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items tagged with Shea Whigham

Airport '14: "Non-Stop" and "Son of God"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-03-01 19:02:44

Liam Neeson in Non-StopNON-STOP

Every Academy Awards season, the idea of adding a Best Casting category appears to gain some traction among film journalists and professionals. (This past autumn saw the limited release of a documentary – Tom Donahue’s Casting by – devoted to the subject, and Woody Allen, whom one would’ve thought indifferent to the Oscars at best, even wrote an open letter to the Hollywood Reporter in support of a casting trophy.) I’m personally fine with restricting the ceremony to the two dozen categories we do have, but if such recognition were to be included, voters could do worse than to consider Amanda Mackey and Cathy Sandrich Galfond – casting directors for the enjoyably ludicrous Non-Stop – for the prize. To be sure, it doesn’t take much wit to suggest that Liam Neeson play a grieving alcoholic with a bad temper and a gun. But casting, as two beleaguered flight attendants, 12 Years a Slave’s abused slave Patsey opposite Downton Abbey’s rigid Lady Mary? Now that’s witty.


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Mad About You: "Silver Linings Playbook," "Django Unchained," and "Parental Guidance"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-12-31 14:13:50

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings PlaybookSILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook is a modern romantic comedy, which means that, in essence, its storyline would fit rather snugly alongside those of many offerings in the cinematic oeuvres of Katherine Heigl and Kate Hudson. But allow me to blow your minds with this little nugget of information: While its narrative arc may seem familiar, even insultingly so, almost nothing in the movie happens the way you think it will. Somehow, using author Matthew Quick’s 2008 novel as a blueprint, Russell has taken a tale involving two impossibly good-looking near-lovers, an emotionally distant family, and a big dance contest, and has ensured that you truly can’t predict whether the seemingly de rigueur unions and reconciliations and victories will actually transpire. What’s the deal with this Russell guy? Doesn’t he know that’s not the way things are done in Hollywood?


Read More About Mad About You: "Silver Linings Playbook," "Django Unchained," And "Parental Guidance"...


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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"Dude, Where’s My Conscience?": "Chronicle," "The Woman in Black," "Big Miracle," and "The Last Reef"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-02-05 22:34:23

Dane DeHaan in ChronicleCHRONICLE

Part superhero (and -villain) origin fable and part teen-angst melodrama, Chronicle concerns three high-schoolers who venture down a mysterious hole in the Earth and emerge with telekinetic powers, and the best thing about the movie is that its leads subsequently behave just as high-schoolers likely would in such a situation.


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Brainy Acts: “Limitless,” “The Lincoln Lawyer,” and “Paul”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-03-20 21:01:52

Bradley Cooper in LimitlessLIMITLESS and THE LINCOLN LAWYER

At some point during my double-feature of Limitless and The Lincoln Lawyer, I was reminded, as I frequently am, that we filmgoers don’t really need more great movies from Hollywood. We just need more good movies – smart, strong, satisfying releases that only want to entertain, but manage to do so without attempting to overwhelm you, or demanding that you first check your intelligence at the auditorium door.


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