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items tagged with science fiction movies

Primary Concern: "The Ides of March," "Real Steel," and "Courageous"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-10-09 21:02:46

Philip Seymour Hoffman and George Clooney in The Ides of MarchTHE IDES OF MARCH

Audiences demanding insight, or even much depth, from director George Clooney’s The Ides of March will no doubt leave the film disappointed – unless, that is, the revelation that political candidates and their staffers routinely lie and spin and backstab strikes any of those viewers as a newsflash. Yet if you enter this tale of Machiavellian (and, as its title suggests, Shakespearean) intrigue not expecting trenchant analysis so much as a good, gripping yarn supremely well-told, you’re in for a major treat. Smart and fast and gratifyingly vicious, Clooney’s latest is a drama that plays like a thriller, and it’s full-to-brimming with sequences you want to watch over and over again; for those conversant in West Wing-ese, the movie suggests a juicy episode of Aaron Sorkin’s TV series if every character in it was played by Ron Silver.


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You Say You Want a Retribution: “The Debt,” “Apollo 18,” and “Shark Night 3D”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-09-04 14:51:31

Sam Worthington and Jessica Chastain in The DebtTHE DEBT

After her moving, memorable performances in The Tree of Life, The Help, and the current John Madden thriller The Debt, I’m beginning to think that Jessica Chastain can do almost anything. As evidenced by the actress’ latest (though not last) 2011 release, however, one thing she cannot do is pass for a younger version of Helen Mirren, or at least Mirren as she appears here; beyond their ill-matching features, Chastain’s empathetic soulfulness and emotional accessibility bear little relation to the detached calm and haunted inscrutability of her more seasoned counterpart.

Having said that, if one of your few complaints about a movie lies in the casting of Jessica Chastain and/or Helen Mirren, obviously you have very little to bitch about.


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It Came from Outer Space, Y'All: "Cowboys & Aliens," "Crazy, Stupid, Love," and "The Smurfs"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-07-31 22:51:33

Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig in Cowboys & AliensCOWBOYS & ALIENS

A full six writers are credited with the script and screen story for director Jon Favreau’s sci-fi/Western hybrid Cowboys & Aliens, which, based on the evidence, averages out to them contributing roughly half a fresh idea apiece. And I’m including the inspiration to call its saloon-keeper, rather than its doctor, "Doc."


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Bay’s in Toyland: "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-06-30 17:57:35

Trassformers: Dark of the MoonTRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON

As long as Transformers: Dark of the Moon didn’t come off as the worst movie of the year – or rather, the worst movie of several years – it would stand as a notable improvement on 2009’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I’m greatly relieved, then, to say that Michael Bay’s latest, ultra-loud toy story is not the foul, nightmarish, jaw-dropping travesty that its predecessor was. Only half of it is.


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Not-Even-Close Encounters: “Super 8”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-06-12 22:57:16

Elle Fanning and Joel Courtney in Super 8SUPER 8

Though many of us might agree with the sentiment, saying that writer/director J.J. Abrams’ Super 8 stumbles in its last half hour isn’t entirely accurate. For one thing, “stumbles” implies a relatively minor disruption, and what happens to this Spielberg-influenced sci-fi thriller as it nears its climax is hardly minor; the movie, in its final 30 minutes, doesn’t stumble so much as fly off a cliff, fall onto a bunch of land mines, and explode.


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