Reviews Archive for October, 2011

Wilmington on Movies: Puss in Boots

    Puss in Boots (Four Stars) U.S.: Chris Miller, 2011 This review is dedicated to my friend Pica. Another Shrek movie, or, more accurately, a series spin-off? Another super-spectacular feature cartoon? Another big studio lollapalooza, this time from DreamWorks? In 3D yet? Didn’t sound artistically promising, even when the receipts started pouring in. But…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Rum Diary

The Rum Diary (Three Stars) U.S.: Bruce Robinson, 2011   The movie The Rum Diary, which I liked, is based — loosely, but that’s all right — on the novel that Hunter S. Thompson wrote when he was 22, a young guy, before “Hell’s Angels,” before “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” before “The Great Shark…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Picks of the Week: Classic. Le Beau Serge, Les Cousins

Two by Claude Chabrol: Le Beau Serge, Les Cousins France: Claude Chabrol, 1958/1959 (Criterion Collection) Le Beau Serge (France: Claude Chabrol, 1958) (Four Stars) With Gerard Blain, Jean-Claude Brialy, Michele Meritz, Philippe De Broca, Jacques Rivette. (In French, with English subtitles.) Les Cousins (France: Claude Chabrol, 1959) (Four Stars) With Gerard Blain, Jean-Claude Brialy, Michele…

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The DVD Wrapup:Captain America, Jurassic Park Trilogy, Aftershock, Father of Invention, Winnie the Pooh, Rare Exports, Shaolin …

Captain America: The First Avenger The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Volumes 3, 4 A couple of months ago, in reviewing the 1990 adaptation of “Captain America,” I wondered how the no-frills version would measure up to the monster-budget “The First Avenger,” which I had yet to see. Not surprisingly, the special effects in the 2011…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. City of Life and Death

  City of Life and Death (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars) China: Chuan Lu, 2009 (Kino International) I. The Rape of Nanking In December, 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army invaded Nanking (now “Nanjing“), the erstwhile capital city of beleaguered China. Hell followed them. For the next few weeks, that army went on one of the worst massacres,…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Blu-ray. Winnie the Pooh

“Winnie the Pooh” (Two disc Blu-ray/DVD; Also Three disc Blu-ray 3D/DVD/Digital) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall; 2011 (Walt Disney)   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…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers (Two Stars) U.S.: Paul W. S. Anderson, 2011 Tous pour un, un pour tous. Alexandre Dumas pere “The Three Musketeers” — Alexandre Dumas’ quintessential swashbuckling adventure tale of three crack swordsmen and lusty comrades (Athos, Porthos and Aramis) and the hothead/country bumpkin (D’Artganan) whom they befriend and help turn into a world-class,…

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Wilmington on DVDs, The Rest: Bad Teacher; Page One: Inside the New York Times

Bad Teacher (One and a Half Stars) U.S.: Jake Kasdan, 2011 (Columbia) Seen any good movies lately? Good movies? Not really. But I saw a bad movie last Wednesday. I mean, a really bad movie. This movie was  sooooo bad…. How bad was it?… So bad that they put “bad” in the actual title! Like they were…

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The DVD Wrapup: Pirates of Caribbean, Willy Wonka’s 40th, Robotech, Bad Teacher, Captains, Harakiri, Salo, Names of Love, Baaria, Shock Doctrine, Leningrad Cowboys, A Better Life …

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: Blu-ray Call me old-fashioned, I was far more turned on by the swashbuckling action in the first half hour of “POC4,” than the entire search for the Fountain of Youth that followed it. Outside King George’s courtroom, a crowd of blood-thirsty Brits is salivating in anticipation of Captain…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life (Also Three Disc Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combo) (Four Stars) U.S.: Terrence Malick, 2011 (20th Century Fox) I. The Tree In The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick, an artist/perfectionist who never rushes a movie, dares the cinematic heavens again and, as far as I’m concerned, he wins the bet. The movie, still best American film…

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Wilmington on Movies. The Rolling Stones: Some Girls Live in Texas

  The Rolling Stones: Some Girls Live in Texas (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.-U.K.: 1978-2011          It was 1964, the summer after my senior year in high school, and the song blasting out of the juke box at the Arctic Circle, a frozen custard drive-in and major high school hang-out in Williams Bay,…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Pick of the Week: New. The Princess of Montpensier

The Princess of Montpensier (Four Stars) France: Bertrand Tavernier, 2010  (MPI Home Video) The Princess of Montpensier is a splendid French historical drama, a movie in the tradition of  sumptuous, intelligent epic-makers like Jean Renoir, Luchino Visconti, or Jean-Paul Rappeneau — and of course, in the best tradition of the filmmaker who made it, the usually good,…

