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 suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook