Reviews Archive for July, 2012

Wilmington on Movies: Step Up Revolution

This is a ludicrous example of what you might call the “Hey Kids! Let’s put on a flash mob, and get it on You Tube!“ musical, a slick-quick-and-dumb-as-a-brick movie, shot in Miami, that has no apparent rationale except to get a bunch of buff kids, led by Guzman and McCormick, slithering and hopping and flash mobbing and dirty-dancing away to recorded music by talent like J.Lo, M.I.A., M83 and Far East Movement (all news to me).

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Wilmington on Movies: The Queen of Versailles

Of all the amusing, depressing and jaw-dropping things in “The Queen of Versailles”—Lauren Greenfield’s documentary about the construction and deconstruction of the largest one-family dwelling in the United States, a domicile modeled on both the original French Palace of Versailles and the Las Vegas Paris Hotel and built by time-share resort hotel czar David Siegel (and a film with many amusing, depressing and confounding things in it) — one of the two that bothered me most was the impression I had that in this entire massive, outlandishly ornate yet fundamentally cheesy edifice, intended as a glorious Got-rocks celebration by Siegel and his family (including wife Jackie, seven children, one niece and 19 servants), I could did not spot a single book.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Watch

I can only think of one logical explanation for this screenplay (which isn’t much interested in logical explanations itself), and that‘s that, before these three guys started writing it, monstrous aliens from outer space burst into their working rooms, took their places and wrote the script themselves — as part of a sinister conspiracy to befuddle moviegoers, and then, while everybody was wandering around flabbergasted, conquer the earth. Maybe they already have.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Brooklyn’s Finest/Stone; Babes in Toyland (March of the Wooden Soldiers); The Saphead

    BROOKLYN’S FINEST/STONE (Three Stars) U.S.: Antoine Fucqua/John Curran 2010 (Starz/Anchor Bay) Two-Pack Contains: BROOKLYN’S FINEST (U.S.; Antoine Fucqua, 2010.  (Three Stars) Brooklyn’s Finest, the new cop thriller from director Antoine Fucqua (Training Day), is a neo-noir with lots of punch and  swagger. Swooping along through mean streets and dingy hallways, propelled by Fucqua’s gaudy repertoire of crane and tracking shots, it‘s…

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Last Days of Disco

Whit Stillman‘s best film — a portrayal of the latter days of the New York Disco scene, and of a club that looks suspiciously like Studio 54 — is a movie that manages to let us enjoy the sensuality and fun of the era, and a lot of the then-trashed but still danceable disco music, and at the same time, see why it fell and why it prompted outraged middle or working class rockers to insist “Disco sucks.”

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The DVD Wrapup: Three Stooges, Margaret, Metropolitan, Institute Benjamenta, Footnote… More

Typically, movies with a gestation period of more than five years bear the fingerprints of far too many studio meddlers and investors hoping to return a dime on the dollars they put into the project. Some have been edited and re-edited to the point where they’re unrecognizable from the concept originally green-lit and are disowned by their parents. By the time they’re accorded a limited release, more lawyers have seen the movie than critics. “Margaret” has just such a backstory.

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Wilmington on DVDs: La Haine

La Haine (or Hate) is the legendary 1995 feature debut of the young French actor turned writer-director Mathieu Kassovitz (in his 20s when it was released, as were his three leads), who based his story on the chaos and death of real shootings, and real riots, and real deaths in the early ‘90s, which he witnessed. It is a remarkable movie, with a hypnotic grip. It burns itself into your memory.

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Wilmington on Movies: To Rome With Love

I laughed more than I did at the last three or four alleged Hollywood romantic comedies (or rom-coms) I’ve seen — several of which even got good reviews, or at any event, better than a lot the reviews for “To Rome With Love.” It deserved much better.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Dark Knight Rises

This review of The Dark Knight Rises was written yesterday, before I had heard the news of the tragic shootings and twelve deaths at the movie theatre showing the film at Century 16 Theatres in Aurora, Colorado. I had intended to write several more paragraphs on the movie today, and maybe I will later. But not now.

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The DVD Wrapup: Friends With Kids, Singin’ in the Rain, Here, Salmon Fishing, 4:44, Johnny Carson, Julia Child, InBetweeners … More

Shot almost exclusively in rural Armenia, “Here” is the kind of movie whose scenery almost overpowers the story, whose existential conceits are extremely fragile.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Casa de mi Padre

  CASA DE MI PADRE (Two Stars)  U.S.-Mexico; Matt Piedmont, 2012 (Lions Gate) In Casa de mi Padre, Will Ferrell and some friends from Mexico, including those two talented fugitives from Y ti mama tambien, Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal,  make fun of bad Mexican movies —  especially lurid telenovela serials about obsessive romance and…

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Wilmington on Movies. Ice Age: Continental Drift

  ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Steve Martino/Mike Thurmaier, 2012 Animated features have gotten so generally good these days, so surprisingly witty and adult , that it’s almost reassuring to run into one that’s just as poorly written, confusing and juvenile as a lot of  the live action movies for…

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Wilmington on Movies: Red Lights

