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items tagged with Emma Thompson

Into the Woods: "Defiance" and "Last Chance Harvey"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-01-19 15:48:21

Liev Schreiber and Daniel Craig in DefianceDEFIANCE

Am I the only person who wishes that Edward Zwick would go back to making sharp, bitchy comedies like his 1986 Rob Lowe-Demi Moore romance About Last Night...? The director's latest - the action drama Defiance - tells the astonishing, true-life story of the Bielski brothers, who hid hundreds of fellow Jews in a makeshift Lipiczańska Forest camp during World War II, and who managed to fend off Russian officers and German armies through innovation, daring, incredible bravery, and a well-stocked supply of artillery. With Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber as the ideologically warring siblings Tuvia and Zus Bielski, Defiance is impassioned and serious and God knows it's sincere, and it wasn't until about 45 minutes had passed that I realized I no longer watch Edward Zwick movies; I endure them.


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Tears of a Clown: “Stranger Than Fiction,” “A Good Year,” and “Wordplay”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-11-22 08:26:14

Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal in Stranger Than FictionSTRANGER THAN FICTION

While watching an emotional climax toward the end of Marc Forster's Stranger Than Fiction, I experienced the oddest case of déjà vu. In the film, a man discovers that his life may be in the hands of an unseen puppet-master - that he, himself, has no control over his own existence - and all of a sudden I was transported back to June of 1997, watching Peter Weir's The Truman Show. Yet what set me off wasn't just that the metaphysics of the two films are similar, or even that a comedian (Will Ferrell instead of Jim Carrey) was enacting the situation; it was that the protagonist's seemingly hopeless circumstances had me in tears, and yet all around me, people were laughing.


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Good Help Is So Hard To Find...: "Big Momma's House 2," "Nanny McPhee," "Underworld: Evolution," and "The Matador"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-02-01 00:00:00

Martin Lawrence in Big Momma's House 2BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE 2

In the second season of TV’s Arrested Development, struggling wannabe actor Tobias, separated from his wife and daughter, devises a brilliant strategy for insinuating himself back into their lives: He dons a wig and a frumpy housedress, speaks in a high, quasi-British falsetto, and greets his family as Mrs. Featherbottom, hired by “the agency” to serve as housekeeper and nanny. (Tobias, as the narration points out, is giddily – and ridiculously – enacting the plot to Mrs. Doubtfire.) His family is, naturally, unconvinced by Tobias’ disguise, but they’re happy to let him continue the ruse anyway – the house never looked cleaner. This subplot was a typically, fiendishly clever one for the series; by finally addressing the “Are you kidding?” element of this comic staple – where seemingly smart characters are fooled by a touch of latex and rouge – it subverted expectation by making our “hero” the butt of his own joke. Tobias’ drag act made it impossible to ever again watch Mrs. Doubtfire – or even Tootsie or Some Like It Hot or Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night – in quite the same way.


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A Hundred-Plus Reasons to Go to the Movies
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2004-10-27 00:00:00
My first article for the River Cities’ Reader appeared in Issue 18, way back in March of 1995. (You know how long ago that was? Tom Hanks had only one Oscar.) Serving as the Reader’s film critic was, and still is, a terrific gig – for an avowed movie fanatic who loves to write, the chance to expound on the state of cinema has always been about more than giving a particular work a “yay” or “nay” vote; it’s given me, in a minor way, the opportunity to analyze an entire culture, to try to understand what’s in the heads of those who make films, and those who distribute films, and the millions of us who view them.
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"Harry Potter" Series Finally Finds Its Magic: "Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban" and "Saved!"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2004-06-16 00:00:00

Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter & the Prisoner of AzkabanHARRY POTTER & THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN

Anyone interested in the distinction between routine direction and inspired direction – anyone who has ever wondered what, exactly, it is that a director brings to a movie – should compare Chris Columbus’ first two Harry Potter films with Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban, helmed by Alfonso Cuaron; Columbus’ films are the work of a by-the-numbers craftsman, and Cuaron’s is the work of an artist. (Which isn’t to say that everyone will prefer Cuaron’s style; many people would rather dine on Big Macs than filet mignon.) Cuaron isn’t quite able to overcome the series’ built-in limitations – the familiarity of the storytelling arc, the “surprising” character reversals that aren’t really much of a surprise, the fact that all three movies are too damned long – but for those viewers, like me, who’ve never been overly enamored of the Harry Potter film series, Azkaban is as fine an entertainment as you could hope for, a visually audacious work with moments of true magic, and it improves on Chris Columbus’ vision tenfold.


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