Reviews Archive for July, 2011

Wilmington on Movies: Cowboys & Aliens

“Cowboys & Aliens” (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Jon Favreau, 2011 Movie Westerns usually take place in a primitive land of the American past (somewhere in the 19th century) full of horses and trains and showdowns and an occasional cattle drive, where the men spend an inordinate amount of time in saloons, and sudden…

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Mao’s Last Dancer, Heartbeats, Sweeney Todd, Sleepy Hollow, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Crack in the World

   “Mao‘s Last Dancer“ (Blu-ray) (Three Stars) U. S.; Bruce Beresford, 2010 (20th Century Fox) Ballet, that grand art of music and the body married together, is a natural subject for the movies — a potential wonder, as The Red Shoes is there to prove again and again. Director Bruce Beresford‘s fact-based drama Mao’s Last…

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DVD Wrapup: Source Code, Winter in Wartime, Leon Morin: Priest, Jackboots on Whitehall, The Matrimony, Life During Wartime, Monamour …

Source Code: Blu-ray While it would be misleading to describe the existential sci-fi thriller “Source Code” as “‘Groundhog Day’ on a train loaded with explosives,” it’s close enough for government work. In the Bill Murray role here is an American helicopter pilot recently returned from Afghanistan, sufficiently incapacitated to have been in a coma for…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classic. Leon Morin, Priest; The Double Life of Veronique

Leon Morin, Priest (Leon Morin, Pretre) (Four Stars) France; Jean-Pierre Melville, 1961 (Criterion)       Jean-Pierre Melville is mostly known these days as a French master of film noir, neo-noir and World War 2 Resistance dramas. But Leon Morin, Priest, which won a Venice Grand Prize in 1961, shows another side of Melville: the highly polished…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classic and Blu-ray. A Clockwork Orange

 “A Clockwork Orange” (Blu-ray) (Two discs) (Four Stars) U.S.-U.K.: Stanley Kubrick, 1971 (Warner Home Video) 1. When I was in college in the 1960s, Stanley Kubrick was one of my cinematic heroes. I thought  his movies were amazing: smart, funny, exciting, meaningful, beautifully crafted, brilliant, the best. I loved them. Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001:A Space Odyssey….

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Source Code

   (Four Stars) U.S.: Duncan Jones, 2011 (Summit Entertainment) “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” — George Santayana “Time is on my side.” — The Rolling Stones 1. We’re on a commuter train, racing toward Chicago. Something is wrong. It’s a nightmare. We’re also at the start of the first…

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Wilmington on Movies: Winnie the Pooh

  “Winnie the Pooh” (Three Stars) U.S.: Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall; 2011 Here is Edward Bear coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin… A. A. Milne He was one of the boon companions of my childhood: Winnie-the-Pooh or Edward Bear or Winnie-ther-Pooh, as he was variously called…

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Wilmington on Movies: Friends with Benefits

  “Friends with Benefits” (Two and a Half Stars) U. S.: Will Gluck, 2011 Falling in love is such great movie material that it’s a pity Hollywood these days gets it right (or funny) so rarely. Friends with Benefits is a movie that’s supposed to be smarter and funnier than the usual pseudo-romantic comedy (or…

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Wilmington on Movies: Captain America: The First Avenger

  “Captain America: The First Avenger” (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Joe Johnston, 2011 I don’t mean to be a grouch, but Captain America — stalwart crime and monster-buster of  the  new Marvel epic Captain America: The First Avenger — struck me as one of the duller superheroes I’ve seen recently. That’s despite one of…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Blu-ray. The Horse Soldiers

  PICK OF THE WEEK: BLU-RAY “The Horse Soldiers” (Blu-ray) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: John Ford, 1959 (MGM/20th Century Fox) John Ford, America’s greatest director of Western movies — and maybe our greatest director, period — was also an aficionado of Civil War history. Yet Ford’s actual films about the Civil War and its…

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MW on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classics. Some Like It Hot, Naked.

 “Some Like It Hot” (Blu-ray) (Four Stars) U.S.: Billy Wilder, 1959 (MGM/20th Century Fox) The place is Chicago. Windy City. Downtown. The color: a film noirish black and white. The caliber: 45. The proof: 90. The time: 1929, The Capone Era and the Roaring Twenties — roaring their loudest.  We’re watching Some Like It Hot,…

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest. Take Me Home Tonight, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Amelie, Skidoo

Take Me Home Tonight (Also Blu-ray) (Two Discs) (Two Stars) U.S.; Michael Dowse, 2011 (20th Century Fox) Hyphenates of the world, arise! Topher Grace has just executive produced a movie, directed by Michael Dowse (FUBAR) from a story Topher Grace co-wrote, in which Topher Grace plays Matt Franklin, a 1984 L. A. underachiever who works…

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The DVD Wrapup: Take Me Home Tonight, Limitless, Potiche, The Music Room, Beauty and the Beast, Small Town Murder Songs …

Take Me Home Tonight Nearly 40 years after the release of “American Graffiti” – as close to perfect a movie as one is going to download anytime soon – filmmakers are still attempting to extract pay dirt from George Lucas’ gold mine, even if the vein played out after “Dazed and Confused.” “Take Me Home…

