MCN Columnists
Gary Dretzka

Columns By Gary DretzkaDretzka@moviecitynews.com

Hurray, Independent!

Every year, in the days immediately following the Academy Awards, I rejoice in the knowledge that members of the mainstream and Internet media will get over themselves long enough to ponder something other than who’s wearing what, and by whom; which five, of the 25 equally qualified actors and directors nominated, are mortal-locks to take…

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Accepting Remakes

Over the years, as the movie industry’s fetish for remaking anything and everything has become more prevalent, there have been tons of articles written about how “remakes” are destroying the very fabric of film or some such other hyperbolic thesis. You see, for me, I’ve never been truly offended by the idea of remaking a…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Dear Zachary, Rachel Rachel, Faces, and more … plus, this week’s box set

PICKS OF THE WEEK: NEW Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (Three-and-a-Half Stars) U. S.; Kurt Kuenne, 2008 (Oscilloscope) 2008 was a year of remarkable documentaries. My favorites were Martin Scorsese’s sizzling Stones concert movieShine a Light and James Marsh’s extraordinary, gut-wrenchingMan on Wire, about Philippe Petit‘s high-wire walk between the…

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Mr. Hollywood and the Women

When it comes to the movies, we all know sex sells … but to what extent does Hollywood perpetuate gender stereotypes and the objectification of women? A couple of disparate things cropped up the other day that got me pondering the role the media in general and movies in particular play in perpetuating stereotypes about…

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The Check is in the Jail

Madea Goes to Jail was the overwhelming winner as it grossed an estimated $41.2 million in its debut weekend. In another record breaking session one of the few down notes came from the session’s other freshman release — the teen comedy Fired Up — that struggled to $5.9 million. Niche openers ranged from good to…

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The Oscars and Iraq

Not surprisingly, perhaps, movies about the war in Iraq have failed to capture the attention of the movie-going American public, commercially or otherwise. In the competition for Academy and Spirit awards, theatrical releases inspired by W and Dick’s Excellent Misadventure have been virtually ignored, as well. Michael Winterbottom’s Daniel Pearlbiopic, A Mighty Heart, earned three nominations from Film…

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Oscars Versus Spirits: My Likely Winners

Published under Oscar Outsider. For the past several years, I’ve enlisted my children’s help when it came time to make a guess as to who would win what Oscars, on the theory that a pack of children playing a random game with the names of nominees worked in would result in predictions more-or-less as accurate…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Changeling, I Served the King of England, Faces, Hobson’s Choice and more … plus, this week’s box set

CO-PICKS OF THE WEEK: NEW Changeling (Four Stars) U. S.; Clint Eastwood (Universal) Changeling is another very fine late-career movie from director Clint Eastwood: a scary, blood-chillingly clear look at

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Wondering About Slumdog

So the big show is coming up this weekend and I’m sensing an overall feeling of inevitability about the results on Sunday. And I don’t think that should be the case. The truth of the matter is that in most of the categories, each entrant is a worthy winner and if that’s indeed the case,…

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Craftsmanship Versus Art in Filmmaking: Why Can’t We Have Both?

Are today’s filmmakers so caught up in trying to craft “artistic” films that they’ve lost the soul and spirit of what makes art “art” in the process? And how exactly do you define art versus craftsmanship? A good starting point for this discussion started up last week over on the blog Bright Lights After Dark. In…

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Valentine Day Movieholic

The declining appeal of horror movies didn’t last long. The resurrected Friday the 13th slew the competition, debuting to an estimated $42.3 million in the first three days of the President’s holiday weekend. The session also included national bows for the romantic comedy Confessions of a Shopaholic of $15.7 million that ranked fourth and the…

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Pondering the Contenders in the Best Picture Derby

Published under Oscar Outsider. With ten days to go until Oscar, it’s time for Oscar Outsider to take a look at the Best Picture nominees. Here’s a rundown of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the Best Picture contenders as we come down to the wire … and what the Academy voters might be…

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Collector’s Choice: The Films of Michael Powell

After what has seemed like an eternity, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s outstanding 1946 wartime fantasy, A Matter of Life and Death, which played theatrically in Death-allergic America asStairway to Heaven, has been made available on home video, released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as a two-platter The Collector’s Choice DVD set, The Films of Michael Powell, accompanied by…

