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items tagged with Blake Lively

Viva Italia!: "To Rome with Love," "Savages," and "Katy Perry: Part of Me"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-07-09 17:50:33

Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg in To Rome with LoveTO ROME WITH LOVE

After Woody Allen’s rather staggering success with Midnight in Paris – personal-best box-office, the man’s first Academy Award in 25 years – I guess it was inevitable that critics, as a whole, would greet the filmmaker’s follow-up project with a collective “meh.” And that’s certainly happened with Woody’s new To Rome with Love. (Not that it matters, but the comedy is currently sitting with a “45-percent fresh” rating – i.e., “not fresh at all” – at the review aggregator RottenTomatoes.com.)

But I’d argue that the movie’s less generous critics have picked entirely the wrong picture to be indifferent toward, because the To Rome with Love that I saw was sensational – charming, hilarious, imaginative, and, in its offhanded way, enormously adventurous. As Woody’s latest is composed of a quartet of frothy comic vignettes set in the Eternal City, all of them reminiscent of the short fictions he occasionally writes for The New Yorker, it’s easy to see how the film is being perceived as slight. Yet that description, while somewhat accurate, doesn’t begin to suggest the masterly finesse and intelligence that Woody and his tremendous cast demonstrate here. If Midnight in Paris remains the writer/director’s finest achievement of the past two decades, To Rome with Love easily lands in the top five, and with more than 20 releases to choose from, that’s hardly something to sniff at.


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Cawps and Rawbbuhs: “The Town”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2010-09-19 20:46:00

Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner in The TownTHE TOWN

Director/co-writer/star Ben Affleck’s crime drama The Town is an enjoyable, frustrating, fascinating contradiction: a movie with a storyline that’s nearly impossible to buy, yet one performed and directed with such assurance and strength that it’s nearly impossible not to buy. You can roll your eyes at the film’s many clichés and contrivances, but you can’t say they’re presented with anything less than full commitment; for a two-hour-plus movie that doesn’t provide even one truly novel character, situation, insight, or plot twist, The Town is remarkably fresh.


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It’s Not Easy Buying Green: "Pineapple Express" and "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-08-13 08:43:05

Seth Rogen and James Franco in Pineapple ExpressPINEAPPLE EXPRESS

As the happily zonked, pot-dealing Saul in Pineapple Express - written by Superbad screenwriters Seth Rogen (who also stars) and Evan Goldberg - James Franco is wonderfully unpredictable. The actor has flashed the occasional grin in previous film roles, but his uncanny resemblance to James Dean finds him so often used for brooding melancholy, most notably in the Spider-Man films, that his emergence as an inventive and quick-witted comedian in this stoner-buddy action farce is cause for celebration. Or rather, it would be, if Franco had a better movie in which to display his gifts.


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