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

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