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items tagged with Thrillers

Plains Spoken: "Nebraska," "Gimme Shelter," and "I, Frankenstein"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-01-26 23:52:43

Will Forte and Bruce Dern in NebraskaNEBRASKA

After opening nationally (in larger markets) in November, Alexander Payne’s comic elegy Nebraska – nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture and Director – finally hit Quad Cities cineplexes this past weekend. I actually saw the film in Chicagoland over the holidays, and ordinarily, when preparing to review a film I first viewed a month prior, I’d take in a second screening to reacquaint myself with the images, dialogue, and performances. But I didn’t with Payne’s latest. I took in a second screening just for the sheer pleasure of the experience. Memories of Nebraska’s marvelous images, dialogue, and performances, thank you very much, were still wonderfully fresh.


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Now Is the Midwinter of Our Mild Discontent – Notes on a Quadruple Feature: "Devil's Due," "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit," "Ride Along," and "The Nut Job"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-01-19 00:08:27

Allison Miller in Devil's DueJanuary 17, 10:05 a.m.-ish: If it’s January, it must be time for our annual demonic-possession thriller in the guise of a “documentary,” and yet it still seems strange to be watching Devil’s Due. The devil may be, but a mere two weeks after the release of the latest Paranormal Activity, were we audiences really due for another of these things?


Read More About Now Is The Midwinter Of Our Mild Discontent – Notes On A Quadruple Feature: "Devil's Due," "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit," "Ride Along," And "The Nut Job"...


Disney on Ice: "Frozen," "Black Nativity," and "Homefront"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-12-02 15:57:22

FrozenFROZEN

As its fans (and I’m one of them) will gladly attest, Disney’s Frozen is a bit of a throwback to the studio’s recent golden age of animated entertainments – that period from the late ’80s to the mid-’90s that found more-or-less traditional fairy and folk tales goosed with healthy portions of Broadway razzmatazz. (Those in the press championing this new work as a welcome and rather bold return to form, however, do seem to have conveniently forgotten about 2009’s excellent The Princess & the Frog and 2010’s near-excellent Tangled.) But while much of the film follows the standard Disney-in-its-prime formula to the letter – big-eyed ingénue heroine, check; wacky animal sidekick, check; rafter-shaking power ballad destined to win an Oscar, check – there is one aspect to Frozen that separates it from the Little Mermaid/Beauty & the Beast/Lion King herd: The movie is kind of bonkers.


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Over the Hill, Under the Gun: "Bad Grandpa" and "The Counselor"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-10-27 17:24:54

Jackson Nicoll and Johnny Knoxville in Bad GrandpaBAD GRANDPA

This might surprise a grand total of none of you, but Bad Grandpa – which also goes by the more telling title Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa – isn’t much of a movie. The first Jackass release to feature an actual narrative, and actual characters, in place of the usual parades of comically vile, violent challenges and stunts (though there are a few of those, too), director Jeff Tremaine’s road-trip slapstick is mostly shapeless and certainly obvious, and nowhere near as hilarious as you want it to be.

Yet it’s also a continually interesting and, in the end, rather sweet sociological experiment reminiscent of Borat, but a Borat without the mean-spiritedness. If Sacha Baron Cohen’s outing, with its Candid Camera-style employment of “real people” clearly not in on the joke, reveled in displaying how crass and ignorant Americans could be, Tremaine’s suggests just how tolerant and polite we can be – and given the circumstances presented here, that’s apparently mighty tolerant and polite indeed.


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Period Piece: "Carrie," "The Fifth Estate," and "Escape Plan"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-10-20 22:31:31

Chloe Grace Moretz in CarrieCARRIE

(Author’s note: Spoilers will abound. Given that the movie under consideration is an oftentimes word-for-word updating of a 37-year-old work, I hope I’ll be forgiven for them.)

As remakes of beloved genre classics go, I suppose there’s little point in being bothered by the new Carrie. Director Kimberly Peirce’s outing, after all, is easy to sit through, smartly staged, generally well-acted, and, in most regards, incredibly faithful to Brian De Palma’s 1976 original (which was, itself, reasonably faithful to Stephen King’s debut novel of 1974). The CGI effects are pretty weak, and the movie isn’t even slightly scary, and considering that nearly all sentient beings know what happens to poor Carrie White at the prom – with the movie’s entire advertising campaign based on post-prom imagery – there’s almost nothing in the way of storyline surprise, but whatever. It’s fine.


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