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items tagged with The Help

It Takes a Vile Witch to Raise a Child: "Mama," "Broken City," and "The Last Stand"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-01-20 18:28:33

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jessica Chastain, Isabelle Nélisse, and Megan Charpentier in MamaMAMA

A new film titled Mama opened this past weekend, and it stars Jessica Chastain. Given the current Oscar nominee’s cinematic omnipresence over the past two years, you may be inclined to say, “Well, of course it does.” But I’m leading with that information because in addition to being almost insanely prolific, Chastain (whose recent résumé also boasts The Tree of Life, The Help, Take Shelter, and, of course, Zero Dark Thirty) is about as reliable an indicator of quality as this decade’s movies have provided. And against considerable odds, not the least being its unpromising January release date, director Andrés Muschietti’s outing is a supernatural fright flick of considerable quality – gripping and nerve-racking and sensationally well-made, and yet another showcase for Chastain’s stirring soulfulness and remarkable versatility.


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Everything New Is Old Again: Notes on the 2012 Academy Awards Telecast
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2012-02-27 19:34:55

Best Actress Meryl StreepThe first trophy handed out at the 2012 Academy Awards ceremony was for Best Cinematography, a prize that I predicted would go to The Tree of Life but that instead went to Hugo. (Seriously, after his undeserved losses for 2006’s Children of Men and now the Terrence Malick film, exactly whom does Emmanuel Lubezki have to do to win an Oscar?) But that was actually my second incorrect assumption of the evening, because as soon as host Billy Crystal stepped on stage, I said to the others at my viewing party, “Here comes the standing ovation,” and the audience – despite giving the man a warm reception – remained seated. Did the crowd have a collective premonition of just how spectacularly Crystal would bomb last night?


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... And "Jack & Jill" Came Tumbling After: 150 Movies Not on 2011's 10-Favorites List
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2012-01-01 12:00:00

The MuppetsEvery January, I share my numerical rankings of the 10 most enjoyable movies I saw during the previous year. I do not, however, share my numerical rankings of all the other titles I caught during those 12 months, as such a list would, I think, be hopelessly arbitrary, terribly self-indulgent, and something that only a person with too much time on his hands would attempt.

Let’s get cracking, shall we?


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Given Half a Chance: “50/50,” “What’s Your Number?”, “Dream House,” and “Dolphin Tale”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-10-02 19:17:46

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen in 50/5050/50

Director Jonathan Levine’s 50/50 casts Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a young man afflicted with a rare form of spinal cancer, and Seth Rogen as his loud, loutish, perpetually stoned best friend. Consequently, I expected the film’s title and my chances of actually enjoying the movie to be one and the same. It’s always great seeing Gordon-Levitt onscreen, but is there anyone left who isn’t longing for a break from Rogen’s braying, one-note shtick, even if, as he is here, the man isn’t just presumably but damn near literally playing himself? (50/50’s script is loosely autobiographical, and Rogen and author Will Reiser are real-life pals and frequent writing partners.)


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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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