Here you’ll find links to all of Mike Schulz’s movie reviews from March 2000 to the present.

Coincidence is one thing. Yet what are we to make of the fact that, this past weekend, Hollywood released two sequels to movies released within 15 days of each other in 2017, both of which were about men almost slavishly devoted to their dogs? Last Sunday was Mother's Day, but was this most recent Sunday some kind of canine-centric holiday I was unaware of?

It's nearly impossible to be excited by a movie that merely fulfills your expectations. It's also nearly impossible to be disappointed by one when your expectations are merely that it be lighthearted, fast-paced, and funny, and your expectations are met.

In many ways, Long Shot is a traditional rom-com to its teeth: there are slapstick antics and getting-to-know-you montages and familiar pop tunes aplenty; the supporting figures include sensible besties and backstabbing rivals and foolish authority figures; our heroine, when depressed, consumes a pint of Häagen-Daaz in her bathrobe. But it's been a long, time time since a Hollywood feature made me as thunderously happy as I was during director Jonathan Levine's showcase for Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, and the nearly forgotten pleasure of old-school, grown-up screen romance. And yes: I just referenced “Seth Rogen” and “grown-up” in the same sentence. I also referenced “Seth Rogen” and “Charlize Theron” in the same sentence. We can argue later about which seemed less likely.

What follows are opinions, feelings, and rhetorical questions inspired by directors Joe and Anthony Russo's clever, funny, baffling, touching, blissfully fan-centric Avengers: Endgame – the concluding chapter in the 22-movie Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) – more or less in order of occurrence:

The curse of La Llorona, as explained in the fittingly titled The Curse of La Llorona, is a piece of Latin American folklore too juicy to be employed merely as a bridge to yet another feature starring that nasty porcelain doll Annabelle. Alas, director Michael Chaves' supernatural horror film is being marketed as the latest in the “Conjuring Universe” that entails two Conjurings (with a third heading our way next year), two Annabelles (with a third heading our way this June), and last fall's dreary The Nun (with a second, and inevitable third, TBA). Every cinematic series, it seems, has to be capitalized Universe now, but am I alone in wishing that this latest entry had functioned merely as a self-contained planet?

Instead of a sweet, 13-year-old white boy waking to find himself in his 30-something body, writer/director Tina Gordon's lighthearted take on Big gives us a rude, 30-something black woman waking to find herself reverted to her gawky 13-year-old frame. In other words, Little is about as familiar-yet-slightly-different as high-concept Hollywood offerings get. With its leads portrayed by Regina Hall, Issa Rae, and the remarkable Marsai Martin, it's also about as enjoyable as they get – though you can't help wishing there were even more here to enjoy.

Those trailers suggested Big in shiny red Spandex, and the trailers didn't lie. Director David F. Sandberg's comic-book outing, however, isn't reminiscent of the Tom Hanks comedy merely because it's about a young teen magically transformed into an adult. It's also fast and funny and clever and touching in the manner of Big – so much so that all that's really missing is the sight of Robert Loggia on a giant walking piano. And the giant walking piano actually makes an appearance.

Astoundingly, Disney's animated Dumbo from 1941 clocks in at 64 minutes, and my latest quadruple feature would no doubt start on a cheerier note if director Tim Burton's live-action remake also lasted just over an hour. Alas, this Dumbo is closer to two, and frequently feels more like four.

It's kind of like what you'd get if a home-invasion thriller mated with a zombie-apocalypse thriller and gave birth to a subterranean Matrix, with Sigmund Freud and Lewis Carroll serving as godparents and Darren Aronofsky performing the baptism.

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