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items tagged with Chris Cooper

Half-Baked Goods: "The Boss," "Demolition," and "Hardcore Henry"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2016-04-10 23:00:44

Kristen Bell and Melissa McCarthy in The BossTHE BOSS

As far as her recent movies are concerned, only one thing separates a good Melissa McCarthy comedy from a bad one, and that thing is Paul Feig. (Those awkwardly unfunny previews for Feig’s forthcoming Ghostbusters reboot, however, make me wonder how long that’ll be the case.) In the director’s Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Spy, McCarthy has been a blistering and wonderfully human riot, but the films themselves are so solidly constructed that you know they would’ve worked even with someone less naturally gifted in her roles. Yet the same can’t be said for the dismal Identity Thief, or the tonally nuts Tammy, or the debuting The Boss, which finds McCarthy’s ex-con entrepreneur Michelle Darnell seeking redemption through a makeshift Girl Scout troop, homemade brownies, and excessive bullying techniques. In each one, when she isn’t being humiliated, McCarthy is the best thing in it. In each one, that’s hardly saying much.
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Fuzzy and Furry: "Ted 2" and "Max"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-06-29 02:30:27

Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane-ish in Ted 2TED 2

Every fan of Family Guy knows that when he wants to, Seth MacFarlane can be really offensive. (I am in no way a fan of Family Guy, and even I know that.) But the biggest problem with MacFarlane’s Ted 2 – which is likely to at least occasionally infuriate anyone who isn’t a white, straight alpha-bro – isn’t that it’s offensive; it’s that it’s too often sincere. This is a movie in which Morgan Freeman, as a benevolent civil-rights attorney, invokes the 16th Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation when arguing for the rights of a talking teddy bear, with the scene’s moved onlookers and swelling score matching him in earnestness and integrity. My audience, meanwhile, watched and listened to Freeman’s impassioned oration in what felt like stunned silence. Can MacFarlane possibly be serious about this – that his foul-mouthed teddy’s rights are equal to those of hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised human beings? And if he’s not serious, why isn’t this scene in any way funny?
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Her and Her and Her and Her and Her and Her and … : "Her" and "August: Osage County"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-01-13 03:28:27

Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams in HerHER

Her, writer/director Spike Jonze’s tale of a man who falls in love with his computerized operating system, and “she” with him, casts a weirdly hypnotic spell. Although billed as comedy (as least by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association), you don’t really laugh much, and when you do, the laughter generally sticks in an odd, uncomfortable place in your throat; marveling at the unbridled sincerity of the thing, your chuckles are laced with a slight hint of mockery. Yet damned if Jonze, star Joaquin Phoenix, and the film’s superb supporting cast and designers don’t make this improbable project pay off in spades. Thoughtful, haunting, and perceptive, and at all times wickedly clever, Her is like a sci-fi Lost in Translation with a Scarlett Johansson you never get to see.


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Play the Music! Light the Lights!: "The Muppets" and "Hugo"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-11-28 14:22:42

Amy Adams, Jason Segel, and The MuppetsTHE MUPPETS

I adored nearly every minute of the big-screen reunion The Muppets, the musical-comedy brainchild of screenwriters Jason Segel (who also co-stars) and Nicholas Stoller. But before commencing with the rave, I should probably offer a caveat, because I can barely imagine the conditions under which I wouldn’t have adored this movie.


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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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