MCN Columnists
Gary Dretzka

Dretzka By Gary DretzkaDretzka@moviecitynews.com

The DVD Wrapup: Welcome to NYC, Falling Star, Elena, Riot Club, Runner, Citizenfour, Clive Barker, Walking Dead, Gene Autry … More

One thing DSK almost certainly won’t be able to live down is the damning portrayal of his behavior in Abel Ferrara’s caustic Welcome to New York. Although the character’s name has been changed simply to Devereaux, there’s no mistaking who Gérard Depardieu is channeling. The great French actor and onetime Oscar nominee has come under heavy criticism of late for renouncing his citizenship and cozying up to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Still, there’s no denying the sheer audacity of his performance here. DSK may never be mistaken for Arnold Schwarzenegger, another politician who couldn’t control his impulses, but even he must have been embarrassed by the sight of an actor who looks as if he’d been mainlining foie gras and guzzling Big Gulps to bring up his weight.

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The DVD Wrapup: 100-Year-Old Man, Strangerland, La Grande Bouffe, Troma’s War, Hackers, The Rebel, 17 and more

If Forrest Gump had an uncle living in Sweden, he might have provided the inspiration for novelist Jonas Jonasson and filmmaker Felix Herngren’s hilarious geezer comedy, The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. The similarities between the film’s protagonist, a half-wit pyromaniac named Allan and Tom Hanks’ most beloved character can hardly be disputed. That he also bears certain cursory resemblances to Leonard Zelig only adds to the fun.

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The DVD Wrapup: Chris Farley, Match, Treatment, Blues Cruise, Reminiscence, Soaked in Bleach, Police Story 6, Fury, Israeli Passion … More  

A more appropriate title for the sadly nostalgic bio-doc, I Am Chris Farley, might have been, “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Goofball,” as it precisely describes the rise and fall of an attention-starved child of the American Midwest. The Madison, Wisconsin, native somehow knew from an early age that being fat, reckless and funny opened doors closed to kids who merely were overweight and willing to make themselves the butt of other people’s jokes.

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The DVD Wrapup: Madame Bovary, Adult Beginners, Descendants, Salvation, Wyrmwood, Seashore, Snow Girl, Flamenco, Bilko … More

In Sophie Barthes’ lushly mounted Madame Bovary, 25-year-old Aussie Mia Wasikowska convincingly plays the disillusioned wife of a country doctor whose unmet expectations and boredom are sated by material pleasures they can’t afford. If there isn’t anything wrong with the approach taken by Barthes, its bourgeois trappings and rural splendor are all too familiar in a marketplace filled with period adaptations of classic novels, however tragic or sexy.

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Dretzka

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures. I like to subscribe to Susan Sontag’s thought of no highs and lows. I think dismissing popular culture and popular films can be really dangerous because they may seem innocuous, but some are works of art and even when they’re not they can say so much about the culture that they’re reflecting. This also gets into the idea of canon. What is good and isn’t good? Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about that. Specifically, who writes these canons? Mainly, straight white guys — which basically rigs the system. So, if you have a knowledge of female filmmakers, queer filmmakers, African or Asian filmmakers, some people won’t give them the same culture capital. They’ll say, “Oh, that’s nice niche knowledge.” No, it’s not. You’re just seeing it through the prism of something white and male. Like Shonda Rhimes’ ‘Scandal.’ I love that show, but is it a guilty pleasure because it’s a soap on TV? No. I think it has incredible writing, incredible thought and characters, so we should take it seriously. That’s a long-winded answer to say, “Yes, I love Titanic.” I was 10 years old when it came out and my mom took me to see it three times. I was so obsessed with it. A big thanks to my mom who’ll never get those nine hours of her life back.”
~ Toronto Int’l Programmer and Critic Kiva Reardon

“A lot of us felt blindsided,” Van Vliet told me. In the seventies, Van Vliet was drafted out of film school by Industrial Light & Magic, where he worked on The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Now 62 and semi-retired, he said, “Once you get into your fifties, you’re pretty disposable.” Van Vliet was in the middle of reviewing DVD screeners before casting his Oscar votes, a process he estimated would take a hundred and twenty hours. “The Academy is essentially asking us to give them three weeks of labor, and then they’re going to take our results, put them into a ceremony, and sell it,” he said, referring to the seventy-five million dollars that the organization earns from the television broadcast. “Then they’re turning around and kicking us in the teeth.”
~ “Shakeup At The Oscars”