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

Quote Unquotesee all »

What do you make of the criticism directed at the film that the biopic genre or format is intrinsically bourgeois? That’s the most crazy criticism. That’s an excuse for not engaging with the content of the movie. Film critics sometimes, you know, can be very lazy.

Come on, formal criticism is valuable too. But I’m amazed when this is the thing they put in front of the discourse. My situation is that I’m dealing with a highly explosive subject, a taboo subject that nobody wants to deal with.

Karl Marx? Yes, this is the first film ever in the Western world about Marx. And I managed to make an almost mainstream film out of it. You want me at the same time to play the artist and do a risky film about the way my camera moves and the way I edit? No, it’s complicated enough! The artistic challenge — and it took me ten years with Pascal to write this story — was the writing. That was the most difficult part. We were making a film about the evolution of an idea, which is impossible. To be able to have political discourse in a scene, and you can follow it, and it’s not simplified, and it’s historically true. This is the accomplishment. So when someone criticizes the formal aspects without seeing that first, for me, it’s laziness or ignorance. There’s an incapacity to deal with what’s on the table. I make political films about today, I’m not making a biopic to make a biopic. I don’t believe in being an artist just to be an artist. And by the way, this film cost $9 million. I dare anyone in the United States to make this film for $9 million.
Raoul Peck on The Young Karl Marx

“The Motion Picture Academy, at considerable expense and with great efficiency, runs all the nominated pictures at its own theater, showing each picture twice, once in the afternoon, once in the evening. A nominated picture is one in connection with which any kind of work is nominated for an award, not necessarily acting, directing, or writing; it may be a purely technical matter such as set-dressing or sound work. This running of pictures has the object of permitting the voters to look at films which they may happen to have missed or to have partly forgotten. It is an attempt to make them realize that pictures released early in the year, and since overlaid with several thicknesses of battered celluloid, are still in the running and that consideration of only those released a short time before the end of the year is not quite just.

“The effort is largely a waste. The people with votes don’t go to these showings. They send their relatives, friends, or servants. They have had enough of looking at pictures, and the voices of destiny are by no means inaudible in the Hollywood air. They have a brassy tone, but they are more than distinct.”All this is good democracy of a sort. We elect Congressmen and Presidents in much the same way, so why not actors, cameramen, writers, and all rest of the people who have to do with the making of pictures? If we permit noise, ballyhoo, and theater to influence us in the selection of the people who are to run the country, why should we object to the same methods in the selection of meritorious achievements in the film business? If we can huckster a President into the White House, why cannot we huckster the agonized Miss Joan Crawford or the hard and beautiful Miss Olivia de Havilland into possession of one of those golden statuettes which express the motion picture industry’s frantic desire to kiss itself on the back of its neck? The only answer I can think of is that the motion picture is an art. I say this with a very small voice. It is an inconsiderable statement and has a hard time not sounding a little ludicrous. Nevertheless it is a fact, not in the least diminished by the further facts that its ethos is so far pretty low and that its techniques are dominated by some pretty awful people.

“If you think most motion pictures are bad, which they are (including the foreign), find out from some initiate how they are made, and you will be astonished that any of them could be good. Making a fine motion picture is like painting “The Laughing Cavalier” in Macy’s basement, with a floorwalker to mix your colors for you. Of course most motion pictures are bad. Why wouldn’t they be?”
~ Raymond Chandler, “Oscar Night In Hollywood,” 1948