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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
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.

 
Predicting the 2014 Academy Award Nominees PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 09 January 2014 09:55

Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a SlaveHeading toward January 16’s announcement of this year’s Academy Award nominees, I think it’s safe to say that we know a few things.

We know, for instance, that it’ll be a big day for 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, and most likely for American Hustle. We know the Best Supporting Actor category (which, last year, was populated entirely with previous Oscar winners) will be top-heavy with relatively new talent, and the Best Actress category (which, last year, was top-heavy with relatively new talent) will be mostly, perhaps entirely, populated with previous Oscar winners. We know members of the Academy’s music branch will throw some loopy, out-of-left-field choice into the Best Original Song lineup, because they always do.

And we know, come January 16, that some incredibly worthy titles are going to get royally screwed.

 
Out of This World: The Most Enjoyable Movies of 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 06:00

I can’t remember which Web site I read it on, but in prefacing his 10-best list, one movie-reviewing pundit expressed his wish that rankings of this sort be published 10 years after the fact, so he could have a full decade to digest, re-re-view, and potentially re-evaluate what he initially decreed were his favorite films for a particular calendar year. I love that idea, but would also be grateful for a just few extra weeks.

 
DĂ­as de los Muertos: "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" and "47 Ronin" PDF Print E-mail
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.

 
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