MCN Originals Archive for May, 2012

The DVD Wrapup: Talk About Kevin, more

Plus Aggression Scale, Maverick, Coriolanus, Harry Belafonte, Ernie Kovacs: The ABC Specials
, New York Stories and Highlights of the 2012 Masters Tournament.

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Review: Snow White & The Huntsman (Conceptual Spoilers Only)

Swimming through the thick subtext, Snow White is, really, what evil Queen Ravenna (Theron) could have been… had she had the opportunity to remain unsullied… beauty and kindness and toughness. Ravenna is not only trying to kill Snow for her direct benefit, but she is trying to kill the representation, in flesh, of what she might have been.

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Suddenly, the great Swedish cop Wallander is everywhere …

If one were to judge the crime rate in Sweden strictly by the number of mysteries, you’d think it was a haven for sociopaths, drug runners and gangbangers.

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Review: Prometheus (Spoiler-Free)

The thing about Prometheus is that it is the first true Science Fiction movie from a major studio in years. i know that a lot of movies are positioned as sci-fi. But watching Prometheus, I felt like science and fiction were pushing me, as an audience member, to think about the ideas being presented in a fairly complex way. This was not, as Alien itself was, a genre film of a different sort with sci-fi elements superimposed on top of it (brilliantly, in that case). This film is about ideas. This film is about whether there is a greater meaning in the tradition of the first Planet of the Apes, early Trek, Soylent Green, Serling, Matheson, Bradbury, and others.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Man on a Ledge; Kill Bill, Volumes One and Two; Run for Cover; The Lawless

Quentin Tarantino’s forte is probably his mastery of tough guy dialogue; in movies like Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction (and, courtesy of Elmore Leonard, in Jackie Brown), he reaches heights of wise guy film noir grandeur.

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Wilmington on DVDs: We Need to Talk About Kevin

Certainly Kevin is at his cutest when he finally listens to Eva, as she reads him the tale of Robin Hood, champion Saxon archer — and his father, whom Kevin plays like a bassoon, later buys him a bow and arrow, and he becomes a crackerjack archer, who can always hit his target.

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CANNES 65: A Wrap

The question was never “if” Michael Haneke was going to win something—the question was always “what.”

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The Weekend Report: May 27, 2012 (3 Day)

Men in Black III did little to slow down The Avengers juggernaut but nonetheless won the box office crown for the Memorial holiday weekend with a three-day estimate of $54.9 million. The Avengers added $36.8 million and raised its cume to more than $500 million – the fourth film to reach such heights.

The sessions only other national debut was the horror cheapie Chernobyl Diaries that entered the fray with $8 million in position five.

Regional newcomers were dullish but a pair of exclusive entries displayed brio and gusto. French powerhouse Intouchables ($355 million internationally) opened in the U.S. with close to $100,000 (all figures reflect three-day box office) from a quartet of screens following a $2 million-plus tally in Québec. The dynamic bow was overshadowed by a jaw dropping $517,000 bow (also at four sites) for Cannes curtain-raiser Moonrise Kingdom.

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Wilmington on Movies: Men in Black III

A good sequel can increase our pleasure, sweeten our memories. “Men in Black III” is third in the series that started back in 1997 and has now produced one bad sequel (“Men in Black II”) and one good one (“Men in Black III”). Win a few, lose a few, as Agent K might say.

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Friday Estimates, May 25, 2012

The “Men in Black” start the Memorial Day Weekend with a 41% lead on “The Avengers.” It should hold up, but one never knows, do one?

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Wilmington on Movies: Chernobyl Diaries

“Chernobyl Diaries” is an awful picture, but it has, I swear, a great setting and premise for a horror movie. It takes place in the abandoned city of Pripyat: grey, desolate, strange, the site of the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor Plant disaster — a meltdown that sent the populace fleeing from the immediate area, and closed down the plant for good. I repeat: great location — and part of this movie was reportedly even shot in the real place.

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Cannes Competition review: Cosmopolis

Packer travels by stretch limousine, an inconvenient method of transportation in a busy metropolis like Manhattan, but it symbolizes power and importance in a way no other vehicle can. It’s a status thing. When his day is upended by riots in a city filled with economic unrest, the rest of his adventure becomes an odyssey that is better left seen than described.

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The DVD Wrapup: Newlyweds, Certified Copy, Arrietty, Route 66, Sherlock … More

The careers of few indie filmmakers have begun in as auspicious a fashion as Ed Burns.

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DVD Geek: Camelot

One can speak derisively of Blu-rays for their operational legthargy, but there are amazing things that the format can accomplish, and a very good example is that they can turn bad movies into good movies. Musicals have always played by different rules than other movies, and that is what is at work here. Rather than dwelling on the film’s failures, the BD enables one to embrace what does succeed in the film, and allows those glories to reign.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Red Tails; This Means War; Pony Express

  RED TAILS (Also Blu-ray) (Three Stars) U. S.: Anthony Hemingway, 2012 (2oth Century Fox)       There are two ways to look at Red Tails, producer George Lucas’s long-gestating  World War II movie about the storied all-black Air Force unit, The Tuskegee Airmen.    You can see the show as a big spectacular action…

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Cannes Reviews: The Hunt, Room 237

“The Hunt” is narratively similar to “Festen” in its theme of child molestation. Whereas “Festen”’s was all too real, “The Hunt”’s pedophilia is entirely fabricated: the child abuse is a lie propagated by 5-year-old Klara, who doesn’t understand the power of her words. … “Room 237″’s main theme is authorial intent, because the film is informed by people (read: fans) who have read into Stanley Kubrick’s directorial mind to see what they want to see in “The Shining.”

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Wilmington on DVDs: A Night to Remember

It‘s a masterly historical reconstruction — and despite its typically British, somewhat staid cinematics, an absolutely thrilling film. As gripping and excitingly visual as Cameron‘s movie may have been, this picture, even more, is the movie Titanic to remember.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Secret World of Arrietty

The everyday beauty and transcendent charm of The Secret World of Arrietty — the latest feature cartoon import from Japan’s master animator/writer/director Hayao Miyazaki ) — is a balm to the restless spirit, a tonic for the troubled heart.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Woman in Black

“The Woman in Black” is an old-style British horror movie with some new-style violence, a film that takes advantage of the new screen freedoms and technology, but that also employs, often pretty effectively, a lot of the familiar archetypes and tropes of British literary and movie horror, particularly the ones for the haunted house sub-genre.

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The Gronvall Files: Interview with Tanya Wexler, Director of Hysteria

Unlike most of the starched, corseted, and repressed female characters that populate her new comedy Hysteria, filmmaker Tanya Wexler is comfortable in her own skin.

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MCN Originals

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“TIFF doesn’t make attendance numbers for its Lightbox screenings publicly available, so it’s difficult to gauge exactly how many filmgoers the Lightbox is attracting (or how much money it’s bringing in). But the King Street West venue hasn’t become a significant draw for film enthusiasts. The Lightbox’s attendance has plunged – 49,000 fewer visitors last year, a drop of 27 per cent, according to figures recently reported in the Toronto Star. Its gallery space – designed to showcase the visions of cinema’s most iconic filmmakers – saw most of its exhibitions staff quietly axed this past fall. And its marketing barely escapes the Lightbox’s walls. Unless you are a TIFF member or one of the city’s most avid filmgoers, you could walk by the Lightbox and remain blissfully unaware of a single thing that goes on inside. TIFF “still has a world-class brand,” said Barry Avrich, a filmmaker and former board member, “but it’s going to take some fresh vision from retail, consumer programming and marketing experts, given how the lines have become intensely blurred when it comes to how people watch film. They will have to experiment with programming to find the right blend of function and relevance.”
~ Globe & Mail Epic On State of Toronto Int’l (paywalled)

“I’m 87 years old… I only eat so I can smoke and stay alive… The only fear I have is how long consciousness is gonna hang on after my body goes. I just hope there’s nothing. Like there was before I was born. I’m not really into religion, they’re all macrocosms of the ego. When man began to think he was a separate person with a separate soul, it created a violent situation.

“The void, the concept of nothingness, is terrifying to most people on the planet. And I get anxiety attacks myself. I know the fear of that void. You have to learn to die before you die. You give up, surrender to the void, to nothingness.

“Anybody else you’ve interviewed bring these things up? Hang on, I gotta take this call… Hey, brother. That’s great, man. Yeah, I’m being interviewed… We’re talking about nothing. I’ve got him well-steeped in nothing right now. He’s stopped asking questions.”
~ Harry Dean Stanton