Reviews Archive for September, 2012

Wilmington on Movies: Pitch Perfect

  PITCH PERFECT (Three Stars) U.S.: Jason Moore, 2012 In the mood for ateen-oriented movie musical comedy about college boys and girls’ A cappella groups? Want to watch (and hear) a bunch of enthusiastic unaccompanied singers slugging it out in something called the ICCA (International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella), with unaccompanied (sort of)  renditions of…

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Wilmington on Movies: Looper

To tell the truth, Looper has a plot almost as tricky and paradoxical enjoyable as “All You Zombies” — or as Heinlein’s earlier classic “By His Bootstraps,” or as Alfred Bester’s amazing “5,271,009,” or as Philip Dick’s (alternate universe) “Eye in the Sky,“ or as Fredric Brown’s well-named “Paradox Lost,“ or as Chris Marker’s melancholy French film-poem La jetée, and the nightmarishly weird American movie it inspired, Terry Gilliam‘s Twelve Monkeys (which also starred Bruce Willis).

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Review: The Master

There’s nothing mundane in the sparse plot structure and complicated character arcs of The Master, nor is there much of the conventional to be found in the score (by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, who also scored There Will Be Blood). Greenwood knows when to overbear and crowd menacingly, when to threaten or allude, and perhaps most importantly, when to shut up and let the silence have its say. But Anderson’s use of duality of form between the simple and the complex is perhaps at its richest when he places tautly constructed dialog flush against sumptuous, majestic cinematography: No clutter. Just lens, light and shadow working flawlessly in concert, revealing the topography of humanity and personality buried within the lines and planes of a human face. The skin tones in this film will make you swoon.

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The DVD Wrapup: Klown, Avengers, American Horror Story … More

Because Klown is the product of a country, Denmark, that isn’t afraid of portraying the sexual maturation process in an honest and occasionally comedic way, director Mikkel Norgaard can have his cake and reserve a large slice of it for viewers, too.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Lonesome, The Last Performance, Broadway

Ah wait, you say. You’ve seen and heard it, or something like it, before. Indeed. Your grandparents probably saw and heard it before, and maybe theirs as well. In fact, as in countless other Hollywood movies, this is a classic example of the famous movie romance formula “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy…”

Stop. You know the rest. Or do you?

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Avengers

DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW THE AVENGERS (Four Stars) U. S.: Joss Whedon, 2012 (Walt Disney Video)    (  “We need a plan of attack.” — Steve Rogers/Captain America “I have a plan: Attack!” — Tony Stark/Iron Man 1. Of Hulks and Iron Men and Smashes As you watch the mega-hit movie The Avengers…

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Wilmington on Movies: End of Watch

End of Watch is a pretty damned exciting Los Angeles buddy-cop movie, made with lots of energy and style. But it has one pretty big flaw: Those damned cameras.

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Wilmington on Movies: Dredd 3D

Hmmmm. I don’t know if any of you have had deranged fantasies of running around a 200-story vertical slum in a stiff black mask, dodging gun battles and massacres and periodically going into slow-motion attacks, or being hurled out of windows or whatever and dropping slowly to the street. But, if you have, this movie will almost certainly satisfy them all, perhaps forever.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Children of Paradise

  PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC  CHILDREN OF PARADISE (“Les Enfants du Paradis“) (Four Stars) France: Marcel Carne, 1945 (Criterion Collection) OVERTURE There has never been a movie valentine to the art of the stage quite as intoxicating and as wonderful as the French film masterpiece Children of Paradise — director Marcel Carne and screenwriter Jacques Prevert’s…

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Babymakers; Bound; The Window

THE BABYMAKERS (Also Blu-ray) (One Star)  U.S.: Jay Chandrasekhar, 2012 (Millennium Entertainment) Devotees of jokes about masturbation, sterility, sperm bank burglaries and getting repeatedly kicked in the groin, will have struck the mother lode with the new comedy The Babymakers — a movie so coarse, crude and defiantly raunchy that it makes the Farrelly Brothers…

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The DVD Wrapup: Chico & Rita, Detachment, Cabin in Woods, End of Road … More

