The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on Movies: Hop

“I still hadn’t wised up when E.B. decamped to Hollywood, where he hooks up with Fred, and starts pooping jellybeans and trying to come up with so-called humor (lame zingers and amazingly laugh-challenged wisecracks), and where the movie definitively revealed its true agenda: bad jokes and L. A. clichés, mixed with elaborate animation, TV trendiness and loud, bright icky-poo cutes.”

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Wilmington on Movies: The Afterlight

“I liked the movie very much, and when some of its early festival admirers compared it to Michelangelo and Ingmar Bergman, they had some justification. The Afterlight is obviously made by filmmakers who know and admire Antonioni and Bergman, and who would probably be pleased by the comparison — and the images, scenes and emotions often suggest those two masters.”

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Wilmington on Movies: Sucker Punch, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, Monogamy

“Snyder has a very classy cast, but nevertheless, he dresses and photographs them most of the time like hookers and action-cuties, even in the thick of battle.”

“Let’s hope these kids stay happy and don’t start feuding, like Martin and Lewis.”

“This movie is too often reminiscent of other, much better films.”

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Wilmington on DVD: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Tourist, The Twilight Zone Season Two, The Clowns, Exit Throught the Gift Shop, Artists Under the Big Top: Perplexed.

Appropriately bracketed as a classic pick this week with Fellini’s I Clowns Alexander Kluge’s Artists at the Top of the Big Top: Perplexed is also a European art film about circuses and circus people. But this is a film in black-and-white, where the filmmakers would have answered the question Fellini dodged in The Clowns about symbolism, and then done something symbolic to illustrate the answer, and had an illustrated lecture on symbolism and the history of art, and the politics of circuses.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Lincoln Lawyer, Paul

“It’s a tough story, hard-nosed and audience-savvy: a neo-noir in settings both glamorous and salty, and a movie that gives you a tingling shot of L. A. style.”

“Suppose you were to rethink E. T. as a combination 70s road movie and Three Days of the Condor-style paranoid anti-C.I.A. thriller.”

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Wilmington on DVD: The Fighter, Hereafter, Last Tango in Paris, TCM Greatest Classic Legend John Ford Westerns

“Bale looks and acts something like a Dead End Kid on crack, an elongated mix of Huntz Hall and the younger Mean Streets De Niro, oscillating frantically between the goony and the near-tragically self-destructive.”

“What’s most impressive about Hereafter is, first of all, that Eastwood had the guts to do it.”

“The torrid memento of a time — post-Sexual Revolution, pre-herpes outbreak, pre-Aids plague — when quick anonymous sex between partners who barely knew each other.”

“He was John Ford. He made Westerns.”

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Wilmington on DVD: Inside Job, Senso, TCM Greatest Classic Legends: Jean Harlow & more…

“Inside Job is an essential movie. It shows, pretty conclusively I think, why documentaries are such an important cinematic and journalistic form these days. After you see this picture, you won’t be able to say you weren’t informed, won’t be able to see you weren‘t warned. You’ll know, if not the whole story, a big important part of it.”

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WILMINGTON ON DVD: 127 Hours, Bambi, Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy, Burlesque, Faster

“Watching Franco here, as he plunges himself into a part so taxing physically, psychologically and even spiritually, and does it so brilliantly, you tend to forgive him for that awful, howlingly embarrassing turn he gave as co-host at the last Oscar Show.”

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Wilmington on Movies: Battle: Los Angeles, Mars Needs Moms, Red Riding Hood, Certified Copy, Uncle Boonmee…

“I can’t say some audiences won’t enjoy this — some people will enjoy anything, including staring into the toilet, maybe waiting for little green men to pop up and start water-skiing.”

“Maybe if the villagers had gotten together, and somebody had shown Tex Avery‘s cartoon Red Hot Riding Hood in the town square.”

“Fogler, whom I had ignorantly sort of dismissed as a mini-Jack Black, has the stuff, totally. Gribble is a great job.”

“A jewel of that director‘s special brand of stylized cinema realism”

“As we watch, a world opens up. This is life, this is cinema.”

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WILMINGTON ON MOVIES: Rango, The Adjustment Bureau, Take Me Home Tonight

“Up until Rango, I can’t think of many great cartoon Westerns, other than the Czech puppet animator Jiri Trnka‘s little masterpiece Song of the Prairie (1949)”

“While this script is a perfectly nice, competent, good-hearted job, and I would probably be happy to vote for Nolfi for the U.S. Congress, this movie just doesn’t say Dick to me.”

“One problem about nostalgia for the ’80s. The ’80s sucked. The ‘80s blew. The ‘80s were horrible.”

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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