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items tagged with Hailee Steinfeld

Off-Key: "Pitch Perfect 2" and "Where Hope Grows"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-05-17 17:28:41

Hailee Steinfeld, Anna Kendrick, and Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect 2PITCH PERFECT 2

Pitch Perfect 2 opens strongly, with the peerlessly funny Elizabeth Banks (who also directed the film) and John Michael Higgins performing an a cappella rendition of the Universal Pictures theme song and launching into the hilariously bitchy byplay that made their vocal-contest judges among Pitch Perfect’s many highlights. And while it’s true that this musical-comedy follow-up, like director Jason Moore’s 2012 predecessor, is set in the world of collegiate a cappella groups – and specifically the world of Anna Kendrick’s fledgling mash-up artist Beca – it’s more accurately set atop a steep precipice. Because although it starts promisingly, as the saying goes, it’s all downhill from there.


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Into the Weeds: "Into the Woods" and "The Homesman"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-12-29 01:06:33

Emily Blunt and James Corden in Into the WoodsINTO THE WOODS

Do you know what you wish? Are you certain what you wish is what you want?” – lyrics from Into the Woods

 

Like a lot of stage-musical fans, I’ve been wishing – patiently but eagerly for more than 25 years now – for a film version of Stephen Sondheim’s modern classic Into the Woods. Now, thanks to Sondheim, original book and screenplay author James Lapine, director Rob Marshall, and the fairytale-happy folks at Disney, we have one.

So here’s the good news: Barring some minor changes, the movie is incredibly faithful to the show’s stage roots. But here’s the bad news: It’s so faithful that it’s under-imagined and kind of suffocating. And here’s the worst news: It isn’t much fun.


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Are You Not Entertained?!: "Pompeii," "3 Days to Kill," and "Winter’s Tale"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-02-23 19:23:46

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Kit Harington in PompeiiPOMPEII

About a half-hour into Paul W.S. Anderson’s Pompeii, the film’s protagonist – a gladiator-turned-slave amusingly named Milo – hears the unfamiliar sound of the nearby Mount Vesuvius preparing to erupt. “It is the mountain,” says Milo’s comrade Atticus. “It grumbles from time to time.” So do movie reviewers, and this latest 3D action spectacle by the director of Mortal Kombat, Death Race, and a trio of Resident Evil flicks would, at first glance, appear to be exactly the sort of thing I’d personally grumble about: a predictably corny, derivative, overscaled costume party with loads of generic violence and nothing in the way of subtlety or emotional nuance.

Yet while it’s easy to name the movie’s most direct influences, Gladiator and Titanic chief among them, what I didn’t at all expect was for this swords-and-sandals outing to be so thoroughly, cheerfully indebted to 1970s disaster epics in the vein of The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure; Pompeii, to its cheeky credit, is kind of like 1974’s Earthquake with the ancient Roman city cast in the role of Los Angeles.


Read More About Are You Not Entertained?!: "Pompeii," "3 Days To Kill," And "Winter’S Tale"...


Arcade-ia: "Ender’s Game," "Last Vegas," and "Free Birds"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-11-03 18:40:35

Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield in Ender's GameENDER’S GAME

In writer/director Gavin Hood’s sci-fi adventure Ender’s Game, our titular hero (Asa Butterfield) is a 12-year-old who’s bullied both at school and at home, whose gestating anger leads to frequent violent outbursts, and whose frighteningly focused skills at computer-simulated war games not only earn him the respect of his peers but, eventually, the grateful thanks of every man, woman, and child on the planet. It is, in short, a Revenge of the Nerd fable to out-Carrie Carrie, and about the strongest argument for 24/7 video-game compulsion that any young game-hound could wish for. Just keep playing, you can hear the movie whispering to its console-obsessed demographic. One of these days, you’ll show ’em. You’ll show ’em all.


Read More About Arcade-Ia: "Ender’S Game," "Last Vegas," And "Free Birds"...


Moore, or Less?: "Arthur," "Hanna," and "Born to Be Wild 3D"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-04-11 16:41:46

Helen Mirren and Russell Brand in ArthurARTHUR

There were better comedies released in the ’80s, to be sure. But I don’t think I have a stronger affection for any of them than I do for 1981’s Arthur, writer/director Steve Gordon’s screwball-farce throwback that featured Dudley Moore’s drunken multi-millionaire sharing brilliantly barbed repartee with caretaker John Gielgud. Consequently, I came dangerously close to booing when I first saw the preview for director Jason Winer’s Arthur remake. True, Russell Brand seemed the only logical choice to fill Moore’s (diminutive) shoes, and while Gielgud is irreplaceable, Helen Mirren seemed a reasonable enough sparring partner. But, I mean, come on – is nothing sacred?!


Read More About Moore, Or Less?: "Arthur," "Hanna," And "Born To Be Wild 3D"...





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