MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on DVDs. Man on a Ledge; Kill Bill, Volumes One and Two; Run for Cover; The Lawless

Quentin Tarantino’s forte is probably his mastery of tough guy dialogue; in movies like Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction (and, courtesy of Elmore Leonard, in Jackie Brown), he reaches heights of wise guy film noir grandeur.

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Wilmington on DVDs: We Need to Talk About Kevin

Certainly Kevin is at his cutest when he finally listens to Eva, as she reads him the tale of Robin Hood, champion Saxon archer — and his father, whom Kevin plays like a bassoon, later buys him a bow and arrow, and he becomes a crackerjack archer, who can always hit his target.

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Wilmington on Movies: Men in Black III

A good sequel can increase our pleasure, sweeten our memories. “Men in Black III” is third in the series that started back in 1997 and has now produced one bad sequel (“Men in Black II”) and one good one (“Men in Black III”). Win a few, lose a few, as Agent K might say.

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Wilmington on Movies: Chernobyl Diaries

“Chernobyl Diaries” is an awful picture, but it has, I swear, a great setting and premise for a horror movie. It takes place in the abandoned city of Pripyat: grey, desolate, strange, the site of the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor Plant disaster — a meltdown that sent the populace fleeing from the immediate area, and closed down the plant for good. I repeat: great location — and part of this movie was reportedly even shot in the real place.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Red Tails; This Means War; Pony Express

  RED TAILS (Also Blu-ray) (Three Stars) U. S.: Anthony Hemingway, 2012 (2oth Century Fox)       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…

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Wilmington on DVDs: A Night to Remember

It‘s a masterly historical reconstruction — and despite its typically British, somewhat staid cinematics, an absolutely thrilling film. As gripping and excitingly visual as Cameron‘s movie may have been, this picture, even more, is the movie Titanic to remember.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Secret World of Arrietty

The everyday beauty and transcendent charm of The Secret World of Arrietty — the latest feature cartoon import from Japan’s master animator/writer/director Hayao Miyazaki ) — is a balm to the restless spirit, a tonic for the troubled heart.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Woman in Black

“The Woman in Black” is an old-style British horror movie with some new-style violence, a film that takes advantage of the new screen freedoms and technology, but that also employs, often pretty effectively, a lot of the familiar archetypes and tropes of British literary and movie horror, particularly the ones for the haunted house sub-genre.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Dictator

Of course the Marx Brothers were partial to non sequiturs too, and several crtics have compared this film to both Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, and the Marx Brothers’ “Duck Soup.” But in their greatest films, Groucho, Chico and Harpo made their comedy work through sheer brazenness, through adroit asides and clever playing to the audience. That kind of wacky genius isn’t really a Cohen forte.

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Wilmington on Movies: Battleship

Gallantly, Alex rushes out to get her said burrito, which he does by breaking into a nearby convenience store, tearing up the ceiling, stealing and (I presume) microwaving a chicken burrito and then resisting arrest, a feat of insane derring-do that so impresses the hottie, Samantha Shane (Decker) that she falls madly in love with Alex. Samantha, incidentally, turns out to be the daughter of Stone’s boss, Admiral Shane, the commander of the entire Pacific Fleet (played by Liam Neeson).

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Wilmington on Movies: What to Expect When You’re Expecting

The movie, which tries hard to leaven its sunny comedy and advice with a little darkness and realism, succeeds only in dredging up unwelcome memories (to me) of Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, and unpleasant thoughts of a possible “What to Expect When You’re Expecting: The Musical.” Is that likely? Is that conceivable? I’m afraid to ask.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Certified Copy, The Report

The story of “Certified Copy,” according to Godfrey Cheshire’s exemplary notes, comes from a tale of two people that director Kiarostami once told to Binoche in Tehran: a story he initially claimed was true, and had actually happened to him, but which he later confessed was a fabrication.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Devil Inside; My Perestroika; Who’s Minding the Store?; Who’s Got the Action?; The Spiders

Jerry Lewis, that’s who. Without Dean. And since this Frank Tashlin-written-and-directed farce — set in a department store that Jerry, as the well-meaning but accident-prone Norman Phiffler, systematically demolishes — dates from Lewis’ biggest commercial (and even artistic) period, the early ’60s, that means we’re going to see plenty of the man doing his thing: all-out slapstick, spazzy chaos and wild mugging.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Grey

Fitting that this movie is called The Grey, because grey it certainly is—cold, and bitter, and sunless, a suspense picture full of existential terror, untamed nature, overwhelming anxiety and relentless death, always a step or two behind. And wolves. And Liam Neeson.

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Wilmington on Movies: Dark Shadows

Most interestingly the filmmakers take a lead character, Barnabas C., whom I remember as something of an epicene icon, and they let Depp (who has said that he interprets many roles with a gay slant) make Barnabas so unabashedly heterosexual with his lady loves — Eva Green in Lara Parker’s old role of witch/bitch Angelique Bouchard and Bella Heathcote as both eternal 18th century love Josette Duprez and ’70s governess Victoria Winters — that they either die or kill for love of him.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Alambrista!

“Alambrista!”– a moving and perceptive cinematic tale of a Mexican illegal immigrant and his odyssey over the border — is a movie that almost defines American film realism in the ‘70s.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Mel Brooks Collection

It’s good to be the King… But sometimes, it‘s better to be the Kaminsky.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Haywire

Steven Soderbergh is smooth, and he’s never smoother than when he’s engaged in some big crime thriller — whether it’s one of the Oceans or something brainier and more realistic, like “Traffic.” I had mixed feelings about “Haywire,” though. I liked it okay, I guess. But I should have liked it more, since it’s the same type of rock-’em-sock-’em wish-fulfiller as “The Limey.”

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Wilmington on DVDs: Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie

TIM & ERIC’S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE (Also Blu-ray/DVD Combo, with Digital Copy) (One Half Star) U.S.: Tim Heidecker-Eric Wareheim, 2012 (Magnolia) I have just one thing to say about this sorry excuse for a movie — this nauseatingly taste-challenged, almost putrefyingly preposterous goulash of scatological gags, failed nonsense, barf jokes, poop jokes, piddle jokes, and…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The movie — based by director John Madden and screenwriter Ol Parker on Deborah Moogach‘s novel, “These Foolish Things“ — is a nice little comedy-drama, intelligently made and beautifully designed and shot. But the acting is what makes it special. That glittering cast of British senior stars are a magnificent seven.

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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