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items tagged with Joan Cusack

Immaterial Girl: "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and "The International"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-02-16 14:51:46

Isla Fisher in Confessions of a ShopaholicCONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC

Since I'm not their target demographic, I guess it shouldn't bother me that so many perky, theoretically harmless chick flicks these days are so breathtakingly shrill and stupid. But why doesn't it bother their target demographic? January gave us the offensively unfunny Bride Wars, and now, hot on that film's stiletto heels, comes Confessions of a Shopaholic, which trashes its promising setup and excellent performers in a candy-colored morass of clichés, contrivances, and incessant brainlessness. The film is like a rom-com take on Speed Racer - it even has John Goodman as a loveably ineffectual dad - and it doesn't feature one moment of recognizable human behavior. And audience members still applauded at the end.


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Mike's Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2007
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-10-30 00:41:02

Eduardo Verastegui and Tammy Blanchard in BellaBella (PG-13) - Alejandro Monteverde's drama, which concerns the friendship between a chef and a newly pregnant, newly unemployed waitress, received the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Um... who are these "people," exactly? Space people? Because I can see how Bella might be confused with a great movie if you didn't understand a word of human conversation. Even then, of course, you might still be put off by the film's bizarre editing (with flash-forwards routinely, meaninglessly interrupting scenes-in-progress) and lackluster photography; Montevrede shows more interest in food than in his stars. And then there's that baffling ending, which seems to set the film up for a sequel - one that fills in that massive "Huh?!?" of a climactic plot hole. But it's still the mawkish, maudlin screenplay that does it in; Eduardo Verástegui (looking uncannily like Jim Caviezel as Christ) and Tammy Blanchard (as ever, looking uncannily like Judy Garland) are stuck with unplayable dialogue and baldly written characters, and the movie shamelessly plies on the merely-functional supporting stereotypes. The movie is pro-life and pro-family with a vengeance, which might account for its (limited) popular success. I just wish it were also a little pro-brain, and a lot anti-cliché.


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United They Stood: "United 93," "Friends with Money," and "Silent Hill"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-05-03 00:00:00

United 93UNITED 93

The question of whether it’s too soon for United 93 is endlessly debatable. Yet United 93 we have. And having seen Paul Greengrass’ dramatic re-creation of those shattering minutes aboard the doomed Newark-to-San Francisco flight on the morning of September 11, 2001, it seems that the timing of its release isn’t just acceptable but – for this particular film, at any rate – absolutely essential.


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Killer Instincts: "Jarhead," "Good Night, & Good Lunck.", "Chicken Little," and "The Weather Man"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-11-09 00:00:00

Jake Gyllenhaal in JarheadJARHEAD

In movies, nothing is harder to define than tone, and the tone of Sam Mendes’ Jarhead, based on Tony Swofford’s Gulf War memoir, is so elusive that, hours after it ends, you might still not know what to make of it. In many ways, the movie is like a two-hour expansion of Full Metal Jacket’s first 40 minutes, as the 20-year-old Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his fellow Marine recruits, pumped up to an almost insane degree, train for their mission in the unbearable desert heat and prepare for battle. In Mendes’ film, however, there is no battle for his protagonists to respond to; the war ends while the Marines’ bloodlust is still reaching a boil. The film is, in many ways, about the maddening banality of service, and it has resulted in an occasionally maddening movie, but its shifting tones and air of unpredictability make it impossible to shake off; at the finale, you might not know exactly what you’ve seen, but you certainly know you’ve seen something.
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"A Very Long Engagement" Is Very, Very Good: Also, "Ice Princess"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-03-30 00:00:00

Gaspard Ulliel in A Very Long EngagementA VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT

Its love scenes are like Titanic meets The English Patient, its battle scenes suggest what might happen if the Coen brothers remade Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, and yet A Very Long Engagement is enormously enjoyable; this mad amalgam of genres and styles seems almost tailor-made for the talents of its director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet.


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