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items tagged with Jeff Daniels

Mike’s Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2008
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-05-01 11:06:16

The AlpsThe Alps (not rated) - The people have chosen, and the people chose good. Last fall's winner of the Putnam Museum's "Everyone's a Critic" series - which follows climber John Harlin's attempts to scale the north face of the Eiger mountain, where his father perished in 1966 - is such a breathtaking spectacle that watching it makes you a little dizzy; not from the Eiger's treacherous inclines and precipitous drops, which are (enjoyably) vertigo-inducing enough, but from the dazzling visual rush provided by director Steve Judson and his remarkable team of camera operators. Judson re-creates Harlin's ascent with jaw-dropping skill - you'll fight the urge to blurt out "How on earth did they film that?!" repeatedly during The Alps' 45-minute running length - and he and his crew photograph the Swiss mountain ranges with crystalline perfection; I'm not sure any movie has ever looked better in IMAX format. When the film turns to matters of geology and the historic make-up of the mountains, things get a little stodgy, but you're quickly returned to the awe-inspiring vistas, an unexpectedly touching human element courtesy of Harlin and his understandably worried wife and daughter, and, believe it or not, a series of marvelously employed Queen tunes that - in this format, at least - suggest what the elevator ride to heaven would sound like.


Read More About Mike’S Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2008...


Brush with Greatness: "Art School Confidential," "Poseidon," "An American Haunting," "Akeelah & the Bee," "Hoot," and "RV"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-05-17 08:25:35

John Malkovich and Max Minghella in Art School ConfidentialART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL

I’ve read critics who have described Terry Zwigoff’s Art School Confidential as nihilistic, sour, and mean-spirited. They’re saying it like that’s a bad thing. Working with screenwriter Daniel Clowes – adapting the film from his comic book, and again collaborating with the director who helmed 2001’s Clowes-scripted Ghost World – Zwigoff has, here, fashioned a wonderfully nihilistic, sour, and mean-spirited comedy; it might take easy potshots at the politics and posturings of the art community, but those potshots are funny and clever, and the film’s refusal to sentimentalize any of its characters (even our protagonist) is incredibly refreshing. Still, the movie has been met with much dissatisfaction, if not outright annoyance. Art School Confidential seems, to me, the most thoroughly misunderstood movie of the year.


Read More About Brush With Greatness: "Art School Confidential," "Poseidon," "An American Haunting," "Akeelah & The Bee," "Hoot," And "RV"...


DVDs to Watch, and Watch Again: "The Squid & the Whale" and "The Dying Gaul"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-03-29 00:00:00

THE SQUID & THE WHALE and THE DYING GAUL

Before accepting his career-achievement prize at the Academy Awards this year, director Robert Altman – his voice-over accompanying clips from his works – explained his raison d’etre: “Stories don’t interest me,” he said. “Basically, I’m more interested in behavior.” Considering his contributions to film, the admission made perfect sense – how do you adequately describe the story of M*A*S*H or Nashville or Short Cuts? But it also touched on something elemental about the movie-going experience, in terms of the emotional connections we often make with the characters on-screen. When these literally two-dimensional figures reveal themselves to be as complicated and unpredictable, as human, as we are – when we recognize their behavior with a laugh or a nod or a wince – “story” doesn’t really matter a damn; the experience of watching characters just being can be its own spellbinding reward.


Read More About DVDs To Watch, And Watch Again: "The Squid & The Whale" And "The Dying Gaul"...


Mike Schulz Toasts 2005's Great Movies
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2005-12-28 00:00:00
My annual challenge in composing a list of the year’s best movies almost never lies in deciding what to list. It lies in deciding when to list. As every movie fan knows, film studios – both majors and independents – generally unleash their most prominent Academy Award hopefuls (and, oftentimes, most interesting works) at the end of December, giving these films their best chance at being remembered, and potentially embraced, by the notoriously forgetful Academy.
Read More About Mike Schulz Toasts 2005's Great Movies...


Killer Instincts: "Jarhead," "Good Night, & Good Lunck.", "Chicken Little," and "The Weather Man"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-11-09 00:00:00

Jake Gyllenhaal in JarheadJARHEAD

In movies, nothing is harder to define than tone, and the tone of Sam Mendes’ Jarhead, based on Tony Swofford’s Gulf War memoir, is so elusive that, hours after it ends, you might still not know what to make of it. In many ways, the movie is like a two-hour expansion of Full Metal Jacket’s first 40 minutes, as the 20-year-old Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his fellow Marine recruits, pumped up to an almost insane degree, train for their mission in the unbearable desert heat and prepare for battle. In Mendes’ film, however, there is no battle for his protagonists to respond to; the war ends while the Marines’ bloodlust is still reaching a boil. The film is, in many ways, about the maddening banality of service, and it has resulted in an occasionally maddening movie, but its shifting tones and air of unpredictability make it impossible to shake off; at the finale, you might not know exactly what you’ve seen, but you certainly know you’ve seen something.
Read More About Killer Instincts: "Jarhead," "Good Night, & Good Lunck.", "Chicken Little," And "The Weather Man"...





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