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

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“I was 15 when I first watched Sally Hardesty escape into the back of a pickup truck, covered in blood and cackling like a goddamn witch. All of her friends were dead. She had been kidnapped, tortured and even forced to feed her own blood to her cannibalistic captors’ impossibly shriveled patriarch. Being new to the horror genre, I was sure she was going to die. It had been a few months since I survived a violent sexual assault, where I subsequently ran from my assailant, tripped, fell and fought like hell. I crawled home with bloody knees, makeup-stained cheeks and a new void in both my mind and heart. My sense of safety, my ability to trust others, my willingness to form new relationships and my love of spending time with people I cared about were all taken from me. It wasn’t until I found the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre that something clicked. It was Sally’s strength, and her resilience. It was watching her survive blows to the head from a hammer. It was watching her break free from her bonds and burst through a glass window. It was watching her get back up after she’d been stabbed. It was watching her crawl into the back of a truck, laughing as it drove away from Leatherface. She was the last one to confront the killer, and live. I remember sitting in front of the TV and thinking, There I am. That’s me.”
~ Lauren Milici On “The Final Girl”

“‘Thriller’ enforced its own reality principle; it was there, part of the every commute, a serenade to every errand, a referent to every purchase, a fact of every life. You didn’t have to like it, you only had to acknowledge it. By July 6, 1984, when the Jacksons played the first show of their ‘Victory’ tour, in Kansas City, Missouri, Jacksonism had produced a system of commodification so complete that whatever and whoever was admitted to it instantly became a new commodity. People were no longer comsuming commodities as such things are conventionally understood (records, videos, posters, books, magazines, key rings, earrings necklaces pins buttons wigs voice-altering devices Pepsis t-shirts underwear hats scarves gloves jackets – and why were there no jeans called Bille Jeans?); they were consuming their own gestures of consumption. That is, they were consuming not a Tayloristic Michael Jackson, or any licensed facsimile, but themselves. Riding a Mobius strip of pure capitalism, that was the transubstantiation.”
~ Greil Marcus On Michael Jackson