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items tagged with fantasy movies

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: “Alice in Wonderland” and “Brooklyn’s Finest”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2010-03-07 22:11:07

Johnny Depp in Alice in WonderlandALICE IN WONDERLAND

Beginning with 2001's Planet of the Apes remake, Tim Burton has cast domestic partner Helena Bonham Carter in all six of his most recent feature films, and he's never made better use of her beguiling, somewhat perverse charisma than in his new take on Alice in Wonderland.
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Disappointment Big Really A: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-01-07 16:41:29

Taraji P. Henson and Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonTHE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON

Visually arresting and wildly ambitious, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a tough film to dislike. But I'm giving it a shot anyway, because while director David Fincher's 165-minute opus is spectacular in lots of small ways, it's frustrating and fundamentally unsatisfying in much, much bigger ones. Given several days to reflect on the experience, I no longer hate the movie the way I initially did, yet I remain convinced that what could have, and should have, been a magical, lyrical piece of work is instead a graceless, obvious, and frequently maddening one.


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Battle of the Blands: "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" and the IMAX "Sea Monsters"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-05-21 08:24:40

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince CaspianTHE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN

All things considered, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is pretty good, and on a purely technical level, it's more than pretty impressive. In his second stab at C.S. Lewis, director Andrew Adamson has fashioned a continuation that's both darker and lighter than 2005's The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe - the film is admirably grim for a Disney outing, and unlike its predecessor, it maintains a sense of humor throughout - and most of its visuals are extraordinary. Yet I still can't build up much enthusiasm for it, because like many recent works of its kind (including The Golden Compass and the last two Harry Potters), the movie wows you with everything except personality. Prince Caspian is epically scaled, gorgeous, and hollow - a Pirates of the Caribbean without Johnny Depp.


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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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Are You My Mother?: "Definitely, Maybe," "The Spiderwick Chronicles," and "Jumper"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-02-20 08:36:25

Rachel Weisz and Ryan Reynolds in Definitely, MaybeDEFINITELY, MAYBE

If anyone's keeping track, writer-director Adam Brooks' Definitely, Maybe is the third romantic comedy of 2008 to climax with its protagonist taking a hasty cab ride to an inevitable romantic clinch and subsequent Happily Ever After. And that's about the only conventional element in it. I'm a little staggered by just how wonderful this movie is, as nothing about the film, from its cutesy setup to the presence of leading actor Ryan Reynolds, appeared to suggest anything more than the latest spin on a tireless (and, by now, tiresome) genre. Yet Definitely, Maybe is sensational, so smart and witty and refreshingly grown-up that, hours after seeing it, you may still find yourself in a great mood; the only times I stopped smiling at the movie were when I was laughing out loud.


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