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items tagged with Magnolia

A Map of the World: "Cloud Atlas," "Chasing Mavericks," and "Silent Hill: Revelation"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-10-29 12:50:52

Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in Cloud AtlasCLOUD ATLAS

I’ve seen plenty of movies in which a number of excellent passages can’t seem to blend into a satisfying whole. But prior to the release of Cloud Atlas, the film version of David Mitchell’s sprawling 2004 novel, I don’t think I’d ever seen a movie in which so many merely adequate sequences combine to form a whole that’s not only satisfying but downright exhilarating. Directed by Tom Tykwer and siblings Andy and Lana Wachowski and running just shy of three hours, this genre fantasia should be a mess, and it oftentimes is. It’s also, however, a hypnotic, glorious, grandly entertaining mess, one that’s probably far more enjoyable than a more presentationally faithful adaptation would’ve been.


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National Buffoons’ Vacation: “Grown Ups” and “Knight & Day”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2010-06-28 00:20:42

Rob Schneider, Chris Rock, Kevin James, Adam Sandler, and David Spade in Grown UpsGROWN UPS

In basic outline, director Dennis Dugan's Grown Ups is similar to last autumn's Couples Retreat, that witless, odious comedy in which a gaggle of Hollywood stars enjoyed a luxury weekend on a tropical isle and demanded that audiences pick up the tab. (More than $100-million worth of ticket buyers actually did. Staggering.) Beyond their locales, though, the main difference between them is that Couples Retreat starred Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Faizon Love, and Malin Akerman, while Dugan's film top-bills Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, and the entertainment vacuum known as Rob Schneider. Was this Happy Madison production - written by Sandler and Fred Wolf - going to pull off the borderline-miraculous feat of being the lesser of the two movies?
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It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: “Alice in Wonderland” and “Brooklyn’s Finest”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2010-03-07 22:11:07

Johnny Depp in Alice in WonderlandALICE IN WONDERLAND

Beginning with 2001's Planet of the Apes remake, Tim Burton has cast domestic partner Helena Bonham Carter in all six of his most recent feature films, and he's never made better use of her beguiling, somewhat perverse charisma than in his new take on Alice in Wonderland.
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A Lighter Shade of Noir: “The Black Dahlia,” “Gridiron Gang,” “The Last Kiss,” and “The Protector”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-09-20 04:34:58

Aaron Eckhart and Josh Hartnett in The Black DahliaTHE BLACK DAHLIA

The opening sequence of Brian De Palma's L.A. noir The Black Dahlia is so busily choreographed that, at first, you think it has to be some sort of put-on. A melee involving a street full of cops and sailors in downtown Los Angeles circa 1946, the balletic, slow-motion punching and flailing is orchestrated within an inch of its life; nothing about it seems real, but it's so dazzlingly executed that you hardly care. But with Josh Hartnett's ersatz tough-guy narration droning away, it quickly becomes clear that the scene isn't meant to be funny. It isn't comedy that De Palma's going after here but stylization, and as The Black Dahlia progresses, it's obvious that the director doesn't have the cast or screenwriter required to give his baroque touches a context. A few nastily enjoyable moments aside, the film is dour, dull, and confusing, enlivened only by a few zesty supporting portrayals and whatever directorial wit De Palma can bring to it.


Read More About A Lighter Shade Of Noir: “The Black Dahlia,” “Gridiron Gang,” “The Last Kiss,” And “The Protector”...


Cruise in for a Bruisin’: "Mission: Impossible III"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-05-10 09:00:17

Tom Cruise and Keri Russell in Mission: Impossible IIIMISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III

Call it envy, call it sour grapes, call it schadenfreude, but I’ll admit to hugely enjoying the public meltdown of Tom Cruise, mostly because it’s finally making him interesting. Cruise has always been too bland to be true. He’s moderately proficient, and in several of his films – most recently Collateral and Minority Report – he’s even been impressive. But he has too few resources to draw upon as a performer. It would be hard to accuse Cruise of slouching on the job – he’s determined and earnest, and you can sense him trying to suggest interior life. But his line readings have no surprise and his on-screen performances rarely build; whenever a new scene begins, Cruise appears to have forgotten everything his character experienced in his previous scenes. He can’t seem to play more than one emotion, or one thought, at a time.


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