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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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

Antoine Ratliff on: The DVD Wrapup: Letter From An Unknown Woman, Despicable Me 3, Crucifixion, Maurizio Cattelan, A New Leaf, Silent Night and more

Fernando on: The DVD Wrapup: King George, Cars 3, Overdrive, Afterimage, Glass Castle, Whisky Galore, The Journey, Into the Night, Sissi, Stay Hungry and more

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

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“Roger Ebert claimed that the re-editing of The Brown Bunny after Cannes allowed him a difference of opinion so vast that he first called it the worst film in history and eventually gave it a thumbs up. This is both far fetched and an outright lie. The truth is, unlike the many claims that the unfinished film that showed at Cannes was 24 minutes shorter than the finished film, it was only 8 minutes shorter. The running time I filled out on the Cannes submission form was arbitrary. The running time I chose was just a number I liked. I had no idea where in the process I would actually be when I needed to stop cutting to meet the screening deadline. So whatever running time was printed in the program, I promise you, was not the actual running time. And the cuts I made to finish the film after Cannes were not many. I shortened the opening race scene once I was able to do so digitally. After rewatching the last 4 minutes of the film over and over again, somewhere within those 4 minutes, I froze the picture and just ended the film there, cutting out everything after that point, which was about 3 minutes. Originally in the salt flats scene, the motorcycle returned from the white. I removed the return portion of that shot, which seemed too literal. And I cut a scene of me putting on a sweater. That’s pretty much it. Plus the usual frame here, frame there, final tweaks. If you didn’t like the unfinished film at Cannes, you didn’t like the finished film, and vice versa. Roger Ebert made up his story and his premise because after calling my film literally the worst film ever made, he eventually realized it was not in his best interest to be stuck with that mantra. Stuck with a brutal, dismissive review of a film that other, more serious critics eventually felt differently about. He also took attention away from what he actually did at the press screening. It is outrageous that a single critic disrupted a press screening for a film chosen in main competition at such a high profile festival and even more outrageous that Ebert was ever allowed into another screening at Cannes. His ranting, moaning and eventual loud singing happened within the first 20 minutes, completely disrupting and manipulating the press screening of my film. Afterwards, at the first public screening, booing, laughing and hissing started during the open credits, even before the first scene of the film. The public, who had heard and read rumors about the Ebert incident and about me personally, heckled from frame one and never stopped. To make things weirder, I got a record-setting standing ovation from the supporters of the film who were trying to show up the distractors who had been disrupting the film. It was not the cut nor the film itself that drew blood. It was something suspicious about me. Something offensive to certain ideologues.”
~ Vincent Gallo

“I think [technology has[ its made my life faster, it’s made the ability to succeed easier. But has that made my life better? Is it better now than it was in the eighties or seventies? I don’t think we are happier. Maybe because I’m 55, I really am asking these questions… I really want to do meaningful things! This is also the time that I really want to focus on directing. I think that I will act less and less. I’ve been doing it for 52 years. It’s a long time to do one thing and I feel like there are a lot of stories that I got out of my system that I don’t need to tell anymore. I don’t need to ever do The Accused again! That is never going to happen again! You hit these milestones as an actor, and then you say, ‘Now what? Now what do I have to say?'”
~ Jodie Foster