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items tagged with Martin Scorsese

Forest Gumption: "The Revenant" and "The Forest"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2016-01-11 00:21:45

Leonardo DiCaprio in The RevenantTHE REVENANT

As you may have heard, The Revenant – given its bloody violence, grisly survival tactics, and almost complete lack of levity – is strong medicine. It also inspires the same reaction that strong medicine does; you’re glad it exists, but ugh, the taste. There are images and battle sequences in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s neo-Western that I didn’t think movies were even capable of, let alone capable of making transcendently beautiful and utterly horrifying in equal measure. Yet all that beauty and horror turn out to be in the service of a dispiritingly one-note, unduly protracted revenge saga that, miraculous visuals aside, could have easily starred Charles Bronson in his mid-1970s heyday. It’s Death Wish in fur coats – or, more accurately, The Passion of the Christ if Jesus survived his crucifixion and was determined to get even with that bastard who hammered the nails.
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Johnny B. Bad: "Black Mass" and "Grandma"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-09-20 01:40:19

Johnny Depp in Black MassBLACK MASS

There’s a scene in the gangster thriller Black Mass that should sound bells of recognition for all fans of the genre. In it, legendary crime lord James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) and some friends are enjoying a dinner prepared by one of Bulger’s associates: FBI agent John Morris (David Harbour). Bulger compliments Morris on their steaks and asks what seasoning was used, to which the agent replies that it’s a secret family recipe whose ingredients, upon further pressing, he genially reveals. That’s when Bulger seems to snap.

His smile curls into a frown, his eyes go deader than usual, and he calmly inquires of Morris that if the agent is willing to share this “family secret” so quickly, what other secrets – perhaps secrets about Bulger – might he have shared? During the unbearably thick silence that follows, Morris and his tablemates appear nearly frozen with panic. Bulger, meanwhile, stares and stares, and we in the audience prepare for an inevitable, horrific burst of violence. And then ... Bulger laughs. A lot. Exclaiming “You should see your face!”, he insists he was just busting Morris’ balls. Very slowly, the others begin to smile, and then they, too, laugh. And as this sensationally tense sequence ends on a note of cautious cheer, it’s impossible to ignore the suggestion of what we just witnessed: GoodFellas with Johnny Depp in the Joe Pesci role. All that was missing was the psychotic query “I’m funny how?!"


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He Be Back: "Terminator Genisys," "Magic Mike XXL," and "Me & Earl & the Dying Girl"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-07-02 16:18:54

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator GenisysTERMINATOR GENISYS

Following some requisite, necessary backstory, Terminator Genisys opens in 2029 Los Angeles, where resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) transports fellow revolutionary Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) to 1984, where he’s to hopefully prevent global apocalypse and protect John’s mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke) from a murderous robot (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Upon arriving, however, Kyle finds that Sarah doesn’t need saving and the robot isn’t murderous, so off they go to 2017, where the planet is still imperiled, and John Connor himself proves to be the source of the planet’s eventual ruin. After one of these whisks through the decades, Kyle says, “Time travel makes my head hurt,” and time-travel movies generally make my head hurt, too. But for a fifth installment in an increasingly confounding series, this particular time-travel movie is actually a fair bit of fun.


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Winged Crusader: "Birdman"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-11-16 21:51:00

Michael Keaton and Edward Norton in BirdmanBIRDMAN

Hands-down the most technically audacious backstage farce ever attempted, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman finds its director in a cheeky, playful frame of mind. The movie’s many miracles pretty much start right there, because who knew that Iñárritu was even capable of a cheeky, playful frame of mind?


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Under the Streetlamp: "Jersey Boys" and "Think Like a Man Too"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-06-22 20:41:03

Vincent Piazza, Erich Bergen, John Llyod Young, and Michael Lomenda in Jersey BoysJERSEY BOYS

Jersey Boys, Clint Eastwood’s film version of 2005’s still-running Broadway smash, is a big, bizarre, cornball, clever, terrible, wonderful movie. It’s hard to fathom what, beyond its inherent appeal, made Eastwood want to take on the project; this bio-musical about 1960s pop sensations the Four Seasons seems so clearly designed for Scorsese that’s it’s almost some kind of joke that it instead wound up in the hands of a man who, stylistically and temperamentally, is Scorsese’s polar opposite. Yet somehow, astonishingly, the damned thing works. Its parts may be stronger than the whole – at least if you’re allowed to cherry-pick the parts – but the film is affecting and entertaining and alive, and exudes more sheer joy than any other title on Eastwood’s 43-year directing résumé.


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