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items tagged with Taken

Holy Moses!: "Exodus: Gods & Kings" and "Whiplash"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-12-12 20:44:20

Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods & KingsEXODUS: GODS & KINGS

You can tell a lot about a movie by its trailers. I don’t mean the trailers for the movie itself, although that’s also, usually, the case. I’m talking about the ones that play before the main attraction – the previews for future releases that generally share a genre or overall flavor with whatever film you’re paying to see, collectively acting as a sort of “Because you watched ______” recommendation list on Netflix.


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Are You Not Entertained?!: "Pompeii," "3 Days to Kill," and "Winter’s Tale"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-02-23 19:23:46

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Kit Harington in PompeiiPOMPEII

About a half-hour into Paul W.S. Anderson’s Pompeii, the film’s protagonist – a gladiator-turned-slave amusingly named Milo – hears the unfamiliar sound of the nearby Mount Vesuvius preparing to erupt. “It is the mountain,” says Milo’s comrade Atticus. “It grumbles from time to time.” So do movie reviewers, and this latest 3D action spectacle by the director of Mortal Kombat, Death Race, and a trio of Resident Evil flicks would, at first glance, appear to be exactly the sort of thing I’d personally grumble about: a predictably corny, derivative, overscaled costume party with loads of generic violence and nothing in the way of subtlety or emotional nuance.

Yet while it’s easy to name the movie’s most direct influences, Gladiator and Titanic chief among them, what I didn’t at all expect was for this swords-and-sandals outing to be so thoroughly, cheerfully indebted to 1970s disaster epics in the vein of The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure; Pompeii, to its cheeky credit, is kind of like 1974’s Earthquake with the ancient Roman city cast in the role of Los Angeles.


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Elementary Ghouls: "Frankenweenie," "Hotel Transylvania," and "Taken 2"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-10-07 18:16:19

FrankenweenieFRANKENWEENIE and HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA

Not two months after the release of ParaNorman, two other animated, family-friendly spook fests can now be found at national cineplexes: Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, the Mary Shelley-like tale of a beloved pooch’s magical resurrection, and Hotel Transylvania, a manic slapstick about the world’s most comically macabre bed-and-breakfast. And after catching up with the latter titles during a recent double feature, my immediate thought was this: Man, ParaNorman sure was good, wasn’t it?


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Biting (Off) the Hand That Feeds You: "The Cabin in the Woods," "The Three Stooges," "The Raid: Redemption," and "Lockout"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-04-15 21:33:49

Fran Kranz, Chris Hemsworth, and Anna Hutchison in The Cabin in the WoodsTHE CABIN IN THE WOODS

Hollywood’s been leading toward it for decades, and with the blithely enjoyable, exceedingly clever The Cabin in the Woods, it’s finally happened: A movie has been released in which practically everything about it – its plot, its twists, its performers, its characters, its themes, its jokes – could be considered a spoiler.


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Rebel without a Planet: “I Am Number Four,” “Unknown,” and “Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-02-20 20:08:57

Dianna Agron and Alex Pettyfer in I Am Number FourI AM NUMBER FOUR

A handsome, troubled, rebellious transfer student dealing with alienation and the wrath of bullies at his new high school. The kid’s ineffectual father, shrugging off his child’s loneliness and conflicts with the authorities. The kid’s one new friend, a withdrawn, frequently picked-on nerd with his own parental hang-ups. The kid’s potential love interest, a pretty, popular girl who feels like an outsider herself, and appears to be the property of the kid’s chief tormentor. If you’ve seen a certain iconic drama starring Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, and a red-jacket-wearing James Dean, the aforementioned character descriptions might sound a teensy bit familiar.


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