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

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RAY WEIKEL on: The DVD Wrapup: Founder, Punching Henry, Paris 05:59, Apocalypse Child, Donnie Darko, Woman of the Year, Tampopo, Handmaid’s Tale and more

Carrie Mulligan on: Wilmington on DVDs: The Great Gatsby

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Jarad on: Nudity in Film: Why Bare Chests Do Not Equal Bare Breasts

isa50 on: Wilmington on DVDs: Gladiator; Hell's Half Acre; The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Rory on: Wilmington on Movies: Snow White and the Huntsman

Quote Unquotesee all »

“It would be difficult to find something made by a human being that isn’t pregnant with a vision of the world. Likely impossible. It’s inherent to existence. It turns out that world visions can coincide with a certain hegemonic idea of what the world is —or not. It’s like when they say that “indie cinema” is intellectual, simply because it does not coincide with a narrative system the industry legitimates. But the industry is as intellectual as ‘indie’ movies. The difference is that one affirms reality, doesn’t call it into question. And not all ‘art movies’ are after that. You’ve got to call reality into doubt. Or better yet, I’d say you’ve got to be suspicious of reality. Because if you’re not, there’s no possible transformation. Every one of us who has done cinema —to speak just of moviemaking— has contributed our perspectives to a vision of the world. A community needs that —lots of perspectives. There will be times when some are valued more than others. But the really important thing is that a lot of different visions coexist. The big task is to facilitate that variety.”
~ Lucrecia Martel

“It’s a film festival’s job—and increasingly so—to create moments of recognition, of enjoyment, of shock, of learning. Not of consumerism. Not of implementing cultural policy. But moments without pretence, unclouded by vested interests, by intervention, by cynicism, by everyday business. Committed to nothing but the thing itself. Under obligation to nothing, to no one, not even to the filmmakers themselves. To basically seek access to a form that does not yet exist, a place no one has been to, a time that has not yet come. ’A form that thinks, and a thought that forms,’ as Jean-Luc Godard has it.”
~ Hans Hurch, late director of the Viennale