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items tagged with Martin Donovan

For King and Country: "Selma," "Inherent Vice," and "Taken 3"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-01-12 00:27:44

David Oyelowo in SelmaSELMA

Movie violence is so prevalent – be it in horror films or action franchises (see Taken 3, if you must) or the PG-13 pummelings of every Marvel entertainment ever – that it’s shocking to see one whose brutal acts have the power to make you cry. But within the first minutes of the extraordinary Selma, director Ava DuVernay stages a literal explosion of historical violence so frightening, repellent, and emotionally overwhelming that, in the awestruck moments of silence that followed, it was absolutely no surprise to hear viewers sniffling.


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Bee Prepared: "Bad Words," "Enemy," and "Sabotage"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-03-31 14:41:47

Rohan Chand and Jason Bateman in Bad WordsBAD WORDS

It’s not impossible to make a comedy centered on an angry, sullen, emotionally inaccessible bastard, as Oscar Isaac recently proved in Inside Llewyn Davis. In that film, however, Isaac had a Coen-brothers script and a bunch of sensational folk songs to help carry him through. In Bad Words, director/star Jason Bateman merely has a half-workable comic conceit and access to unlimited profanities. The anger, sullenness, and inaccessibility, I’m sorry to say, win out.


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"Harry Potter" Series Finally Finds Its Magic: "Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban" and "Saved!"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2004-06-16 00:00:00

Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter & the Prisoner of AzkabanHARRY POTTER & THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN

Anyone interested in the distinction between routine direction and inspired direction – anyone who has ever wondered what, exactly, it is that a director brings to a movie – should compare Chris Columbus’ first two Harry Potter films with Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban, helmed by Alfonso Cuaron; Columbus’ films are the work of a by-the-numbers craftsman, and Cuaron’s is the work of an artist. (Which isn’t to say that everyone will prefer Cuaron’s style; many people would rather dine on Big Macs than filet mignon.) Cuaron isn’t quite able to overcome the series’ built-in limitations – the familiarity of the storytelling arc, the “surprising” character reversals that aren’t really much of a surprise, the fact that all three movies are too damned long – but for those viewers, like me, who’ve never been overly enamored of the Harry Potter film series, Azkaban is as fine an entertainment as you could hope for, a visually audacious work with moments of true magic, and it improves on Chris Columbus’ vision tenfold.


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Alaska Elevates "Insomnia": Also, "About a Boy" and "Enough"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2002-05-29 00:00:00

Al Pacino and Robin Williams in InsomniaINSOMNIA

In Christopher Nolan’s moody, atmospheric thriller Insomnia, based on a 1997 Norwegian film of the same name, Al Pacino plays Will Dormer, a famed Californian detective now under investigation by Internal Affairs. To escape the surrounding publicity, he and his partner (Martin Donovan) are sent to a remote Alaskan town to investigate the murder of a teenage girl, found beaten to death by a killer who apparently went to great lengths – washing her hair, trimming her fingernails – to maintain the dead girl’s beauty. Dormer finds his suspect relatively early, but after he becomes the catalyst in a tragic shooting accident, Dormer is increasingly haunted by feelings of guilt and remorse – egged on by the endless Alaskan sun, which shines even at night – and finds the tables turned on him; the suspected killer (Robin Williams) has witnessed the shooting, and threatens to end Dormer’s career if he is fingered as the girl’s killer.


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