MCN Weekend

The DVD Wrapup: Michelin Stars, Captain Marvel, Sower, Cielo, Frank in Palm Springs, Swing Time, Can’t Stop the Music, Entity, Blood … More

Although professional sports may have next to nothing to do with haute cuisine and fine dining experiences, the awarding of a Michelin Star to a world-class restaurant may be as significant as any trophy … OK, there’s the Oscars.

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The DVD Wrapup: Madea Funeral, Sharon Tate, Gloria Bell, Women at War, Guy, Farinelli, Screwball, The Kid, Andromeda Strain, Woody Guthrie, Jack Ryan, Sara Stein … More

No one has more at stake in the controversy over Georgia’s heartbeat abortion bill than multi-hyphenate mogul Tyler Perry and the businesses and individuals who count on him for income. It took a while, but Hollywood and cable producers have fallen in line behind calls for a boycott of the state, if the legislation is fully enacted. (Among other things, a woman who isn’t aware she’s pregnant could be put on trial for miscarrying the fetus.) In 2016, Perry spoke out against legislation, which, effectively, would allow businesses to discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community. The governor’s decision not to sign the law may have been influenced by Perry’s comments.

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The DVD Wrapup: Eleven, Genesis 2.0, Climax, Sweet Murder, Let Sunshine In, One Sings, Eugenie, JCVDx2, Boom!, Velvet … More

Someone had to be the last one to die and typically it was because of a mistake made by an overzealous officer or a soldier who wasn’t on the need-to-know list.

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The DVD Wrapup: Big Brother, Iceman, Upside, White Chamber, Trading Paint, Dark Place, Ruben Brandt, Lords of Chaos, Earthquake, Seduction, Les Miz … More

I can’t recall whether Chen has a degree or was trained as a teacher, but he’s committed to using unconventional methods to reach the dead-enders.

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The DVD Wrapup: Cold Pursuit, Valentine, Bosch, Nina, Shape of Now, Big Clock, Yakuza Law, Donna Reed, Unforgotten, Moses, Korea … More

The grieving father tips over the first domino, by killing a few small-time dealers, who, before they die, give up the names of their suppliers. At the top of the ladders are “Viking” and White Bull, who suspect each other of ordering the hits.

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The DVD Wrapup: What Men Want, Blaze, Banjos, Bauhaus, Scientology, Lily Chou-Chou, Glass, Grand Duel, George Carlin, Agatha Raison … More

The daughter of a boxer (Richard Roundtree), who named her after a great champion, Ali expects to be handed the promotion that goes to a white agent, whose head is stuck up the ass of their boss (Brian Bosworth).

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The DVD Wrapup: Jackie Chan, Dragged Across Concrete, Miyazaki, Khrustalyov, Tarantula!, Bigger, Wire in Blood, Finding Joy

Police Story was a huge hit in Asian markets, where audiences were more attuned to Chan’s trademark blend of action, comedy and sentimentality. It took another decade, at least, for American critics to recognize the genius it took to create such monumental set pieces as the opening chase, which ended with the destruction of a hillside shantytown.

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The DVD Wrapup: Diamonds of the Night, School of Life, Red Room, Witch/Hagazussa, Tito & the Birds, Keoma, Andre’s Gospel, Noir

In a risky leap of narrative faith, he avoids attaching labels to the characters. Instead of describing ‘Diamonds of the Night’ as a World War II or Holocaust film, he wants audiences to see it as a survival story that explores the human condition under extreme conditions.

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The DVD Wrapup: Bumblebee, Ginsburg, Buster, Silent Voice, Nazi Junkies, Prisoner, Golden Vampires, Highway Rat, Terra Formars, No Alternative … More

The studio decided to downscale the size of the sixth installment, by reducing the budget drastically, bringing in fresh behind-the-camera talent , keeping the running time under 120 minutes for the first time in 12 years, putting the focus on fewer characters and de-emphasizing the brand in the publicity material. It would promote the presence of a formidable teenage heroine, alongside the already popular Bumblebee and formidable Decepticon enemy, and add a malleable American warrior.

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The DVD Wrapup: Capernaum, Perfect Blue, Cameron Post, Tyrel, Ailes, Body Snatcher, Sam J. Jones, Sonny Chiba, Phantom Lady, Victoria’s Wedding … More

In Capernaum, Zain is a victim of a nearly universal legal system that allows unsuitable parents to retain control of their children. Here, Zain helps support the family by hauling goods to costumers in the street market. It’s more than his old man contributes.

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The DVD Wrapup: Mary Returns, Becoming Astrid, Quake, Holiday, Vengeance, Out of Love, HoneyGlue, Born in East L.A., Greasy Strangler, Mystery Road … More

At 130 minutes, I doubt that most younger viewers possess the stamina to stay with Mary Poppins Returns until the uplifting ending, which transcends the darkness by adding some pixie dust.

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The DVD Wrapup: Ritual, She Wolf, Over the Top, Dark River, Man’s Best Friend, Mr & Mrs Adelman, Mad Dog & Glory, A.I. Rising, Deadly Mantis, Watch Over Me … More

The chief selling point is spelled out on the jacket: “Inspired by the philosophy of, and featuring an appearance by the father of ‘psychomagic,’ Alejandro Jodorowsky.” The marketing team might just as easily summoned the memory of Luis Bunuel.

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The DVD Wrapup: Instant Family, Burning, Clovehitch Killer, Vanishing, Marquise, Kalifornia, Donna Haraway, Walking Dead … More

If everything that happens outside the group-therapy sessions plays out according to Hollywood standards, the interaction between the prospective parents and the social workers effectively serves as a counterbalance to the Wagners’ misery.

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The DVD Wrapup: Sleep With Anger, Ralph Wrecks Internet, Liz & Blue Bird, Hannah Grace, Unseen, Jupiter’s Moon, Legally Blonde, Willard, Bang … More

The PG-rated To Sleep With Anger features three of Burnett’s favorite themes: family, community and tradition. It is set in a middle-class section of South-Central L.A., before the Watts riots changed the outside world’s perception of the LAPD and the willingness of residents to stand up for their community.

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The DVD Wrap: Robin Hood, Overlord, Alexanderplatz, Rodrigo D., Happy Hour, Moko Jumbie, Last Race, Joseph H. Lewis, Backtrace, Backbeat … More

Not surprisingly, perhaps, the geniuses decided that a Robin Hood that borrowed liberally from the Wachowskis’ V for Vendetta (2005) and Baz Luhrmann and DiCaprio’s Romeo + Juliet (1996) could pump fresh blood into a character whose cinematic career began in… 1908.

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The DVD Wrapup: Shoplifters, Front Runner, Nobody’s Fool, Peppermint Soda, Haunted Hospital, Valentine, Possum, Mermaid, Guilty, Antonio Lopez, 4 Weddings … More

If Roma had been released a year earlier or later, Shoplifters might have hit the cinematic equivalent of a grand-slam homerun. It’s every bit that good.

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The DVD Wrapup: Spider’s Web, Maquia, Cloverfield, No Date, Free Lunch, Possessed, Road House 2, Dolphins, Poetic Justice, Human 3.0 … More  

In the only interview he ever gave about the series, Larsson said he based the character on how Pippi Longstocking might have turned out, as an adult. He also credited his rebellious teenage niece, Therese, for Salander’s goth look.

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The DVD Wrapup: Nutcracker, Always Room For Giallo, Mondo, Hunter Killer, Slice, Night Is Short, Suburbia, Masanjia and more

Disney decided that “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” had a better ring to it than “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” And, perhaps, that’s where the studio’s expectations for the holiday movie first hit a wall.

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The DVD Wrapup: Mikey & Nicky, Apparition, Widowed Witch, Dis, Spiral, Wandering Muse, Jack the Ripper, Howling 3, Eating Animals, Scoundrels, Waterworld … More

Cassavetes and Falk may fit the mold of small-time wise guys, but the characters’ likability factor decreases from the moment May ratchets up the dial on Nicky’s booze-fueled paranoia. It plummets even further during their visits to former wives and girlfriends, who act as if they expect to be slapped around, fucked and forsaken.

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The DVD Wrapup: Not A Witch, Jonathan, The Captain, Speed Kills, Room 304, Hippocrates, The Dark, Crimson Peak, Tea With Dames, Forbidden Photos, Addiction … More

I was reminded of Nǃxau while watching I Am Not a Witch, an offbeat dramedy by Rungano Nyoni. It depicts the ways women convicted of being witches in rural Zambia cope with ignorance, prejudice and forced labor.

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MCN Weekend

https://bestwatches.club/ on: The DVD Wrapup: Diamonds of the Night, School of Life, Red Room, Witch/Hagazussa, Tito & the Birds, Keoma, Andre’s Gospel, Noir

Gary Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Sleep With Anger, Ralph Wrecks Internet, Liz & Blue Bird, Hannah Grace, Unseen, Jupiter's Moon, Legally Blonde, Willard, Bang … More

Gary Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Bumblebee, Ginsburg, Buster, Silent Voice, Nazi Junkies, Prisoner, Golden Vampires, Highway Rat, Terra Formars, No Alternative … More

GDA on: The DVD Wrapup: Bumblebee, Ginsburg, Buster, Silent Voice, Nazi Junkies, Prisoner, Golden Vampires, Highway Rat, Terra Formars, No Alternative … More

Larry K on: The DVD Wrapup: Sleep With Anger, Ralph Wrecks Internet, Liz & Blue Bird, Hannah Grace, Unseen, Jupiter's Moon, Legally Blonde, Willard, Bang … More

Gary Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Shoplifters, Front Runner, Nobody’s Fool, Peppermint Soda, Haunted Hospital, Valentine, Possum, Mermaid, Guilty, Antonio Lopez, 4 Weddings … More

gwehan on: The DVD Wrapup: Shoplifters, Front Runner, Nobody’s Fool, Peppermint Soda, Haunted Hospital, Valentine, Possum, Mermaid, Guilty, Antonio Lopez, 4 Weddings … More

Gary J Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Peppermint, Wild Boys, Un Traductor, Await Instructions, Lizzie, Coby, Afghan Love Story, Elizabeth Harvest, Brutal, Holiday Horror, Sound & Fury … More

Gary J Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup & Gift Guide III: Venom 4K, The Super, Snowflake, Marie Curie, Gamechangers, Who We Are Now, 40 Guns, De Palma-De Niro,, Starman and more

aniban83 on: The DVD Wrapup & Gift Guide III: Venom 4K, The Super, Snowflake, Marie Curie, Gamechangers, Who We Are Now, 40 Guns, De Palma-De Niro,, Starman and more

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin