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items tagged with Comedies

Mob Mentality: "The Family" and "Insidious: Chapter 2"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-09-15 14:04:19

Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer in The FamilyTHE FAMILY

Robert De Niro fans will likely want to catch director Luc Besson’s The Family, as it showcases one of the actor’s finest, most alert leading performances in years. Michelle Pfeiffer fans (and I’m a huge one) will definitely want to catch this new gangster comedy, as it gives the eternally radiant performer the closest she’s had to a fully fleshed-out character in over a decade, and Pfeiffer – returning to her mob-wife roots of the Scarface and Married to the Mob era – plays the role spectacularly well.

Yet there’s one demographic for whom The Family should be absolutely must-see viewing: anti-Francophiles. Though it has its problems, several of them major ones, I’m betting that most of its viewers will enjoy the film. But if you’re the sort who’s prone to make hostile remarks about the French with little or no provocation, or have ever referenced “freedom fries” completely without irony, this is, without question, the movie for you, which makes this latest effort by Parisian filmmaker Besson not just cheeky but downright subversive.


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Labored Day Weekend: "Closed Circuit," "Instructions Not Included," "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones," "One Direction: This Is Us," and "Getaway"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-09-02 05:01:17

Eric Bana and Ciaran Hinds in Closed CircuitIt’s a commonly held belief, mostly because it’s generally true, that no worthwhile movies open on either the last weekend of August or Labor Day weekend. So I hope I wasn’t alone, among reviewers, in feeling trepidation about my most recent cineplex duties, given that this year, in a calendar rarity, those weekends were one and the same. (Would the films be twice as bad as usual? Would there be twice as many bad films to contend with?) But I’m pleased, and somewhat shocked, to report that my latest movie-going experiences weren’t relentlessly grim. They were just relentlessly weird, especially considering I had the best time at the weekend’s worst picture, and the lineup’s most professionally rendered offering made me fall dead asleep.


Read More About Labored Day Weekend: "Closed Circuit," "Instructions Not Included," "The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones," "One Direction: This Is Us," And "Getaway"...


Darling, I Love You, but Give Me Park Avenue: "Blue Jasmine," "The World’s End," and "You’re Next"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-08-25 23:41:52

Cate Blanchett in Blue JasmineBLUE JASMINE

Woody Allen’s new drama Blue Jasmine is modeled, both loosely and very specifically, on Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, and if you’re familiar with that stage classic – or, really, with Williams’ oeuvre in general – you can correctly presume that the movie will not end on a note of cheer. Yet for the life of me, I couldn’t convince my face of that, because Cate Blanchett’s almost impossibly fine performance in the writer/director’s latest left me smiling so contentedly you would’ve thought the screening came with an open bar and complimentary full-body massage. Catching up with me on the way out of the auditorium, a friend, regarding Blanchett’s portrayal, said, “I think I’m gonna be high for a week.” I’m pretty sure I vocalized my agreement but was feeling too high to be certain.


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Air, Sea, and Land Travels: "Planes," "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters," and "We’re the Millers"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-08-11 19:41:33

PlanesPLANES and PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS

From a grown-up’s perspective, I guess that as far as family entertainment at the cineplex goes, Disney’s animated Planes and the mythology adventure Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters could both be considered “harmless.” But can you really apply that adjective when something, in both movies, is indeed being killed – namely, your time?


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Blues 2 Men: "The Smurfs 2" and "2 Guns"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-08-05 10:09:46

Hank Azaria in The Smurfs 2THE SMURFS 2

Upon returning from my screening of The Smurfs 2, a buddy asked what I thought of the film, and I told him that Hank Azaria – the comic genius who plays the nefarious, Smurf-loathing wizard Gargamel – was awfully funny in it. My friend asked, “When isn’t he?”, and beyond the TV-movie tearjerker Tuesdays with Morrie, I couldn’t provide an example. (And in truth, at appropriate moments in his Emmy-winning dramatic turn, the actor is awfully funny in Tuesdays with Morrie.) Consequently, as he’s nearly always this inspired on-screen, Azaria’s hilariously outlandish performance probably isn’t reason enough to see director Raja Gosnell’s blue-hued sequel, at least if you don’t have small children pressuring you to do so.

If, however, you’re a childless adult who chooses to attend The Smurfs 2 anyway, your secret’s totally safe with me, because Azaria actually does make this kiddie comedy worth sitting through – though perhaps only if you catch it during bargain-matinée hours, or have a cineplex gift card that you were just gonna throw out otherwise.


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