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…

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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.

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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.

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Friday Estimates, July 30, 2011

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

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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….

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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MCN Originals

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“Most of these women were in their early twenties. Most of them refused to go any further with him, but a few went to dinner, or to some sort of casting situation, or to someplace private… if the stories were just about some crazed sex addict who approaches thousands of women on the street trying to get laid, I wouldn’t be posting this now. I don’t want to be attacking every Hollywood douchebag who hits on countless women. That type of behavior isn’t cool, but I think it’s important to separate douchebaggery from any kind of sexual coercion. But the women I talked to who DID go someplace private with Toback, told stories that were worse than the women only accosted on the street… So I did what I could do in my impotent state – for over twenty years now, I’ve been bringing up James Toback every chance I could in groups of people. I couldn’t stop him, but I could warn people about him… I’ve been hoping the Weinstein/O’Reilly stuff would bring this vampire into the light (him and a couple others, frankly). So I was happy today to wake up to this story in the L. A. Times.”
~ James Gunn

“BATTLE OF THE SEXES: Politics and queerness as spectacle/spectacle as politics and queerness. Pretty delightful, lovely, erotic. A-

“Not since EASY A and CABARET have I seen Emma Stone give a real sense of her range. Here, she has pathos and interiority and desire. I love the cinematography and the ways in which the images of the tennis icons are refracted and manipulated via various surfaces/mediators. Also, wild how a haircut is one of the most erotic scenes in cinema this year. Spine tinglingly tactile that feels refreshing. Proof that *cough* you don’t need to be ~graphic/explicit~ to be erotic *cough*. Also, it made me want to get into tennis. Watching it, at least.

“There are interesting touches and intimations as to the cinematic nature of sports, & unpacking the formal approach of broadcasting sports.Also, I was here for Sarah Silverman smoking. And also, hi Mickey Sumner!! It’s a really interesting film about the ways in which public spectacle is never apolitical, and how spectacle is prone to assignation.

“There’s this one other scene from BATTLE OF THE SEXES that I love, and it’s the one in the bar. You see Billie looking after Marilyn as she dances. Through a crowd. There’s a paradoxical closeness and distance between them. In the purple light, and the kitschy decor, everything is distorted. But Billie catches a glance and you can feel the nervous swell inside.”
~ Kyle Turner