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items tagged with dramas

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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Forgotten, but Not Gone: "Still Alice" and "The Last Five Years"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-02-23 15:23:00

Kristen Stewart and Julianne Moore in Still AliceSTILL ALICE

In Still Alice, newly minted Oscar winner Julianne Moore plays Alice Howland, a 50-year-old recently diagnosed with a hereditary form of Alzheimer’s. At one point in the movie, after a series of not-bad days and pretty-awful ones, Alice and her family attend an off-Broadway production of The Three Sisters starring the youngest Howland daughter, Lydia (Kristen Stewart). We see Lydia enact Chekhov’s dialogue with appropriate, impressive anxiety and fortitude, and our view of Alice in the audience suggests that she sees it, too. After the play ends, the family goes backstage to congratulate Lydia, and Alice, with carefully chosen words, praises her daughter for her complex rendering of Chekhovian heart and humanity. Lydia smiles and blushes; this might be the most interest her mother has ever shown in her acting career. Then Alice asks what play Lydia is doing next, and whether she’ll be sticking around New York much longer. And in the reaction shot that follows, the heartbreak in Lydia’s eyes verifies what we immediately suspect: Alice, at this moment, has no idea who Lydia is.


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Blow It Out Uranus: "Jupiter Ascending," "Seventh Son," "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water," and "Two Days, One Night"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-02-09 00:20:05

Mila Kunis in Jupiter AscendingJUPITER ASCENDING

After months of previews in the wake of its delayed release, the big-budget sci-fi spectacle Jupiter Ascending – originally scheduled for summer 2014 – finally landed this past weekend. And with its opening, a question can now be asked: Was there any point at which Warner Bros. executives seriously considered pulling the plug on writers/directors/siblings Andy and Lana Wachowski’s epic stinker? Maybe when Channing Tatum was cast as a human/wolf hybrid with a blond goatee and pointy ears? Or when an incensed Russian beat the hell out of his son with a throw pillow? Or when, for the performer’s first scene, the Wachowskis handed Mila Kunis an all-too-symbolic toilet brush?


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Qualms Before the Storm: "A Most Violent Year," "Journey to Space 3D," "Black or White," "The Loft," and "Project Almanac"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-02-01 23:39:41

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac in A Most Violent YearLike a squirrel gathering nuts before winter, I made a conscious effort to catch all five of this past weekend’s debuting releases before our area was hit by the blizzard from Hell. (An oxymoronic expression, but whatever.) And because, with the exception of the museum’s feature, even the really good one will likely be gone before the snowy onslaught begins to melt, let’s take care of ’em quickly. In descending order of preference ... .


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Wrestling with Demons: “Foxcatcher”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-01-19 02:24:10

Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo in FoxcatcherFOXCATCHER

Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher isn’t a horror movie, per se. There are no bogeymen, no cats jumping out from the shadows, and, with one crucial exception, very little bloodletting beyond that which could be incurred on a wrestling mat. Yet when I caught the film this weekend, it sure seemed like one, considering the collective gasp that greeted the climax’s simple yet surprising appearance of a handgun. Actually, it was more of a swallowed shriek than a gasp – the sort of involuntary sound you’d make if you were fearing the worst and the worst came, only far sooner, and scarier, than you were anticipating.


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