Reviews Archive for February, 2012

DVD Wrapup: Myth of American Sleepover, Hugo … More

David Robert Mitchell’s debut feature easily qualifies as one of the most criminally under-screened and neglected movies of the young century. While Hollywood continues to search in vain for the new John Hughes and independents hope to capture the same lightning in a bottle as “American Pie,” “The Myth of the American Sleepover” was there all along. Even in DVD, it succeeds at almost every level in capturing the joys, angst and insanity of being a teenager in middle-class America.

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Wilmington on Movies: Act of Valor

With its cast of real-life Navy Seals playing characters based on themselves, in a script partly drawn from real life, in scenes that the Seals actors helped design and choreograph, Act of Valor should really be the last word in Seals combat realism.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classic. The Conformist

The Conformist (Four Stars) Italian: Bernado Bertolucci, 1970 (Arrow Video) Bernardo Bertolucci‘s 1970 The Conformist is an art film classic regarded by many cinematographers as the most beautifully photographed movie of its era. Vittorio Storaro, at his best, did the brilliant cinematography and the film’s main visual/stylistic influences include the American romantic/cynic Josef von Sternberg…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Tower Heist

Tower Heist. Wheww! That was one hell of a movie. Hell of a movie! Brett Ratner: Rush Hour! Rush Hour 2!!. Rush Hour 3!!! He‘s one moviemaker who can really make a movie move. Didn’t ya think?

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The DVD Wrapup: J. Edgar, Puss in Boots, On the Bowery, more

It’s the rare documentarian whose sympathizes don’t lie with common men and women, especially those dealt a weak hand at birth. Compassion isn’t something that can be taught at film school, like cinematography, history and theory. It pretty much has to be bred in the bone.

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Wilmington on DVDs. J. Edgar

This is a movie you should see both for its storytelling skills and the intense interest of the story it tells. So the hell what if it’s not constructed like the usual movie. Who wants it to be?

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Wilmington on Movies: Ghost Rider

No screenings for critics here on Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance — for reasons that become quickly apparent when you watch it — so I decided to fork over coin of the realm anyway and catch it at a multiplex. After all, I thought, how bad could it be? I mean really: How bad?

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Wilmington on Movies: The Secret World of Arrietty

Who, I pondered, were the craftsmen who made all the wonderful furniture and clothes and hand-crafted-looking household items that graced the Clocks’ house? Did these objects come from dollhouses? Are Pod and Homily master artisans as well as brilliant borrowers? As I said, I thought about it, but not much.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Mozart’s Sister

The movie begins lyrically, with a scene that recalls the openings of both Bergman’s The Magician and Max Ophuls’ Lola Montes: the Mozart family traveling to an engagement in a nearly broken down coach through the woods. When it does break down, we’re made painfully aware of how vulnerable their existence really is, the dilemma of many artists.

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The DVD Wrapup: Take Shelter, Tiny Furniture, More …

You’ll either buy into Aura and her world or you’ll find Tiny Furniture excruciatingly pretentious and boring.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn; A Fish Called Wanda

The movie, despite its hollow dialogue and sometimes punishing slow pace, does look sort of good. But it seems odd at times that this movie was directed by a man who made a movie about the Kinsey Report.

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Wilmington on Movies: Safe House

I didn’t dislike it. But I didn’t like it much (except for Washington), and I kept feeling that I should like it — that there was so much fuss being taken over Safe House, and so much obvious talent involved, that I was being somehow ungrateful in remaining unmoved — or in wishing that two or three of the action or chase set-pieces (say, the soccer stadium scene) had been replaced with a few more scenes devoted to character and dialogue and human interaction.

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Wilmington on Movies. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Along the way to the credits, The Artist Formerly Known as the Rock treats us to a performance of the Louis Armstrong favorite “What a Wonderful World,” with his own ukulele accompaniment; advises Sean on his love life, smiles constantly, and tops it off by bouncing berries off his popping pectorals, making for an unprecedented 3D experience.

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: The Rum Diary, Harold & Kumar Christmas

This sort-of cinematic roman a clef, changed by writer-director Bruce Robinson—considerably, but that’s all right—is a good nasty show pulsing and snapping and exploding with the witty chaos, counter-culture venom and inspired invective that were the Good Doctor’s mock-shock-and-awe stock in trade. Second-hand Gonzo, it’s true, but even diluted Thompson packs a wallop, since the raw unfiltered original blows the back of your head off.

