MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on Movies: The Adventures of Tintin

    The Adventures of Tintin (Three Stars) U.S.: Steven Spielberg, 2011 The Adventures of Tintin — Steven Spielberg‘s second new film in release this season (the other was War Horse, and both of them came out last week) — shows us again to what extent he‘s still a kid at heart and maybe always will…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Pick of the Week: Classic. Tokyo Drifter

   Tokyo Drifter (Three and a Half Stars) Japan: Seijun Suzuki, 1966 (Criterion Collection) Off the wall and over the edge from its first scene to its last, Tokyo Drifter is one of the outrageous crime melodramas and outlandish neo-noirs made in the ‘60s for Nikkatsu Studio by super-cult Japanese director Seijun Suzuki. It’s a classic…

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Final Destination 5; A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy

Final Destination 5 (Also Blu-ray/DVD/ 3D/ UV Combo) (Two Stars) U.S.: Steven Quale, 2011 (Warner Bros.) In Final Destination 5, as in the other Final Destinations, blood is the money shot. The actors, or their characters, are expendable (again), and a guy named Bludworth, or his boss Destiny, is breaking up that old gang of mine…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Pick of the Week: New. Love Crime

  Love Crime (Three Stars) France: Alain Corneau, 2010 (MPI Home Video)   Movie murder mysteries can sometimes get too tricky and convoluted for their own good, and that’s pretty much what happens in Love Crime — a cool, nifty, well-constructed and very well-acted French film that would have been even better if it didn’t so hard to…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Pick of the Week: New. Brighton Rock (Joffe); Brighton Rock (Boulting)

Brighton Rock 2010 (Three Stars) U.K.: Rowan Joffe, 2010 (IFC) Brighton Rock 1947 (Three and a Half Stars) U.K.: John Boulting, 1947 (Amazon Instant Video)     Some books and some cities were born to be filmed.  Some men were born to kill. Graham Greene’s novel Brighton Rock is an example of the former: one of the greatest…

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Wilmington on Movies: War Horse

   War Horse (Four Stars) U.S.: Steven Spielberg, 2011   Steven Spielberg’s War Horse is the kind of open-hearted, expensively made, somewhat predictable movie that critic-cynics like to make fun of :  “a noble steed!“ sneered one of my wittier colleagues as we rode an elevator down after the screening. But I’ve got to confess…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classics. A Christmas Carol

        A Christmas Carol (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Two Discs) (Four Stars) U.K.: Brian Desmond Hurst, 1951 (VCI Entertainment)   Almost everyone’s favorite nominee for best of all the many film adaptations of Charles Dickens‘ Yuletide evergreen A Christmas Carol, is this 1951 cinematic gem, sometimes called Scrooge, sometimes called A Christmas Carol, directed by the  underrated…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Fincher)

A handful of critics and commentators have complained that Fincher and his screenwriter Zaillian, haven’t changed the story enough, this time around. But it should be obvious by now that most of the vast world audiences for these stories don‘t want them changed, and that number definitely includes most of the people who’ve already read the books or seen the Swedish movies. Hewing to the original as much as possible: That was super-producer David O. Selznick’s rule on adapting beloved bestsellers and classics to the screen — from “David Copperfield” to “Gone with the Wind” to “Rebecca.” And Selznick was usually proven right.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Box Set. Stieg Larsson’s Dragon Tattoo Trilogy (Millennium Trilogy)

Steig Larsson’s Dragon Tattoo Trilogy (A.K.A. “The Millennium Trilogy”) (Four Discs) (Three and a Half Stars) Also: Blu-ray, Extended Edition  Sweden: Niels Arden Oplev & Daniel Alfredson, 2009-2010 (Music Box) Noomi For all of you who want to catch up for the release this week of David Fincher’s American remake of Stieg Larsson’s  The Girl With the…

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Dolphin Tale, Warrior, Straw Dogs (Lurie), Colombiana

  Dolphin Tale (Blu-ray/DVD Combo with Digital Combo; also movie only) (Three Discs) (Three Stars) U.S.: Charles Martin Smith, 2011 (Warner Bros.) Winter, the dolphin star of Dolphin Tale — an inspirational if sometimes far-fetched animal movie surprisingly based on fact — is a truly inspirational figure in a sometimes inspirational and often entertaining movie. Caught and crippled in a…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Midnight in Paris (Four Stars)

