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items tagged with Patricia Clarkson

The Loons! The Loons!: “Shutter Island”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2010-02-22 14:46:00

Shutter IslandSHUTTER ISLAND

Shutter Island, Martin Scorsese's operatically paranoid adaptation of Dennis Lehane's 2003 suspense thriller, is easily the best movie of 2010 thus far, so it seems a bit churlish to wish that was higher praise. Don't get me wrong: Even running a wildly overlong 138 minutes, the film is mostly terrific, and one of the very rare works of its kind in which your interest actually increases during the final reels. Yet given Scorsese's glorious technical acumen and the efforts of a ridiculously gifted cast, I still left the cineplex feeling that it just missed greatness, and not even greatness along the lines of GoodFellas or The Departed - more like the genre excellence of Scorsese's 1991 remake of Cape Fear. Shutter Island is a strong, worthy offering, yet as far as this year's releases go, it's only a few degrees more satisfying than Youth in Revolt or Daybreakers. But hey, it's early - I'll happily take it.


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Mike's Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2007
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-10-30 00:41:02

Eduardo Verastegui and Tammy Blanchard in BellaBella (PG-13) - Alejandro Monteverde's drama, which concerns the friendship between a chef and a newly pregnant, newly unemployed waitress, received the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Um... who are these "people," exactly? Space people? Because I can see how Bella might be confused with a great movie if you didn't understand a word of human conversation. Even then, of course, you might still be put off by the film's bizarre editing (with flash-forwards routinely, meaninglessly interrupting scenes-in-progress) and lackluster photography; Montevrede shows more interest in food than in his stars. And then there's that baffling ending, which seems to set the film up for a sequel - one that fills in that massive "Huh?!?" of a climactic plot hole. But it's still the mawkish, maudlin screenplay that does it in; Eduardo Verástegui (looking uncannily like Jim Caviezel as Christ) and Tammy Blanchard (as ever, looking uncannily like Judy Garland) are stuck with unplayable dialogue and baldly written characters, and the movie shamelessly plies on the merely-functional supporting stereotypes. The movie is pro-life and pro-family with a vengeance, which might account for its (limited) popular success. I just wish it were also a little pro-brain, and a lot anti-cliché.


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Stark Raving: “All the King’s Men,” “Jackass: Number Two,” “The Covenant,” and “Everyone’s Hero”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-09-27 04:41:49

Jude Law and Sean Penn in All the King's MenALL THE KING'S MEN

In his role as the initially idealistic, eventually corrupt Louisiana governor Willie Stark in All the King's Men, Sean Penn delivers a series of impassioned orations to Stark's constituency, and every time he does, the movie displays a robust, dramatic fire. A self-described "hick" preaching to those he feels have been similarly politically oppressed, Stark barks out his plans for a better future, and Penn, with a thick drawl and a timbre that rises and falls in waves, attacks these scenes with an egocentric bluster that, at first, veers dangerously close to parody - close your eyes, and he could be Jackie Gleason on a dyspeptic tirade in Smokey & the Bandit. Yet you don't laugh at him. Penn's Stark is such a powerful, daunting presence that he transcends hammy Southern caricature through the legitimate emotion in his outbursts and the intensity of his gaze, and during the governor's stump speeches, King's Men writer/director Steven Zaillian has the good sense to get out of Penn's way and let him run the show.


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DVDs to Watch, and Watch Again: "The Squid & the Whale" and "The Dying Gaul"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-03-29 00:00:00

THE SQUID & THE WHALE and THE DYING GAUL

Before accepting his career-achievement prize at the Academy Awards this year, director Robert Altman – his voice-over accompanying clips from his works – explained his raison d’etre: “Stories don’t interest me,” he said. “Basically, I’m more interested in behavior.” Considering his contributions to film, the admission made perfect sense – how do you adequately describe the story of M*A*S*H or Nashville or Short Cuts? But it also touched on something elemental about the movie-going experience, in terms of the emotional connections we often make with the characters on-screen. When these literally two-dimensional figures reveal themselves to be as complicated and unpredictable, as human, as we are – when we recognize their behavior with a laugh or a nod or a wince – “story” doesn’t really matter a damn; the experience of watching characters just being can be its own spellbinding reward.


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Mike Schulz Toasts 2005's Great Movies
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2005-12-28 00:00:00
My annual challenge in composing a list of the year’s best movies almost never lies in deciding what to list. It lies in deciding when to list. As every movie fan knows, film studios – both majors and independents – generally unleash their most prominent Academy Award hopefuls (and, oftentimes, most interesting works) at the end of December, giving these films their best chance at being remembered, and potentially embraced, by the notoriously forgetful Academy.
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