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items tagged with Viola Davis

Momma's Big House: "Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail" and "Fired Up!"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-02-23 13:18:47

Tyler Perry in Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to JailTYLER PERRY'S MADEA GOES TO JAIL

Tyler Perry's wildly popular, drag-act creation Madea - the tough-talking matriarch (played by Perry himself) with zero tolerance for foolishness, church, and most of her family members - is an admittedly entertaining figure. Yet she's a really odd character to build a movie around, because this bosomy yowler steadfastly refuses to change, or "grow," or develop in any way that could sustain a feature-length narrative; she's a one-joke, and one-rant, conceit. Maybe that's why it always feels like Madea is intruding on her films, even the ones with her name in the title. By necessity, the movies in which she appears have to treat her as a special guest star, because if they were just 100-ish minutes of Madea's antics, nothing would ever happen in them.


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Star Wars: "Doubt," "Valkyrie," "The Reader," "Bedtime Stories," and "Marley & Me"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-01-07 16:38:13

Meryl Streep in DoubtDOUBT

Based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, writer/director John Patrick Shanley's period drama Doubt - set in 1964, and concerning a nun who suspects a priest of sexual misconduct with an altar boy - isn't much of a movie. Shanley's previous directorial effort was 1990's Joe Versus the Volcano, and it's a shame he wasn't able to get in more practice over the last 18 years; in an attempt to gussy up the visual blandness that accompanies most theatrical adaptations, Shanley opts for a series of high- and low-angle shots and symbolic thunder, lightning, and wind effects that oftentimes make Doubt resemble a satire of a low-budget horror flick. And it's still visually bland.


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Mike’s Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2008
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-05-01 11:06:16

The AlpsThe Alps (not rated) - The people have chosen, and the people chose good. Last fall's winner of the Putnam Museum's "Everyone's a Critic" series - which follows climber John Harlin's attempts to scale the north face of the Eiger mountain, where his father perished in 1966 - is such a breathtaking spectacle that watching it makes you a little dizzy; not from the Eiger's treacherous inclines and precipitous drops, which are (enjoyably) vertigo-inducing enough, but from the dazzling visual rush provided by director Steve Judson and his remarkable team of camera operators. Judson re-creates Harlin's ascent with jaw-dropping skill - you'll fight the urge to blurt out "How on earth did they film that?!" repeatedly during The Alps' 45-minute running length - and he and his crew photograph the Swiss mountain ranges with crystalline perfection; I'm not sure any movie has ever looked better in IMAX format. When the film turns to matters of geology and the historic make-up of the mountains, things get a little stodgy, but you're quickly returned to the awe-inspiring vistas, an unexpectedly touching human element courtesy of Harlin and his understandably worried wife and daughter, and, believe it or not, a series of marvelously employed Queen tunes that - in this format, at least - suggest what the elevator ride to heaven would sound like.


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"Solaris" Not for Everybody, but Worth the Journey: Also, "Treasure Planet" and "Secretary"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2002-12-04 00:00:00

George Clooney in SolarisSOLARIS

In the interest of full journalistic disclosure, let me preface this review of Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris by admitting that, in the first 15 minutes, I briefly nodded off.


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