Reviews Archive for January, 2012

Wilmington on Movies: Man on a Ledge

Man on a Ledge has that slick, self-satisfied gleam movies can get when they cost too much and they’re stuffed with formula and clichés and stars, and nobody can do anything about it. It also has a plot so preposterous, motivations so inane, and an ending so bonkers that the only possible way to play them may be for laughs, if the show were good at comedy.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Grey

At its best, The Grey reminds you of such classics as Boorman’s and Dickey’s Deliverance, or Lev Kuleshov‘s London-derived Russian silent Outside the Law, or even a flawed but exciting show like Lee Tamahori’s and David Mamet’s The Edge, The Grey makes the wilderness a terrifying place. And it works, sometimes smashingly.

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Real Steel, Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008), Welcome to L.A.

PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC
Identification of a Woman (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars)
Italy: Michelangelo Antonioni, 1982 (Criterion Collection)

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classic. Identification of a Woman

  PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC Identification of a Woman (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars) Italy: Michelangelo Antonioni, 1982 (Criterion Collection) 1. Identification of a Woman. Antonioni. Why? 2. Michelangelo Antonioni, maker of Identification of a Woman (1982), L’Avventura (1960) and Blowup (1966), one of the great international filmmakers  of the 20th century, is an exemplar of that era…

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The DVD Wrapup: Real Steel, Whistleblower, 8 more

Everyone in the movie looks as if they belong there, except Jackman, whose Charlie Keaton is altogether too soft and unscarred to be a broken-down boxer and hard-drinking grease monkey. Kids who only know the Aussie actor through his “Wolverine” persona won’t mind the discrepancy.

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Wilmington on Movies: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

          EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Stephen Daldry, 2012   I don’t want to come across as mean and heartless here, but, though there were parts of it I liked a lot,  the movie Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close affected me something like a persistent urchin…

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Wilmington on Movies. Red Tails

            RED TAILS (Three Stars) U. S.; Anthony Hemingway, 2012   There are two ways to look at Red Tails, producer George Lucas’s long-gestating  World War II movie about the storied all-black Air Force unit, The Tuskegee Airmen. You can see the show as a big spectacular action movie, with incredible…

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The DVD Wrapup: Moneyball, Dirty Girl, Bombay Beach, Division III, The Overcoat, Belle du Jour, Mysteries of Lisbon, Cold Sweat …

Moneyball: Blu-ray The term, “inside baseball,” often is used when a conversation about anything from politics to food preparation becomes so complex that only a professional could possibly understand its complexities. While it isn’t always used in a derogatory way, the term does suggest that one participant is attempting to dazzle the other with numbers,…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Pick of the Week: New. The Ides of March

  Despite my low-to-moderate rating of The Ides Of March, I still believe it’s a movie that should be seen by all movie types. Which is why it’s a co-pick.   The Ides of March (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: George Clooney, 2011 (Sony Pictures)   Why in Hell did George Clooney make a movie…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Mysteries of Lisbon

    MYSTERIES OF LISBON (Four Stars)  Portugal: Raoul Ruiz, 2010-11 (Music Box Films) Take the book down from the shelf. Open the pages. Interesting title. “‘Mysteries of Lisbon”…    Raoul Ruiz’s mesmerizing movie Mysteries of Lisbon, which was adapted from Camilo Castelo Branco’s 19th century novel about psychological/romantic torment in the Portuguese upper classes,…

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Wilmington on Movies: Joyful Noise

        JOYFUL NOISE (Two Stars) U.S.: Todd Graff, 2012  Joyful Noise — in which squabbling small town Southern gospel divas Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton take their small town Georgia church choir to the improbable finals of the National Joyful Noise Competition in Los Angeles — is really two movies: one good, one bad.  …

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Wilmington on Movies and DVDs: Beauty and the Beast. Movie: Truesdale/Wise. DVD: Cocteau/Clement.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 3D (Four Stars) U.S.: Gary Truesdale, Kirk Wise, 1991-2012 BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (La Belle et la Bete) (Blu-ray) (Four Stars) France: Jean Cocteau/Rene Clement, 1946 (Criterion Collection) The new 3D version of the Disney Studio’s 1991 Beauty and the Beast — which is called by some the best animated feature of…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Iron Lady

      THE IRON LADY (Three Stars) U.K.-U.S.; Phyllida Lloyd, 2010 Love her or hate her — and there were plenty of strong feelings on both sides of the fence —Margaret Thatcher remains one of the most fascinating and influential Western world leaders of the 20th century, richly deserving of the classy dramatization she gets…

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Killer Elite, What’s Your Number?, Jane Eyre, The Adjustment Bureau

  Killer Elite (Two Stars) U.S.: Gary McKendry, 2011 (Universal) There are lots of reasons to get irritated with Killer Elite — a big-bucks, big-star, mucho-macho, heavy-duty actioner that throws up several hours of murkily photographed violence, preachy dialogue and byzantine plot twists, while wasting three good actors — Jason Statham, Clive Owen and, sadly…

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The DVD Wrapup: 1911, Higher Ground, There Be Dragons, Man From London, Night and Day, An Idiot Abroad, Australia After Dark …

1911: Collector’s Edition: Revolution: Blu-ray This epic historical drama about the creation of the first Chinese republic marks Jackie Chan’s 100th film. Given the length and breadth of the nation’s history, it’s possible that no other actor in the world has represented so many different periods and worn the costumes associated with as many rulers….

