MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on Movies: How to Train Your Dragon, Hot Tub Time Machine, Chloe, and The Eclipse

How to Train Your Dragon (Three Stars) U.S.; Dean De Blois/Chris Sanders, 2010 The visual flash and dash that the new Dreamworks animated saga How to Train Your Dragon pours into its panoramic 3D scenes of ferocious Medieval battle and Viking sea quests — and especially this movie’s Avatar-like flying sequences, with

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Wilmington on Movies: Green Zone, Remember Me, She’s Out of My League, and Our Family Wedding

Green Zone (Three Stars) U.S.; Paul Greengrass, 2010 Green Zone is a sometimes hellishly exciting political war thriller about the

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Wilmington on Movies: Alice in Wonderland, Brooklyn’s Finest and Terribly Happy

Alice in Wonderland (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.; Tim Burton, 2010 Curiouser and curiouser. Tim Burton has made another of his goofy-giddy visual marvels out of Lewis Carroll‘s oft-filmed classic Alice in Wonderland. And while

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Wilmington on DVDs: Ponyo, Where the Wild Things are, Beaches of Agnes, King Lear and more…

Ponyo (Also Blu-Ray) (Three and a Half Stars) Japan-U.S.; Hayao Miyazaki, 2009 (Disney) Hayao Miyazaki‘s devotion to old-fashioned animation, in an age of computerized cartoon virtuosity of all sorts, gives his movies a charmingly personal, beguilingly hand-crafted feel

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Wilmington

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“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