MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on Movies: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button plus reviews of Valkyrie, Bedtime Stories, and The Spirit

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Three-and-a-Half Stars) U. S.; David Fincher What a refreshingly “uncommercial” big-budget project! And what a surprisingly enjoyable movie.

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The Wrestler plus reviews of Seven Pounds, Yes Man, Frost/Nixon, Amarcord and Moscow, Belgium

The Wrestler (Three-and-a-Half Stars) U.S.; Darren Aronofsky So the French were crazy for liking Mickey Rourke, huh?

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Wilmington on Movies: Gran Torino plus reviews of Doubt, Nothing Like the Holidays, The Day the Earth Stood Still and Dark Streets

Gran Torino (Four Stars) U.S.; Clint Eastwood Clint Eastwood plays a Dirty Harry grown old in his latest movie Gran Torino. And he makes us feel lucky … to be watching him simmer and explode on screen again.

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Wilmington on Movies: Cadillac Records plus reviews of Nobel Son and Punisher: War Zone

Cadillac Records (Three Stars) U.S.; Darnell Martin The renaissance of the movie musical — at least since 2001 and Moulin Rouge! — has been one real cause for joy in the last several cinematic years, and Darnell Martin‘s Cadillac Records is another shining example. A rockin’ dandy one too.

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Wilmington

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“One of my favorite things in watching any performance on film is when there isn’t a lot of cutting going on and when you get a chance to become really absorbed in the artist in hand. The same way we do, hopefully, at a concert, when we get a chance to really trip in to something that’s happening on stage. Whether the singer’s singing, or one of the other musicians is playing, we sort of stay there instead of cutting round with our eyes a lot.”
~ Jonathan Demme

“We’ve talked about this before in the past, my obsession with the Shakespearean histories having the ideal combination of the sweet and the sour. In ‘Henry IV, Part II’ which we’ve discussed before, in the end of that story it’s very complex and haunting because Prince Hal becomes Henry the King, and he has transcended his hoodlum days and at the ceremony is Falstaff, his good friend with whom he has really fucked around and been a loser with, and Falstaff comes up to him and says, ‘Now that you’re king we can really party,’ and the king famously says, ‘I know thee not, old man.’ It becomes Henry IV’s anointment and Falstaff’s catastrophe. That’s life. I have experienced very little unfettered triumph. There are moments, such as when my children are born, but even that comes with new fears and anxieties. In a sense the better you can communicate that life is both at once, the more powerful over time something becomes. One strives for something where the threads are there because it lasts in way that is very palpable. The idea of a tragedy is powerful in literature and theater, but in cinema it doesn’t work, certainly not commercially, and less so critically. Why is that? I think it has to do with how movies are so close to us.”
~ James Gray