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items tagged with Cate Blanchett

Disappointment Big Really A: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-01-07 16:41:29

Taraji P. Henson and Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonTHE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON

Visually arresting and wildly ambitious, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a tough film to dislike. But I'm giving it a shot anyway, because while director David Fincher's 165-minute opus is spectacular in lots of small ways, it's frustrating and fundamentally unsatisfying in much, much bigger ones. Given several days to reflect on the experience, I no longer hate the movie the way I initially did, yet I remain convinced that what could have, and should have, been a magical, lyrical piece of work is instead a graceless, obvious, and frequently maddening one.


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Whipping Boy: "Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-05-28 08:20:06

Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

INDIANA JONES & THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL

We'll get to Spielberg, Ford, and all manner of chases, escapes, and effects soon enough, but allow me to ask: Has any performer ever seemed as irrepressibly, irresistibly happy on-screen as Karen Allen in Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?


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Bad Boys, Too: "Hot Fuzz," "Fracture," and "Perfect Stranger"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-04-25 08:10:30

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in Hot FuzzHOT FUZZ

Not that many of you have seen them, but in between Rodriguez's and Tarantino's Grindhouse offerings, there are faux "coming attractions" for forthcoming trash flicks, one of which is directed by Edgar Wright. The trailer in question is for a slasher film called Don't, and in about 90 seconds of screen time, Wright - director/co-writer of the peerless zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead and the new action spoof Hot Fuzz - manages to lampoon (and celebrate) just about every cliché in the horror-preview bible: the insidiously throaty voice-over announcer; the shock edits, punctuated by screams; the sudden bursts of outré violence. It's a brilliant, savage parody, yet the trailer's ultimate joke is that it's legitimately effective; you find yourself actually wanting to see Don't. Wright tweaks genre previews and outdoes them in the same breath.


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A "Scandal"-ous Waste of Skill: "Notes on a Scandal," "Volver," "Smokin' Aces," and "The Hitcher"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-01-31 09:33:08

Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench in Notes on a ScandalNOTES ON A SCANDAL

In Richard Eyre's Notes on a Scandal, Judi Dench appears to be having an amazingly fine time playing an evil harridan. Why does the movie itself have to be such a dud? In the film, Dench portrays prickly history teacher Barbara Covett, who becomes pathologically obsessed with Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett), a younger colleague in the art department. (As Barbara's last name suggests, Eyre's film, based on the novel by Zoë Heller, won't be much concerned with subtlety.) When Barbara discovers that the married Sheba has been carrying on with a 15-year-old student (Andrew Simpson), she uses the knowledge to surreptitiously gain Sheba's trust, in the hopes of turning their friendship into something more, shall we say, Sapphic. Subsequently, threats are made, careers are jeopardized, relationships are destroyed ... and why oh why isn't the movie more fun?


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