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items tagged with Thrillers

Airport '14: "Non-Stop" and "Son of God"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-03-01 19:02:44

Liam Neeson in Non-StopNON-STOP

Every Academy Awards season, the idea of adding a Best Casting category appears to gain some traction among film journalists and professionals. (This past autumn saw the limited release of a documentary – Tom Donahue’s Casting by – devoted to the subject, and Woody Allen, whom one would’ve thought indifferent to the Oscars at best, even wrote an open letter to the Hollywood Reporter in support of a casting trophy.) I’m personally fine with restricting the ceremony to the two dozen categories we do have, but if such recognition were to be included, voters could do worse than to consider Amanda Mackey and Cathy Sandrich Galfond – casting directors for the enjoyably ludicrous Non-Stop – for the prize. To be sure, it doesn’t take much wit to suggest that Liam Neeson play a grieving alcoholic with a bad temper and a gun. But casting, as two beleaguered flight attendants, 12 Years a Slave’s abused slave Patsey opposite Downton Abbey’s rigid Lady Mary? Now that’s witty.


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Are You Not Entertained?!: "Pompeii," "3 Days to Kill," and "Winter’s Tale"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-02-23 19:23:46

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Kit Harington in PompeiiPOMPEII

About a half-hour into Paul W.S. Anderson’s Pompeii, the film’s protagonist – a gladiator-turned-slave amusingly named Milo – hears the unfamiliar sound of the nearby Mount Vesuvius preparing to erupt. “It is the mountain,” says Milo’s comrade Atticus. “It grumbles from time to time.” So do movie reviewers, and this latest 3D action spectacle by the director of Mortal Kombat, Death Race, and a trio of Resident Evil flicks would, at first glance, appear to be exactly the sort of thing I’d personally grumble about: a predictably corny, derivative, overscaled costume party with loads of generic violence and nothing in the way of subtlety or emotional nuance.

Yet while it’s easy to name the movie’s most direct influences, Gladiator and Titanic chief among them, what I didn’t at all expect was for this swords-and-sandals outing to be so thoroughly, cheerfully indebted to 1970s disaster epics in the vein of The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure; Pompeii, to its cheeky credit, is kind of like 1974’s Earthquake with the ancient Roman city cast in the role of Los Angeles.


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Plastics: "The Lego Movie," "The Monuments Men," and "Vampire Academy"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-02-11 14:28:21

The Lego MovieTHE LEGO MOVIE

Two of the characters in The Lego Movie are Lego Minifigures of Superman and Green Lantern, the latter of whom, here, is an obsequious suck-up whom the Man of Steel can’t stand. That’s a good joke. These decided non-friends are voiced by Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, who famously played best friends in 21 Jump Street. That’s a good in-joke. The Lego Movie is directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who also directed 21 Jump Street. That’s a good in-in-joke. But the news that this new animated release is not only the cleverest, most hysterical comedy since 21 Jump Street, but an altogether stronger, more audacious piece of work than at least 90 percent of everything Hollywood gave us last year? No joke at all.


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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"...





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