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items tagged with Emma Thompson

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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The 2004 Alternate Oscars
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2004-02-25 00:00:00
For the past couple of years, as a prelude to the Academy Awards presentation (scheduled to air on ABC at 7 p.m. on Sunday, February 29), I’ve devoted an article to re-constructing the top six Oscar categories, replacing what I felt were unworthy contenders with my own personal preferences; this enabled me to extoll the virtues of the deserving while also allowing me to whine, “Why the hell didn’t Naomi Watts get noticed for Mulholland Dr.?” And before this year’s contenders were announced in late January, I was already writing my annual article in my head: “Where’s Johnny Depp’s nomination? And what about Keisha Castle-Hughes? And how about Marcia Gay Harden and Shohreh Aghdashloo and Fernando Meirelles?” And then what did the Academy go and do? They nominated them all.
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2003 in Movies
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2003-12-24 00:00:00

Among the year’s seemingly endless spate of business-as-usual Hollywood product, with the remakes and sequels and – in the case of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines – a de facto remake of a sequel, I saw exactly one work in 2003 that, with absolutely no qualms, I would call a masterpiece, and it made its debut on HBO. (It was that kind of year.)
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