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items tagged with War of the Worlds

Mike Schulz Toasts 2005's Great Movies
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2005-12-28 00:00:00
My annual challenge in composing a list of the year’s best movies almost never lies in deciding what to list. It lies in deciding when to list. As every movie fan knows, film studios – both majors and independents – generally unleash their most prominent Academy Award hopefuls (and, oftentimes, most interesting works) at the end of December, giving these films their best chance at being remembered, and potentially embraced, by the notoriously forgetful Academy.
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What the "Flux"?: "Aeon Flux," "Bee Season," "The Ice Harvest," and "Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3-D"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-12-07 00:00:00

Charlize Theron in Aeon FluxAEON FLUX

By all rights, Aeon Flux should be godawful. (Certainly, Paramount is treating it like it is, as the studio opted against pre-release screenings for fear of lousy advance notices.) Set some 400 years in the future, director Karyn Kusama’s film – a big-screen vehicle for MTV’s Liquid Television character – takes place after 99% of the earth has been eliminated by a virus, the most humorless 1%, apparently, having been left to roam the earth. Charlize Theron’s Aeon leads a Spandex-clad revolt against the government, and the movie is, for the most part, a joke; the effects are particularly shoddy, and as they recite their clunky dialogue, you feel badly for several performers – when they were being feted as Oscar nominees, did Theron, Frances McDormand (in a red fright wig), Sophie Okenedo and Pete Postlethwaite ever think it would come to this? (The film’s one impressive performance comes from Marton Csokas, who’s like a more rugged version of Kevin Spacey.)


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Burton’s "Chocolate Factory" Less Treat Than Toothache: "Charlie & the Chocolate Factory" and "Howl's Moving Castle"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-07-20 00:00:00

Johnny Depp in Charlie & the Chocolate FactoryCHARLIE & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

For the life of me, I can’t figure out what director Tim Burton was trying to accomplish with Charlie & the Chocolate Factory that wasn’t previously accomplished by Roald Dahl’s book or the beloved 1971 film.


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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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