MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on DVDs: Pick of the Week, New. Biutiful

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Biutiful (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars) Spain: Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, 2011 (Roadside Attractions) In Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu’s sad and moving film Biutiful, Javier Bardem gives an extraordinary performance as a dying man named Uxbal: a small time Barcelona hustler working a variety of scams and shady deals to support his two young…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on Movies: Meek’s Cutoff

  Meek’s Cutoff (Three and a Half Stars) U. S.: Kelly Reichardt, 2011 Meek’s Cutoff, like the Coen Brothers’ True Grit, is an art film Western for a contemporary audience, and an unusually good one — made by a director and writer (Kelly Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond), who show a real feeling for what it…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on Movies: Kung Fu Panda 2

  Kung Fu Panda 2 (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Jennifer Yuh Nelson, 2011  Kung Fu Panda 2 is a cute, likable movie, done with a lot of skill and A-level talent, and with all the visual virtuosity we expect by now from big-budget cartoon features — especially from sequels to gigantic hits, like…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on Movies: The Hangover Part II

     The Hangover, Part II (Two Stars) U.S.: Todd Phillips, 2011 I laughed a lot at 2009’s big comedy hit, The Hangover — that tense and raunchy tale of three longtime buddies at a wedding who wake up after a night of incredible but totally forgotten debauchery and have to try to figure out…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on DVD: The Rest. I Am Number Four, The Roommate, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, El Topo, Hurry Sundown, Grand Prix

I Am Number Four (One a Half Stars) U.S.: D. J. Caruso 2011 (Touchstone/DreamWorks) Sometimes, you look at a movie, and you know it’s going to give you a bad time. But what can you do? I Am Number Four is a super-glossy, not very good science fiction teen thriller, produced by Michael Bay and directed…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on DVD, Pick of the Week: Box Set. Silent Naruse

PICK OF THE WEEK: BOX SET Silent Naruse (Three Discs) (Three and a Half Stars) Japan: Mikio Naruse, 1931-34 (Criterion/Eclipse) He was a sad-looking man who’d had an unhappy love life, early feuds with his bosses, and little beyond his career to make him feel any joy or optimism about life. He’d been raised in…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on DVD, Picks of the Week: Kes, Gnomeo and Juliet

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Gnomeo and Juliet (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.-U.K.: Kelly Asbury, 2011 This movie seems to have a totally crazy idea — a musical animated feature riff on William Shakespeare‘s unbeatable Romeo and Juliet, with two sets of feuding lawn ornaments (mostly gnomes, but also a green plastic frog, and…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on Movies: Midnight in Paris

  Midnight in Paris (Four Stars) U. S./France: Woody Allen, 2011 Midnight in Paris is a funny valentine to the City of Light, a sweet, jazzy fairy tale about the wonders of Parisian art and artist cliques in the ‘20s — a time when you could actually (if you were connected enough) go to a…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on Movies: Louder Than a Bomb

Louder than a Bomb (Three and a Half Stars) U. S.: Greg Jacobs & Jon Siskel, 2011             Louder than a Bomb made me feel good about some of the kids of today, made me feel that they’re probably being maligned, at least in part, by most other America movies…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on Movies: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

The “Pirate“ series may be at its height of its production expertise here, it may look better than ever, and it may have recaptured some of the initial light, breezy touch. But, script wise, it’s clearly running out of planks to walk. Not enough to hurt the movie financially — but enough to justify at least some of the fussilade of amusing critical blasts the picture has generated. (Audiences will like the show better.)

Read the full article »

Wilmington on DVD, The Rest: The Mechanic, Blue Valentine, No Strings Attached, The Alien Movies

CURRENT AND RECENT DVD RELEASES The Mechanic (Two Stars) U.S.: Simon West, 2011 (Sony) Remember 1972? The great movie year of The Godfather, of Cabaret, of Deliverance, of Frenzy, and Junior Bonner, and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Fellini’s Roma, Cries and Whispers, Solaris, Ulzana‘s Raid, The King of Marvin Gardens, Avanti!, Sleuth, and…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on Movies: Thor

THOR By Mike Wilmington   Thor (Three Stars) U.S.: Kenneth Branagh, 2011   High on the endless spires and bridges of Asgard, plunged in a vast gloom in monumental, sinister “Viking Noir” decor, besieged by Frost Giants, and always in danger of tumbling into New Mexico, dwells the Odin family.   Ah, the Odins! There…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on Movies: Bridesmaids

