Reviews Archive for September, 2009

Wilmington on DVDs: The Wizard of Oz, Monsters vs. Aliens and more…

PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC The Wizard of Oz (Four Stars) U. S.; Victor Fleming, King Vidor (Unc.), 1939 (Warner) Some movies appeal to just about everybody — like the heart-stoppingly entertaining and wonderful 1939 musical that MGM made out of L. Frank Baum’s American fairy tale, The Wizard of Oz (now released in a…

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Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Observe and Report

2009 turned out to be the year of the ‘shopping mall security person’ comedy, and it shows you how fast trends turn over these days that there were only three months between the theatrical release dates separating the point where the genre was established, with Paul Blart: Mall Cop, a Sony Pictures Home Entertainment release,…

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Wilmington on DVDs: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, That Hamilton Woman, O’Horten and more…

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Two-and-a-Half Stars) U. S.; Gavin Hood (2009) The question of the day, in a world beset with war, pandemics, economic collapse, crazed cable news-slingers and

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X-Men Origins: Wolverine

A superficial but watchable comic book action film, X-Men Origins Wolverine, a summer of 2009 blockbuster hopeful that came up a hair or two short because of that superficiality, has been released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Since such films go down easier on home video, it probably won’t seem so bad and it really…

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Hotel Atlantico Directed by Suzana Amaral

At a fest like TIFF there are both small gems to uncover, and lumps of coal in the festival stocking to ponder, as in: why is this film even in this festival, and, more importantly, what better film did I miss while I was wasting two hours of my life waiting in vain for this…

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Dogtooth Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Dogtooth, the searing tale of suburban satire, familial horror, and political subversion that won the Un Certain Regard category at this years Cannes Film Festival, puts an extraordinary spin on the idea of twisted families. Iit’s brilliant in equal parts because the director, Yorgos Lanthimos, immerses us so completely in the crazy world he’s created and in part…

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Applause Directed by Martin Pieter Zandvliet

Danish powerhouse actress Paprika Steen (who had a directorial entry, the excellent With Your Permission, in the Toronto International Film Festival in 2007) turns in another excellent performance in Applause, the directorial debut of Martin Pieter Zandvliet. The film revolves around Thea, an alcoholic actress who, some time before the film starts, divorced her nice-guy husband Christian (Michael Falks)…

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An Education Directed by Lone Scherfig

An Education, Lone Scherfig’s much-anticipated film about Jenny (Carey Mulligan), a British schoolgirl in the 1960s who gets swept off her feet by an older man (Peter Saarsgard) is beautifully directed, smart and engaging — and one of the best films at Sundance thus far. Nick Hornby (author of the novels About a Boy andHigh Fidelity)…

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Creation Directed by Jon Amiel

Creation seems to be rather misunderstood already. It’s not really a Charles Darwin biopic or a period piece by its nature (though it is, in fact, period). It is, very surprisingly like the still-controversial Antichrist, a movie about the loss of a child and how the parents deal with it. In this case, however, it just…

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Fish Tank Directed by Andrea Arnold

Finally, Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank, which is in the tradition of Ken Loach and Kieslowski… raw and real. (Interestingly, Samantha Morton’s first feature, The Unloved, here at the fest, walks down a similar road.) Here it is the story of Mia, a 15-year-old with a lot of anger, but some earnest dreams and a will of iron. She’s played…

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Nymph Directed by Pen-ek Ratanaruang

Screening in the “Visions” section of TIFF, Nymph, by Thai director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang (something of a name among the arthouse crowd) is a languid, meticulously paced tale of love, infidelity and betrayal that’s kept from being truly compelling by a dramatic structure that’s top-heavy with many moments of nothing leading up to a faster-paced final 30 minutes…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Easy Virtue, The Country Teacher, Wagon Master and more…

Easy Virtue (Three Stars) U. K.; Stephan Elliott, 2009 (Sony) Noel Coward’s blithe, spirited, sexy ’20s play, Easy Virtue, is not new to

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Review: The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

MCN Review: It is not the very best Gilliam ever, but it does play like a kind of greatest hits combined with more innovation from a master filmmaker. The big thing here is CG matching Gilliam’s sizable imagination more powerfully than ever. Of course, his love of theatrical ideas – literally, from the theater –…

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Wilmington on DVDs: State of Play, Earth, Sin Nombre, Skin Game, M*A*S*H* and more…

State of Play (Three Stars) U. S.; Kevin Macdonald, 2009 (Universal) There’s stuff wrong with State of Play, director Kevin Macdonald’s would-be brainy newspaper thriller

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Reviews

Gary J Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Peppermint, Wild Boys, Un Traductor, Await Instructions, Lizzie, Coby, Afghan Love Story, Elizabeth Harvest, Brutal, Holiday Horror, Sound & Fury … More

Gary J Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup & Gift Guide III: Venom 4K, The Super, Snowflake, Marie Curie, Gamechangers, Who We Are Now, 40 Guns, De Palma-De Niro,, Starman and more

aniban83 on: The DVD Wrapup & Gift Guide III: Venom 4K, The Super, Snowflake, Marie Curie, Gamechangers, Who We Are Now, 40 Guns, De Palma-De Niro,, Starman and more

porn on: The DVD Gift Guide I: Uni Monsters, Body Snatchers, Twilight 4K, Evil Dead, Trauma, Creepshow, Haunted Hill, Dude 4K, Saved by Bell, 3 Stooges … More

Daniella Isaacs on: The DVD Wrapup: Peppermint, Wild Boys, Un Traductor, Await Instructions, Lizzie, Coby, Afghan Love Story, Elizabeth Harvest, Brutal, Holiday Horror, Sound & Fury … More

Gary Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Eighth Grade, No. 1 Fan, Jeannette, Moe Berg, 12th Man, La Familia, Molly, Sarno, Making a Killing, All Styles … More

David Pearce on: The DVD Wrapup: Eighth Grade, No. 1 Fan, Jeannette, Moe Berg, 12th Man, La Familia, Molly, Sarno, Making a Killing, All Styles … More

Trevor T. Trujillo on: The DVD Wrapup: Hereditary, Ghost Stories, Found Footage 3D, Beast, Venus, This Is Our Land, The Big Take, Brothers, Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji, Sid Caesar, Good Karma Hospital … More

Steven DeGennaro on: The DVD Wrapup: Hereditary, Ghost Stories, Found Footage 3D, Beast, Venus, This Is Our Land, The Big Take, Brothers, Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji, Sid Caesar, Good Karma Hospital … More

Gary J Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Hereditary, Ghost Stories, Found Footage 3D, Beast, Venus, This Is Our Land, The Big Take, Brothers, Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji, Sid Caesar, Good Karma Hospital … More

The DVD Wrapup: Not A Witch, Jonathan, The Captain, Speed Kills, Room 304, Hippocrates, The Dark, Crimson Peak, Tea With Dames, Forbidden Photos, Addiction … More

The DVD Wrapup: Mid90s, Oath, Obamaland, Bad Reputation, Hell Fest, Time Freak, Kusama, Oddsockeaters, Bent, Harry/Sally, Nemesis, Frontline, Cats … More

The DVD Wrapup: 2018’s Most Memorable Titles, Hobbyhorses, Martyr, CMA Live, Tailspin Tommy, Gilda, Miracle Worker … More

The DVD Wrapup & Gift Guide III: Venom 4K, The Super, Snowflake, Marie Curie, Gamechangers, Who We Are Now, 40 Guns, De Palma-De Niro,, Starman and more

The DVD Wrapup: Peppermint, Wild Boys, Un Traductor, Await Instructions, Lizzie, Coby, Afghan Love Story, Elizabeth Harvest, Brutal, Holiday Horror, Sound & Fury … More

The DVD Wrapup: Support the Girls, M:I Fallout, Gosford Park, Serpent’s Egg. True Stories, School Daze, Candyman, Hanging Rock, Yellowstone … More

The DVD Wrapup: Gauguin, Blindspotting, Skate Kitchen, Wobble Palace, Third Murder, Outrage Coda, Nelly, Luciferina, MDMA, Heavy Trip, Agony, Family I Had … More

DVD Gift Guide II: Bergman@100, 2001 4K, Rambo 4K, Dances With Wolves, Robin Williams, Ernie Kovacs, Detectorists, Frosty, Elf … More

The DVD Wrapup: Owl’s Legacy, Good Manners, Childrens Act, Juliet Naked, Unnamable, Little Italy, Gas Food Lodging, SWF, Detective Dee, Windtalkers … More

The DVD Wrapup: Incredibles 2, Superman, Midaq Alley, La Boyita, 7th Day, Longing, Breaking Brooklyn, Mara, Capra Goes to War, Sleepwalkers, The Circus, Native America … More

Quote Unquotesee all »

“When books become a thing, they can no longer be fine.

“Literary people get mad at Knausgård the same way they get mad at Jonathan Franzen, a writer who, if I’m being honest, might be fine. I’m rarely honest about Jonathan Franzen. He’s an extremely annoying manI have only read bits and pieces of his novels, and while I’ve stopped reading many novels even though they were pretty good or great, I have always stopped reading Jonathan Franzen’s novels because I thought they were aggressively boring and dumb and smug. But why do I think this? I didn’t read him when he was a new interesting writer who wrote a couple of weird books and then hit it big with ‘The Corrections,’ a moment in which I might have picked him up with curiosity and read with an open mind; I only noticed him once, after David Foster Wallace had died, he became the heir apparent for the Great American Novelist position, once he had had that thing with Oprah and started giving interviews in which he said all manner of dumb shit; I only noticed him well after I had been told he was An Important Writer.

“So I can’t and shouldn’t pretend that I am unmoved by the lazily-satisfied gentle arrogance he projects or when he is given license to project it by the has-the-whole-world-gone-crazy development of him being constantly crowned and re-crowned as Is He The Great American Writer. What I really object to is this, and if there’s anything to his writing beyond it, I can’t see it and can’t be bothered. Others read him and tell me he’s actually a good writer—people whose critical instincts I have learned to respect—so I feel sure that he’s probably a perfectly fine, that his books are fine, and that probably even his stupid goddamned bird essays are probably also fine.

“But it’s too late. He has become a thing; he can’t be fine.”
~ Aaron Bady

“You know how in postproduction you are supposed to color-correct the picture so everything is smooth and even? Jean-Luc wants the opposite. He wants the rupture. Color and then black and white, or different intensities of color. Or how in this film, sometimes you see the ratio of the frame change after the image begins. That happens when he records from his TV onto his old DVCAM analog machine, which is so old we can’t even find parts when it needs to be repaired. The TV takes time to recognize and adjust to the format on the DVD or the Blu-ray. Whether it’s 1:33 or 1:85. And one of the TVs he uses is slower than the other. He wants to keep all that. I could correct it, but he doesn’t want me to. See, here’s an image from War and Peace. He did the overlays of color—red, white, and blue—using an old analog video effects machine. That’s why you have the blur. When I tried to redo it in digital, I couldn’t. The edges were too sharp. And why the image jitters—I don’t know how he did that. Playing with the cable maybe. Handmade. He wants to see that. It’s a gift from his old machine.”
~ Fabrice Aragno