MCN Originals Archive for March, 2011

Wilmington on Movies: Hop

“I still hadn’t wised up when E.B. decamped to Hollywood, where he hooks up with Fred, and starts pooping jellybeans and trying to come up with so-called humor (lame zingers and amazingly laugh-challenged wisecracks), and where the movie definitively revealed its true agenda: bad jokes and L. A. clichés, mixed with elaborate animation, TV trendiness and loud, bright icky-poo cutes.”

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Wilmington on Movies: The Afterlight

“I liked the movie very much, and when some of its early festival admirers compared it to Michelangelo and Ingmar Bergman, they had some justification. The Afterlight is obviously made by filmmakers who know and admire Antonioni and Bergman, and who would probably be pleased by the comparison — and the images, scenes and emotions often suggest those two masters.”

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Film Delivevolution 33111: March 30… A Day That Will Live In Infamy… On Demand

The Chris Dodd era at MPAA starts with the studios pissing in NATO exhibitors’ punch at their own party, smiling and extolling the importance of theatrical at the same time they were signing a deal with DirecTV to launch 60-Day Premium-priced VOD in April. What happens next? Don’t count on anyone with skin in the game telling the truth about VOD or theater owners trusting the 4 major distributors who are moving forward anytime soon.

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The DVD Wrap: Tangled, Black Swan, Made in Dagenham, Ten Commandments, I Vinti …

Tangled: Blu-ray 3D According to the people who keep track of such things, “Tangled” is Disney’s 50th full-length animated feature film. In many ways, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the very first one, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” released 74 years ago. Not only are both movies inspired by fairy tales written by…

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The Gronvall Files: Richard Press and Philip Gefter: Partners Behind Documentary Bill Cunningham New York

By Andrea Gronvall As a breed, film critics are generally sartorially challenged, but I’ll freely admit to enjoying Vogue, Vanity Fair, and the style coverage in The New York Times–particularly the “On the Street” column that’s photographed, written, and composed by the paper’s long-time fashion chronicler Bill Cunningham. A colorful collage revealing trends Cunningham spots…

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The Weekend Report: March 27, 2011

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules! not only beats Sucker Punch, but moves over 25% ahead for the weekend. Strong holds for indies from Relativity and Lionsgate also lead the box office news, along with Rango and Just Go With It each passing $100m domestic. At the art house, Miral and Potiche are the weekend leaders.

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Friday Estimates: March 26, 2011

The latest Zack Snyder CG epic takes on the sequel to the Wimpy Kid movie, which opened to almost the exact same amount last year. The battle continues today and Sunday. At the art houses, Miral and Potiche do decent, if not exciting opening day numbers on 4 and 8 screens.

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Wilmington on Movies: Sucker Punch, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, Monogamy

“Snyder has a very classy cast, but nevertheless, he dresses and photographs them most of the time like hookers and action-cuties, even in the thick of battle.”

“Let’s hope these kids stay happy and don’t start feuding, like Martin and Lewis.”

“This movie is too often reminiscent of other, much better films.”

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Wilmington on DVD: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Tourist, The Twilight Zone Season Two, The Clowns, Exit Throught the Gift Shop, Artists Under the Big Top: Perplexed.

Appropriately bracketed as a classic pick this week with Fellini’s I Clowns Alexander Kluge’s Artists at the Top of the Big Top: Perplexed is also a European art film about circuses and circus people. But this is a film in black-and-white, where the filmmakers would have answered the question Fellini dodged in The Clowns about symbolism, and then done something symbolic to illustrate the answer, and had an illustrated lecture on symbolism and the history of art, and the politics of circuses.

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DVD Geek: Elia Kazan’s America America

As Kazan historian Foster Hirsch puts it on his commentary, “This is a film whose time has still not come. I’m hoping that the release of this DVD will change that.”

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The DVD Wrap: The Tourist, Yogi Bear 3D, The Perfume of the Lady in Black, Andy Sidaris Collection, Skyline …

The Tourist: Blu-ray Ten months out of every year, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is ignored by everyone in Hollywood, except the publicists assigned to wiping the reporters’ bottoms and keeping their bottles full of expensive wine and booze. For the better part of December and January, however, the mainstream media does its part to…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Lincoln Lawyer, Paul

“It’s a tough story, hard-nosed and audience-savvy: a neo-noir in settings both glamorous and salty, and a movie that gives you a tingling shot of L. A. style.”

“Suppose you were to rethink E. T. as a combination 70s road movie and Three Days of the Condor-style paranoid anti-C.I.A. thriller.”

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The Weekend Report: March 20, 2011

The erosion of the under 25 crowd continued this week with only Paul registering a 50/50 split for that line in the sand according to exit polling. Limitless was 56% attended by plus 25s and The Lincoln Lawyer had a staggering 85% older audience – 49% of which was 40 years old or greater.

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Digital Nation: Going Medieval for Real in ‘Black Death’

Finally, from England comes a movie that can be enjoyed by history buffs and zombie aficionados, alike. Christopher Smith and Dario Poloni’s “Black Death” recalls a time when the dead – or very near dead, anyway – haunted villages, cities and thoroughfares from China to Great Britain, awaiting their turn to be thrown into a…

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Wilmington on DVD: The Fighter, Hereafter, Last Tango in Paris, TCM Greatest Classic Legend John Ford Westerns

“Bale looks and acts something like a Dead End Kid on crack, an elongated mix of Huntz Hall and the younger Mean Streets De Niro, oscillating frantically between the goony and the near-tragically self-destructive.”

“What’s most impressive about Hereafter is, first of all, that Eastwood had the guts to do it.”

“The torrid memento of a time — post-Sexual Revolution, pre-herpes outbreak, pre-Aids plague — when quick anonymous sex between partners who barely knew each other.”

“He was John Ford. He made Westerns.”

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Is Netflix Abandoning Its Business Model Again?

Netflix, Netflix, what will you be?

It’s been less than 9 months since Netflix made its first high-end deal for streaming content with Relativity. Since then, it’s expanded into Canada, cut it’s base price, made a deal with EPIX and others, let go of Criterion, and expanded its base of viewers, marginally.

And now, yet another version of Netflix?

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The DVD Wrap: Hereafter, The Switch, The Fighter, The Wildest Dream, Yi Yi, Sharktopus …

Hereafter: Blu-ray In the opening minutes of “Hereafter,” tourists along a Thai beach are enjoying another leisurely day in paradise. A French reporter, Marie, played by Cécile De France, has just agreed to leave the hotel to buy souvenirs for her boyfriend, who’s too lazy to do it himself. Just as she’s about to pay…

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Wilmington on DVD: Inside Job, Senso, TCM Greatest Classic Legends: Jean Harlow & more…

“Inside Job is an essential movie. It shows, pretty conclusively I think, why documentaries are such an important cinematic and journalistic form these days. After you see this picture, you won’t be able to say you weren’t informed, won’t be able to see you weren‘t warned. You’ll know, if not the whole story, a big important part of it.”

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WILMINGTON ON DVD: 127 Hours, Bambi, Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy, Burlesque, Faster

“Watching Franco here, as he plunges himself into a part so taxing physically, psychologically and even spiritually, and does it so brilliantly, you tend to forgive him for that awful, howlingly embarrassing turn he gave as co-host at the last Oscar Show.”

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Wilmington on Movies: Battle: Los Angeles, Mars Needs Moms, Red Riding Hood, Certified Copy, Uncle Boonmee…

“I can’t say some audiences won’t enjoy this — some people will enjoy anything, including staring into the toilet, maybe waiting for little green men to pop up and start water-skiing.”

“Maybe if the villagers had gotten together, and somebody had shown Tex Avery‘s cartoon Red Hot Riding Hood in the town square.”

“Fogler, whom I had ignorantly sort of dismissed as a mini-Jack Black, has the stuff, totally. Gribble is a great job.”

“A jewel of that director‘s special brand of stylized cinema realism”

“As we watch, a world opens up. This is life, this is cinema.”

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MCN Originals

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“One of my favorite things in watching any performance on film is when there isn’t a lot of cutting going on and when you get a chance to become really absorbed in the artist in hand. The same way we do, hopefully, at a concert, when we get a chance to really trip in to something that’s happening on stage. Whether the singer’s singing, or one of the other musicians is playing, we sort of stay there instead of cutting round with our eyes a lot.”
~ Jonathan Demme

“We’ve talked about this before in the past, my obsession with the Shakespearean histories having the ideal combination of the sweet and the sour. In ‘Henry IV, Part II’ which we’ve discussed before, in the end of that story it’s very complex and haunting because Prince Hal becomes Henry the King, and he has transcended his hoodlum days and at the ceremony is Falstaff, his good friend with whom he has really fucked around and been a loser with, and Falstaff comes up to him and says, ‘Now that you’re king we can really party,’ and the king famously says, ‘I know thee not, old man.’ It becomes Henry IV’s anointment and Falstaff’s catastrophe. That’s life. I have experienced very little unfettered triumph. There are moments, such as when my children are born, but even that comes with new fears and anxieties. In a sense the better you can communicate that life is both at once, the more powerful over time something becomes. One strives for something where the threads are there because it lasts in way that is very palpable. The idea of a tragedy is powerful in literature and theater, but in cinema it doesn’t work, certainly not commercially, and less so critically. Why is that? I think it has to do with how movies are so close to us.”
~ James Gray