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Plains Spoken: "Nebraska," "Gimme Shelter," and "I, Frankenstein" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 26 January 2014 17:52

Will Forte and Bruce Dern in NebraskaNEBRASKA

After opening nationally (in larger markets) in November, Alexander Payne’s comic elegy Nebraska – nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture and Director – finally hit Quad Cities cineplexes this past weekend. I actually saw the film in Chicagoland over the holidays, and ordinarily, when preparing to review a film I first viewed a month prior, I’d take in a second screening to reacquaint myself with the images, dialogue, and performances. But I didn’t with Payne’s latest. I took in a second screening just for the sheer pleasure of the experience. Memories of Nebraska’s marvelous images, dialogue, and performances, thank you very much, were still wonderfully fresh.

 
Now Is the Midwinter of Our Mild Discontent – Notes on a Quadruple Feature: "Devil's Due," "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit," "Ride Along," and "The Nut Job" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 18 January 2014 18:08

Allison Miller in Devil's DueJanuary 17, 10:05 a.m.-ish: If it’s January, it must be time for our annual demonic-possession thriller in the guise of a “documentary,” and yet it still seems strange to be watching Devil’s Due. The devil may be, but a mere two weeks after the release of the latest Paranormal Activity, were we audiences really due for another of these things?

 
The 2014 Academy Award Nominees PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 16 January 2014 10:37

(For information on where to find the Academy Award nominees, click here.)

Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, and Amy Adams in American HustleThe big shock of this morning’s announcement of nominees for the 86th Annual Academy Awards? The almost complete lack of shocks, especially given such an insanely competitive year.

 
Her and Her and Her and Her and Her and Her and … : "Her" and "August: Osage County" PDF Print E-mail
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
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.

 
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