MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on Movies: Cowboys & Aliens

“Cowboys & Aliens” (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Jon Favreau, 2011 Movie Westerns usually take place in a primitive land of the American past (somewhere in the 19th century) full of horses and trains and showdowns and an occasional cattle drive, where the men spend an inordinate amount of time in saloons, and sudden…

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Mao’s Last Dancer, Heartbeats, Sweeney Todd, Sleepy Hollow, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Crack in the World

   “Mao‘s Last Dancer“ (Blu-ray) (Three Stars) U. S.; Bruce Beresford, 2010 (20th Century Fox) Ballet, that grand art of music and the body married together, is a natural subject for the movies — a potential wonder, as The Red Shoes is there to prove again and again. Director Bruce Beresford‘s fact-based drama Mao’s Last…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classic. Leon Morin, Priest; The Double Life of Veronique

Leon Morin, Priest (Leon Morin, Pretre) (Four Stars) France; Jean-Pierre Melville, 1961 (Criterion)       Jean-Pierre Melville is mostly known these days as a French master of film noir, neo-noir and World War 2 Resistance dramas. But Leon Morin, Priest, which won a Venice Grand Prize in 1961, shows another side of Melville: the highly polished…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classic and Blu-ray. A Clockwork Orange

 “A Clockwork Orange” (Blu-ray) (Two discs) (Four Stars) U.S.-U.K.: Stanley Kubrick, 1971 (Warner Home Video) 1. When I was in college in the 1960s, Stanley Kubrick was one of my cinematic heroes. I thought  his movies were amazing: smart, funny, exciting, meaningful, beautifully crafted, brilliant, the best. I loved them. Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001:A Space Odyssey….

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Source Code

   (Four Stars) U.S.: Duncan Jones, 2011 (Summit Entertainment) “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana “Time is on my side.” – The Rolling Stones 1. We’re on a commuter train, racing toward Chicago. Something is wrong. It’s a nightmare. We’re also at the start of the first…

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Wilmington on Movies: Winnie the Pooh

  “Winnie the Pooh” (Three Stars) U.S.: Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall; 2011 Here is Edward Bear coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin… A. A. Milne He was one of the boon companions of my childhood: Winnie-the-Pooh or Edward Bear or Winnie-ther-Pooh, as he was variously called…

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Wilmington on Movies: Friends with Benefits

  “Friends with Benefits” (Two and a Half Stars) U. S.: Will Gluck, 2011 Falling in love is such great movie material that it’s a pity Hollywood these days gets it right (or funny) so rarely. Friends with Benefits is a movie that’s supposed to be smarter and funnier than the usual pseudo-romantic comedy (or…

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Wilmington on Movies: Captain America: The First Avenger

  “Captain America: The First Avenger” (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Joe Johnston, 2011 I don’t mean to be a grouch, but Captain America — stalwart crime and monster-buster of  the  new Marvel epic Captain America: The First Avenger — struck me as one of the duller superheroes I’ve seen recently. That’s despite one of…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Blu-ray. The Horse Soldiers

  PICK OF THE WEEK: BLU-RAY “The Horse Soldiers” (Blu-ray) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: John Ford, 1959 (MGM/20th Century Fox) John Ford, America’s greatest director of Western movies — and maybe our greatest director, period — was also an aficionado of Civil War history. Yet Ford’s actual films about the Civil War and its…

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MW on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classics. Some Like It Hot, Naked.

 “Some Like It Hot” (Blu-ray) (Four Stars) U.S.: Billy Wilder, 1959 (MGM/20th Century Fox) The place is Chicago. Windy City. Downtown. The color: a film noirish black and white. The caliber: 45. The proof: 90. The time: 1929, The Capone Era and the Roaring Twenties — roaring their loudest.  We’re watching Some Like It Hot,…

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest. Take Me Home Tonight, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Amelie, Skidoo

Take Me Home Tonight (Also Blu-ray) (Two Discs) (Two Stars) U.S.; Michael Dowse, 2011 (20th Century Fox) Hyphenates of the world, arise! Topher Grace has just executive produced a movie, directed by Michael Dowse (FUBAR) from a story Topher Grace co-wrote, in which Topher Grace plays Matt Franklin, a 1984 L. A. underachiever who works…

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WILMINGTON ON DVDs: Co-Picks of the Week: New. Potiche, Limitless

