Reviews Archive for March, 2011

Wilmington on Movies: Hop

“I still hadn’t wised up when E.B. decamped to Hollywood, where he hooks up with Fred, and starts pooping jellybeans and trying to come up with so-called humor (lame zingers and amazingly laugh-challenged wisecracks), and where the movie definitively revealed its true agenda: bad jokes and L. A. clichés, mixed with elaborate animation, TV trendiness and loud, bright icky-poo cutes.”

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Wilmington on Movies: The Afterlight

“I liked the movie very much, and when some of its early festival admirers compared it to Michelangelo and Ingmar Bergman, they had some justification. The Afterlight is obviously made by filmmakers who know and admire Antonioni and Bergman, and who would probably be pleased by the comparison — and the images, scenes and emotions often suggest those two masters.”

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The DVD Wrap: Tangled, Black Swan, Made in Dagenham, Ten Commandments, I Vinti …

Tangled: Blu-ray 3D According to the people who keep track of such things, “Tangled” is Disney’s 50th full-length animated feature film. In many ways, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the very first one, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” released 74 years ago. Not only are both movies inspired by fairy tales written by…

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Wilmington on Movies: Sucker Punch, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, Monogamy

“Snyder has a very classy cast, but nevertheless, he dresses and photographs them most of the time like hookers and action-cuties, even in the thick of battle.”

“Let’s hope these kids stay happy and don’t start feuding, like Martin and Lewis.”

“This movie is too often reminiscent of other, much better films.”

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Wilmington on DVD: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Tourist, The Twilight Zone Season Two, The Clowns, Exit Throught the Gift Shop, Artists Under the Big Top: Perplexed.

Appropriately bracketed as a classic pick this week with Fellini’s I Clowns Alexander Kluge’s Artists at the Top of the Big Top: Perplexed is also a European art film about circuses and circus people. But this is a film in black-and-white, where the filmmakers would have answered the question Fellini dodged in The Clowns about symbolism, and then done something symbolic to illustrate the answer, and had an illustrated lecture on symbolism and the history of art, and the politics of circuses.

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DVD Geek: Elia Kazan’s America America

As Kazan historian Foster Hirsch puts it on his commentary, “This is a film whose time has still not come. I’m hoping that the release of this DVD will change that.”

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The DVD Wrap: The Tourist, Yogi Bear 3D, The Perfume of the Lady in Black, Andy Sidaris Collection, Skyline …

The Tourist: Blu-ray Ten months out of every year, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is ignored by everyone in Hollywood, except the publicists assigned to wiping the reporters’ bottoms and keeping their bottles full of expensive wine and booze. For the better part of December and January, however, the mainstream media does its part to…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Lincoln Lawyer, Paul

“It’s a tough story, hard-nosed and audience-savvy: a neo-noir in settings both glamorous and salty, and a movie that gives you a tingling shot of L. A. style.”

“Suppose you were to rethink E. T. as a combination 70s road movie and Three Days of the Condor-style paranoid anti-C.I.A. thriller.”

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Wilmington on DVD: The Fighter, Hereafter, Last Tango in Paris, TCM Greatest Classic Legend John Ford Westerns

“Bale looks and acts something like a Dead End Kid on crack, an elongated mix of Huntz Hall and the younger Mean Streets De Niro, oscillating frantically between the goony and the near-tragically self-destructive.”

“What’s most impressive about Hereafter is, first of all, that Eastwood had the guts to do it.”

“The torrid memento of a time — post-Sexual Revolution, pre-herpes outbreak, pre-Aids plague — when quick anonymous sex between partners who barely knew each other.”

“He was John Ford. He made Westerns.”

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The DVD Wrap: Hereafter, The Switch, The Fighter, The Wildest Dream, Yi Yi, Sharktopus …

Hereafter: Blu-ray In the opening minutes of “Hereafter,” tourists along a Thai beach are enjoying another leisurely day in paradise. A French reporter, Marie, played by Cécile De France, has just agreed to leave the hotel to buy souvenirs for her boyfriend, who’s too lazy to do it himself. Just as she’s about to pay…

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Wilmington on DVD: Inside Job, Senso, TCM Greatest Classic Legends: Jean Harlow & more…

“Inside Job is an essential movie. It shows, pretty conclusively I think, why documentaries are such an important cinematic and journalistic form these days. After you see this picture, you won’t be able to say you weren’t informed, won’t be able to see you weren‘t warned. You’ll know, if not the whole story, a big important part of it.”

