MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

WILMINGTON ON MOVIES: On the Bowery

“It is no exaggeration to say that Ray and Gorman, two amateurs with no film experience at all, give two of the most extraordinary and moving performances in the history of the American cinema.”

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WILMINGTON ON MOVIES: Hall Pass, I Am Number Four, Certifiably Jonathan, Poetry

“Anyway, when I say forgettable, I mean forgettable. I’ve actually forgotten the whole movie, and I had to struggle to write this synopsis.”

“Aren’t they a little ashamed of filming scripts like this, where the very best line of dialogue — by a crush — is ‘I am Number Six!’”

“Critics have not been too kind to it. Well, that’s their opinion.”

“The sorrows, pains and occasional beauties of old age have rarely been more movingly portrayed than they are here.”

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WILMINGTON ON DVD: Fish Tank, Sweet Smell of Success, Megamind, The Steig Larsson Trilogy, Due Date

Mike goes from the UK to New York to Sweden to Jeffrey Katzenberg & Will Ferrell’s brains to give you the 4-1-1 on this week’s DVD releases…

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Wilmington on Movies: Unknown, Just Go With It, The Woodmans

UNKNOWN (Two and a Half Stars)

“This is all part of a nightmare movie thriller — Hitchcockian, Polanskian — that starts well and later collapses into utter balderdash, a movie vaguely reminiscent of Polanski’s 1988 Harrison Ford-in-Paris suspense picture, Frantic (in which Ford lost his wife), of the classic, fact-based 1950 British period thriller So Long at the Fair (in which Jean Simmons lost her brother), and of the great Alfred Hitchcock suspense comedy The Lady Vanishes (in which Margaret Lockwood lost Dame May Whitty‘s Miss Froy). The movie’s Dr. Harris, or whomever, has stumbled into an alternate movie life, full of skeptical witness, hired assassin thugs, bemused scientists, arrogant putzes like the false Dr. Harris, and people who just don’t know who the hell you are (or say they don’t).”

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WILMINGTON ON DVD

This Week: Unstoppable, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Thelma and Louise, TCM Greatest Classic Legends: Errol Flynn

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Wilmington on Movies: The Eagle, Gnomeo and Juliet

“That’s what the best of The Eagle gives us. As a twelve year old, I know I would have liked it, maybe loved it. And that twelve-year-old is still somewhere inside me as I watch it now, applauding and yearning for a swift horse, the wild frontier and the beautiful, stormy territory ahead.”

Gnomeo & Juliet – “I never thought I’d say it, but Michael Caine and Maggie Smith make pretty good lawn ornaments.”

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Wilmington on DVD: From Tillman to Amarcord

This week, Mike’s New Picks are The Tillman Story and Kore-eda’s Still Walking, the Classic Pick is Amarcord, the Blu-Ray pick is Broadcast News, the Box Set is Alien Anthology, and his Knock Of The Week is Paranormal Activity 2. Plus reviews of The Princess & The Frog, Life As We Know It, and You Again.

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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