MCN Originals Archive for May, 2011

Wilmington on DVDs: Pick of the Week, New. Biutiful

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Biutiful (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars) Spain: Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, 2011 (Roadside Attractions) In Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu’s sad and moving film Biutiful, Javier Bardem gives an extraordinary performance as a dying man named Uxbal: a small time Barcelona hustler working a variety of scams and shady deals to support his two young…

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Shouldn’t An Average Of A $500m Gross Per Movie Be Enough For Wall Street?

Wall Street analysts are running away from DreamWorks Animations like chickens with their claymation heads cut off. But how could they have expected any more from the company?

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Wilmington on Movies: Meek’s Cutoff

  Meek’s Cutoff (Three and a Half Stars) U. S.: Kelly Reichardt, 2011 Meek’s Cutoff, like the Coen Brothers’ True Grit, is an art film Western for a contemporary audience, and an unusually good one — made by a director and writer (Kelly Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond), who show a real feeling for what it…

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Memorial Weekend 4-Day Box Office Charts

Estimates for the 4-day weekend are in… and what happens in Bangkok stays in the record books.

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The Weekend Report: May 29, 2011

Despite withering reviews The Hangover Part II lived up to industry expectations to take the crown for the three-day portion of the Memorial weekend with an estimated $86.5 million. The frame’s other national debut Kung Fu Panda 2 ranked second with a lower than anticipated tally of $48.2 million.

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Wilmington on Movies: Kung Fu Panda 2

  Kung Fu Panda 2 (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Jennifer Yuh Nelson, 2011  Kung Fu Panda 2 is a cute, likable movie, done with a lot of skill and A-level talent, and with all the visual virtuosity we expect by now from big-budget cartoon features — especially from sequels to gigantic hits, like…

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Friday Estimates: May 27

Led by a trio of sequels, it looks to be a big weekend at the box office. The Hangover 2 has hit $60 million so far, and , with The Hangover 2’s $60 million so far, and the power of the Panda should increase as families head to the theatre on Saturday.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Hangover Part II

     The Hangover, Part II (Two Stars) U.S.: Todd Phillips, 2011 I laughed a lot at 2009’s big comedy hit, The Hangover — that tense and raunchy tale of three longtime buddies at a wedding who wake up after a night of incredible but totally forgotten debauchery and have to try to figure out…

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SIFF Review: Kung Fu Panda 2

Important lessons are learned along the way, blah blah blah, and there are plenty of fights that are exciting without being too scary or violent for most small fry. Yes, it’s predictable, but so are the books you probably read to the kids at bedtime, right? Kids like predictable. They have their whole lives to care about character arcs and dramatic tension and movies being interesting.

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Wilmington on DVD: The Rest. I Am Number Four, The Roommate, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, El Topo, Hurry Sundown, Grand Prix

I Am Number Four (One a Half Stars) U.S.: D. J. Caruso 2011 (Touchstone/DreamWorks) Sometimes, you look at a movie, and you know it’s going to give you a bad time. But what can you do? I Am Number Four is a super-glossy, not very good science fiction teen thriller, produced by Michael Bay and directed…

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Review: The Tree Of Life

“My favorite is a shot from the branches of a tree, looking down onto the grass, where the erratic play of two boys running in circles mirrors the motion of two dogs frolicking in the same frame. Malick slowly prepares us to take in just how whimsical and sensual and malleable the lives of children are, how they drink in everything around them without knowing whether it’s milk or poison.”

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Wilmington on DVD, Pick of the Week: Box Set. Silent Naruse

PICK OF THE WEEK: BOX SET Silent Naruse (Three Discs) (Three and a Half Stars) Japan: Mikio Naruse, 1931-34 (Criterion/Eclipse) He was a sad-looking man who’d had an unhappy love life, early feuds with his bosses, and little beyond his career to make him feel any joy or optimism about life. He’d been raised in…

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The DVD Wrapup: Gnomeo & Juliet, Lemonade Mouth, I Am Number Four, Anton Chekhov’s The Duel, The Big Bang, Burning Palms …

Gnomeo & Juliet: Blu-ray According to one of those computer-generated lists of keywords on the IMDB.com website, nearly 70 television specials and movies – including “Gnomeo & Juliet” — owe their very existence to William Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet.” (That it doesn’t include the delightful rom-com, “Letters to Juliet,” or the Soviet-era adaptation, “Romeo i…

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Wilmington on DVD, Picks of the Week: Kes, Gnomeo and Juliet

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Gnomeo and Juliet (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.-U.K.: Kelly Asbury, 2011 This movie seems to have a totally crazy idea — a musical animated feature riff on William Shakespeare‘s unbeatable Romeo and Juliet, with two sets of feuding lawn ornaments (mostly gnomes, but also a green plastic frog, and…

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Review: The Hangover, Part II (spoiler-free)

I guess that if I expected them to change the game… to push the envelope… to make the sequel that armchair quarterbacks fantasized about… I would have been disappointed that Michael Caine didn’t show up as a debauched ex-pat who knew more about Bangkok hookers than anyone alive… or that the baby wasn’t along for the ride… or that there isn’t really a topper to the Mike Tyson appearance. But I have to say, I thought it was refreshing that they weren’t trying to trick us into loving some other movie. And unless Phillips decides to do “The Wolfpack Meets Count Dracula,” there is probably no reason to do this a third time.

But I laughed.

PLUSTodd Phillips DP/30s all over DP

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Weekend Report:May 22, 2011

The big surprise was that only 46% of Prates 4’s opening box office derived from 3D and large format engagements that comprised 66% of Pirates initial foray. Had tickets matched the percentage of 3D playdates, the film would have grossed more than $100 million this weekend. A studio spokesman said that he didn’t have an explanation for this but it was something that was definitely being investigated.

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Wilmington on Movies: Midnight in Paris

  Midnight in Paris (Four Stars) U. S./France: Woody Allen, 2011 Midnight in Paris is a funny valentine to the City of Light, a sweet, jazzy fairy tale about the wonders of Parisian art and artist cliques in the ‘20s — a time when you could actually (if you were connected enough) go to a…

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Wilmington on Movies: Louder Than a Bomb

Louder than a Bomb (Three and a Half Stars) U. S.: Greg Jacobs & Jon Siskel, 2011             Louder than a Bomb made me feel good about some of the kids of today, made me feel that they’re probably being maligned, at least in part, by most other America movies…

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Wilmington on Movies: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

The “Pirate“ series may be at its height of its production expertise here, it may look better than ever, and it may have recaptured some of the initial light, breezy touch. But, script wise, it’s clearly running out of planks to walk. Not enough to hurt the movie financially — but enough to justify at least some of the fussilade of amusing critical blasts the picture has generated. (Audiences will like the show better.)

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Wilmington on DVD, The Rest: The Mechanic, Blue Valentine, No Strings Attached, The Alien Movies

CURRENT AND RECENT DVD RELEASES The Mechanic (Two Stars) U.S.: Simon West, 2011 (Sony) Remember 1972? The great movie year of The Godfather, of Cabaret, of Deliverance, of Frenzy, and Junior Bonner, and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Fellini’s Roma, Cries and Whispers, Solaris, Ulzana‘s Raid, The King of Marvin Gardens, Avanti!, Sleuth, and…

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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