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items tagged with James Franco

From ’Puter to Putrid – A Birthday Letter: "Unfriended," "Monkey Kingdom," "True Story," "While We’re Young," and "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-04-20 18:39:05

Shelley Hennig in UnfriendedDear Dad,

It was wonderful seeing you again this past weekend at your 75th-birthday party! I had a great time in Chicagoland with you and the family and the extended family ... although I do apologize for whipping your ass at pinochle on Saturday. Hey, I learned from the master.

But it dawned on me that while you expressed surprise at my ability to also sneak in five weekend movies despite the birthday happenings and my hours spent on the highway, I never went into detail on what I saw. So let’s get you caught up. (You’re likely not gonna recognize many of the names and movies I reference. If you’re uncertain about any of ’em, ask Mom. She’ll know.)
Read More About From ’Puter To Putrid – A Birthday Letter: "Unfriended," "Monkey Kingdom," "True Story," "While We’Re Young," And "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2"...


In Too Depp: "Mortdecai," "The Boy Next Door," and "Strange Magic"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-01-24 21:38:40

Johnny Depp in MortdecaiMORTDECAI

Mortdecai, a Clouseau-esque slapstick about a bumbling art dealer and a missing Goya, isn’t so much a movie as it is a test, and one with a single question: Just how much Johnny Depp can you still stomach? For me, the answer turned out to be “more than I expected,” because while director David Koepp’s comedy is crummy in many ways, it did crack me up a good dozen times, and every time because its generally overexposed star did or said something that caught me completely, joyously off-guard.


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Ten Little Indies: "Begin Again," "Life Itself," "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me," "Stranger by the Lake," "Interior. Leather Bar.", "Nymphomaniac: Volume One," "Nymphomaniac: Volume Two," "The Unknown Known," "The Immigrant," and "Snowpiercer"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-07-30 19:29:48

Keira Knightley in Begin AgainLike many reviewers who publish year-end recaps featuring top-10 rankings and such, I keep a running list of every new movie I see during the year, arranged in order of preference. (Wow. Seeing it in writing, that seems really anal-retentive. Maybe only I do that.) And after updating this list over the weekend, I scanned my current 10 favorites and thought, “For July, that’s a pretty great lineup.”

Of course, that lineup is only impressive because five of its titles – Life Itself, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, Stranger by the Lake, Nymphomaniac: Volume One, and Snowpiercer – are 2014 films I caught on home video and through streaming services. If I only included movies that played at area cineplexes, my top-10-to-date wouldn't look so hot. I mean, sure, Muppets Most Wanted, 22 Jump Street, and Hercules were a lot of fun, but come on ... . Two sequels, both inferior to their predecessors, and Brett Ratner directing The Rock? (With apologies to Dwayne Johnson, who’s actually awesome.) Hell, the new-to-our-area indie musical Begin Again would almost land in my cineplex top 10, and I didn’t even like it that much.


Read More About Ten Little Indies: "Begin Again," "Life Itself," "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me," "Stranger By The Lake," "Interior. Leather Bar.", "Nymphomaniac: Volume One," "Nymphomaniac: Volume Two," "The Unknown Known," "The Immigrant," And "Snowpiercer"...


Disney on Ice: "Frozen," "Black Nativity," and "Homefront"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-12-02 15:57:22

FrozenFROZEN

As its fans (and I’m one of them) will gladly attest, Disney’s Frozen is a bit of a throwback to the studio’s recent golden age of animated entertainments – that period from the late ’80s to the mid-’90s that found more-or-less traditional fairy and folk tales goosed with healthy portions of Broadway razzmatazz. (Those in the press championing this new work as a welcome and rather bold return to form, however, do seem to have conveniently forgotten about 2009’s excellent The Princess & the Frog and 2010’s near-excellent Tangled.) But while much of the film follows the standard Disney-in-its-prime formula to the letter – big-eyed ingénue heroine, check; wacky animal sidekick, check; rafter-shaking power ballad destined to win an Oscar, check – there is one aspect to Frozen that separates it from the Little Mermaid/Beauty & the Beast/Lion King herd: The movie is kind of bonkers.


Read More About Disney On Ice: "Frozen," "Black Nativity," And "Homefront"...


The Unnecessarily Dark Knight: "Man of Steel" and "This Is the End"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-06-17 11:25:36

Henry Cavill in Man of SteelMAN OF STEEL

During the final third of director Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot Man of Steel, Henry Cavill’s caped crusader and Michael Shannon’s villainous General Zod take turns pummeling each other into Smallville storefronts and Metropolis skyscrapers, and the combined force of their Kryptonian blows routinely causes the edifices to tumble to the ground. For most of the length of this relentlessly noisy and dour superhero outing, it felt as though they were tumbling directly on my head.


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