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items tagged with Penelope Cruz

A Goodman Is Hard to Find: "10 Cloverfield Lane," "The Young Messiah," and "The Brothers Grimsby"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2016-03-12 20:28:11

John Gallagher Jr., Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Goodman in 10 Cloverfield Lane10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

If your biggest complaint about a movie lies with its title, that movie is probably pretty great, and director Dan Trachtenberg’s 10 Cloverfield Lane is pretty great – a splendidly acted, hugely entertaining nail-biter that continually surprises despite its claustrophobic setting and cast of characters that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. But while it may lure fans of 2008’s astoundingly irritating “found footage” monster mash Cloverfield, did that title really need to be baked into this one, effectively establishing Trachtenberg’s outing as some kind of sequel or prequel? Theoretically, the thrill of 10 Cloverfield Lane lies in our not knowing where its true threat lies. It’s a measure of the film’s success that it works despite a title implying exactly where that threat lies.


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Abercrummy & Glitch: "Zoolander 2," "45 Years," and "National Parks Adventure 3D"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2016-02-15 04:24:48

Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Kyle Mooney in Zoolander 2ZOOLANDER 2

Probably no film genre currently flashes a bigger “get out of jail free” card than the Hollywood comedy, if for no other reason than there being so many outstanding comedians that any movie employing even a half-dozen of them is guaranteed to feature a fistful of reasons to attend. Zoolander 2, however, has the comics and still isn’t worth seeing.
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Over the Hill, Under the Gun: "Bad Grandpa" and "The Counselor"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-10-27 17:24:54

Jackson Nicoll and Johnny Knoxville in Bad GrandpaBAD GRANDPA

This might surprise a grand total of none of you, but Bad Grandpa – which also goes by the more telling title Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa – isn’t much of a movie. The first Jackass release to feature an actual narrative, and actual characters, in place of the usual parades of comically vile, violent challenges and stunts (though there are a few of those, too), director Jeff Tremaine’s road-trip slapstick is mostly shapeless and certainly obvious, and nowhere near as hilarious as you want it to be.

Yet it’s also a continually interesting and, in the end, rather sweet sociological experiment reminiscent of Borat, but a Borat without the mean-spiritedness. If Sacha Baron Cohen’s outing, with its Candid Camera-style employment of “real people” clearly not in on the joke, reveled in displaying how crass and ignorant Americans could be, Tremaine’s suggests just how tolerant and polite we can be – and given the circumstances presented here, that’s apparently mighty tolerant and polite indeed.


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Vacation Daze: "The Impossible," "Promised Land," and "Texas Chainsaw"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-01-09 19:25:48

Naomi Watts and Tom Holland in The ImpossibleTHE IMPOSSIBLE

Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Impossible, based on one family’s experiences in the wake of 2004’s horrific Asia tsunami, is a supremely well-designed, emotionally draining disaster tale, and its opening minutes filled me with great dread. If only that dread were caused by the approaching tsunami.


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Viva Italia!: "To Rome with Love," "Savages," and "Katy Perry: Part of Me"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-07-09 17:50:33

Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg in To Rome with LoveTO ROME WITH LOVE

After Woody Allen’s rather staggering success with Midnight in Paris – personal-best box-office, the man’s first Academy Award in 25 years – I guess it was inevitable that critics, as a whole, would greet the filmmaker’s follow-up project with a collective “meh.” And that’s certainly happened with Woody’s new To Rome with Love. (Not that it matters, but the comedy is currently sitting with a “45-percent fresh” rating – i.e., “not fresh at all” – at the review aggregator RottenTomatoes.com.)

But I’d argue that the movie’s less generous critics have picked entirely the wrong picture to be indifferent toward, because the To Rome with Love that I saw was sensational – charming, hilarious, imaginative, and, in its offhanded way, enormously adventurous. As Woody’s latest is composed of a quartet of frothy comic vignettes set in the Eternal City, all of them reminiscent of the short fictions he occasionally writes for The New Yorker, it’s easy to see how the film is being perceived as slight. Yet that description, while somewhat accurate, doesn’t begin to suggest the masterly finesse and intelligence that Woody and his tremendous cast demonstrate here. If Midnight in Paris remains the writer/director’s finest achievement of the past two decades, To Rome with Love easily lands in the top five, and with more than 20 releases to choose from, that’s hardly something to sniff at.


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