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items tagged with F. Murray Abraham

The Inn Crowd: "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Captain America: The Winter Solider," and "Veronica Mars"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-04-06 22:48:22

Paul Schlase, Tony Revolori, Tilda Swinton, and Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest HotelTHE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

Generally speaking, I’m not one to argue for the inclusion of more foul language and bloody violence in a director’s oeuvre, and feel especially awkward doing so a mere week after being bored silly by the endless profanities and exploding squibs in the latest Schwarzenegger flick. But I’ll happily make an exception in the case of Wes Anderson, at least based on his most recent outing, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Like all Anderson efforts, this one, too, could be filed in the “precious comic bauble” category, given its deliberately artificial production design and obsessively controlled compositions and overall suggestion of an improv-free zone. Yet this endlessly inventive and funny new work might boast more interior life than any of the writer/director’s other live-action achievements, and for that I’m afraid we have to thank the forcible removal of Jeff Goldblum’s fingers, and Ralph Fiennes’ tendency to drop the F-bomb into every other sentence.


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Folk Yeah!: "Inside Llewyn Davis" and "Lone Survivor"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-01-13 03:18:31

Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, and Adam Driver in Inside Llewyn DavisINSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS

There are some Coen-brothers movies – Fargo and O Brother, Where Art Thou? and True Grit come immediately to mind – that, because they exude such palpable filmmaking energy and are so spectacularly quotable, I wanted to talk about immediately after first seeing them. Then there are the rarer Coen-brothers movies, among them The Hudsucker Proxy and Intolerable Cruelty and Burn After Reading, that I didn’t feel much like talking about afterward, mostly because I didn’t enjoy them much on a first go-round. (Though I’ve consequently become a big fan of Joel’s and Ethan’s Hudsucker and Burn, in the case of Intolerable Cruelty, second and third go-rounds did nothing to improve matters.)

And then there are Coen-brothers movies such as the new Inside Llewyn Davis, a work that is, I think, so good that I don’t want to discuss it for fear of not coming close to doing it justice.


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Wizard of Blahs: "Oz the Great & Powerful" and "Dead Man Down"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-03-10 03:08:36

James Franco in Oz the Great & PowerfulOZ THE GREAT & POWERFUL

As numerous effect-heavy entertainments have proved over the years, few film actors, and even fewer good ones, look altogether comfortable performing in wholly pixelated landscapes opposite wholly digitized characters. Yet I’m not sure I’ve seen any star look less connected with his artificial environment than James Franco does in Oz the Great & Powerful, director Sam Raimi’s mega-budgeted and intensely disappointing prequel to The Wizard of Oz.


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Emerald Rhymes-with-City: "Green Lantern," "Mr. Popper's Penguins," and "The Art of Getting By"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-06-18 23:12:53

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds in Green LanternGREEN LANTERN

I won’t bore you by trying, but I’m reasonably sure I could devote a few thousand words to what I didn’t like about the (presumed) franchise-starter Green Lantern, an effects-heavy superhero adventure that might mark a new first for the on-screen-comic-book canon: Director Martin Campbell’s movie is dully sardonic and dully sincere. I only need two words, however, to pinpoint everything I loved about the film: Peter Sarsgaard.


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"Saw II" Effective, But Not Much Fun: Also, "Doom," "Stay," and "Prime"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-11-02 00:00:00

Saw IISAW II

Since we’re no longer forced to endure Cary Elwes shrieking his hammy little head off for 90 minutes, Saw II was inevitably going to be a less annoying experience than 2004’s Saw, but the movie is pretty effective in its own right. Not entertaining, mind you, but effective. Last fall’s surprise horror hit saw Elwes and another mad overactor at the mercy of the serial killer Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) – who devises for his prey wildly elaborate devices of torture that defy both description and belief – and in one of Saw II’s few impressive twists, he’s apprehended at the end of the movie’s first reel. What follows resembles what might result if you watched The Silence of the Lambs and Seven in picture-in-picture format. As Jigsaw – in sinister, I-know-something-that-you-don’t Hannibal Lecter mode – is interrogated, and his master plan dissected, by Donnie Wahlberg’s quick-to-boil cop, a whole new slew of potential victims, including Wahlberg’s teenage son, try to survive a vicious spook house by evading Jigsaw’s contraptions and deconstructing the maddeningly obtuse sets of clues the killer has left them. (Like its precursor, Saw II makes explicit what Seven left to your imagination.)


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