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items tagged with Comedies

The Needle in the Haystack: "Zero Dark Thirty," "Gangster Squad," "A Haunted House," and "Hitchcock"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-01-14 18:45:03

Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark ThirtyZERO DARK THIRTY

As an orchestrator of cinematic suspense, Kathryn Bigelow might currently be without peer in American movies. The sequences of Jeremy Renner dismantling explosives in the director’s Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker were miniature masterpieces of sustained excitement; despite our knowing, through much of the film, that it was too early for Renner’s Sergeant William James to be killed off, each masterfully shot and edited act of bomb disposal vibrated with legitimate threat. In Zero Dark Thirty – Bigelow’s and screenwriter Mark Boal’s fictionalized docu-drama about the decade-long search for Osama bin Laden – nearly every scene feels like a ticking time bomb. There is, of course, never any doubt about the narrative’s outcome, yet Bigelow’s gifts for composition and pacing ensure that you still watch the picture with rapt attention and dread. And blessedly, she’s also a spectacular entertainer. The movie is tough-minded and sometimes tough to watch, but even when Bigelow is fraying your nerves, she’s tickling your senses.


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Mad About You: "Silver Linings Playbook," "Django Unchained," and "Parental Guidance"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-12-31 14:13:50

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings PlaybookSILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook is a modern romantic comedy, which means that, in essence, its storyline would fit rather snugly alongside those of many offerings in the cinematic oeuvres of Katherine Heigl and Kate Hudson. But allow me to blow your minds with this little nugget of information: While its narrative arc may seem familiar, even insultingly so, almost nothing in the movie happens the way you think it will. Somehow, using author Matthew Quick’s 2008 novel as a blueprint, Russell has taken a tale involving two impossibly good-looking near-lovers, an emotionally distant family, and a big dance contest, and has ensured that you truly can’t predict whether the seemingly de rigueur unions and reconciliations and victories will actually transpire. What’s the deal with this Russell guy? Doesn’t he know that’s not the way things are done in Hollywood?


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A Star Is Reborn: "The Guilt Trip," "This Is 40," and "Jack Reacher"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-12-24 00:20:27

Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand in The Guilt TripTHE GUILT TRIP

Aside from her appearances as Ben Stiller’s hippie mom in those increasingly labored Meet the Parents sequels, Barbra Steisand hasn’t been seen in a film since her 1996 directorial effort The Mirror Has Two Faces, and considering what an ego-fueled embarrassment that picture was, some of us have been grateful for the break. It’s worth remembering, though, that when her material doesn’t let her down (and she’s not directing her own star vehicles), Streisand can still be a fantastically smart and inventive comedienne – which, happily, she’s allowed to be in nearly every scene of The Guilt Trip.


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Got MILF?: "Playing for Keeps" and "Anna Karenina"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-12-10 16:27:35

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Gerard Butler in Playing for KeepsPLAYING FOR KEEPS

In director Gabriele Muccino’s dramatic comedy Playing for Keeps, Gerard Butler portrays a former star athlete who hopes to reconnect with his ex-wife and son by coaching the kid’s pee-wee soccer team, and who is consequently forced to (try to) resist the advances of a trio of beautiful, aggressive, lascivious soccer moms who can’t keep their hands off him. This, in the language of Hollywood screenwriters, is what is known as “a problem.”


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Rescue Mission Impossible: "Argo," "Seven Psychopaths," "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," and "Sinister"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-10-15 05:28:26

John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and Ben Affleck in ArgoARGO

It sounds like an all-too-Hollywood idea for a high-concept suspense thriller: A sextet of State Department employees are trapped in Iran, and their only hope for escape lies with an ingenious CIA official who plans to free the Americans by having them pose as a location-scouting team for a Canadian science-fiction movie. Yet within its first minutes, director/star Ben Affleck’s Argo – based on a recently declassified chapter of the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-80 – registers as terrifically, nerve-rackingly authentic, even if the film’s most enjoyable elements are, in truth, as Hollywood as they come.


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