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items tagged with science fiction movies

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.


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"Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut" Unnecessary But Still Stunning: Also, "The Forgotten" and "Wimbledon"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2004-09-29 00:00:00
Jake Gyllenhaal in Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut

DONNIE DARKO: THE DIRECTOR'S CUT

After I first saw Donnie Darko on DVD some 16 months back, I did something I’d done only once or twice before, and never again since: I returned to the main menu, hit “Play,” and watched the movie again.


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Don’t Believe the Hype on "Open Water": Also, "AVP: Alien vs. Predator" and "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2004-08-25 00:00:00

Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis in Open WaterOPEN WATER

We all know that shoestring-budgeted independent works aren’t necessarily going to have the professional sheen of Hollywood output, but after reading the rave reviews for Open Water, I feel compelled to ask: Just how much amateurishness are we expected to endure in the name of cinematic political-correctness (i.e., loving an indie solely for being an indie)? Barring an ingeniously edited sequence during a thunderstorm and a few stomach-tightening moments when sharks make surprise appearances, I didn’t find Open Water the least bit scary, let alone “Riveting!”, “Electrifying!”, and all the other superlatives currently being lavished on it (and this from someone who still gets freaked out watching The Blair Witch Project). Worse still, the movie is so badly performed and overwritten that it has the unintentional effect of coming off as totally phony, and since the film was notoriously shot with the leading actors surrounded by real sharks, realism is Open Water’s only true draw. Are we film critics now so openly hateful toward CGI-heavy Hollywood blockbusters that we’ll happily convince ourselves that tedious, flatly staged thrillers such as Open Water are actually great?


Read More About Don’T Believe The Hype On "Open Water": Also, "AVP: Alien Vs. Predator" And "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement"...





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