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

Johanna Lynch on: Wilmington on DVDs: The File on Thelma Jordon; Adua and her Friends; Bullet to the Head

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best new dvd releases on: Wilmington on Movies and DVDs: Beauty and the Beast. Movie: Truesdale/Wise. DVD: Cocteau/Clement.

Quote Unquotesee all »

Tsangari: With my next film, White Knuckles, it comes with a budget — it’s going to be a huge new world for me. As always when I enter into a new thing, don’t you wonder how it’s going to be and how much of yourself you are going to have to sacrifice? The ballet of all of this. I’m already imaging the choreography — not of the camera, but the choreography of actually bringing it to life. It is as fascinating as the shooting itself. I find the producing as exciting as the directing. The one informs the other. There is this producer-director hat that I constantly wear. I’ve been thinking about these early auteurs, like Howard Hawks and John Ford and Preston Sturges—all of these guys basically were hired by the studio, and I doubt they had final cut, and somehow they had films that now we can say they had their signatures.  There are different ways of being creative within the parameters and limitations of production. The only thing you cannot negotiate is stupidity.
Filmmaker: And unfortunately, there is an abundance of that in the world.
Tsangari: This is the only big risk: stupidity. Everything else is completely worked out in the end.
~ Chevalier‘s Rachel Athina Tsangari

“The middle-range movies that I was doing have largely either stopped being made, or they’ve moved to television, now that television is a go-to medium for directors who can’t get work in theatricals, because there are so few theatricals being made. But also with the new miniseries concept, you can tell a long story in detail without having to cram it all into 90 minutes. You don’t have to cut the characters and take out the secondary people. You can actually put them all on a big canvas. And it is a big canvas, because people have bigger screens now, so there’s no aesthetic difference between the way you shoot a movie and the way you shoot a TV show.

“Which is all for the good. But what’s happened in the interim is that theatrical movies being a spectacle business are now either giant blockbuster movies that run three hours—even superhero movies run three hours, they used to run like 58 minutes!—and the others, which are dysfunctional family independent movies or the slob comedy or the kiddie movie, and those are all low-budget. So the middle ground of movies that were about things, they’re just gone. Or else they’re on HBO. Like the Bryan Cranston LBJ movie, which years ago would’ve been made for theaters.

“You’ve got people like Paul Schrader and Walter Hill who can’t get their movies theatrically distributed because there’s no market for it. So they end up going to VOD, and VOD is a model from which no one makes any money, because most of the time, as soon as they get on the site, they’re pirated. So the whole model of the system right now is completely broken. And whether or not anybody’s going to try to fix, or if it even can be fixed, I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the same business that I got into in the ’70s.”
~ Joe Dante

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