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items tagged with Jeff Daniels

Ridley’s Believe It or Not: "The Martian" and "Sicario"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-10-03 22:01:02

Matt Damon in The MartianTHE MARTIAN

If you, too, are a devotee of Ridley Scott’s Alien, you’ll no doubt remember how its title came into view during the opening credits: as a series of vertical, diagonal, and horizontal white lines that slowly appeared, beginning with the “I,” one or two at a time until the capitalized “ALIEN” was wholly spelled out. Thirty-six years later, the title for Scott’s sci-fi tale The Martian is revealed in the exact opposite manner: as a full, capitalized “THE MARTIAN” that gradually fades away, one portion at a time, until only the “I” remains.

Obviously, that disappearing act is a decidedly minor touch, especially in a film that runs just shy of two-and-a-half hours. But it might also be Scott’s most quietly clever touch, and not merely because The Martian’s chief narrative concerns an “I” that winds up left all alone. By offering a literal reverse of his 1979 achievement’s opener, Scott seems to be suggesting, with an wink, that his new endeavor will be 180 degrees removed from the claustrophobic, stomach-bursting horror of Alien, and that proves decidedly to be the case. While this adaptation of Andy Weir’s bestseller (with its script by Drew Goddard) does share some of Alien’s themes, principally the life-and-death imperatives behind deep-space problem-solving, Scott’s latest is expansive instead of spare, chatty instead of terse, heartening instead of nihilistic. It’s also, far and away, and from beginning to end, the most sheerly likable movie Ridley Scott has yet made – an exciting, moving, and altogether glorious sci-fi bear hug that leaves you feeling almost ridiculously happy. Given a career that’s found him exploring every conceivable shade of dark, it turns out that Scott looks pretty great in the light.
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Stars’ Wars, and the Employee Strikes Back: "Beyond the Lights," "Saving Christmas," "Dumb & Dumber To," and "Citizenfour"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-11-16 21:44:07

Nate Parker and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Beyond the LightsFriday, November 14, 10:45 a.m.-ish: I’m beginning the day with writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights, a romantic melodrama about a troubled, Rihanna-like pop star, and it opens with its central character, as a little girl, getting reprimanded by her awful stage mother for the heinous crime of being first-runner-up in a talent show. Nearly two hours later, with the now-grown chanteuse overcoming her demons and finally scoring her long-awaited personal and professional triumphs, everything the prelude led me to expect from the movie has come to pass, but with one major exception: I’m grinning like mad and wiping away tears. How the hell did that happen?!

Read More About Stars’ Wars, And The Employee Strikes Back: "Beyond The Lights," "Saving Christmas," "Dumb & Dumber To," And "Citizenfour"...

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.

Read More About Magic / Mike: Schulz’S 10(-Plus) Most Enjoyable Movies Of 2012...

Time Warped: "Looper," "Pitch Perfect," "Won’t Back Down," and "House at the End of the Street"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-10-01 13:11:53

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis in LooperLOOPER

Rian Johnson’s Looper, a time-travel thriller set primarily in the year 2044, casts Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a contract killer whose life is upended with the arrival of his latest target: his older self, who has been transported from the year 2074 and is played by Bruce Willis. This means that, with Gordon-Levitt delivering rather uncanny likenesses of his co-star’s traditional scowls and smirks – and with the younger actor’s countenance bizarrely altered to resemble the elder actor’s familiar face – Willis essentially plays both leading roles ... which isn’t the most enticing of setups if, like me, you generally find one Bruce Willis more than enough.

Read More About Time Warped: "Looper," "Pitch Perfect," "Won’T Back Down," And "House At The End Of The Street"...

Yooper-Duper: "Escanaba in da Moonlight," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through April 17
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2011-04-11 12:00:00

Don Faust, John VanDeWoestyne, Jonathan Grafft, and Justin Raver in Escanaba in da MoonlightOn Thursday night, the cast of the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's Escanaba in da Moonlight brought me to a place I’d yet to arrive at in all of the theatre I’ve seen in the area: I experienced a fit of tear-filled giggles so strong, so overwhelming, that I missed several lines of dialogue.

Read More About Yooper-Duper: "Escanaba In Da Moonlight," At The Richmond Hill Barn Theatre Through April 17...

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