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items tagged with dramas

Rap Sessions: "Straight Outta Compton" and "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-08-17 01:22:13

Aldis Hodge, Neil Brown Jr.,  Jason Mitchell, O'Shea Jackson Jr., and Corey Hawkins in Straight Outta ComptonSTRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON

In the N.W.A. bio-pic Straight Outta Compton, long after the professional and personal flame-outs between Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell) and Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr., playing his real-life father), the two rappers run into each other at a club, and Eazy, seeking reconciliation, tells Cube he saw him in Boyz n the Hood. Cube reminds his former friend that Eazy publicly called the movie “an after-school special,” and Eazy, knowing he’s caught, simply grins and says, “Man, you know I like after-school specials.” (As it must, this initially tense encounter ends in a hug.) Given the film’s expectedly harsh language, constant threats of violence, and poolisde and hotel-room debaucheries that only platinum-selling albums can buy, I was amazed to find its own resemblence to an after-school special the most surprising thing about director F. Gary Gray’s musical drama. But whatever – I, too, like after-school specials.
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Septet-à-tête: "Shaun the Sheep Movie," "Ricki & the Flash," "Fantastic Four," "Irrational Man," "The Gift," "Infinitely Polar Bear," and "Amy"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-08-10 13:53:58

Shaun the Sheep MovieYou can tell it’s August at the cineplex, not because the newly released movies are so terrible (though a couple of them definitely are), but because there are so many of them. This annual dumping-ground month for films generally considered too weak to score summer-blockbuster dollars and too insignificant to pass as autumnal prestige fare has also, in recent years, become the cinematic equivalent of a Sam’s Club or Costco: a little bit of everything, in bulk. And over four consecutive days, I caught up with seven of these debuting area titles – a collective experience that ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous ... and back to the sublime.


Read More About Septet-à-TêTe: "Shaun The Sheep Movie," "Ricki & The Flash," "Fantastic Four," "Irrational Man," "The Gift," "Infinitely Polar Bear," And "Amy"...


True Detective / Truly Defective: "Mr. Holmes," "Southpaw," "Paper Towns," and "Pixels"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-07-25 22:42:58

Ian McKellen and Milo Parker in Mr. HolmesFriday, July 24, 10:40 a.m.-ish: It’s been so long since my last quadruple-feature – a miraculous six months plus! – that I’m only mildly dreading today’s, and only then because I know it’s ending with Adam Sandler. It’s beginning, however, with Mr. Holmes, and while I can’t imagine the world needing yet another showcase for Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary sleuth, I’m psyched knowing this latest iteration will reunite director Bill Condon with his Gods & Monsters star Ian McKellen and Kinsey co-star Laura Linney. Most of the movie consists of McKellen’s 93-year-old Sherlock, in 1947, contending with failing memory and the haunting case that forced his retirement, while Linney’s Irish housekeeper Mrs. Munro cooks and tidies up. But while several mysteries arise and are duly resolved in the film, I am distracted throughout by two unresolved questions. (1) Who is this little kid Milo Parker who plays Sherock’s protégé (and Mrs. Munro’s son) Roger? And (2) How is this boy giving a performance that might be topping those of the excellent McKellen and Linney?
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He Be Back: "Terminator Genisys," "Magic Mike XXL," and "Me & Earl & the Dying Girl"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-07-02 16:18:54

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator GenisysTERMINATOR GENISYS

Following some requisite, necessary backstory, Terminator Genisys opens in 2029 Los Angeles, where resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) transports fellow revolutionary Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) to 1984, where he’s to hopefully prevent global apocalypse and protect John’s mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke) from a murderous robot (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Upon arriving, however, Kyle finds that Sarah doesn’t need saving and the robot isn’t murderous, so off they go to 2017, where the planet is still imperiled, and John Connor himself proves to be the source of the planet’s eventual ruin. After one of these whisks through the decades, Kyle says, “Time travel makes my head hurt,” and time-travel movies generally make my head hurt, too. But for a fifth installment in an increasingly confounding series, this particular time-travel movie is actually a fair bit of fun.


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Fuzzy and Furry: "Ted 2" and "Max"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-06-29 02:30:27

Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane-ish in Ted 2TED 2

Every fan of Family Guy knows that when he wants to, Seth MacFarlane can be really offensive. (I am in no way a fan of Family Guy, and even I know that.) But the biggest problem with MacFarlane’s Ted 2 – which is likely to at least occasionally infuriate anyone who isn’t a white, straight alpha-bro – isn’t that it’s offensive; it’s that it’s too often sincere. This is a movie in which Morgan Freeman, as a benevolent civil-rights attorney, invokes the 16th Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation when arguing for the rights of a talking teddy bear, with the scene’s moved onlookers and swelling score matching him in earnestness and integrity. My audience, meanwhile, watched and listened to Freeman’s impassioned oration in what felt like stunned silence. Can MacFarlane possibly be serious about this – that his foul-mouthed teddy’s rights are equal to those of hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised human beings? And if he’s not serious, why isn’t this scene in any way funny?
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