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items tagged with William Hurt

Pulp Friction: "A History of Violence," "Oliver Twist," and "Serenity"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-10-05 00:00:00

Viggo Mortensen in A History of ViolenceA HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

I was completely rapt by the austerity and dread of David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence – for the first five minutes. In the film’s beautifully sustained opening sequence, we watch as two men – one middle-aged, in a black suit, and another, younger and sporting a T-shirt and jeans – exit their motel room. They load up their car, and the older gentleman drops off the room key while the other – slowly, slowly – pulls the car up to meet him. Moments later, the older man returns, having had, he says, “a little trouble with the maid.” But before they leave, they need water. The younger man enters the motel office to replenish their supply, and as he does, we finally see the image that Cronenberg has thus far denied us, and that we in the audience have properly anticipated – the motel manager and maid lying dead in pools of blood. A frightened little girl, gently stroking the hair of her doll, enters the scene and makes eye contact with the younger killer. And the man, smiling gently, tells her not to be afraid, slowly aims his revolver at the girl’s head, and fires.


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"The Village" Proves Shyamalan Needs a New Formula: Also, "Catwoman"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2004-08-04 00:00:00

Bryce Dallas Howard in The VillageTHE VILLAGE

Nobody likes a know-it-all, so I have nothing to gain by admitting that I figured out The Big Twist in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village after about 15 minutes. But I’ll venture that this popular writer-director has everything to lose by continuing to make his cinematic spook shows so repetitively, predictably “surprising." If you find yourself less than enthralled by The Village’s narrative, you have far too much time to ruminate on how Shyamalan will attempt, yet again, to pull the rug out from under you; he’s undermining his talent – and the man does have some – with his implied “Bet ya didn’t see that coming!” finales. (It’s becoming easy to respond with, “Oh yeah I did.”)


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"Punch-Drunk Love" Is a Sandler Movie for Nobody: Also, "Tuck Everlasting," "Full Frontal," and "Igby Goes Down"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2002-10-30 00:00:00

Emily Watson and Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk LovePUNCH-DRUNK LOVE

Punch-Drunk Love is exactly what its writer-director, Paul Thomas Anderson, claims it to be – “an art-house Adam Sandler movie” – yet I can’t be alone in thinking: What’s the point of that? Is Anderson merely trying to show up the hacks who’ve directed Sandler in other films? (Again: What’s the point?) All throughout, the movie is beautifully filmed, exquisitely composed, and filled with Anderson’s uncanny knack for stretching a scene out longer than it should humanly run and making you hang on every delirious second of it.


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Two Springtime Gems – and a Serious Dog: "Frailty," "Changing Lanes," and "The Sweetest Thing"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2002-04-17 00:00:00

Bill Paxton in FrailtyFRAILTY

Until it flirts with supernatural looniness in its last reel, Bill Paxton’s directorial debut Frailty is a strong, scary, deeply affecting piece of work – so good, in fact, that it easily ranks, thus far, as 2002’s finest film achievement.


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Surprisingly, Spielberg’s "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" Is Missing Its Heart
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2001-07-05 00:00:00

Haley Joel Osment and Frances O'Connor in A.I.: Artificial IntelligenceA.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

After all the months of secrecy, of waiting, of wondering, we can finally analyze Steven Spielberg’s A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. And “analyze” is the appropriate term, because this is a movie for your brain rather than your heart. Those of us who were leery about how the sensibilities of warm, huggy Spielberg would gel with those of icy, cynical Stanley Kubrick (who initiated the project) might be in for a shock; for much of the film, Spielberg mimics the famously clinical, detached Kubrickian style flawlessly. In fact, he’s almost too good at it; when actual emotion is called for, the movie falters. A.I. is never less than riveting, stunningly well-designed, and technically miraculous. But I’m still not sure that it’s a success.


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