  Bridesmaids (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: Paul Feig, 2011 Kristen Wiig is one funny lady, and Bridesmaids — in which she is both star and co-writer — is one funny movie.  That’s hardly news. “Bridesmaids” is one of the best reviewed, best liked Hollywood comedies of the year. By current consensus, it’s also…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on DVD, Picks of the Week: The Illusionist, Patton, Tracy & Hepburn: The Definitive Collection, Mon Oncle

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW The Illusionist (Four Stars) France: Sylvain Chomet, 2010 (Sony Classics) In this wonderful feature cartoon, master old-style French animator Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville) takes an unproduced Jacques Tati script about an aging magician (who looks and dresses just like Tati, with trench coat, hat, lanky frame and mildly distracted air),…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on Movies: The Princess of Montpensier

The Princess of Montpensier (Four Stars) France: Bertrand Tavernier, 2010 The Princess of Montpensier is a splendid French historical drama, a movie in the tradition of Jean Renoir, of Luchino Visconti, of Jean-Paul Rappeneau — and of course, in the best tradition of the filmmaker who made it, the usually first-rate, sometimes magnificent Bertrand Tavernier (Coup…

Read the full article »

At the TCM Classic Film Festival: From An American in Paris to Fantasia

The second edition of the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood…. It began and it ended in that most magical of all super-Hollywood movie palaces, Grauman‘s Chinese Theatre — with two great examples of the kind of things Hollywood does best: A classic Gene Kelly Hollywood Musical and a classic Walt Disney feature length cartoon: An…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on DVDs: The Dilemma, 12 Angry Men, Smiles of a Summer Night, The Green Hornet

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW The Dilemma (Three Stars) U.S.: Ron Howard, 2011 (Universal) Vince Vaughn and Kevin James make a nice couple in The Dilemma, a buddy-comedy-drama (or maybe a drama-buddy-comedy) in which they play a couple of Chicago pals-since-college and business partners. Vaughn is fast-talking huckster Ronny Valentine and James is slower-talking design…

Read the full article »

Wilmington

Quote Unquotesee all »

“On behalf of all nominees, we would like to express our unanimous and emphatic disapproval of the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the U.S. and in so many other countries, in parts of the population and, most unfortunately of all, among leading politicians.

“The fear generated by dividing us into genders, colors, religions and sexualities as a means to justify violence destroys the things that we depend on – not only as artists but as humans: the diversity of cultures, the chance to be enriched by something seemingly ‘foreign’ and the belief that human encounters can change us for the better. These divisive walls prevent people from experiencing something simple but fundamental: from discovering that we are all not so different.

“So we’ve asked ourselves: What can cinema do? Although we don`t want to overestimate the power of movies, we do believe that no other medium can offer such deep insight into other people’s circumstances and transform feelings of unfamiliarity into curiosity, empathy and compassion – even for those we have been told are our enemies.

“Regardless of who wins the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday, we refuse to think in terms of borders. We believe there is no best country, best gender, best religion or best color. We want this award to stand as a symbol of the unity between nations and the freedom of the arts.

“Human rights are not something you have to apply for. They simply exist – for everybody. For this reason, we dedicate this award to all the people, artists, journalists and activists who are working to foster unity and understanding, and who uphold freedom of expression and human dignity – values whose protection is now more important than ever. By dedicating the Oscar to them, we wish to express to them our deep respect and solidarity.”

Martin Zandvliet – Land of Mine (Denmark)
Hannes Holm – A Man Called Ove (Sweden )
Asghar Farhadi – The Salesman (Iran)
Maren Ade – Toni Erdmann (Germany)
Martin Butler, Bentley Dean – Tanna (Australia)

“I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures. I like to subscribe to Susan Sontag’s thought of no highs and lows. I think dismissing popular culture and popular films can be really dangerous because they may seem innocuous, but some are works of art and even when they’re not they can say so much about the culture that they’re reflecting. This also gets into the idea of canon. What is good and isn’t good? Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about that. Specifically, who writes these canons? Mainly, straight white guys — which basically rigs the system. So, if you have a knowledge of female filmmakers, queer filmmakers, African or Asian filmmakers, some people won’t give them the same culture capital. They’ll say, “Oh, that’s nice niche knowledge.” No, it’s not. You’re just seeing it through the prism of something white and male. Like Shonda Rhimes’ ‘Scandal.’ I love that show, but is it a guilty pleasure because it’s a soap on TV? No. I think it has incredible writing, incredible thought and characters, so we should take it seriously. That’s a long-winded answer to say, “Yes, I love Titanic.” I was 10 years old when it came out and my mom took me to see it three times. I was so obsessed with it. A big thanks to my mom who’ll never get those nine hours of her life back.”
~ Toronto Int’l Programmer and Critic Kiva Reardon