MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on Movies: Puss in Boots

    Puss in Boots (Four Stars) U.S.: Chris Miller, 2011 This review is dedicated to my friend Pica. Another Shrek movie, or, more accurately, a series spin-off? Another super-spectacular feature cartoon? Another big studio lollapalooza, this time from DreamWorks? In 3D yet? Didn’t sound artistically promising, even when the receipts started pouring in. But…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Rum Diary

The Rum Diary (Three Stars) U.S.: Bruce Robinson, 2011   The movie The Rum Diary, which I liked, is based — loosely, but that’s all right — on the novel that Hunter S. Thompson wrote when he was 22, a young guy, before “Hell’s Angels,” before “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” before “The Great Shark…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Picks of the Week: Classic. Le Beau Serge, Les Cousins

Two by Claude Chabrol: Le Beau Serge, Les Cousins France: Claude Chabrol, 1958/1959 (Criterion Collection) Le Beau Serge (France: Claude Chabrol, 1958) (Four Stars) With Gerard Blain, Jean-Claude Brialy, Michele Meritz, Philippe De Broca, Jacques Rivette. (In French, with English subtitles.) Les Cousins (France: Claude Chabrol, 1959) (Four Stars) With Gerard Blain, Jean-Claude Brialy, Michele…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. City of Life and Death

  City of Life and Death (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars) China: Chuan Lu, 2009 (Kino International) I. The Rape of Nanking In December, 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army invaded Nanking (now “Nanjing“), the erstwhile capital city of beleaguered China. Hell followed them. For the next few weeks, that army went on one of the worst massacres,…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Blu-ray. Winnie the Pooh

“Winnie the Pooh” (Two disc Blu-ray/DVD; Also Three disc Blu-ray 3D/DVD/Digital) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall; 2011 (Walt Disney)   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…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers (Two Stars) U.S.: Paul W. S. Anderson, 2011 Tous pour un, un pour tous. Alexandre Dumas pere “The Three Musketeers” – Alexandre Dumas’ quintessential swashbuckling adventure tale of three crack swordsmen and lusty comrades (Athos, Porthos and Aramis) and the hothead/country bumpkin (D’Artganan) whom they befriend and help turn into a world-class,…

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Wilmington on DVDs, The Rest: Bad Teacher; Page One: Inside the New York Times

Bad Teacher (One and a Half Stars) U.S.: Jake Kasdan, 2011 (Columbia) Seen any good movies lately? Good movies? Not really. But I saw a bad movie last Wednesday. I mean, a really bad movie. This movie was  sooooo bad…. How bad was it?… So bad that they put “bad” in the actual title! Like they were…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life (Also Three Disc Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combo) (Four Stars) U.S.: Terrence Malick, 2011 (20th Century Fox) I. The Tree In The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick, an artist/perfectionist who never rushes a movie, dares the cinematic heavens again and, as far as I’m concerned, he wins the bet. The movie, still best American film…

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Wilmington on Movies. The Rolling Stones: Some Girls Live in Texas

  The Rolling Stones: Some Girls Live in Texas (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.-U.K.: 1978-2011          It was 1964, the summer after my senior year in high school, and the song blasting out of the juke box at the Arctic Circle, a frozen custard drive-in and major high school hang-out in Williams Bay,…

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Wilmington on The Chicago International Film Festival 2011: The Prize-Winners

Here’s my announcement story for the awards of the 47th annual Chicago International Film Festival — brainchild and passion of festival founder and longtime artistic director Michael Kutza, who started the show back in 1965 and has headed it up ever since. This year’s, many thought, was one of the best, and there were lots of…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Pick of the Week: New. The Princess of Montpensier

The Princess of Montpensier (Four Stars) France: Bertrand Tavernier, 2010  (MPI Home Video) The Princess of Montpensier is a splendid French historical drama, a movie in the tradition of  sumptuous, intelligent epic-makers like Jean Renoir, Luchino Visconti, or Jean-Paul Rappeneau – and of course, in the best tradition of the filmmaker who made it, the usually good,…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Green Lantern; Horrible Bosses; Zookeeper; Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer

Green Lantern (Two Stars) U.S.: Martin Campbell, 2011 (Warner Bros.) Maybe I’m just getting really, really tired of Superhero movies –  but I had trouble sitting through Green Lantern. A half an hour or so into the show, I started checking my watch, and soon I was checking it every few minutes or so– even though…

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Wilmington on Movies: Dream House

  Dream House (Two Stars) U.S.: Jim Sheridan, 2011  In Dream House, an almost mystifying misfire of a would-be classy, smart horror movie, Daniel Craig plays Will Atenton, a New York City publishing house editor who quits his job and moves out of the city — with his angelic wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and their two…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Ides of March

The Ides of March (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: George Clooney, 2011   Why in Great Caesar’s Ghost did George Clooney make a movie like The Ides of March now? That question kept needling me as I tried to enjoy this suave but dispiriting drama about a Democratic presidential primary gone rotten. I could never really…

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Scre4m (Scream 4)

    (Also 2 Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Three Stars) U.S.: Wes Craven, 2011 Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay. (Also Amazon Instant Video)   What’s your favorite scary movie? Excuse me? Who is this?   I said: What’s your favorite scary movie? Well, Psycho, of course. Though M and Vertigo and The Night of the Hunter and Nosferatu and…

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Wilmington on DVD. Pick of the Week: New. African Cats

(Four Stars) U.S.-U.K.: Alastair Fothergill & Keith Scholey, 2011 (Walt Disney/Buena Vista) African Cats, a wildlife documentary from Disneynature, shot in Kenya on the savanna –  with real lions and cheetahs as its main characters — strikes me as 2011′s best family movie so far. But why be limiting? Why ghettoize this film by calling it a…

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Wilmington on Movies: What’s Your Number?

  What’s Your Number? (One Star) U.S.: Mark Mylod, 2011 When an Anna Faris movie is so bad it makes you yearn for the good old days of Scary Movie 2, you know you’re in trouble. What’s Your Number?, a Faris rom-com of flabbergasting silliness and an awful smirking cheeriness that sets your teeth on…

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Wilmington on Movies: Weekend

  Weekend (Three Stars) U.K..: Andrew Haigh, 2011 Weekend, a sometimes remarkable low-budget British movie about a pickup in a Nottingham disco bar and its aftermath, starts out as a movie frankly about sex and one (or two) night stands, and winds up being closer to a classic love story. I haven’t mentioned that the…

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Wilmington

Quote Unquotesee all »

“By the time the sounds of the Von Trapp children warbling ‘Silent Night’ drift through The Giver, you may find yourself wondering what fresh movie hell this is. In truth, the enervating hash of dystopian dread, vague religiosity and commercial advertising-style uplift is nothing if not stale. Adapted from Lois Lowry’s book for young readers, the story involves an isolated society that, with its cubistic dwellings, mindless smiles, monochromatic environs and nebulous communitarianism, seem modeled on a Scandinavian country or an old Mentos commercial.”
~ Manohla Dargis’ Deadly Lede For Review Of The Giver

“It’s possible that in the coming days or, God forbid, weeks, the president could have something more specific to say about the freighted decades-long history of political imbalance at work, in this case between a mostly black working-class town and its majority white government and police force. But this is a black man who must choose his words about race, governance, and law enforcement even more carefully than a white politician would. And this is the third summer in which, as president, he would have to do so…

“Until this point in the turmoil, the absence of the crucial second face in the incident seemed to heighten the distance between police and the people they serve. It grants them both an anonymity and autonomy that matches the bizarre transformation, in Ferguson and elsewhere, of police into troops. The riot gear turns 2014 into a dot on a Jim Crow–era timeline. Since the officer’s name wasn’t made public more immediately, it should have seemed urgent for the police to lose the riot attire and take steps to minimize distrust, to dispel the contagious assumption that silence equates racism…

“What is so affecting isn’t just that 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed when he was barely a man. It’s other things as well. One was how many reports of the incident that first day mentioned that he was about to start college. That’s a rite that’s universally emotional. But for a black male from a poor family, the first day of college is a freighted day that usually requires the sacrifice of more than one person. Black people know the odds of getting to and graduating from college, and that they’re low. That Brown seemed to be on the right path compounded the parental, local, and national outrage over his being wiped from it.”

~ Wesley Morris On Let’s Be Cops, The Shooting In Ferguson, Obama…