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Hare, Hare!: “Rabbit Hole,” “Sanctum,” “The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti,” and “The Roommate” PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 06 February 2011 16:04

Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart in Rabbit HoleRABBIT HOLE

John Cameron Mitchell’s Rabbit Hole, which stars Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart as a married couple coping with the loss of their four-year-old son, is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire, and there’s probably not much reason for the film to exist. Happily, though, it appears that nobody brought that to the director’s or the author’s attention, because as unnecessary movies go, Rabbit Hole is a mostly exemplary one – a stagey yet emotionally incisive, ultimately cathartic experience blessed with the sort of powerhouse cast that could never be assembled, in full, on a stage.

Out on a Limb: "127 Hours" and "The Rite" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 30 January 2011 16:23

James Franco in 127 Hours127 HOURS

At my first screening of Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours (which I initially caught in Chicagoland over Thanksgiving weekend), I was immediately knocked out by how vibrantly entertaining it was – hardly a fait accompli when a movie climaxes with a bloody act of self-amputation.

Schadenfreude-ian Slips: “Inside Job,” “Dogtooth,” and “The Mechanic” PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 30 January 2011 16:16

Elliot Spitzer in Inside JobINSIDE JOB

You might not think that director Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job, the newly (and deservedly) Oscar-nominated documentary about 2008’s global economic meltdown, would offer much in the way of participatory, audience-goosing entertainment. After all, this isn’t exactly a Michael Moore doc we’re dealing with here. Employing dozens of lucid, well-reasoned interviews with financial experts and reams of statistics and graphs, Ferguson’s strong, angry, yet level-headed explanation of our current financial crisis is the polar opposite, in temperament and tone, of a Fahrenheit 9/11 or Capitalism: A Love Story. But while the experience of the impeccably photographed, sharply edited Inside Job is a mostly dead-serious one, damn but my audience appeared to have a good time at it – or, perhaps it’s more appropriate to say, a cathartic time.

The 2011 Academy Award Nominees PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 25 January 2011 10:06

The King's SpeechIf you were wondering what that anguished roar was at approximately 7:40 a.m., it was probably the sound of thousands upon thousands of Christopher Nolan fans simultaneously wailing, “Not again!!!”

Predicting the 2011 Academy Award Nominees - Second-Guessing Edition! PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 23 January 2011 17:00

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Inception

[Author's note: In the 11 days since this article was first published, a number of generally reliable pre-Oscar-nomination indicators have seen the light, including the nominees for several guild awards and the British Academy of Film & Television Awards (BAFTA), and the overall mood of the rooms during the Critics Choice Awards and Golden Globes ceremonies. Consequently, with less than 40 hours to go before the Academy Awards nominations are announced, I've changed my official predictions in a number of categories. Let's see if I turn out to be smarter or stupider in the wake of my last-minute changes! My new picks, along with some commentary, will follow the originally published predictions.]


No novelty with a newly expanded field of 10 nominees for the big prize. No ex-spouses dueling for the Best Director trophy. No nutty, left-field Best Picture contenders along the lines of Star Trek and Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Hangover. Where’s the fun in reading predictions about this year’s field of Oscar nominees?

Why, in the possibility of Mike falling flat on his precognostic face, that’s where!

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