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items tagged with dramas

Objects of Riddickule: "Riddick" and "The Ultimate Life"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-09-09 13:13:22

Vin Diesel in RiddickRIDDICK and THE ULTIMATE LIFE

A few weeks ago, before heading off to see Kick-Ass 2, a friend asked if I thought 2013 was, as he felt, the year of the completely unnecessary, unrequested sequel. As I had, by that point, already sat through The Smurfs 2, RED 2, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, The Last Exorcism: Part II, and Scary Movie V – to say nothing of The Hangover: Part III, Fast & Furious 6, and Grown Ups 2, all of which someone must have requested – I told him yes.

Had he asked the same question this past Friday, before my double-feature of Riddick and The Ultimate Life, I would have told him hell yes.


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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.


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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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Serving in Silence: "Lee Daniels' The Butler," "Jobs," and "Kick-Ass 2"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-08-19 09:06:55

Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker in Lee Daniels' The ButlerLEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER

While raving to him about Lee Daniels’ The Butler – the glorious, heart-rending, hugely entertaining Civil Rights saga that may showcase the finest performance yet by star Forest Whitaker – a friend asked if it was the sort of movie that needed to be seen at the movies, or if it was something that could wait until home video. I replied that, as much as I think great films should always be seen first in as grandly scaled a format as possible, it was probably a work that wouldn’t lose much in the transition from big to smaller screen. Although director Daniels’ effort covers some 75 years of American history, with Whitaker portraying an eight-term White House servant over more than 50 of them, it’s still a rather intimate epic boasting a mostly understated visual style, and will no doubt play just fine in home-theater settings. (Actually, after the film’s “For Your Consideration” screeners are eventually sent out, I think it’s going to play awfully fine in the home-theater settings of Oscar voters. My first thought on the drive home was that even though it’s only August, this year’s Best Picture, Director, and Actor races were already all sewn up.)


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New Year’s Resolution: "Fruitvale Station" and "The Way Way Back"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-07-28 21:56:35

Michael B. Jordan and Melonie Diaz in Fruitvale StationFRUITVALE STATION

Marvel Studios’ recent spate of superhero movies has trained us – or tried to train us, at any rate – to stick around for at least the first few minutes of the end credits, offering the promise of a bonus scene designed to build excitement for comic-book adventures yet to come. (Not to give the details away, but Marvel’s new The Wolverine features a happy doozy of one promoting 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.) Yet while they couldn’t possibly have been expecting this same sort of credit cookie at the independent drama Fruitvale Station, the audience members with whom I saw the film stayed similarly glued to their seats, almost as though none of them was quite ready for the experience to be over. Given how haunting and emotionally overpowering writer/director Ryan Coogler’s debut feature is, it would be impossible to blame them.


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