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items tagged with Bob Balaban

The Inn Crowd: "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Captain America: The Winter Solider," and "Veronica Mars"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-04-06 22:48:22

Paul Schlase, Tony Revolori, Tilda Swinton, and Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest HotelTHE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

Generally speaking, I’m not one to argue for the inclusion of more foul language and bloody violence in a director’s oeuvre, and feel especially awkward doing so a mere week after being bored silly by the endless profanities and exploding squibs in the latest Schwarzenegger flick. But I’ll happily make an exception in the case of Wes Anderson, at least based on his most recent outing, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Like all Anderson efforts, this one, too, could be filed in the “precious comic bauble” category, given its deliberately artificial production design and obsessively controlled compositions and overall suggestion of an improv-free zone. Yet this endlessly inventive and funny new work might boast more interior life than any of the writer/director’s other live-action achievements, and for that I’m afraid we have to thank the forcible removal of Jeff Goldblum’s fingers, and Ralph Fiennes’ tendency to drop the F-bomb into every other sentence.


Read More About The Inn Crowd: "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Captain America: The Winter Solider," And "Veronica Mars"...


Plastics: "The Lego Movie," "The Monuments Men," and "Vampire Academy"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-02-11 14:28:21

The Lego MovieTHE LEGO MOVIE

Two of the characters in The Lego Movie are Lego Minifigures of Superman and Green Lantern, the latter of whom, here, is an obsequious suck-up whom the Man of Steel can’t stand. That’s a good joke. These decided non-friends are voiced by Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, who famously played best friends in 21 Jump Street. That’s a good in-joke. The Lego Movie is directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who also directed 21 Jump Street. That’s a good in-in-joke. But the news that this new animated release is not only the cleverest, most hysterical comedy since 21 Jump Street, but an altogether stronger, more audacious piece of work than at least 90 percent of everything Hollywood gave us last year? No joke at all.


Read More About Plastics: "The Lego Movie," "The Monuments Men," And "Vampire Academy"...


Sunshine Strip: "Magic Mike," "Moonrise Kingdom," "People Like Us," and "Ted"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-07-01 23:23:45

Channing Tatum in Magic MikeMAGIC MIKE

Walking into the auditorium for a nearly sold-out, mid-afternoon screening of Magic Mike – “nearly sold-out” and “mid-afternoon” being phrases that rarely go together at the cineplex – I gauged the audience of obviously ecstatic patrons and said to my friend, “This is gonna be fun.” Man, we had no idea.


Read More About Sunshine Strip: "Magic Mike," "Moonrise Kingdom," "People Like Us," And "Ted"...


Everything New Is Old Again: Notes on the 2012 Academy Awards Telecast
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2012-02-27 19:34:55

Best Actress Meryl StreepThe first trophy handed out at the 2012 Academy Awards ceremony was for Best Cinematography, a prize that I predicted would go to The Tree of Life but that instead went to Hugo. (Seriously, after his undeserved losses for 2006’s Children of Men and now the Terrence Malick film, exactly whom does Emmanuel Lubezki have to do to win an Oscar?) But that was actually my second incorrect assumption of the evening, because as soon as host Billy Crystal stepped on stage, I said to the others at my viewing party, “Here comes the standing ovation,” and the audience – despite giving the man a warm reception – remained seated. Did the crowd have a collective premonition of just how spectacularly Crystal would bomb last night?


Read More About Everything New Is Old Again: Notes On The 2012 Academy Awards Telecast...


Mike's Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2007
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-10-30 00:41:02

Eduardo Verastegui and Tammy Blanchard in BellaBella (PG-13) - Alejandro Monteverde's drama, which concerns the friendship between a chef and a newly pregnant, newly unemployed waitress, received the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Um... who are these "people," exactly? Space people? Because I can see how Bella might be confused with a great movie if you didn't understand a word of human conversation. Even then, of course, you might still be put off by the film's bizarre editing (with flash-forwards routinely, meaninglessly interrupting scenes-in-progress) and lackluster photography; Montevrede shows more interest in food than in his stars. And then there's that baffling ending, which seems to set the film up for a sequel - one that fills in that massive "Huh?!?" of a climactic plot hole. But it's still the mawkish, maudlin screenplay that does it in; Eduardo Verástegui (looking uncannily like Jim Caviezel as Christ) and Tammy Blanchard (as ever, looking uncannily like Judy Garland) are stuck with unplayable dialogue and baldly written characters, and the movie shamelessly plies on the merely-functional supporting stereotypes. The movie is pro-life and pro-family with a vengeance, which might account for its (limited) popular success. I just wish it were also a little pro-brain, and a lot anti-cliché.


Read More About Mike's Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2007...





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