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

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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