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items tagged with Jesse Eisenberg

Viva Italia!: "To Rome with Love," "Savages," and "Katy Perry: Part of Me"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-07-09 17:50:33

Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg in To Rome with LoveTO ROME WITH LOVE

After Woody Allen’s rather staggering success with Midnight in Paris – personal-best box-office, the man’s first Academy Award in 25 years – I guess it was inevitable that critics, as a whole, would greet the filmmaker’s follow-up project with a collective “meh.” And that’s certainly happened with Woody’s new To Rome with Love. (Not that it matters, but the comedy is currently sitting with a “45-percent fresh” rating – i.e., “not fresh at all” – at the review aggregator RottenTomatoes.com.)

But I’d argue that the movie’s less generous critics have picked entirely the wrong picture to be indifferent toward, because the To Rome with Love that I saw was sensational – charming, hilarious, imaginative, and, in its offhanded way, enormously adventurous. As Woody’s latest is composed of a quartet of frothy comic vignettes set in the Eternal City, all of them reminiscent of the short fictions he occasionally writes for The New Yorker, it’s easy to see how the film is being perceived as slight. Yet that description, while somewhat accurate, doesn’t begin to suggest the masterly finesse and intelligence that Woody and his tremendous cast demonstrate here. If Midnight in Paris remains the writer/director’s finest achievement of the past two decades, To Rome with Love easily lands in the top five, and with more than 20 releases to choose from, that’s hardly something to sniff at.


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Fate Accompli: “Final Destination 5” and “30 Minutes or Less”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-08-14 18:12:15

Nicholas D'Agosto and Emma Bell in Final Destination 5FINAL DESTINATION 5

Because the quality has been noticeably, if not altogether damagingly, dipping with each new installment, there was reason to expect Final Destination 5 to be the horror series’ most tired and underwhelming entry to date. Yet like some long-running TV series that suddenly finds new life after years of going through the motions, this fifth in the popular Death-has-been-cheated-and-he’s-pissed franchise is a terrific return to sick-joke form, the most enticingly queasy and legitimately funny Final Destination since the second outing in 2003.


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McCarthyism ... the Good Kind: "Win Win," "Fast Five," and "Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-05-02 13:33:21

Paul Giamatti and Alex Shaffer in Win WinWIN WIN

When I say that writer/director Tom McCarthy’s Win Win could easily serve as the inspiration for a long-running TV series, I don’t mean it in any way insultingly, partly because our current small-screen options are, in general, vastly superior to our big-screen ones. Mostly, though, it’s because this serious-minded comedy is so teeming with nuanced, empathetic characters and complicated yet wholly plausible situations and circumstances that you want to luxuriate in Win Win’s universe for far longer than the movie’s too-brief 100 minutes – like, for an hour a week over several seasons.


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Cirque du Soulful: "Water for Elephants," "Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family," "Rio," and "African Cats"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-04-24 04:27:54

Robert Pattinson in Water for ElephantsWATER FOR ELEPHANTS

After his where’s-my-paycheck? turn in The Green Hornet, I was mildly concerned that, following his Oscar-winning Inglourious Basterds portrayal, Christoph Waltz might be resigned to a career of forever playing Euro-trashy über-villains in Hollywood action dreck. With director Francis Lawrence’s Water for Elephants, though – a Depression-era romance based on Sara Gruen’s beloved novel – my fears have proved unfounded. As the egomaniacal, possibly sociopathic owner and ringleader of a second-tier traveling circus, enraged by the blossoming affections between his star-performer wife (Reese Witherspoon) and the troupe’s young veterinarian (Robert Pattinson), Waltz is every bit as mesmerizing – charming, unpredictable, terrifying – as he was in Quentin Tarantino’s World War II opus. Yet fantastic though he is, Waltz’s talents here aren’t a shock. The bigger surprise is that the movie itself is so bloody marvelous.


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The Flicks Are All Right: Mike Schulz’s 10 Most Enjoyable Movies of 2010
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2011-01-03 12:00:00

Justin Timberlake and Jesse Eisenberg in The Social NetworkBefore commencing with the annual fawning, I thought I’d begin by exercising one of my God-given rights as a reviewer: the right to bitch about the sorry state of movies. I think it’s supposed to go something like this:

Boy, are the movies in a sorry state!


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