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items tagged with Gary Oldman

"Batman Begins" Is Faithful, but Not Much Fun
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-06-22 00:00:00

Christian Bale in Batman BeginsBATMAN RETURNS

Many Hollywood blockbusters feel so generic as to have been formed by committee, and in Batman Begins, that committee appears to be comprised entirely of comic-book bloggers. Just how afraid of Internet fanboys have movie studios become? It has been widely reported that this new installment in the superhero franchise is a deliberate rebuke to director Joel Schumacher’s beyond-campy Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, and I couldn’t be more on board with that; Schumacher managed to turn Warner Brothers’ moody franchise into a half-assed Mardi Gras spectacle, minus the debaucherous fun. (Only in Schumacher’s hands could Uma Thurman come off as a depressed drag queen.)


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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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"Phone Booth" the Class of 2003 So Far: Also, "Basic" and "Head of State"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-04-09 00:00:00

Colin Farrell in Phone BoothPHONE BOOTH

Joel Schumacher’s Phone Booth starts off so poorly that it’s a major surprise – a shock, really – when the movie winds up being thrilling, even exhilarating; it proves that a great, meaty premise can overcome almost all obstacles.


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"The Good Girl" Offers a Surprising High: Also, "Undisputed" and "Fear Dot Com"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2002-09-04 00:00:00

Jennifer Aniston and Jake Gyllenhaal in The Good GirlTHE GOOD GIRL

The Good Girl is the most fun I’ve had at the movies since Spider-Man and, with the possible exception of Y tu mama tambien, the finest movie I’ve seen all year, and I can’t begin to describe how shocking that is.


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"Spy Game" Trips on Logic: Also, "Behind Enemy Lines"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2001-12-05 00:00:00

Robert Redford and Brad Pitt in Spy GameSPY GAME

Tony Scott’s Spy Game opens with one of those enjoyably implausible preludes we’re used to seeing in the James Bond series: It’s 1991, and American CIA agent Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) is attempting to free a female captive (Catherine McCormack) from a Chinese prison. How will he accomplish this task? Why, by masquerading as a doctor called in to give vaccinations to the inmates, feigning fatal electrocution after touching a wired prison fence – which results in the momentary shut-down of the prison’s electrical power, including its surveillance cameras – lying “dead” on a hospital gurney, fleeing the scene when no one’s looking, scrambling down ratty corridors in search of the captive, bribing a mentally defunct witness with a piece of gum, and accompanying the prisoner back to the “dead” man’s gurney, where prison guards will unknowingly escort the duo to an ambulance and then to freedom. And what trips up the plan? The gum.


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