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items tagged with Magnolia

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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A Summer Sleeper Trumps a Trio of New Releases: "Happy Endings," "Walk the Line," "Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire," and "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-11-23 00:00:00

Lisa Kudrow and Bobby Cannavale in Happy EndingsHAPPY ENDINGS

This summer, I was fortunate enough to catch a special screening of writer/director Don Roos’ Happy Endings at the University of Iowa, but decided to hold off on a review until the film made it to our area.


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Explosive "Crash" an Early Contender for Best of 2005: Also, "Melinda & Melinda" and "XXX: State of the Union"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-05-11 00:00:00

Jennifer Esposito, Don Cheadle, and Kathleen York in CrashCRASH

Crash, the magnificent drama by Million Dollar Baby screenwriter Paul Haggis, fits alongside such sprawling, ensemble-driven works as Grand Canyon, Short Cuts, and Magnolia, movies in which plotlines dovetail within one another and themes enmesh, and where bitter, dissatisfied characters might not wind up more content than before – some might not even wind up alive – but they will definitely have shared, for better or worse, An Experience. (These characters might not receive traditional happy endings, yet they almost invariably find degrees of solace and a measure of hope.) Moviegoers who crave a clearly delineated moral to their stories can be driven batty by films of this ilk; more than once I’ve heard someone ask, apropos of one of these works, “But what was its point?” Crash, like its predecessors, explores characters so hungry for contact and meaning and understanding in a chaotic universe that they’re ready to explode, and oftentimes do. That hunger becomes the point.


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Skip "Furious" and Take a "Wrong Turn": "2 Fast 2 Furious," "Wrong Turn," "The Guru," and "Love Liza"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-06-11 00:00:00

Paul Walker and Tyrese Gibson in 2 Fast 2 Furious2 FAST 2 FURIOUS

How did this happen? How, in a summer chockablock with megahit wannabes of all sorts, did the major studios agree to get out of Universal’s way and allow 2 Fast 2 Furious to be the only new release of the June 6 weekend? Are the powers-that-be at Universal holding compromising photos involving the rival studio heads? Are they holding their pets hostage? Why, for the love of God, are Universal’s competitors letting this terrible movie become a hit? Granted, the opening five minutes are fun, and there’s a squirmy torture scene involving a rat attempting to burrow through a man’s stomach.


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Fun Flicks at Last!: "Shaft" and "Fantasia 2000"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2000-06-21 12:00:00

Samuel L. Jackson and Toni Collette in Shaft

SHAFT and FANTASIA 2000

For about a month now, when friends have asked me what new movies they should see, I've come dangerously close to drawing a blank. I'd mention Gladiator (which, naturally, most of them had already seen) and Small Time Crooks (which, sadly, most were uninterested in). Then I'd generally guide them in a different direction altogether, like Paul Thomas Anderson's magnificent Magnolia, which recently returned to Moline's discount cineplex. Or video and DVD, with the recent release of two extraordinary documentaries: Chris Smith's hilarious and touching American Movie, probably the best film of 1999 that wasn't seen locally, and Errol Morris' disturbing but brilliant Mr. Death: The Rise & Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.


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