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items tagged with Paul Giamatti

Kitten Caboodle: "Keanu," "Ratchet & Clank," and "Mother’s Day"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2016-05-01 15:42:24

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele in KeanuKEANU

One of the most revered sketches from Comedy Central’s Key & Peele – the sublime Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele series that ended its five-year run in September – is titled “Phone Call.” In it, Key stands at a street corner talking with his wife on his phone, sweetly promising to take her to the theatre. Out of a nearby building walks Peele in a black jacket and baggy jeans, dialing his own cell as he approaches the crosswalk. The men make fleeting, wary eye contact, and after they do, Key’s yuppie, assuming the role of street tough, resumes his conversation substituting “dem” for “them” and “dat” for “that,” and telling his wife, “I’mo’ pick yo’ ass up at 6:30, den!” Peele, who began his own phone convo with “’Sup, dawg?”, gives Key a nod of recognition and crosses the street. But the instant Key is out of earshot, Peele’s own tough-guy façade crumbles with his phone friend. “Oh my God, Christian,” he says with swishy panic, “I almost totally just got mugged right now!”

In many ways, Keanu, the first movie to boast Key and Peele as headliners, is like a feature-length, action-comedy take on that classic sketch – a tale of two mild-mannered suburbanites forced to adopt “street” poses and lingo to placate the sensibilities, or survive the wrath, of other blacks. The bitingly funny, incisive joke of “Phone Call,” however, took 47 seconds to tell, punchline and all. Keanu, by contrast, lasts just over an hour and a half, and both the joke and its capper are pretty much old news after the first 15 minutes. Without question, there are plenty of hilarious moments throughout, and the sharp-witted leads exude spectacular confidence and charisma. (I’m sure I’ll regret saying this someday, but at present, it’s unimaginable that any Key and Peele showcase wouldn’t be at least slightly worth viewing.) Yet you can have a pretty good time at director Peter Atencio’s big-screen debut and still wish – despite its stars, its concept, and the cutest damned kitten you’ve ever seen – that you were having a much better one.
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Rap Sessions: "Straight Outta Compton" and "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-08-17 01:22:13

Aldis Hodge, Neil Brown Jr.,  Jason Mitchell, O'Shea Jackson Jr., and Corey Hawkins in Straight Outta ComptonSTRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON

In the N.W.A. bio-pic Straight Outta Compton, long after the professional and personal flame-outs between Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell) and Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr., playing his real-life father), the two rappers run into each other at a club, and Eazy, seeking reconciliation, tells Cube he saw him in Boyz n the Hood. Cube reminds his former friend that Eazy publicly called the movie “an after-school special,” and Eazy, knowing he’s caught, simply grins and says, “Man, you know I like after-school specials.” (As it must, this initially tense encounter ends in a hug.) Given the film’s expectedly harsh language, constant threats of violence, and poolisde and hotel-room debaucheries that only platinum-selling albums can buy, I was amazed to find its own resemblence to an after-school special the most surprising thing about director F. Gary Gray’s musical drama. But whatever – I, too, like after-school specials.
Read More About Rap Sessions: "Straight Outta Compton" And "The Man From U.N.C.L.E."...


Life’s a Beach, Then You Get Meds: "Love & Mercy" and "Dope"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-06-21 01:07:38

Paul Dano in Love & MercyLOVE & MERCY

Receiving a wide national release on the same weekend as Inside Out’s debut, director Bill Pohlad’s Love & Mercy is also an exploration of the brain – specifically, the brain of Beach Boys wunderkind Brian Wilson, alternately portrayed by Paul Dano (during the film’s Pet Sounds-era 1960s sequences) and John Cusack (during Wilson’s heavily-, and incorrectly-, medicated period in the late 1980s). And rather astonishingly for a work of its type, it boasts numerous scenes in which it really, truly feels like we’re allowed to roam around in a legendary musician’s head, feeling what he feels and, even more importantly, hearing what he hears.


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The Fraudulent World of Disney: "Saving Mr. Banks" and "Walking with Dinosaurs"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-12-22 21:39:01

Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks in Saving Mr. BanksSAVING MR. BANKS

Saving Mr. Banks concerns the efforts of the crinkly-eyed Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) in getting the persnickety, Hollywood-averse British author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to sign over the book rights to Mary Poppins. (Spoiler Alert: He does.) And as it’s a Disney movie about a Disney movie with Disney products and Disney people – including Uncle Walt himself – popping up nearly every time you blink, the cynic in me resisted director John Lee Hancock’s dramatic comedy for as long as humanly possible. Then Thompson’s seemingly impenetrable Travers broke down while watching the Banks family sing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” at Mary Poppins’ first public screening, and I was a goner. Aw crap, I thought while wiping away tears. Two more minutes and I would’ve been fine.


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Song of Solomon: "12 Years a Slave" and "The Best Man Holiday"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-11-18 19:20:09

Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave12 YEARS A SLAVE

It’s impossible to imagine any viewer of director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave not haunted for hours, if not days or weeks, by its potent, frequently horrific imagery. Be it the protracted sight of protagonist Solomon Northrup hanging from a tree, his wiggling toes barely touching the dirt, or the early shot of Northrup caged in a Washington, D.C., prison with the camera slowly tilting upward to implicate Capitol Hill in his (and all slaves’) ordeal, McQueen continually delivers wrenching visual representations to match this already-wrenching tale. Yet if pressed for the one image that I find lingering above all others in this magnificent, devastating film, it would simply be the face of Chiwetel Ejiofor, who, in one unbroken take near the finale, almost seems to encapsulate hundreds of years of injustice in one anguished stare.


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