Reviews Archive for August, 2013

The DVD Wrapup

The Great Gatsby, Pain & Gain, Shadow Dancer, Painting, Reluctant Fundamentalist, Smiley’s People, Me & My Gal and more.

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The DVD Wrapup

Amour, Floating City, Martin Bonner, Don’t Stop Believin’, Wither, Tortoise in Love, Q, Life of Muhammad… and more.

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Wilmington on Movies: Lee Daniels’ The Butler

The Butler is a stretch, and a sentimental exaggeration of course.

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Wilmington on Movies: Kick-Ass 2; Kick-Ass (DVD)

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The DVD Wrapup

Adele Blanc-Sec, Reality, Errors of Human Body, Odd Angry Shot, Guillotines, Seconds, Damned, Shane, Community and more.

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Wilmington on DVDs: To the Wonder

To the Wonder is one of those pictures that either knocks you out or irritates you—or maybe does a little of both.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Ran; Kagemusha

Akira Kurosawa’s lavish and violent epic Ran, inspired by “King Lear,” is one of the most famous and admired of all Shakespearean films. Most aficionados rank it at or near the top of the Bard’s film canon, even though Ran dispenses with the main element that makes Shakespeare so great and imperishable, jettisoning all of the bard’s British poetry (substituting a spare Japanese translation), along with a good deal of the play’s brilliant plot and unforgettable characters.

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Wilmington on Movies: Elysium

We are shown a future world where things have gone to hell and are about to get worse (maybe), due to the devastating consequences of greed, violence, brutality, authoritarian government, social and racial prejudice, and the insane selfishness of that era‘s one-percenters. It’s our world, of course, taken to extremes, Philip K. Dick or Robert Heinlein style.

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Wilmington on Movies: We’re the Millers

The disrobing of the legendary Rachel isn’t the epic sex fantasy scene one might imagine, but just another misjudged scene in a somewhat daring but basically lousy movie comedy—a forced, crude, often senseless show about a group of misfits or outsiders (played by Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts and Will Poulter), pretending to be a typical American suburban bourgeois family (called the Millers), while smuggling dope across the border from Mexico,

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Wilmington on Movies: Planes

In movies, especially movies intended for kids, originality isn’t everything. Adults are sometimes another story.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Guys and Dolls

If there was ever a part Frank Sinatra was born to play—and sing—it was Sky Masterson, the lady-killing, dice-rolling, high-living gambler who is the main man and big shooter of the classic New York-Broadway musical (and the Hollywood movie made from it) Guys and Dolls.

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The DVD Wrapup

To the Wonder, Oblivion, Magic Magic, Eddie, Swamp Thing, Thick of It, West of Memphis, Top Gear USA… And more.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Oblivion

Dunes out of Lawrence of Arabia, those cloud castles out of Up, those moody dreamy interiors out of Solaris: The way Oblivion looks is one of its main attractions.

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Wilmington on Movies: Heaven’s Gate (Director’s Cut)

The restored director’s cut of Heaven’s Gate has been released theatrically in the U.K.

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Wilmington on Movies: Blue Jasmine

Perhaps that’s because the performance is a kind of culmination of Allen’s attitudes toward the moneyed white culture Jasmine represents. Jasmine lives what seems a charmed life as a member of the Manhattan financial social elite whose vagaries Allen loves to have fun with — but then finds herself hurled into the chaos of the 2008 financial collapse, and turning into Woody’s version of Blanche DuBois, Tennessee Williams’ lady on the edge, wandering, desperate, talking to herself, at the end of the line.

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Wilmington on Movies: 2 Guns

It’s at the service of one of those stories that begins to crumble and fall apart when you start thinking about it. That’s okay if you‘re up for the ride. You can turn off your brain for most of the show, and have a fairly good time—even if, when you walk out afterwards, the story has gone up in flames.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Tristana; Mamma Mia! The Movie; Trance

Tristana is a masterpiece, but it’s also a grimmer, sadder, more psychologically wounding film than Belle de Jour, which was regarded as a great art film turn-on of the 1960s, during the somewhat frenzied romps of Sexual Revolution. But, if audiences thrilled to the whorehouse fear, desire and wayward beauty of Belle de Jour, what were they to make of Tristana, in which the most memorable erotic encounter occurs when a one-legged woman exposes herself to the lustful deaf-mute son of her guardian-husband’s house servant?

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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