MCN Originals Archive for August, 2010

Wilmington on DVD: Red Riding Trilogy, Ludwig: Requiem for a Virgin King, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, Errol Flynn Adventures … and more

CO-PICKS OF THE WEEK: NEW The Red Riding Trilogy (Four Stars) U.K.; Julian Jarrold/James Marsh/Anand Tucker, 2009 (IFC Films) Easily one of the most ambitious and best films of 2009 is writer Tony Grisoni‘s three part adaptation of David Peace’s Red Riding novels. This is noir times three, with the three films spanning a decade…

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DVD Wrap: 9th Company, OSS 117: Lost in Rio, Drive in Cult Classics, Squeal, Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire … and more

9th Company: Blu-ray It took several years before American filmmakers could get a sufficiently tight grip on the enormity of the Vietnam War to produce historically accurate and psychologically coherent portraits of our soldiers as they fought in it. Several anti-war documentaries had been released in the wake of the gradual pullout of U.S. forces,…

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DVD Geek: The Runaways

Not as tightly composed or as carefully devised as the most popular rock biography films, The Runaways, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, is nevertheless a satisfying production. It tells the story of one of the earliest all-female, hard rocking bands, which got started in the mid-Seventies with Joan Jett. Later, the band broke up and…

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Excuse Our Dust

Nothing like living in a hotel that has major construction going on… even if your room is brand new and perfect, the dust in the hallways can be distracting. Welcome to MCN Gen 2, where we are still hard at work. So sit back, relax, and pretend you don’t hear hammering.

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Frenzy on the Wall: 10 Movies to See This Fall/Winter

I write this column every year. In fact, I write this column three times a year, with the changing of the movie seasons. The interesting thing about writing this particular column at this particular time in this particular year is: 1) this has been such an unfathomably terrible year at the movies that the fall…

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Weekend Box Office Report

Call it a tie with horror vs. heist. Estimated weekend box office for the frame’s two national releases gives a razor-thin edge of less than $100,000 to The Last Exorcism with $22.2 million to Takers’ $22.1 million.

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Friday Estimates – August 27

Two new films lead the pack heading into the weekend, as The Last Exorcism and Takers battle it out for first place …

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Voynaristic Review: Takers

Takers won’t win any awards or set a new watermark for spectactular heist films, but for what it is — a rather generic heist film with a mostly decent ensemble cast and one very good performance by Matt Dillon — it’s mostly harmless. If you’re a particularly passionate fan of any of the ensemble cast,…

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Voynaristic Review: The Last Exorcism

Up until about the last eight or so minutes, I was really into The Last Exorcism. Then it all fell apart at the end, but in a way that was actually kind of interesting to dissect. Director Daniel Stamm, who previously made suicide mockumentary A Necessary Death, uses a similar style here, in an interesting…

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Box Office Hell – August 27

The Guessers see The Expendables dropping into third place this weekend, with newcomers The Last Exorcism and Takers leading the way…

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Wilmington on Movies: Flipped, Takers, Vampires Suck and Centurions

For the past few years, I’ve been looking, yearning even, for a few American studio movies that would make me feel the way I sometimes did as a movie-going kid: searching for smart, realistic dramas or thrillers or comedies (or comedy-dramas), good solid movies that had the warmth, sensibility and humanity of the classics of…

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Vincent Cassel on His Portrait of a Gangster

In gangster circles, here and abroad, there are three sure ways for a criminal to know he’s made the Big Time: 1) his mug shot is on display in post offices across the nation; 2) the cops and media have honored his nefarious achievements by giving him a cool nickname; and 3) he’s been awarded…

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Arthouse Redux: Claire Denis: A Little Restraint Goes a Long Way

There are filmmakers who use their medium purely to entertain, or to preach a particular message, or to guide their audience down the path of a particular story, tightly controlling and manipulating their audience’s reactions to what’s on the screen: milking the laughs, exagerrating the conflicts, torquing up both the actions and the reactions of…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Me and Orson Welles, Ajami, Mona Lisa, Elvis 75th Birthday Collection, and more …

CO-PICKS OF THE WEEK: NEW Me and Orson Welles (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.; Richard Linklater, 2009 (Warner/Target) In Me and Orson Welles, Richard Linklater, a director whose films I usually like, takes on a highly ambitious subject that really, really appeals to me — a portrayal of the astonishing youthful theatrical triumphs of…

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The DVD Wrap: City Island, The Back-Up Plan, $5 a Day, Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg, The Square, Abandoned and more …

City Island: Blu-ray If Leo Tolstoy had written Anna Karenina in the 1970s, instead of the 1870s, and as a screenplay, instead of a novel, it might have begun thusly, “Happy families are all alike; every dysfunctional family is dysfunctional in its own way.” Or to put it another way, “Happy families belong in TV…

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Is Angelina Jolie the First Female Action Hero?

I finally caught up with Salt this weekend and I’m surprised it’s gotten a pass from most of the critical community (61% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). It’s not that it’s an awful movie, but it’s certainly not a very good one. In fact, it’s a ridiculous and outlandish film that feels twenty minutes too long…

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Wilmington on Movies: Nanny McPhee Returns, Mao’s Last Dancer, Eat Pray Love and Lottery Ticket

Nanny McPhee Returns (Three Stars) U.S.; Susanna White, 2010 I love Emma Thompson, even snaggle-toothed and warty. And this Thompson-written, Thompson-starring way-beyond-Mary-Poppins WW2-era film of the Matilda books of Christianna Brand — who also wrote that wonderful WW2-set thriller Green for Danger (which became one of Alistair Sim‘s finest hours) — is a little loud,…

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Wilmington on DVDs: The City of Your Final Destination, Black Orpheus, Hamlet, The Last Song, and more …

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW The City of Your Final Destination (Three and a Half Stars) U.K.-U.S.; James Ivory, 2009 (Screen Media) In The City of Your Final Destination — maybe the last of the lovably old-fashioned, classically constructed, deeply literate and beautifully wrought Merchant Ivory films, in the string that began back in 1963…

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Magnificent Seven, Date Night, Little Women, Chicago and more …

PICK OF THE WEEK: Blu-Ray The Magnificent Seven (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.; John Sturges, 1960 (MGM) Akira Kurosawa’s classic 1954 battle epic, Seven Samurai was originally distributed in the U.S. under the title The Magnificent Seven. So that’s the title MGM used when John Sturges made the seemingly inevitable Western remake — in…

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Scott Pilgrim Vs the World: Less Than Perfect, But That’s Okay

I hate to repeat the beginning of my Inception column, but Scott Pilgrim Vs the World is neither the best nor the worst movie ever. What is it about us as a culture these days? It seems like every film, album, painting, ballet, etc. has to be categorized as either “amazing” or “terrible.” Art runs…

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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