MCN Originals Archive for July, 2010

Wilmington on Movies: Dinner for Schmucks, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Charlie St. Cloud, The Concert, 8 1/2

Dinner for Schmucks (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.; Jay Roach, 2010 There are plenty of primo American comedy actors around right now; all we really need is the movies to put them in. Dinner for Schmucks, with its story courtesy  of French buddy-comedy master Francis Veber, and its showcase roles for Paul Rudd, Zach…

Read the full article »

A Star is Born

The outstanding George Cukor 1954 production of A Star Is Born has been reissued by Warner Home Video as a two-platter Deluxe Edition. The first version of the 176-minute feature was fit onto one side of a single platter, with special features placed on the other side. The new release splits the film onto two…

Read the full article »

Guillaume Canet’s Series of Most Fortunate Events

Considered one of the most versatile leading actors of contemporary French cinema, Guillaume Canet self-confesses that stardom –even the prospect of becoming a working performer — was a series of accidents. Canet, 37, is ostensibly in Los Angeles for a few days to promote the film Farewell, a fact-based thriller about a French functionary in…

Read the full article » No Comments »

Arthouse Redux: How Very Verite of You

Filipino arthouse director Brillante Mendoza’s 2007 film Tirador (Slingshot) opened in NYC this weekend, but I’m still thinking of the film he made a year later, Serbis. In one of those instances of cinematic scheduling perversity, Tirador is releasing after Serbis, which debuted at Cannes in 2008 after Tirador played at Toronto in 2007. It…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on DVDs: Vincere, The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus, Elvis: That’s the Way it Is, Cop Out … and more

Vincere (Four Stars) Italy; Marco Bellocchio, 2009 Marco Bellocchio’s Vincere (Victory) is grandly ambitious and often stunningly beautiful: a lush, brilliantly stylish operatic bio-drama about an edgy, difficult subject, the unlikely tragedy of Benito Mussolini‘s spurned lover/maybe wife Ida Dalzer, his rejected son, Benito Albino Mussolini and the brutal Il Duce‘s barbarous neglect and mistreatment…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on Movies: Inception

Inception (Four Stars) U.S.; Christopher Nolan, 2010 It begins with a man washed up on the beach, awaking as if from a dream, waves crashing around him. What happens next? Christopher Nolan’s Inception, — with Leonardo DiCaprio as a tortured guy who shoves dreams into your head — is obviously some kind of masterpiece. It’s…

Read the full article »

Gary Dretzka Digital Nation: Kisses

As the title of Lance Daly’s sweet coming-of-age dramedy implies, lips meet lips in Kisses. If for no other reason than those lips are on the faces of characters 13 and 11 years old, the embraces are few, but memorable. Revealing anything more about the tenor, timing or taste of those kisses would require a…

Read the full article » No Comments »

Wilmington on DVDs: Terribly Happy, Ride with the Devil, Chloe, Film Noir Classic Collection Vol. 5, The Bounty Hunter … and more

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Terribly Happy (Three Stars) Denmark; Henrik Ruben Genz, 2008 (Oscilloscope) A troubled cop with a dark secret named Robert Hansen (Jakob Cedergren) travels from Copenhagen to a small Danish town, where the citizens at the local bar tend to be sarcastic and vaguely menacing and the local drunken doctor, Zerleng…

Read the full article »

The DVD Wrap by Gary Dretzka: Greenberg, The Bounty Hunter, Chloe, Our Family Wedding, The Only Son/There was a Father, Diary of a Nymphomaniac and more …

Greenberg: Blu-ray Movie critics may be endangered lot, but they do serve a purpose. Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg — a comedy so dark, it borders on tragedy – provides an excellent case in point. I wonder how many fans of Ben Stiller, whose movies typically don’t need the approval of newspaper pundits to be successful, braved…

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

Music Box Films Bets on a Win with “Girl” Double-Header

Music Box Films, whose namesake theater stands within shouting distance of Wrigley Field, is playin’ two this week. And, no, Cubs icon Ernie Banks isn’t appearing in either movie. In the cinematic equivalent of a double-header, the three-year-old distribution company has released on DVD and Blu-ray The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, with The Girl…

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

The Gronvall Files, An Interview with Lisa Cholodenko, Director of The Kids Are All Right

Family Matters : An Interview with Lisa Cholodenko, Director of The Kids Are All Right We may only be halfway through the year, but one thing you can bet on: come the end of December, Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right will score among many 2010 Top Ten lists. The director made a huge…

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

Wilmington on DVDs: Steamboat Bill, Jr., The White Ribbon, The Lovely Bones, Film Noir Classics, A Single Man … and more

CO-PICKS OF THE WEEK: CLASSICS Steamboat Bill, Jr. (Ultimate Two-Disc Edition) (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars) U.S.; Charles F. Reisner (and, uncredited, Buster Keaton), 1928 (Kino) Buster Keaton — he of the sad grave eyes, the unsmiling countenance and the omnipresent pork-pie hat — had undoubtedly the world’s most engaging poker-face. He also had a body…

Read the full article » No Comments »

The DVD Wrap, A Single Man & others…

A Single Man If Tom Ford’s freshman film, A Single Man, had failed both critically and commercially, it might have been dismissed as a vanity project and forgotten by everyone who didn’t have a vested interest in flattering the famed fashion designer. After all, his name appears on the credits as director, writer and producer….

Read the full article » 2 Comments »

Voynaristic Review, The Last Airbender

The Last Airbender Directed by M. Night Shyamalan Just how bad is The Last Airbender, M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation of the excellent anime series Avatar: The Last Airbender? I would say it’s laughably bad, but I’m too irritated by the slaughtering of this excellent source material to have much of a sense of humor about…

Read the full article » No Comments »

Wilmington on Movies – The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, The Last Airbender, Love Ranch, Restrepo, Let it Rain and Sweetgrass

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Two Stars) U.S.; David Slade, 2010 Midway through The Twilight Saga: Eclipse — a mediocre movie based  on another Stephenie Meyer novel, and poised to rake in oodles of cash, — Taylor Lautner suddenly showed up, grinning and preening, seemingly deep into his role of Jacob Black, the spurned but persistent…

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

Voynaristic Review, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Directed by David Slade Team Edward! Team Jacob! The handsome (albeit a bit pasty), sparkling, overprotective vampire who will live forever, or the handsome (albeit a bit hairy), hot, overprotective guy who turns into a giant wolf — however is a girl to choose?

Read the full article » No Comments »

The Ultimate DVD Geek: Precious

Precious: Based on a Novel by Sapphire The glamour of the Oscars, where Gabourey Sidibe was nominated for her performance in the central role, would fit perfectly into the dream sequences of Precious: Based upon a Novel by Sapphire, from Lionsgate, and the Awards served as a sort of an emotional epilog to the movie,…

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

Predators, Despicable Me and The Law (La Loi)

Predators (One and a Half Stars) U.S.; Nimrod Antal, 2010 I‘d be less than honest if I didn’t inform you that Predators — a horror movie about a Dirty Half-Dozen or so of mercenaries parachuted down onto a planetful of monsters — is a piece of god-awful shit. I would however be borrowing, and maybe…

Read the full article »

MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“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