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Moneyball

     Moneyball (Also Two Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Four Stars) U. S.: Bennett Miller, 2011 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)  It’s not whether you win or lose. It’s how you read the spreadsheet.     For many Americans, baseball is a great American game, and a great American sports myth as well — and it’s also, at…

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Wilmington on Movies: The Devil Inside

      The Devil Inside (One Star) U.S.: William Brent Bell, 2012 Just how bad can a movie be that grosses 34 million dollars on its first weekend? Pretty damned bad, as you’ll find out quickly if you dip into The Devil Inside — the latest entry in the found-footage horror or mocko-shockumetary sweepstakes that began…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Pick of the Week: Classic. The Four Feathers (Korda)

The Four Feathers (Three and a Half Stars) U.K.: Zolta Korda, 1939 (Criterion Collection) Four adventure-loving upper class British soldiers — best friends who are about to leave for the 1896-98 colonial wars in Sudan — symbolically exchange four white feathers, plucked from  the plume of the beautiful Ethne (June Duprez), daughter of the harrumphing and…

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark; I Don’t Know How She Does It; Devil’s Angels

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (Three Stars) U.S.: Troy Nixey, 2011 (Sony Pictures Home Entertaiment)    What’s that noise over there? What’s that knocking in the walls? Those ashes stirring in the fireplace? Ah, it’s nothing, it’s nothing. Don’t worry. Even though you’re all alone and I know you’re anxious…that there may be something…wrong….

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The DVD Wrapup: Contagion, Brighton Rock, The Guard, Tokyo Drifter, Don’t Know How She Does It, Santa Mesa, Glad My Mother Is Alive, X: The Unheard Music, Justified …

Contagion: Blu-ray If the cast and creative team behind “Contagion” were a baseball team, it would be the New York Yankees. It would be managed by Academy Award-winner Steven Soderbergh and feature a lineup that includes such Oscar- and BAFTA-level talent as Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Ehle, Marion…

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Reviews

gary d on: The DVD Wrapup: Bridge of Spies, Truth, Snow White, Breathe and more

Ben Kabak on: The DVD Wrapup: Bridge of Spies, Truth, Snow White, Breathe and more

Johanna Lynch on: Wilmington on DVDs: The File on Thelma Jordon; Adua and her Friends; Bullet to the Head

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Quote Unquotesee all »

Tsangari: With my next film, White Knuckles, it comes with a budget — it’s going to be a huge new world for me. As always when I enter into a new thing, don’t you wonder how it’s going to be and how much of yourself you are going to have to sacrifice? The ballet of all of this. I’m already imaging the choreography — not of the camera, but the choreography of actually bringing it to life. It is as fascinating as the shooting itself. I find the producing as exciting as the directing. The one informs the other. There is this producer-director hat that I constantly wear. I’ve been thinking about these early auteurs, like Howard Hawks and John Ford and Preston Sturges—all of these guys basically were hired by the studio, and I doubt they had final cut, and somehow they had films that now we can say they had their signatures.  There are different ways of being creative within the parameters and limitations of production. The only thing you cannot negotiate is stupidity.
Filmmaker: And unfortunately, there is an abundance of that in the world.
Tsangari: This is the only big risk: stupidity. Everything else is completely worked out in the end.
~ Chevalier‘s Rachel Athina Tsangari

“The middle-range movies that I was doing have largely either stopped being made, or they’ve moved to television, now that television is a go-to medium for directors who can’t get work in theatricals, because there are so few theatricals being made. But also with the new miniseries concept, you can tell a long story in detail without having to cram it all into 90 minutes. You don’t have to cut the characters and take out the secondary people. You can actually put them all on a big canvas. And it is a big canvas, because people have bigger screens now, so there’s no aesthetic difference between the way you shoot a movie and the way you shoot a TV show.

“Which is all for the good. But what’s happened in the interim is that theatrical movies being a spectacle business are now either giant blockbuster movies that run three hours—even superhero movies run three hours, they used to run like 58 minutes!—and the others, which are dysfunctional family independent movies or the slob comedy or the kiddie movie, and those are all low-budget. So the middle ground of movies that were about things, they’re just gone. Or else they’re on HBO. Like the Bryan Cranston LBJ movie, which years ago would’ve been made for theaters.

“You’ve got people like Paul Schrader and Walter Hill who can’t get their movies theatrically distributed because there’s no market for it. So they end up going to VOD, and VOD is a model from which no one makes any money, because most of the time, as soon as they get on the site, they’re pirated. So the whole model of the system right now is completely broken. And whether or not anybody’s going to try to fix, or if it even can be fixed, I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the same business that I got into in the ’70s.”
~ Joe Dante

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