Reviews Archive for March, 2012

The DVD Wrapup: Dangerous Method, Broken Tower, Delta… More

The way Mátyás Erdély’s camera lingers on natural phenomena recalls the haunting imagery that distinguishes the Terrence Malick, Bela Tarr and Andrei Tarkovski. In Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó’s “Delta,” depictions of the area’s natural beauty run contrary to the ugliness of the local male population, whose only mission in life appears to be diminishing the potential for happiness in others.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Extremely Loud & Incrdibly Close

        EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Stephen Daldry, 2012 (Warner Bros.) 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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The DVD Wrapup: Carnage, Louder Than a Bomb, Dragon Tattoo, Gainsbourg… More

Say what you will about Roman Polanski, the man can still direct movies.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classic. On the Bowery

On the Bowery is Lionel Rogosin’s legendary 1956 documentary about men who drink, set in the derelict bars, flophouses and missions of New York City‘s Bowery in the ’50s. Now beautifully restored in 35 mm by Milestone Films, this black and white film chronicle of a short season in hell below the 3rd Avenue El, is an almost unbearably honest film.

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Sitter, Louder Than a Bomb, Hop

Well, I’ve had it. After defending David Gordon Green for making Pineapple Express, a controversially violent stoner comedy that I think is well-acted, well-directed and hot-damn funny, I find myself confronted with this silly-ass comedy and harebrained Jonah Hill vehicle The Sitter, a movie that tries to stuff the white-boy car-crash raunch of The Blues Brothers and the paranoid comedy of After Hours into the kids-out-all-night plot of Adventures of Babysitting, and comes up with something just this side of Adventures in Idiocy or maybe Francis the Talking Mule Goes to a Swinger’s Club or maybe Plan 9 from a Night at the Roxbury.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Muppets

Rooney Mara is no Noomi Rapace. At least when it comes to playing superpunk, black-jacketed, neo-noir heroines with burning eyes, pierced eyelids and deadly temperaments. But she’s close.

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Wilmington on Movies: 21 Jump Street

I may have missed those laughs, but since 21 Jump Street is already a certifiable big hit — and even a certifiable critical hit — nothing I can say is likely to resonate one way or another. The fact that I found it not very funny, not very entertaining, visually scrappy, and full of dopey scenes that made little or no sense will count for little or nothing here in Box Office Mega Land.

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Wilmington on Movies: Casa de mi Padre

When good actors play bad actors giving bad performances in a bad movie, there’s a thin line — between bad and good and bad-good or good-bad. One can appreciate the subtle self-effacing skill involved in bad-as-good movie-making and acting. But aren’t these people taking away work from genuinely bad actors?

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Moment of Truth

By the end of the film, after Rosi and the audience have followed a young bullfighter, Miguel or “Miguelin,” from provincial poverty all the way to fame in Barcelona and Madrid, to the brink of massacre, and to the moment of truth, of oblivion, that every matador, every bull, every screaming member of the crowd, must feel or face in their own ways — at the end of all that, in the presence of our God and a church, we sense that we‘ve seen not just seen an exotic entertainment, but that we’ve had a life experience. It’s a terrifying film, and a wondrous one, and, as you watch it, it drains your heart and guts, as it stares fiercely into the sun, like Kurosawa.

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The DVD Wrapup: Descendants, Marilyn, Young Adult, Bellissima, More

“Bellissima” features a tour de force performance by Anna Magnani as a fame-obsessed stage mother, whose only moderately talented daughter becomes a pawn in a game designed to impress studio executives looking for the next big child star. Magnani’s Maddalena Ciccone is so self-centered and determined to win the contest that she fails to notice how much pain she’s causing little Maria and her husband, Spartaco, whose dreams of building a house for them diminishes with every dollar Maddalena spends on photographs, costumes and bribes.

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Wilmington on DVDs: My Week with Marilyn, Happy Feet Two, The Three Musketeers, The Geisha Boy

Then there’s Michelle Williams as Marilyn herself. I said above that nobody could catch Marilyn’s magic. No one can. But Michelle Williams comes close. She does a wonderful job, manages to get some of her body and a bit of her soul. And some of her blonde haired beauty, the kind gentlemen prefer. (Gentlemen, hah!)

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Blu-ray. The Adventures of Tintin

All three of them (four, counting the dauntless Snowy), are constantly hurled into perilous exploits involving galleons aflame, crashing airplanes, scorching desert sand dunes filled with camels, sheiks and villainy, plus one of the most spectacular one-take car and motorcycle chases ever (a dam bursts just as the chase gets underway), and a climactic industrial crane battle (done, like the other action scenes, in what look like super-crane shots).

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Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Picks of the Week: New. The Descendants, Melancholia

This is a perfect Clooney role and movie, just as The Hustler or Hud or The Verdict were perfect for Paul Newman, The Sting or The Way We Were or the Sundance Kid were perfect for Robert Redford. Everything that makes Clooney attractive on screen — likeability, smarts, vulnerability, earnestness in the face of chaos, that wry sense of being at the center of things but not letting it carry him away, and the ability to kid himself — is present in the character he‘s playing here.