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My DVD Wrapup: A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, Lady and the Tramp, Downton Abbey, more…

If I were younger and had been far more stoned than I’ve been in years, I probably would have enjoyed “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas” quite a bit more than I did. Apparently, too, if I were rich enough to afford a Blu-ray 3D television, the experience would have been enhanced exponentially. Nothing freaks out stoners faster than images flying off a screen and landing in their laps.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Project Nim

Oh Nim. Humans sorry. Forgive us.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Woman in Black: Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens

So, at least we can go to a horror movie where we don’t have to watch more mock home movie or surveillance camera photography of monstrous stuff, or kibitz on teen/20 actors being slaughtered in another artificial holocaust for sale.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Big Year; Winged Migration; Life of Birds, Transformers and more

Bay and his crew (and a lot of the actors and voice actors) are still able to pump enough wild invention, heavy film technique, weirdo energy and Wowie-Kazowie-Blam-Blam-Blam-Kaboom-Vavoom-Wacka-Wacka-Wacka-Kerboom!!!!!!! into the show to impress the hell out of you at times.

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Wilmington on DVD. Pick of the Week: New. Drive

Neo-noir is this picture’s middle name, and its forebears are The Driver (of course) and John Boorman’s Point Blank, with Lee Marvin, and Peter Yates’ Bullitt, with Steve McQueen, and William Friedkin’s The French Connection and Michael Mann‘s outlaw movies Thief and Heat—and even perhaps Jean-Pierre Melville‘s Le Samourai, which has a hero hit man (played by Alain Delon) who’s just as cool, just as silent, murderous and secretly romantic as Gosling’s Driver is here.

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The DVD Wrapup: Transformers 3D, In Time, Dead Hooker In A Trunk…

“Dead Hooker in a Trunk” is the title of a do-it-yourself horror flick by Jen and Sylvia Soska, who not only co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred, but also are credited as co-producers, set decorators and assistants to the editor and cinematographer. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made PB&J sandwiches for the cast and crew, as well. Unlike the great headlines and titles that point to lousy stories and movies, however, “Dead Hooker in a Trunk” is both a madly inventive parody of slasher flicks and a deliciously dark comedy.

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Reviews

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

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 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

Andre 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

Roy Atkinson on: DVD Wrapup: Commuter, Oscar, A Taxi Driver, Humor Me, Prince, Doris Day, Shakespeare Wallah, Pomegranates and more

gary j dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Ballad of Lefty Brown, Wonder, Blades, Seijun Suzuki, Fellini, Hellraiser, Paradise and more

Yvan Prime on: The DVD Wrapup: Ballad of Lefty Brown, Wonder, Blades, Seijun Suzuki, Fellini, Hellraiser, Paradise and more

The DVD Wrapup: Goldstone, Westwood, That Summer, Irish Surf, Wyeth, Barbershop, Jess Franco, Mambo Cool, Watcher, Rolling Stone at 50 … More

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: American Animals, Book Club, Woman Walks Ahead, Bound, Mind Game, Shadowbuilder, Poetic Trilogy, Boss N-word, Crazy Six, My Life With James Dean … More

The DVD Wrapup: 1st Reformed, Bleeding Steel, Higher Power, Black Water, Porcupine Lake, Tingler, Strait-Jacket, Tideland, Wild at Heart, Jack Ryan, Terror, Hillary, Outback, Blacklist, Walking Dead … More

The DVD Wrapup: Avengers, Ninko, Escape, Aim for the Heart, Yellow Birds, Affairs of State, Gregorio Cortez, 200 Motels, Done to Your Daughters?, S.F. Brownrigg, Muppet Babies, BBC Earth … More

The DVD Wrapup: Bye Bye Germany, John From, Marrowbone, Wildling, Dead Shack, Bitter Money, Big Fish & Begonia, Street Mobster, US Fest, No Offense … More

The DVD Wrapup: Final Portrait, Overboard, Dark Crimes, Iron Brothers, Streets of Vengeance, Piranha II, Star Wars Rebels, Myanmar … More

The DVD Wrapup: Night of Virgin, Lovecraft, Carpenter, Moss, Love After Love, Gravity Falls, Keeping Faith, Spiral … More

The DVD Wrapup: I Feel Pretty, Never Really Here, In Harmony, Leisure Seeker, Scorpion’s Tail, Hong Sangsoo, Doom Asylum, T2, The Tunnel, The Good Place … More

The DVD Wrapup: Quiet Place, Dietrich/Steinberg, A Ciambra, Maborosi, Chappaquiddick, Josephine Baker, Lean on Pete, Jazz Ambassadors, Blue Desert … More

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch