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items tagged with Woody Allen

Mob Mentality: "The Family" and "Insidious: Chapter 2"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-09-15 14:04:19

Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer in The FamilyTHE FAMILY

Robert De Niro fans will likely want to catch director Luc Besson’s The Family, as it showcases one of the actor’s finest, most alert leading performances in years. Michelle Pfeiffer fans (and I’m a huge one) will definitely want to catch this new gangster comedy, as it gives the eternally radiant performer the closest she’s had to a fully fleshed-out character in over a decade, and Pfeiffer – returning to her mob-wife roots of the Scarface and Married to the Mob era – plays the role spectacularly well.

Yet there’s one demographic for whom The Family should be absolutely must-see viewing: anti-Francophiles. Though it has its problems, several of them major ones, I’m betting that most of its viewers will enjoy the film. But if you’re the sort who’s prone to make hostile remarks about the French with little or no provocation, or have ever referenced “freedom fries” completely without irony, this is, without question, the movie for you, which makes this latest effort by Parisian filmmaker Besson not just cheeky but downright subversive.


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Darling, I Love You, but Give Me Park Avenue: "Blue Jasmine," "The World’s End," and "You’re Next"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-08-25 23:41:52

Cate Blanchett in Blue JasmineBLUE JASMINE

Woody Allen’s new drama Blue Jasmine is modeled, both loosely and very specifically, on Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, and if you’re familiar with that stage classic – or, really, with Williams’ oeuvre in general – you can correctly presume that the movie will not end on a note of cheer. Yet for the life of me, I couldn’t convince my face of that, because Cate Blanchett’s almost impossibly fine performance in the writer/director’s latest left me smiling so contentedly you would’ve thought the screening came with an open bar and complimentary full-body massage. Catching up with me on the way out of the auditorium, a friend, regarding Blanchett’s portrayal, said, “I think I’m gonna be high for a week.” I’m pretty sure I vocalized my agreement but was feeling too high to be certain.


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Out with the Old Sport, in with the New: "The Great Gatsby," "Mud," and "Peeples"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-05-12 22:34:37

Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great GatsbyTHE GREAT GATSBY

Although, in the end, the film wound up an engaging and surprisingly touching entertainment, and it’s visually spellbinding throughout, the first half hour of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby felt, to me, exactly like the first half hours of all Baz Luhrmann movies: annoying as hell.


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Heavy Metal: "Iron Man 3" and "Space Junk 3D"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-05-06 02:01:48

Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3IRON MAN 3

Iron Man 3 begins with narration by Tony Stark, the superheroic multi-billionaire voiced and eventually embodied, as always, by Robert Downey Jr. His tone is steady and somber as he makes ominous pronouncements about the uncertain state of the world and how we each create our own demons and such, but before long, Stark’s more expectedly breezy, wise-ass nature takes over – he stumbles over his words and realizes his blathering isn’t really going anywhere, and quickly puts a kibosh on the opening address. The whole routine is reminiscent of Woody Allen’s hilariously neurotic “Chapter one ... ” intro at the start of Manhattan, and immediately suggests that this second sequel to 2008’s effects-laden blockbuster will be both deathly serious and happily insouciant. And it is. I’m just not completely convinced, in the case of Iron Man 3, that that’s a good thing.


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Magic / Mike: Schulz’s 10(-Plus) Most Enjoyable Movies of 2012
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2013-01-07 16:15:13

It’s incomplete, with such 2012 releases as Zero Dark Thirty, Amour, Rust & Bone, Arbitrage, The Intouchables, Not Fade Away, and Here Comes the Boom (ha ha!) still requiring my viewing. And it’s certainly eclectic, as even I can’t fathom a double feature of titles number one and two below. But in an all-around outstanding year for movies, the following ranking of 10 selections – with a bonus inclusion – is, as of January 6, my list of the absolute best times I had as a film fanatic this past year.


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