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items tagged with Blood Simple

Nuts and Dolts: "Burn After Reading," "The Women," and "Righteous Kill"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-09-17 08:15:57

Brad Pitt in Burn After ReadingBURN AFTER READING

Brad Pitt is so adorably dim-witted in the Coen brothers' espionage comedy Burn After Reading, and John Malkovich is so hilariously profane (and singularly weird), that it's a little heartbreaking to admit just how disappointing the actors' debut outing with the Coens actually is. From 1984's Blood Simple to last year's No Country for Old Men, the filmography of Joel and Ethan has been chockablock with enjoyably eccentric throwaway characters. Until now, though, I'd never seen a Coen brothers movie that was nothing but a series of enjoyably eccentric throwaway characters; Pitt, Malkovich, and the film's other hard-working performers provide a decent enough time, yet I still left Burn Without Reading feeling a little bewildered and annoyed, and counting the months - hopefully not too many - until the siblings' next endeavor.


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"Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut" Unnecessary But Still Stunning: Also, "The Forgotten" and "Wimbledon"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2004-09-29 00:00:00
Jake Gyllenhaal in Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut

DONNIE DARKO: THE DIRECTOR'S CUT

After I first saw Donnie Darko on DVD some 16 months back, I did something I’d done only once or twice before, and never again since: I returned to the main menu, hit “Play,” and watched the movie again.


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"David Gale" Is Bad, but Not All That Bad: "The Life of David Gale," "Old School," and "Deliver Us from Eva"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-02-26 00:00:00

Laura Linney and Kevin Spacey in The Life of David GaleTHE LIFE OF DAVID GALE

Reading the reviews for Alan Parker’s The Life of David Gale, you might assume that it’s the most staggeringly offensive cinematic release since Freddy Got Fingered. (Glenn Kenny of Premiere magazine and Roger Ebert gave the film a combined total of zero stars.) And upon realizing that the film in question boasts the considerable acting abilities of Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, and Laura Linney, not to mention direction by two-time Oscar nominee Alan Parker, you’d have every right to wonder: Can the movie be that god-awful? The short answer is: No, it’s not. Parker’s film is bad, yes, but it’s bad in typical Hollywood fashion, especially for a paranoid thriller; the plot twists are ludicrous, the dialogue, especially when dealing directly with the film’s polemic over the death penalty, is clunky, and it’s so high on its do-gooder mentality that it comes off as vaguely embarrassing. But despite what you might have read, it’s not the work of Lucifer, merely the work of talented individuals acting uncharacteristically like hacks.


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Two Stupid Movies Don’t Spell "Trouble": "High Crimes" and "Big Trouble"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2002-04-10 00:00:00

Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd in High CrimesHIGH CRIMES

If Hollywood studios absolutely insist on feeding us one piece-of-crap potboiler after another, they could certainly do worse than the trashily entertaining military thriller High Crimes.


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Acting Duo Elevates "K-PAX": Also, "13 Ghosts"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2001-10-31 00:00:00

Kevin Spacey in K-PAXK-PAX

Kevin Spacey has made a career out of being snidely patronizing, of being the smartest person in the room, and that’s what I adore about him; he patently refuses to be lovable, and his wicked intelligence and dry-as-sandpaper line readings give a snap to just about every role he plays. (That’s why his performance as the physically and emotionally scarred teacher in last year’s imbecilic tearjerker Pay It Forward was so disappointing; he’s not built for sentiment, and his presence in that mopey role merely exposed the film’s schmaltziness.) I guess it was inevitable that Spacey, who always comes off as knowing more than we do, would one day play an alien (or is he?) who arrives on Earth to teach us all lessons about life and love that we can’t figure out for ourselves. And so we have K-PAX, which had the potential to be excruciating but, as directed by Iain Softley and performed by a marvelous cast led by Spacey and Jeff Bridges, turns out to be thoroughly engaging; it’s a case study in how the right director and performers can redeem mostly worthless material.


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