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items tagged with Angela Bassett

War of the Sexless: "Chi-raq" and "In the Heart of the Sea"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-12-13 00:49:02

Teyona Parris in Chi-raqCHI-RAQ

Last month, Spike Lee received an honorary Oscar at the 2015 Governors Awards ceremony. It was an earned and long-overdue recognition, especially given that, for many of us, the writer/director’s Do the Right Thing should’ve made him an Academy Award winner more than a quarter-century ago. (Then and now, Driving Miss Daisy notwithstanding, Do the Right Thing remains the true Best Picture of 1989.) But while Lee’s statuette may have been late in coming, I can’t help but think that the timing of its arrival could hardly be better. His new film Chi-raq, after all, is nowhere to be found in this year’s Oscar conversation. Yet its creator deserves trophies and more for this gut-wrenching, hilarious, deeply profound satire that’s stronger than at least 95 percent of the year’s more-likely awards candidates – and maybe riskier than 100 percent of them.
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Disney on Ice: "Frozen," "Black Nativity," and "Homefront"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-12-02 15:57:22

FrozenFROZEN

As its fans (and I’m one of them) will gladly attest, Disney’s Frozen is a bit of a throwback to the studio’s recent golden age of animated entertainments – that period from the late ’80s to the mid-’90s that found more-or-less traditional fairy and folk tales goosed with healthy portions of Broadway razzmatazz. (Those in the press championing this new work as a welcome and rather bold return to form, however, do seem to have conveniently forgotten about 2009’s excellent The Princess & the Frog and 2010’s near-excellent Tangled.) But while much of the film follows the standard Disney-in-its-prime formula to the letter – big-eyed ingénue heroine, check; wacky animal sidekick, check; rafter-shaking power ballad destined to win an Oscar, check – there is one aspect to Frozen that separates it from the Little Mermaid/Beauty & the Beast/Lion King herd: The movie is kind of bonkers.


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Worst Intervention Ever: "Evil Dead," "Olympus Has Fallen," and "Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-04-07 17:49:05

Jane Levy in Evil DeadEVIL DEAD

While I like the movie just fine, I’m not enough of a fanatic for Sam Raimi’s 1981 splatter classic The Evil Dead to get in a twist about the existence of director Fede Alvarez’s new, definite-article-free remake Evil Dead. (It’s when Hollywood inevitably remakes Raimi’s priceless horror sequel Evil Dead II that we’re gonna have problems.) But despite being mostly entertained by Alvarez’s beyond-bloody outing, especially during its second half, I do have to question the decision to make it, for so much of its length, so bloody serious. This is a film, after all, in which a demon is released by a supernatural incantation, nail guns and electric carving knives are the weapons of choice, and one character escapes a (more-)dreadful fate by enacting a speedier version of 127 Hours. How are we not asked to laugh at all this?


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Emerald Rhymes-with-City: "Green Lantern," "Mr. Popper's Penguins," and "The Art of Getting By"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-06-18 23:12:53

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds in Green LanternGREEN LANTERN

I won’t bore you by trying, but I’m reasonably sure I could devote a few thousand words to what I didn’t like about the (presumed) franchise-starter Green Lantern, an effects-heavy superhero adventure that might mark a new first for the on-screen-comic-book canon: Director Martin Campbell’s movie is dully sardonic and dully sincere. I only need two words, however, to pinpoint everything I loved about the film: Peter Sarsgaard.


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Single Wiped Female: “Bridesmaids,” “Jumping the Broom,” and “Priest”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-05-16 00:07:46

Ellie Kemper, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Maya Rudolph, and Kristen Wiig in BridesmaidsBRIDESMAIDS

You wouldn’t necessarily think that exhaustion and depression would be fertile subjects for a big-screen slapstick – at least, for a big-screen slapstick that didn’t star Paul Giamatti. Yet in director Paul Feig’s buoyant and brainy Bridesmaids, Kristen Wiig plays a sad, discouraged, frequently humiliated maid of honor with such inventiveness and style that she seems to be creating a new comic archetype right before your eyes. Hiding her misery behind a thinly veiled mask of courtesy and good cheer, and letting her anger and resentment spill out in sarcastic asides and messy, chaotic bursts, Wiig’s Annie – like many of the brilliantly talented performer’s most memorable characters – is a singular creation. And so, too, is Bridesmaids, a female-driven Judd Apatow comedy (he’s a co-producer) with the rare distinction of being smarter than it is funny, though it’s still plenty funny.


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