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Damien Chazelle’s ‘La La Land’ is an entertaining and engaging love letter to movies, jazz, Los Angeles and love itself

December 27, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Dec. 27, 2016 Writer-director Damien Chazelle’s La La Land is an utterly charming romance about star-crossed lovers in Los Angeles. She is Mia Dolan (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress working as a barista at a movie studio lot and sharing an apartment with three other wannabe performers. He is Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), […]

The romantic comedy ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ suffers from crazy, stupid psychology

July 14, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com July 14, 2015 There’s a short scene about two-thirds of the way through the 2011 movie Crazy, Stupid, Love that captures its willful cluelessness about how the world works. When a quartet of adult men brawl behind the house that Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) and Emily Weaver (Julianne Moore) used to share with a son […]

Fascinating premise, flat drama: Light comedy and heavy philosophizing go nowhere in Allen’s ‘Magic in the Moonlight’

August 16, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Aug. 16, 2014 Author’s note: Having noticed a handful of typos and textual loose ends in this post, I made some adjustments on Aug. 21, 2015. I’ve used boldface (like so) and strikethrough lines (like this) to mark all but the most minor changes. MEM The newest Woody Allen movie, Magic in the Moonlight, revolves around the […]

With a great character comes…alas, just a decent superhero movie: Revisiting 2002’s ‘Spider-Man’

July 14, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com July 14, 2014 In 2002, Columbia Pictures released a movie titled, simply, Spider-Man. It was a pretty fun outing starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst as, respectively, the eponymous hero (né Peter Parker) and his longtime next-door neighbor and not-so-secret crush, Mary Jane Watson. What few people could have foreseen was that Spider-Man would unleash a […]

Spider-Man in love (and war): ‘Amazing 2’ offers a fun romp, despite being stuffed to the gills with plot points

May 19, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com May 19, 2014 Your favorite urban web-slinger is back, and yes, the tales are true: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is indeed an entertaining romp. This time, young Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spidey (Andrew Garfield), finds himself trying to balance his love for the brilliant young Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) with the promise he made […]