Reviews Archive for July, 2010

Wilmington on Movies: Dinner for Schmucks, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Charlie St. Cloud, The Concert, 8 1/2

Dinner for Schmucks (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.; Jay Roach, 2010 There are plenty of primo American comedy actors around right now; all we really need is the movies to put them in. Dinner for Schmucks, with its story courtesy  of French buddy-comedy master Francis Veber, and its showcase roles for Paul Rudd, Zach…

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A Star is Born

The outstanding George Cukor 1954 production of A Star Is Born has been reissued by Warner Home Video as a two-platter Deluxe Edition. The first version of the 176-minute feature was fit onto one side of a single platter, with special features placed on the other side. The new release splits the film onto two…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Vincere, The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus, Elvis: That’s the Way it Is, Cop Out … and more

Vincere (Four Stars) Italy; Marco Bellocchio, 2009 Marco Bellocchio’s Vincere (Victory) is grandly ambitious and often stunningly beautiful: a lush, brilliantly stylish operatic bio-drama about an edgy, difficult subject, the unlikely tragedy of Benito Mussolini‘s spurned lover/maybe wife Ida Dalzer, his rejected son, Benito Albino Mussolini and the brutal Il Duce‘s barbarous neglect and mistreatment…

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Wilmington on Movies: Inception

Inception (Four Stars) U.S.; Christopher Nolan, 2010 It begins with a man washed up on the beach, awaking as if from a dream, waves crashing around him. What happens next? Christopher Nolan’s Inception, — with Leonardo DiCaprio as a tortured guy who shoves dreams into your head — is obviously some kind of masterpiece. It’s…

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Nine

The rounded down musical remake and homage of8½, Nine, has been released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. As an attempt to be a boxoffice hit or attract year-end awards, the 2009 feature was a disaster almost from its inception, having the audacity to copy the Federico Fellini masterpiece shot for shot in some places, and then…

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Gary Dretzka Digital Nation: Kisses

As the title of Lance Daly’s sweet coming-of-age dramedy implies, lips meet lips in Kisses. If for no other reason than those lips are on the faces of characters 13 and 11 years old, the embraces are few, but memorable. Revealing anything more about the tenor, timing or taste of those kisses would require a…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Terribly Happy, Ride with the Devil, Chloe, Film Noir Classic Collection Vol. 5, The Bounty Hunter … and more

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Terribly Happy (Three Stars) Denmark; Henrik Ruben Genz, 2008 (Oscilloscope) A troubled cop with a dark secret named Robert Hansen (Jakob Cedergren) travels from Copenhagen to a small Danish town, where the citizens at the local bar tend to be sarcastic and vaguely menacing and the local drunken doctor, Zerleng…

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The DVD Wrap by Gary Dretzka: Greenberg, The Bounty Hunter, Chloe, Our Family Wedding, The Only Son/There was a Father, Diary of a Nymphomaniac and more …

Greenberg: Blu-ray Movie critics may be endangered lot, but they do serve a purpose. Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg — a comedy so dark, it borders on tragedy – provides an excellent case in point. I wonder how many fans of Ben Stiller, whose movies typically don’t need the approval of newspaper pundits to be successful, braved…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Steamboat Bill, Jr., The White Ribbon, The Lovely Bones, Film Noir Classics, A Single Man … and more

CO-PICKS OF THE WEEK: CLASSICS Steamboat Bill, Jr. (Ultimate Two-Disc Edition) (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars) U.S.; Charles F. Reisner (and, uncredited, Buster Keaton), 1928 (Kino) Buster Keaton — he of the sad grave eyes, the unsmiling countenance and the omnipresent pork-pie hat — had undoubtedly the world’s most engaging poker-face. He also had a body…

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The DVD Wrap, A Single Man & others…

A Single Man If Tom Ford’s freshman film, A Single Man, had failed both critically and commercially, it might have been dismissed as a vanity project and forgotten by everyone who didn’t have a vested interest in flattering the famed fashion designer. After all, his name appears on the credits as director, writer and producer….

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Voynaristic Review, The Last Airbender

The Last Airbender Directed by M. Night Shyamalan Just how bad is The Last Airbender, M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation of the excellent anime series Avatar: The Last Airbender? I would say it’s laughably bad, but I’m too irritated by the slaughtering of this excellent source material to have much of a sense of humor about…

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Voynaristic Review, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Directed by David Slade Team Edward! Team Jacob! The handsome (albeit a bit pasty), sparkling, overprotective vampire who will live forever, or the handsome (albeit a bit hairy), hot, overprotective guy who turns into a giant wolf — however is a girl to choose?

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The Ultimate DVD Geek: Precious

Precious: Based on a Novel by Sapphire The glamour of the Oscars, where Gabourey Sidibe was nominated for her performance in the central role, would fit perfectly into the dream sequences of Precious: Based upon a Novel by Sapphire, from Lionsgate, and the Awards served as a sort of an emotional epilog to the movie,…

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Predators, Despicable Me and The Law (La Loi)

Predators (One and a Half Stars) U.S.; Nimrod Antal, 2010 I‘d be less than honest if I didn’t inform you that Predators — a horror movie about a Dirty Half-Dozen or so of mercenaries parachuted down onto a planetful of monsters — is a piece of god-awful shit. I would however be borrowing, and maybe…

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Reviews

https://bestwatches.club/ on: The DVD Wrapup: Diamonds of the Night, School of Life, Red Room, Witch/Hagazussa, Tito & the Birds, Keoma, Andre’s Gospel, Noir

Gary Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Sleep With Anger, Ralph Wrecks Internet, Liz & Blue Bird, Hannah Grace, Unseen, Jupiter's Moon, Legally Blonde, Willard, Bang … More

Gary Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Bumblebee, Ginsburg, Buster, Silent Voice, Nazi Junkies, Prisoner, Golden Vampires, Highway Rat, Terra Formars, No Alternative … More

GDA on: The DVD Wrapup: Bumblebee, Ginsburg, Buster, Silent Voice, Nazi Junkies, Prisoner, Golden Vampires, Highway Rat, Terra Formars, No Alternative … More

Larry K on: The DVD Wrapup: Sleep With Anger, Ralph Wrecks Internet, Liz & Blue Bird, Hannah Grace, Unseen, Jupiter's Moon, Legally Blonde, Willard, Bang … More

Gary Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Shoplifters, Front Runner, Nobody’s Fool, Peppermint Soda, Haunted Hospital, Valentine, Possum, Mermaid, Guilty, Antonio Lopez, 4 Weddings … More

gwehan on: The DVD Wrapup: Shoplifters, Front Runner, Nobody’s Fool, Peppermint Soda, Haunted Hospital, Valentine, Possum, Mermaid, Guilty, Antonio Lopez, 4 Weddings … More

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

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin