MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

Columns By Leonard KladyKlady@moviecitynews.com

Would You Like to Ride on My Beautiful Balloon?

Up was away up as it entered the marketplace with an estimated $67.8 million to command weekend ticket sales. The session also saw the national bow of the horror parable Drag Me to Hell,which ranked third with $16.7 million. Revenues overall were essentially flat from 2008 (to be rigorous; -0.5%). Regionally there was a strong…

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More than Skin Deep: Girls, Women and Career Choices

What will it take for women to compete on a level playing field with men in the world of film? And is it just the fault of Hollywood — or the film world in general — that men still largely dominate the industry when it comes to directing and the production side of the business,…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Of Time and the City, El Dorado, Zabriskie Point, and more…

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Of Time and the City (Three-and-a-Half Stars) U. K.; Terence Davies, 2008 (Strand Releasing) The sometimes mournfully brilliant British independent filmmaker Terence Davies returns to Liverpool, the place of his birth and growing up

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Getting Dragged to Hell

It’s funny, I wrote a whole diatribe just a few weeks ago about my issues with the movie-going experience and then I see a film that makes me realize what is so wonderful about seeing a certain type of film in theaters. Horror and comedy are the two best genres of films to see in…

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Exhibitionists Rivet Robots

It was a trip to the Smithsonian rather than a date with doomsday that prevailed with American audiences at the multiplex. Night at the Museum 2 posted an estimated $53.4 million while Terminator Salvation brought in $43.3 million during the first three days of the Memorial weekend holiday. The impressive showdown nonetheless fell slightly short…

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Real Life Meets Cinema: Issues Raised by Burma VJ Emphasized by Arrest of Activist

There was a day, not so long ago, when no potential blockbuster could be launched without the benefit of an elaborate publicity stunt. Every new Jaws was preceded by sightings of great white sharks on beaches from Cape Cod to Key West, and on-set romances had a way of dissolving as soon as the red…

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Sex, Morality and The Girlfriend Experience

“No woman gets an orgasm from shining the kitchen floor.” — Betty Friedan You might expect Steven Soderbergh‘s The Girlfriend Experience to be sexy — or, at least, sexual — given that it’s about a high-end call girl played by Sasha Grey, an adult film actress known for going to extremes. It’s not sexy at all, though it…

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Wise Blood, Valkyrie and more…

CO-PICKS OF THE WEEK: CLASSICS The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Two Discs) (Four Stars) U. S.; John Ford, 1962 (Paramount) John Ford’s last great Western is a visually spare masterpiece about the new and old frontiers

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Judi Krant Director of Made in China

This week Noah talks with Judi Krant, director of the film Made in China which won the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW. They talk about the difficulty of shooting in Shanghai, the relationship between art and commerce, the greatness of Sidney Lumet and the whimsy of Michel Gondry. Listen to Noah Forrest Podcast with Director…

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The Decline of Tom Hanks

What’s happened to the Tom Hanks I once loved? Lately he seems too complacent as an actor to be interesting, too willing to ride on his considerable charm and nice-guy persona rather than challenging himself, coasting along in roles that either aren’t right for him or to which he just doesn’t feel authentically committed. His return…

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Angels and Demons and … Raindrops on Roses, Whiskers on Kittens

This weekend’s much anticipated tentpole Angels and Demons bowed to an estimated $47.1 million with Star Trek on its heels with a gross of $41.8 million. The perceived four quadrant appeal of The Da Vinci Codefranchise had rivals opting out of counter programming but it didn’t open quite to expectations and the Star Trek reinvention…

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Girls of Summer

There are plenty of action-packed films with muscle-bound male heroes running around shooting bad guys and blowing things up, but where are the tough girls, the brainy, independent girls this summer? They must all be hanging out in science labs and old bookstores, because they’re few and far between in the films most folks are…

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Before the Rains

Even though the Indian film industry is the most prolific in the world, almost all of what American moviegoers know about Mombai and other major production centers derives from golly-gee features advancing the release of movies and musicals that borrow from the Bollywood stylebook. These have included such productions as Moulin Rouge!, The Guru, Hollywood/Bollywood, Bride…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Tell No One, A Grin Without a Cat, Max Fleischer’s Superman and more…

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Tell No One (Three Stars) France; Guillaume Canet, 2006 (Music Box Films/MPI) A provincial French pediatrician named Beck (Francois Cluzet) — still tormented by the

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Home is Still Where My Eyes Are

Last year around this time I wrote a column about my issues with the seeing the latest films in movie theaters. I wanted to revisit that column because with summer blockbusters here, there’s a good chance that we’ll all be spending a great deal of time in air-conditioned (hopefully) movie theaters, trying to cool off, have…

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Hi Trek!

It was another weekend of “how big?” Short of a mass flu epidemic sweeping the nation, nothing was going to get in the way of the Star Trek juggernaut. Though tracking and trekking were buoyant along with advance sales, the gut instinct was that it would not open quite as vigorously as X-Men Origins: Wolverine….

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

His consciousness advances and matures in the normal manner, so it is only the body of the hero that ages in reverse in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, an extended romantic story with what can readily be considered a fresh perspective. David Fincher directed the 2007 production, with Brad Pittundergoing innovative makeup effects for the central…

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Of Monologues and Dialogues: Does Any Artist Really Work in a Vacuum?

“Is it somehow beneficial for me to exempt myself from events featuring the likes of Coppola and Hara? If I socialize with critics and cinephiles, who swarm to such events and whose company I crave, do I complicate the matter of my identity? And if I socialize with “fellow” filmmakers by attending a half-dozen festivals,…

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Wendy and Lucy, Science is Fiction and more…

CO-PICKS OF THE WEEK: NEW The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Three and a Half Stars) U. S.; David Fincher, 2008 (Criterion) David Fincher, seemingly working at full intensity, gives us the epic adaptation of an obscure

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Soderbergh’s Wonderful Girlfriend Experience

Steven Soderbergh is, quite possibly, the most fascinating filmmaker working today. I’m in awe of his ability to vacillate between projects big and small, studio and indie, straightforward and quirky. The wonderful thing about Soderbergh is that he seems so intent on changing his style with each film, making it so that he is something…

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Columns

Quote Unquotesee all »

“To be a critic is to be a workaholic. Workaholism is socially conditioned: viewed favourably by exploiters, it’s generally ruinous to a worker’s mental health. When T.S. Eliot said criticism was as inevitable as breathing, he failed to mention that, respiratory problems notwithstanding, breathing is easy. Criticism is reflexive before reflective: to formalise/industrialise an involuntary instinct requires time, effort and discipline. The reason we seek remuneration, as opposed to the self-hatred of being a scab, is because all labour should be waged…

“Criticism, so the cliché by now goes, is dying. None of the panel discussions on its death agony, however—including those in which I’ve formally participated—come at it from the wider perspective that the problem surely needs. They defend the ways in which criticism functions in relation to the industry and to the public, but they fail to contextualise these relationships as defined by ultimately rotten and self-harming imperatives.

“Criticism was a noble profession so long as only a few could practice it for money; when the field expands, as it has with a so-called ‘democratisation’ of our practice, those few lose their political power. Competition grows and markets are undercut: publications are naturally going to start paying less. Precarity is both cause and effect of a surplus workforce: the reason you’re only as good as your last article is because there are plenty of other folks who can write the next one in your place. The daily grind is: pitch, or perish.

B”ut criticism, so a counter-cliché goes, is not dying. An irony: this is an elite sport that is no longer elite in terms of who is able to practice it, but in economic terms it’s clutching to a perverse and outmoded hierarchical structure. It’s more meritocratic than ever, now: which is to say it isn’t meritocratic at all. That’s a paradox in bad need of a resolution…”

~ Michael Pattison Manifestoes Film Criticism

“It’s easy to forget when you’re reading a critic every single week or multiple times a week, that most of us who do this job, and have been doing it for a long time, understand that this is basically a parasitic profession. I don’t mean in the sense that we’re evil bloodsucking creatures, but we couldn’t exist if we didn’t have something to analyze. And I’m always conscious of that. So whether I like or don’t like a particular thing you do, my point of view is always that of an appreciator. I just like to be in the world that you create.”
~ Matt Zoller Seitz To Sam Esmail

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