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DVD Reviews Archive for July, 2009

Watchmen: Director’s Cut

The theatrical release was a disappointment, but that has nothing to do with the much longer and immensely satisfying Warner Home Video release,Watchmen Director’s Cut. Directed by Zack Snyder, the 186-minute feature is a two-generation epic comic book movie that works on almost every level. It does not have the giddy momentum of the deserved mega…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Fast and Furious, Anita O’Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer, Repulsion, and more…

Fast and Furious (One-and-a-Half Stars) U.S.; Justin Lin, 2009 (Universal) Fast and Furious — fourth in the mega-muscle-car-chase, car-crash series that began with The Fast and the Furious back in 2001

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Wilmington on DVDs: Coraline, Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29, 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her, Watchmen, Confessions of a Shopaholic, and more…

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Coraline (Three-and-a-Half Stars) U. S.; Henry Selick, 2009 (Universal) Other big budget studio movie genres may often seem overblown and underthought, but

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Wilmington on DVDs: 12, For All Mankind, This is Spinal Tap, The Haunting in Connecticut, and more…

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW 12 (Three-and-a-Half Stars) Russia; Nikita Mikhalkov, 2008 12 is a modern Russian version of one of the great virtuoso American melodramas

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Wilmington on DVDs: Knowing, Quo Vadis?, Lonely are the Brave and more…

Knowing (Also Blu-Ray) Two Stars U.S.; Alex Proyas, 2009 Apocalypse anyone? Something awful is happening in the world and Nic Cage’s John Koestler is

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Waltz with Bashir

The greatest so far untapped potential in all of cinema is the animated documentary. The genre got off to a rousing start with Winsor McCay’s contemporary 1918 depiction of the sinking of the Lusitania, but virtually nothing has followed up that effort beyond a few educational programs such as Frank Capra’s Hemo the Magnificent. In 2008, however, there…

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Aloha is the movie equivalent of a man in a donkey suit with a tree branch growing out of his forehead. I don’t know what the fuck this movie is. It feels like Cameron Crowe tried to make some Pynchonesque contemporary riff on Casablanca, then either or he or the studio chickened out halfway through and tried to turn it back into Jerry Maguire. But don’t confuse Aloha with hackwork. It’s more like a mad scientist had 10 beakers bubbling, and instead of unlocking cold fusion, he blew up his lab and melted an ear. I swear, this movie is like some bastard offspring of Casablanca, Inherent Vice, ‘Goosebumps,’ and ‘Baywatch Hawaii.’ My takeaway? Making movies is hard, yo.”
~ Vince Mancini

“We don’t defy the laws of physics: There are no flying men or cars in this movie. So it made sense to do it old-school: real vehicles and real human beings in the desert. We shot the movie more or less in continuity, because the cars and the characters get really banged up along the way. The biggest benefit of digital technology for me was that the cameras were smaller and much more agile, so you could put them anywhere. We also spent a huge amount of time on spatial awareness—making sure the viewer could follow the action and understand what was happening. There has to be a strong causal connection from one shot to the next, just the same way that in music, there has to be a connection from one note to the next. Otherwise it’s just noise. Too often, if you just cram a lot of stuff into the frame, you get the illusion of a fast pace. But there’s no coherence. It doesn’t flow. It comes off as headbanging music, and it can be exhausting. We storyboarded the movie before we had a script: We had 3,500 boards, which helps the cast and crew understand how everything is going to fit together. Movies are getting faster and faster. The Road Warrior had 1,200 cuts. This one has 2,700 cuts. You have to treat it like a symphony.”
~ George Miller

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