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items tagged with dramas

A Supposedly Fun Thing He’ll Never Do Again: "The End of the Tour," "Tangerine," and "The Tribe"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-08-24 01:03:04

Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel in The End of the TourTHE END OF THE TOUR

An interviewer for Rolling Stone travels to Bloomington, Illinois, to meet his subject: an author embarking on the last leg of his book tour. They make small talk at the author’s house. They smoke incessantly. They gorge on junk food. They travel to Minnesota for a reading and radio segment. They visit the Mall of America. They catch a multiplex movie. They hang out with a couple of young women. They consume more junk food. They return to Bloomington. They part ways.

In broad outline, that is the entire plot of director James Ponsoldt’s and screenwriter Donald Margulies’ The End of the Tour. And with the possible exception of Mad Max: Fury Road, no other 2015 release, to date, has entertained, thrilled, and devastated me quite as much as this one. (The film is currently playing at Iowa City’s Marcus Sycamore Cinema.) I’ll concede that much of the reason for my enjoyment might be strictly personal, or at least intensely specific. But I also don’t think anyone needs to have been an interviewer, or an interviewee, to be dazzled by the film’s intelligence, emotional complexity, and deep empathy, or by the insight it demonstrates regarding the oddly fraught practice of the celebrity profile. You probably also don’t need to be an admirer of David Foster Wallace to find yourself frequently moved to tears, but if you are one, consider yourself warned.
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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.


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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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