  CO-PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW   Potiche (Three Stars) France, Francois Ozon, 2010 (Music Box) A few words about Potiche: Catherine Deneuve is still beautiful at 67. Gerard Depardieu, still tremendous at 62, has grown as immense as Brando (in girth as well as talent.) Both still hold the screen casually and with real…

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Wilmington on Movies: Project Nim

  “Project Nim” (Four Stars) U.S.-U.K.: James Marsh, 2011 I. Let’s Play. – Nim He was a gnarled, hairy old chimpanzee, who spent most of his time in a large cage with two chimp companions and an occasional human visitor or keeper. He moved slowly and a bit painfully and he had a strange, sad,…

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Wilmington on Movies: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two” (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.; David Yates, 2010 Part I. All fine things must come to an end, and so finally has the Harry Potter series: the books first of all, and now the movies, climaxing at last in a final explosion, a last spell, that…

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Rest. Arthur, The Lincoln Lawyer, Promised Lands, Vera Cruz.

Arthur (One and a Half Stars) U.S.: Jason Winer, 2011 Rarely has the time seemed less right for a movie than it does for the Russell Brand remake of Arthur — that 1981 comedy semi-classic starring Dudley Moore in his career peak, as the drunken Manhattan heir to millions.  The Moore Arthur was a fancy swiller…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Box Set. The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy.

“The Lord of the Rings Trilogy” (Four Stars) U.S.-New Zealand: Peter Jackson, 2001-2003 (New Line).  Picks of the Week may come and go, but here is my choice as Pick of the Decade. My selection, for all of the 2000s: Peter Jackson’s staggering adaptation of author J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy,…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classic. Araya

        Araya (Four Stars) Venezuela/France: Margot Benacerraf, 1959 (Milestone Film & Video) Art can be exhilarating, life can be disappointing. The uncommonly beautiful Venezuelan movie, Araya — a big critical success and major award winner at the Cannes Film Festival in 1959 — has been neglected in America for most of the…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Rango; Uncle Boonmee, Who Can Recall his Past Lives.

CO-PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Rango (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: Gore Verbinski, 2011 Rango is a fast, funny, gorgeous-looking cartoon feature by director Gore Verbinski that sends up movie westerns as they’ve rarely been sent up. In this puppet-ish spoof — in which Johnny Depp plays (or voices) a gabby chameleon masquerading as…

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Wilmington on Movies: Horrible Bosses

 Horrible Bosses (Two Stars) U.S.: Seth Gordon, 2011 There’s an ugly rumor going around that Horrible Bosses is a funny, clever movie. But if that’s true, I must have wandered into the wrong Multiplex theatre and seen some other horrible movie by mistake. Maybe it’s just me. One person‘s laugh riot can be another person’s snore….

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Wilmington on Movies: Zookeeper

  Zookeeper (Two Stars) U.S.: Frank Coraci, 2011 Zookeeper is a Kevin James comedy of almost stupefying dopiness; a movie that, at its worst, makes you feel (to succumb for a moment to Zookeeper’s own vice of ludicrous exaggeration), as if you were sinking slowly, slowly into a huge steaming vat of vanilla pudding, while…

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Wilmington

Quote Unquotesee all »

“The city to me is the only possible vehicle we have to measure human achievement. We’re an urban species now. If you look at Karachi or Mexico City or Hong Kong or London or New York or Yonkers or Baltimore or any of these other places, the pastoral is now a part of human history. We’re either going to figure out how to live together in these increasingly crowded, increasingly multi-cultural population centers or we’re not. We’re either going to get great at this or we’re going to fail as a species.”
~ David Simon

“I wondered how different it would be to write a novel and it’s totally different. It’s very internal. The weird thing about it is that I found that novel-writing was much more like directing than it is like screenwriting. You’re casting it, you’re lighting it, you’re doing the costumes, you’re doing the locations, you’re doing it all yourself as a director would. In screenwriting, you don’t do that stuff. You don’t describe the face of the actor or the character when you’re writing a screenplay because Tom Cruise is going to do it and he doesn’t look like that, whereas in the novel to describe what he is is what he is. The actual act of writing, just like shooting on a set, is a slow slog. It’s going to work every day.”
~ David Cronenberg On Screenplay vs. Novel