MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Friends With Benefits; 30 Minutes or Less; One Day; Island of Lost Souls

     “Friends with Benefits” (Two Stars) U. S.: Will Gluck, 2011 Falling in love is such great movie material that it’s a pity Hollywood screws it up so often, especially  these days. Friends with Benefits is  supposed to be smarter and funnier than the usual pseudo-romantic comedy of today, but it’s really ust another rommie-commie with more (and…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Blu-ray. Cave of Forgotten Dreams

      Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Also Two Disc Blu-ray/3D Blu-ray combo) (Four Stars) Germany/France: Werner Herzog, 2011 (MPI Home Video)   Perhaps 30,000 years ago, or less, in the age of the paleoliths, a man or woman, or a group of them, stood before the walls of the cave of Chauvet, in France,…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Sarah’s Key

      Sarah’s Key (Elle s’appelait Sarah) (Three Stars) France: Gilles Paquet-Brenner, 2010 (Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay) Sarah‘s Key (Elle s’appelait Sarah) is a movie about public and private tragedies, based on the novel by Tatiana de Rosnay and filmed with much fidelity and feeling by director-screenwriter Gilles Paquet-Brenner. It’s a good movie, with one…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Artist

        The Artist (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.-France: Michel Hazanavicius The Artist, a movie about the Golden Age of Hollywood, is a superb silent film in black and white by the French writer-director Michel Hazanavicius. It’s an utterly wonderful show: a gloriously anachronistic little film with actors who don’t talk and pictures that…

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Wilmington on Movies: My Week with Marilyn

    My Week With Marilyn (Three Stars) U.K.: Simon Curtis, 2011 Marilyn Monroe: She was a dream of sex and the ultimate blonde fantasy. She was a smart girl who got rich and famous playing dumb. She was an innocent who played with fire and whose angel-wings burst into flame. And she was a…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Descendants

  The Descendants (Four Stars) U.S.: Alexander Payne, 2011  Good things often take a while. But should they? It took director-writer Alexander Payne seven years to make a new film  after his Oscar-winning/box-office/critical triumph with Sideways in 2004.  Considering how good Sideways was, and how much it was liked, that’s a long time. (Too long)….

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Wilmington on Movies: The Muppets

  The Muppets (Three Stars) U.S.: James Bobin, 2011 It’s good to have them back. Jim Henson’s Muppets — among the most delightful puppets and most engaging fuzzy-furry fictional beasties to ever pop out of a TV or movie screen — haven’t been around much in recent years. Oh, once in a while we’ve seen them: a…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Box Sets: Georges Melies, The Wizard of Cinema (1896-1913); Melies Encores

  This week, happily on my birthday, November 23, a truly wonderful film is opening: Hugo, Martin Scorsese’s amazing and beautiful fiction feature about an inventive  boy named Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) who lives in a spectacular Parisian railroad station (Modeled on the Gare Montparnasse), and the bearded, embittered shopkeeper he meets there, a man who…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classic. 12 Angry Men (Lumet); Twelve Angry Men (Schaffner)

  DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC 12 Angry Men (Two Discs) (Four Stars) U.S.; Sidney Lumet, 1957 (Criterion) The court will rise…   12. Twelve men, jurors in a ’50s murder trial, gather together in the sweltering heat of a New York City afternoon, in a box-like jury room where the fans give little…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Super 8

    Super 8 (Four Stars) U.S.: J. J. Abrams, 2011, Paramount 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…

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Wilmington on Movies: Happy Feet Two

      Happy Feet Two (Three Stars) U.S.: George Miller, 2011   I’ve got to admit: The first ten minutes or so of Happy Feet Two had me worried — even though I was quite partial to the first 2006 installment of the original, George Miller’s 2006 tale of a tap-dancing penguin named Mumble…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part One

  The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part One (Two Stars) U.S.: Bill Condon, 2011 You would have thought that the eagerly awaited marriage of Bella Swan (as played by Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (as played by Robert Pattinson) of the Twilight movie saga would solve that series’ ongoing sex and repression issues.  But…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classics. The Phantom Carriage, The Outlaw and His Wife, A Man There Was, Ingeborg Holm

The Phantom Carriage (Four Stars) Sweden: Victor Sjostrom, 1921 (Criterion Collection)   I. The Swedes Victor Sjostrom, a Viking of a 20th century Swedish artist, a great actor-director with sad, somber eyes, infallible instincts and a granite chin, is best known for his masterful performance, at 78, as the dying, memory-tormented professor Isak Borg in Ingmar…

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Larry Crowne, Bellflower, The Trip, Despair, Phaedra

              “Larry Crowne” (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Tom Hanks, 2011 In Larry Crowne — a romantic comedy with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts that should have been a timely, funny show, but isn’t — Hanks plays the title character, an up-from-working-class managerial guy suddenly cut adrift from his life, and forced to…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Picks of the Week: Blu-ray. Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides; The Big Lebowski

 Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides (Blu & DVD Combos) (Three Stars) U.S.: Rob Marshall, 2011 (Disney) Johnny Depp isn’t acting at full pressure in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides — the fourth in the lucrative comedy pirate adventure movie series inspired by the great Disneyland theme park ride. But then, how…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. The Rolling Stones Some Girls Live in Texas — 1978

The Rolling Stones: Some Girls Live in Texas  1978 (Also Blu-ray and DVD/CD Combo) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S. (Eagle Rock Entertainment) 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…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Melancholia.