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Bridging the Cultural Gulf with Trouble the Water

When is a movie more than a movie? One of the things that particularly interests me about independent film is the way in which movies can both shine a light on social issues and act as agents of change in shifting the way in which those who watch a given film view the world around…

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Kate Winslet Should Not Win the Oscar this Year

In 2007, before There Will Be Blood had been released, I talked a great deal about how I felt Daniel Day-Lewis was the greatest living actor and that there really wasn’t any competition. When the film was eventually released, I felt vindicated because he had gone one step further, cementing his status as the actor who stands…

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Sweet Coraline … So Into You

The debut of rom-com He’s Just Not That Into You led the frame with an estimated $27.9 million. Three other films bowed this weekend to varying results including a sturdy start for the 3-D animated Coraline of $16.3 million that ranked third overall. There was OK response of $9.9 million for the thriller Push but…

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Wilmington on Movies: Coraline, He’s Just Not that Into You, The Pink Panther 2, Fanboys

Coraline (Three-and-a-Half Stars) U. S.; Henry Selick Other movie genres may need some more oomph. But

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Who’s the Best of the Best Director Nominees?

Here we are 17 short days from Oscar, the “Biggest Movie Event of the Year,” and over on the Gurus chart, they’ve got it nailed down to their top two picks in each category. I’ve written a lot of Oscar columns since coming on board here, covering the adapted and original screenplays, the acting categories,…

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Two Lovers

When Two Lovers premiered at Cannes last May, I was looking forward to hearing the first reviews of the film; they were fairly middle of the road. I thought it had become par for the course for director James Gray to deliver a mediocre film after he wowed me with his original and bleak debut Little Odessa, only…

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Taken .. Not Stirred

The kidnap thriller Taken topped weekend movie going with an estimated $24.5 million. While the top title’s take was upbeat, two other premiering films had below par results. The chiller The Uninvited ranked third overall with $10.5 million and the issue comedy New in Town slotted eighth with a $6.7 million gross. The session also…

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Columns

gary j dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Ballad of Lefty Brown, Wonder, Blades, Seijun Suzuki, Fellini, Hellraiser, Paradise and more

Yvan Prime on: The DVD Wrapup: Ballad of Lefty Brown, Wonder, Blades, Seijun Suzuki, Fellini, Hellraiser, Paradise and more

Antoine Ratliff on: The DVD Wrapup: Letter From An Unknown Woman, Despicable Me 3, Crucifixion, Maurizio Cattelan, A New Leaf, Silent Night and more

Fernando on: The DVD Wrapup: King George, Cars 3, Overdrive, Afterimage, Glass Castle, Whisky Galore, The Journey, Into the Night, Sissi, Stay Hungry and more

Woody on: The DVD Wrapup: ET, Vietnam, Big Sick, Glory, Certain Women, The Hero, Hana-Bi, By the Time It Gets Dark, The Prison, The Flesh, Moderns … More

Gary Meyer on: Irene Cho: A Force of Nature

Gregg Goldstein on: Irene Cho: A Force of Nature

Melissa Mobley on: Irene Cho: A Force of Nature

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Quote Unquotesee all »

“It’s the job of the artist, to exploit connections. You see, I speak on behalf of the world of the artist without hesitation! People don’t realize that the part of the playwright is finding something for people to talk about. If you are writing about a historical episode, or two characters in ‘Hamlet,’ you have a structure for free.”
~ Tom Stoppard

“This is momentous. I think it is the true beginning of the crumble of the patriarchy. We’ve been living under it for centuries, and I don’t think this would’ve been possible in any earlier period in history. I think all of the baby steps that we’ve taken toward getting more women in positions of power — cinematographers that are women, and actresses who develop their own projects, and studio heads that are women — I mean, it was always one at a time, but it’s been slowly building. I think what’s happened now, it’s like, “Okay, the jig’s up, folks. You’re not going to get away with it. I’m not going to protect you if you treat me badly or disrespectfully.” We now have a woman cinematographer nominated for an Oscar, finally, in 2018. Finally. We’ve had a woman director win an Oscar. So it’s baby steps, but now I think it’s going to change drastically. Plus, I mean, look at Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman was a great movie. It was beautiful and it made a lot of money, which is what talks, of course, in this industry. So I think we’ll be seeing more women in positions of power.”
~ Ellen Burstyn