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

There's a little something for everyone in the adventure fantasy Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – and that's kind of the problem. Serving as both prequel and appendage to her Harry Potter series, screenwriter J.K. Rowling's continuation of her latest wizard saga boasts plenty of random pleasures, including some nifty visuals, a couple of cheerful comic turns, and a scarily resonant sequence suggesting a Rowling-ized Nuremberg rally. Yet this second installment in a planned five-part franchise – one that began with 2016's Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them – is still so wildly overstuffed with incident and exposition, and so distractingly focused on The Bigger Picture, that it barely gives us a chance to admire its many lovely fringe touches. There may be a little for everyone here, but taken overall, there's not a lot for anyone.

Before my screening of the new heist thriller Widows, the film's director Steve McQueen popped up in one of those “Thanks for coming to the movies!” PSAs, and after some charming flubbing of his lines, he called the film we were about to see “a dream project.” In retrospect, it was an unexpectedly lighthearted – and therefore, perhaps necessary – introduction to a decidedly somber movie. But still, coming from the director of Hunger, Shame, and 12 Years a Slave, I have to ask: Really? This was McQueen's dream project? A feature-film version of a 1983 British mini-series about a team of former thieves' wives who ridiculously, even ludicrously pick up where their hubbies left off? The minor miracle of McQueen's latest, though, is that it might just satisfy both fans of the director's grave, unsparing, almost completely humorless works (I'm one of those fans), and those who just want to enjoy a tougher-minded Ocean's 8 with Viola Davis in the Sandra Bullock role. (I'm one of them, too.)

Before I'm accused of being one myself, let me state up front that Dr. Seuss' The Grinch – the latest retelling of the good doctor's How the Grinch Stole Christmas – has quite a few things going for it (Happy Holidays!), even if they're eventually outweighed by the things going against it. (Bah, Humbug!)

About an hour into the Freddie Mercury bio-pic Bohemian Rhapsody, the screen is suddenly filled with excerpts from reviews of the title song, with the least harsh among many hateful notices calling the Queen track “perfectly adequate.” Depending on where you look, a glance through the film's own reviews can feel similar to that montage, with some of the nation's foremost news outlets attacking the release with a loathing that suggests the second coming of Ed Wood. (The headline for the New York Times' take was “Another One Bites the Dust” … and that was one of the kinder things said.)

But if ever a movie was wholly, deservedly review-proof, it's this one. Yes, I thought that Bohemian Rhapsody was in most ways disappointingly traditional and in many ways bad. It left me, however, with such a movie-going high – and a high composed of numerous incidental thrills well before its phenomenally satisfying finale – that I found its scores of problems, in the end, almost completely irrelevant. As the insistent lyric goes: “We will we will rock you.” And damn if I didn't leave rocked.

Given the previews' gaudy color schemes and overall air of manic busyness, my fear was that the family adventure The Nutcracker & the Four Realms would feel like an unfortunate redo of Tim Burton's 2010 Alice in Wonderland, with another cherished childhood classic Disney-fied and blockbuster-ized almost beyond recognition. What we actually get, though, is even worse: a redo of Alice Through the Looking Glass, director James Bobin's 2016 headache that managed to be even more visually garish and narratively incoherent than Burton's predecessor.

In the action thriller Hunter Killer, Gerard Butler plays Sam Glass, a stern, reckless, my-way-or-the-highway submarine captain who's initially seen, on dry land, in the process of picking off a deer with a long-range rifle. Nothing about the image surprised me – the grim-faced, half-bearded Butler looks the way he always does in his movies, and of course the guy is packing heat. (Bambi fans, though, can rest easy: After Glass spies the deer's mate and baby trotting behind him, the ol' softie refuses to pull the trigger.) Yet I'll admit I was more than a little jazzed by the introduction's Scottish locale. Would director Donovan Marsh's outing have the nerve to cast Scotland native Butler as an actual Scot, and spare us the pain of listening to one of the star's continually unbearable attempts at an American accent?

John Carpenter's 1978 Halloween survived five direct sequels, each less effective than the one that came before. It survived the 1998 reboot Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, as well as that film's own sequel – the one that had the temerity to kill off Jamie Lee Curtis' heroine Laurie Strode in its first 15 minutes. It survived Rob Zombie's 2007 Halloween, an attempt to empathize with babysitter killer Michael Myers, plus Zombie's 2009 follow-up, an equally misguided but far more interesting movie. And it'll survive writer/director David Gordon Green's current, mostly lousy Halloween, too, though why it should have to is another matter entirely. What did Carpenter's spare, elegant, terrifying little slasher flick do to warrant such continued besmirchment of its good name?

Damien Chazelle's Neil Armstrong bio-pic opened this past weekend, and viewed strictly on a technical level, it's a virtuosic work, one boasting hand-held camerawork and earth-shaking sound effects that effectively put you, cramped and uncomfortable (and also kind of exhilarated), right inside lunar capsules along with our hero and his fellow NASA recruits. Yet despite being titled First Man, what I left my screening really wanting to talk about was the film's First Lady, given that Janet Armstrong portrayer Claire Foy and the focus extended to the character make Chazelle's La La Land follow-up far more engaging than it might've otherwise been.

In the black-comedy-thriller Bad Times at the El Royale, Jon Hamm plays a Southern vacuum-cleaner salesman who is neither Southern nor a vacuum-cleaner salesman. Jeff Bridges plays a priest who's not a priest. Chris Hemsworth plays a barefoot beachcomber who's not nearly the pacifist he initially appears to be. And writer/director Drew Goddard is doing an impersonation, as well – that of early-to-mid-'90s Quentin Tarantino. Happily, at least until the film's final half hour or so, he pulls off the ruse rather spectacularly.

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