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items tagged with Allison Janney

One-Shot Wonder: "Silent House," "John Carter," and "A Thousand Words"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-03-11 22:14:39

Elizabeth Olsen in Silent HouseSILENT HOUSE

It’s entirely possible that you’ll need to have seen an awful lot of horror movies – particularly an awful lot of awful horror movies – to be jazzed by Silent House, considering that it’s basically just 90 minutes of a young woman being terrorized by barely glimpsed figures and startling noises in her family’s lakeside summer home. (Contrary to the title, this house is anything but silent.) Yet if you can get past the paper-thin storyline and a climax that’s less “Aa-a-a!!!” than “Hu-u-uh?!?”, the movie proves to be a terrifically nerve-racking and utterly fascinating scare flick, because from first shot to last, the action not only takes place in real time, but seems to have been filmed in one continuous take.


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Mississippi Yearning: "The Help" and "Glee: The 3D Concert Movie"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-08-14 18:16:01

Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, and Viola Davis in The HelpTHE HELP

Based on Kathryn Stockett’s much-loved bestseller, The Help concerns the tenuous relationships between black domestic workers and their privileged white employers in early-’60s Mississippi, and it’s a fairly obvious movie, with director Tate Taylor opting for broad brushstrokes over subtlety, and the occasionally wrenching drama sitting, rather uncomfortably, alongside klutzy jokiness. Yet offhand, I can’t think of another popular entertainment whose flaws matter less than this film’s, because everything that’s lacking in the picture is more than made up for in the fearless, emotionally precise, and oftentimes devastating portrayals of Taylor’s cast. The Help is easy to complain about, but all it takes is one of the magnificent Viola Davis’ fierce, tearful stares – or a blast of Octavia Spencer’s anger, or a flash of Emma Stone’s heartbreak, or a burst of Jessica Chastain’s joy – to make your complaints feel positively moot.


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Charmed and Dangerous: "Public Enemies," "Away We Go," and "My Sister's Keeper"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-07-03 12:00:00

Johnny Depp in Public EnemiesPUBLIC ENEMIES

With a low-key yet intensely charismatic Johnny Depp as its lead, you could describe Michael Mann's Public Enemies as the story behind the criminal activity of the infamous, Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger. But that's not entirely accurate. The film is also about the nascent, frequently misguided authority of the FBI, personified here by a stalwart agent (a somber, less-throaty-than-usual Christian Bale) and showboating chief J. Edgar Hoover (a spectacular Billy Crudup). It's also about early media saturation in our country, and the public's complicity in turning villains into heroes, and the labyrinthine hierarchies among American gangsters, and - as embodied by a dazzlingly desirable and powerful Marion Cotillard - the ever-unpredictable nature of love. And, more than anything, it's about the exquisite craftsmanship of Michael Mann, whose Public Enemies doesn't look or sound quite like any other crime movie you've seen, and whose technical virtuosity might make Public Enemies impossible to forget.


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A Hundred-Plus Reasons to Go to the Movies
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2004-10-27 00:00:00
My first article for the River Cities’ Reader appeared in Issue 18, way back in March of 1995. (You know how long ago that was? Tom Hanks had only one Oscar.) Serving as the Reader’s film critic was, and still is, a terrific gig – for an avowed movie fanatic who loves to write, the chance to expound on the state of cinema has always been about more than giving a particular work a “yay” or “nay” vote; it’s given me, in a minor way, the opportunity to analyze an entire culture, to try to understand what’s in the heads of those who make films, and those who distribute films, and the millions of us who view them.
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Smith Can’t Rescue "Bad Boys II": Also, "How to Deal" and "Johnny English"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-07-23 00:00:00

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in Bad Boys IIBAD BOYS II

Near the climax of Bad Boys II, Detective Mike Lowrey (Will Smith), leading a high-speed chase involving dope-runners and the Cuban military, turns to his car’s passengers and barks, “Everybody start shooting somebody!” One can imagine the same command being issued from the mouths of director Michael Bay and producer Jerry Bruckheimer.


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