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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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“We don’t defy the laws of physics: There are no flying men or cars in this movie. So it made sense to do it old-school: real vehicles and real human beings in the desert. We shot the movie more or less in continuity, because the cars and the characters get really banged up along the way. The biggest benefit of digital technology for me was that the cameras were smaller and much more agile, so you could put them anywhere. We also spent a huge amount of time on spatial awareness—making sure the viewer could follow the action and understand what was happening. There has to be a strong causal connection from one shot to the next, just the same way that in music, there has to be a connection from one note to the next. Otherwise it’s just noise. Too often, if you just cram a lot of stuff into the frame, you get the illusion of a fast pace. But there’s no coherence. It doesn’t flow. It comes off as headbanging music, and it can be exhausting. We storyboarded the movie before we had a script: We had 3,500 boards, which helps the cast and crew understand how everything is going to fit together. Movies are getting faster and faster. The Road Warrior had 1,200 cuts. This one has 2,700 cuts. You have to treat it like a symphony.”
~ George Miller

“I was having issues with my script for It’s All About Love, so I called Ingmar Bergman and we ended up talking about everything but the script. He said, “Well, Festen is a masterpiece, so what are you going to do now?” At that point, I had not decided if I was going to make It’s All About Love, so I answered, “Hmmm, I don’t know. Maybe this, maybe that.” There was just a long pause, and then he said, “You’re fucked.” I said, “Well, how can you know?” “Well, Thomas, you always have to decide your next movie before the movie you’re doing presently opens.” And I said, “Why is that?” “Well, two things can happen. One thing is that you fail, and then you’ll feel scared and humiliated. It’ll get into your head. Second, and even worse, you have success, and then you’ll want more of it, or you’ll want to maintain it. But if you decide on your next film while you’re in the middle of editing, it becomes a very nonchalant choice. And then it’s shorter from the heart to the hand.”
~ Thomas Vinterberg

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