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items tagged with Judy Garland

Stars’ Wars, and the Employee Strikes Back: "Beyond the Lights," "Saving Christmas," "Dumb & Dumber To," and "Citizenfour"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-11-16 21:44:07

Nate Parker and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Beyond the LightsFriday, November 14, 10:45 a.m.-ish: I’m beginning the day with writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights, a romantic melodrama about a troubled, Rihanna-like pop star, and it opens with its central character, as a little girl, getting reprimanded by her awful stage mother for the heinous crime of being first-runner-up in a talent show. Nearly two hours later, with the now-grown chanteuse overcoming her demons and finally scoring her long-awaited personal and professional triumphs, everything the prelude led me to expect from the movie has come to pass, but with one major exception: I’m grinning like mad and wiping away tears. How the hell did that happen?!


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Wizard of Blahs: "Oz the Great & Powerful" and "Dead Man Down"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-03-10 03:08:36

James Franco in Oz the Great & PowerfulOZ THE GREAT & POWERFUL

As numerous effect-heavy entertainments have proved over the years, few film actors, and even fewer good ones, look altogether comfortable performing in wholly pixelated landscapes opposite wholly digitized characters. Yet I’m not sure I’ve seen any star look less connected with his artificial environment than James Franco does in Oz the Great & Powerful, director Sam Raimi’s mega-budgeted and intensely disappointing prequel to The Wizard of Oz.


Read More About Wizard Of Blahs: "Oz The Great & Powerful" And "Dead Man Down"...


There Goes the Neighborhood: "The Watch" and "Step Up Revolution"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-07-29 16:17:11

Richard Ayoade, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill in The WatchTHE WATCH

A buddy and I caught a Friday-morning screening of The Watch along with roughly a dozen others, and before the end credits rolled, only four of us were still in the auditorium. Professional obligations were keeping me at director Akiva Schaffer’s comedy and I was my friend’s ride, but for the life of me, I can’t fathom what prevented those other two patrons from bolting. Lethargy? Politeness? Morbid curiosity?


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Mississippi Yearning: "The Help" and "Glee: The 3D Concert Movie"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-08-14 18:16:01

Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, and Viola Davis in The HelpTHE HELP

Based on Kathryn Stockett’s much-loved bestseller, The Help concerns the tenuous relationships between black domestic workers and their privileged white employers in early-’60s Mississippi, and it’s a fairly obvious movie, with director Tate Taylor opting for broad brushstrokes over subtlety, and the occasionally wrenching drama sitting, rather uncomfortably, alongside klutzy jokiness. Yet offhand, I can’t think of another popular entertainment whose flaws matter less than this film’s, because everything that’s lacking in the picture is more than made up for in the fearless, emotionally precise, and oftentimes devastating portrayals of Taylor’s cast. The Help is easy to complain about, but all it takes is one of the magnificent Viola Davis’ fierce, tearful stares – or a blast of Octavia Spencer’s anger, or a flash of Emma Stone’s heartbreak, or a burst of Jessica Chastain’s joy – to make your complaints feel positively moot.


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Happy Feet / Glum Defeat: "Step Up 3D" and "Charlie St. Cloud"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2010-08-09 12:00:00

Step Up 3DSTEP UP 3D

From its opening, outdoor melee, in which we're assaulted by soap bubbles and multi-colored balloons, to its jaw-dropping dance-off finale, which suggests a mass seizure titled Attack of the TRON Clones, Step Up 3D is proudly, even profoundly, ridiculous.
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