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items tagged with John Travolta

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.


Read More About Viva Italia!: "To Rome With Love," "Savages," And "Katy Perry: Part Of Me"...


Bridges Over Troubled Waters: “Crazy Heart,” “An Education,” “From Paris with Love,” and “Australia: Land Beyond Time”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2010-02-08 14:47:00

Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal in Crazy HeartCRAZY HEART

Writer/director Scott Cooper's Crazy Heart is a character drama of gentle, lulling rhythms -- so lulling, in truth, that I momentarily dozed off halfway through the film. But I'm pretty sure that I was smiling as I slept, because the steady, deliberate pacing feels just right for the tale Cooper's telling, and because star Jeff Bridges is so masterfully assured as down-and-out country singer Bad Blake that he leaves you in a state of utter, unadulterated happiness and calm. (The actor might almost be saying, "Go ahead and nap. I'll be here when you wake up.") There may have been more exciting screen performances amidst 2009's releases, but possibly none as thoughtful, lived-in, and moving as Bridges'; in his hands, a role that easily could've been a one-note conceit is nothing short of symphonic.


Read More About Bridges Over Troubled Waters: “Crazy Heart,” “An Education,” “From Paris With Love,” And “Australia: Land Beyond Time”...


The Fox and the Hounds (and the Aliens): “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Old Dogs,” and “Planet 51”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-11-29 21:18:54

Fantastic Mr. FoxFANTASTIC MR. FOX

Film scholars widely agree that 1939 remains the strongest year ever for American movies. But I'm starting to think that, as the decades pass, 2009 might be seen as a comparable year for animated movies.


Read More About The Fox And The Hounds (And The Aliens): “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Old Dogs,” And “Planet 51”...


Subway Training Day: "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3" and "Imagine That"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-06-14 21:51:47

Denzel Washington in The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3

Set in modern-day New York City, director Tony Scott's action-thriller The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 finds Denzel Washington playing transit-authority executive Walter Garber, a conscientious worker and devoted family man accused of accepting bribes, and consequently - 799 WORDS TO GO!!! - demoted to the rank of dispatcher. One afternoon, while monitoring routine subway transport, Garber notices an irregular stop made by one particular train, and attempts to make radio contact with its motorman. Instead, he makes contact with the train's hijacker, a tattooed psychopath who calls himself Ryder, and - 751 WORDS TO GO!!! - is played by John Travolta. Ordering Garber to secure a ransom of $10 million, Ryder insists that he'll begin shooting passengers if his demands aren't met, and given an hour to procure the money, Garber, a hostage negotiator (John Turturro), and the city's mayor (James Gandolfini) unite to stop the - 700 WORDS TO GO!!! - madman from ... .

Oh, I'm sorry, are those interruptions irritating? Well, you'd better get used to it - gripping and entertaining though it mostly is, Scott's movie oftentimes feels like the cinematic equivalent of that opening paragraph.


Read More About Subway Training Day: "The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3" And "Imagine That"...


Vamping: "Twilight" and "Bolt"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-11-26 08:22:50

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in TwilightTWILIGHT

Let's just get it out of the way: No, I haven't read Stephenie Meyer's Twilight, and no, I didn't really care for the film version. But I won't begrudge the movie its popular appeal, because while watching director Catherine Hardwicke's and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg's take on Meyer's teen-vampire tale, it was pretty easy to see what would make the material absolutely irresistible to its target audience. For those of us who aren't its target audience, maybe not so much.


Read More About Vamping: "Twilight" And "Bolt"...





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