MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classic. Kiss Me Deadly

  “Kiss Me Deadly” (Four Stars) U.S.: Robert Aldrich, 1955 (Criterion Collection) Something went dark and sour and more than a little crazy in American culture in the post-World War 2 era. And more than a little of it comes bubbling up like hell-froth in Robert Aldrich‘s and A. I. Bezzerides’ hard-boiled, high-style masterpiece Kiss Me…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Sucker Punch, If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle

      Sucker Punch (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Zack Snyder, 2011  (Warner Bros.) Great visual effects. Lousy script. That seems to be a consensus on Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, even among some people who like it. And I guess I’d agree. Sort of. The movie is too incoherent and confusing to be…

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Wilmington on Movies: Transformers Dark of the Moon; Bad Teacher

  Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Three Stars) U.S.: Michael Bay, 2010 Mindless, soulless, heartless, mechanical, and shamelessly mercenary as it might be, director Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon — the latest in the often obnoxious movie series, starring Shia LaBeouf and a lot of Hasbro toys — is still one of the…

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Wilmington on Movies: Cars 2

 Cars 2 (Three and a Half Stars) U. S.: John Lasseter (co-director Brad Lewis), 2011 Cars 2 is another Pixar feature cartoon for kids, adults, old people and everyone in between — especially if they have a crush on post-‘50s car culture. I don’t, but I could feel the curious, obsessive auto-loving fever pouring out of…

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Rest. The Adjustment Bureau, Unknown, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Insignificance, The Long Riders, The Brass Legend

  The Adjustment Bureau (Also Blu-ray) (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: George Nolfi, 2011 (Universal) A rising young liberal congressman named David Norris (Matt Damon), running for the U.S. Senate and on a fast track to the White House, blows his chances when The New York Post publishes photos of his butt-bearing college high…

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Wilmington on DVD’s, Co-Picks of the Week: Classics. Zazie dans le Metro, Pale Flower.

CO-PICK: “Zazie dans le Metro” (Three and a Half Stars) France: Louis Malle, 1960 (Criterion) An impish little girl named Zazie, with pre-Beatle bangs, an unusually profane vocabulary and a seemingly endless sense of adventure, travels to Paris on the train with her mother (Odette Piquet). As soon as they hit Paris, her maman departs with…

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Wilmington on DVDs, Pick of the Week: Blu-ray. The Bridge on the River Kwai

The Bridge on the River Kwai (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Two Discs) (Four Stars) U.S./U.K.: David Lean, 1957 (Columbia/Sony) Moviemaker David Lean was a master of the epic (Lawrence of Arabia) and a master of the intimate (Brief Encounter), and his greatest films often straddle some strange, sublime borderland between the two. The Bridge on the River Kwai, based…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. The Eagle, The Concert

The Eagle (Three Stars) U.S.-U.K.: Kevin Macdonald, 2011 The Eagle is one of the more enjoyable adventure movies I‘ve seen recently. Set in the wilds of Old Britain in the second century , it’s an old-fashioned, well-crafted, eiting movie, adapted by director Kevin Macdonald and writer Jeremy Brock from Rosemary Sutcliff‘s famous young adult novel…

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Wilmington on Movies: Green Lantern

Here comes another shot at Green Lantern again, in a big new superhero movie from Warner Bros. and D.C., and he’s got that silly little green mask again. And it strikes me as a silly green movie even though Reynolds is not bad, and even though the movie was made by Martin Campbell, who directed two of the best non-Connery James Bond movies. (I won’t mention the writers.) And even though it’s got a great villain, Sarsgaard’s Hector, who steals the whole movie, from Reynolds, from Strong, from Rush, from everyone. I bet he’d have stolen it even if they made him wear a silly little green mask too.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Art of Getting By

  The Art of Getting By (Two Stars) U.S.: Gavin Wiesen, 2011 If you’ve ever been faced with a last minute must-do study cram for a class you’ve been skipping or ignoring, you have to be moved just a little by The Art of Getting By — a movie whose hero (hero?) George Zinavoy (Freddie…

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Wilmington on Movies: Le Quattro Volte, My Perestroika

Le Quattro Volte (Three and a Half Stars) Italy/Germany/Switzerland: Michelangelo Frammartino, 2010 Movies, more than any other art form, can precisely show and beautifully render the appearance and feel and flow of reality: the look of the world, the way time passes, the way humans and animals and other life forms act on our planet. (And…

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Wilmington on Movies: Mr. Popper’s Penguins

 Mr. Popper’s Penguins (Two Stars) U.S.: Mark Waters, 2011 Well anyway, it’s not the penguins’ fault. Six of them — six handsome, lively and seemingly fearless emperor penguins — have been cast in the title roles of the new Jim Carrey movie, Mr. Popper’s Penguins. There, they share a refrigerated sound stage with the rubbery-faced, rubbery-limbed,…

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Rest. Battle: Los Angeles, Red Riding Hood, Hall Pass, Monogamy, Such Good Friends, Captain Newman, M. D.

Battle: Los Angeles (Also Blu-ray/DVD/Digital combo) (One and a Half Stars) U. S.: Jonathan Liebesman, 2011 (Sony)  Seeing Battle: Los Angeles is like being forced to simultaneously watch, on big  TV screens covered with grit, War of the Worlds and Black Hawk Down being mashed to a pulp. Ear-splittingly loud and mind-numbingly violent, jam-packed with gung ho war…

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Wilmington on DVDs, Pick of the Week: Classic. Diabolique.

  PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC “Diabolique” (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars) France: Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1955 (Criterion Collection) The worst kind of fictional horror, the kind that seeps right into your psyche and stings to life your worst fears, sometimes springs from what seem to be the mundane routines of life: from the seeming world of…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Pick of the Week, New. Another Year.

 Another Year (Also Two-disc Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combo) (Four Stars) U.K.: Mike Leigh, 2010. (Sony Pictures Classics) Another Year, from Mike Leigh is  another look at the Britain he‘s chronicled so powerfully and memorably since his first feature, Bleak Moments in 1971. It’s a rich humane work about people and classes, friendship and anguish, marriage and loneliness:…

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Wilmington on DVD: The Rest. Just Go With It; The Company Men; Sanctum.

Just Go With It (Two Stars) U. S.: Dennis Dugan, 2011 (Columbia) Okay, here’s Adam Sandler again. He or somebody he knows saw Cactus Flower… Cactus Flower, you say? Yeah  —  the 1969 movie comedy, from Abe Burrows’ Broadway hit about a philandering dentist (Walter Matthau), the one where Matthau cons a pretty counter-culture gal…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Last Mountain

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Wilmington on Movies: Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer

  Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer (One and a Half Stars) U.S.: John Schultz, 2011 Hard to believe. But there really is a move called “Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer.”  And yes, it really is based on a popular kiddie book of the same title, about energetic third grader Judy and…

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Wilmington on Movies: Super 8

  Super 8 (Four Stars) U.S.: J. J. Abrams, 2011 Remember what it was like when you were 12? 14? Twelve, wishing you were fourteen? Remember how magical the world was then? And how magical the movies were: the ones that you really loved and remembered and were really affected by? For me, that was 1958 and…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. True Grit

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW. True Grit (Four Stars) U.S.: Ethan and Joel Coen, 2010 (Paramount)        The Western is one of the great America movie myths, and the Coen Brothers’ new version of Charles Portis’ novel, “True Grit” seems to me one of the great movie Westerns.  America movies and American literature should join hands…

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Wilmington

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas