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items tagged with Jesse Plemons

Armistice Wrestling: "Bridge of Spies," "Goosebumps," and "Woodlawn"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-10-18 23:16:38

Billy Magnussen, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hanks in Bridge of SpiesBRIDGE OF SPIES

I caught Steven Spielberg’s Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies at a Friday-matinée screening alongside roughly 75 others. You could tell it was a predominantly, shall we say, mature crowd because of the volume and frequency of coughing fits, the food items being unwrapped with aching slowness, and the stage-whispered narration following louder queries of “What’d he say?!” You could also tell that, on numerous occasions, the movie was really working for this group, because for long stretches the crowd opted to remain collectively, blessedly silent.


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Johnny B. Bad: "Black Mass" and "Grandma"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-09-20 01:40:19

Johnny Depp in Black MassBLACK MASS

There’s a scene in the gangster thriller Black Mass that should sound bells of recognition for all fans of the genre. In it, legendary crime lord James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) and some friends are enjoying a dinner prepared by one of Bulger’s associates: FBI agent John Morris (David Harbour). Bulger compliments Morris on their steaks and asks what seasoning was used, to which the agent replies that it’s a secret family recipe whose ingredients, upon further pressing, he genially reveals. That’s when Bulger seems to snap.

His smile curls into a frown, his eyes go deader than usual, and he calmly inquires of Morris that if the agent is willing to share this “family secret” so quickly, what other secrets – perhaps secrets about Bulger – might he have shared? During the unbearably thick silence that follows, Morris and his tablemates appear nearly frozen with panic. Bulger, meanwhile, stares and stares, and we in the audience prepare for an inevitable, horrific burst of violence. And then ... Bulger laughs. A lot. Exclaiming “You should see your face!”, he insists he was just busting Morris’ balls. Very slowly, the others begin to smile, and then they, too, laugh. And as this sensationally tense sequence ends on a note of cautious cheer, it’s impossible to ignore the suggestion of what we just witnessed: GoodFellas with Johnny Depp in the Joe Pesci role. All that was missing was the psychotic query “I’m funny how?!"


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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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Cult of Personality: "The Master"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-09-24 03:32:16

Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman in The MasterTHE MASTER

Some 40 minutes into The Master – Paul Thomas Anderson’s fascinating, vexing drama about the leader of a questionable self-actualization movement and the man’s devoted acolyte – there’s a scene between stars Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman so thunderously well-written and -performed that, for movie lovers, it might singlehandedly make viewing the film less recommended than mandatory.


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Off the Grid: "Battleship," "What to Expect When You're Expecting," and "The Dictator"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-05-20 22:28:33

Taylor Kitsch and Rihanna in BatleshipBATTLESHIP

In the latest effects-heavy entertainment by Hancock director Peter Berg, a group of heroic U.S. Navy and Japanese-military officers team up to fight a race of marauding aliens, four of whose spaceships have crash-landed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Battleship? This thing should’ve been called KerPlunk.


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