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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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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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