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items tagged with Essence Atkins

The Needle in the Haystack: "Zero Dark Thirty," "Gangster Squad," "A Haunted House," and "Hitchcock"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-01-14 18:45:03

Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark ThirtyZERO DARK THIRTY

As an orchestrator of cinematic suspense, Kathryn Bigelow might currently be without peer in American movies. The sequences of Jeremy Renner dismantling explosives in the director’s Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker were miniature masterpieces of sustained excitement; despite our knowing, through much of the film, that it was too early for Renner’s Sergeant William James to be killed off, each masterfully shot and edited act of bomb disposal vibrated with legitimate threat. In Zero Dark Thirty – Bigelow’s and screenwriter Mark Boal’s fictionalized docu-drama about the decade-long search for Osama bin Laden – nearly every scene feels like a ticking time bomb. There is, of course, never any doubt about the narrative’s outcome, yet Bigelow’s gifts for composition and pacing ensure that you still watch the picture with rapt attention and dread. And blessedly, she’s also a spectacular entertainer. The movie is tough-minded and sometimes tough to watch, but even when Bigelow is fraying your nerves, she’s tickling your senses.


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Traveling Exhibits: "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," "Terminator Salvation," and "Dance Flick"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-05-24 21:57:26

Ben Stiller in Night at the Museum: Battle of the SmithsonianNIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is to its precursor what Ghostbusters II is to Ghostbusters: the less-novel offering, sure, but a follow-up of surprising wit and great throwaway touches, and one that, in many ways, improves on source material that was pretty terrific to begin with. Despite its titular locale, no one is going to mistake director Shawn Levy's adventure comedy for a work of art, yet when this follow-up is really working - which is surprisingly often - it provides a giddy, giggly rush, and it's filled with comic bits that you could probably watch three or four times in succession and laugh at every single time. The movie is scrappy, silly, and a load of fun.


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