who calls himself Ryder, and - 751 WORDS TO GO!!! - is played by John Travolta. Ordering Garber to secure a ransom of $10 million, Ryder insists that he'll begin shooting passengers if his demands aren't met, and given an hour to procure the money, Garber, a hostage negotiator (John Turturro), and the city's mayor (James Gandolfini) unite to stop the - 700 WORDS TO GO!!! - madman from ... .

Oh, I'm sorry, are those interruptions irritating? Well, you'd better get used to it - gripping and entertaining though it mostly is, Scott's movie oftentimes feels like the cinematic equivalent of that opening paragraph.


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Mike’s Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2008
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-05-01 11:06:16

The AlpsThe Alps (not rated) - The people have chosen, and the people chose good. Last fall's winner of the Putnam Museum's "Everyone's a Critic" series - which follows climber John Harlin's attempts to scale the north face of the Eiger mountain, where his father perished in 1966 - is such a breathtaking spectacle that watching it makes you a little dizzy; not from the Eiger's treacherous inclines and precipitous drops, which are (enjoyably) vertigo-inducing enough, but from the dazzling visual rush provided by director Steve Judson and his remarkable team of camera operators. Judson re-creates Harlin's ascent with jaw-dropping skill - you'll fight the urge to blurt out "How on earth did they film that?!" repeatedly during The Alps' 45-minute running length - and he and his crew photograph the Swiss mountain ranges with crystalline perfection; I'm not sure any movie has ever looked better in IMAX format. When the film turns to matters of geology and the historic make-up of the mountains, things get a little stodgy, but you're quickly returned to the awe-inspiring vistas, an unexpectedly touching human element courtesy of Harlin and his understandably worried wife and daughter, and, believe it or not, a series of marvelously employed Queen tunes that - in this format, at least - suggest what the elevator ride to heaven would sound like.


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Jocks Strapped: "Semi-Pro" and "The Other Boleyn Girl"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-03-05 07:56:32

Will Ferrell in Semi-ProSEMI-PRO

In the '70s-era sports comedy Semi-Pro, Will Ferrell plays Jackie Moon, a one-hit-wonder pop star who becomes the owner of the American Basketball Association's Flint Tropics, a struggling Michigan team for which he also serves as coach, promoter, and star player. And forgive me for asking, but shouldn't any one of these five roles have been enough for Will Ferrell?


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Ogre the Hill: "Shrek the Third" and "Delta Farce"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-05-23 08:21:20

Shrek the ThirdSHREK THE THIRD

Shrek the Third finds its computer-animated ogre undergoing something of a mid-life crisis, and based on the evidence here, so is the series itself. In contrast to the constant hyperactivity and relentlessly aggressive pop-culture references of the first two Shrek films, this latest offering is notable for its distinct lack of aggression; the film hasn't completely shucked off the qualities that made its forbears such (literal) monster hits, but on occasion, it actually takes the time to curtail its smart-alecky, type-A tendencies and just breathe. In doing so, it stands as my favorite Shrek movie to date. Unfortunately, that isn't high praise.


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