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The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree: "Steve Jobs," "The Last Witch Hunter," and "Rock the Kasbah" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 24 October 2015 17:45

Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Fassbender, and Kate Winslet in Steve JobsSTEVE JOBS

Steve Jobs, the thunderously enjoyable new movie by director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, doesn’t look or sound quite like any other bio-pic. It does, however, look like a lot of other Boyle films and sounds like every Sorkin ever, and this might’ve been a deal-breaker if (a) I meant that insultingly, (b) the world actually needed another traditional telling of the late CEO’s saga, and (c) Boyle’s and Sorkin’s seemingly mismatched talents didn’t prove absolutely ideal for one another.

 
Armistice Wrestling: "Bridge of Spies," "Goosebumps," and "Woodlawn" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 18 October 2015 17:16

Billy Magnussen, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hanks in Bridge of SpiesBRIDGE OF SPIES

I caught Steven Spielberg’s Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies at a Friday-matinée screening alongside roughly 75 others. You could tell it was a predominantly, shall we say, mature crowd because of the volume and frequency of coughing fits, the food items being unwrapped with aching slowness, and the stage-whispered narration following louder queries of “What’d he say?!” You could also tell that, on numerous occasions, the movie was really working for this group, because for long stretches the crowd opted to remain collectively, blessedly silent.

 
Goth-ick: "Crimson Peak," "Beasts of No Nation," and "I’ll See You in My Dreams" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 18 October 2015 17:11

Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska in Crimson PeakCRIMSON PEAK

You gotta give director Guillermo del Toro credit: When he wants to make a movie in which the central character, for all intents and purposes, is a haunted house, this man does not mess around.

 
Ar-r-r-r-r You Kidding Me?: "Pan" and "He Named Me Malala" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 12 October 2015 08:07

Hugh Jackman and Levi Miller in PanPAN

Not long into director Joe Wright's origin fable Pan, the 12-year-old Peter (Levi Miller), newly captured by pirates descending from bungee cords, surveys the World War II fighter planes striking his kidnappers' airborne pirate ship and shouts, “Oh, come on!” Roughly an hour later, in the midst of another aerial attack, Captain Hook (Garrett Hedlund) – a heroic American boasting Indiana Jones' wardrobe and two functional hands – gazes at the melee involving enormous CGI birds of prey and shouts, “Oh, come on!” What does it say about a movie when even its leads can't believe in the on-screen nonsense?

 
Ridley’s Believe It or Not: "The Martian" and "Sicario" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 03 October 2015 16:01

Matt Damon in The MartianTHE MARTIAN

If you, too, are a devotee of Ridley Scott’s Alien, you’ll no doubt remember how its title came into view during the opening credits: as a series of vertical, diagonal, and horizontal white lines that slowly appeared, beginning with the “I,” one or two at a time until the capitalized “ALIEN” was wholly spelled out. Thirty-six years later, the title for Scott’s sci-fi tale The Martian is revealed in the exact opposite manner: as a full, capitalized “THE MARTIAN” that gradually fades away, one portion at a time, until only the “I” remains.

Obviously, that disappearing act is a decidedly minor touch, especially in a film that runs just shy of two-and-a-half hours. But it might also be Scott’s most quietly clever touch, and not merely because The Martian’s chief narrative concerns an “I” that winds up left all alone. By offering a literal reverse of his 1979 achievement’s opener, Scott seems to be suggesting, with an wink, that his new endeavor will be 180 degrees removed from the claustrophobic, stomach-bursting horror of Alien, and that proves decidedly to be the case. While this adaptation of Andy Weir’s bestseller (with its script by Drew Goddard) does share some of Alien’s themes, principally the life-and-death imperatives behind deep-space problem-solving, Scott’s latest is expansive instead of spare, chatty instead of terse, heartening instead of nihilistic. It’s also, far and away, and from beginning to end, the most sheerly likable movie Ridley Scott has yet made – an exciting, moving, and altogether glorious sci-fi bear hug that leaves you feeling almost ridiculously happy. Given a career that’s found him exploring every conceivable shade of dark, it turns out that Scott looks pretty great in the light.

 
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