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items tagged with Tom Hanks

Objects of Riddickule: "Riddick" and "The Ultimate Life"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-09-09 13:13:22

Vin Diesel in RiddickRIDDICK and THE ULTIMATE LIFE

A few weeks ago, before heading off to see Kick-Ass 2, a friend asked if I thought 2013 was, as he felt, the year of the completely unnecessary, unrequested sequel. As I had, by that point, already sat through The Smurfs 2, RED 2, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, The Last Exorcism: Part II, and Scary Movie V – to say nothing of The Hangover: Part III, Fast & Furious 6, and Grown Ups 2, all of which someone must have requested – I told him yes.

Had he asked the same question this past Friday, before my double-feature of Riddick and The Ultimate Life, I would have told him hell yes.


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Wheel in the Sky Keeps on Turnin’: "Elysium"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-08-11 19:45:55

Matt Damon in ElysiumELYSIUM

In Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, the sophomore sci-fi effort from the writer/director of District 9, the Earth of 2154 is a poverty-infested hell-hole that the richest of humans have evacuated for the gleaming, rotating space habitat of the film’s title. An orbiting gated community of luxury, privilege, and (from what we can tell) almost universally white people, it’s the utopia that our hero, Matt Damon’s steelworker Max, longs to escape to, particularly after a fatal dose of radiation limits his time left on Earth to five days. (Medical advances on Elysium have eradicated disease completely; after one cycle through a futuristic CAT-scan machine, even cancer cells are killed.) The unaddressed joke of Blomkamp’s film, however, is that Elysium – with its sterile mansions and perfectly mowed lawns and vacuous non-entities sipping champagne from crystal flutes – looks like a dismally dull place to be compared to the lively, recognizably human Earth, even in its decimated state. What’s less of a joke is that Elysium itself, once we land on the titular site in its last half hour, is also dismally dull – or at least, dishearteningly formulaic – compared to the Earth-set goings-on of the film’s first 70 minutes.


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Buddies Hack It: "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" and "The Call"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-03-17 23:04:00

Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, and Jim Carrey in The Incredible Burt WonderstoneTHE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE

A mere week after the release of Oz the Great & Powerful, the garish, boring box-office smash that’s neither great nor powerful, Misnomer March continues with The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, a comedy about warring Las Vegas magicians that’s awkwardly cast, overly sentimental, and decidedly not incredible. Yet considering how roundly disappointing the 2013 film year has been thus far, you can still have a fair amount of fun at director Don Scardino’s outing, despite this slapstick with heart being scattershot at best, and despite the movie almost appearing apologetic about its most unexpected and mordantly funny bits.


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A Map of the World: "Cloud Atlas," "Chasing Mavericks," and "Silent Hill: Revelation"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-10-29 12:50:52

Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in Cloud AtlasCLOUD ATLAS

I’ve seen plenty of movies in which a number of excellent passages can’t seem to blend into a satisfying whole. But prior to the release of Cloud Atlas, the film version of David Mitchell’s sprawling 2004 novel, I don’t think I’d ever seen a movie in which so many merely adequate sequences combine to form a whole that’s not only satisfying but downright exhilarating. Directed by Tom Tykwer and siblings Andy and Lana Wachowski and running just shy of three hours, this genre fantasia should be a mess, and it oftentimes is. It’s also, however, a hypnotic, glorious, grandly entertaining mess, one that’s probably far more enjoyable than a more presentationally faithful adaptation would’ve been.


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Ground Zero Offense: "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," "Red Tails," and "Haywire"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-01-23 15:34:23

Tom Hanks and Thomas Horn in Extremely Loud & Incredibly CloseEXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE

The protagonist of director Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s famed 9/11/01-themed novel and adapted by screenwriter Eric Roth – is Oskar Schell, an 11-year-old Manhattanite who tells a new acquaintance that he was once tested for Asperger’s syndrome, but that “the results weren’t definitive.” My first thought upon hearing that admission was that Oskar’s folks really should’ve sought a second opinion, because with young actor Thomas Horn tearing through breathless reams of stream-of-consciousness dialogue, his condition seemed definitive as all-get-out. My second thought, which I only fully composed during the end credits, and which I apologize for in advance, was that watching Extremely Loud was like watching a movie while an 11-year-old with Asperger’s yammers in your ear for 130 minutes.


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