MCN Originals Archive for January, 2010

Wilmington on Movies: Extraordinary Measures and Tooth Fairy

Extraordinary Measures (Two and a Half Stars) U. S.; Tom Vaughan, 2010 Nothing can break your heart like the spectacle of a loved one with a seemingly incurable disease; few can elevate it like a true story of disease defeated, a life saved, a doom deferred. Witness the

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Wilmington on Movies: The Book of Eli, The Spy Next Door, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, The Lovely Bones and 35 Shots of Rum

The Book of Eli (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.; Allen & Albert Hughes, 2010 The end of the world arrives again this week, though thankfully only in the movies. In The Book of Eli — an exciting but, for me, finally disappointing sci-fi thriller from the Hughes Brothers — Denzel Washington plays a lone,…

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Wilmington on Movies: Leap Year, The Sun

Leap Year (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.-U.K.: Anand Tucker Leap Year — in which Amy Adams learns that a bad-tempered Irishman who runs a tavern/hotel is in many ways preferable to a smooth-talking Boston cardiologist with a Blackberry — is a sweet-natured picaresque romantic comedy blessed with spectacular Irish scenery and cursed with the…

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Wilmington: The National Film Critics Awards

This year’s big winner at the 2009 voting awards meeting of the National Society of Film Critics, the 44th in its genuinely storied annals, was Kathryn Bigelow’s Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker. Already

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Wilmington: Ten Best of 2009

Here are my ten best, from a year of my life I wish I had never lived, a year of sorrow and pain and occasional flashes of redemption and love. What of the movies I watched during that time of personal tragedy? Well, this makes twice I’ve

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MCN Originals

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“When books become a thing, they can no longer be fine.

“Literary people get mad at Knausgård the same way they get mad at Jonathan Franzen, a writer who, if I’m being honest, might be fine. I’m rarely honest about Jonathan Franzen. He’s an extremely annoying manI have only read bits and pieces of his novels, and while I’ve stopped reading many novels even though they were pretty good or great, I have always stopped reading Jonathan Franzen’s novels because I thought they were aggressively boring and dumb and smug. But why do I think this? I didn’t read him when he was a new interesting writer who wrote a couple of weird books and then hit it big with ‘The Corrections,’ a moment in which I might have picked him up with curiosity and read with an open mind; I only noticed him once, after David Foster Wallace had died, he became the heir apparent for the Great American Novelist position, once he had had that thing with Oprah and started giving interviews in which he said all manner of dumb shit; I only noticed him well after I had been told he was An Important Writer.

“So I can’t and shouldn’t pretend that I am unmoved by the lazily-satisfied gentle arrogance he projects or when he is given license to project it by the has-the-whole-world-gone-crazy development of him being constantly crowned and re-crowned as Is He The Great American Writer. What I really object to is this, and if there’s anything to his writing beyond it, I can’t see it and can’t be bothered. Others read him and tell me he’s actually a good writer—people whose critical instincts I have learned to respect—so I feel sure that he’s probably a perfectly fine, that his books are fine, and that probably even his stupid goddamned bird essays are probably also fine.

“But it’s too late. He has become a thing; he can’t be fine.”
~ Aaron Bady

“You know how in postproduction you are supposed to color-correct the picture so everything is smooth and even? Jean-Luc wants the opposite. He wants the rupture. Color and then black and white, or different intensities of color. Or how in this film, sometimes you see the ratio of the frame change after the image begins. That happens when he records from his TV onto his old DVCAM analog machine, which is so old we can’t even find parts when it needs to be repaired. The TV takes time to recognize and adjust to the format on the DVD or the Blu-ray. Whether it’s 1:33 or 1:85. And one of the TVs he uses is slower than the other. He wants to keep all that. I could correct it, but he doesn’t want me to. See, here’s an image from War and Peace. He did the overlays of color—red, white, and blue—using an old analog video effects machine. That’s why you have the blur. When I tried to redo it in digital, I couldn’t. The edges were too sharp. And why the image jitters—I don’t know how he did that. Playing with the cable maybe. Handmade. He wants to see that. It’s a gift from his old machine.”
~ Fabrice Aragno