Reviews Archive for April, 2013

The DVD Wrapup

Gangster Squad, Django, Pawn, In the Blood, Central Park 5, G-Dog, Mr. Selfridge, Cold Prey, Electric Button and even more.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Red Menace; Jack Reacher; Gangster Squad

Is The Red Menace really “The Reefer Madness of anti-Communist movies? Or is that flattering it? Too earnest to be funny, too serious to be camp, too boring to be effective propaganda, this Herbert Yates-produced doozy from Republic (for which it stands) is probably one of the worst of the post-war anti-Commie thrillers, entertainment-wise. It isn’t even dumb enough be dumb fun, since writers Albert Demond and Gerald Geraghty know something about their subject. They have dialogue about Hegel, and a Red temptress has a bookcase full of tomes by Marx and Engels.

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Wilmington on Movies: To the Wonder

A strange, poetic, puzzling. stunningly visualized, and defiantly personal piece of spiritual autobiography on celluloid, an ambitious, pictorially stunning creation by an artist who makes movies as it the art form had just been invented, and he was free to do anything, try anything, but also by a man who’s hip to cinema technology and aware of other arts and literature as well—and finally, by a man who sees the world (in his films) with something like the newly opened eyes of a child (as a gorgeous, enrapturing place) and comprehends it with a child’s relatively fresh, unspoiled heart and soul. All of these seemingly contradictory artists are Malick, who, like Walt Whitman (another naïve and sophisticated earthy giant of a poet) is large and contains multitudes and loves the way the sun pours down on leaves of grass.

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Wilmington on Movies: Oblivion

There aren‘t many movies around as beautiful to look at as the first part of Oblivion, and since pieces of that beauty survive into the more conventional slam-bang second part, it‘s worth a look — though I would definitely suggest that you see Oblivion not on a normal screen, but in IMAX. Kosinski displayed a strong visual imagination in the critically-bashed Tron LegacyBut this is his show — adapted from a story and graphic novel he wrote, to try to sell (successfully) this movie, and it’s clear he has more emotion invested in it.

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Wilmington on DVDs: My Son John; The Woman on Pier 13 (I Married a Communist); Promised Land.

My Son John; The Woman on Pier 13; Promised Land

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Kid with a Bike

The setting is, once again the industrial, largely working class city of Seraing in Belgium: the Dardenne Brothers’ home city and the location for most of their films since La Promesse.

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The DVD Wrapup

Future Weather, Save the Date, Kobayashi, Gate of the Ghost, Ringo, Dragon, One Day on Earth… And more.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Django Unchained

Waltz is a good guy this time, Django’s mentor, but there’s some high-grade screen villainy by Leonardo Di Caprio and Samuel L. Jackson, both of whom would have stolen the movie if Waltz didn’t already have it stuffed in his back pocket.

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Wilmington on Movies: 42

I would have been happy as a hot dog and a Coke in old Ebbets Field to follow the Jackie Robinson story—excuse me, the Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey story—as it unfolded in 1945-47 and as it’s told here.

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DVD Geek: Red Hook Summer

Once Spike Lee made Malcolm X, he seemed to lose all of his relevance as a filmmaker, thus reinforcing the adage about being careful what you wish for. But he really has only himself to blame. His first films were genuinely edgy, exciting, and revelatory. Other than his documentaries, his later films have all been flailing around in the dark, trying to find any kind of edge at all. His 2012 feature, Red Hook Summer, is heartbreakingly bad, because it almost isn’t.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Ruthless; Despicable Me; Battleship; Lawless

Who is Edgar G. Ulmer and what is he doing in any pantheon, or semi-pantheon of world classical filmmakers? It’s been a classic nagging anti-auteurist question ever since Andrew Sarris introduced him.

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The DVD Wrapup

Down the Shore, Into the Cold, Gate of Hell, Phantom Father, Hong Kong Confidential, We Are Egypt, Crush, Sexcula…. More

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Wilmington on DVDs: The African Queen; Casablanca

PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC The African Queen/ Casablanca (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars) U.S.: John Huston/ Michael Curtiz (Warner Bros.) Here, of course, are two of Humphrey Bogart’s best—and two of the most wonderful shows that American Movies in their celebrated Golden Age, ever concocted. If you don’t have these pictures in some format, or (worse) if you haven’t even seen them at all,…

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Wilmington on Movies: Evil Dead

In what I guess you can safely call the now-legendary original Evil Dead, there was a furious satiric energy that hurled you along and repeatedly zinged up the movie, which was, after all, a show begat by other movies, especially 1969‘s trail-blazing zombie nightmare Night of the Living Dead and 1974’s gruesome body-parts shocker The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

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Wilmington on Movies: Trance

Trance, a new erotic thriller from Danny Boyle, is a fast and fancy dance over a whirl of a dance floor of crime, suspense and sex.

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The DVD Wrapup

Dolly, Lincoln, Bible, John Dies, Sweeney, LUV, Vietnam, Knuckleball, Untouchables, Phillip Roth… and more.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Chronicle of a Summer (Chronique d’un Ete)

We watch those people from long ago, and the fact that, in the movie images, they’re still young (or still middle-aged) and that they have still (in the film) not yet met the problems and wars and tragedies and reversals that we know are coming, gives them a privileged position, an immortality conferred by hand-held camera. It’s a more casual immortality, not endowed with any of the painstaking ardor and expense routinely spent in preserving a movie superstar for the ages, or even of a cover girl for a shoot at Cannes. These are people talking about how they live and how to change it for the better, as we all did once, as we sometimes do now. Death is temporarily banished.

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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