MCN Originals Archive for July, 2011

Wilmington on Movies: Cowboys & Aliens

“Cowboys & Aliens” (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Jon Favreau, 2011 Movie Westerns usually take place in a primitive land of the American past (somewhere in the 19th century) full of horses and trains and showdowns and an occasional cattle drive, where the men spend an inordinate amount of time in saloons, and sudden…

Read the full article » 2 Comments »

The Weekend Report: July 31, 2011

It was an unexpected horse race at the box office with the cross genre Cowboys & Aliens going toe-to-toe with the animated exploits of the original Blue Men Group The Smurfs. Initial estimates gave the former a slight edge with $36.1 million to the latter’s $36 million but that could all change tomorrow. The session’s other national opening was the ensemble comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love that bowed fifth with $19.1 million.

Read the full article » 2 Comments »

Review: Cowboys & Aliens

Cowboys & Aliens is no less than the first colossal, epic turd of the Summer of 2011. I can’t think of a single redeeming feature of this film… not a bright light in a dark movie horizon that made me smile for a moment, relieving the agony of watching so many skilled people waste their time and mine.

Read the full article » 84 Comments »

Friday Estimates, July 30, 2011

James Bond & Indiana Jones get Smurfed. And Not So Crazy. Decent. Gross.for the latest summer comedy.

Read the full article » No Comments »

DP/30: The Interrupters, director/producer Steve James & producer Alex Kotlowitz

The award-winning director of Hoops Dreams and the author of There Are No Children Here join forces and return to Chicago’s south side to deliver one of the year’s most powerful documentaries. The idea is simple. When trouble is brewing, interrupt the rage until people cool down and hopefully make better choices. But the strength to help others find moderation often requires heroic measures from people who you might not expect it from. The filmmakers offer a look at the process of creating this extraordinary film.

Read the full article » No Comments »

GROSS BEHAVIOR: Good Night, Sweet Princess

When director John Ford was in his declining days Polly Platt went to pay a final visit. The great man was virtually bed ridden, physically unkempt but nonetheless still sharp of mind. They chatted as the afternoon sun beamed through the mostly shuttered blinds and at a certain point he paused in the midst of…

Read the full article » 9 Comments »

Posters, Posters, Posters

The Avengers each get their own poster, and Cowboys & Aliens have a few new looks for this week’s release. There’s Spider Man, a few Apes and some Happy Feet 2, plus a Tower Heist, Our Idiot Brother and The Ides of March.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Mao’s Last Dancer, Heartbeats, Sweeney Todd, Sleepy Hollow, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Crack in the World

   “Mao‘s Last Dancer“ (Blu-ray) (Three Stars) U. S.; Bruce Beresford, 2010 (20th Century Fox) Ballet, that grand art of music and the body married together, is a natural subject for the movies — a potential wonder, as The Red Shoes is there to prove again and again. Director Bruce Beresford‘s fact-based drama Mao’s Last…

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

DVD Wrapup: Source Code, Winter in Wartime, Leon Morin: Priest, Jackboots on Whitehall, The Matrimony, Life During Wartime, Monamour …

Source Code: Blu-ray While it would be misleading to describe the existential sci-fi thriller “Source Code” as “‘Groundhog Day’ on a train loaded with explosives,” it’s close enough for government work. In the Bill Murray role here is an American helicopter pilot recently returned from Afghanistan, sufficiently incapacitated to have been in a coma for…

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classic. Leon Morin, Priest; The Double Life of Veronique

Leon Morin, Priest (Leon Morin, Pretre) (Four Stars) France; Jean-Pierre Melville, 1961 (Criterion)       Jean-Pierre Melville is mostly known these days as a French master of film noir, neo-noir and World War 2 Resistance dramas. But Leon Morin, Priest, which won a Venice Grand Prize in 1961, shows another side of Melville: the highly polished…

Read the full article » No Comments »

Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classic and Blu-ray. A Clockwork Orange

 “A Clockwork Orange” (Blu-ray) (Two discs) (Four Stars) U.S.-U.K.: Stanley Kubrick, 1971 (Warner Home Video) 1. When I was in college in the 1960s, Stanley Kubrick was one of my cinematic heroes. I thought  his movies were amazing: smart, funny, exciting, meaningful, beautifully crafted, brilliant, the best. I loved them. Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001:A Space Odyssey….

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Source Code

   (Four Stars) U.S.: Duncan Jones, 2011 (Summit Entertainment) “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” — George Santayana “Time is on my side.” — The Rolling Stones 1. We’re on a commuter train, racing toward Chicago. Something is wrong. It’s a nightmare. We’re also at the start of the first…

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

Wilmington on Movies: Winnie the Pooh

  “Winnie the Pooh” (Three Stars) U.S.: Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall; 2011 Here is Edward Bear coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin… A. A. Milne He was one of the boon companions of my childhood: Winnie-the-Pooh or Edward Bear or Winnie-ther-Pooh, as he was variously called…

Read the full article » No Comments »

Wilmington on Movies: Friends with Benefits

  “Friends with Benefits” (Two and a Half Stars) U. S.: Will Gluck, 2011 Falling in love is such great movie material that it’s a pity Hollywood these days gets it right (or funny) so rarely. Friends with Benefits is a movie that’s supposed to be smarter and funnier than the usual pseudo-romantic comedy (or…

Read the full article » No Comments »

The Weekend Report: July 24, 2011

The Captain does a pretty good Thor imitation, Friends With Benefits skews older than expected, and Mr. Potter keeps rolling along. Meanwhile, in indie, Woody Allen drops screens, but keeps the same gross as he builds on his best-ever domestic gross.

Read the full article » No Comments »

DP/30: Friends With Benefits, director Will Gluck

Will Gluck is the latest hot comedy director in town with Easy A breaking out last summer, Friends With Benefits this year, and a wide array of projects in development at Sony (including a remake of About Last Night). He talks about his latest film, his working process with his stars, the projects to come, and a certain Captain in this DP/30, shot on the day of the FWB opening.

Read the full article » 2 Comments »

Wilmington on Movies: Captain America: The First Avenger

  “Captain America: The First Avenger” (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Joe Johnston, 2011 I don’t mean to be a grouch, but Captain America — stalwart crime and monster-buster of  the  new Marvel epic Captain America: The First Avenger — struck me as one of the duller superheroes I’ve seen recently. That’s despite one of…

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

Friday Estimates, July 23, 2011

Captain America shows Marvelous muscle on Opening Day while Harry Potter drops like a sorcerer’s stone after its record-breaking run last weekend. Friends With Benefits opens reasonably well, but looks to Saturday Night to see whether it was a wise idea to be the fifth R-rated comedy of the summer.

Read the full article » No Comments »

A Little Comic-Con So Far …

A Film Docket Special: Fans waited in line for days to see a panel on Breaking Dawn. New posters debut for The Avengers. Spielberg is surprised by Peter Jackson. Things go Haywire, and Guillermo Del Toro is happy, “Gigantic f—ing monsters. All day long.” It must be Comic-Con time again…

Read the full article » No Comments »

Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Blu-ray. The Horse Soldiers

  PICK OF THE WEEK: BLU-RAY “The Horse Soldiers” (Blu-ray) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: John Ford, 1959 (MGM/20th Century Fox) John Ford, America’s greatest director of Western movies — and maybe our greatest director, period — was also an aficionado of Civil War history. Yet Ford’s actual films about the Civil War and its…

Read the full article » No Comments »

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