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WILMINGTON ON DVD: 127 Hours, Bambi, Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy, Burlesque, Faster

“Watching Franco here, as he plunges himself into a part so taxing physically, psychologically and even spiritually, and does it so brilliantly, you tend to forgive him for that awful, howlingly embarrassing turn he gave as co-host at the last Oscar Show.”

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Wilmington on Movies: Battle: Los Angeles, Mars Needs Moms, Red Riding Hood, Certified Copy, Uncle Boonmee…

“I can’t say some audiences won’t enjoy this — some people will enjoy anything, including staring into the toilet, maybe waiting for little green men to pop up and start water-skiing.”

“Maybe if the villagers had gotten together, and somebody had shown Tex Avery‘s cartoon Red Hot Riding Hood in the town square.”

“Fogler, whom I had ignorantly sort of dismissed as a mini-Jack Black, has the stuff, totally. Gribble is a great job.”

“A jewel of that director‘s special brand of stylized cinema realism”

“As we watch, a world opens up. This is life, this is cinema.”

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Battle: Los Angeles – The Healing Powers Of The Apocalypse

“In order to get the full apocalyptic spa treatment that we yearn for, we need some looming, wistful sense that everyone in this limitless dystopic landscape is about to get snuffed out like a light, not saved at the last minute by a handful of dimple-chinned men.”

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The DVD Wrap: Love & Other Drugs, Jackass 3D, Rivers and Tides, Rage, Zombie Farm …

Love & Other Drugs: Blu-ray Anyone who spends more than a couple hours each year killing time in the waiting room of a GP, internist or psychiatrist should be able to attest to the accuracy of the portrayal of pharmaceutical sales reps in “Love & Other Drugs.” The only resemblance most bear to Willie Loman,…

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WILMINGTON ON MOVIES: Rango, The Adjustment Bureau, Take Me Home Tonight

“Up until Rango, I can’t think of many great cartoon Westerns, other than the Czech puppet animator Jiri Trnka‘s little masterpiece Song of the Prairie (1949)”

“While this script is a perfectly nice, competent, good-hearted job, and I would probably be happy to vote for Nolfi for the U.S. Congress, this movie just doesn’t say Dick to me.”

“One problem about nostalgia for the ’80s. The ’80s sucked. The ‘80s blew. The ‘80s were horrible.”

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Rango (Spoiler-Free Review)

I wanted to headline this review “Pirates of the Amphibians,” until I realized that there were only one or two amphibious creatures in the film.

But the moniker fits in spirit, if not in specific. And giving it one more thought, that might make it the perfect way to describe this film. No box fits. Thank the movie gods!

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The DVD Wrap: 127 Hours, Road Movie, Faster, Bambi, Germany in Autumn, The Last Train Home …

127 Hours The title of this alternately horrific and exhilarating movie references the length of time spent by outdoors enthusiast Aron Ralston trapped in a narrow chasm, as far from the people he loved as any astronaut who walked on the moon. Farther, maybe, because Ralston’s hubris allowed him no way to contact his parents…

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Reviews

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

porn on: The DVD Gift Guide I: Uni Monsters, Body Snatchers, Twilight 4K, Evil Dead, Trauma, Creepshow, Haunted Hill, Dude 4K, Saved by Bell, 3 Stooges … More

Daniella Isaacs 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 Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Eighth Grade, No. 1 Fan, Jeannette, Moe Berg, 12th Man, La Familia, Molly, Sarno, Making a Killing, All Styles … More

David Pearce on: The DVD Wrapup: Eighth Grade, No. 1 Fan, Jeannette, Moe Berg, 12th Man, La Familia, Molly, Sarno, Making a Killing, All Styles … More

Trevor T. Trujillo on: The DVD Wrapup: Hereditary, Ghost Stories, Found Footage 3D, Beast, Venus, This Is Our Land, The Big Take, Brothers, Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji, Sid Caesar, Good Karma Hospital … More

Steven DeGennaro on: The DVD Wrapup: Hereditary, Ghost Stories, Found Footage 3D, Beast, Venus, This Is Our Land, The Big Take, Brothers, Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji, Sid Caesar, Good Karma Hospital … More

Gary J Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Hereditary, Ghost Stories, Found Footage 3D, Beast, Venus, This Is Our Land, The Big Take, Brothers, Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji, Sid Caesar, Good Karma Hospital … More

