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items tagged with Taye Diggs

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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Give Him This Day His Daily Porn: "Don Jon," "Baggage Claim," and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-09-30 03:39:00

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson in Don JonDON JON

Writer/director/star Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon casts its auteur as a New Jersey bartender obsessed with pornography, and you can view the film as an extremely raunchy romantic comedy, or an untraditional coming-of-age saga, or a mostly lighthearted exploration of the perils of addiction. But I prefer to think of Gordon-Levitt’s sprightly, confident filmmaking debut more as a modernized Pinocchio, in which, through lessons learned and a touch of magic, a creature made of wood – or rather, one sporting wood – eventually becomes a real live boy.


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Slightly Off-Key: "Rent" and "Pride & Prejudice"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-11-30 00:00:00

RentRENT

During its first 10 minutes or so, the film version of Jonathan Larson’s Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent is so thrilling you might want to applaud. As the opening credits unfurl, the movie’s cast – all but two of whom reprise their original stage roles – sings Rent’s signature number, “Seasons of Love,” on a bare stage in dramatic downlight, and performs with fervent, passionate joy.


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"Identity" and "Confidence" Flawed but Enjoyable: Also, "City of God," "Bulletproof Monk," and "Malibu's Most Wanted"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-04-30 00:00:00

John Hawkes, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, and John Cusack in IdentityIDENTITY and CONFIDENCE

By some bizarre coincidence, this past weekend saw the arrival of two new films, Identity and Confidence, that share an almost frightening number of similarities.


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Acting Duo Elevates "K-PAX": Also, "13 Ghosts"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2001-10-31 00:00:00

Kevin Spacey in K-PAXK-PAX

Kevin Spacey has made a career out of being snidely patronizing, of being the smartest person in the room, and that’s what I adore about him; he patently refuses to be lovable, and his wicked intelligence and dry-as-sandpaper line readings give a snap to just about every role he plays. (That’s why his performance as the physically and emotionally scarred teacher in last year’s imbecilic tearjerker Pay It Forward was so disappointing; he’s not built for sentiment, and his presence in that mopey role merely exposed the film’s schmaltziness.) I guess it was inevitable that Spacey, who always comes off as knowing more than we do, would one day play an alien (or is he?) who arrives on Earth to teach us all lessons about life and love that we can’t figure out for ourselves. And so we have K-PAX, which had the potential to be excruciating but, as directed by Iain Softley and performed by a marvelous cast led by Spacey and Jeff Bridges, turns out to be thoroughly engaging; it’s a case study in how the right director and performers can redeem mostly worthless material.


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