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items tagged with Melissa Leo

Missing Inaction: “Prisoners” and “Battle of the Year”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-09-22 04:45:18

Jake Gyllenhaal in PrisonersPRISONERS

Prisoners, which features Jake Gyllenhaal as a feverishly driven detective, is the most exciting and emotional cop thriller we’ve been treated to since last fall’s End of Watch, which Gyllenhaal also starred in. Beyond that, director Denis Villeneuve’s effort is probably the most suspenseful, evocative, and disturbing procedural thriller since David Fincher’s 2007 Zodiac ... which also boasted Gyllenhaal in a leading role. I’m generally skeptical about the effectiveness of good-luck charms, but if the actor cared to accompany me the next time I buy a lottery ticket, you wouldn’t hear me complain.


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Worst Intervention Ever: "Evil Dead," "Olympus Has Fallen," and "Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-04-07 17:49:05

Jane Levy in Evil DeadEVIL DEAD

While I like the movie just fine, I’m not enough of a fanatic for Sam Raimi’s 1981 splatter classic The Evil Dead to get in a twist about the existence of director Fede Alvarez’s new, definite-article-free remake Evil Dead. (It’s when Hollywood inevitably remakes Raimi’s priceless horror sequel Evil Dead II that we’re gonna have problems.) But despite being mostly entertained by Alvarez’s beyond-bloody outing, especially during its second half, I do have to question the decision to make it, for so much of its length, so bloody serious. This is a film, after all, in which a demon is released by a supernatural incantation, nail guns and electric carving knives are the weapons of choice, and one character escapes a (more-)dreadful fate by enacting a speedier version of 127 Hours. How are we not asked to laugh at all this?


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Pilot Lit: "Flight," "Wreck-It Ralph," and "The Man with the Iron Fists"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-11-05 03:04:15

Denzel Washington in FlightFLIGHT

Within the first 15 minutes of director Robert Zemeckis’ Flight, you’ll witness what must rank as one of cinema’s most frightening, emotionally wrenching plane crashes. Yet in the end, and as harrowing as this passage is, I’m not sure that it’s actually more terrifying or heartbreaking than the scenes of Denzel Washington’s Whip Whitaker – the pilot whose heroic actions save 96 lives aboard that ill-fated flight – battling his urge to drink and, with only the mildest feelings of regret, losing that battle again and again and again.


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Oscars / The Grouch: Notes on the 2011 Academy Awards Telecast
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2011-02-28 19:41:18

Best Actor Colin FirthBefore getting into what went wrong at last night’s Academy Awards ceremony – and sadly, quite a bit went wrong – let’s begin by addressing the one portion of the telecast that, for maybe the first time in Oscar history, went magically right.


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En Pointe, on Edge: "Black Swan" and "The Fighter"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2010-12-20 00:02:21

Natalie Portman in Black SwanBLACK SWAN

In director Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, the first words we hear are uttered by professional ballet dancer Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), who tells her mother, “I had the craziest dream last night.” And for the next 105 minutes, the movie unfurls like a crazy dream itself – a crazy, fascinating, terrifying, exhilarating dream that you have no desire to wake from. You can label the film a psychological drama, or a hallucinogenic thriller, or an art-house horror flick, and each would be appropriate. But none of those tags really hints at how much delectable fun Black Swan is. As with a dream that you want to return to the moment you wake up, you want to experience the intoxicating, rapturous weirdness of Aronofsky’s vision all over again the minute the end credits start to roll.


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