Described by The Huffington Post as “a heart-warming tale of human dignity and innovation,” and by the Hollywood Reporter as a work that “transcends the artist-doc format and has a broad emotional appeal,” the Oscar-nominated documentary Waste Land enjoys a special screening at Davenport's Figge Art Museum on August 1, serving as a companion event to the venue's current exhibition Vik Muniz: Hand Remade.

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.

Now playing at area theatres.

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

At The Movies with Mike Schulz

The Reader's Mike Schulz and OurQuadCities.com's Ashe Simpson discuss new releases Midsommar and Spider-Man: Far From Home; plus previews of the upcoming comedy Stuber, thriller Crawl, and a new addition to the Putnam, Apollo 11: First Steps Edition.

Midsommar, the new cinematic freakout by Hereditary writer/director Ari Aster, opens with barely withheld sobs and closes on the image of an ear-to-ear grin – and despite the unsettling, emotionally raw 140 minutes in between, you might find yourself exiting the theater smiling just as hard.

I should probably be knocking wood as I type this. But if my heart ever suddenly stops while you're in the vicinity, don't call for a defibrillator – call for Danny Boyle instead.

Is this latest franchise entry enjoyable? Absolutely. Is it frequently clever and touching and sweet? For sure. Is it well-animated? Duh. But does it feel the slightest bit necessary? Nope. Does it enrich the inner lives of beloved characters we've known for decades? Not really. And is it in any way a more satisfying end – or “end” – to the Toy Story series than 2010's seemingly conclusive third chapter? No way.

I read an article this past weekend devoted to our current, collective state of franchise fatigue, with the disappointing domestic box office for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, The Secret Life of Pets 2, and Dark Phoenix cited as proof that audiences are getting tired of seeing the same ol' things in newfangled packaging. What that “Are franchises finally over?!” piece failed to suggest, though, was that maybe these particular sequels weren't making major bank because they're just not good. And the third sequel to 1997's Men in Black might be the not-good-est of them all – an exhaustingly manic and just-plain-exhausting reboot to a series that should have ended with 2012's surprisingly clever Men in Black 3. The only real surprise here is that cleverness is in such depressingly slim supply.

Another summer-movie weekend; another threat of impending global annihilation. Yet even if, like me, you've dutifully and, for the most part, agreeably stuck with the superheroes since the mutants' cinematic start in 2000, it's impossible to imagine anyone shedding even a hint of a tear at Dark Phoenix, the apparently final X-Men entry before the team gets an inevitable makeover in a few years' time.

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