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items tagged with Elizabeth Banks

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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Life’s a Beach, Then You Get Meds: "Love & Mercy" and "Dope"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-06-21 01:07:38

Paul Dano in Love & MercyLOVE & MERCY

Receiving a wide national release on the same weekend as Inside Out’s debut, director Bill Pohlad’s Love & Mercy is also an exploration of the brain – specifically, the brain of Beach Boys wunderkind Brian Wilson, alternately portrayed by Paul Dano (during the film’s Pet Sounds-era 1960s sequences) and John Cusack (during Wilson’s heavily-, and incorrectly-, medicated period in the late 1980s). And rather astonishingly for a work of its type, it boasts numerous scenes in which it really, truly feels like we’re allowed to roam around in a legendary musician’s head, feeling what he feels and, even more importantly, hearing what he hears.


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Off-Key: "Pitch Perfect 2" and "Where Hope Grows"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-05-17 17:28:41

Hailee Steinfeld, Anna Kendrick, and Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect 2PITCH PERFECT 2

Pitch Perfect 2 opens strongly, with the peerlessly funny Elizabeth Banks (who also directed the film) and John Michael Higgins performing an a cappella rendition of the Universal Pictures theme song and launching into the hilariously bitchy byplay that made their vocal-contest judges among Pitch Perfect’s many highlights. And while it’s true that this musical-comedy follow-up, like director Jason Moore’s 2012 predecessor, is set in the world of collegiate a cappella groups – and specifically the world of Anna Kendrick’s fledgling mash-up artist Beca – it’s more accurately set atop a steep precipice. Because although it starts promisingly, as the saying goes, it’s all downhill from there.


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Compound Fractured: "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-11-21 19:02:06

Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part ITHE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1

Like its immediate predecessor Catching Fire, director Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 is reasonably gripping and rarely dull, although its presentation – as was bound to happen – does make the movie feel less like a satisfying two-hour entertainment than the not-bad first half of a much better four-hour entertainment. (Or five-hour entertainment, depending on how plushly Lawrence and Lionsgate pad the goodbye in next year’s Part 2.) But I was really put off by one moment in the film, which found Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch complaining that the makeup worn by Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss needed to be scrubbed off, as it was making the young warrior look 35. The line was amusing and Haymitch wasn’t wrong, but why wasn’t anyone bothered that the rest of Mockingjay 1 was making her look 13?


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Plastics: "The Lego Movie," "The Monuments Men," and "Vampire Academy"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-02-11 14:28:21

The Lego MovieTHE LEGO MOVIE

Two of the characters in The Lego Movie are Lego Minifigures of Superman and Green Lantern, the latter of whom, here, is an obsequious suck-up whom the Man of Steel can’t stand. That’s a good joke. These decided non-friends are voiced by Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, who famously played best friends in 21 Jump Street. That’s a good in-joke. The Lego Movie is directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who also directed 21 Jump Street. That’s a good in-in-joke. But the news that this new animated release is not only the cleverest, most hysterical comedy since 21 Jump Street, but an altogether stronger, more audacious piece of work than at least 90 percent of everything Hollywood gave us last year? No joke at all.


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