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items tagged with science fiction movies

Pulp Friction: "A History of Violence," "Oliver Twist," and "Serenity"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-10-05 00:00:00

Viggo Mortensen in A History of ViolenceA HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

I was completely rapt by the austerity and dread of David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence – for the first five minutes. In the film’s beautifully sustained opening sequence, we watch as two men – one middle-aged, in a black suit, and another, younger and sporting a T-shirt and jeans – exit their motel room. They load up their car, and the older gentleman drops off the room key while the other – slowly, slowly – pulls the car up to meet him. Moments later, the older man returns, having had, he says, “a little trouble with the maid.” But before they leave, they need water. The younger man enters the motel office to replenish their supply, and as he does, we finally see the image that Cronenberg has thus far denied us, and that we in the audience have properly anticipated – the motel manager and maid lying dead in pools of blood. A frightened little girl, gently stroking the hair of her doll, enters the scene and makes eye contact with the younger killer. And the man, smiling gently, tells her not to be afraid, slowly aims his revolver at the girl’s head, and fires.


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Bay’s Latest a Personal Best – and an OK Movie: "The Island," "Hustle & Flow," "Wedding Crashers," and "March of the Penguins"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-07-27 00:00:00

Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor in The IslandTHE ISLAND

If we absolutely must endure movies by Michael Bay, we could do a lot worse – we have done a lot worse – than The Island. As usual, there isn’t a plot point or turn of character here that Bay doesn’t make wincingly obvious, and, apparently, there’s no getting rid of either his tiresome sentimental streak or his sniggering, insulting stabs at “humor.” (When Bay attempts to be serious I giggle, and when he tries to make jokes, I go numb.) But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being reasonably entertained by The Island. Bay has hold of an intriguing story idea, and even if the movie eventually turns into routine action-thriller nonsense, at least that nonsense is delivered with speed, a few memorable images, and even something resembling humanity. Like all Michael Bay movies, The Island runs a good bit over two hours. Unlike the others, I barely noticed.


Read More About Bay’S Latest A Personal Best – And An OK Movie: "The Island," "Hustle & Flow," "Wedding Crashers," And "March Of The Penguins"...


When the Spielberg Touch Goes Deeply Wrong: "War of the Worlds"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-07-06 00:00:00

Tim Robbins, Tom Cruise, and Dakota Fanning in War of the WorldsWAR OF THE WORLDS

My first thought after seeing Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds was: Thank God for the aliens, because although the creatures themselves aren’t particularly memorable – a gooey blend of the director’s beatific Close Encounters visitors and H. R. Giger’s 1979 Alien design – their spacecrafts certainly are. The ships’ enormous tripod legs, crushing everything in their paths, exude a wriggling, snakelike suggestiveness, and they have vicious talents besides; these tentacles have the ability to either incinerate their victims instantly – making the human race resemble ants at the mercy of a magnifying glass – or toss them into the spaceships’ grotesque “mouths,” producing more grisly, prolonged executions. (A couple of killings are reminiscent of Steve Buscemi’s demise in Fargo.) To the War of the Worlds aliens, humans are a combination of entertainment, nuisance, and snack, and whenever Spielberg gives us evidence of just how queasily horrifying an attack of this nature might be, his movie is gripping and evocative.

My second thought was: Steven Spielberg has lost his mind.


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Lucas’ Revenge: Goodwill Triumphing Over Evil: "Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-05-25 00:00:00

Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen in Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the SithSTAR WARS, EPISODE III - REVENGE OF THE SITH

I’ve spent a lot of time – both in print and in person – making fun of George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels, and for a reason: It’s pretty easy. The prosaic (and endless) exposition, the flat staging, the unspeakable dialogue, the ba-dum-ching! clunkiness of the comedy, the videogame-inspired mayhem, Jar Jar Binks … there’s practically no end of topics worth goofing on.


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"Hitchhiker’s Guide" a Free-Wheeling Joy: "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," "King's Ransom," and "A Lot Like Love"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-05-04 00:00:00

Mos Def and Martin Freeman in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyTHE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is something unusual: a movie wherein everyone involved appears to be having a good time. Of course, you could say the same about Cannonball Run or Ocean’s Twelve, but the difference here is that the audience is allowed to have a good time, too. Based on Douglas Adams’ cheeky, beloved sci-fi novel, Hitchhiker’s Guide, which has been in various stages of film development for the better part of two decades, is a goofy, oftentimes glorious mess of a movie. If George Lucas and the Monty Python troupe ever spawned, the results would look something like this; I started smiling during the film’s opening credits and only stopped to occasionally laugh out loud.


Read More About "Hitchhiker’S Guide" A Free-Wheeling Joy: "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy," "King's Ransom," And "A Lot Like Love"...





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