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items tagged with Ewan McGregor

Fun in the Oven: "Baby Mama," "The Forbidden Kingdom," and "Deception"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-04-30 08:06:08

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in Baby MamaBABY MAMA

Despite its sunny, friendly veneer, there's a rather scrappy little war being waged within writer/director Michael McCullers' Baby Mama - one between a lighthearted, pleasant sitcom and a sharper, smarter, more cynical sitcom. (Two and a Half Men versus 30 Rock, as it were.) The former wins, and we could have predicted as much, but the best parts of this engaging buddy flick suggest the truly sparkling comedy it might have been, if only it weren't so eager to be ... well, lighthearted and pleasant.


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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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A First-Class McAdams in a Second-Rate "Red Eye": Also, "Four Brothers" and "Valiant"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-08-31 00:00:00

Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy in Red EyeRED EYE

Wes Craven’s Red Eye is the beneficiary of an original, intriguing leading character and, in Rachel McAdams, exactly the right performer to play her. A good thing, too, because the movie doesn’t have a lot else going for it.


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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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Lucas’ Revenge: Goodwill Triumphing Over Evil: "Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-05-25 00:00:00

Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen in Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the SithSTAR WARS, EPISODE III - REVENGE OF THE SITH

I’ve spent a lot of time – both in print and in person – making fun of George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels, and for a reason: It’s pretty easy. The prosaic (and endless) exposition, the flat staging, the unspeakable dialogue, the ba-dum-ching! clunkiness of the comedy, the videogame-inspired mayhem, Jar Jar Binks … there’s practically no end of topics worth goofing on.


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