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

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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