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items tagged with John Cusack

What the "Flux"?: "Aeon Flux," "Bee Season," "The Ice Harvest," and "Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3-D"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-12-07 00:00:00

Charlize Theron in Aeon FluxAEON FLUX

By all rights, Aeon Flux should be godawful. (Certainly, Paramount is treating it like it is, as the studio opted against pre-release screenings for fear of lousy advance notices.) Set some 400 years in the future, director Karyn Kusama’s film – a big-screen vehicle for MTV’s Liquid Television character – takes place after 99% of the earth has been eliminated by a virus, the most humorless 1%, apparently, having been left to roam the earth. Charlize Theron’s Aeon leads a Spandex-clad revolt against the government, and the movie is, for the most part, a joke; the effects are particularly shoddy, and as they recite their clunky dialogue, you feel badly for several performers – when they were being feted as Oscar nominees, did Theron, Frances McDormand (in a red fright wig), Sophie Okenedo and Pete Postlethwaite ever think it would come to this? (The film’s one impressive performance comes from Marton Csokas, who’s like a more rugged version of Kevin Spacey.)


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"Hazzard"-ous to Your Health: "The Dukes of Hazzard," "Sky High," and "Must Love Dogs"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-08-10 00:00:00

Johnny Knoxville, Jessica Simpson, and Seann William Scott in The Dukes of HazzardTHE DUKES OF HAZZARD

Since there’s exactly one entertaining scene (preceded by one entertaining cutaway) in the entire film version of The Dukes of Hazzard – one sequence in this shockingly wrong-headed comedy that’s the least bit amusing – let me just save you the $10 and describe it now: For reasons I’ve gone to great lengths to forget, Bo (Seann William Scott) and Luke (Johnny Knoxville) decide to make a pilgrimage to Atlanta, so they hop in the General Lee and high-tail it out of Hazzard County, speeding along their dirt road with “Yee-haaaaw”s a-blazin’. Cut to the freeway in Atlanta, with the General Lee stuck in traffic. (A nice moment.) As they wait, vehicles pass them on both sides; half of the drivers and passengers greet the boys with hearty “Way to go! The South will rise again!” admiration, and the other half sneer at them with “You’re gonna be late for your Klan meeting, rednecks!” revulsion. It’s unclear whether the boys ever realize that the source of the travellers’ contention is the trademark Confederate flag on the General Lee’s roof.


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A Hundred-Plus Reasons to Go to the Movies
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2004-10-27 00:00:00
My first article for the River Cities’ Reader appeared in Issue 18, way back in March of 1995. (You know how long ago that was? Tom Hanks had only one Oscar.) Serving as the Reader’s film critic was, and still is, a terrific gig – for an avowed movie fanatic who loves to write, the chance to expound on the state of cinema has always been about more than giving a particular work a “yay” or “nay” vote; it’s given me, in a minor way, the opportunity to analyze an entire culture, to try to understand what’s in the heads of those who make films, and those who distribute films, and the millions of us who view them.
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Dull Competency Sinks "Hidalgo": Also, "Girl with a Pearl Earring"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2004-03-17 00:00:00

Viggo Mortensen in HidalgoHIDALGO

As family-friendly adventures go, the Disney-produced western Hidalgo isn’t all that bad, but it sure could have used a feistier directorial spirit, something like what Gore Verbinski brought to last summer’s Pirates of the Caribbean.


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"Scary Movie 3" an Improvement, but Not Clever Enough: Also, "Runaway Jury" and "Radio"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-10-29 00:00:00

Anna Faris and Drew Mikusa in Scary Movie 3SCARY MOVIE 3

With Scary Movie 3, the assignment of directing has been passed from Keenen Ivory Wayans to Airplane!’s David Zucker, which is a big step forward right there. (Zucker isn’t much of a director, either, but at least he has ideas on how to shape a scene, and is actually pretty adept at making his film parodies look like the films they’re parodying.) Plus, any time Zucker and company are satirizing the outrageous pomposity of M. Night Shymalan, whose Signs receives – and deserves – particularly harsh treatment here, Scary Movie 3 is everything you want a movie spoof to be: smart, funny, and more than a little mean. (And heartening – until now, I thought I was the only one who detested Shymalan’s “Hitchcockian” appearance as the vet who accidentally kills Mel Gibson’s wife in Signs.) The wide-eyed, appealing Anna Faris returns as the lead, ably satirizing Naomi Watts’ reporter from The Ring, and comic actors such as Charlie Sheen, Jeremy Piven, Queen Latifah, Camryn Manheim, and legendary spoofster Leslie Nielsen all score some laughs. So why is Scary Movie 3 still so disappointing?


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