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items tagged with Jeffrey Wright

Compound Fractured: "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-11-21 19:02:06

Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part ITHE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1

Like its immediate predecessor Catching Fire, director Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 is reasonably gripping and rarely dull, although its presentation – as was bound to happen – does make the movie feel less like a satisfying two-hour entertainment than the not-bad first half of a much better four-hour entertainment. (Or five-hour entertainment, depending on how plushly Lawrence and Lionsgate pad the goodbye in next year’s Part 2.) But I was really put off by one moment in the film, which found Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch complaining that the makeup worn by Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss needed to be scrubbed off, as it was making the young warrior look 35. The line was amusing and Haymitch wasn’t wrong, but why wasn’t anyone bothered that the rest of Mockingjay 1 was making her look 13?


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Kat-and-Mouse Game: "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-11-25 03:44:23

Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Catching FireTHE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

My unfamiliarity with its source material was, I’m convinced, a large part of why I enjoyed last year’s The Hunger Games movie so much. To be sure, I dug the film itself, with its exciting and moving survival-of-the-fittest encounters, and its fierce Jennifer Lawrence performance, and its bevy of grandly outré supporting figures (and, in the Capitol sequences, beyond-outré production design). But not having read any of the three books in Suzanne Collins’ seminal young-adult adventure series, what I was most taken with was the surprise of the experience. Hunger Games newbies such as myself were allowed to take in Collins’ richly imagined dystopian saga with gradual understanding and horror, much the way (I’m presuming) the books’ readers did, and while we had every reason to expect Lawrence’s teen warrior Katniss Everdeen to survive, the storyline was just spiky and unpredictable enough to make us wonder how, exactly, she ever would.


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It Takes a Vile Witch to Raise a Child: "Mama," "Broken City," and "The Last Stand"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-01-20 18:28:33

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jessica Chastain, Isabelle Nélisse, and Megan Charpentier in MamaMAMA

A new film titled Mama opened this past weekend, and it stars Jessica Chastain. Given the current Oscar nominee’s cinematic omnipresence over the past two years, you may be inclined to say, “Well, of course it does.” But I’m leading with that information because in addition to being almost insanely prolific, Chastain (whose recent résumé also boasts The Tree of Life, The Help, Take Shelter, and, of course, Zero Dark Thirty) is about as reliable an indicator of quality as this decade’s movies have provided. And against considerable odds, not the least being its unpromising January release date, director Andrés Muschietti’s outing is a supernatural fright flick of considerable quality – gripping and nerve-racking and sensationally well-made, and yet another showcase for Chastain’s stirring soulfulness and remarkable versatility.


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Ground Zero Offense: "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," "Red Tails," and "Haywire"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-01-23 15:34:23

Tom Hanks and Thomas Horn in Extremely Loud & Incredibly CloseEXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE

The protagonist of director Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s famed 9/11/01-themed novel and adapted by screenwriter Eric Roth – is Oskar Schell, an 11-year-old Manhattanite who tells a new acquaintance that he was once tested for Asperger’s syndrome, but that “the results weren’t definitive.” My first thought upon hearing that admission was that Oskar’s folks really should’ve sought a second opinion, because with young actor Thomas Horn tearing through breathless reams of stream-of-consciousness dialogue, his condition seemed definitive as all-get-out. My second thought, which I only fully composed during the end credits, and which I apologize for in advance, was that watching Extremely Loud was like watching a movie while an 11-year-old with Asperger’s yammers in your ear for 130 minutes.


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Primary Concern: "The Ides of March," "Real Steel," and "Courageous"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-10-09 21:02:46

Philip Seymour Hoffman and George Clooney in The Ides of MarchTHE IDES OF MARCH

Audiences demanding insight, or even much depth, from director George Clooney’s The Ides of March will no doubt leave the film disappointed – unless, that is, the revelation that political candidates and their staffers routinely lie and spin and backstab strikes any of those viewers as a newsflash. Yet if you enter this tale of Machiavellian (and, as its title suggests, Shakespearean) intrigue not expecting trenchant analysis so much as a good, gripping yarn supremely well-told, you’re in for a major treat. Smart and fast and gratifyingly vicious, Clooney’s latest is a drama that plays like a thriller, and it’s full-to-brimming with sequences you want to watch over and over again; for those conversant in West Wing-ese, the movie suggests a juicy episode of Aaron Sorkin’s TV series if every character in it was played by Ron Silver.


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