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

As with its predecessor, the best thing about director Andy Muschietti's horror sequel It Chapter Two is its murderous clown Pennywise, a role again acted to perfection by Bill Skarsgård. The worst thing, unfortunately, is everything else.

And so, with the passing of Labor Day, the summer-movie season of 2019 officially comes to an end. Not with a bang, but rather, as is annually the case, a whimper – specifically, a pair of releases so thoroughly unpromising that one of our area's two cineplexes didn't bother booking either of them. With that in mind, while we all count the days to It: Chapter Two and the onslaught of hopefully better fall flicks, let's take a moment to look at two films you likely didn't see this past weekend … .

In the new action thriller Angel Has Fallen, Gerard Butler plays Secret Service agent Mike Banning for the third time, having already portrayed this gruff, dyspeptic, über-violent patriot in 2013's Olympus Has Fallen and 2016's London Has Fallen. Considering those were two of the more painfully awful studio releases I've suffered through this decade, director Ric Roman Waugh's second sequel, I presumed, had nowhere to go but up. And blessedly, Angels Has Fallen is indeed less noxious than its predecessors. For a full 20 minutes.

Even though the raunchy comedy Good Boys, like the Jonah Hill/Michael Cera slapstick Superbad, is about nerdy best friends prepping for a party and boasts Superbad screenwriters Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg as producers, I didn't spend much time at the new film reflecting on its 2007 cousin. I did, however, think a lot about Bugsy Malone, Alan Parker's 1976 kiddie musical that imagined a stereotypical 1930s gangster flick cast entirely with teens and tweens.

Ordinarily, it's the sort of movie I'd casually dispose of in a couple hundred words at the end of a series of reviews – a chaser after time spent on more worthy subjects. This past weekend, though, saw Hobbs & Shaw the only new offering in wide release, so I suppose a few hundred extra words are in order. That shouldn't be a problem, though. There's so much here to hate.

There are certain things, many things, we've come to expect from a Quentin Tarantino movie, and unless John Travolta is jump-starting one with a shot of adrenaline, heart isn't exactly among them. That's why the primary shock of the writer/director's ninth feature Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood is that it's positively teeming with heart – an unabashed love letter to Tinseltown fringe figures of a bygone era who, as the fairytale title suggests, are eminently deserving of Happily Ever Afters.

At about the 90-minute mark of director Jon Favreau's two-hour remake of The Lion King, we're finally (finally!) treated to a sequence that's visually rapturous, narratively transfixing, slyly touching and funny, and thematically transcendent all at once – everything that you wish Disney's new CGI behemoth was, and isn't, on a scene-by-scene basis.

If there's any rule-of-thumb regarding high-concept movies, it's that their appeal – and, oftentimes, their plots – can be succinctly described on the fingers of one hand: “violent Nanjiani/Bautista action comedy,” for example, or “killer alligators in a hurricane.” In effect, those respective precis tell you everything you need to know about Michael Dowse's Stuber and Alexandre Aja's Crawl – except, perhaps, that both films are even more entertaining than those grabby five-word descriptions might suggest. Not a lot more, mind you … but entertaining enough, during my recent double-feature, to make me not regret the collective three hours spent in their high-concept company.

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