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

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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 »

“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

A Spirited Exchange

“In some ways Christopher Nolan has become our Stanley Kubrick,” reads the first sentence of David Bordwell’s latest blog post–none of which I want or intend to read after that desperate opening sentence. If he’d written “my” or “some people’s” instead of “our”, I might have read further. Instead, I can only surmise that in some ways David Bordwell may have become our Lars von Trier.”
~ Jonathan Rosenbaum On Facebook

“Jonathan has written a despicable thing in comparing me to Trump. He’s free to read or not read what I write, and even to judge arguments without reading them. It’s not what you’d expect from a sensible critic, but it’s what Jonathan has chosen to do, for reasons of a private nature he has confided to me in an email What I request from him is an apology for comparing my ideas to Trump’s.”
~ David Bordwell Replies

“Yes, I do apologize, sincerely, for such a ridiculous and quite unwarranted comparison. The private nature of my grievance with David probably fueled my post, but it didn’t dictate it, even though I’m willing to concede that I overreacted. Part of what spurred me to post something in the first place is actually related to a positive development in David’s work–an improvement in his prose style ever since he wrote (and wrote very well) about such elegant prose stylists as James Agee and Manny Farber. But this also brought a journalistic edge to his prose, including a dramatic flair for journalistic ‘hooks’ and attention-grabbers, that is part of what I was responding to. Although I realize now that David justifies his opening sentence with what follows, and far less egregiously than I implied he might have, I was responding to the drum roll of that opening sentence as a provocation, which it certainly was and is.”
~ Jonathan Rosenbaum Replies