Reviews Archive for October, 2010

MW on Movies: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Paranormal Activity 2, and CIFF Wrap-Up

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Three Stars) Sweden; Daniel Alfredson, 2009 The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, the third of the Steig Larsson “Girl” movie adaptations — about a leftist Swedish investigative reporter named Mikael Blomkvist, a dragon-tattooed Lesbian computer hacker/investigator named Lisbeth Salander, and the rat’s nest of government corruption, private…

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The DVD Wrap: Sex and the City 2, The Girl Who Played with Fire, Kisses, Alien Anthology, Back to the Future 25th Anniversary Trilogy

Sex and the City 2: Blu-ray After scoring a direct financial hit with the first feature-length adaptation of HBO’s Sex and the City, its producers naturally elected to push their luck with this sequel, which adds yet another 150 minutes to the saga. What, on television, could easily be digested in tidy 30-minute portions, now…

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Review: Paranormal Activity 2

Fans of surprise horror hit Paranormal Activity will find much to like in Paranormal Activity 2. This second round of things-that-go-bump-in-the-night-vision-cameras retains the slow-building, repetitive pace of the first film, while still delivering (for the most part) plenty of scares to keep you on the edge of your seat.

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MW on Movies: Hereafter

Eastwood is 80. Most of the evidence is in. Frankly, if he were as bad as his blasters seem to think, some perhaps still taking their cues from the late, renowned and brilliant Eastwood-hater Pauline Kael, he would probably have gone the way of all old macho-hunk stars and be costarring this year in The Expendables.

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MW on DVDs: Disneynature Oceans, The Maltese Falcon, The Exorcist, Visions of Europe, Predators … and more

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW DisneyNature: Oceans (Blu-ray & DVD) (Four Stars) France-U.S.; Jacques Perrin/Jacques Cluzaud, 2009 A real gem, from France, where they love to watch the world through a camera eye. Made by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud, the two directors of the magnificent birds-in-flight documentary Winged Migration, here’s an equally magnificent view…

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The DVD Wrap: Psycho 50th Anniversary Edition, The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Limited Edition, Troll 2, Apocalypse Now: Full Disclosure Edition … and more

Psycho: 50th Anniversary Edition: Blu-ray The Psycho Legacy The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Limited Edition Night of the Demon Assault of the Sasquatch Troll 2: Blu-ray Tales From the Darkside: Final Season Lest we forget, Halloween draws nigh. Psycho is one of those films that require absolutely no introduction. Anyone who considers him or herself…

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DVDs 10/19: UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH, PLEASE GIVE, FORBIDDEN LIE$, OCTOBER COUNTRY and HOLY ROLLERS

Hal Hartley’s first feature hits its unbelievable twentieth anniversary, and he’s self-releasing a new DVD edition.  “The Unbelievable Truth was first released in North America by Miramax Films in 1990 following its highly successful screenings at the Toronto and Sundance film festivals,” reads the press release. “It was a popular release worldwide and came to represent…

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Indie Screener Grab Bag: Repeaters

Now that we have a flatscreen and DVD player installed in our bedroom, I can actually watch screeners at home with something approximating a semi-theatrical experience, which is better for most films than watching them on my portable mini-DVD player. So, catching up with some screeners I’ve been watching of late … Henceforth, I’ll be…

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TIFF Review: Hereafter

After a pretty spectacular opening scene, I was hopeful that Clint Eastwood‘s highly anticipated film, Hereafter, with a script by Peter Morgan, was going to be something special. Then it became evident that the setup is a triptych, which is really hard to weave together into a coherant story without it feeling enormously contrived. Unfortunately,…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Chicago International Film Festival, Red, Conviction … and more

And listen, if I have to read one more review about how this is a movie especially for AARP members, or the geriatric set, or card-carrying Medicare moviegoers, or old folks, I think I’ll throw my walker at them. Give me a break. What do these clowns want, a life spent perusing nothing but Jesse Eisenberg, Michael Cera, or Hannah Montana movies?

