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items tagged with 30 Rock

Off-Key: "Pitch Perfect 2" and "Where Hope Grows"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-05-17 17:28:41

Hailee Steinfeld, Anna Kendrick, and Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect 2PITCH PERFECT 2

Pitch Perfect 2 opens strongly, with the peerlessly funny Elizabeth Banks (who also directed the film) and John Michael Higgins performing an a cappella rendition of the Universal Pictures theme song and launching into the hilariously bitchy byplay that made their vocal-contest judges among Pitch Perfect’s many highlights. And while it’s true that this musical-comedy follow-up, like director Jason Moore’s 2012 predecessor, is set in the world of collegiate a cappella groups – and specifically the world of Anna Kendrick’s fledgling mash-up artist Beca – it’s more accurately set atop a steep precipice. Because although it starts promisingly, as the saying goes, it’s all downhill from there.


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Forgotten, but Not Gone: "Still Alice" and "The Last Five Years"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-02-23 15:23:00

Kristen Stewart and Julianne Moore in Still AliceSTILL ALICE

In Still Alice, newly minted Oscar winner Julianne Moore plays Alice Howland, a 50-year-old recently diagnosed with a hereditary form of Alzheimer’s. At one point in the movie, after a series of not-bad days and pretty-awful ones, Alice and her family attend an off-Broadway production of The Three Sisters starring the youngest Howland daughter, Lydia (Kristen Stewart). We see Lydia enact Chekhov’s dialogue with appropriate, impressive anxiety and fortitude, and our view of Alice in the audience suggests that she sees it, too. After the play ends, the family goes backstage to congratulate Lydia, and Alice, with carefully chosen words, praises her daughter for her complex rendering of Chekhovian heart and humanity. Lydia smiles and blushes; this might be the most interest her mother has ever shown in her acting career. Then Alice asks what play Lydia is doing next, and whether she’ll be sticking around New York much longer. And in the reaction shot that follows, the heartbreak in Lydia’s eyes verifies what we immediately suspect: Alice, at this moment, has no idea who Lydia is.


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To Be Continuum-ed: "Interstellar" and "Big Hero 6"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-11-07 19:43:22

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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How the Grinch Stole Brooklyn: "St. Vincent," "John Wick," and "Ouija"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-10-26 23:15:25

Jaeden Lieberher and Bill Murray in St. VincentST. VINCENT

St. Vincent stars Bill Murray as the titular (if decidedly un-saintly) Vincent, a cranky, disheveled grump who may be the meanest man in Brooklyn, if not all of New York. He speaks in a honking regional dialect and guzzles brown liquor by the quart, and his only pals are a pair of fellow barflies and the local hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold. He’s frequently seen chain-smoking in a porkpie hat with oversize sunglasses, and spends his days at the track making losing bets with his bookie. At his ramshackle home, he watches old Abbott & Costello movies on an ancient television and, when drunk, drives straight over his white picket fence. When a neighbor kid needs to use a pay phone, Vincent begrudgingly gives him a dime for the call. Given all this, in what year would you guess St. Vincent takes place? 1957? 1958?


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Walking, Running, Retching, Kvetching: "A Walk Among the Tombstones," "The Maze Runner," "Tusk," and "This Is Where I Leave You"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-09-21 22:19:52

Liam Neeson in A Walk Among the TombstonesFriday, September 19, 10:10 a.m.-ish: It’s been six weeks since my last quadruple feature, and I’m expecting this one to start with supreme novelty, considering that the poster for the day’s first feature, A Walk Among the Tombstones, boasts the image of a brooding Liam Neeson holding a gun. That’s right: Liam Neeson! That guy from Schindler’s List! Brooding and holding a gun! How does Hollywood keep coming up with such fresh ideas?!


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