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items tagged with James Ransone

A Supposedly Fun Thing He’ll Never Do Again: "The End of the Tour," "Tangerine," and "The Tribe"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-08-24 01:03:04

Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel in The End of the TourTHE END OF THE TOUR

An interviewer for Rolling Stone travels to Bloomington, Illinois, to meet his subject: an author embarking on the last leg of his book tour. They make small talk at the author’s house. They smoke incessantly. They gorge on junk food. They travel to Minnesota for a reading and radio segment. They visit the Mall of America. They catch a multiplex movie. They hang out with a couple of young women. They consume more junk food. They return to Bloomington. They part ways.

In broad outline, that is the entire plot of director James Ponsoldt’s and screenwriter Donald Margulies’ The End of the Tour. And with the possible exception of Mad Max: Fury Road, no other 2015 release, to date, has entertained, thrilled, and devastated me quite as much as this one. (The film is currently playing at Iowa City’s Marcus Sycamore Cinema.) I’ll concede that much of the reason for my enjoyment might be strictly personal, or at least intensely specific. But I also don’t think anyone needs to have been an interviewer, or an interviewee, to be dazzled by the film’s intelligence, emotional complexity, and deep empathy, or by the insight it demonstrates regarding the oddly fraught practice of the celebrity profile. You probably also don’t need to be an admirer of David Foster Wallace to find yourself frequently moved to tears, but if you are one, consider yourself warned.
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Deputy Dogged: "Sinister 2," "Hitman: Agent 47," and "American Ultra"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-08-23 04:00:52

James Ransone in Sinister 2SINISTER 2

You know the feeling you get when you go to summer camp and make a great new friend, but he/she isn’t there the next summer, or the summer after that, and you end up forgetting about that friend until the next summer, when, all of a sudden, there he/she is? I don’t, because I never went to summer camp. But I’m betting that sensation is similar to what I felt in the first minutes of Sinister 2 once I recognized James Ransone, who played Ethan Hawke’s adorably dippy deputy pal in 2012’s Sinister. Although the actor has amassed a bunch of film and TV credits since then (albeit not in anything I’ve seen), I can’t say I’ve thought of him even once since the release of that low-budget horror hit. Yet the second Ransone’s character showed up in director Cirián Foy’s follow-up, with his chronic awkwardness and puppy-dog eyes and intense likability, it was like being reunited with a long-lost buddy whom you’re ashamed to have let slip away. Ransone’s presence here – as our romantic lead, no less! – was a hugely welcome surprise. That Sinister 2 didn’t at all suck might’ve been a bigger one.
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Rescue Mission Impossible: "Argo," "Seven Psychopaths," "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," and "Sinister"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-10-15 05:28:26

John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and Ben Affleck in ArgoARGO

It sounds like an all-too-Hollywood idea for a high-concept suspense thriller: A sextet of State Department employees are trapped in Iran, and their only hope for escape lies with an ingenious CIA official who plans to free the Americans by having them pose as a location-scouting team for a Canadian science-fiction movie. Yet within its first minutes, director/star Ben Affleck’s Argo – based on a recently declassified chapter of the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-80 – registers as terrifically, nerve-rackingly authentic, even if the film’s most enjoyable elements are, in truth, as Hollywood as they come.

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