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items tagged with The Tree of Life

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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Northern Exposure: "The Grey," "Man on a Ledge," and "One for the Money"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-01-29 21:38:25

Liam Neeson in The GreyTHE GREY

Whenever I watch a movie such as Alive or The Thing or director Joe Carnahan’s The Grey – especially in January – I ask myself the same question: Is it worth it? I know about cinematic sleight-of-hand, of course, and that the performers and crew aren’t enduring anywhere near the nightmarish conditions suffered by the characters on-screen. I also presume that a fat Hollywood paycheck instantly makes any location shooting, including The Grey’s outdoor shoot in wintry British Columbia, a lot more bearable. But still, all that ice and wind and trudging through thigh-deep snow ... . Is any movie experience worth spending three months in fear of losing your digits to frostbite?


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Sweet and Lowdown: Or, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Mike Schulz’s Favorite Movies of 2011* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2012-01-01 12:01:00

If you will, please permit me a quick public apology before I expound on my 10 favorite movies of this past year:

Sorry, Muppets. If I hadn’t caught that out-of-town flick a week ago, you totally would’ve made the list. (Instead, you top the list of the 150 other 2011 movies I saw.)


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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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