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 »

Who are the critics speaking to?
Nobody seems able to answer the question of how you can make theatre criticism more appealing, more clickworthy. One answer is to be a goddamn flamethrower every week, be a bombthrower, to write scorched-earth reviews. Just be completely hedonistic and ego-driven in your criticism, become a master stylist, and treat everything in front of you onstage as fodder for your most delicious and vicious language. That’s one road. And people may enjoy your writing. The thing that’s sacrificed is any sense of a larger responsibility, and any aesthetic consistency. I don’t think anyone is following that model right now—just being a complete jerk.

Well, Rex Reed is still writing.
Ah. Well, you can also be a standard bearer, and insist that work doesn’t measure up to your high standards. But I think the art makes the standards. I’m not going to sit there and say, “This is the way you do Shakespeare.” I believe that every play establishes its own standards, and our job is to just evaluate it. But everybody’s looking for the formula for how to talk about culture so that people who don’t have any time to read want to read about it. Is there something beyond thumbs-up, thumbs-down criticism? I would hope there’s a way to talk about a theatre event in real time—meaning while it’s still going on—in a way that’s engaging, funny, witty, and evaluates the elements of the thing. But it’s like if you had a friend who was like, “Gee, are you working out? You look great. But that’s a terrible haircut.” Nobody wants that person around.
~ Time Out’s 17-Year Theatre Critic, David Cote, Upon His Exit

“Now I am awake to the world. I was asleep before. When they slaughtered Congress, we didn’t wake up. When they blamed terrorists and suspended the Constitution, we didn’t wake up either. They said it would be temporary. Nothing changes instantaneously. In a gradually heating bathtub you’d be boiled to death before you knew it.”
“The Handmaid’s Tale,” Bruce Miller