Midnight in Paris (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars) U.S.-France; Woody Allen, 2011 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) Midnight in Paris (Four Stars) U. S./France: Woody Allen, 2011   Midnight in Paris is a funny valentine to the City of Light, a sweet, jazzy fairy tale about the wonders of Parisian art and artist cliques in the ‘20s…

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Wilmington on Movies. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

      Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol U.S.: Brad Bird, 2011   If you have even a little fear of heights — and I have a lot myself — there’s a scene in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, that should leave you, maybe literally, breathless. It’s the scene, already famous, where producer-star Tom Cruise, playing the Mission…

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Wilmington on Movies. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Two and a Half Stars)

                Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows (Two and a Half Stars) U.K.-U.S.: Guy Ritchie, 2011 There’s a level of sheer frantic busy-ness and glibly manufactured chaos in director Guy Ritchie’s and star Robert Downey, Jr. second Sherlock Holmes movie — Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows –that makes…

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Wilmington on Movies: Carnage (Three and a Half Stars)

    Carnage (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.-France: Roman Polanski, 2011 1. Last Exit to Brooklyn In Carnage, which was adopted by the French writer Yasmina Reza from her hit play “God of Carnage“ , director Roman Polanski once again demonstrates his mastery of the claustrophobia of anxiety (and vice versa) — even though…

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Rest. Kung Fu Panda 2; The Expendables; Buck

    Kung Fu Panda 2 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Two or Three Discs) (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Jennifer Yuh Nelson, 2011 (DreamWorks Animated)  Kung Fu Panda 2 is a cute, likable movie, done with a lot of skill and A-level talent, and with all the visual virtuosity we expect by now from big-budget cartoon…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. The Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Three Stars)

 The Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Three Stars) U.S.: Rupert Wyatt, 2011 (20th Century Fox) 1. The Rise  Rise of the Planet of the Apes, latest chapter in an old franchise, shows us a story we too easily forget, or maybe one that we never really knew… …How it all began, how an imprisoned, persecuted and…

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Wilmington on Movies: Young Adult (Two and a Half Stars)

       Young Adult (Two and a Half Stars) U. S.: Jason Reitman, 2011 High School haunts us. It’s the great mystery we try futilely to solve afterwards, the great romance that often never happened, the paradise we imagine we lost but might regain, the great redemption that we dupe ourselves into believing can be earned…

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Wilmington on Movies: New Year’s Eve (One and a Half Stars)

  New Year’s Eve (One and a Half Stars) U.S.: Garry Marshall, 2011   New Year’s Eve may be the punishment audiences get for making director Garry Marshall and writer Katherine Fugate’s Valentine‘s Day such a big movie hit last year. That schmaltzy, heart-up-your-sleeve, all-star show, you’ll remember, strung together a lot of clichéd romantic comedy…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Sitter

  The Sitter (One and a Half Stars) U.S.; David Gordon Green, 2011 Well, I’ve had it. After defending David Gordon Green for making Pineapple Express, a controversially violent stoner comedy that I think is well-acted, well-directed and funny, and after sparing some kind words for Green’s and buddy Danny McBride’s medieval four-letter-fest Your Highness,…

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Wilmington on Movies: In Darkness

    In Darkness (Four Stars) Poland: Agnieszka Holland, 2011 Sometimes we let the horrors of the past recede into a comforting mist of melancholy and remembrance and well-meaning cliché. We shouldn’t. History is always with us. Agnieszka Holland’s In Darkness, one of the best films of the year, is a drama of the Holocaust,…

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Wilmington

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Carrie Mulligan on: Wilmington on DVDs: The Great Gatsby

isa50 on: Wilmington on DVDs: Gladiator; Hell's Half Acre; The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Rory on: Wilmington on Movies: Snow White and the Huntsman

Andrew Coyle on: Wilmington On Movies: Paterson

tamzap on: Wilmington on DVDs: The Magnificent Seven, Date Night, Little Women, Chicago and more …

rdecker5 on: Wilmington on DVDs: Ivan's Childhood

Ray Pride on: Wilmington on Movies: The Purge: Election Year

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook