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items tagged with Mad Men

Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Old: "The Robin Hood Caper," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through July 19
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2015-07-13 16:04:28

Don Hazen, Robert Grueskin, and Jackie Patterson in The Robin Hood CaperThe opening scene in the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre’s The Robin Hood Caper is one you’ve likely sat through, in different iterations, in numerous stage comedies over the years. It introduces us to the young, flummoxed journalist Richard Collins, who, as his conversation reveals, is dealing with all manner of personal crises: shaky finances; an underhanded mayor with plans to shutter Richard’s newspaper; a fiancée demanding a wedding date. Richard’s Aunt Flora, meanwhile, takes this all in with a sympathetic ear and an occasional, dotty reminiscence of her own, and routinely shifts her focus back to her needlepoint.

It’s easy to watch this scene and think you know the score: Poor, put-upon Richard is our befuddled leading man, and Flora is the lovable supporting eccentric who’ll randomly pop in for warmhearted laughs, or for other characters to pelt with exposition, or both. Consequently, it’s a pleasant surprise – in a production boasting pleasant surprises galore – to see that author Fred Carmichael is one step ahead of us. It’s actually Richard (Ernest Toutant III) who vanishes for large portions of The Robin Hood Caper, and Flora, played by the delightful Jackie Patterson, who emerges as the show’s heroine.
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Off-Key: "Pitch Perfect 2" and "Where Hope Grows"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-05-17 17:28:41

Hailee Steinfeld, Anna Kendrick, and Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect 2PITCH PERFECT 2

Pitch Perfect 2 opens strongly, with the peerlessly funny Elizabeth Banks (who also directed the film) and John Michael Higgins performing an a cappella rendition of the Universal Pictures theme song and launching into the hilariously bitchy byplay that made their vocal-contest judges among Pitch Perfect’s many highlights. And while it’s true that this musical-comedy follow-up, like director Jason Moore’s 2012 predecessor, is set in the world of collegiate a cappella groups – and specifically the world of Anna Kendrick’s fledgling mash-up artist Beca – it’s more accurately set atop a steep precipice. Because although it starts promisingly, as the saying goes, it’s all downhill from there.

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"Get the Hell Out of Me!": "The Possession," "Lawless," and "Celeste & Jesse Forever"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-09-04 12:35:53

Jeffrey Dean Morgan in The PossessionTHE POSSESSION

The new horror thriller The Possession is about a little girl who requires an exorcism to remove the evil dybbuk inhabiting her body, and it opens with a title card informing us that the film is “based on a true story.” You know what I’m aching to see one of these days? An exorcism-themed entertainment that isn’t based on a true story. Can you imagine how much fun these things could be if we weren’t consistently asked to believe in them?

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Prenuptial Agreement: “The Five-Year Engagement,” “The Pirates! Band of Misfits,” “The Raven,” and “Safe”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-04-29 22:03:44

Emily Blunt, Jason Segel, Chris Pratt, and Alison Brie in The Five-Year EngagementTHE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT

Say what you will about the current state of movies. Yet in the history of the medium, have the actors who populate film comedies ever been as across-the-board-excellent as they are right now? It took about 20 minutes for this question to pop into my head during The Five-Year Engagement, and once it did, I’m not sure I ever stopped pondering it; from the stars to the supporting cast to the bit players who show up for all of three seconds, director Nicholas Stoller’s rom-com features an embarrassment of performance riches. The movie itself? Eh, it’s okay.

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Near-Perfect Getaway: “Drive,” “Straw Dogs,” and “I Don’t Know How She Does It”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-09-19 02:29:40

Ryan Gosling in DriveDRIVE

Drive is the first action thriller I’ve seen in ages in which the chases and threats and killings actually matter. Yet it’s also the first movie I’ve seen in ages, in any genre, in which a kiss actually matters, which is a far greater surprise. Directed by Danish helmer Nicolas Winding Refn, whose work here earned him Best Director laurels at this past spring’s Cannes Film Festival, the film is a sleek, exciting, and unexpectedly affecting tour de force of mood, like what you’d get if the Michael Mann of Manhunter and the David Lynch of Blue Velvet collaborated on a scrappy, grubby B-picture for drive-in audiences. I couldn’t possibly mean that as a higher compliment.

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