The first half of this movie is pretty good — which may be a case of digging yourself a beautiful hole and then getting trapped in it. Cortes mercifully doesn’t direct like a rock-video maker and he knows how to tighten knots and turns screws. But he’s not that good yet.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Organizer (I Compagni)

The Italian title of The Organizer, I Compagni, means “The Comrades,” and Monicelli was in fact a lifelong socialist deeply committed to the Italian labor union movement, and if that seems strange — given the comical ways he portrays both Professor Sinigaglia and his great strike, we should recognize that it’s Monicelli’s blend of comedy and tragedy, realism and wit that’s responsible for this film’s remarkable depth and the complex emotions it arouses, the way it generates poignancy and humor and many shadings in between.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Silent House

SILENT HOUSE (Also Blu-ray) (Two Discs) (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Chris Kentis & Laura Lau, 2011 (Universal)  Thrillers thrill us because they make us believe them — even if we probably shouldn’t. I didn’t really believe most of Silent House, even though there were reasons I wanted to. It’s a contemporary variation on…

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The DVD Wrapup: Twins of Evil, Black Limousine, Kassim, Quill, Making Plans for Lena, Cherry Bomb, Chariots of Fire … More

The gimmick attraction was the casting of identical Maltese twins, Mary and Madeleine Collinson, as the vampire-bait siblings, Maria and Frieda. Having recently posed for the centerfold pictorial of Playboy magazine and being cast in a short stag film, they were pretty marketable. After 40 years, however, “Twins of Evil” can stand on its own merits… not that Collinsons don’t retain their allure.

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Wilmington on Movies: Savages

These three lead a sort of idyllic hippie-outlaw-rich-druggie existence (like young, successful moviemakers maybe), with lots of money to spend, lots of ganja to smoke, and lots of sheets to get tangled in — in paradisiacal surroundings on Laguna Beach, drenched in the blazing colors and the lush foliage of beachside life on the Pacific, as shot by cinematographer Dan Mindel. Then their dream world begins to crumble.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Amazing Spider-man

So Tobey Maguire, who apparently became obsolescent at 32 (or at least too old for playing angst-ridden teenagers), gets sent off to the Old Superheroes‘ home, to be replaced by 28-year-old brooding British cutie-pie and critic’s pet Andrew Garfield, who played Mark Zuckerberg‘s (Jesse Eisenberg’s) college chum/partner Eduardo in The Social Network — not my idea of an American teenager, but we‘ll let that pass.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Carol Channing — Larger Than Life

I never saw Carol Channing perform live, but the new documentary Carol Channing: Larger Than Life convinced me I missed something very, very special — a great talent and a great lady and a great good time.

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The DVD Wrapup: American Dream, Joe + Belle, Barbarella, Chesty Morgan, Kirk Douglas … More

If there’s anything that brings out the high-school sophomore in adult men, it’s a bust that measures 73 FF. That vital statistic, alone, made Chesty Morgan (a.k.a., Lillian Wilczkowsky) a name recognized in frat, fire and grind houses throughout North America from 1972 to 1991. And, yes, her breasts were – and continue to be, at 75 – 100 percent real.

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Reviews

rohit aggarwal on: The DVD Wrapup: Ophelia, Ambition, Werewolf in Girls' Dorm, Byleth, Humble Pie, Good Omens, Yellowstone …More

https://bestwatches.club/ on: The DVD Wrapup: Diamonds of the Night, School of Life, Red Room, Witch/Hagazussa, Tito & the Birds, Keoma, Andre’s Gospel, Noir

Gary Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Sleep With Anger, Ralph Wrecks Internet, Liz & Blue Bird, Hannah Grace, Unseen, Jupiter's Moon, Legally Blonde, Willard, Bang … More

Gary Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Bumblebee, Ginsburg, Buster, Silent Voice, Nazi Junkies, Prisoner, Golden Vampires, Highway Rat, Terra Formars, No Alternative … More

GDA on: The DVD Wrapup: Bumblebee, Ginsburg, Buster, Silent Voice, Nazi Junkies, Prisoner, Golden Vampires, Highway Rat, Terra Formars, No Alternative … More

Larry K on: The DVD Wrapup: Sleep With Anger, Ralph Wrecks Internet, Liz & Blue Bird, Hannah Grace, Unseen, Jupiter's Moon, Legally Blonde, Willard, Bang … More

Gary Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Shoplifters, Front Runner, Nobody’s Fool, Peppermint Soda, Haunted Hospital, Valentine, Possum, Mermaid, Guilty, Antonio Lopez, 4 Weddings … More

gwehan on: The DVD Wrapup: Shoplifters, Front Runner, Nobody’s Fool, Peppermint Soda, Haunted Hospital, Valentine, Possum, Mermaid, Guilty, Antonio Lopez, 4 Weddings … More

Gary J Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup: Peppermint, Wild Boys, Un Traductor, Await Instructions, Lizzie, Coby, Afghan Love Story, Elizabeth Harvest, Brutal, Holiday Horror, Sound & Fury … More

Gary J Dretzka on: The DVD Wrapup & Gift Guide III: Venom 4K, The Super, Snowflake, Marie Curie, Gamechangers, Who We Are Now, 40 Guns, De Palma-De Niro,, Starman and more

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon