MCN Originals Archive for November, 2011

Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Friends With Benefits; 30 Minutes or Less; One Day; Island of Lost Souls

     “Friends with Benefits” (Two Stars) U. S.: Will Gluck, 2011 Falling in love is such great movie material that it’s a pity Hollywood screws it up so often, especially  these days. Friends with Benefits is  supposed to be smarter and funnier than the usual pseudo-romantic comedy of today, but it’s really ust another rommie-commie with more (and…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Blu-ray. Cave of Forgotten Dreams

      Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Also Two Disc Blu-ray/3D Blu-ray combo) (Four Stars) Germany/France: Werner Herzog, 2011 (MPI Home Video)   Perhaps 30,000 years ago, or less, in the age of the paleoliths, a man or woman, or a group of them, stood before the walls of the cave of Chauvet, in France,…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Sarah’s Key

      Sarah’s Key (Elle s’appelait Sarah) (Three Stars) France: Gilles Paquet-Brenner, 2010 (Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay) Sarah‘s Key (Elle s’appelait Sarah) is a movie about public and private tragedies, based on the novel by Tatiana de Rosnay and filmed with much fidelity and feeling by director-screenwriter Gilles Paquet-Brenner. It’s a good movie, with one…

Read the full article »

Gurus o’ Gold: November 29, 2011

The Gurus start this week with three questions about the award season itself, primarily about the early awards and nominations coming out in November.

Then it’s on to Best Picture, where Hugo is the big mover, and Supporting Actress & Actor, which hasn’t changed much at the top in the last month… but for which the field keeps narrowing.

Read the full article » 4 Comments »

Wilmington on Movies: The Artist

        The Artist (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.-France: Michel Hazanavicius The Artist, a movie about the Golden Age of Hollywood, is a superb silent film in black and white by the French writer-director Michel Hazanavicius. It’s an utterly wonderful show: a gloriously anachronistic little film with actors who don’t talk and pictures that…

Read the full article »

20W2O Special: New York First! Film Critics Circle Get Tattooed

“Real” critics groups should not be in the role of negotiating screenings or demanding anything from the studios of film producers. The idea of NYFCC being a proactive player in the awards season, positioning itself to be FIRST! and presuming that studios will follow is a business call, not a show call. And though many of us write about the business in the course of being critics – certainly too much these days… mea culpa – if there is any time that calls for a pure “show” mindset, it’s year-end awards.

Read the full article » 29 Comments »

Wilmington on Movies: My Week with Marilyn

    My Week With Marilyn (Three Stars) U.K.: Simon Curtis, 2011 Marilyn Monroe: She was a dream of sex and the ultimate blonde fantasy. She was a smart girl who got rich and famous playing dumb. She was an innocent who played with fire and whose angel-wings burst into flame. And she was a…

Read the full article »

The Weekend Report: November 27, 2011

There was no sunset for Twilight as its fourth incarnation Breaking Dawn ascended to the top of weekend movie sales with an estimated $41.9 million for the three-day slice of the Thanksgiving holiday session.

Three new national releases – all targeted toward family viewing – failed to enliven the festive spirit that came early last weekend but didn’t sustain the merriment. The re-booted The Muppets ranked second with $29.3 million (all figures reflect three-day box office). Two other films targeted that segment with 3D offerings. The animated Arthur Christmas bowed to $12.3 million while the period adventure Hugo arrived at the station with $11.3 million.

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

Friday Estimates: November 25, 2011

To no one’s surprise, Twilight continues on top of the heap. It’s followed by FOUR family films, with The Muppets dominating over the other 3, which are right on top of each other.

Read the full article »

Wilmington on Movies: The Descendants

  The Descendants (Four Stars) U.S.: Alexander Payne, 2011  Good things often take a while. But should they? It took director-writer Alexander Payne seven years to make a new film  after his Oscar-winning/box-office/critical triumph with Sideways in 2004.  Considering how good Sideways was, and how much it was liked, that’s a long time. (Too long)….

Read the full article » 6 Comments »

Wilmington on Movies: The Muppets

  The Muppets (Three Stars) U.S.: James Bobin, 2011 It’s good to have them back. Jim Henson’s Muppets — among the most delightful puppets and most engaging fuzzy-furry fictional beasties to ever pop out of a TV or movie screen — haven’t been around much in recent years. Oh, once in a while we’ve seen them: a…

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

15 Weeks To Oscar: Now There’s A Race

War Horse is for real. It’s a true epic and an instant classic.

The Artist is a real joy. Undeniable. Surprising. An epic pleasure.

It will be interesting to see how this starts to play out… and whether either of the last entries into the race can change the game, perhaps as the movie that wins on a split between two more classically styled films.

Read the full article » 16 Comments »

DP/30 Holiday Cornucopia: Albert Nobbs, The Descendants, Happy Feet Two, Hugo, Melancholia, We Need To Talk About Kevin

It’s a holiday weekend. DP/30 allows you to spend some of your down time with Sir Ben Kingsley, George Miller, Glenn Close, John Logan, Tilda Swinton, Kirsten Dunst, the comedy act of Bridges/Lillard/Forster, and others…

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

The DVD Wrapup: Super 8, Spy Kids 4, Devil’s Double, Sarah’s Key, Family Tree, Trigger, Helldriver …

Super 8: Blu-ray Spy Kids 4: All Time in the World As residents of the placid Ohio town of Lillian are being rounded up and bussed to an Air Force base – ostensibly to protect them from a mysterious virus – I remembered that I’d seen this movie before, dozens of times in the last…

Read the full article »

Thankful 2011: 15 Years Of Thanks

Being thankful in a time of turmoil is an interesting thing. I find myself more thankful on a daily basis than at any time in this career of covering film and the film industry. And yet, I find myself fearful of what it will all become.

Read the full article » 13 Comments »

Gurus o’ Gold: November 22, 2011

As we head into the holiday weekend, The Gurus offer their weekly Best Picture projections.

And this week, the unlikely nominations for which each guru would be thankful. And which choice is being hoped from by 5 of the 14 Gurus? Take a look.

Read the full article » 6 Comments »

Wilmington on DVDs. Box Sets: Georges Melies, The Wizard of Cinema (1896-1913); Melies Encores

  This week, happily on my birthday, November 23, a truly wonderful film is opening: Hugo, Martin Scorsese’s amazing and beautiful fiction feature about an inventive  boy named Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) who lives in a spectacular Parisian railroad station (Modeled on the Gare Montparnasse), and the bearded, embittered shopkeeper he meets there, a man who…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classic. 12 Angry Men (Lumet); Twelve Angry Men (Schaffner)

  DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC 12 Angry Men (Two Discs) (Four Stars) U.S.; Sidney Lumet, 1957 (Criterion) The court will rise…   12. Twelve men, jurors in a ’50s murder trial, gather together in the sweltering heat of a New York City afternoon, in a box-like jury room where the fans give little…

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Super 8

    Super 8 (Four Stars) U.S.: J. J. Abrams, 2011, Paramount Remember what it was like when you were 12? 14? Twelve, wishing you were fourteen? Remember how magical the world was then? And how magical the movies were: the ones that you really loved and remembered and were really affected by? For me, that was 1958…

Read the full article »

Wilmington on Movies: Happy Feet Two

      Happy Feet Two (Three Stars) U.S.: George Miller, 2011   I’ve got to admit: The first ten minutes or so of Happy Feet Two had me worried — even though I was quite partial to the first 2006 installment of the original, George Miller’s 2006 tale of a tap-dancing penguin named Mumble…

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I never accepted the term contrarian. I think that’s offensive, frankly. And my response to that is: if I’m a contrarian, what are other reviewers? What I strive to do is be a good critic, not somebody who simply accepts the product put in front of me. I guess it scares people to think that they don’t have any originality; that they don’t have the capacity to think for themselves.

“There’s a line a lot of reviewers use that I don’t like at all. They say ‘accept the film on its own terms.’ What that really means is, ‘accept the film as it is advertised.’ That’s got nothing to do with criticism. Nothing to do with having a response as a film watcher. A thinking person has to analyze what’s on screen, not simply rubber-stamp it or kowtow to marketing.”m

“To me, everything does have a political component and I think it’s an interesting way to look at art. It’s one way that makes film reviewing, I think, a politically relevant form of journalism. We do live in a political world, and we bring our political sense to the movies with us – unless you’re the kind of person who goes to the movies and shuts off the outside world. I’m not that kind of person.”
~ Armond White to Luke Buckmaster

“One of comedy’s defining pathologies, alongside literal pathologies like narcissism and self-loathing, is its swaggering certainty that it is part of the political vanguard, while upholding one of the most rigidly patriarchal hierarchies of any art form.”
~ Lindy West