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items tagged with James Spader

Super Salad: "Avengers: Age of Ultron"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-05-01 19:03:06

Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth in Avengers: Age of UltronAVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

Whatever your feelings about Avengers: Age of Ultron, even if your feelings can be summed up in a succinct “Meh,” you can’t say that writer/director Joss Whedon is merely giving audiences an exact replica of 2012’s comic-book behemoth The Avengers. There’s some romance here, for one thing. There’s also a lot more plot, now that we’re spared its predecessor’s hour-plus of super-team origin story. And rather than being granted all of his film’s best, most thrillingly unexpected moments, that rampaging mass of CGI id known as the Hulk is instead stuck with the worst scene in the movie – which, unfortunately, also happens to be its most prototypical one.
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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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Magic / Mike: Schulz’s 10(-Plus) Most Enjoyable Movies of 2012
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2013-01-07 16:15:13

It’s incomplete, with such 2012 releases as Zero Dark Thirty, Amour, Rust & Bone, Arbitrage, The Intouchables, Not Fade Away, and Here Comes the Boom (ha ha!) still requiring my viewing. And it’s certainly eclectic, as even I can’t fathom a double feature of titles number one and two below. But in an all-around outstanding year for movies, the following ranking of 10 selections – with a bonus inclusion – is, as of January 6, my list of the absolute best times I had as a film fanatic this past year.

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Abe, Honestly: "Lincoln," "The Sessions," and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-11-18 20:05:45

Sally Field and Daniel Day-Lewis in LincolnLINCOLN

Steven Speilberg has never directed a talkier movie than his presidential biopic Lincoln, and only on rare occasions, it seems to me, has he directed a better one.

Read More About Abe, Honestly: "Lincoln," "The Sessions," And "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2"...

Best Bets This Week Are in the Video Store: Also "Analyze That" and "Empire"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2002-12-11 00:00:00

Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro in Analyze ThatANALYZE THAT and EMPIRE

It’s enough to make a grown movie-critic weep: You rave about Solaris, a science-fiction work that’s psychologically rich, challenging, and incredibly unusual, and you read in the paper that the audience-tracking firm Cinemascore has ranked it the most universally loathed major release in 20 years. You check out the top-10 list from the National Board of Review, the first organization to hand out year-end kudos, and realize that only one of those 10 films has (as yet) made it to the Quad Cities, and that one only stayed for a week at Moline’s Nova 6 Cinemas. And you eagerly look forward to a December weekend of new releases – surely some of those terrific-looking titles will finally appear? – and your only options are Analyze That and Empire.

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