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items tagged with Ben Whishaw

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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Miner Catastrophe: "The 33," "Suffragette," and "Love the Coopers"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-11-15 18:06:56

Lou Diamond Phillips and Antonio Banderas in The 33THE 33

Even if you can’t recall the event’s salient details, you likely remember the Chilean mine disaster that led the international news cycle for weeks in 2010, and that has now inspired director Patricia Riggen’s The 33. But as this strong, heartfelt film’s tension is built almost entirely on those salient details, it’s hard to determine, in describing the story, exactly what about this five-year-old true tale should be considered a spoiler. Do you remember, for instance, how long the 33 miners were trapped before anyone even knew they were alive? How many days it took after that for rescue teams to excavate them? How many of the 33 actually perished underground?
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Bored. Mike Bored. : "Spectre" and "The Peanuts Movie"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-11-07 23:25:53

Daniel Craig in SpectreSPECTRE

Watching the opening credits to the new James Bond thriller Spectre, I leaned back in my seat, smiled, and thought, “Man, I love these things.” Not Bond movies, per se, but their opening credits. The lushly rendered colors. The serenely gliding camera pans. The artful poses and undulating torsos. The charming, deferential formality of the star’s name followed by “ … as Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007 in … .” The mystery of the accompanying pop song, which is as likely to be atrocious as marvelous. (Spectre’s “Writing’s on the Wall,” sung by Sam Smith, leans more toward the former. And call it gender bias or even blatant sexism, but I do think that unless you’re Paul McCartney or maybe Simon Le Bon, these duties should really be handled by women.)

But my absolute favorite thing about the James Bond title sequences is that in the 53 years since Dr. No, they’ve hardly changed a whit, meaning that those serving such below-the-line positions as second-unit assistant director, supervising sound editor, and “Mr. Craig’s makeup” get listed at the start right alongside Ian Fleming and Daniel Craig themselves. It’s a lovely gesture and a touching hat-tip to the series’ longevity, and it’s got to be cool for those professionals whose names usually flash on-screen while patrons are leaving the auditorium. I bet it’s cool even if, as in Spectre, your eye is being averted from those names by the silhouetted octopus tentacles shown embracing Bond and his two nubile lady friends. At first, I wondered: Why an octopus? To suggest the elastic, multi-limbed reach of evil? To prepare us for an underwater Bond in the vein of Thunderball? I never really got my answer, but after two-and-a-half punishingly long hours, I started thinking the creature was merely there to create a perverse nostalgia for the comparative wit and excitement of Octopussy.


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Tickler, Failure, Soldiers, Spies – Notes on a Quadruple Feature: "Blackhat," "Paddington," "The Wedding Ringer," and "American Sniper"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-01-18 01:22:06

Wei Tang and Chris Hemsworth in BlackhatFriday, January 16, 10:05 a.m.-ish: My first and final quadruple feature of 2015 (yeah, right) begins with the Michael Mann thriller Blackhat, which opens with the camera racing within a computer module and deeper and deeper into the internal workings of binary code, like a burrowing reverse of Robert Zemeckis’ introductory shot in Contact. At its climax, we discover that we’ve been watching the process by which a faraway cyber-terrorist sets off an explosion at a Chinese nuclear facility, and it’s a juicy, unsettling prelude – so good, and so promising, that it probably takes longer than it should to realize the movie is goofy as hell.


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His Word Is Bond: "Skyfall"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-11-09 18:20:13

Daniel Craig in SkyfallSKYFALL

Longtime fans of the franchise can, and likely will, argue over whether Skyfall is one of the all-time best James Bond films or whether it just feels that way because it’s now been six years since the last decent one. (Despite having friends who’ll stump for everything from Moonraker to The World Is Not Enough, I don’t know anyone who really cares for 2008’s Quantum of Solace.) But here’s a question that I’m not sure merits any argument: Prior to this latest adventure, has any other Bond movie looked quite so spectacular?


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