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Her and Her and Her and Her and Her and Her and … : "Her" and "August: Osage County" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 12 January 2014 21:28

Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams in HerHER

Her, writer/director Spike Jonze’s tale of a man who falls in love with his computerized operating system, and “she” with him, casts a weirdly hypnotic spell. Although billed as comedy (as least by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association), you don’t really laugh much, and when you do, the laughter generally sticks in an odd, uncomfortable place in your throat; marveling at the unbridled sincerity of the thing, your chuckles are laced with a slight hint of mockery. Yet damned if Jonze, star Joaquin Phoenix, and the film’s superb supporting cast and designers don’t make this improbable project pay off in spades. Thoughtful, haunting, and perceptive, and at all times wickedly clever, Her is like a sci-fi Lost in Translation with a Scarlett Johansson you never get to see.

 
Folk Yeah!: "Inside Llewyn Davis" and "Lone Survivor" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 12 January 2014 21:18

Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, and Adam Driver in Inside Llewyn DavisINSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS

There are some Coen-brothers movies – Fargo and O Brother, Where Art Thou? and True Grit come immediately to mind – that, because they exude such palpable filmmaking energy and are so spectacularly quotable, I wanted to talk about immediately after first seeing them. Then there are the rarer Coen-brothers movies, among them The Hudsucker Proxy and Intolerable Cruelty and Burn After Reading, that I didn’t feel much like talking about afterward, mostly because I didn’t enjoy them much on a first go-round. (Though I’ve consequently become a big fan of Joel’s and Ethan’s Hudsucker and Burn, in the case of Intolerable Cruelty, second and third go-rounds did nothing to improve matters.)

And then there are Coen-brothers movies such as the new Inside Llewyn Davis, a work that is, I think, so good that I don’t want to discuss it for fear of not coming close to doing it justice.

 
Días de los Muertos: "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" and "47 Ronin" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 05 January 2014 14:14

Andrew Jacobs in Paranormal Activity: The Marked OnesPARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES

Do you recall how, in the first Paranormal Activity, Katie and Micah attempted to communicate with the malevolent spirit haunting their home through a Ouija board that, later, spontaneously burst into flames? So-o-o 2009. In the new Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones – the fifth installment in this apparently unkillable scare-flick series – our teenage protagonists aren’t about to use anything as passé as a board game to connect with their unseen house guest. Not when they have access to ... Simon.

 
Stocks and Stoned: "The Wolf of Wall Street" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 29 December 2013 20:20

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall StreetTHE WOLF OF WALL STREET

The Wolf of Wall Street is Martin Scorsese’s three-hour black comedy about the grotesquely indulgent life of felonious stock trader Jordan Belfort, and Leonardo DiCaprio gives a ferociously alert performance as the title character, even when, in a scene of perfectly executed physical slapstick, a Quaalude high gone wrong leaves him nearly, and hilariously, immobile. The movie is filled with memorable set pieces and blisteringly profane dialogue, and several supporting actors – Kyle Chandler and Matthew McConaughey especially – are in utterly spectacular form. There’s filmmaking energy, even bravado, on display in just about every scene. And after dozens of releases in a career spanning more than four decades, it’s the first Scorsese picture that I’ve ever actively hated.

 
O Christmas Three, O Christmas Three ... : "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," and "Grudge Match" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 29 December 2013 20:16

Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter MittyTHE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, and GRUDGE MATCH

With apologies to Keanu Reeves fans and the true Beliebers among you, I still haven’t gotten around to 47 Ronin or Justin Bieber’s Believe. (In the case of the latter, I’m not sure I ever will, although stranger things have happened, I guess ... .) But among the numerous titles that opened opposite The Wolf of Wall Street on Christmas Day, I did manage to catch a few of ’em ... .

 
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