MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on Movies: Man on a Ledge

Man on a Ledge has that slick, self-satisfied gleam movies can get when they cost too much and they’re stuffed with formula and clichés and stars, and nobody can do anything about it. It also has a plot so preposterous, motivations so inane, and an ending so bonkers that the only possible way to play them may be for laughs, if the show were good at comedy.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Grey

At its best, The Grey reminds you of such classics as Boorman’s and Dickey’s Deliverance, or Lev Kuleshov‘s London-derived Russian silent Outside the Law, or even a flawed but exciting show like Lee Tamahori’s and David Mamet’s The Edge, The Grey makes the wilderness a terrifying place. And it works, sometimes smashingly.

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Real Steel, Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008), Welcome to L.A.

PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC
Identification of a Woman (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars)
Italy: Michelangelo Antonioni, 1982 (Criterion Collection)

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classic. Identification of a Woman

  PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC Identification of a Woman (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars) Italy: Michelangelo Antonioni, 1982 (Criterion Collection) 1. Identification of a Woman. Antonioni. Why? 2. Michelangelo Antonioni, maker of Identification of a Woman (1982), L’Avventura (1960) and Blowup (1966), one of the great international filmmakers  of the 20th century, is an exemplar of that era…

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Wilmington on Movies: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

          EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Stephen Daldry, 2012   I don’t want to come across as mean and heartless here, but, though there were parts of it I liked a lot,  the movie Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close affected me something like a persistent urchin…

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Wilmington on Movies. Red Tails

            RED TAILS (Three Stars) U. S.; Anthony Hemingway, 2012   There are two ways to look at Red Tails, producer George Lucas’s long-gestating  World War II movie about the storied all-black Air Force unit, The Tuskegee Airmen. You can see the show as a big spectacular action movie, with incredible…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Pick of the Week: New. The Ides of March

  Despite my low-to-moderate rating of The Ides Of March, I still believe it’s a movie that should be seen by all movie types. Which is why it’s a co-pick.   The Ides of March (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: George Clooney, 2011 (Sony Pictures)   Why in Hell did George Clooney make a movie…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Mysteries of Lisbon

    MYSTERIES OF LISBON (Four Stars)  Portugal: Raoul Ruiz, 2010-11 (Music Box Films) Take the book down from the shelf. Open the pages. Interesting title. “‘Mysteries of Lisbon”…    Raoul Ruiz’s mesmerizing movie Mysteries of Lisbon, which was adapted from Camilo Castelo Branco’s 19th century novel about psychological/romantic torment in the Portuguese upper classes,…

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Wilmington on Movies: Joyful Noise

        JOYFUL NOISE (Two Stars) U.S.: Todd Graff, 2012  Joyful Noise — in which squabbling small town Southern gospel divas Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton take their small town Georgia church choir to the improbable finals of the National Joyful Noise Competition in Los Angeles — is really two movies: one good, one bad.  …

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

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 3D (Four Stars) U.S.: Gary Truesdale, Kirk Wise, 1991-2012 BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (La Belle et la Bete) (Blu-ray) (Four Stars) France: Jean Cocteau/Rene Clement, 1946 (Criterion Collection) The new 3D version of the Disney Studio’s 1991 Beauty and the Beast — which is called by some the best animated feature of…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Iron Lady

      THE IRON LADY (Three Stars) U.K.-U.S.; Phyllida Lloyd, 2010 Love her or hate her — and there were plenty of strong feelings on both sides of the fence —Margaret Thatcher remains one of the most fascinating and influential Western world leaders of the 20th century, richly deserving of the classy dramatization she gets…

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Killer Elite, What’s Your Number?, Jane Eyre, The Adjustment Bureau

  Killer Elite (Two Stars) U.S.: Gary McKendry, 2011 (Universal) There are lots of reasons to get irritated with Killer Elite — a big-bucks, big-star, mucho-macho, heavy-duty actioner that throws up several hours of murkily photographed violence, preachy dialogue and byzantine plot twists, while wasting three good actors — Jason Statham, Clive Owen and, sadly…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Moneyball

     Moneyball (Also Two Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Four Stars) U. S.: Bennett Miller, 2011 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)  It’s not whether you win or lose. It’s how you read the spreadsheet.     For many Americans, baseball is a great American game, and a great American sports myth as well — and it’s also, at…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Devil Inside

      The Devil Inside (One Star) U.S.: William Brent Bell, 2012 Just how bad can a movie be that grosses 34 million dollars on its first weekend? Pretty damned bad, as you’ll find out quickly if you dip into The Devil Inside — the latest entry in the found-footage horror or mocko-shockumetary sweepstakes that began…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Pick of the Week: Classic. The Four Feathers (Korda)

The Four Feathers (Three and a Half Stars) U.K.: Zolta Korda, 1939 (Criterion Collection) Four adventure-loving upper class British soldiers — best friends who are about to leave for the 1896-98 colonial wars in Sudan — symbolically exchange four white feathers, plucked from  the plume of the beautiful Ethne (June Duprez), daughter of the harrumphing and…

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark; I Don’t Know How She Does It; Devil’s Angels

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (Three Stars) U.S.: Troy Nixey, 2011 (Sony Pictures Home Entertaiment)    What’s that noise over there? What’s that knocking in the walls? Those ashes stirring in the fireplace? Ah, it’s nothing, it’s nothing. Don’t worry. Even though you’re all alone and I know you’re anxious…that there may be something…wrong….

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Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Pick of the Week: New. Mildred Pierce (Haynes), Mildred Pierce (Curtiz)

  Mildred Pierce (Also DVD/Blu-ray Collector’s Edition) (Two Discs) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: Todd Haynes, 2011 (HBO Home Video) Mildred Pierce (Four Stars) U.S.: Michael Curtiz, 1945 (Warner Bros.) If you’re a hard core movie lover, and you haven’t already sampled the curious and perverse (and sometimes classic) delights of HBO’s Tv mini-series adapted…

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

Contagion (Blu-ray/DVD Combo, with UV Digital Copy) (Also Movie Only) (Two Discs) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: Steven Soderbergh, 2011 (Warner Home Video)   Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion begins with a cough in the dark — something mundane, and ordinary, if irritating, that soon grows into something else: an explosion of fear, death, lawlessness and hysteria….

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Wilmington on Movies: We Bought a Zoo

  We Bought a Zoo (Also Blu-ray) (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Cameron Crowe, 2011 (20th Century Fox)   1. Once Upon a Time, There were all these animals…   In Cameron Crowe’s new movie We Bought a Zoo, Matt Damon — using every bit of nice guy vibes at his disposal — plays…

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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