MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on DVDs: The Red Menace; Jack Reacher; Gangster Squad

Is The Red Menace really “The Reefer Madness of anti-Communist movies? Or is that flattering it? Too earnest to be funny, too serious to be camp, too boring to be effective propaganda, this Herbert Yates-produced doozy from Republic (for which it stands) is probably one of the worst of the post-war anti-Commie thrillers, entertainment-wise. It isn’t even dumb enough be dumb fun, since writers Albert Demond and Gerald Geraghty know something about their subject. They have dialogue about Hegel, and a Red temptress has a bookcase full of tomes by Marx and Engels.

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Wilmington on Movies: To the Wonder

A strange, poetic, puzzling. stunningly visualized, and defiantly personal piece of spiritual autobiography on celluloid, an ambitious, pictorially stunning creation by an artist who makes movies as it the art form had just been invented, and he was free to do anything, try anything, but also by a man who’s hip to cinema technology and aware of other arts and literature as well—and finally, by a man who sees the world (in his films) with something like the newly opened eyes of a child (as a gorgeous, enrapturing place) and comprehends it with a child’s relatively fresh, unspoiled heart and soul. All of these seemingly contradictory artists are Malick, who, like Walt Whitman (another naïve and sophisticated earthy giant of a poet) is large and contains multitudes and loves the way the sun pours down on leaves of grass.

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Wilmington on Movies: Oblivion

There aren‘t many movies around as beautiful to look at as the first part of Oblivion, and since pieces of that beauty survive into the more conventional slam-bang second part, it‘s worth a look — though I would definitely suggest that you see Oblivion not on a normal screen, but in IMAX. Kosinski displayed a strong visual imagination in the critically-bashed Tron LegacyBut this is his show — adapted from a story and graphic novel he wrote, to try to sell (successfully) this movie, and it’s clear he has more emotion invested in it.

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Wilmington on DVDs: My Son John; The Woman on Pier 13 (I Married a Communist); Promised Land.

My Son John; The Woman on Pier 13; Promised Land

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Kid with a Bike

The setting is, once again the industrial, largely working class city of Seraing in Belgium: the Dardenne Brothers’ home city and the location for most of their films since La Promesse.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Django Unchained

Waltz is a good guy this time, Django’s mentor, but there’s some high-grade screen villainy by Leonardo Di Caprio and Samuel L. Jackson, both of whom would have stolen the movie if Waltz didn’t already have it stuffed in his back pocket.

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Wilmington on Movies: 42

I would have been happy as a hot dog and a Coke in old Ebbets Field to follow the Jackie Robinson story—excuse me, the Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey story—as it unfolded in 1945-47 and as it’s told here.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Ruthless; Despicable Me; Battleship; Lawless

Who is Edgar G. Ulmer and what is he doing in any pantheon, or semi-pantheon of world classical filmmakers? It’s been a classic nagging anti-auteurist question ever since Andrew Sarris introduced him.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The African Queen; Casablanca

PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC The African Queen/ Casablanca (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars) U.S.: John Huston/ Michael Curtiz (Warner Bros.) Here, of course, are two of Humphrey Bogart’s best—and two of the most wonderful shows that American Movies in their celebrated Golden Age, ever concocted. If you don’t have these pictures in some format, or (worse) if you haven’t even seen them at all,…

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Wilmington on Movies: Evil Dead

In what I guess you can safely call the now-legendary original Evil Dead, there was a furious satiric energy that hurled you along and repeatedly zinged up the movie, which was, after all, a show begat by other movies, especially 1969‘s trail-blazing zombie nightmare Night of the Living Dead and 1974’s gruesome body-parts shocker The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

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Wilmington on Movies: Trance

Trance, a new erotic thriller from Danny Boyle, is a fast and fancy dance over a whirl of a dance floor of crime, suspense and sex.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Chronicle of a Summer (Chronique d’un Ete)

We watch those people from long ago, and the fact that, in the movie images, they’re still young (or still middle-aged) and that they have still (in the film) not yet met the problems and wars and tragedies and reversals that we know are coming, gives them a privileged position, an immortality conferred by hand-held camera. It’s a more casual immortality, not endowed with any of the painstaking ardor and expense routinely spent in preserving a movie superstar for the ages, or even of a cover girl for a shoot at Cannes. These are people talking about how they live and how to change it for the better, as we all did once, as we sometimes do now. Death is temporarily banished.

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Wilmington

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Carrie Mulligan on: Wilmington on DVDs: The Great Gatsby

isa50 on: Wilmington on DVDs: Gladiator; Hell's Half Acre; The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Rory on: Wilmington on Movies: Snow White and the Huntsman

Andrew Coyle on: Wilmington On Movies: Paterson

tamzap on: Wilmington on DVDs: The Magnificent Seven, Date Night, Little Women, Chicago and more …

rdecker5 on: Wilmington on DVDs: Ivan's Childhood

Ray Pride on: Wilmington on Movies: The Purge: Election Year

Quote Unquotesee all »

“When Bay keeps these absurd plot-gears spinning, he’s displaying his skill as a slick, professional entertainer. But then there are the images of motion—I hesitate to say, of things in motion, because it’s not clear how many things there are in the movie, instead of mere digital simulations of things. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that there’s a car chase through London, seen from the level of tires, that could have gone on for an hour, um, tirelessly. What matters is that the defenestrated Cade saves himself by leaping from drone to drone in midair like a frog skipping among lotus pads; that he and Vivian slide along the colossal, polished expanses of sharply tilting age-old fields of metal like luge Olympians. What matters is that, when this heroic duo find themselves thrust out into the void of inner space from a collapsing planet, it has a terrifyingly vast emptiness that Bay doesn’t dare hold for more than an instant lest he become the nightmare-master. What matters is that the enormous thing hurtling toward Earth is composed in a fanatical detail that would repay slow-motion viewing with near-geological patience. Bay has an authentic sense of the gigantic; beside the playful enormity of his Transformerized universe, the ostensibly heroic dimensions of Ridley Scott’s and Christopher Nolan’s massive visions seem like petulant vanities.”
~ Michael Bay Gives Richard Brody A Tingle

How do you see film evolving in this age of Netflix?

I thought the swing would be quicker and more violent. There have been two landmark moments in the history of French film. First in 1946, with the creation of the CNC under the aegis of Malraux. He saved French cinema by establishing the advance on receipts and support fund mechanisms. We’re all children of this political invention. Americans think that the State gives money to French films, but they’re wrong. Through this system, films fund themselves!

The other great turning point came by the hand of Jack Lang in the 1980s, after the creation of Canal+. While television was getting ready to become the nemesis of film, he created the decoder, and a specific broadcasting space between film and television, using new investments for film. That once again saved French film.

These political decisions are important. We’re once again facing big change. If our political masters don’t take control of the situation and new stakeholders like Netflix, Google and Amazon, we’re headed for disaster. We need to create obligations for Internet service providers. They can’t always be against film. They used to allow piracy, but now that they’ve become producers themselves, they’re starting to see things in a different light. This is a moment of transition, a strong political act needs to be put forward. And it can’t just be at national level, it has to happen at European level.

Filmmaker Cédric Klapisch