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MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on DVDs: The Master

    PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW THE MASTER (Also Blu-ray) (Two Discs)  (Four Stars) U.S.: Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012 (Starz/Anchor Bay)   No, I won’t call it a masterpiece — though it’s certainly a brilliant and beautiful movie, better than any other American film I saw last year. Better than Argo. Better than Lincoln. (Not by much,…

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Wilmington on Movies: Snitch

As for The Artist Formerly Known as The Rock, Johnson is unusually good here at projecting vulnerability and a good-guy likeability, qualities he didn’t necessarily need in his earlier action movies, but which were the only saving graces of comedy dreck like The Tooth Fairy—and which could now lead him to better roles.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Argo

Though based on fact, Argo plays like a mad combo of mixed genres: Spy Games espionage stuff, Wag the Dog government trickery, Close-Up Iranian street film and The Sting, an intricate con game, except that this time the picture puts the CIA in a favorable light, instead of tapping into the usual Three Days of the Condor Company nightmare.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Two-Lane Blacktop

All three of these existential car dudes (they’ve got no past, they’ve got no future, and what little there is of either was probably something made up by Warren Oates), get together for an outlaw car race — the Chevy against the GTO, for the pink slips. They head out from California through Santa Fe and up to Little Rock, to Tennessee and North Carolina — by which time the race and these people have changed a little — including the hitch-hiker, who comes in, grabs a ride and messes everybody up. She’s called The Girl (Laurie Bird) and she adds sex or potential sex to the equation.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Monsters, Inc. 3D; Sinister; Top Gun; Twilight’s Last Gleaming; Grand Hotel..

    Monsters, Inc. 3D  (Five Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition or Three Disc 3D/Blu-ray Combo) (Three Stars) U.S.; Pete Docter,  2001-2012 (Disney)   More good, funny, beautifully crafted, heartfelt stuff from Pixar, set in the scream-powered factory of Monstropolis among all the most horrible or brainy toy monsters — notably big, scary Sulley (John Goodman)…

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Wilmington on Movies: Safe Haven

Safe Haven, directed by that estimable Swedish-born filmmaker Lasse Hallström and produced by the author himself, is the eighth movie to be derived from a Nicholas Sparks novel, and like the others, including Message in a Bottle (where Kevin Costner found undying love), The Notebook (where Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams found undying love) it’s a romantic fantasy delivered with maximum efficiency and apparently just the right amounts of warmth, coolness, poignancy, picturesque scenery, sex appeal, niceness and (let’s face it), undying love.

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Wilmington on Movies: A Good Day to Die Hard

A Good Day to Die Hard is the fifth of the Bruce Willis Die Hard movies — and it’s obviously, irretrievably, die-hardishly one too many.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Skyfall

    PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW SKYFALL (Also Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy) (Two Discs) (Three and a Half Stars) U.K.-U.S.: Sam Mendes, 2012 (MGM) Skyfall may be a James Bond movie for both the masses and the cognoscenti, but it begins with something as old as The Perils of Pauline — a chase and a battle…

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Wilmington on Movies: Identity Thief

Up to that point, Identity Thief actually looks as if it might be a good movie, or at least a bad funny one. I was actually looking forward to it. (The more fool me.) But then, in a bewildering, mind-numbing plot twist that bewilders and mind-numbs me still…

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Wilmington on Movies: Side Effects

Mara has another role that, like her Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which paled next to the original by Noomi Rapace), may be a little too dark for her — though her Emily is enough of a cipher to let the story work.

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Chicago Film Critics Association Awards 2013

_   _ _______________________ cFor 20 years, since 1993, I’ve taken part in the voting, and sometimes the awards shows, for The Chicago Film Critics Association — and I’ll be there again for the 2013 Awards. The show, in the 1990s and  the years before I emigrated to Chicago from Los Angeles, used to be elaborate…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Flight

Flight is also a very entertaining movie, and its very mutability and changeability — the way it hops from genre to genre, mood to mood, from high action and high entertainment to high seriousness, is a large part of what makes it so compellingly enjoyable.

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Wilmington on Movies: Bullet to the Head

Stallone and Hill both came in at the end of the ‘70s, they both hit their commercial peaks in the ‘80s. But I don’t think a lot of their latter movies in that decade did them much good, however rich those shows might have made them. In Bullet to the Head which shouldn’t be confused with John Woo’s Hong Kong 1990 bone-crusher, or with the German movie Knife in the Head by Reinhard Hauff, or with “Bullet in the Schnozzola,” which I just made up), they’re both back to fantasizing.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Farewell, My Queen; Ten Best Movies, 2012

We know she is doomed. Much of the tension of the film comes from our own wonderment at when the Queen and the King and the court will realize it too. Instead they act, in the few days (July 14-17, 1789) that we and Sidonie watch them, as if only a temporary disturbance—a tempest in a pastry shop—were underway, not the end of the world.

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Wilmington

Quote Unquotesee all »

Aloha is the movie equivalent of a man in a donkey suit with a tree branch growing out of his forehead. I don’t know what the fuck this movie is. It feels like Cameron Crowe tried to make some Pynchonesque contemporary riff on Casablanca, then either or he or the studio chickened out halfway through and tried to turn it back into Jerry Maguire. But don’t confuse Aloha with hackwork. It’s more like a mad scientist had 10 beakers bubbling, and instead of unlocking cold fusion, he blew up his lab and melted an ear. I swear, this movie is like some bastard offspring of Casablanca, Inherent Vice, ‘Goosebumps,’ and ‘Baywatch Hawaii.’ My takeaway? Making movies is hard, yo.”
~ Vince Mancini

“We don’t defy the laws of physics: There are no flying men or cars in this movie. So it made sense to do it old-school: real vehicles and real human beings in the desert. We shot the movie more or less in continuity, because the cars and the characters get really banged up along the way. The biggest benefit of digital technology for me was that the cameras were smaller and much more agile, so you could put them anywhere. We also spent a huge amount of time on spatial awareness—making sure the viewer could follow the action and understand what was happening. There has to be a strong causal connection from one shot to the next, just the same way that in music, there has to be a connection from one note to the next. Otherwise it’s just noise. Too often, if you just cram a lot of stuff into the frame, you get the illusion of a fast pace. But there’s no coherence. It doesn’t flow. It comes off as headbanging music, and it can be exhausting. We storyboarded the movie before we had a script: We had 3,500 boards, which helps the cast and crew understand how everything is going to fit together. Movies are getting faster and faster. The Road Warrior had 1,200 cuts. This one has 2,700 cuts. You have to treat it like a symphony.”
~ George Miller

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