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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DVD Reviews

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“The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes. It’s the destruction of our business. I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up film criticism was a real art. And there was intellect that went into that. And you would read Pauline’s Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore. Now it’s about a number. A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives. Now it’s about, ‘What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score?’ And that’s sad, because the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low on Batman v Superman I think it put a cloud over a movie that was incredibly successful. People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that. It’s mind-blowing. It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie. In Middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck.’ But that number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct. I’ve seen some great movies with really abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores. What’s sad is film criticism has disappeared. It’s really sad.”
~ Brett Ratner Has A Sad

“The loss of a local newspaper critic is a real loss. People who know the local audience and know the local cultural scene are very important resources. You can’t just substitute the stuff that comes in from nowhere through syndication or the wire. I think at the same time, some of the newer outlets have really beefed up and improved their coverage and made room for criticism. The real problem is in the more specialized art forms — fine arts, classical music, dance and jazz, say. There is a real slowing of critical voices, partly because those art forms have smaller audiences. Newspapers and magazines can say that doesn’t get enough traffic, so we don’t have room for that. To me, that’s especially worrisome. This is the opposite of what newspapers are supposed to do, which is not to try to figure out what people are already interested in and recite that back to them, but to hopefully guide them to something that they should be interested in, connecting potential audiences with more interesting work.

“Then again, not everyone needs a critic. People have been going to movies for more than 100 years now, and probably the vast majority of those people have not read movie reviews or cared what critics thought. But there has always been an important subset that wants to know more, that wants to think about what they’ve seen and what they’re going to see, and wants someone to think along with. I think critics are important, not just as dispensers of consumer advice — though that’s certainly part of it, too — but as trusted voices and companions for people to argue with in your head when you’re going to movies or afterwards.”
~ A. O. Scott