Reviews Archive for January, 2013

Wilmington on DVDs: Ivan’s Childhood

We remember young Ivan’s face as we remember the faces of the two tragic friends in Shoeshine, of the street kids in Rome: Open City, of the little boy in Bicycle Thieves—of all art film children caught in the crucibles of war and social injustice.

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The DVD Wrapup

7 Psychopaths, Tin Drum, Imposter, Perfect Ending, How Green Was My Valley, Downton Abbey, Tales of the Night … and more.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Sessions

    THE SESSIONS (Also Blu-ray) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: Ben Lewin, 2012 (20th Century Fox) The Sessions is a movie about love and pain, sexuality and disability, poetry and confinement, the world inside and the world outside. Based partly on the article “On Seeing a Sex Surrogate” by Mark O’Brien, as well…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Seven Psychopaths

    PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS  (Also Blu-ray, Ultra Violet/Digital Copy) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: Martin McDonagh, 2012 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) 1.  Here’s to Sean O’Casey Psychopaths, and I say this from experience, are people who tend to do what they want, no matter what the cost to others….

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

  PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC  THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars) U. K.: Alfred Hitchcock, 1934 (Criterion) Peter Lorre. He had the face of a chubby little morphine addict (which he was), the lush lips of a child looking for a lollipop, a languorous voice seething with malicious amusement or fright,…

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Wilmington on Movies: Parker

Have you seen the great film neo-noir Point Blank, with Lee Marvin as a vengeful killer named Walker? That’s Parker. Have you seen—and there’s no reason you should—Mel Gibson in Payback, as a bad-mouthed, vengeful hard guy named Porter? That’s Parker too. (Stark, or Westlake, didn’t like his character’s name being over-used.)

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Wilmington on DVDs: For a Good Time, Call….

  FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL… (Two Disc Combo Pack: Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy/UV (One and a Half Stars)  U.S.: Jamie Travis, 2012 (Universal) For a Good Time, Call…was no good time for me. It’s a romantic comedy about two Manhattan roommates who collaborate on a phone sex service, and discover the joys of talking dirty for fun…

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The DVD Wrap

Ivan’s Childhood, Pina, Sugar Man, Dead Sushi, Hard Romanticker, Birders, Officer Down, Hara-Kiri … and more.

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Wilmington on DVDs: End of Watch

  END OF WATCH  (Also Two Disc Combo: Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy) (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: David Ayer, 2012 (Universal)                       End of Watch is an exciting Los Angeles buddy-cop movie, made with lots of energy and style. But it has one pretty big flaw:  Those damned cameras. The cameras are the recording devices that keep…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Searching for Sugar Man

    PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN (Four Stars) Sweden: Malik Bendjelloul, 2012 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) One of my favorite movies of the past year is a documentary by a new young Swedish filmmaker about a little-known (at least here) American musician of the ’70s. It‘s called Searching for Sugar…

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Wilmington on Movies: Mama

Mama is something of a throwback, and at times a stunning one. But at its best, this state-of-the-art modern ghost story—another scare saga from the Guillermo Del Toro factory—recalls those earlier, less bloody days of fear and (not necessarily) loathing, when horror films were made for adults, and when they could even strive to be a little subtle, and even literate.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Movies By John Ford

The 2008 nonpareil massive re-issue of John Ford‘s films for Twentieth Century Fox comes in several ways: In the huge 25-film Ford at Fox package, and in several smaller sets. Here is an essential one, if you‘re not getting the big box (and most people, of course, aren’t). It includes four supreme classics, a feature documentary on Ford, and an earlier version, by “Last Pioneer” Allan Dwan, of the saga of Wyatt Earp and the Clantons Ford told in My Darling Clementine.

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The DVD Wrapup

From Rome With Love, Taken 2, Won’t Back Down, 17 Girls, Farewell My Queen, Compliance, Jack & Diane, Detropia and more.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Possession; The Dybbuk

    THE POSSESSION (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Ole Bornedal, 2012 (Lionsgate) We’re watching The Possession, another horror movie with religious overtones — or to put it another way, another knockoff of The Exorcist.   There’s this evil-looking box, see, with strange markings and Jewish symbols and little compartments with funny little keepsakes. And…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Taken 2; Hit and Run

    TAKEN 2 (Also Two Disc Blu-ray) (Two  Stars) U. S.: Olivier Megaton, 2012 (20th Century Fox) Taken may have been a surprise hit for star Liam Neeson back in 2008. But it was also absolutely ludicrous: a fast, dopey. lushly produced one-against-a-bunch action movie that gained what little dramatic credibility it had from Neeson’s admirably…

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Wilmington on DVDs: To Rome With Love

  PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW TO ROME WITH LOVE (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: Woody Allen, 2012   Woody Allen puts himself back on the screen in To Rome With Love — playing an old fool  — and I think the part has possibilities. Allen’s character, which he plays to addled perfection,  is…

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Wilmington on Movies: Gangster Squad

The story is simple — which is probably exactly what the police-vs.-Mickey Cohen wars were not. But even though everything in the movie is painfully predictable, everything is also painfully unmemorable.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Dredd

    DREDD (Also Blur-Ray) (Two Stars) U.S.: Pete Travis, 2012 (Lionsgate) I. Dredd Again Dredd 3D is a futuristic action/crime saga  about a gravelly-voiced, black-masked crime fighter named Judge Dredd. In a world with precious few rules and lots of crime and slow-motion, he’s the whole bleepin’ show. He’s the judge. He’s the jury. He’s…

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Wilmington on DVDs: People on Sunday

  PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC PEOPLE ON SUNDAY (Menschen am Sonntag) (Four Stars) Germany: Robert Siodmak & Edgar Ulmer, 1930 (Criterion Collection) I. FROM CALIGARI TO HITLER When you’re young and smart and talented, you can also be a little  cocky — brash beyond your years. You’ll make it some day, for sure.  There’s…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Frankenweenie: Samsara

   PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW FRANKENWEENIE  (Also Four Disc Blu-ray/3D/DVD/Digital Copy & Two Disc Blu-ray/DVD) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: Tim Burton, 2012 (Buena Vista) Two of the best things Tim Burton ever did were a couple of black and white cartoons he made for Disney back in the early ‘80s, when he was…

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Reviews

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

aniban83 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

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin