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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wed
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Articles tagged with 'Movies'

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Latest faith-based offering "Heaven Is for Real" has some real issues

Published April 22, 2014

"Heaven Is for Real" is a moderately welcome upgrade for the Christian film norm. That's not to say it doesn't have many of the same problems that plague its faith-based brethren like a pestilence, but the film adaptation of Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent's bestselling non-fiction book is at least trying. "Heaven Is for Real" still almost necessitates being graded on a curve, but at least the movie earns it.

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"Dom Hemingway": Jude Law goes from prim, proper to profane, punchy

Published April 19, 2014

Gone is Jude Law's pretty regality; in "Dom Hemingway," the Brit looks rough, and he gleefully tearing into his profane lead role like an untamed wolf that just got its first taste of meat. For Law, it's a chance for him to let loose with a character like never really before. And he most certainly does, with big, audaciously compelling results. The rest of the movie, unfortunately, has a hard time getting on his level, but can you really blame it?

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Arnie's comeback turns ugly in "Sabotage"

Published April 15, 2014

"Sabotage" finds Arnold Schwarzenegger briefly pushing his persona in a new direction. It's not simply that the film is unexpectedly more murder mystery than action thriller; "Sabotage" is easily the meanest, most vulgar and most violent movie on Arnold's resume. Credit where credit is due for trying something new, but considering the film's brainlessly scummy ugliness, it qualifies merely as a not-quite-noble failure.

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"Rio 2" is yet another enjoyably forgettable animated adventure

Published April 13, 2014

Much like the first movie, "Rio 2" is colorful and vibrant and cracks a few good jokes here or there. It's a generally enjoyable film, albeit one that feels like several animated features audiences have seen and forgotten long before.

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"Draft Day" is a nice football movie for people who don't like football

Published April 11, 2014

"Draft Day" is an ad, less for the NFL Draft - though it is conveniently coming up in just a month - and more for the league itself. It's a hopeful attempt to get people to mindlessly consume a sport that's becoming more and more difficult to mindlessly consume. The mildly impressive thing is that, under "Ghostbusters" helmer Ivan Reitman's eye, the light, fluffy football trifle goes down almost as easily as designed.

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"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" doesn't chill Marvel's hot streak

Published April 4, 2014

It'd be easier to be cynical toward Marvel's current calculated money-printing scheme - especially when they come out saying they already have films planned through 2028 - if only the product, like "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," wasn't so consistently entertaining.

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Aronofsky breathes new ruah into classic biblical tale of Noah

Published March 31, 2014

When the first trailers began to emerge for "Noah," many worried that it was director Darren Aronofsky making the kind of generic, CG-heavy blockbuster his previous works rebelled against. For the most part, however, "Noah" is not Aronofsky conforming to a studio. It's a studio conforming to Aronofsky, allowing him to make a complex spectacle that asks the kind of questions and brings up the kind of drama most $100 million movies wouldn't dare.

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Bateman and company turn "Bad Words" into good, mean fun

Published March 29, 2014

"Bad Words," the directorial debut of "Arrested Development" star Jason Bateman about a bitter 40-year-old man-child competing in a children's spelling bee, earns the word "Bad" in its title in mostly all of the right ways.

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"Muppets Most Wanted" is a mostly amusing cloth caper

Published March 22, 2014

The opening number of "Muppets Most Wanted" flat-out tells the audience, "Everybody knows the sequel's never quite as good." The bad news is that it's technically right. No, the latest Muppets caper is not quite as good as its predecessor, which had a bit more of everything. The good news, however, is that it's not off by much.

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"Divergent" is not all that different from the rest

Published March 21, 2014

There's little to separate "Divergent" from the rest of the recent fledgling YA movie knock-offs other than a loud vote of confidence from the studio and an even louder marketing department.

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"Need for Speed" is its own worst roadblock to fun

Published March 19, 2014

"Need for Speed" has several of the pieces you'd want to have in a solid, fun B-movie. It features two enjoyable lead performers, the real stars - the cars - are suitably slick and the race action is thrillingly old school in its approach. There's a lot going the film's way. All it had to do was not be insultingly dumb. Oops.

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"300: Rise of an Empire": Madness? This! Is! Mediocre!

Published March 11, 2014

After "300" made a shocking amount of money for an R-rated release, much less one in March, a sequel was rumored and eventually announced. Considering 299 of our title characters wind up dead by the end, even die-hard fans had to ask: "What's the point?" Well, now "300: Rise of an Empire" is here to answer that question with a resounding, "I dunno."

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Blessed art thou who skippeth "Son of God"

Published March 7, 2014

"Son of God" isn't based on the much-ballyhooed History Channel miniseries "The Bible." It literally is "The Bible," albeit vigorous edited down from 10 hours to 138 minutes with a few deleted scenes added in for a bonus. To call "Son of God" a new movie is like a date reheating leftovers and saying he cooked dinner for you, then asking for $10 to cover the cost. And it was Chinese takeout to begin with.

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Ridiculous plot keeps "Non-Stop" from taking off

Published March 1, 2014

A viewer buys a ticket and grabs a seat in "Non-Stop" in the hopes of being suckering into ignoring the rules of reality, going along for the ride and having some thrilling nonsense B-movie mystery fun. Unfortunately, I could never buy into Liam Neeson's latest.