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items tagged with Bob Balaban

Be Our Guest: “For Your Consideration,” “The Queen,” “Casino Royale,” and “Happy Feet”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-11-29 09:02:56

Christopher Moynihan, Harry Shearer, Catherine O'Hara, and Parker Posey in For Your ConsiderationFOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

I love Christopher Guest's improvisational comedies with a passion bordering on mania, and he and co-scenarist Eugene Levy have been wonderfully consistent about treating fans to a new one every three years; 1997's Waiting for Guffman led to 2000's Best in Show and 2003's peerless A Mighty Wind. Now we have For Your Consideration, a skewering of the annual Oscar-derby madness, and I couldn't have been more excited about seeing it. So why, despite its many, many great moments, does reflecting on the director's latest leave me feeling disappointed, and a little depressed?


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Shymalan a Ding Dong: “Lady in the Water,” “Clerks II,” and “My Super Ex-Girlfriend”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-07-26 04:43:47

Paul Giamatti and Bryce Dallas Howard in Lady in the WaterLADY IN THE WATER

A mysterious publicity campaign used to work in M. Night Shymalan's favor; the less you knew about his forthcoming movies, the more you wanted to see them. Now, however, a lack of pre-release information on a Shymalan project seems less about building suspense than trying to quarantine bad buzz, and, in the case of Lady in the Water, with good reason.

This might be the most hysterically inane movie of the year. This might be the most hysterically inane movie of the next several years. I'm torn between urging you to stay as far away from the film as possible and demanding that you line up to see it immediately; a cinematic goof of this magnitude is almost too priceless to miss.


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Hoffman Dazzles in a Remarkable "Capote": Also, "Hoodwinked" and "The New World"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-01-25 00:00:00

Philip Seymour Hoffman in CapoteCAPOTE

When I first saw Bennett Miller’s Capote back in November, I was so knocked out by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal that I fear I may have undervalued the movie itself; Hoffman’s channeling of this singular author was so extraordinary that, although the film itself wouldn’t fit anyone’s definition of “feel-good,” I’m not sure I stopped smiling once through its two-hour running length. (Performances of this quality have a way of putting me in a fantastic mood, regardless of a movie’s subject matter.) But on a return visit to Capote this past weekend, I was able to more fully luxuriate in the brilliance of its design and the strength of its presentation; what could have been a “mere” performance piece proves, in the hands of Miller and screenwriter Dan Futterman, to be a work of rare artistry and depth. Capote is so beautifully crafted – thematically rich, psychologically insightful, and mordantly funny – that you might be embarrassed by what a fine time you’re having at it.


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"Wind" a Mighty Achievement Indeed: "A Mighty Wind" and "Daddy Day Care"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-05-14 00:00:00

Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, and Christopher Guest in A Mighty WindA MIGHTY WIND

This might sound like an overstatement, but with A Mighty Wind, writer-director Christopher Guest, aided immeasurably by regular co-scenarist Eugene Levy and his cast of brilliant improv artists, has secured his place as the most distinctive voice in American film comedy since the ’70s heyday of Mel Brooks and Woody Allen. (And judging by the applause that greeted the film’s finale at the screening I attended, I’m not alone in thinking this.)


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Notes on Brad, Julia, and "The Mexican"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2001-03-07 00:00:00

Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts in The MexicanTHE MEXICAN

We’ve had the evidence for years, but I think it’s time we made it official: Brad Pitt is a gonzo supporting player stuck in a (rather dull) leading man’s body. Recently, he portrayed the heavily-accented Irish boxer in Snatch, giving the film a jolt of pure, comedic adrenalin – his screen time was brief, but he was the most entertaining performer in the movie – and when he appeared as a supporting actor in 12 Monkeys, Thelma & Louise, and True Romance (probably his best, and easily his funniest, screen work), his performances were well-calibrated and often inspired. Pitt can display a true flair for off-kilter comedy; it’s telling that his most enjoyable lead performance has come from the darkly comic cult film Fight Club, where his Tyler Durden was clearly one of Pitt’s nutjob character roles gone berserk.


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