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items tagged with Woody Harrelson

Oscar-Baiting the Hook: "Out of the Furnace," "The Book Thief," and "Philomena"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-12-08 17:05:53

Woody Harrelson and Christian Bale in Out of the FurnaceOUT OF THE FURNACE, THE BOOK THIEF, and PHILOMENA

When it comes to films vying for Academy Awards attention, there are several themes and subjects generally guaranteed to pique voters’ interest: post-war trauma; post-incarceration estrangement; the Holocaust; Judi Dench. Yet while a trio of recently released titles collectively addresses these and other Oscar-bait-y topics, I can’t help feeling that the talents behind all three might wind up disappointed come nominations-announcement morning. Well, except for Judi Dench. There’s just no stopping that Dame.


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Kat-and-Mouse Game: "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-11-25 03:44:23

Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Catching FireTHE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

My unfamiliarity with its source material was, I’m convinced, a large part of why I enjoyed last year’s The Hunger Games movie so much. To be sure, I dug the film itself, with its exciting and moving survival-of-the-fittest encounters, and its fierce Jennifer Lawrence performance, and its bevy of grandly outré supporting figures (and, in the Capitol sequences, beyond-outré production design). But not having read any of the three books in Suzanne Collins’ seminal young-adult adventure series, what I was most taken with was the surprise of the experience. Hunger Games newbies such as myself were allowed to take in Collins’ richly imagined dystopian saga with gradual understanding and horror, much the way (I’m presuming) the books’ readers did, and while we had every reason to expect Lawrence’s teen warrior Katniss Everdeen to survive, the storyline was just spiky and unpredictable enough to make us wonder how, exactly, she ever would.


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Arcade-ia: "Ender’s Game," "Last Vegas," and "Free Birds"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-11-03 18:40:35

Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield in Ender's GameENDER’S GAME

In writer/director Gavin Hood’s sci-fi adventure Ender’s Game, our titular hero (Asa Butterfield) is a 12-year-old who’s bullied both at school and at home, whose gestating anger leads to frequent violent outbursts, and whose frighteningly focused skills at computer-simulated war games not only earn him the respect of his peers but, eventually, the grateful thanks of every man, woman, and child on the planet. It is, in short, a Revenge of the Nerd fable to out-Carrie Carrie, and about the strongest argument for 24/7 video-game compulsion that any young game-hound could wish for. Just keep playing, you can hear the movie whispering to its console-obsessed demographic. One of these days, you’ll show ’em. You’ll show ’em all.


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Hocus Bogus: "Now You See Me" and "After Earth"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-06-02 22:49:47

Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, and Dave Franco in Now You See MeNOW YOU SEE ME

Given its premise, its cast, and the fact that it’s a summertime release without a superhero or a number (or both) in the title, it was easy to feel jazzed about the prospect of Now You See Me, director Louis Leterrier’s effects-driven caper about larcenous Las Vegas magicians scoring the heist of the century. Unfortunately, it took all of three minutes for that anticipatory excitement to turn, for me, into irritation, which then turned into active aggravation, which then turned into a disengaged torpor that lasted until the end credits rolled. Ta da.


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Rescue Mission Impossible: "Argo," "Seven Psychopaths," "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," and "Sinister"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-10-15 05:28:26

John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and Ben Affleck in ArgoARGO

It sounds like an all-too-Hollywood idea for a high-concept suspense thriller: A sextet of State Department employees are trapped in Iran, and their only hope for escape lies with an ingenious CIA official who plans to free the Americans by having them pose as a location-scouting team for a Canadian science-fiction movie. Yet within its first minutes, director/star Ben Affleck’s Argo – based on a recently declassified chapter of the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-80 – registers as terrifically, nerve-rackingly authentic, even if the film’s most enjoyable elements are, in truth, as Hollywood as they come.


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