What can you say about a film which begins and ends with the end of the world — and imagines that end in the most extravagantly arty 19th century way, with a musical lament from Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” Prelude, falling birds and images of star Kirsten Dunst (who plays the movie’s depressive heroine Justine, von Trier’s emotional stand-in) floats by in the water like Millais’ Ophelia, while images of apocalypse resound like Wagnerian chords, or the prelude of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, restaged for some lunatic Festival of Armageddon? It better be beautiful — or von Trier will look like a fool. It better be striking; it better be memorable. It is.

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Wilmington on Movies: J. Edgar

 J. J. Edgar (Also 2 or 3 Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: Clint Eastwood, 2011 (Warner Bros.) J. Edgar isn’t the movie I expected, but I liked it. Clint Eastwood’s noirish, moody bio-drama on the repressed life and powerful career of the FBI’s longtime founder-director, J. Edgar Hoover, with Leonardo DiCaprio…

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Wilmington on Movies. Jack and Jill

In comedy, shamelessness is sometime a virtue, sometimes a vice — and Adam Sandler hits both those keys in Jack and Jill. It’s his drag comedy movie. Sandler plays identical male and female twins, Jack and Jill Sadelstein, who live on opposite coasts (and, in many ways, in different worlds), but are getting together for Thanksgiving, with a possibility, as it turns out, of a stay through Hanukah and beyond. They have, to put it mildly, a complicated relationship. It’s a complicated movie too — funnier than most recent Sandlers, but also sometimes violently obnoxious.

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Wilmington on Movies: Red Desert

  Red Desert (Four Stars) Italy; Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964       Red Desert — Michelangelo Antonioni’s first feature in color, and a landmark of ‘60s Italian cinema — is a hypnotic portrait of a neurotic woman, Guiliana (played by the director’s then muse/lover, Monica Vitti), whose psyche begins to disintegrate in the bleak terrain of the…

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Wilmington

Johanna Lynch on: Wilmington on DVDs: The File on Thelma Jordon; Adua and her Friends; Bullet to the Head

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best new dvd releases on: Wilmington on Movies and DVDs: Beauty and the Beast. Movie: Truesdale/Wise. DVD: Cocteau/Clement.

Quote Unquotesee all »

Tsangari: With my next film, White Knuckles, it comes with a budget — it’s going to be a huge new world for me. As always when I enter into a new thing, don’t you wonder how it’s going to be and how much of yourself you are going to have to sacrifice? The ballet of all of this. I’m already imaging the choreography — not of the camera, but the choreography of actually bringing it to life. It is as fascinating as the shooting itself. I find the producing as exciting as the directing. The one informs the other. There is this producer-director hat that I constantly wear. I’ve been thinking about these early auteurs, like Howard Hawks and John Ford and Preston Sturges—all of these guys basically were hired by the studio, and I doubt they had final cut, and somehow they had films that now we can say they had their signatures.  There are different ways of being creative within the parameters and limitations of production. The only thing you cannot negotiate is stupidity.
Filmmaker: And unfortunately, there is an abundance of that in the world.
Tsangari: This is the only big risk: stupidity. Everything else is completely worked out in the end.
~ Chevalier‘s Rachel Athina Tsangari

“The middle-range movies that I was doing have largely either stopped being made, or they’ve moved to television, now that television is a go-to medium for directors who can’t get work in theatricals, because there are so few theatricals being made. But also with the new miniseries concept, you can tell a long story in detail without having to cram it all into 90 minutes. You don’t have to cut the characters and take out the secondary people. You can actually put them all on a big canvas. And it is a big canvas, because people have bigger screens now, so there’s no aesthetic difference between the way you shoot a movie and the way you shoot a TV show.

“Which is all for the good. But what’s happened in the interim is that theatrical movies being a spectacle business are now either giant blockbuster movies that run three hours—even superhero movies run three hours, they used to run like 58 minutes!—and the others, which are dysfunctional family independent movies or the slob comedy or the kiddie movie, and those are all low-budget. So the middle ground of movies that were about things, they’re just gone. Or else they’re on HBO. Like the Bryan Cranston LBJ movie, which years ago would’ve been made for theaters.

“You’ve got people like Paul Schrader and Walter Hill who can’t get their movies theatrically distributed because there’s no market for it. So they end up going to VOD, and VOD is a model from which no one makes any money, because most of the time, as soon as they get on the site, they’re pirated. So the whole model of the system right now is completely broken. And whether or not anybody’s going to try to fix, or if it even can be fixed, I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the same business that I got into in the ’70s.”
~ Joe Dante

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