MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on DVDs: Ivan’s Childhood

We remember young Ivan’s face as we remember the faces of the two tragic friends in Shoeshine, of the street kids in Rome: Open City, of the little boy in Bicycle Thieves—of all art film children caught in the crucibles of war and social injustice.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Sessions

    THE SESSIONS (Also Blu-ray) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: Ben Lewin, 2012 (20th Century Fox) The Sessions is a movie about love and pain, sexuality and disability, poetry and confinement, the world inside and the world outside. Based partly on the article “On Seeing a Sex Surrogate” by Mark O’Brien, as well…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Seven Psychopaths

    PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS  (Also Blu-ray, Ultra Violet/Digital Copy) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: Martin McDonagh, 2012 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) 1.  Here’s to Sean O’Casey Psychopaths, and I say this from experience, are people who tend to do what they want, no matter what the cost to others….

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

  PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC  THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars) U. K.: Alfred Hitchcock, 1934 (Criterion) Peter Lorre. He had the face of a chubby little morphine addict (which he was), the lush lips of a child looking for a lollipop, a languorous voice seething with malicious amusement or fright,…

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Wilmington on Movies: Parker

Have you seen the great film neo-noir Point Blank, with Lee Marvin as a vengeful killer named Walker? That’s Parker. Have you seen—and there’s no reason you should—Mel Gibson in Payback, as a bad-mouthed, vengeful hard guy named Porter? That’s Parker too. (Stark, or Westlake, didn’t like his character’s name being over-used.)

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Wilmington on DVDs: For a Good Time, Call….

  FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL… (Two Disc Combo Pack: Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy/UV (One and a Half Stars)  U.S.: Jamie Travis, 2012 (Universal) For a Good Time, Call…was no good time for me. It’s a romantic comedy about two Manhattan roommates who collaborate on a phone sex service, and discover the joys of talking dirty for fun…

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Wilmington on DVDs: End of Watch

  END OF WATCH  (Also Two Disc Combo: Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy) (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: David Ayer, 2012 (Universal)                       End of Watch is an exciting Los Angeles buddy-cop movie, made with lots of energy and style. But it has one pretty big flaw:  Those damned cameras. The cameras are the recording devices that keep…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Searching for Sugar Man

    PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN (Four Stars) Sweden: Malik Bendjelloul, 2012 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) One of my favorite movies of the past year is a documentary by a new young Swedish filmmaker about a little-known (at least here) American musician of the ’70s. It‘s called Searching for Sugar…

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Wilmington on Movies: Mama

Mama is something of a throwback, and at times a stunning one. But at its best, this state-of-the-art modern ghost story—another scare saga from the Guillermo Del Toro factory—recalls those earlier, less bloody days of fear and (not necessarily) loathing, when horror films were made for adults, and when they could even strive to be a little subtle, and even literate.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Movies By John Ford

The 2008 nonpareil massive re-issue of John Ford‘s films for Twentieth Century Fox comes in several ways: In the huge 25-film Ford at Fox package, and in several smaller sets. Here is an essential one, if you‘re not getting the big box (and most people, of course, aren’t). It includes four supreme classics, a feature documentary on Ford, and an earlier version, by “Last Pioneer” Allan Dwan, of the saga of Wyatt Earp and the Clantons Ford told in My Darling Clementine.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Possession; The Dybbuk

    THE POSSESSION (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Ole Bornedal, 2012 (Lionsgate) We’re watching The Possession, another horror movie with religious overtones — or to put it another way, another knockoff of The Exorcist.   There’s this evil-looking box, see, with strange markings and Jewish symbols and little compartments with funny little keepsakes. And…

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Wilmington on DVDs: To Rome With Love

  PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW TO ROME WITH LOVE (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: Woody Allen, 2012   Woody Allen puts himself back on the screen in To Rome With Love — playing an old fool  — and I think the part has possibilities. Allen’s character, which he plays to addled perfection,  is…

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Wilmington on Movies: Gangster Squad

The story is simple — which is probably exactly what the police-vs.-Mickey Cohen wars were not. But even though everything in the movie is painfully predictable, everything is also painfully unmemorable.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Dredd

    DREDD (Also Blur-Ray) (Two Stars) U.S.: Pete Travis, 2012 (Lionsgate) I. Dredd Again Dredd 3D is a futuristic action/crime saga  about a gravelly-voiced, black-masked crime fighter named Judge Dredd. In a world with precious few rules and lots of crime and slow-motion, he’s the whole bleepin’ show. He’s the judge. He’s the jury. He’s…

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Wilmington on DVDs: People on Sunday

  PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC PEOPLE ON SUNDAY (Menschen am Sonntag) (Four Stars) Germany: Robert Siodmak & Edgar Ulmer, 1930 (Criterion Collection) I. FROM CALIGARI TO HITLER When you’re young and smart and talented, you can also be a little  cocky — brash beyond your years. You’ll make it some day, for sure.  There’s…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Frankenweenie: Samsara

   PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW FRANKENWEENIE  (Also Four Disc Blu-ray/3D/DVD/Digital Copy & Two Disc Blu-ray/DVD) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: Tim Burton, 2012 (Buena Vista) Two of the best things Tim Burton ever did were a couple of black and white cartoons he made for Disney back in the early ‘80s, when he was…

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Wilmington on Movies: The National Society of Film Critics Awards for 2012

Michael Haneke’s tragic and haunting French film Amour was named the Best Picture of 2012 by the 60-member National Society of Film Critics at their annual meeting in New York City—and that vote included my picks, on a proxy ballot. Haneke’s film, which also won the Palme d’Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, took two other awards: Best Director for Haneke and Best Actress to Emmanuelle Riva, for her heartbreaking portrayal of a dying musician.

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Wilmington on Movies: Promised Land

Matt Damon, who’s become a kind of classic American leftist movie star—a Hank Fonda of the new millennium—has gotten trashed by some right-wingers (and some moderates and left-wingers as well) for his new film Promised Land. But I think it’s pretty good—a Capraesque tale about a big natural gas corporation trying to get drilling rights to the gas deposits in a Pennsylvania farming town that’s fallen on hard times. Damon, who’s one of our best actors and doesn’t always get the credit he deserves (because, these days, he gets slammed for his politics), plays a smalltown Iowa guy who thinks he understands and relates to these smalltown Heartland people, and has a Messianic sense about his job.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Rosemary’s Baby

Rosemary’s Baby is shot with claustrophobic intensity and voluptuous eeriness by Polanski and his gifted cinematographer William Fraker (who also photographed Bullitt), is a great-looking, beautifully-acted, very scary show that probably affects you even if you don’t believe in the devil (as I don’t).

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Wilmington on Movies: Jack Reacher

In any case, violence begets box-office, or so Hollywood often seems to believe—and Jack Reacher is an almost ridiculously violent movie, so ridiculous that if writer-director Christopher McQuarrie had dreamed up better jokes, and more of them, he might have had one hell of a comedy.

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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