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

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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 »

“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook