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items tagged with Claire Danes

Dire to Be Different: "Insurgent," "Do You Believe?", and The Gunman"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-03-22 22:46:42

Theo James, Shailene Woodley, and Miles Teller in InsurgentINSURGENT

As was destined to happen at my well-attended-by-teenage-girls screening of Insurgent, I heard plenty of nervous titters when Shailene Woodley and Theo James finally unzipped their faux X-Men garb and got (PG-13) busy with one another, and solemn silence during most of the rest of this tear-stained, thematically pushy action adventure. But I did hear one other occasional sound, because nearly every time Miles Teller opened his mouth for a throwaway retort or vicious insult, the girls in my crowd laughed, and were completely right to. As Teller’s Peter is an eternal thorn in our heroes’ sides and a grade-A prick to boot – a character you’d presume more deserving of hisses than giggles – this was somewhat surprising. It was also hugely cheering. Those teen patrons may have collectively enjoyed the rampaging mediocrity of this Divergent sequel, but they also, just maybe, recognized true greatness when they saw it.


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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.


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Eternal Patients: "Sicko," "Live Free or Die Hard," and "Evening"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-07-03 08:34:41

Michael Moore's SickoSICKO

It seems that the older I get, and the older Michael Moore gets, the more I'm conscious of his imperfections as a filmmaker - and the less I could give a damn about them.


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Spielberg Takes a Riveting Trip to "Munich": Also, "The Family Stone"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-12-28 00:00:00

Eric Bana and Geoffrey Rush in MunichMUNICH

He may be revered – and often reviled – for his sense of childlike wonder, but no Hollywood director shoots scenes of violence with the no-frills grimness of Steven Spielberg. In the helmer’s taut, ambitious Munich – which focuses on Israeli retribution for the murders of nine of their athletes at the 1972 Olympics – Spielberg, as he did in Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, doesn’t distance himself from the carnage on the screen, and doesn’t let us distance ourselves, either. There’s nothing self-consciously “artistic” about the numerous killings we’re shown here; bullets tear through flesh with terrifying force, bombs rip limbs apart, and most of these atrocities are portrayed with an almost shocking matter-of-factness – we recoil from the violence because Spielberg’s presentation of it is so intentionally artless. (The murders in Munich come off as almost painfully realistic.) Yet although Munich is a brutal work, it isn’t brutalizing; Spielberg is too much of a natural showman – and natural entertainer – for that. The film is a riveting and intelligent political thriller, and although the director can’t fully rein in his expectedly sentimental impulses, Munich is probably Spielberg’s strongest directorial accomplishment in more than a decade. It’s a gripping and, for Spielberg especially, refreshingly tough-minded piece of work.


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A Goofy Thriller and a Glove-ly Romance: "Derailed" and "Shopgirl"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-11-16 00:00:00

Jennifer Aniston and Clive Owen in DerailedDERAILED

There’s nothing all that wrong with director Mikael Hafstrom’s thriller Derailed, until, that is, it turns into a thriller. Chicagoan Charles Schine (Clive Owen) is a harried family man with a wife (Melissa George) and a young, diabetic daughter. While commuting to work one morning, he meets a stranger on the train: the beguiling, flirtatious – and similarly married – Lucinda (Jennifer Aniston). Over the course of a few days, the two enjoy snappy conversation, meet for drinks, and eventually find themselves a hotel. But before their affair can be consummated, LaRoche (Vincent Cassel), a scruffy-looking nightmare with a gun and a thick French accent, breaks into their room, takes their wallets, beats Charles within an inch of his life, and rapes Lucinda. Then everything goes to hell, both for the characters and, unfortunately, for the movie.


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