The DVD Wrapup: Not A Witch, Jonathan, The Captain, Speed Kills, Room 304, Hippocrates, The Dark, Crimson Peak, Tea With Dames, Forbidden Photos, Addiction … More

The DVD Wrapup: Mid90s, Oath, Obamaland, Bad Reputation, Hell Fest, Time Freak, Kusama, Oddsockeaters, Bent, Harry/Sally, Nemesis, Frontline, Cats … More

The DVD Wrapup: 2018’s Most Memorable Titles, Hobbyhorses, Martyr, CMA Live, Tailspin Tommy, Gilda, Miracle Worker … More

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

The DVD Wrapup: Peppermint, Wild Boys, Un Traductor, Await Instructions, Lizzie, Coby, Afghan Love Story, Elizabeth Harvest, Brutal, Holiday Horror, Sound & Fury … More

The DVD Wrapup: Support the Girls, M:I Fallout, Gosford Park, Serpent’s Egg. True Stories, School Daze, Candyman, Hanging Rock, Yellowstone … More

The DVD Wrapup: Gauguin, Blindspotting, Skate Kitchen, Wobble Palace, Third Murder, Outrage Coda, Nelly, Luciferina, MDMA, Heavy Trip, Agony, Family I Had … More

DVD Gift Guide II: Bergman@100, 2001 4K, Rambo 4K, Dances With Wolves, Robin Williams, Ernie Kovacs, Detectorists, Frosty, Elf … More

The DVD Wrapup: Owl’s Legacy, Good Manners, Childrens Act, Juliet Naked, Unnamable, Little Italy, Gas Food Lodging, SWF, Detective Dee, Windtalkers … More

The DVD Wrapup: Incredibles 2, Superman, Midaq Alley, La Boyita, 7th Day, Longing, Breaking Brooklyn, Mara, Capra Goes to War, Sleepwalkers, The Circus, Native America … More

Quote Unquotesee all »

“When books become a thing, they can no longer be fine.

“Literary people get mad at Knausgård the same way they get mad at Jonathan Franzen, a writer who, if I’m being honest, might be fine. I’m rarely honest about Jonathan Franzen. He’s an extremely annoying manI have only read bits and pieces of his novels, and while I’ve stopped reading many novels even though they were pretty good or great, I have always stopped reading Jonathan Franzen’s novels because I thought they were aggressively boring and dumb and smug. But why do I think this? I didn’t read him when he was a new interesting writer who wrote a couple of weird books and then hit it big with ‘The Corrections,’ a moment in which I might have picked him up with curiosity and read with an open mind; I only noticed him once, after David Foster Wallace had died, he became the heir apparent for the Great American Novelist position, once he had had that thing with Oprah and started giving interviews in which he said all manner of dumb shit; I only noticed him well after I had been told he was An Important Writer.

“So I can’t and shouldn’t pretend that I am unmoved by the lazily-satisfied gentle arrogance he projects or when he is given license to project it by the has-the-whole-world-gone-crazy development of him being constantly crowned and re-crowned as Is He The Great American Writer. What I really object to is this, and if there’s anything to his writing beyond it, I can’t see it and can’t be bothered. Others read him and tell me he’s actually a good writer—people whose critical instincts I have learned to respect—so I feel sure that he’s probably a perfectly fine, that his books are fine, and that probably even his stupid goddamned bird essays are probably also fine.

“But it’s too late. He has become a thing; he can’t be fine.”
~ Aaron Bady

“You know how in postproduction you are supposed to color-correct the picture so everything is smooth and even? Jean-Luc wants the opposite. He wants the rupture. Color and then black and white, or different intensities of color. Or how in this film, sometimes you see the ratio of the frame change after the image begins. That happens when he records from his TV onto his old DVCAM analog machine, which is so old we can’t even find parts when it needs to be repaired. The TV takes time to recognize and adjust to the format on the DVD or the Blu-ray. Whether it’s 1:33 or 1:85. And one of the TVs he uses is slower than the other. He wants to keep all that. I could correct it, but he doesn’t want me to. See, here’s an image from War and Peace. He did the overlays of color—red, white, and blue—using an old analog video effects machine. That’s why you have the blur. When I tried to redo it in digital, I couldn’t. The edges were too sharp. And why the image jitters—I don’t know how he did that. Playing with the cable maybe. Handmade. He wants to see that. It’s a gift from his old machine.”
~ Fabrice Aragno