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Wilmington on Movies: Silent House

It’s a contemporary variation on the “Old Dark House” lady-in-distress thriller, based on the Uruguayan suspense film La Casa Muda and it stars the very pretty and convincing Elizabeth Olsen as Sarah, a sensitive and troubled young lady whose somewhat obnoxious father John and somewhat enigmatic Uncle Peter have joined her at the family’s summer home, to clean it up and prepare it for sale.

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Wilmington on Movies: John Carter

John Carter, the new live action Disney epic — based on the popular early 20th century pulp series of science fiction novels (“A Princess of Mars,“ etc.) by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs — reportedly cost all of that and more, and it still looks like as if it’s missing something. But maybe it’s missing something money can’t buy.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Anatomy of a Murder, To Catch a Thief

Why has it lasted? Improved with age? Actually, surprisingly, when the shock elements of the movie began to seem tamer, its excellence as a realistic film drama became far more apparent.

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The DVD Wrapup: Footloose, 54, Vanya on 42nd Street… More

What’s missing from the Blu-ray edition of “54” is the 45 minutes of deleted material, compiled by Christopher and shown at New York’s Outfest in 2008. It expands on the promiscuity and cocaine-fueled depravity that made Studio 54 the attraction it was, while amplifying on Phillippe’s bisexuality, which was only alluded to in finished product.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Jack and Jill, Footloose, Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Among Jill’s more unfortunate traits: a habit of leaping into Jack’s bed and spooning (She calls it part of “twin time“), starting arguments at dinnertime, saying everything in a loud, squeaky Bronx screech of a voice, diarrheic reactions to chimichangas and a tendency to leave huge dark sweat stains on her bed sheets.

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Wilmington on Movies: Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie

… a hellhole inhabited by more idiots and a wolf or two, including the uncredited John C. Reilly as the affably deranged halfwit Taquito, the uncredited Will Ferrell as the stomach-churning con guy Damien Weebs, the uncredited Zach Galifianakis as the rustic simpleton Jim Joe Kelly (at least I think he was a rustic simpleton), Jeff Goldblum as “Chef” Goldblum …

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Wilmington on Movies: Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

It isn’t as if this show were a bomb. It’s made by intelligent guys.

They know how to shoot. They think Seuss is a toot, They love trees and they love cracking wise.

Cinco Paul, and Ken Daurio, and Chris Renau-rio, the gang from Despicable Me

Well, maybe their flick is too big and too cheery-o: a Slightly Disposable Spree.

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Reviews

Woody on: The DVD Wrapup: ET, Vietnam, Big Sick, Glory, Certain Women, The Hero, Hana-Bi, By the Time It Gets Dark, The Prison, The Flesh, Moderns … More

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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

Quote Unquotesee all »

“The sad and painful truth is that pretty much everyone in this town knew who Harvey was. I have had long talks with my most liberal friends. Did we know he was a rapist? We didn’t. But did we know that for decades he has been offering actresses big careers in exchange for sexual favors? Yes, we did — and make no mistake, that is its own kind of rape. And did we all — or did any of us — refuse to do business with him on moral grounds? No. We ALL STAYED IN BUSINESS WITH HIM. I have never done business with Harvey but I can tell you with certainty that I would have — because I was recently approached by a film festival he sponsors. They asked me to submit my short film for their consideration and I did it without thinking twice. I am a dyed-in-the-wool feminist and a vocal one at that. So why didn’t I think twice? Because this entire town is built on the ugly principals that Harvey takes to an horrific extreme. If I didn’t work with people whose behavior I find reprehensible, I wouldn’t have a career.”
~ Showrunner Krista Vernoff

From AMPAS president John Bailey:

Dear Fellow Academy Members,

Danish director Carl Dreyer’s 1928 film “The Passion of Joan of Arc” is not only one of the visual landmarks of the silent era, but is a deeply disturbing portrait of a young woman’s persecution in the face of the male judges and priests of the ruling order. The actress Maria Falconetti gave one of the most profoundly affecting performances in the history of cinema as the Maid of Orleans.

Since the decision of the Academy’s Board of Governors on Saturday October 14 to expel producer Harvey Weinstein from its membership, I have been haunted not only by the recurring image of Falconetti and the sad arc of her career (dying in Argentina in 1946, reputedly from a crash diet) but of Joan’s refusal to submit to an auto de fe recantation of her beliefs.

Recent public testimonies by some of filmdom’s most recognized women regarding sexual intimidation, predation, and physical force is, clearly, a turning point in the film industry—and hopefully in our country, where what happens in the world of movies becomes a marker of societal Zeitgeist. Their decision to stand up against a powerful, abusive male not only parallels the cinema courage of Falconetti’s Joan but gives all women courage to speak up.

After Saturday’s Board of Governors meeting, the Academy issued a passionately worded statement, expressing not only our concern about harassment in the film industry, but our intention to be a strong voice in changing the culture of sexual exploitation in the movie business, already common well before the founding of the Academy 90 years ago. It is up to all of us Academy members to more clearly define for ourselves the parameters of proper conduct, of sexual equality, and respect for our fellow artists throughout our industry. The Academy cannot, and will not, be an inquisitorial court, but we can be part of a larger initiative to define standards of behavior, and to support the vulnerable women and men who may be at personal and career risk because of violations of ethical standards by their peers.

Yours,
John