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items tagged with Benedict Cumberbatch

Smaug Alert: "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" and "Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-12-16 04:34:43

Martin Freeman in The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugTHE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

The first great sequence in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – and, sadly, one of the few truly great sequences in Peter Jackson’s second (or fifth, if you’d rather) J.R.R. Tolkien installment – is an escape scene. At its start, hobbit protagonist Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his dwarf companions sneak out of the Elven dungeon cells in which they’ve been imprisoned, and hope for clean getaways by stashing themselves in empty wine barrels and floating down a nearby river. Sounds simple. And it might have been if it weren’t for the rapids, and the waterfalls, and the whizzing arrows, and the savage orcs, and Orlando Bloom gingerly bouncing atop our heroes’ heads.


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Song of Solomon: "12 Years a Slave" and "The Best Man Holiday"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-11-18 19:20:09

Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave12 YEARS A SLAVE

It’s impossible to imagine any viewer of director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave not haunted for hours, if not days or weeks, by its potent, frequently horrific imagery. Be it the protracted sight of protagonist Solomon Northrup hanging from a tree, his wiggling toes barely touching the dirt, or the early shot of Northrup caged in a Washington, D.C., prison with the camera slowly tilting upward to implicate Capitol Hill in his (and all slaves’) ordeal, McQueen continually delivers wrenching visual representations to match this already-wrenching tale. Yet if pressed for the one image that I find lingering above all others in this magnificent, devastating film, it would simply be the face of Chiwetel Ejiofor, who, in one unbroken take near the finale, almost seems to encapsulate hundreds of years of injustice in one anguished stare.


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Loki Here: "Thor: The Dark World," "Jerusalem," and "About Time"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-11-10 16:47:34

Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark WorldTHOR: THE DARK WORLD

As the comic-book demigod Loki, the nefarious thorn-in-the-side to the Avengers and adopted brother to Thor, Tom Hiddleston, in the Marvel Studios movies, exudes a teasing, seductive malevolence. With his sharp, angular features and chilling gaze that suggests he might prefer eating you to killing you, he’s a wonderfully unstable and hypnotic screen creation. Yet the brilliance in Hiddleston’s interpretation is that his Loki is also so damned charming. The character may forever be planning destruction or plotting revenge – specifically against the golden-haired preferred son with the red cape and hammer – but Hiddleston’s bearing is so smooth and relaxed, and his wide grin so infectious, that you almost can’t help rooting for him, especially because he also, generally, gets his movies’ best jokes.


Read More About Loki Here: "Thor: The Dark World," "Jerusalem," And "About Time"...


Period Piece: "Carrie," "The Fifth Estate," and "Escape Plan"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-10-20 22:31:31

Chloe Grace Moretz in CarrieCARRIE

(Author’s note: Spoilers will abound. Given that the movie under consideration is an oftentimes word-for-word updating of a 37-year-old work, I hope I’ll be forgiven for them.)

As remakes of beloved genre classics go, I suppose there’s little point in being bothered by the new Carrie. Director Kimberly Peirce’s outing, after all, is easy to sit through, smartly staged, generally well-acted, and, in most regards, incredibly faithful to Brian De Palma’s 1976 original (which was, itself, reasonably faithful to Stephen King’s debut novel of 1974). The CGI effects are pretty weak, and the movie isn’t even slightly scary, and considering that nearly all sentient beings know what happens to poor Carrie White at the prom – with the movie’s entire advertising campaign based on post-prom imagery – there’s almost nothing in the way of storyline surprise, but whatever. It’s fine.


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Lively, Long, and Prosperous: "Star Trek Into Darkness"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-05-18 18:09:57

Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine in Star Trek Into DarknessSTAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

Star Trek Into Darkness opens on a note of frenzied, almost satiric busyness. For reasons initially left unexplained, and in a set piece suggesting a futuristic Raiders of the Lost Ark, Captain Kirk and “Bones” McCoy are first seen racing through a jungle of crimson foliage on a foreign planet, attempting to escape the clutches of dozens of yowling savages with black eyeballs and papier-mâché skin. The chase eventually leads the pair to the edge of a cliff where they leap into the water below, just as Mr. Spock – much to the concern of his unusually panicked fellow crew members – beams into the belly of an active, ready-to-burst volcano. Director J.J. Abrams’ franchise extender isn’t even five minutes old, and between the shouting, the manically staged mayhem, the whiplash editing, and composer Michael Giacchino’s pummeling score, it already feels like a typically overstuffed blockbuster sequel, yet one without any of the wit that Abrams brought to 2009’s terrifically witty Star Trek reboot. But then something wonderful happens.
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