In the powerful ensemble drama, “Detachment,” director Tony Kaye and writer Carl Lund imagine what it might be like not only to teach in a school that, in and of itself, could constitute a level in Dante’s “Inferno,” but also how that experience might impact the teachers in their off-hours. As somber and dirge-like as “Detachment” often is, it demands that we not give up on our public schools and children who were born behind an 8-ball.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; The Cabin in the Woods

    CO-PICKS OF THE WEEK: NEW THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (Three Stars) U.K.: John Madden, 2012 (20th Century Fox) Some countries have massive oil deposits; some have huge veins of silver or gold. England is blessed with a large, constantly replenished reservoir of prime acting talent: probably more great (and good) stage and movie actors than…

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Wilmington on Movies: Searching for Sugar Man

I will say that I loved the movie, that it deserves all the praise it has received, and that, if you care about rock ‘n’ roll, and art, and politics, and the plight of poor people in our rich country, and if you’re curious about the mysteries of commerce and hype (or non-hype) in the United States if America (and the rest of the world), you must see this movie. I watched it again the other night and fell in love with it all over again. What’s more amazing: I just talked to a friend who also loves the movie, and he told me he was sitting in Starbucks last morning when suddenly he heard….Well, I won’t tell you.

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Wilmington on Movies: Finding Nemo 3D

    FINDING NEMO (Five Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition, with Blu-ray/DVD/3D) (Four Stars) U.S.: Andrew Stanton & Lee Unkrich, 2003-12 (Walt Disney/Pixar) Finding Nemo, the first one, was that epic 2003 Pixar computer-animated cartoon adventure about a boy clownfish named Nemo (Alexander Gould) and his nervous father Marlin, how they were separated on Australia‘s Great Barrier Reef,…

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Wilmington on Movies: Arbitrage

Arbitrage is a movie about big money and big crime in America, so naturally it’s set on Wall Street, a district and subculture awash in both. It’s also a picture that demonstrates how we tend to accept people who do bad things s long as they look good. The case in point here is the movie’s main character, financier-in-hot-water Robert Miller—as played by the very good-looking Richard Gere.

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The DVD Wrapup: Goats, Where Do We Go Now?, My Trip to Al Qaeda, Loved Ones, Titanic 3D, Nympho Divers, AbFab, Spartacus … More

Goats: Blu-ray In the world of independent filmmaking, a very thin line separates dysfunctional families from those merely offbeat, quirky and unconventional. In “Goats,” director Christopher Neil and writer Mark Poirier straddle that razor-thin barrier for most of its 94 minutes, while also attempting to convince us that a child born into such a family…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Footnote

  PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW FOOTNOTE (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars) Israel: Joseph Cedar, 2011 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)   One thing I know I will never do is read the Talmud (IA) cover to cover — even in an English translation, much less, God knows, in the original Hebrew. Yet such is the brilliance…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Snow White and the Huntsman; What to Expect When You’re Expecting; The Last of England; More

    SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Rupert Sanders, 2012 (Universal) Snow White and the Huntsman  has one of the clunkiest movie titles around, and a lot of the movie is worthy of it. A wildly expensive and lushly produced new look at the Grimm Brothers fairy tale “Snow-White and…

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Wilmington on Movies: Cosmopolis

Cronenberg’s movie suggests that if we were in the uppermost echelon, it might be a nightmare, and a deserved one. If we were young billionaire asset managers like Eric Packer, played by Pattinson, we could set out one morning, in a white stretch limousine with our driver, lounge lazily in a luxurious back seat area (all black and blue and silver-chrome trim), relaxing in a limo seat that resembles a small room, and set out, in the middle of a vast midtown Manhattan traffic jam (worsened by the presence of a presidential motorcade, the funeral of a beloved rap star and Occupy-style riots in the street), to get a haircut from our father’s favorite barber.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Words

I have a confession to make. I didn’t write this review.I tried, God knows, but after several hours of pecking away at the keyboard of my Toshiba Satellite computer, and then reading back only dull, empty words on a white screen, I realized that I would never be the writer I once dreamed of becoming.

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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 »

“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook