MCN Originals Archive for December, 2009

Wilmington on Movies: It’s Complicated, The Lovely Bones, Nine, Police – Adjective, Did You Hear About the Morgans?

It’s Complicated (Three Stars) U.S.; Nancy Meyers, 2009 It’s Complicated tries to show that age cannot wither, nor custom stale, even in Santa Barbara, with Meryl Streep making croissants, Alec Baldwin undergoing fertility tests and some funny smoke in the air. The movie costars Streep as a happy baker who’s lived too long unmarried, Baldwin…

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Wilmington on DVDs: THE TEN BEST

Here are my choices for the ten best DVD and DVD box sets (plus a few runners-up) for 2009, last year of the first decade of the twenty-first century.

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Stefan Nadelman’s video for “I Say Fever,” by Ramona Falls

Nadelman won a 2003 Sundance prize for his 22-minute Terminal Bar. This is a wow. [Via

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Wilmington on Movies: Sherlock Holmes, Into Temptation

Sherlock Holmes (Three Stars) U.S.; Guy Ritchie, 2009 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fog-bound, spellbinding adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson were among the magical books of my childhood. The game’s afoot! “Elementary, my dear Watson.” The curious incident of the dog in the night-time. I even invented my own counterfeit Holmes and Watson…

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Wilmington on Movies: Avatar, Princess & the Frog, The Young Victoria

  Avatar (Four Stars) U.S.; James Cameron, 2009 Avatar, James Cameron’s planet-shaking, moon-rocking, eco-worshipping, dragon-riding new science fiction fantasy epic-and-a-half, may not be a perfect movie. But it’s sure as hell an incredible experience. It’s a genre-movie knockout, a cinematic mind-blast and a technological marvel whose feats of 3D motion-capture and CGI pyrotechnics, and the…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Inglourious Basterds, The Hangover, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 500 Days of Summer and more…

Inglourious Basterds (Three and a Half Stars) U. S.; Quentin Tarantino, 2009 (Universal) Quentin Tarantino shoots the works in Inglorious Basterds, a wild movie-movie-lover’s blend of WW2 action film pyrotechnics, subtitled art cinema romance, inside-movie allusions of every type and description, grand spaghetti-operatic Sergio Leone stylistics, and a brash Let’s-rewrite-World War 2-and make-it-a-De Palma flick…

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Wilmington on Movies: Invictus, Brothers, The Messenger

Invictus (Four Stars) U.S.; Clint Eastwood, 2009 I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul. Those are the stirring last words of William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus,” the British poem from which black political prisoner and Apartheid foe Nelson Mandela took heart during his 27 years in South African prisons…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Julie and Julia, The Hangover, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 500 Days of Summer and more…

Julie and Julia (Three Stars) U. S.; Nora Ephron, 2009 (Sony) In Julie and Julia, a perky and ambitious young Manhattan writer named Julie Powell, decides to cook all the recipes in Julia Child’s culinary bible “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in the space of a year — and write a blog about it,…

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Wilmington on Movies: Up in the Air, Everybody’s Fine and Old Dogs

Up in the Air (Three-and-a-Half Stars) U.S.; Jason Reitman, 2009 In Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air, which I rather liked, George Clooney plays a prime/perfecto Clooney role: Ryan Bingham, a nice-seeming, glamorous looking guy with a highly remunerated, very nasty job. Ryan is a severance expert, a corporate gun-for-hire, who flies around the country…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Terminator Salvation, Wizard of Oz, A Christmas Tale, Night at the Museum, Paper Heart, Flame and Citron and more…

Terminator Salvation (Also Director’s Cut and Blu-Ray) (Two Stars) U. S.; McG, 2009 (Warner) Terminator Salvation — a big, roaring, burn-down-the-planet sequel to the Terminator trilogy set in the future — tries to be a new super-apocalyptic nightmare worthy of its Terminating predecessors: a cine-techno-bloodbath where man battles machine, cyborg battles mini-copter, robot battles android,…

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MCN Originals

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“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many recappers, while clearly over their heads, are baseline sympathetic to finding themselves routinely unmoored, even if that means repeating over and over that this is closer to “avant-garde art” than  normal TV to meet the word count. My feed was busy connecting the dots to Peter Tscherkassky (gas station), Tony Conrad (the giant staring at feedback of what we’ve just seen), Pat O’Neill (bombs away) et al., and this is all apposite — visual and conceptual thinking along possibly inadvertent parallel lines. If recappers can’t find those exact reference points to latch onto, that speaks less to willful ignorance than to how unfortunately severed experimental film is from nearly all mainstream discussions of film because it’s generally hard to see outside of privileged contexts (fests, academia, the secret knowledge of a self-preserving circle working with a very finite set of resources and publicity access to the larger world); resources/capital/access/etc. So I won’t assign demerits for willful incuriosity, even if some recappers are reduced, in some unpleasantly condescending/bluffing cases, to dismissing this as a “student film” — because presumably experimentation is something the seasoned artist gets out of their system in maturity, following the George Lucas Model of graduating from Bruce Conner visuals to Lawrence Kasdan’s screenwriting.”
~ Vadim Rizov Goes For It, A Bit

“On the first ‘Twin Peaks,’ doing TV was like going from a mansion to a hut. But the arthouses are gone now, so cable television is a godsend — they’re the new art houses. You’ve got tons of freedom to do the work you want to do on TV, but there is a restriction in terms of picture and sound. The range of television is restricted. It’s hard for the power and the glory to come through. In other words, you can have things in a theater much louder and also much quieter. With TV, the quieter things have to be louder and the louder things have to be quieter, so you have less dynamics. The picture quality — it’s fine if you have a giant television with a good speaker system, but a lot of people will watch this on their laptops or whatever, so the picture and the sound are going to suffer big time. Optimally, people should be watching TV in a dark room with no disturbances and with as big and good a picture as possible and with as great sound as possible.”
~ David Lynch