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items tagged with horror movies

Period Piece: "Carrie," "The Fifth Estate," and "Escape Plan"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-10-20 22:31:31

Chloe Grace Moretz in CarrieCARRIE

(Author’s note: Spoilers will abound. Given that the movie under consideration is an oftentimes word-for-word updating of a 37-year-old work, I hope I’ll be forgiven for them.)

As remakes of beloved genre classics go, I suppose there’s little point in being bothered by the new Carrie. Director Kimberly Peirce’s outing, after all, is easy to sit through, smartly staged, generally well-acted, and, in most regards, incredibly faithful to Brian De Palma’s 1976 original (which was, itself, reasonably faithful to Stephen King’s debut novel of 1974). The CGI effects are pretty weak, and the movie isn’t even slightly scary, and considering that nearly all sentient beings know what happens to poor Carrie White at the prom – with the movie’s entire advertising campaign based on post-prom imagery – there’s almost nothing in the way of storyline surprise, but whatever. It’s fine.


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Mob Mentality: "The Family" and "Insidious: Chapter 2"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-09-15 14:04:19

Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer in The FamilyTHE FAMILY

Robert De Niro fans will likely want to catch director Luc Besson’s The Family, as it showcases one of the actor’s finest, most alert leading performances in years. Michelle Pfeiffer fans (and I’m a huge one) will definitely want to catch this new gangster comedy, as it gives the eternally radiant performer the closest she’s had to a fully fleshed-out character in over a decade, and Pfeiffer – returning to her mob-wife roots of the Scarface and Married to the Mob era – plays the role spectacularly well.

Yet there’s one demographic for whom The Family should be absolutely must-see viewing: anti-Francophiles. Though it has its problems, several of them major ones, I’m betting that most of its viewers will enjoy the film. But if you’re the sort who’s prone to make hostile remarks about the French with little or no provocation, or have ever referenced “freedom fries” completely without irony, this is, without question, the movie for you, which makes this latest effort by Parisian filmmaker Besson not just cheeky but downright subversive.


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Darling, I Love You, but Give Me Park Avenue: "Blue Jasmine," "The World’s End," and "You’re Next"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-08-25 23:41:52

Cate Blanchett in Blue JasmineBLUE JASMINE

Woody Allen’s new drama Blue Jasmine is modeled, both loosely and very specifically, on Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, and if you’re familiar with that stage classic – or, really, with Williams’ oeuvre in general – you can correctly presume that the movie will not end on a note of cheer. Yet for the life of me, I couldn’t convince my face of that, because Cate Blanchett’s almost impossibly fine performance in the writer/director’s latest left me smiling so contentedly you would’ve thought the screening came with an open bar and complimentary full-body massage. Catching up with me on the way out of the auditorium, a friend, regarding Blanchett’s portrayal, said, “I think I’m gonna be high for a week.” I’m pretty sure I vocalized my agreement but was feeling too high to be certain.


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Ghost World: "The Conjuring," "R.I.P.D.," "RED 2," and "Turbo"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-07-21 16:59:39

Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Vera Farmiga, and Ron Livingston in The ConjuringTHE CONJURING

I was about halfway through my screening of The Conjuring when I noticed that I was having a most unusual reaction to director James Wan’s haunted-house opus: For the life of me, I couldn’t stop smiling.


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Lawless Execution: "The Purge" and "The Internship"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-06-09 18:40:19

Ethan Hawke in The PurgeTHE PURGE

If you blended The Hunger Games, David Fincher’s Panic Room, and Shirley Jackson’s classic short story “The Lottery” with generous helpings of ice, you’d wind up with the scare-flick smoothie that is The Purge. An eventually underwhelming yet bluntly effective chiller by writer/director James DeMonaco, the movie, admittedly, does lose its way before its 90 minutes are up. But considering how few modern releases in its genre find their way at all, it’s hard to deny the primal pleasures of DeMonaco’s outing, even if the film remains more thought-provoking in concept than it proves to be on-screen.


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