MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on Movies: It’s Complicated, The Lovely Bones, Nine, Police – Adjective, Did You Hear About the Morgans?

It’s Complicated (Three Stars) U.S.; Nancy Meyers, 2009 It’s Complicated tries to show that age cannot wither, nor custom stale, even in Santa Barbara, with Meryl Streep making croissants, Alec Baldwin undergoing fertility tests and some funny smoke in the air. The movie costars Streep as a happy baker who’s lived too long unmarried, Baldwin…

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Wilmington on DVDs: THE TEN BEST

Here are my choices for the ten best DVD and DVD box sets (plus a few runners-up) for 2009, last year of the first decade of the twenty-first century.

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Wilmington on Movies: Sherlock Holmes, Into Temptation

Sherlock Holmes (Three Stars) U.S.; Guy Ritchie, 2009 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fog-bound, spellbinding adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson were among the magical books of my childhood. The game’s afoot! “Elementary, my dear Watson.” The curious incident of the dog in the night-time. I even invented my own counterfeit Holmes and Watson…

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Wilmington on Movies: Avatar, Princess & the Frog, The Young Victoria

  Avatar (Four Stars) U.S.; James Cameron, 2009 Avatar, James Cameron’s planet-shaking, moon-rocking, eco-worshipping, dragon-riding new science fiction fantasy epic-and-a-half, may not be a perfect movie. But it’s sure as hell an incredible experience. It’s a genre-movie knockout, a cinematic mind-blast and a technological marvel whose feats of 3D motion-capture and CGI pyrotechnics, and the…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Inglourious Basterds, The Hangover, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 500 Days of Summer and more…

Inglourious Basterds (Three and a Half Stars) U. S.; Quentin Tarantino, 2009 (Universal) Quentin Tarantino shoots the works in Inglorious Basterds, a wild movie-movie-lover’s blend of WW2 action film pyrotechnics, subtitled art cinema romance, inside-movie allusions of every type and description, grand spaghetti-operatic Sergio Leone stylistics, and a brash Let’s-rewrite-World War 2-and make-it-a-De Palma flick…

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Wilmington on Movies: Invictus, Brothers, The Messenger

Invictus (Four Stars) U.S.; Clint Eastwood, 2009 I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul. Those are the stirring last words of William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus,” the British poem from which black political prisoner and Apartheid foe Nelson Mandela took heart during his 27 years in South African prisons…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Julie and Julia, The Hangover, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 500 Days of Summer and more…

Julie and Julia (Three Stars) U. S.; Nora Ephron, 2009 (Sony) In Julie and Julia, a perky and ambitious young Manhattan writer named Julie Powell, decides to cook all the recipes in Julia Child’s culinary bible “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in the space of a year — and write a blog about it,…

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Wilmington on Movies: Up in the Air, Everybody’s Fine and Old Dogs

Up in the Air (Three-and-a-Half Stars) U.S.; Jason Reitman, 2009 In Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air, which I rather liked, George Clooney plays a prime/perfecto Clooney role: Ryan Bingham, a nice-seeming, glamorous looking guy with a highly remunerated, very nasty job. Ryan is a severance expert, a corporate gun-for-hire, who flies around the country…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Terminator Salvation, Wizard of Oz, A Christmas Tale, Night at the Museum, Paper Heart, Flame and Citron and more…

Terminator Salvation (Also Director’s Cut and Blu-Ray) (Two Stars) U. S.; McG, 2009 (Warner) Terminator Salvation — a big, roaring, burn-down-the-planet sequel to the Terminator trilogy set in the future — tries to be a new super-apocalyptic nightmare worthy of its Terminating predecessors: a cine-techno-bloodbath where man battles machine, cyborg battles mini-copter, robot battles android,…

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Wilmington

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Yes, good movies sprout up, inevitably, in the cracks and seams between the tectonic plates on which all of these franchises stay balanced, and we are reassured of their hardiness. But we don’t see what we don’t see; we don’t see the effort, or the cost of the effort, or the movies of which we’re deprived because of the cost of the effort. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice may have come from a studio, but it still required a substantial chunk of outside financing, and at $35 million, it’s not even that expensive. No studio could find the $8.5 million it cost Dan Gilroy to make Nightcrawler. Birdman cost a mere $18 million and still had to scrape that together at the last minute. Imagine American movie culture for the last few years without Her or Foxcatcher or American Hustle or The Master or Zero Dark Thirty and it suddenly looks markedly more frail—and those movies exist only because of the fairy godmothership of independent producer Megan Ellison. The grace of billionaires is not a great business model on which to hang the hopes of an art form.”
~ Mark Harris On The State Of The Movies

How do you make a Top Ten list? For tax and organizational purposes, I keep a log of every movie I see (Title, year, director, exhibition format, and location the film was viewed in). Anything with an asterisk to the left of its title means it’s a 2014 release (or something I saw at a festival which is somehow in play for the year). If there’s a performance, or sequence, or line of dialogue, even, that strikes me in a certain way, I’ll make a note of it. So when year end consideration time (that is, the month and change out of the year where I feel valued) rolls around, it’s a little easier to go through and pull some contenders for categories. For 2014, I’m voting in three polls: Indiewire, SEFCA (my critics’ guild), and the Muriels. Since Indiewire was first, it required the most consternation. There were lots of films that I simply never had a chance to see, so I just went with my gut. SEFCA requires a lot of hemming and hawing and trying to be strategic, even though there’s none of the in-person skullduggery that I hear of from folk whose critics’ guild is all in the same city. The Muriels is the most fun to contribute to because it’s after the meat market phase of awards season. Also, because it’s at the beginning of next year, I’ll generally have been able to see everything I wanted to by then. I love making hierarchical lists, partially because they are so subjective and mercurial. Every critical proclamation is based on who you are at that moment and what experiences you’ve had up until that point. So they change, and that’s okay. It’s all a weird game of timing and emotional waveforms, and I’m sure a scientist could do an in-depth dissection of the process that leads to the discovery of shocking trends in collective evaluation. But I love the year end awards crush, because I feel somewhat respected and because I have a wild-and-wooly work schedule that has me bouncing around the city to screenings, or power viewing the screeners I get sent.
Jason Shawhan of Nashville Scene Answers CriticWire