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 »

“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