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items tagged with Idris Elba

Get Off His Lawn: "Gran Torino," "The Unborn," and "Bride Wars"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-01-12 15:48:55

Clint Eastwood in Gran TorinoGRAN TORINO

As much as I love Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, and Bronco Billy, I'll admit that I've never been a huge Clint Eastwood fan. (Don't remember Bronco Billy? The 12-year-old in me will never forget it.) Gran Torino, however, is something truly special, a simple - though not simple-minded - and straightforward melodrama that succeeds as both a heartfelt meditation on aging and an exhilarating crowd-pleaser, and Clint is so thrillingly, spectacularly Clint in his latest directorial offering that it's likely his performance won't just please fans, but ensnare a batch of new ones. After catching the movie in Chicagoland during the holidays, I saw it again this past weekend both for the sheer enjoyment of the experience and to see if Gran Torino is really as good as I remembered. It is. (I also wanted to hear lines I originally missed through our raucous audience laughter, but no luck - the cackles were just as loud this time around. Maybe on a third viewing.)


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The Weak in Review: "Changeling," "RocknRolla," "Zack & Miri," and "The Haunting of Molly Hartley"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-11-05 08:29:31

Angelina Jolie in ChangelingCHANGELING

Clint Eastwood's Changeling finds John Malkovich giving a thoughtful, restrained performance as a righteous pastor, and Michael Kelly giving an exceptional one as a dogged detective. Oh, and the period design for the film's 1928 Los Angeles setting is quite good. Having gotten that out of the way, the rest of the movie is so awful - so maddeningly phony and contrived - that I wanted to hurl things at the screen.


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Thanksgiving Leftovers: "August Rush," "This Christmas," "Hitman," and "Awake"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-12-05 08:30:51

Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Freddie Highmore in August RushAUGUST RUSH

There's a scene in the tear-jerker August Rush in which the titular musical prodigy (Freddie Highmore) and a friendly Irish rocker (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) - unaware that they're father and son - engage in a happy bit of dueling guitars in Central Park, their matching grins widening as the improvised strumming reaches its climax. It's a great moment, and I mention it because it's the only one in the film that I didn't find excruciating.


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Mike's Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2007
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-10-30 00:41:02

Eduardo Verastegui and Tammy Blanchard in BellaBella (PG-13) - Alejandro Monteverde's drama, which concerns the friendship between a chef and a newly pregnant, newly unemployed waitress, received the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Um... who are these "people," exactly? Space people? Because I can see how Bella might be confused with a great movie if you didn't understand a word of human conversation. Even then, of course, you might still be put off by the film's bizarre editing (with flash-forwards routinely, meaninglessly interrupting scenes-in-progress) and lackluster photography; Montevrede shows more interest in food than in his stars. And then there's that baffling ending, which seems to set the film up for a sequel - one that fills in that massive "Huh?!?" of a climactic plot hole. But it's still the mawkish, maudlin screenplay that does it in; Eduardo Verástegui (looking uncannily like Jim Caviezel as Christ) and Tammy Blanchard (as ever, looking uncannily like Judy Garland) are stuck with unplayable dialogue and baldly written characters, and the movie shamelessly plies on the merely-functional supporting stereotypes. The movie is pro-life and pro-family with a vengeance, which might account for its (limited) popular success. I just wish it were also a little pro-brain, and a lot anti-cliché.


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