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items tagged with Fred Willard

Killer Instincts: "Jarhead," "Good Night, & Good Lunck.", "Chicken Little," and "The Weather Man"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-11-09 00:00:00

Jake Gyllenhaal in JarheadJARHEAD

In movies, nothing is harder to define than tone, and the tone of Sam Mendes’ Jarhead, based on Tony Swofford’s Gulf War memoir, is so elusive that, hours after it ends, you might still not know what to make of it. In many ways, the movie is like a two-hour expansion of Full Metal Jacket’s first 40 minutes, as the 20-year-old Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his fellow Marine recruits, pumped up to an almost insane degree, train for their mission in the unbearable desert heat and prepare for battle. In Mendes’ film, however, there is no battle for his protagonists to respond to; the war ends while the Marines’ bloodlust is still reaching a boil. The film is, in many ways, about the maddening banality of service, and it has resulted in an occasionally maddening movie, but its shifting tones and air of unpredictability make it impossible to shake off; at the finale, you might not know exactly what you’ve seen, but you certainly know you’ve seen something.
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"Winged Migration" a Miracle of Filmmaking: Also, "American Wedding" and "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-08-06 00:00:00

Winged MigrationWINGED M IGRATION

At the beginning of Jacques Perrin’s documentary Winged Migration, even before the title has appeared, we are informed that the film took more than four years to complete, that it required near-global group participation, and that “no special-effects shots were employed in the making of this film.” It seems like an overly grandiose introduction until you actually see the movie. For Winged Migration, currently playing at the Brew & View, is an absolutely astounding experience, a visually breathtaking work that is also more pure fun than just about anything in current release.


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"Wind" a Mighty Achievement Indeed: "A Mighty Wind" and "Daddy Day Care"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-05-14 00:00:00

Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, and Christopher Guest in A Mighty WindA MIGHTY WIND

This might sound like an overstatement, but with A Mighty Wind, writer-director Christopher Guest, aided immeasurably by regular co-scenarist Eugene Levy and his cast of brilliant improv artists, has secured his place as the most distinctive voice in American film comedy since the ’70s heyday of Mel Brooks and Woody Allen. (And judging by the applause that greeted the film’s finale at the screening I attended, I’m not alone in thinking this.)


Read More About "Wind" A Mighty Achievement Indeed: "A Mighty Wind" And "Daddy Day Care"...


“Best” and Worst: “Best in Show” and “Pay It Forward”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2000-11-01 12:00:00

Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara in Best in ShowBEST IN SHOW

The genius of Christopher Guest lies in his belief that nothing is funnier than mediocrity. (He's the antithesis of Peter Shaffer's Salieri in Amadeus, who saw it as a tragic failure.) In his two finest cinematic efforts, This Is Spinal Tap and Waiting for Guffman, the performers examined in the "mockumentary" format - Tap's hard rockers and Guffman's thespians - were delightful because of their clueless self-satisfaction; they truly thought they were creating Art, or at least really kick-ass entertainment. And the joke blossomed every time we watched them perform their shows before audiences, because it turned out that these well-meaning hacks, while by no means terrific, weren't all that bad. They might have been lacking in talent, but their enthusiasm was infectious, and it made sense that their shows were hits. (God knows I've seen worse community-theatre productions than Guffman's Red, White, & Blaine.) Guest, who co-wrote both films and served as director for Guffman, was thereby able to poke fun at his characters and have you genuinely rooting for them at the same time.


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