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items tagged with dramas

Host with the Most: "Dave Chappelle's Block Party," "Madea's Family Reunion," "16 Blocks," "Running Scared," "The World's Fastest Indian," and "Doogal"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-03-08 00:00:00

Dave Chappelle in Dave Chappelle's Block PartyDAVE CHAPPELLE'S BLOCK PARTY

Dave Chappelle’s Block Party is teeming with something that has been sorely absent from 2006’s movie crop: joy. In the late summer of 2004, Chappelle, fresh from signing his now-legendary – and currently defunct – $50-million contract with Comedy Central, spontaneously decided to throw a block-wide bash, and recruited a batch of rap and R&B performers (including Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Kanye West, Jill Scott, and Lauryn Hill and the reunited Fugees) to perform a day-long gig in Brooklyn; the resulting concert doc features highlights from the concert interspersed with scenes of Chappelle kicking back with the stars and the block-party attendees, and the movie, directed by Michel Gondry, is a giddy, oftentimes exhilarating spectacle. It’s hard to determine who’s having more fun – the musicians, whose on-stage performances are heartfelt and vital; the Brooklyn masses, whose enjoyment of the show is palpable; or the movie’s audience.


Read More About Host With The Most: "Dave Chappelle's Block Party," "Madea's Family Reunion," "16 Blocks," "Running Scared," "The World's Fastest Indian," And "Doogal"...


Hoffman Dazzles in a Remarkable "Capote": Also, "Hoodwinked" and "The New World"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-01-25 00:00:00

Philip Seymour Hoffman in CapoteCAPOTE

When I first saw Bennett Miller’s Capote back in November, I was so knocked out by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal that I fear I may have undervalued the movie itself; Hoffman’s channeling of this singular author was so extraordinary that, although the film itself wouldn’t fit anyone’s definition of “feel-good,” I’m not sure I stopped smiling once through its two-hour running length. (Performances of this quality have a way of putting me in a fantastic mood, regardless of a movie’s subject matter.) But on a return visit to Capote this past weekend, I was able to more fully luxuriate in the brilliance of its design and the strength of its presentation; what could have been a “mere” performance piece proves, in the hands of Miller and screenwriter Dan Futterman, to be a work of rare artistry and depth. Capote is so beautifully crafted – thematically rich, psychologically insightful, and mordantly funny – that you might be embarrassed by what a fine time you’re having at it.


Read More About Hoffman Dazzles In A Remarkable "Capote": Also, "Hoodwinked" And "The New World"...


Coal in a Critic’s Christmas Stocking: "The Producers," "Fun with Dick & Jane," "Rumor Has It," "The Ringer," and "Memoirs of a Geisha"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-01-04 00:00:00

Matthew Broderick, Will Ferrell, and Nathan Lane in The ProducersTHE PRODUCERS

Devotees of the theatre had plenty of reason to be excited about The Producers, the movie version of Mel Brooks’ stage work based on his 1968 movie. (Got that?) This tale of two Broadway crooks who plan to make a fortune on the worst musical ever conceived has been brought to the screen by the Broadway production’s director/choreographer, Susan Stroman, with all of Brooks’ musical-comedy numbers intact, and the show’s original stars, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, reprise their roles as Bialystock and Bloom. It’s enough to make a theatre fan nearly giddy with anticipation.Yet after more than two hours spent with this theatrical adaptation, I wanted nothing more than to get my ass to a movie.


Read More About Coal In A Critic’S Christmas Stocking: "The Producers," "Fun With Dick & Jane," "Rumor Has It," "The Ringer," And "Memoirs Of A Geisha"...


Spielberg Takes a Riveting Trip to "Munich": Also, "The Family Stone"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-12-28 00:00:00

Eric Bana and Geoffrey Rush in MunichMUNICH

He may be revered – and often reviled – for his sense of childlike wonder, but no Hollywood director shoots scenes of violence with the no-frills grimness of Steven Spielberg. In the helmer’s taut, ambitious Munich – which focuses on Israeli retribution for the murders of nine of their athletes at the 1972 Olympics – Spielberg, as he did in Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, doesn’t distance himself from the carnage on the screen, and doesn’t let us distance ourselves, either. There’s nothing self-consciously “artistic” about the numerous killings we’re shown here; bullets tear through flesh with terrifying force, bombs rip limbs apart, and most of these atrocities are portrayed with an almost shocking matter-of-factness – we recoil from the violence because Spielberg’s presentation of it is so intentionally artless. (The murders in Munich come off as almost painfully realistic.) Yet although Munich is a brutal work, it isn’t brutalizing; Spielberg is too much of a natural showman – and natural entertainer – for that. The film is a riveting and intelligent political thriller, and although the director can’t fully rein in his expectedly sentimental impulses, Munich is probably Spielberg’s strongest directorial accomplishment in more than a decade. It’s a gripping and, for Spielberg especially, refreshingly tough-minded piece of work.


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