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items tagged with John Cusack

Trouble Bath: "Hot Tub Time Machine" and "How to Train Your Dragon"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2010-03-29 13:47:33

Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Rob Corddry, and John Cusack in Hot Tub Time MachineHOT TUB TIME MACHINE

Early in director Steve Pink's new comedy, miserable fortysomethings Adam (John Cusack), Nick (Craig Robinson), and Lou (Rob Corddry) decide to cheer themselves up with a weekend retreat to the beloved ski lodge of their youth, taking Adam's similarly downbeat nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) along for the trek. In the 24 years since the friends' last visit, the lodge has turned into a weathered dump. But their old room still has a jacuzzi, and after a debaucherous night of liquor, cocaine, and bubbling hot water, the four men awaken, and gradually discover that they've been magically transported to 1986. Gazing at the agent of this disruption with the space/time continuum, Nick says, "It's like some kind of ... hot tub time machine." And then, with the slowest of head movements and the deadest of deadpans, Nick turns and stares down the camera, as if to say, "Are you freaking kidding with this?"
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End-of Daze: “2012” and “Pirate Radio”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-11-15 22:38:13

Morgan Lily and John Cusack in 20122012

After 2012 - the movie, not the year - it will be exceedingly difficult for Roland Emmerich to deliver yet another of his expensive, apocalyptic disaster cartoons. So, you know, I guess we should be grateful for small favors.


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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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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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