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items tagged with Kate Beckinsale

Tyler-san: "Never Back Down," "The Bank Job," and "Doomsday"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-03-19 08:40:31

Sean Faris and Djimon Hounsou in Never Back DownNEVER BACK DOWN

Watching the so-silly-it's-almost-fun mixed-martial-arts melodrama Never Back Down, I felt instantly transported to the summer of 1984, when my friends and I saw The Karate Kid the first time around. Fight Club was still 15 years away, so we weren't yet treated to this film's bone-crunchingly "kinetic" violence, nor to the sight of shirtless brawlers pummeling each other with their pants buttoned 12 inches below their navels. (Nor, for that matter, to topless teenage lesbians making out in a jacuzzi.) But Never Back Down is still pretty much Karate Kid redux, and the experience of watching it felt like time-travel for another reason: The movie's high-schooler lead is played by Tom Cruise.

 


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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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How ’Mo Can You Go?: "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-07-25 08:35:43

Kevin James and Adam Sandler in I Now Pronounce You Chuck & LarryI NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK & LARRY

Movies released by Adam Sandler's Happy Madison production company have always been easily described in a sentence. With I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, we finally have one that can be described in a title.


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Chris Almighty: “Click,” “Waist Deep,” and “The Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-06-28 05:13:58

Adam Sandler in ClickCLICK

A quick scan of Adam Sandler's screen credits reveals that - if you include his cameos in pal Rob Schneider's comedies - Click is the 13th Sandler film I've reviewed over the past decade-plus, and of this baker's dozen, it's easily my favorite. Mind you, I still didn't like it much. Yet despite Click's predictable story arc and the inability of its star to shake off the Sandler Movie staples that generally make his films so wretched, it isn't bad. With its script by Steve Coren and Mark O'Keefe, Click has more than a few moments of true invention, and director Frank Coraci provides some unexpectedly clever visuals. And, best of all, it has Christopher Walken.


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Good Help Is So Hard To Find...: "Big Momma's House 2," "Nanny McPhee," "Underworld: Evolution," and "The Matador"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-02-01 00:00:00

Martin Lawrence in Big Momma's House 2BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE 2

In the second season of TV’s Arrested Development, struggling wannabe actor Tobias, separated from his wife and daughter, devises a brilliant strategy for insinuating himself back into their lives: He dons a wig and a frumpy housedress, speaks in a high, quasi-British falsetto, and greets his family as Mrs. Featherbottom, hired by “the agency” to serve as housekeeper and nanny. (Tobias, as the narration points out, is giddily – and ridiculously – enacting the plot to Mrs. Doubtfire.) His family is, naturally, unconvinced by Tobias’ disguise, but they’re happy to let him continue the ruse anyway – the house never looked cleaner. This subplot was a typically, fiendishly clever one for the series; by finally addressing the “Are you kidding?” element of this comic staple – where seemingly smart characters are fooled by a touch of latex and rouge – it subverted expectation by making our “hero” the butt of his own joke. Tobias’ drag act made it impossible to ever again watch Mrs. Doubtfire – or even Tootsie or Some Like It Hot or Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night – in quite the same way.


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