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Wilmington on DVDs: How to Train Your Dragon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Darjeeling Limited, The Films of Nikita Mikhalkov, The Hangover, The Human Centipede and more …

The opening, for me at least, would have been better with something quieter before the storm — however virtuosic that dragon-storm, however riveting that warfare. The movie could have used a lot more initial contrast between the dreamy predispositions of Hiccup, and those bloody dragon assaults that come blasting at us right from the start.

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The DVD Wrap: Splice, The Magician, White on Rice, Leaves of Grass, and more …

Splice: Blu-ray If an Academy Award were given each year to the most ingenious new monster, it would be difficult to choose between the conjoined creature created by a mad surgeon in The Human Centipede and the genetic abominations in Splice. In Vincenzo Natali’s continuously inventive sci-fi/horror thriller, Splice, a pair of young scientists extends…

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Digital Nation: In Washington, No One Can Hear You Scream

Eliminate the birthers, tax-dodgers, bigots, wannabe witches, Flat Earth diehards and Palin-tologists from the Tea Party movement and you’ll find the righteously angry offspring of the just plain pissed-off Americans, who, in Network, opened their windows and shouted “We’re as mad as hell and we’re not going to take this anymore.”

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Review: Secretariat

Secretariat, the horse, was a big, glossy chestnut colt who won the Triple Crown and is widely regarded today as perhaps the best racehorse who ever lived. Secretariat, the movie, is big, glossy cinematic comfort food for the family in troubled times, grilled cheese and tomato soup wholesomeness to soothe the soul and take the…

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Wilmington on Movies: Secretariat, Life As We Know It, Buried, You Again, and Let Me In

Secretariat (Three and a Half Stars) U. S.; Randall Wallace, 2010 If you’ve got a great story, in life or in movies, the best thing to do is usually to let it fill your heart, tell it clearly, keep it straight and pure, and don’t load it up with agendas and tack-ons. The new movie…

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Thin Red Line, Mid-August Lunch, Grindhouse, The Twilight Zone, A Nightmare on Elm Street … and more

PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC The Thin Red Line (Two Discs) (Four Stars) U.S.; Terrence Malick, 1998 (Criterion Collection). Let‘s talk about a really great American movie that has been somewhat underrated and neglected, and shouldn’t be any more, not after this superb new Criterion two-disc release. The movie is Terrence Malick‘s 1998 film of…

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The DVD Wrap: The Karate Kid, Beauty and the Beast, The Human Centipede, The Rig, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Slumber Party Massacre Collection … and more

The Karate Kid The concept is simplicity itself: The Karate Kid in China, with Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s way-cool son, Jaden Smith, in the Ralph Macchio role and Jackie Chan in the place once reserved for Pat Morita. Instead of shooting a silver-anniversary version of Karate Kid in Vancouver or a back lot in…

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MW on Movies: The Social Network

But, in the top fillip of The Social Network’s many, many ironies, we see that maybe Mark and his fellow web movers and shakers — and the whole new social-communal wrinkle that they‘ve been chosen to dramatically represent — don’t really “need” things like empathy, sympathy, what we’d call humanity.

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Review: The Social Network

So now I’ve seen it and yes, okay, The Social Network really is all that and a bag of chips, as the kids say — for what it is. Not a “masterpiece.” Not “astounding.” Probably — almost definitely — not a film that will “literally” change your life. Maybe — dare I say it? — not even the absolute “best” film of Fincher’s oeuvre.

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TIFF Review: Let Me In

Here’s the thing with American remakes of foreign films: while I get that studios have a vested interest in making a lot of money off of taking a well-received foreign film and purging it of its, well, foreign-ness, to make it more appealing to the subtitle-averse mainstream American filmgoer, I’m also a pretty firm believer…

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Reviews

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“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas