MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on Movies: The Place Beyond the Pines

The Place Beyond the Pines. Nice title. Pretty good crime movie. Wish it had been better. Anyway…

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Wilmington on Movies: G. I. Joe: Retaliation

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Wilmington on DVDs: Ramrod, Killing Them Softly

Andre de Toth, a second-row master of the Western (Springfield Rifle), the war movie (Play Dirty), and the film noir (Pitfall, Crime Wave), directed this interesting example of the post-Stagecoach 1940s “adult Western.”

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Wilmington on Movies: Emperor

I’m in favor of making films like this one, but I’m not in favor of making them like this—floating along in a sea of romantic clichés, interrupted by pastiches of history.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Croods

It’s a millennium-old clash. Grug lies to cuddle up to a nice warm rock after an evening of watching cave drawings. But Eep believes there’s a great big wonderful non-Neanderthal world out there, and she doesn’t want to spend so much of her life huddling in the cave while the sun sets, and listening to Grug’s cautionary bed-time tales about how you should never not be afraid.

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Wilmington on Movies: Olympus Has Fallen

Olympus Has Fallen is a political thriller—about North Korean terrorists taking over the White House and holding the president hostage—that’s so dopey and wildly implausible and humorlesly absurd it almost leaves you feeling mugged.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Heaven’s Gate

It’s past time to resuscitate the reputation of Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate. Remember how they shot it down? It was known after its release (before its release too, actually) as Cimino’s Folly, Cimino’s Trainwreck, the out-of-control, over-expensive epic that all but bankrupted United Artists and made a laughingstock out of its Oscar-winning filmmaker.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

You read the words and they bathe you in smiles, echo in your imagination — as they probably did when J.R.R. Tolkien first conjured up, as a bedtime story, the land of Hobbits and Bag’s End and Middle-earth’s mountains and the dragons and elves and, of course, that precious ring, all in his great fantasy story, “The Hobbit, or There and Back Again”the saga with which he enraptured his home audience as he began to weave it, all those decades ago, back in the 1930s.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Ministry of Fear; It’s In the Bag!;Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness

l   MINISTRY OF FEAR (Three Stars)  U.S.: Fritz Lang, 1944 (Criterion Collection) Graham Greene called them “entertainments.” That was the slightly ironic moniker he gave to those of his novels in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s (usually spy or crime thrillers) that were written with a more populist eye and intended less seriously than the…

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Wilmington on Movies: Spring Breakers

I may have had some problems with Franco‘s Oz. (Millions didn‘t), But his Alien, a guy with metal teeth who calls his bed an art piece and plays piano and AK47s, is so damned good—a triumph of charismatic dopiness and rebel posturing—that it single-handedly hauls the movie up a star or two. But who needs stars? Who needs critics?

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Wilmington on Movies: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

They may call Steve Carell ” The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” the title character in his new movie, but he‘s really part of a team, like Dean Martin or Jerry Lewis. Carell and Steve Buscemi play a pair of fancy pants superstar Las Vegas magicians in this mostly misfiring comedy—roles that should have been slices of cake for both of them, but wind up looking and playing like Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis leftovers.

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Wilmington on DVD: The Blob; Hitchcock; Rise of the Guardians

Back in 1960, about 40 minutes into Alfred Hitchcock’s new movie Psycho, co-star Janet Leigh flushed the toilet, took off her towel and stepped into the shower in Room Number One of the Bates Motel—and the movies changed forever.

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Wilmington On Movies: Oz The Great And Powerful

You clutter up the landscape with Munchkins and Winkies and more flying monkeys and colors vaguely reminiscent of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds turned into a video game.

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Police; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2; Red Dawn; The Lincoln Lawyer

    POLICE (Three and a Half Stars) France:  Maurice Pialat, 1985 (Olive) i Louis Magnin is a brash tough French cop, or flic — played by the brash, tough, earthy  and likably thuggish French movie superstar Gerard Depardieu. Simon is a somewhat slimy-looking Tunisian-French drug trafficker, played by Jonathan Leina. For about ten minutes, in just…

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Wilmington on Movies: Jack the Giant Slayer

The movie’s budget does give us a hellishly exciting, physically sumptuous movie spectacle. But it doesn’t give us a hero and heroine who are interesting, at least here, for any other reasons than their extraordinary good looks and the fact that they were hired as the leads for a movie that cost $190 million.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Holy Motors; Chasing Mavericks

    HOLY MOTORS (Three and a Half Stars) France: Leos Carax, 2012 (Indomina) Holy Motors is a film of shadows and false faces, of traveling players. of humans and machines, of mirrors  and makeup.  Behind this bizarre picture  — a  quitessentially French, perverse and quite entertaining new film by longtime “bad boy” Leos Carax…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Macbeth

William Shakespeare, like many another astonishing genius, including the young Orson Welles, was universal in his gifts. He could break your heart, make you laugh, make you think, and chill you to the absolute, desolate bone — never more so than in his terrifying masterpiece “Macbeth.“

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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