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items tagged with musicals

Record Players: "Cadillac Records," "Punisher: War Zone," and "Transporter 3"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-12-10 08:25:23

Jeffrey Wright in Cadillac RecordsCADILLAC RECORDS

At roughly 105 minutes, writer/director Darnell Martin's Cadillac Records is so jam-packed with character, story, incident, and musical interludes that it sometimes feels as though six or seven movies are being projected on the screen simultaneously. This is not meant as an insult. Films that overreach oftentimes give audiences too much of a fine thing, yet Cadillac Records is just enough of a really fine thing - a soulful, impassioned, beautifully enacted drama that delivers all the pleasures of the musical-bio-pic genre without the obviousness and sanctimony.


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Sweet Corn: "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," "The Secret Life of Bees," and "Saw V"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-10-29 08:14:35

Vanessa Hudgens and Zach Efron in High School Musical 3: Senior YearHIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR

Sure, its storyline is simplistic and its romantic ballads are pretty dull (and compose half of the film's soundtrack), but in nearly every other way High School Musical 3: Senior Year is fantastic - a supremely spirited, candy-colored pop extravaganza that sends you out of the cineplex on an exultant high.


Read More About Sweet Corn: "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," "The Secret Life Of Bees," And "Saw V"...


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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Razor D’etre: "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," "The Great Debaters," and "Charlie Wilson's War"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-01-02 08:26:47

Johnny Depp and Alan Rickman in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet StreetSWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET

As the title character in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Johnny Depp gives a controlled, admirable one-note performance in a role that calls for many more notes. This isn't a knock - well, not a huge knock - on his singing of this legendary Stephen Sondheim musical; Depp may not have the vocal power or range to do full justice to Sondheim's and book-writer Hugh Wheeler's masterful creation, but he gives it a good shot, and his morose speak-singing fits director Tim Burton's interpretation of the work. It's the interpretation that's the problem.


Read More About Razor D’Etre: "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street," "The Great Debaters," And "Charlie Wilson's War"...


The Toxic Avenger: "Michael Clayton" and "Across the Universe"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-10-17 16:16:41

George Clooney and Sydney Pollack in Michael ClaytonMICHAEL CLAYTON

There's a spirit of fatalism and dread that hangs over nearly every scene in Tony Gilroy's legal thriller Michael Clayton, and the miracle of the movie is that its grimness doesn't equal torpor; for a work drenched in both literal and figurative darkness, it's exquisitely, robustly entertaining. Like the films in the Bourne franchise (all of which Gilroy scripted), Michael Clayton is a smart, knotty diversion that keeps your senses, at all times, alert, and happily, the movie's ecologically minded plotline - involving an agricultural chemical company being sued for poisoning communities - doesn't have sanctimonious intent. The movie isn't designed to be Good for Us; it's just designed to be good. And it's very, very good.


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