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items tagged with Saturday Night Live

Lady Gaga Goes to Hogwarts: Musical-Comedy Improvisation with Baby Wants Candy, October 1 at Augustana College
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2011-09-21 19:08:04

cast members of Baby Wants CandyLike most professional performers, Chicagoan Nick Semar has a healthy number of musicals on his résumé.

Unlike most professional performers, Semar can boast acting credits in 26 original, hour-long musicals.

Staged over 27 nights.

All of which were made up on the spot.


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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?
Read More About National Buffoons’ Vacation: “Grown Ups” And “Knight & Day”...


It Ain’t Over ’Til It’s Ogre: "Shrek Forever After" and "MacGruber"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2010-05-23 21:15:00
Shrek Forever After

SHREK FOREVER AFTER

Has there ever been a cinematic storybook adventure - to say nothing of an animated, comedic one - as profoundly joyless as Shrek Forever After? It's not just that the subject matter for this latest, potentially last, and certainly least of the Shrek series concerns middle-aged dissatisfaction and inertia, themes that aren't exactly conducive to lighthearted escapism. The bigger problem is that nearly everything about the film, from the plotline to the jokes to the voice acting, is lethargic and heavy-spirited, and that air of fatigue is likely intensified if, like me, you catch it in 3D, with the gray of your eyewear dulling the movie's already-pretty-dull color palette. From its opening beats, Shrek Forever After feels less like a follow-up than the grudging fulfillment of a contract obligation, and I left this third sequel feeling about 10 years older than I did before it began.
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Marley and Me: "Disney's A Christmas Carol," "The Fourth Kind," "The Men Who Stare at Goats," and "The Box"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-11-08 21:18:25

Disney's A Christmas CarolDISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL

For the most part, Disney's A Christmas Carol - the third of director Robert Zemeckis' features to employ the process of performance-capture animation - is a strong, serious, stunningly well-designed piece of work, and an unexpectedly resonant take on Charles Dickens' holiday classic. But I do feel compelled to ask Mr. Zemeckis a question: Must everything be transformed into a Hollywood thrill ride?


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Bombs Away: "Funny People," "The Hurt Locker," and "G-Force"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-08-03 12:57:48

Adam Sandler and Leslie Mann in Funny PeopleFUNNY PEOPLE

Leslie Mann, the wife of comedy kingpin Judd Apatow, is unfailingly awesome, and I love her in her husband's first two outings as a film writer/director: 2005's The 40-Year-Old Virgin and 2007's Knocked Up. So it pains me to say that I would've enjoyed Apatow's third auteurist venture - the current Funny People - a whole lot more if Mann's character had been excised from it completely. Of course, that would've made the movie almost a full hour shorter than it is. That would've been all right, too.


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