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items tagged with War of the Worlds

The Fox and the Hounds (and the Aliens): “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Old Dogs,” and “Planet 51”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-11-29 21:18:54

Fantastic Mr. FoxFANTASTIC MR. FOX

Film scholars widely agree that 1939 remains the strongest year ever for American movies. But I'm starting to think that, as the decades pass, 2009 might be seen as a comparable year for animated movies.


Read More About The Fox And The Hounds (And The Aliens): “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Old Dogs,” And “Planet 51”...


When Bad Advertising Happens to Good Movies: "The Invisible," "Next," and "In the Land of Women"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-05-02 08:12:14

Margarita Leviera and Justin Chatwin in The InvisibleTHE INVISIBLE

Funny story. I caught director David S. Goyer's The Invisible on Friday afternoon, and later that evening, watched a TV show I'd taped a couple of days prior but hadn't yet seen. During a commercial break, there was a preview for The Invisible. Amazingly, it was the first trailer for the film I'd landed upon, which gave me the unusual opportunity to judge a preview based on its movie, rather than the other way around. And now that I have seen the teaser for the film - a 15-second scare-flick pastiche of screams, slash-edits, and a threatening shriek of "You're dead!!!" - I feel compelled to ask: Did The Invisible's marketing wizards not see the movie, or did they indeed see it, not have a clue about how to market it, and purposely create the most misleading trailer imaginable?


Read More About When Bad Advertising Happens To Good Movies: "The Invisible," "Next," And "In The Land Of Women"...


Cruise in for a Bruisin’: "Mission: Impossible III"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-05-10 09:00:17

Tom Cruise and Keri Russell in Mission: Impossible IIIMISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III

Call it envy, call it sour grapes, call it schadenfreude, but I’ll admit to hugely enjoying the public meltdown of Tom Cruise, mostly because it’s finally making him interesting. Cruise has always been too bland to be true. He’s moderately proficient, and in several of his films – most recently Collateral and Minority Report – he’s even been impressive. But he has too few resources to draw upon as a performer. It would be hard to accuse Cruise of slouching on the job – he’s determined and earnest, and you can sense him trying to suggest interior life. But his line readings have no surprise and his on-screen performances rarely build; whenever a new scene begins, Cruise appears to have forgotten everything his character experienced in his previous scenes. He can’t seem to play more than one emotion, or one thought, at a time.


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Idle "American": "American Dreamz," "The Wild," and "Scary Movie 4"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-04-26 00:00:00

Mandy Moore in American DreamzAMERICAN DREAMZ

American Dreamz is like a middling Saturday Night Live skit that never ends. In writer/director Paul Weitz’s conception, the president is a slow-witted dolt being puppeteered by his staff, the participants on an American Idol-type mega-hit are a combination of talentless sweeties and fame-hungry monsters, and the American public happily buys every piece of pop-fueled mediocrity placed before it, especially when it’s swathed in the sentimental, jingoistic guise of “patriotism.” Wherever did Weisz come up with such fresh objects of ridicule?


Read More About Idle "American": "American Dreamz," "The Wild," And "Scary Movie 4"...


Spielberg Takes a Riveting Trip to "Munich": Also, "The Family Stone"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-12-28 00:00:00

Eric Bana and Geoffrey Rush in MunichMUNICH

He may be revered – and often reviled – for his sense of childlike wonder, but no Hollywood director shoots scenes of violence with the no-frills grimness of Steven Spielberg. In the helmer’s taut, ambitious Munich – which focuses on Israeli retribution for the murders of nine of their athletes at the 1972 Olympics – Spielberg, as he did in Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, doesn’t distance himself from the carnage on the screen, and doesn’t let us distance ourselves, either. There’s nothing self-consciously “artistic” about the numerous killings we’re shown here; bullets tear through flesh with terrifying force, bombs rip limbs apart, and most of these atrocities are portrayed with an almost shocking matter-of-factness – we recoil from the violence because Spielberg’s presentation of it is so intentionally artless. (The murders in Munich come off as almost painfully realistic.) Yet although Munich is a brutal work, it isn’t brutalizing; Spielberg is too much of a natural showman – and natural entertainer – for that. The film is a riveting and intelligent political thriller, and although the director can’t fully rein in his expectedly sentimental impulses, Munich is probably Spielberg’s strongest directorial accomplishment in more than a decade. It’s a gripping and, for Spielberg especially, refreshingly tough-minded piece of work.


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