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M.A.C. Attack: Two Max Allan Collins Films Make Their Quad Cities Debuts PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 31 January 2006 18:00
How nice is too nice? The question arises after viewing two films written and directed by author and filmmaker Max Allan Collins. Collins, a Muscatine resident, is the author of the graphic novel Road to Perdition, along with dozens of other books.

 
Hoffman Dazzles in a Remarkable "Capote": Also, "Hoodwinked" and "The New World" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 24 January 2006 18:00

Philip Seymour Hoffman in CapoteCAPOTE

When I first saw Bennett Miller’s Capote back in November, I was so knocked out by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal that I fear I may have undervalued the movie itself; Hoffman’s channeling of this singular author was so extraordinary that, although the film itself wouldn’t fit anyone’s definition of “feel-good,” I’m not sure I stopped smiling once through its two-hour running length. (Performances of this quality have a way of putting me in a fantastic mood, regardless of a movie’s subject matter.) But on a return visit to Capote this past weekend, I was able to more fully luxuriate in the brilliance of its design and the strength of its presentation; what could have been a “mere” performance piece proves, in the hands of Miller and screenwriter Dan Futterman, to be a work of rare artistry and depth. Capote is so beautifully crafted – thematically rich, psychologically insightful, and mordantly funny – that you might be embarrassed by what a fine time you’re having at it.

 
The "Road" Always Traveled: "Glory Road," "Hostel," and "Casanova" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 17 January 2006 18:00

Josh Lucas in Glory RoadGLORY ROAD

Is it just a coincidence, or do you think there’s an annual meeting wherein Disney shareholders tell the studio’s executives, “Bring us this year’s feel-good, triumph-of-the-underdog sports flick, and if you can find one that’s more formulaic, clichéd, and shameless than last year’s, all the better!” A couple of years back, we endured Kurt Russell guiding a bunch of interchangeable skaters to Olympic victory in the hockey drama Miracle, and my head is still reeling from the moribund sentimentality – and beyond-obnoxious miniature caddie – of The Greatest Game Ever Played, which managed to make golf look about five times less exciting than the sport’s reputation would suggest.

 
Western Union: "Brokeback Mountain" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 10 January 2006 18:00

Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback MountainBROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

In Ang Lee’s agonizingly fine romantic western Brokeback Mountain, two taciturn young men – Ennis del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) – are hired, in the summer of 1963, to tend flocks of sheep on a Wyoming expanse. During the early days of their tenure, the men barely speak. Yet as the months pass, they form a solid friendship, and on one particularly cold night atop the mountain, Ennis and Jack share a bottle of whiskey and a sleeping bag, and – experiencing wordless, nearly aggressive desire – have sex. Despite the inevitability of the encounter, the sheer, naked hunger of the scene is startling, but a greater surprise comes some 20 minutes (and four years of screen time) later, in a scene so powerfully, emotionally true that – like much of Lee’s transcendently moving work – it hits like a slap in the face.

 
More Real Than a Photograph: Writer-Director David Riker PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 10 January 2006 18:00

Years before he became a filmmaker, writer-director David Riker worked as a photojournalist, and found himself especially haunted and moved by the plight of immigrants in Manhattan’s Latin American neighborhoods.

 
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