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The DVD Wrapup: Tree of Life, Green Lantern, Zookeeper, Mr. Nice, Four Feathers, Horrible Bosses, The Trip, Beautiful Boy, Submarino, Red State, Maniac Cop …

The Tree of Life: Blu-ray If all one knows about Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” is that it was awarded the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, watching it at home could either be a tremendously exhilarating or hugely bewildering experience. A highly personal project, the movie has been gestating in his…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Green Lantern; Horrible Bosses; Zookeeper; Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer

Green Lantern (Two Stars) U.S.: Martin Campbell, 2011 (Warner Bros.) Maybe I’m just getting really, really tired of Superhero movies —  but I had trouble sitting through Green Lantern. A half an hour or so into the show, I started checking my watch, and soon I was checking it every few minutes or so– even though…

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Wilmington on Movies: Dream House

  Dream House (Two Stars) U.S.: Jim Sheridan, 2011  In Dream House, an almost mystifying misfire of a would-be classy, smart horror movie, Daniel Craig plays Will Atenton, a New York City publishing house editor who quits his job and moves out of the city — with his angelic wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and their two…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Ides of March

The Ides of March (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: George Clooney, 2011   Why in Great Caesar’s Ghost did George Clooney make a movie like The Ides of March now? That question kept needling me as I tried to enjoy this suave but dispiriting drama about a Democratic presidential primary gone rotten. I could never really…

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Scre4m (Scream 4)

    (Also 2 Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Three Stars) U.S.: Wes Craven, 2011 Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay. (Also Amazon Instant Video)   What’s your favorite scary movie? Excuse me? Who is this?   I said: What’s your favorite scary movie? Well, Psycho, of course. Though M and Vertigo and The Night of the Hunter and Nosferatu and…

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Wilmington on DVD. Pick of the Week: New. African Cats

(Four Stars) U.S.-U.K.: Alastair Fothergill & Keith Scholey, 2011 (Walt Disney/Buena Vista) African Cats, a wildlife documentary from Disneynature, shot in Kenya on the savanna —  with real lions and cheetahs as its main characters — strikes me as 2011’s best family movie so far. But why be limiting? Why ghettoize this film by calling it a…

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The Lion King, African Cats, Submarine, Fast Five, Buck, Nostalgia, Dust, Gamera, Bette Midler, Pee-wee Herman …

The Lion King: Diamond Edition: Blu-ray/Digital Copy/DVD/3D Disneynature: African Cats: Blu-ray/DVD Combo After 17 years in circulation, one way or another, it would be reasonable to think that the only people who would be interested in shelling out even more hard-earned money to see “The Lion King,” would be those viewers who collect their favorites…

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Wilmington on Movies: What’s Your Number?

  What’s Your Number? (One Star) U.S.: Mark Mylod, 2011 When an Anna Faris movie is so bad it makes you yearn for the good old days of Scary Movie 2, you know you’re in trouble. What’s Your Number?, a Faris rom-com of flabbergasting silliness and an awful smirking cheeriness that sets your teeth on…

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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 »

“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

A Spirited Exchange

“In some ways Christopher Nolan has become our Stanley Kubrick,” reads the first sentence of David Bordwell’s latest blog post–none of which I want or intend to read after that desperate opening sentence. If he’d written “my” or “some people’s” instead of “our”, I might have read further. Instead, I can only surmise that in some ways David Bordwell may have become our Lars von Trier.”
~ Jonathan Rosenbaum On Facebook

“Jonathan has written a despicable thing in comparing me to Trump. He’s free to read or not read what I write, and even to judge arguments without reading them. It’s not what you’d expect from a sensible critic, but it’s what Jonathan has chosen to do, for reasons of a private nature he has confided to me in an email What I request from him is an apology for comparing my ideas to Trump’s.”
~ David Bordwell Replies

“Yes, I do apologize, sincerely, for such a ridiculous and quite unwarranted comparison. The private nature of my grievance with David probably fueled my post, but it didn’t dictate it, even though I’m willing to concede that I overreacted. Part of what spurred me to post something in the first place is actually related to a positive development in David’s work–an improvement in his prose style ever since he wrote (and wrote very well) about such elegant prose stylists as James Agee and Manny Farber. But this also brought a journalistic edge to his prose, including a dramatic flair for journalistic ‘hooks’ and attention-grabbers, that is part of what I was responding to. Although I realize now that David justifies his opening sentence with what follows, and far less egregiously than I implied he might have, I was responding to the drum roll of that opening sentence as a provocation, which it certainly was and is.”
~ Jonathan Rosenbaum Replies