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items tagged with Martin Freeman

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way: "Annie" and "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-12-20 00:50:41

Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhane Wallis, and Rose Byrne in AnnieANNIE

Sony’s last-remaining grab for the holiday box office, the much-downloaded reboot of Annie, opened this weekend, and it must be said that as a musical – especially as a musically faithful interpretation of the stage show – it kind of sucks. The choreography’s a shambles and the mixing is poor and the original numbers are terrible, while familiar, enjoyable Annie tunes such as “Little Girls” and “Easy Street” are merely sampled, their melodies and lyrics awkwardly woven into new pop and hip-hop arrangements. (Three of the film’s myriad producers are Jay-Z and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, so I guess we should just be grateful that the titular orphan is played by Quvenzhané Wallis and not Willow. Or Jaden.)


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Smaug Alert: "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" and "Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-12-16 04:34:43

Martin Freeman in The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugTHE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

The first great sequence in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – and, sadly, one of the few truly great sequences in Peter Jackson’s second (or fifth, if you’d rather) J.R.R. Tolkien installment – is an escape scene. At its start, hobbit protagonist Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his dwarf companions sneak out of the Elven dungeon cells in which they’ve been imprisoned, and hope for clean getaways by stashing themselves in empty wine barrels and floating down a nearby river. Sounds simple. And it might have been if it weren’t for the rapids, and the waterfalls, and the whizzing arrows, and the savage orcs, and Orlando Bloom gingerly bouncing atop our heroes’ heads.


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Darling, I Love You, but Give Me Park Avenue: "Blue Jasmine," "The World’s End," and "You’re Next"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-08-25 23:41:52

Cate Blanchett in Blue JasmineBLUE JASMINE

Woody Allen’s new drama Blue Jasmine is modeled, both loosely and very specifically, on Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, and if you’re familiar with that stage classic – or, really, with Williams’ oeuvre in general – you can correctly presume that the movie will not end on a note of cheer. Yet for the life of me, I couldn’t convince my face of that, because Cate Blanchett’s almost impossibly fine performance in the writer/director’s latest left me smiling so contentedly you would’ve thought the screening came with an open bar and complimentary full-body massage. Catching up with me on the way out of the auditorium, a friend, regarding Blanchett’s portrayal, said, “I think I’m gonna be high for a week.” I’m pretty sure I vocalized my agreement but was feeling too high to be certain.


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Hobbit Forming: "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-12-16 16:12:21

Andy Serkis in The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyTHE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

In all honesty, I was a little bored by Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey before the movie even started. A nearly three-hour fantasy adventure with a colon in the title based on (one-third of) a beloved J.R.R. Tolkein title? A tale of dwarfs and elves, and a kindly old wizard played by Ian McKellen, concerning a perilous trek across New Zealand? An epic narrative involving an innocent’s coming of age, and inanimate objects that prove surprisingly ambulatory, and a shriveled schizophrenic with bulging eyes who mourns the loss of his “Precious-s-s-s”? Haven’t we all been here before? And beyond securing gazillions of dollars for New Line Cinema, was there really any need to go back?


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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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