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items tagged with sports movies

Tyler-san: "Never Back Down," "The Bank Job," and "Doomsday"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-03-19 08:40:31

Sean Faris and Djimon Hounsou in Never Back DownNEVER BACK DOWN

Watching the so-silly-it's-almost-fun mixed-martial-arts melodrama Never Back Down, I felt instantly transported to the summer of 1984, when my friends and I saw The Karate Kid the first time around. Fight Club was still 15 years away, so we weren't yet treated to this film's bone-crunchingly "kinetic" violence, nor to the sight of shirtless brawlers pummeling each other with their pants buttoned 12 inches below their navels. (Nor, for that matter, to topless teenage lesbians making out in a jacuzzi.) But Never Back Down is still pretty much Karate Kid redux, and the experience of watching it felt like time-travel for another reason: The movie's high-schooler lead is played by Tom Cruise.

 


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Mike's Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2007
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-10-30 00:41:02

Eduardo Verastegui and Tammy Blanchard in BellaBella (PG-13) - Alejandro Monteverde's drama, which concerns the friendship between a chef and a newly pregnant, newly unemployed waitress, received the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Um... who are these "people," exactly? Space people? Because I can see how Bella might be confused with a great movie if you didn't understand a word of human conversation. Even then, of course, you might still be put off by the film's bizarre editing (with flash-forwards routinely, meaninglessly interrupting scenes-in-progress) and lackluster photography; Montevrede shows more interest in food than in his stars. And then there's that baffling ending, which seems to set the film up for a sequel - one that fills in that massive "Huh?!?" of a climactic plot hole. But it's still the mawkish, maudlin screenplay that does it in; Eduardo Verástegui (looking uncannily like Jim Caviezel as Christ) and Tammy Blanchard (as ever, looking uncannily like Judy Garland) are stuck with unplayable dialogue and baldly written characters, and the movie shamelessly plies on the merely-functional supporting stereotypes. The movie is pro-life and pro-family with a vengeance, which might account for its (limited) popular success. I just wish it were also a little pro-brain, and a lot anti-cliché.


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Mike's Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2006
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-10-30 00:39:47

BarnyardBarnyard (PG) - As it had been at least six or seven hours since I had last seen a computer-animated family movie at the cineplex, I was delighted to catch a screening of Barnyard. Unfortunately, it only took about six or seven hours to all but completely forget the experience; the film is your standard pap about Believing in Yourself and Sticking by Your Friends and such, and it may hopelessly confuse the young kids it's geared towards - I'm sorry, but male cows? With udders? Yet, for what it is, it's agreeable enough and boasts a surprisingly bouncy soundtrack, and the movie displays a welcome nasty streak - when Danny Glover's sage, kindly mule kicked that elderly farmer in the head, knocking him unconscious, I laughed pretty hard. When he did it twice more, I laughed twice as hard.


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Between The Rock and a Heart Place: "The Jane Austen Book Club" and "The Game Plan:"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-10-10 08:11:54

Maria Bello and Hugh Dancy in The Jane Austen Book ClubTHE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB and THE GAME PLAN

On their surfaces, The Jane Austen Book Club and The Game Plan would seem to have nothing in common. One's a dramatic-sitcom wherein a sextet of bibliophiles dissect a noted author's works and unintentionally enact her plotlines; the other's a Disney slapstick wherein an adorable moppet teaches fatherhood lessons to a professional quarterback. (No points for guessing which film is which.)


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Arrested Development: "Reign Over Me," "Pride," "The Hills Have Eyes II," and "The Last Mimzy"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-03-28 08:17:01

Adam Sandler and Liv Tyler in Reign Over MeREIGN OVER ME

Even though I have yet to enjoy Adam Sandler in, well, anything, I applaud the comic's attempts to stretch beyond the mumbling, hostile, stunted-adolescent shtick he's employed in such comedies as Click, 50 First Dates, and Mr. Deeds. I'd applaud them more if the films he chooses to stretch in - Punch-Drunk Love, Spanglish, and the current Reign Over Me - didn't wind up every bit as confused and unsatisfying as his comedies are.


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