MCN Originals Archive for May, 2013

Wilmington on Movies: Now You See Me

This new cinematic magic show—in which four professional magicians join for a Las Vegas-style super-act that may also be a super-crime—is a movie so self-consciously clever, so intent on surprising the hell out of us, and so utterly, shamelessly, mind-numbingly preposterous that you may walk out of it feeling that your mental pockets have been picked.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Free Radicals, Side Effects

I’m not very find of abstract painting (which obviously helped inspire experimental filmmaking), so I can’t really explain my fondness for the movie avant-grade, ranging from the non-abstract surrealists Bunuel and Dali to largely non-narrative people like Hollis Frampton. to a splatter guy like Norman McLaren. Maybe I think, probably a superficial notion, that it’s too easy to fake an abstract painting, but to make an abstract film, even a bad one, you have to have at least some technical skill. Actually, you can fake a film too, or a film review. Maybe I‘m just still mad that my mother Edna, who was a brilliant realist artist, was treated like crap by the pretentious abstract artist/educators of her college and day.

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The DVD Wrapup

Beetlejuice, Lore, Shoot First, Dark Skies, Dorfman in Love, As Goes Janesville, Robert Mitchum Is Dead, Totoro, Longmire … and so much more.

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Routing Cannes 66: A Wrap

In an unprecedented move, the Steven Spielberg-led jury awarded the Palme d’Or to one film and three individuals: Blue is the Warmest Color, by director Abdellatif Kechiche with actresses Adèle Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Hangover Part III

Movies, like people, can sometimes display disastrous judgment. But hey, it’s a movie. Who gives a shit?

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The Weekend Report: Memorial Day Wknd 3-Days

Fast & Furious 6 left the competition choking in the dust as it charged to an estimated $98.4 million for the three-day portion of the Memorial holiday frame. That proved to be bad news for the launch of The Hangover Part III that slotted second with $42.1 million during the record-breaking session. The third new wide release was the futuristic animated Epic that performed to expectations with a $33.8 million telling.

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Palme d’Or Winner Review: La Vie d’Adèle (Blue is the Warmest Color)

Blue is the Warmest Color is a staggering motion picture, so big and so important and so full of life. It represents a milestone in on-screen sexuality, putting another nail in the coffin of old-world ignorance and prudishness, but it’s also a cinematic achievement in acting. In short, it’s a true opus.

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Wilmington on Movies: Fast and Furious 6

If you’re looking for a slam-bang movie full of spectacular car chases and mindbending action, Fast & Furious 6—the latest installment in the tire-burning, dumbfounding Fast & Furious series—is obviously your pedal-to-the-metal hot ticket. It‘s the kind of movie where the only logical (or illogical) response from longtime fans may be ‘”Wowie,“ “yowie“ or “zowie.” But if you’re looking for a movie that makes a lick of sense, or has a line of dialogue worth repeating, or a character or situation that isn’t either a howling cliché or a howling absurdity—take your pick—you’ve come to the wrong pit stop.

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Cannes Out-Of-Competition Review: All Is Lost

All is Lost is less concerned with what this story is “about” and more with how it all goes down (to be sure, the picture could be summarized in a single sentence). Rather, the actions and subsequent emotions are the narrative here; the expressions on Redford’s face speaking volumes despite the film’s outright lack of dialogue.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Jubal, 3:10 to Yuma, Safe Haven, Parker

    Jubal (Also Blu-ray) (Three Stars) U.S.: Delmer Daves, 1956 (Criterion Collection) My grandma Marie Tulane, who was born in Sweden and died in Wisconsin, often said she liked Westerns because the scenery was so beautiful. I think she would have liked Delmer Daves’ 1956 Jubal, starring Glenn Ford, Ernest Borgnine and Rod Steiger…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Mrs. Miniver

Mrs. Miniver will probably never again look as good, or as inspiring, as it did in 1942, when it helped solidify the Anglo-American wartime bond. It’s a typically polished Wyler production, with pristine-looking black-and white cinematography by ace Joseph Ruttenberg.

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Cannes ’13: What Is This Thing Called Love?

One of the other great decisions—which I wondered about while watching the film—was that it doesn’t linger on the unaccepting voices in Adèle’s life. Nor are they dismissed. The character, it turns out, doesn’t sweat the small stuff. But when things matter to her, they matter quite deeply… no commitment-phobe she.

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Cannes Competition Review: Only God Forgives

Only God Forgives is essentially the nastiest highlights of Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus” and Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex” wrapped around a revenge dance tête-à-tête, an equation that could have been more than the gratuitous, hyper-violent indulgence on show.

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Cannes Competition Review: Behind The Candelabra

Resembling the face of Liberace himself, Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra is a dazzling albeit saggy film, made competently and with sincere respect to its topic despite losing steam in its second hour.

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The DVD Wrapup

Beautiful Creatures, Cloud Atlas, Nightfall, Common Man, Love Sick Love, Rolling Thunder, Bad-Ass Girl, Ecstacyand so much more

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The Weekend Report

Star Trek: Into Darkness zapped the competition as it launched an estimated $68.2 million in its maiden theatrical voyage. The Enterprise was the sole new wide national release.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Iceman

I tell you, Michael Shannon looks at you, or he looks at the camera, whatever, and the cold sweat just shoots right through you. I bet it spooks you almost as much as if you saw the real-life Iceman guy, the real Richie, ready to ice somebody

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Cannes Competition Review: Inside Llewyn Davis

The frosted, muted backdrops are captured by cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel (“Amélie,” “Dark Shadows”), who steeps the film in faded bloom. It’s a gorgeous, misty visualization sure to instill nostalgia for those too young to have haunted locales like the Caffe Reggio or the Gaslight Café. As for Oscar Isaac’s performance, it’s hard not to simply babble superlatives.

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Friday Estimates

Star Trek: Into Darkness goes mildly into space; Iron Man Three drops 52%; The Great Gatsby keeps its eye on the green light.

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Wilmington on Movies: Star Trek Into Darkness

In many ways, it’s a relief watching this picture. After a decade of Patrick Stewart and company, and then more than a decade of franchise silence, 2009’s Star Trek ingeniously brought the original seven Enterprise crew members back together—in the process, demonstrating a flair for matching the new younger actors playing the old characters with our memories of the original crew—and, as it turns out here, some others memories as well.

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MCN Originals

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“The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes. It’s the destruction of our business. I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up film criticism was a real art. And there was intellect that went into that. And you would read Pauline’s Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore. Now it’s about a number. A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives. Now it’s about, ‘What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score?’ And that’s sad, because the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low on Batman v Superman I think it put a cloud over a movie that was incredibly successful. People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that. It’s mind-blowing. It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie. In Middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck.’ But that number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct. I’ve seen some great movies with really abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores. What’s sad is film criticism has disappeared. It’s really sad.”
~ Brett Ratner Has A Sad

“The loss of a local newspaper critic is a real loss. People who know the local audience and know the local cultural scene are very important resources. You can’t just substitute the stuff that comes in from nowhere through syndication or the wire. I think at the same time, some of the newer outlets have really beefed up and improved their coverage and made room for criticism. The real problem is in the more specialized art forms — fine arts, classical music, dance and jazz, say. There is a real slowing of critical voices, partly because those art forms have smaller audiences. Newspapers and magazines can say that doesn’t get enough traffic, so we don’t have room for that. To me, that’s especially worrisome. This is the opposite of what newspapers are supposed to do, which is not to try to figure out what people are already interested in and recite that back to them, but to hopefully guide them to something that they should be interested in, connecting potential audiences with more interesting work.

“Then again, not everyone needs a critic. People have been going to movies for more than 100 years now, and probably the vast majority of those people have not read movie reviews or cared what critics thought. But there has always been an important subset that wants to know more, that wants to think about what they’ve seen and what they’re going to see, and wants someone to think along with. I think critics are important, not just as dispensers of consumer advice — though that’s certainly part of it, too — but as trusted voices and companions for people to argue with in your head when you’re going to movies or afterwards.”
~ A. O. Scott