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items tagged with William Friedkin

Ten Little Indies: "Begin Again," "Life Itself," "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me," "Stranger by the Lake," "Interior. Leather Bar.", "Nymphomaniac: Volume One," "Nymphomaniac: Volume Two," "The Unknown Known," "The Immigrant," and "Snowpiercer"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-07-30 19:29:48

Keira Knightley in Begin AgainLike many reviewers who publish year-end recaps featuring top-10 rankings and such, I keep a running list of every new movie I see during the year, arranged in order of preference. (Wow. Seeing it in writing, that seems really anal-retentive. Maybe only I do that.) And after updating this list over the weekend, I scanned my current 10 favorites and thought, “For July, that’s a pretty great lineup.”

Of course, that lineup is only impressive because five of its titles – Life Itself, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, Stranger by the Lake, Nymphomaniac: Volume One, and Snowpiercer – are 2014 films I caught on home video and through streaming services. If I only included movies that played at area cineplexes, my top-10-to-date wouldn't look so hot. I mean, sure, Muppets Most Wanted, 22 Jump Street, and Hercules were a lot of fun, but come on ... . Two sequels, both inferior to their predecessors, and Brett Ratner directing The Rock? (With apologies to Dwayne Johnson, who’s actually awesome.) Hell, the new-to-our-area indie musical Begin Again would almost land in my cineplex top 10, and I didn’t even like it that much.


Read More About Ten Little Indies: "Begin Again," "Life Itself," "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me," "Stranger By The Lake," "Interior. Leather Bar.", "Nymphomaniac: Volume One," "Nymphomaniac: Volume Two," "The Unknown Known," "The Immigrant," And "Snowpiercer"...


Mike's Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2007
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-10-30 00:41:02

Eduardo Verastegui and Tammy Blanchard in BellaBella (PG-13) - Alejandro Monteverde's drama, which concerns the friendship between a chef and a newly pregnant, newly unemployed waitress, received the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Um... who are these "people," exactly? Space people? Because I can see how Bella might be confused with a great movie if you didn't understand a word of human conversation. Even then, of course, you might still be put off by the film's bizarre editing (with flash-forwards routinely, meaninglessly interrupting scenes-in-progress) and lackluster photography; Montevrede shows more interest in food than in his stars. And then there's that baffling ending, which seems to set the film up for a sequel - one that fills in that massive "Huh?!?" of a climactic plot hole. But it's still the mawkish, maudlin screenplay that does it in; Eduardo Verástegui (looking uncannily like Jim Caviezel as Christ) and Tammy Blanchard (as ever, looking uncannily like Judy Garland) are stuck with unplayable dialogue and baldly written characters, and the movie shamelessly plies on the merely-functional supporting stereotypes. The movie is pro-life and pro-family with a vengeance, which might account for its (limited) popular success. I just wish it were also a little pro-brain, and a lot anti-cliché.


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Jones and Del Toro Elevate "The Hunted": Also, "Agent Cody Banks" and "Boat Trip"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-03-26 00:00:00

Benicio del Toro and Tommy Lee Jones in The HuntedTHE HUNTED

Offhand, I can’t think of an acting team more oddly matched, and strangely inspired, than Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio Del Toro. Talk about your odd couples: Jones, with his clipped, no-bullshit gruffness that gives way to a kind of mellow humor, and Del Toro, with his loopy line readings and eloquent silences (you’re always wondering what, exactly, is going on in his head). When both men are at the top of their game – Jones in Lonesome Dove or The Fugitive, Del Toro in Traffic or his brief, brilliant turns in The Pledge and Fearless – they’re marvelously vibrant performers, so even if you’re dreading yet another routine action picture, the chance to see this duo play opposite one another might be reason enough to sit through The Hunted. The movie, directed by thriller veteran William Friedkin, winds up being little more than a violent screen adaptation of “Where’s Waldo?”, but Jones and Del Toro, at least, give it some punch.


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Mourning the Dead: "Return to Me" and "Rules of Engagement"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2000-04-12 12:00:00

Minnie Driver and David Duchovny in Return to MeRETURN TO ME

There's so much goodwill built into Return to Me – the promise of an audience-pleasing romantic comedy, the likability of the cast, the presence of director/co-writer/co-star Bonnie Hunt, the prospect of David Duchovny smiling – that I feel like something of a heel for saying that the movie itself is pretty crummy.


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