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items tagged with Mark Strong

The Needle in the Haystack: "Zero Dark Thirty," "Gangster Squad," "A Haunted House," and "Hitchcock"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-01-14 18:45:03

Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark ThirtyZERO DARK THIRTY

As an orchestrator of cinematic suspense, Kathryn Bigelow might currently be without peer in American movies. The sequences of Jeremy Renner dismantling explosives in the director’s Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker were miniature masterpieces of sustained excitement; despite our knowing, through much of the film, that it was too early for Renner’s Sergeant William James to be killed off, each masterfully shot and edited act of bomb disposal vibrated with legitimate threat. In Zero Dark Thirty – Bigelow’s and screenwriter Mark Boal’s fictionalized docu-drama about the decade-long search for Osama bin Laden – nearly every scene feels like a ticking time bomb. There is, of course, never any doubt about the narrative’s outcome, yet Bigelow’s gifts for composition and pacing ensure that you still watch the picture with rapt attention and dread. And blessedly, she’s also a spectacular entertainer. The movie is tough-minded and sometimes tough to watch, but even when Bigelow is fraying your nerves, she’s tickling your senses.


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One-Shot Wonder: "Silent House," "John Carter," and "A Thousand Words"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-03-11 22:14:39

Elizabeth Olsen in Silent HouseSILENT HOUSE

It’s entirely possible that you’ll need to have seen an awful lot of horror movies – particularly an awful lot of awful horror movies – to be jazzed by Silent House, considering that it’s basically just 90 minutes of a young woman being terrorized by barely glimpsed figures and startling noises in her family’s lakeside summer home. (Contrary to the title, this house is anything but silent.) Yet if you can get past the paper-thin storyline and a climax that’s less “Aa-a-a!!!” than “Hu-u-uh?!?”, the movie proves to be a terrifically nerve-racking and utterly fascinating scare flick, because from first shot to last, the action not only takes place in real time, but seems to have been filmed in one continuous take.


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Smarter Denser Colder Meh: "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" and "The Devil Inside"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-01-09 15:36:16

Benedict Cumberbatch and Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyTINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY

You know that handy, lame, relationship-ending sentiment “It’s not you; it’s me”? That’s what I feel like saying to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the new adaptation of the famed John le Carré novel. I readily concede that director Tomas Alfredson’s spy thriller is beautifully made, boasting engaged, cagey performances and a number of superbly shot set pieces. But for all of the film’s merits, I found myself hugely relieved when its end credits rolled, because Alfredson’s intensely complicated endeavor appeared so much smarter than I am that I took almost no pleasure from the experience. My issue isn’t that the movie is a dog. It’s that, for most of Tinker Tailor’s 125 minutes, I felt like a dog watching a movie.


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Emerald Rhymes-with-City: "Green Lantern," "Mr. Popper's Penguins," and "The Art of Getting By"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-06-18 23:12:53

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds in Green LanternGREEN LANTERN

I won’t bore you by trying, but I’m reasonably sure I could devote a few thousand words to what I didn’t like about the (presumed) franchise-starter Green Lantern, an effects-heavy superhero adventure that might mark a new first for the on-screen-comic-book canon: Director Martin Campbell’s movie is dully sardonic and dully sincere. I only need two words, however, to pinpoint everything I loved about the film: Peter Sarsgaard.


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Booty Texts: “No Strings Attached” and “The Way Back”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-01-23 20:35:41

Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher in No Strings AttachedNO STRINGS ATTACHED

Against all expectations, at least my expectations, director Ivan Reitman’s No Strings Attached is a perfectly enjoyable piece of midwinter fluff, engaging and breezy and of no consequence whatsoever. Yet I’ll admit to being somewhat shocked when, two days after seeing it, I replayed the notes I quietly recorded during my screening, and discovered that I didn’t whisper even one criticism or complaint in the whole of its 105 minutes, which is a claim I can’t even make about The Social Network.

Then again, the movie is a formulaic romantic comedy starring Ashton Kutcher, so I suppose the complaints do take care of themselves.


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