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items tagged with Tom Cruise

If He Had a Hammer ... : "Thor" and "Something Borrowed"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-05-08 22:53:36

Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman in ThorTHOR

Prior to the film’s release, I wouldn’t have thought any director a worse candidate for helming the hugely budgeted comic-book adaptation Thor than Kenneth Branagh, that frequent interpreter of Shakespeare whose one foray into Hollywood-blockbuster(-wannabe) terrain was 1994’s monstrously terrible Frankenstein. In retrospect, I’m not sure any director would have proved a better choice. Two days after seeing Branagh’s grandly produced yet subtly frisky entertainment, I’m still a bit shocked at how strong the results are; against all logic, Thor’s director has successfully melded his movie’s wildly disparate elements into an action-packed thrill ride (in 3D!) that, incredibly, also manages to be emotionally satisfying, and oftentimes funny as hell.


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Brainy Acts: “Limitless,” “The Lincoln Lawyer,” and “Paul”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-03-20 21:01:52

Bradley Cooper in LimitlessLIMITLESS and THE LINCOLN LAWYER

At some point during my double-feature of Limitless and The Lincoln Lawyer, I was reminded, as I frequently am, that we filmgoers don’t really need more great movies from Hollywood. We just need more good movies – smart, strong, satisfying releases that only want to entertain, but manage to do so without attempting to overwhelm you, or demanding that you first check your intelligence at the auditorium door.


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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?
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Star Wars: "Doubt," "Valkyrie," "The Reader," "Bedtime Stories," and "Marley & Me"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-01-07 16:38:13

Meryl Streep in DoubtDOUBT

Based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, writer/director John Patrick Shanley's period drama Doubt - set in 1964, and concerning a nun who suspects a priest of sexual misconduct with an altar boy - isn't much of a movie. Shanley's previous directorial effort was 1990's Joe Versus the Volcano, and it's a shame he wasn't able to get in more practice over the last 18 years; in an attempt to gussy up the visual blandness that accompanies most theatrical adaptations, Shanley opts for a series of high- and low-angle shots and symbolic thunder, lightning, and wind effects that oftentimes make Doubt resemble a satire of a low-budget horror flick. And it's still visually bland.


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Vicky Stiller Kiefer Tatooine: "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," "Tropic Thunder," "Mirrors," "Star Wars: The Clone Wars"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-08-20 08:15:33

Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina BarcelonaVICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA

In 1992's Husbands & Wives, Juliette Lewis' neophyte reads an unpublished novel by Woody Allen's author, and responds to its romantic ennui with an exasperated "Are our choices really between chronic dissatisfaction and suburban drudgery?" Sixteen years later, with Vicky Cristina Barcelona, the writer/director's response appears to be: Yup. Yet while we Allen fans have been here before, we've never been here before.


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