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items tagged with Steven Spielberg

Heavy Duty: "Norbit," "Hannibal Rising," and "The Messengers"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-02-14 08:36:24

Eddie Murphy in NorbitNORBIT

Eddie Murphy's latest latex comedy, Norbit, is an unusual mixture of abject stupidity and sheer genius. If you've seen the previews - and is there anyone left who hasn't? - you've pretty much gleaned the plot, which finds our nerdy, titular hero (Murphy) trapped in matrimonial hell with the punishing, frighteningly obese Rasputia (Murphy again), and yearning to win the heart of his one true love (Thandie Newton). From beginning to end, director Brian Robbins' movie is formulaic, repetitive, obvious, and not nearly as hysterical as it wants to be. It's also one of the few comedies of recent years to be touched with something approximating brilliance.


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Imaginary Heroes: “Flags of Our Fathers,” “The Prestige,” and “Marie Antoinette”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-10-25 04:18:45

Flags of Our FathersFLAGS OF OUR FATHERS

Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers is serious and noble, but it isn't resonant - despite some harrowing battle scenes, this World War II drama is surprisingly easy to brush off. Based on the James Bradley book, the film provides the back story to the historic raising of the American flag during the battle of Iwo Jima - a moment eternalized in Joe Rosenthal's famed photograph - and then follows the flag-raisers as they cope with their newfound status as American heroes, sent on a nationwide tour promoting war bonds. Yet with the exception of Rene Gagnon (Jesse Bradford), who is seduced by the limelight, the men don't feel heroic - John Bradley (Ryan Phillippe) falls into a jittery depression, and Native American Ira Hayes (Adam Beach) becomes a despondent alcoholic. These men didn't ask to be heroes. They just wanted to stay alive.


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Oscar-Mire Winners
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2006-02-22 00:00:00
In discussing this year’s Oscar races in the picture, director, and the acting categories, we may as well begin with the nominee area audiences had the least chance of catching, as it was the only major contender yet to get an area release: Duncan Tucker’s Transamerica.
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More Real Than a Photograph: Writer-Director David Riker
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2006-01-11 00:00:00

Years before he became a filmmaker, writer-director David Riker worked as a photojournalist, and found himself especially haunted and moved by the plight of immigrants in Manhattan’s Latin American neighborhoods.
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Spielberg Takes a Riveting Trip to "Munich": Also, "The Family Stone"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-12-28 00:00:00

Eric Bana and Geoffrey Rush in MunichMUNICH

He may be revered – and often reviled – for his sense of childlike wonder, but no Hollywood director shoots scenes of violence with the no-frills grimness of Steven Spielberg. In the helmer’s taut, ambitious Munich – which focuses on Israeli retribution for the murders of nine of their athletes at the 1972 Olympics – Spielberg, as he did in Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, doesn’t distance himself from the carnage on the screen, and doesn’t let us distance ourselves, either. There’s nothing self-consciously “artistic” about the numerous killings we’re shown here; bullets tear through flesh with terrifying force, bombs rip limbs apart, and most of these atrocities are portrayed with an almost shocking matter-of-factness – we recoil from the violence because Spielberg’s presentation of it is so intentionally artless. (The murders in Munich come off as almost painfully realistic.) Yet although Munich is a brutal work, it isn’t brutalizing; Spielberg is too much of a natural showman – and natural entertainer – for that. The film is a riveting and intelligent political thriller, and although the director can’t fully rein in his expectedly sentimental impulses, Munich is probably Spielberg’s strongest directorial accomplishment in more than a decade. It’s a gripping and, for Spielberg especially, refreshingly tough-minded piece of work.


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