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items tagged with dramas

Chum Change: “One Day” and “Fright Night”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-08-20 18:35:35

Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway in One DayONE DAY

When Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) first meet in director Lone Scherfig’s One Day, it’s the morning after their 1988 university graduation, and a few minutes before the happily drunken pair tumbles into Emma’s bed. They don’t wind up consummating their flirtation, but the young Brits – and best-friends-to-be – seem perfectly content to smile and snuggle while the sun rises, and Emma makes the observation that the new day, July 15, is the English near-holiday of St. Swithin’s Day. Or, as Scherfig’s comedy/drama/romance might cause me to think of it from now on, St. “Well, Isn’t That an Astounding Coincidence?” Day.


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Mississippi Yearning: "The Help" and "Glee: The 3D Concert Movie"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-08-14 18:16:01

Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, and Viola Davis in The HelpTHE HELP

Based on Kathryn Stockett’s much-loved bestseller, The Help concerns the tenuous relationships between black domestic workers and their privileged white employers in early-’60s Mississippi, and it’s a fairly obvious movie, with director Tate Taylor opting for broad brushstrokes over subtlety, and the occasionally wrenching drama sitting, rather uncomfortably, alongside klutzy jokiness. Yet offhand, I can’t think of another popular entertainment whose flaws matter less than this film’s, because everything that’s lacking in the picture is more than made up for in the fearless, emotionally precise, and oftentimes devastating portrayals of Taylor’s cast. The Help is easy to complain about, but all it takes is one of the magnificent Viola Davis’ fierce, tearful stares – or a blast of Octavia Spencer’s anger, or a flash of Emma Stone’s heartbreak, or a burst of Jessica Chastain’s joy – to make your complaints feel positively moot.


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Me and You and Everyone We Know: “The Tree of Life”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-07-24 14:45:44

Brad Pitt and Tye Sheridan in The Tree of LifeTHE TREE OF LIFE

Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life is total bliss, and I mean that in the term’s general and theological definitions.


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Cirque du Soulful: "Water for Elephants," "Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family," "Rio," and "African Cats"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-04-24 04:27:54

Robert Pattinson in Water for ElephantsWATER FOR ELEPHANTS

After his where’s-my-paycheck? turn in The Green Hornet, I was mildly concerned that, following his Oscar-winning Inglourious Basterds portrayal, Christoph Waltz might be resigned to a career of forever playing Euro-trashy über-villains in Hollywood action dreck. With director Francis Lawrence’s Water for Elephants, though – a Depression-era romance based on Sara Gruen’s beloved novel – my fears have proved unfounded. As the egomaniacal, possibly sociopathic owner and ringleader of a second-tier traveling circus, enraged by the blossoming affections between his star-performer wife (Reese Witherspoon) and the troupe’s young veterinarian (Robert Pattinson), Waltz is every bit as mesmerizing – charming, unpredictable, terrifying – as he was in Quentin Tarantino’s World War II opus. Yet fantastic though he is, Waltz’s talents here aren’t a shock. The bigger surprise is that the movie itself is so bloody marvelous.


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A-Stabbin' the Dorks: "Scream 4," "The Conspirator," "Soul Surfer," and "Your Highness"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-04-18 17:44:08

Neve Campbell in Scream 4SCREAM 4

Directed, as all of the franchise’s outings have been, by Wes Craven, and written by Kevin Williamson, Scream 4 is a sequel, a reboot, and a big middle finger to reboots, all in one bloody, meta, mostly tedious package. It opens beautifully and features a bunch of (mostly verbal) horror-comedy pleasures, yet its overall effect is wearying; Craven and Williamson are so focused on deconstructing the genre – the Scream series in particular – for a media-soaked, hipper-than-thou young audience that even its “surprises” are in quotation marks. Watching Scream 4 is like watching a movie with its commentary track running before you’ve had a chance to experience the film without it.


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