Reviews Archive for November, 2010

MW on DVDs: Antichrist, Liverpool, Moonfleet, Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 … and more

CO-PICKS OF THE WEEK: NEW Antichrist (Two Discs) (Three and a Half Stars) Denmark/U.S.A.: Lars von Trier, 2009 (Criterion Collection) Lars von Trier strikes again. The beginning looks like a poor man’s Citizen Kane which segues into a disease-of-the-month teleplay that becomes a Sam Shepard two-character Gothic pop drama in the deep woods, and then…

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The DVD Wrap: Fantasia/Fantasia 2000, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Knight and Day, Cairo Time, The Sicilian Girl, Vampires Suck … and more

Fantasia/Fantasia 2000: Blu-ray The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Blu-ray According to Disney legend, Dopey the Dwarf was originally pushed for the role in Fantasia that went to Mickey Mouse. Instead, Uncle Walt went with the established star, hoping the role would maintain Mickey’s high profile in movies. Although Dopey might have been an inspired choice, there’s no…

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MW on Movies: Tangled, Burlesque and White Material

Tangled (Three Stars) U.S.: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard, 2010 I don’t know: Maybe I’m going though my second childhood. But, these days, very often, the kids’ movies coming out of the big studios (and I mean mostly the cartoon features) seem and look to me so much brighter, funnier, more entertaining — hell, so much…

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MW on DVDs: Metropolis, Flipped, Last of the Mohicans, The Bing Crosby Collection … and more

PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC Metropolis (Most Complete Version) (Four Stars) Germany: Fritz Lang, 1927 Metropolis, Fritz Lang’s great, spellbinding science fiction epic about a futuristic city gone mad, has been regarded as a cinematic classic since almost the very hours of its premiere, in Berlin in 1927. At that first showing, German audiences and…

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The DVD Wrap: Flipped, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, The Six Million Dollar Man: The Complete Collection, Deadwood: The Complete Collection … and more

Flipped Anyone who lost faith in Rob Reiner after blowing their hard-earned dough on such star-studded duds as The Story of Us, Alex & Emma and Rumor Has It …, might want to give the filmmaker another chance. In the pre-pubescent romance Flipped, we meet a boy and girl who could have lived down the…

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MW on Movies: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1, The Next Three Days, and Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One (Three Stars) U.S.; David Yates, 2010 The beginning of the end for a very long, mostly gratifying, often magical and sometimes splendiferous and surprising cinematic journey on a constantly twisting fantastical/literary road, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One splits the last of the J. K….

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The DVD Wrap: The Kids Are All Right, Modern Times, Avatar Three-Disc Extended Collector’s Edition: Blu-ray, Cher: The Film Collection … and more

The Kids Are All Right It’s been 21 years since the publication of Heather Has Two Mommies, a book the mommies in The Kids Are All Right might have read to their own children. The controversy that little book sparked in 1989 had already turned into a giant shit storm when Lisa Cholodenko’s observant family…

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MW on Movies: Avatar, Modern Times, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Apocalypse Now/Apocalypse Now Redux

   PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Avatar (Three Disc Extended Edition Blu-ray Digital DVD Combo) (Four Stars) U. S.; James Cameron, 2009 (Fox) Avatar, James Cameron’s` planet-shaking, moon-rocking, eco-worshipping, dragon-riding new science fiction fantasy epic-and-a-half, may not be a perfect movie. But it’s sure as hell an incredible experience. It‘s a genre-movie knockout, a cinematic…

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MW on Movies: Unstoppable and Saw 3D

Unstoppable (Four Stars) U.S.: Tony Scott, 2010 Unstoppable, a blow-you-out-of-your seat and slam-you-against-the-wall thriller about a runaway train — by Tony Scott, who knows how to make action movies, but rarely makes them this well — starts strong, hits the tracks fast, tears out the brakes, takes off like a shot, and then just keeps…

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Review: Morning Glory

The heart of this film shoulda/coulda been McAdams, deeply connected to classic TV news, but forced to pander in Morning Show World because that is the only place she can get a job, a little lost in the pandering, perhaps forgetting what really makes her happy. Ford is the symbol of excellence and a lost generation of news thinkers. He’s lost his job and his sense of perspective as well. Paring the two up will be rocky, but they will fight and give up and fight some more to find a balance that allows him self-respect and raises her to the top of a generation that can barely remember when The News was THE NEWS.

But it’s not that.

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The DVD Wrap: Antichrist, The Elia Kazan Collection, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Grown Ups … and more

Antichrist: The Criterion Collection Controversies that erupt at film festivals, Cannes especially, practically define what it means to stir “a tempest in a teapot.” For two weeks, the upper crust of the international film community – and way too many crusty critics – come together for the sole purpose of promoting cinema and themselves. The…

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MW on DVDs: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Chaplin at Keystone, Moulin Rouge … and more

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (Three Stars) U.S.; Edgar Wright, 2010 Oh, to be a kid again. To feel the juices and saps running madly, to get wildly excited about comic books and top ten hit-lists and about the last good new teen movie you saw (the whole canon from…

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Review: Unstoppable

It’s just this simple. Ethan Suplee… funny fat guy… has to move a really long train a really short distance. He gets in the engine, starts it rolling, realizes he hasn’t switched the track and if he gets past the switch, it will take hours to fix the mistake. He jumps out of the slow-moving…

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Review: Megamind

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: You don’t really need to pay the premium to see Megamind in 3-D. It’s a sharp, nice looking film as it is, but I didn’t find the 3-D elements, though relatively seamless and painless, to be anything I couldn’t live without.

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MW on Movies: Due Date, Megamind and Fair Game

Due Date (Two and a Half Stars) U. S.; Todd Phillips, 2010 An odd-couple road trip comedy about a wired-tight middle class architect (Robert Downey, Jr.) and an effete but slobby Hollywood-bound wanna be actor (Zach Galifianakis), thrown together on an impromptu cross-country drive from Atlanta to L.A., Due Date isn’t up to the best…

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The DVD Wrap: Toy Story 3, The Pacific, Please Give, Don’t Let Me Drown, V: The Complete First Season … and more

Toy Story 3: Blu-ray The third edition of the Toy Story saga will resonate more with parents, I think, than their children. Youngsters will enjoy it, of course, but most of them won’t be able to appreciate the melancholy that informs the underlying themes: separation and loss. Now 18, Andy is about to leave for…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Toy Story 3, The Toy Story Trilogy, The Magician, Centurion, Winnebago Man … and more

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Toy Story 3 (Four Stars) U. S.: Lee Unkrich, 2010 Toy Story 3 is just what we’ve come to expect from Pixar: a brilliantly conceived and immaculately animated knockout of a family show: witty and scrumptious, moving and marvelous, and something that parents can enjoy every bit as much as…

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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