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Hello. My Name Is Mattie Ross. You Killed My Father. Prepare to Die.: “True Grit” and “Yogi Bear” PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 23 December 2010 11:43

Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld in True GritTRUE GRIT

Over the course of their careers, the films of Joel and Ethan Coen have, of course, inspired a wide variety of responses: amusement (and quite a lot of it), excitement, fascination, terror, confusion, astonishment, mortification. (Oh, the depressing spectacle of Intolerable Cruelty ... .) But while we audiences have laughed and gasped and occasionally scratched our heads, we haven’t, prior to the Coen brothers’ True Grit, been moved to tears by scenes of unbridled yet honestly earned sentiment. Guess we can now scratch that one off the list, too.

 
En Pointe, on Edge: "Black Swan" and "The Fighter" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 19 December 2010 18:02

Natalie Portman in Black SwanBLACK SWAN

In director Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, the first words we hear are uttered by professional ballet dancer Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), who tells her mother, “I had the craziest dream last night.” And for the next 105 minutes, the movie unfurls like a crazy dream itself – a crazy, fascinating, terrifying, exhilarating dream that you have no desire to wake from. You can label the film a psychological drama, or a hallucinogenic thriller, or an art-house horror flick, and each would be appropriate. But none of those tags really hints at how much delectable fun Black Swan is. As with a dream that you want to return to the moment you wake up, you want to experience the intoxicating, rapturous weirdness of Aronofsky’s vision all over again the minute the end credits start to roll.

 
Shallow Brooks: "How Do You Know" and "Tron: Legacy" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 19 December 2010 17:59

Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd in How Do You KnowHOW DO YOU KNOW

There’s actually quite a bit of good to be said about writer/director James L. Brooks’ How Do You Know, not least of which is that it’s nowhere near as unbearable as Brooks’ last offering, 2004’s Spanglish. Unfortunately, that’s not the same as saying the movie itself is good.

 
Lewis and Lark: "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" and "The Tourist" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 12 December 2010 16:29

Ben Barnes, Skandar Keynes, and Georgie Henley in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn TreaderTHE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER

In the third cinematic installment of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series, the cumbersomely titled The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, we’re introduced to a character new to the franchise – a grouchy little snot named Eustace Scrubb. The pre-adolescent cousin to the young heroes of 2005’s The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe and 2008’s Prince Caspian, this kid, played by Will Poulter, is truly a piece of work – closed-minded, miserly, cowardly, and prone to explosively motor-mouthed bouts of hysteria. With his constantly knit brow and the voice of an aggrieved, middle-aged schoolmarm, Poulter’s Eustace is about the most obnoxious, potentially alienating figure that you could ever imagine popping into this fantasy saga. He’s also so side-splittingly funny that he almost singlehandedly makes Dawn Treader not just enjoyable, but easily the most surprising screen Narnia to date.

 
Secret Agent Woman: "Fair Game" and "The Warrior's Way" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 05 December 2010 13:03

Naomi Watts and Sean Penn in Fair GameFAIR GAME

Presuming that it might not open locally, I caught director Doug Liman’s Fair Game – in which Naomi Watts plays outed CIA operative Valerie Plame, and Sean Penn plays Plame’s husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson – in Chicagoland on Thanksgiving night. I thought the movie was intelligent and intensely well acted, but still didn’t feel much toward it, and with so many of the film’s characters arguing over events that, by 2010, have become old (if still infuriating) news, my eyelids grew droopy during a few scenes too many.

 
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