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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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….

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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…

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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…

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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?

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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,…

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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…

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MCN Originals

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“I always thought that once I had lived in Chicago for a while, it would be interesting to do a portrait of the city – but to do it at a significant time. Figuring out when would be the ideal time to do that was the trick. So when this election came around, coupled with the Laquan McDonald trial, it seemed like the ideal time to do the story. Having lived in Chicagoland for thirty-five-plus years and done a number of films here, I’ve always been struck by the vibrancy of the city and its toughness. Its tenderness too. I’ve always been interested in the people at the center of all the stories. This is a different film in that regard, because we’re not following a couple of individuals over the course of the project in the way that a lot of the films I’ve done have, but I still feel like people’s voices and aspirations and hopes are at the center of this series.

It wasn’t easy. We started back in July 2018, it was actually on the Fourth of July – that was our first shoot. It’s like most documentaries in that the further you go along the more involved and obsessed you get, and you just start shooting more and more and more. We threw ourselves into this crazy year in Chicago. We got up every day and tried to figure out if we should be out shooting or not, and what it is we should shoot. We were trying to balance following this massive political story of the mayor’s race and these significant moments like the Laquan McDonald trial with taking the pulse of people in the city that we encounter along the way and getting a sense of their lives and what it means to live here. By election day, Zak Piper, our producer, had something like six cameras out in the field. You could double-check that, it might have been seven. We had this organized team effort to hit all the candidates as they were voting, if they hadn’t already voted. We hit tons of polling places, were at the Board of Elections and then were at the parties for the candidates that we had been able to follow closely. Then of course, we were trying to make sure we were at the parties of the candidates who made it to the runoff. So, yeah, it was kind of a monster.”
~ Steve James On City So Real

“I really want to see The Irishman. I’ve heard it’s big brother Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece. But I really can’t find the time. The promotion schedule is so tight, there’s no opportunity to see a three and a half-hour movie. But I really want to see it. In 2017, right before Okja’s New York premiere, I had the chance to go to Scorsese’s office, which is in the DGA building. There’s a lovely screening room there, too, with film prints that he’s collected. I talked to him for about an hour. There’s no movie he hasn’t seen, even Korean films. We talked about what he’s seen and his past work. It was a glorious day. I’ve loved his work since I was in college. Who doesn’t? Anyone involved with movies must feel the same way.”
~ Bong Joon-ho