MCN Originals Archive for March, 2010

Wilmington on Movies: How to Train Your Dragon, Hot Tub Time Machine, Chloe, and The Eclipse

How to Train Your Dragon (Three Stars) U.S.; Dean De Blois/Chris Sanders, 2010 The visual flash and dash that the new Dreamworks animated saga How to Train Your Dragon pours into its panoramic 3D scenes of ferocious Medieval battle and Viking sea quests — and especially this movie’s Avatar-like flying sequences, with

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Wilmington on Movies: Green Zone, Remember Me, She’s Out of My League, and Our Family Wedding

Green Zone (Three Stars) U.S.; Paul Greengrass, 2010 Green Zone is a sometimes hellishly exciting political war thriller about the

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Wilmington on Movies: Alice in Wonderland, Brooklyn’s Finest and Terribly Happy

Alice in Wonderland (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.; Tim Burton, 2010 Curiouser and curiouser. Tim Burton has made another of his goofy-giddy visual marvels out of Lewis Carroll‘s oft-filmed classic Alice in Wonderland. And while

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Wilmington on DVDs: Ponyo, Where the Wild Things are, Beaches of Agnes, King Lear and more…

Ponyo (Also Blu-Ray) (Three and a Half Stars) Japan-U.S.; Hayao Miyazaki, 2009 (Disney) Hayao Miyazaki‘s devotion to old-fashioned animation, in an age of computerized cartoon virtuosity of all sorts, gives his movies a charmingly personal, beguilingly hand-crafted feel

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MCN Originals

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“A shot is a story. A shot on its own should be a piece of a story. Which is why I talk a lot about watching films, even the films we’re working on, with the sound off. Just to analyze how the film works, because a film should work for an audience without any sound. The biggest problem I see is that someone may have a superficial understanding of what a shot is propositionally, but they don’t have an understanding of how all of these shots are part of a family that needs to connect, and so you’ll get something that’s like a sentence arranged poorly with six nouns in a row. That surprises me, because I think that’s something that can be learned. Some things can’t be, but that can. It’s a grammar. In a classroom I could walk somebody through the difference between a sequence in which the filmmaker has a deep understanding of how images connect, and someone who doesn’t. It’s not really an intellectual process. Some people are just born with it and are just sort of savants at that deep mathematical understanding of shot construction.  I’m better than I used to be, but there are some people I’m just never going to catch. Spielberg. His staging ability. I’m never going to catch him. But when you’re trying to figure out how to get better—I’m not competitive in the sense of looking around at other filmmakers and comparing myself to them. What I do have to think about in trying to navigate myself through a career is: what can I get better at, and what do I have that I can enhance that somebody else doesn’t have?”
~ Steven Soderbergh

“It’s not going to be huge. He and I had been corresponding for a while. When I finally met him, he said, ‘We should collaborate.’ When John Ashbery says that to you, you don’t say when, you just say yes. It has not been easy to conjure this out of nothing. Sean Price Williams and I spent time with him, and it will appear on FilmStruck before the year is out…. I have figured out how to streamline things. I still have dreams of making movies with bigger budgets, and they might be considered to have more of a voice in pop culture. I don’t want to let go of that. I also realize that you grow up a lot of your life with wishful thinking and waiting. I have figured out ways to avoid doing that. I am working on a bigger movie about Nikola Tesla, set in the past, so it is not an easy film to make. I am also working on an adaptation of Don DeLillo’s ‘White Noise.’ That seems more likely to catch fire.”
Michael Almereyda Steps It Up