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items tagged with John Cusack

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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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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Our Father, Who Art in "Evan": "Evan Almighty" and "1408"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-06-27 08:08:12

Steve Carell in Evan AlmightyEVAN ALMIGHTY

Thank God for lowered expectations.

I adore Steve Carell, and so I was initially jazzed about Evan Almighty, as director Tom Shadyac's sequel was a vehicle for the comic who handily stole 2003's Bruce Almighty away from hard-working star Jim Carrey. Yet after I saw the trailer, my excitement quickly turned into dread. Not only did the three-minute preview appear to give away every second of the movie - it showed the climactic flood approaching, for Pete's sake! - but the sight of a gray-bearded, robe-attired Carell looking benevolent while surround by all those cu-u-u-ute animals instantly set off my gag reflex; watching brilliant comedians sell out in witless kiddie flicks is to be expected, yet I was praying that it wouldn't happen with Carell. (At least, I was praying that it wouldn't happen again - does anyone else recall the actor's involvement in the 2004 atrocity Sleepover?)


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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.)


Read More About What The "Flux"?: "Aeon Flux," "Bee Season," "The Ice Harvest," And "Magnificent Desolation: Walking On The Moon 3-D"...


"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.


Read More About "Hazzard"-Ous To Your Health: "The Dukes Of Hazzard," "Sky High," And "Must Love Dogs"...





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