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items tagged with John Michael Higgins

Child Labor: “Orphan” and “The Ugly Truth”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-07-27 15:37:15

Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman, and Vera Farmiga in OrphanORPHAN

Director Jaume Collet-Serra's Orphan features that most indestructible and, oftentimes, luridly enjoyable of horror-flick staples - the psychopathic prepubescent - and would probably be a lot of fun if it wasn't so relentlessly unpleasant and stupid. Those of us who've been known to get a kick out of these Omen-esque outings will probably give the movie the benefit of the doubt for far longer than it deserves. But for all of its effective jolts and expert acting, Orphan is so frustratingly illogical that it trashes whatever goodwill you extend toward it, and the experience is too unremittingly dour and punishing to be any kind of not-so-guilty pleasure. (One of the friends I saw the film with left the auditorium saying, "I need a shower now." Get in line, pal.)


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Just Say “No”: "Yes Man" and "The Tale of Despereaux"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-12-23 08:19:42

Jim Carrey and Terence Stamp in Yes ManYES MAN

It feels as though the teasers for Yes Man have been running since the first Bush administration, so I'm assuming everyone is aware of the film's 10-word comic premise: Jim Carrey always says "no," then learns to say "yes." If you're thinking the setup sounds an awful lot like the conceit behind 1997's Liar Liar, you're not wrong, and in his one-joke role as a depressed loan officer who decides to embrace life by acting against his natural impulses, Yes Man also requires Carrey to goose the proceedings with the sorts of rubber-faced buffoonery and "spontaneous" madness that the actor can pull off in his sleep. Unfortunately, that's exactly what he appears to be doing here.


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Multi(plex)-Tasking: "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," "The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep," "P.S. I Love You," "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story," and "AVPR: Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-01-02 08:22:22

Nicolas Cage and Diane Kruger in National Treasure: Book of SecretsNATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS

National Treasure: Book of Secrets, the follow-up to 2004's globe-trotting-archaeologist adventure, could generously be termed "perfunctory"; it gives (family) audiences exactly the formulaic, Indiana Jones-lite action, romance, and humor they adored in the original. It could also, less generously, be described as "crummy," as returning director Jon Turteltaub ensures that every remedially staged sequence has the same bland, going-through-the-motions tone as the one that came before. (At least its predecessor provided a few jokes.)


Read More About Multi(Plex)-Tasking: "National Treasure: Book Of Secrets," "The Water Horse: Legend Of The Deep," "P.S. I Love You," "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story," And "AVPR: Aliens Vs. Predator - Requiem"...


Neither Naughty Nor Nice: "Fred Claus" and "Lions for Lambs"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-11-14 08:19:21

Paul Giamatti and Vince Vaughn in Fred ClausFRED CLAUS

As crass, demeaning, insufferable holiday-themed comedies go, Fred Claus is a little bit better than The Santa Clause 3, Deck the Halls, Surviving Christmas, and Christmas with the Kranks. (This faint praise might also extend to examples released before 2004, but I've succeeded in blocking those titles from memory.) It's also a little bit worse than 80 percent of the movies I've seen this year.


Read More About Neither Naughty Nor Nice: "Fred Claus" And "Lions For Lambs"...


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?)


Read More About Our Father, Who Art In "Evan": "Evan Almighty" And "1408"...





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