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items tagged with Neil Patrick Harris

I'd Like to Thump the Academy … : Notes on the 2015 Academy Awards Telecast
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2015-02-23 22:00:33

producer/writer/director Alejandro G. Iñárritu and team members of Best Picture Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)Neil Patrick Harris, at the tail end of last night's Academy Awards ceremony, climaxed his hosting duties with the resolution to a magic trick he'd set up earlier in the evening. Much, much earlier in the evening.


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So Bye Bye, Miss American Pike: "Gone Girl," "Left Behind," and "Annabelle"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-10-06 02:40:28

Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in Gone GirlGONE GIRL

David Fincher’s Gone Girl, adapted from screenwriter Gillian Flynn’s 2012 literary phenomenon, opened on Friday. I was tempted to compose this review under the headline “SPOILER ALERT!” just to make it absolutely clear that, to offer a thorough opinion, I’d be revealing elements of this suspense thriller that the uninitiated might not want revealed. But after a couple of days spent sitting on the experience, I’m not certain that going into the movie’s specifics is all that necessary, as long as (MODERATE-SPOILERS ALERT!) I’m allowed to say that (1) the role of Rosamund Pike’s titular Amy Dunne is a co-lead opposite Ben Affleck’s Nick Dunne; (2) almost no scene featuring Amy reads as remotely believable; and (3) in the end, that doesn’t matter all that much.


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Horns Aplenty: "Maleficent" and "A Million Ways to Die in the West"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-06-01 22:53:12

Angelina Jolie in MaleficentMALEFICENT

Disney’s Maleficent is director Robert Stromberg’s re-imagined fairy tale told from the perspective of, and with much empathy for, the sorceress who put the “Sleeping” in Sleeping Beauty. If this is the beginning of a trend – one in which the studio, in effect, remakes its animated classics so that their evil villains are no longer evil or villainous – I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next. A baby Scar who seeks vindication after other lion cubs make fun of his unfortunate birthmark? A young, svelte Ursula the Sea Witch driven to malice and gluttony when her sister is turned into caviar?


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Give Him This Day His Daily Porn: "Don Jon," "Baggage Claim," and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-09-30 03:39:00

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson in Don JonDON JON

Writer/director/star Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon casts its auteur as a New Jersey bartender obsessed with pornography, and you can view the film as an extremely raunchy romantic comedy, or an untraditional coming-of-age saga, or a mostly lighthearted exploration of the perils of addiction. But I prefer to think of Gordon-Levitt’s sprightly, confident filmmaking debut more as a modernized Pinocchio, in which, through lessons learned and a touch of magic, a creature made of wood – or rather, one sporting wood – eventually becomes a real live boy.


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Blues 2 Men: "The Smurfs 2" and "2 Guns"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-08-05 10:09:46

Hank Azaria in The Smurfs 2THE SMURFS 2

Upon returning from my screening of The Smurfs 2, a buddy asked what I thought of the film, and I told him that Hank Azaria – the comic genius who plays the nefarious, Smurf-loathing wizard Gargamel – was awfully funny in it. My friend asked, “When isn’t he?”, and beyond the TV-movie tearjerker Tuesdays with Morrie, I couldn’t provide an example. (And in truth, at appropriate moments in his Emmy-winning dramatic turn, the actor is awfully funny in Tuesdays with Morrie.) Consequently, as he’s nearly always this inspired on-screen, Azaria’s hilariously outlandish performance probably isn’t reason enough to see director Raja Gosnell’s blue-hued sequel, at least if you don’t have small children pressuring you to do so.

If, however, you’re a childless adult who chooses to attend The Smurfs 2 anyway, your secret’s totally safe with me, because Azaria actually does make this kiddie comedy worth sitting through – though perhaps only if you catch it during bargain-matinée hours, or have a cineplex gift card that you were just gonna throw out otherwise.


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