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WILMINGTON ON DVDs: Co-Picks of the Week: New. Potiche, Limitless

  CO-PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW   Potiche (Three Stars) France, Francois Ozon, 2010 (Music Box) A few words about Potiche: Catherine Deneuve is still beautiful at 67. Gerard Depardieu, still tremendous at 62, has grown as immense as Brando (in girth as well as talent.) Both still hold the screen casually and with real…

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Wilmington on Movies: Project Nim

  “Project Nim” (Four Stars) U.S.-U.K.: James Marsh, 2011 I. Let’s Play. — Nim He was a gnarled, hairy old chimpanzee, who spent most of his time in a large cage with two chimp companions and an occasional human visitor or keeper. He moved slowly and a bit painfully and he had a strange, sad,…

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Wilmington on Movies: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two” (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.; David Yates, 2010 Part I. All fine things must come to an end, and so finally has the Harry Potter series: the books first of all, and now the movies, climaxing at last in a final explosion, a last spell, that…

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Rest. Arthur, The Lincoln Lawyer, Promised Lands, Vera Cruz.

Arthur (One and a Half Stars) U.S.: Jason Winer, 2011 Rarely has the time seemed less right for a movie than it does for the Russell Brand remake of Arthur — that 1981 comedy semi-classic starring Dudley Moore in his career peak, as the drunken Manhattan heir to millions.  The Moore Arthur was a fancy swiller…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Box Set. The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy.

“The Lord of the Rings Trilogy” (Four Stars) U.S.-New Zealand: Peter Jackson, 2001-2003 (New Line).  Picks of the Week may come and go, but here is my choice as Pick of the Decade. My selection, for all of the 2000s: Peter Jackson’s staggering adaptation of author J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy,…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classic. Araya

        Araya (Four Stars) Venezuela/France: Margot Benacerraf, 1959 (Milestone Film & Video) Art can be exhilarating, life can be disappointing. The uncommonly beautiful Venezuelan movie, Araya — a big critical success and major award winner at the Cannes Film Festival in 1959 — has been neglected in America for most of the…

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The DVD Wrapup: The Lincoln Lawyer, Rango, Arthur, Waking Madison, Damnation Alley, The Third Wave, Miral, Insidious …

The Lincoln Lawyer: Blu-ray The last time a movie was adapted from a crime novel by Michael Connelly, it left such a bad taste in the mouth of longtime fans they prayed he wouldn’t sell another of his books to Hollywood, especially those associated with LAPD detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch. Even with the estimable talents…

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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 »

Dear Irene Cho, I will miss your energy and passion; your optimism and joy; your kindness towards friends, colleagues, strangers, struggling filmmakers, or anyone who randomly crossed your path and needed a hand. My brothers and I have long considered you another sibling in our family. Our holiday photos – both western and eastern – have you among all the cousins, in-laws, and kids… in the snow, sun, opening presents, at large dinner gatherings, playing Monopoly, breaking out pomegranate seeds and teaching us all how to dance Gangnam style. Your friendship and loyalty meant a great deal to me: you were the loudest cheerleader when I experienced victories and you were always ready with sushi when I had disappointments. You had endless crazy ideas which always seemed impossible but you would will them into existence. (Like that time you called me and suggested that we host a brunch for newly elected mayor of LA, Eric Garcetti because “he is going to president one day.” We didn’t have enough time or funding, of course, only your desire to do it. So you did, and I followed.) You created The Daily Buzz from nothing and it survived on your steam in spite of many setbacks because you believed in a platform for emerging filmmakers from all nations. Most of all, you were a wonderful mother to your son, Ethan, a devoted wife to your husband, and a wonderful sibling and daughter to your family. We will all miss how your wonderful smile and energy lit up the room and our lives. Rest in peace, Irene.
~ Rose Kuo Remembers Irene Cho on Facebook

“You know, I was never a critic. I never considered myself as a film critic. I started doing short films, writing screenplays and then for awhile, for a few years I wrote some film theory, including some film criticism because I had to, but I was never… I never had the desire to be a film critic. I never envisioned myself as a film critic, but I did that at a period of my life when I thought I kind of needed to understand things about cinema, understand things about film theory, understand the world map of cinema, and writing about movies gave me that, and also the opportunity to meet filmmakers I admired.

“To me, it was the best possible film school. The way it changed my perspective I suppose is that I believe in this connection between theory and practice. I think that you also make movies with ideas and you need to have ideas about filmmaking to achieve whatever you’re trying to achieve through your movies, but then I started making features in 1986 — a while ago — and I left all that behind.

“For the last three decades I’ve been making movies, I’ve been living, I’ve been observing the world. You become a different person, so basically my perspective on the world in general is very different and I hope that with every movie I make a step forward. I kind of hope I’m a better person, and hopefully a better filmmaker and hopefully try to… It’s very hard for me to go back to a different time when I would have different values in my relationship to filmmaking. I had a stiffer notion of cinema.”
~ Olivier Assayas