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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Ray Pride on: The DVD Wrapup: Founder, Punching Henry, Paris 05:59, Apocalypse Child, Donnie Darko, Woman of the Year, Tampopo, Handmaid’s Tale and more

RAY WEIKEL on: The DVD Wrapup: Founder, Punching Henry, Paris 05:59, Apocalypse Child, Donnie Darko, Woman of the Year, Tampopo, Handmaid’s Tale and more

Carrie Mulligan on: Wilmington on DVDs: The Great Gatsby

estes1963 on: The DVD Wrapup: Drive Angry, Once Upon a Time in the West, Adua & Her Friends, A Clockwork Orange, Undertow, The Joke, Passion Play, Kaboom, Harvest ...

isa50 on: Wilmington on DVDs: Gladiator; Hell's Half Acre; The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Rory on: Wilmington on Movies: Snow White and the Huntsman

gurley1986 on: The DVD Wrapup: Blood Simple, Cat People, Shallows, Neon Demon, Sirk X 2, Warcraft, Kamikaze '89 and more

Quote Unquotesee all »

Dear Irene Cho, I will miss your energy and passion; your optimism and joy; your kindness towards friends, colleagues, strangers, struggling filmmakers, or anyone who randomly crossed your path and needed a hand. My brothers and I have long considered you another sibling in our family. Our holiday photos – both western and eastern – have you among all the cousins, in-laws, and kids… in the snow, sun, opening presents, at large dinner gatherings, playing Monopoly, breaking out pomegranate seeds and teaching us all how to dance Gangnam style. Your friendship and loyalty meant a great deal to me: you were the loudest cheerleader when I experienced victories and you were always ready with sushi when I had disappointments. You had endless crazy ideas which always seemed impossible but you would will them into existence. (Like that time you called me and suggested that we host a brunch for newly elected mayor of LA, Eric Garcetti because “he is going to president one day.” We didn’t have enough time or funding, of course, only your desire to do it. So you did, and I followed.) You created The Daily Buzz from nothing and it survived on your steam in spite of many setbacks because you believed in a platform for emerging filmmakers from all nations. Most of all, you were a wonderful mother to your son, Ethan, a devoted wife to your husband, and a wonderful sibling and daughter to your family. We will all miss how your wonderful smile and energy lit up the room and our lives. Rest in peace, Irene.
~ Rose Kuo Remembers Irene Cho on Facebook

“You know, I was never a critic. I never considered myself as a film critic. I started doing short films, writing screenplays and then for awhile, for a few years I wrote some film theory, including some film criticism because I had to, but I was never… I never had the desire to be a film critic. I never envisioned myself as a film critic, but I did that at a period of my life when I thought I kind of needed to understand things about cinema, understand things about film theory, understand the world map of cinema, and writing about movies gave me that, and also the opportunity to meet filmmakers I admired.

“To me, it was the best possible film school. The way it changed my perspective I suppose is that I believe in this connection between theory and practice. I think that you also make movies with ideas and you need to have ideas about filmmaking to achieve whatever you’re trying to achieve through your movies, but then I started making features in 1986 — a while ago — and I left all that behind.

“For the last three decades I’ve been making movies, I’ve been living, I’ve been observing the world. You become a different person, so basically my perspective on the world in general is very different and I hope that with every movie I make a step forward. I kind of hope I’m a better person, and hopefully a better filmmaker and hopefully try to… It’s very hard for me to go back to a different time when I would have different values in my relationship to filmmaking. I had a stiffer notion of cinema.”
~ Olivier Assayas