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Compound Fractured: "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Friday, 21 November 2014 13:02

Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part ITHE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1

Like its immediate predecessor Catching Fire, director Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 is reasonably gripping and rarely dull, although its presentation – as was bound to happen – does make the movie feel less like a satisfying two-hour entertainment than the not-bad first half of a much better four-hour entertainment. (Or five-hour entertainment, depending on how plushly Lawrence and Lionsgate pad the goodbye in next year’s Part 2.) But I was really put off by one moment in the film, which found Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch complaining that the makeup worn by Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss needed to be scrubbed off, as it was making the young warrior look 35. The line was amusing and Haymitch wasn’t wrong, but why wasn’t anyone bothered that the rest of Mockingjay I was making her look 13?

 
Now Playing: Friday, November 21, through Tuesday, November 25 PDF Print E-mail
Now Playing
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 13:30

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part IFor show schedule information, visit:

Cinemark Davenport 53rd 18 + IMAX, Davenport

FilmScene, Iowa City

Putnam Museum, Davenport

Regal Moline Stadium 14, Moline

 

(Hyperlinked titles take you to Mike Schulz's full reviews; the IMDb hyperlinks take you to the films' Internet Movie Database pages.)

 
Winged Crusader: "Birdman" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 16 November 2014 15:51

Michael Keaton and Edward Norton in BirdmanBIRDMAN

Hands-down the most technically audacious backstage farce ever attempted, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman finds its director in a cheeky, playful frame of mind. The movie’s many miracles pretty much start right there, because who knew that Iñárritu was even capable of a cheeky, playful frame of mind?

 
Stars’ Wars, and the Employee Strikes Back: "Beyond the Lights," "Saving Christmas," "Dumb & Dumber To," and "Citizenfour" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 16 November 2014 15:44

Nate Parker and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Beyond the LightsFriday, November 14, 10:45 a.m.-ish: I’m beginning the day with writer/director Gina Prince-Blythewood’s Beyond the Lights, a romantic melodrama about a troubled, Rihanna-like pop star, and it opens with its central character, as a little girl, getting reprimanded by her awful stage mother for the heinous crime of being first-runner-up in a talent show. Nearly two hours later, with the now-grown chanteuse overcoming her demons and finally scoring her long-awaited personal and professional triumphs, everything the prelude led me to expect from the movie has come to pass, but with one major exception: I’m grinning like mad and wiping away tears. How the hell did that happen?!

 
To Be Continuum-ed: "Interstellar" and "Big Hero 6" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Friday, 07 November 2014 13:43

Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey in InterstellarINTERSTELLAR

With his breathlessly anticipated, behemoth-sized space opera Interstellar, has Christopher Nolan finally bitten off more than he can chew, or simply more than I can chew? I’d like to believe the latter, considering I like three of Nolan’s eight previous features and adore four others (with apologies to Batman Begins, which I merely tolerate), and considering half the movie’s dialogue is elaborate techo-jargon that I was predisposed not to understand. But like an itchy lover who says “It’s not you; it’s me” when he really means the opposite, I’m still laying most of my dissatisfaction at Nolan’s feet, and for a pretty basic reason: For all of its narrative and technical razzle-dazzle, Interstellar is the man’s first film that’s expressly about humans, and humans aren’t remotely close to being Nolan’s strong suit.

 
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