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misc Archive for October, 2009

Review: Amelia

MCN Review: Amelia is an old-fashioned, over-romantic movie, but likably so.  It’s true that director Mira Nair and writers Ron Bass and Anna Hamilton Phelan don‘t spring many surprises here, while telling us the story of the famed trailblazing aviatrix Amelia Earhart — an iconic American figure of the ‘20s and ‘30s who vanished over the Pacific while on…

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Review: Where the Wild Things Are

MCN Review: Some children’s stories work primarily for children. Some please both children and adults. But some are mostly for adults — and I think that may be the case with Spike Jonze’s new movie from Maurice Sendak‘s famous 1963 picture book Where the Wild Things Are. Jonze film takes Sendak’s spare little book, which…

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Review: Law Abiding Citizen

MCN Review: For sheer lunatic improbability and bad ideas (and even bad punctuation), Law Abiding Citizen will be hard to top. Even its social message (Don’t make bad court deals, but kill Clyde before he kills Philadelphia) is foolish. Writer Wimmer and director F. Gary Gray (Friday and The Negotiator) seem to be intent primarily…

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The Power of Film … Anne Frank

July 22 1941. The girl next door is getting married. Anne Frank is leaning out of the window of her house in Amsterdam to get a good look at the bride and groom. It is the only time Anne Frank has ever been captured on film. At the time of her wedding, the bride lived…

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MCN Review: Whip It!

MCN Review:  Whip It! Is it perfection? No. But it is a warm, funny, kind, smart, loving movie that girls, grrrrrls, women, and womyn will really enjoy. It is entertainment with ambition. And how does one say, “no” to that? (it’s a rhetorical question… one doesn’t.)  More>>

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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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