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items tagged with Thrillers

All the News That’s Unfit for Print: "Spotlight," "Secret in Their Eyes," and "The Night Before"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-11-22 22:25:57

Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Brian d'Arcy James, Michael Keaton, and John Slattery in SpotlightSPOTLIGHT

Spotlight, director/co-writer Thomas McCarthy’s dramatic procedural exploring the events leading to the Boston Globe’s 2002 exposé on sexual abuse within the Catholic church, isn’t much to look at. Its color palette is generally restricted to sallow browns and grays, and even under the fluorescent illumination of the Globe offices, the air is heavy with an oppressive pall. A man racing down a courthouse hallway is the closest the film comes to an action sequence. One montage is devoted solely to journalists scanning address directories with rulers. And to my eyes, Spotlight – scene by scene, minute by minute – still emerges as the least boring movie of the year.
Read More About All The News That’S Unfit For Print: "Spotlight," "Secret In Their Eyes," And "The Night Before"...

Bored. Mike Bored. : "Spectre" and "The Peanuts Movie"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-11-07 23:25:53

Daniel Craig in SpectreSPECTRE

Watching the opening credits to the new James Bond thriller Spectre, I leaned back in my seat, smiled, and thought, “Man, I love these things.” Not Bond movies, per se, but their opening credits. The lushly rendered colors. The serenely gliding camera pans. The artful poses and undulating torsos. The charming, deferential formality of the star’s name followed by “ … as Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007 in … .” The mystery of the accompanying pop song, which is as likely to be atrocious as marvelous. (Spectre’s “Writing’s on the Wall,” sung by Sam Smith, leans more toward the former. And call it gender bias or even blatant sexism, but I do think that unless you’re Paul McCartney or maybe Simon Le Bon, these duties should really be handled by women.)

But my absolute favorite thing about the James Bond title sequences is that in the 53 years since Dr. No, they’ve hardly changed a whit, meaning that those serving such below-the-line positions as second-unit assistant director, supervising sound editor, and “Mr. Craig’s makeup” get listed at the start right alongside Ian Fleming and Daniel Craig themselves. It’s a lovely gesture and a touching hat-tip to the series’ longevity, and it’s got to be cool for those professionals whose names usually flash on-screen while patrons are leaving the auditorium. I bet it’s cool even if, as in Spectre, your eye is being averted from those names by the silhouetted octopus tentacles shown embracing Bond and his two nubile lady friends. At first, I wondered: Why an octopus? To suggest the elastic, multi-limbed reach of evil? To prepare us for an underwater Bond in the vein of Thunderball? I never really got my answer, but after two-and-a-half punishingly long hours, I started thinking the creature was merely there to create a perverse nostalgia for the comparative wit and excitement of Octopussy.

Read More About Bored. Mike Bored. : "Spectre" And "The Peanuts Movie"...

Armistice Wrestling: "Bridge of Spies," "Goosebumps," and "Woodlawn"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-10-18 23:16:38

Billy Magnussen, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hanks in Bridge of SpiesBRIDGE OF SPIES

I caught Steven Spielberg’s Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies at a Friday-matinée screening alongside roughly 75 others. You could tell it was a predominantly, shall we say, mature crowd because of the volume and frequency of coughing fits, the food items being unwrapped with aching slowness, and the stage-whispered narration following louder queries of “What’d he say?!” You could also tell that, on numerous occasions, the movie was really working for this group, because for long stretches the crowd opted to remain collectively, blessedly silent.
Read More About Armistice Wrestling: "Bridge Of Spies," "Goosebumps," And "Woodlawn"...

Ridley’s Believe It or Not: "The Martian" and "Sicario"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-10-03 22:01:02

Matt Damon in The MartianTHE MARTIAN

If you, too, are a devotee of Ridley Scott’s Alien, you’ll no doubt remember how its title came into view during the opening credits: as a series of vertical, diagonal, and horizontal white lines that slowly appeared, beginning with the “I,” one or two at a time until the capitalized “ALIEN” was wholly spelled out. Thirty-six years later, the title for Scott’s sci-fi tale The Martian is revealed in the exact opposite manner: as a full, capitalized “THE MARTIAN” that gradually fades away, one portion at a time, until only the “I” remains.

Obviously, that disappearing act is a decidedly minor touch, especially in a film that runs just shy of two-and-a-half hours. But it might also be Scott’s most quietly clever touch, and not merely because The Martian’s chief narrative concerns an “I” that winds up left all alone. By offering a literal reverse of his 1979 achievement’s opener, Scott seems to be suggesting, with an wink, that his new endeavor will be 180 degrees removed from the claustrophobic, stomach-bursting horror of Alien, and that proves decidedly to be the case. While this adaptation of Andy Weir’s bestseller (with its script by Drew Goddard) does share some of Alien’s themes, principally the life-and-death imperatives behind deep-space problem-solving, Scott’s latest is expansive instead of spare, chatty instead of terse, heartening instead of nihilistic. It’s also, far and away, and from beginning to end, the most sheerly likable movie Ridley Scott has yet made – an exciting, moving, and altogether glorious sci-fi bear hug that leaves you feeling almost ridiculously happy. Given a career that’s found him exploring every conceivable shade of dark, it turns out that Scott looks pretty great in the light.
Read More About Ridley’S Believe It Or Not: "The Martian" And "Sicario"...

Johnny B. Bad: "Black Mass" and "Grandma"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-09-20 01:40:19

Johnny Depp in Black MassBLACK MASS

There’s a scene in the gangster thriller Black Mass that should sound bells of recognition for all fans of the genre. In it, legendary crime lord James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) and some friends are enjoying a dinner prepared by one of Bulger’s associates: FBI agent John Morris (David Harbour). Bulger compliments Morris on their steaks and asks what seasoning was used, to which the agent replies that it’s a secret family recipe whose ingredients, upon further pressing, he genially reveals. That’s when Bulger seems to snap.

His smile curls into a frown, his eyes go deader than usual, and he calmly inquires of Morris that if the agent is willing to share this “family secret” so quickly, what other secrets – perhaps secrets about Bulger – might he have shared? During the unbearably thick silence that follows, Morris and his tablemates appear nearly frozen with panic. Bulger, meanwhile, stares and stares, and we in the audience prepare for an inevitable, horrific burst of violence. And then ... Bulger laughs. A lot. Exclaiming “You should see your face!”, he insists he was just busting Morris’ balls. Very slowly, the others begin to smile, and then they, too, laugh. And as this sensationally tense sequence ends on a note of cautious cheer, it’s impossible to ignore the suggestion of what we just witnessed: GoodFellas with Johnny Depp in the Joe Pesci role. All that was missing was the psychotic query “I’m funny how?!"

Read More About Johnny B. Bad: "Black Mass" And "Grandma"...

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