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Tuesday, September 30, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 45.0° F  Overcast

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Wilmington on DVD: The Great Gatsby, To the Wonder, G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Baz Luhrmann's often dazzling, sometimes excessive, frequently fascinating film of novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jazz Age masterpiece The Great Gatsby is one of the best movies of 2013. Predictably crammed with cinematic excess, and done in Luhrmann's high style, it's a stunningly imaginative, sometimes madly enjoyable show. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Trance, Bullet to the Head

Trance, a new erotic thriller from Danny Boyle, is a fast and fancy dance over a whirling floor of crime, suspense and sex. It begins with the theft of a world-famous painting (Francisco Goya's spooky Witches in the Air), swiped from a London auction in mid-sale, and it continues through all kinds of stylish neo-noir alleys and crannies full of bloody gangsterism and Inception-like psychological mystery, until the whole show finally ends with an unraveling that twists and turns and radically changes a lot of what went before. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: 42, Evil Dead

"42" was the number Jackie Robinson wore when he played with the Brooklyn Dodgers. It was the number on his uniform when he broke professional baseball's unwritten ban against blacks playing on the previously all-white teams. That number, and Jackie, are parts of not just sports history but of American social, cultural and political history as well. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Spring Breakers, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Harmony Korine's movies -- up to and including his latest, Spring Breakers -- are mostly outlaw pictures and weirdo comedies about people who don't want to grow up: kids, crooks, artists. Spring Breakers is about four college girls who take off for the collegiate bikini-flipping revels at Tampa, Florida, and descend into hell. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Warm Bodies, Jack the Giant Slayer, Identity Thief, A Good Day to Die Hard

Warm Bodies is an attempt to do for zombie movies at least part of what the Twilight series did for vampire and werewolf pictures -- mix them up promiscuously with teen romance -- as well as to attract at least part of that huge teen and twenty-something audience out there with something funnier and hipper and (what's the word?) edgier. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Oz, The Great and Powerful, Snitch

Let's imagine a new version of one of the world's certifiably well loved movies: the 1939 MGM classic, The Wizard of Oz. Let's envision Oz, The Great and Powerful, directed by Sam Raimi, starring James Franco as Oz, a new movie from the Disney Studio. How to you bring this old show up to date? >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Side Effects, Free Radicals

The fictitious drug Ablixa in Side Effects -- an intelligent but unpleasant movie thriller by director-cinematographer-editor Steven Soderbergh -- is supposed to handle depression. But what it actually creates here (or reveals) is a kind of hell on earth, wrapped up in slick movie thriller trimmings. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Safe Haven, Parker, Starlet

Safe Haven, directed by the estimable Swedish-born filmmaker Lasse Hallström and produced by the author himself, is the eighth movie to be derived from a Nicholas Sparks novel, and like the others, including Message in a Bottle (where Kevin Costner found undying love), The Notebook (where Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams found undying love and huge box office), it's a romantic fantasy delivered with apparently just the right amounts of warmth, coolness, poignancy, picturesque scenery, sex appeal, niceness and (let's face it), undying love. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Silver Linings Playbook, Mama, The Kid With a Bike

Silver Linings Playbook is a drama/comedy for the new millennium: a smart and amusing movie felicitously co-starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jackie Weaver, Julia Stiles and Chris Tucker in roles meatier than we usually expect and played with great big dollops of joyous spontaneity, live-wire energy, bristling wit and just a touch of psychological darkness. A multiple Oscar nominee, it was definitely one of 2012's best romantic comedies and Cooper and Lawrence one of the year's shining couples. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Django Unchained, Jack Reacher, Gangster Squad

An audaciously enjoyable and horrifically exciting melodrama set in the Old West and the Old South of the 19th century, Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained churns out not so much the history of our dreams, or the dreams of our history (what John Ford and D. W. Griffith gave us), but the nightmare alternative Western history of Sergio Leone and his colleagues and imitators, from the revisionist '60s and '70s, when there were movies with titles like A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: The Hobbit, Lawless, Killing Them Softly, Battleship

Nine years after Peter Jackson's The Return of the King, the third of his Ring trilogy, seemed to close the book on his movie Middle Earth, back he comes with his company's (WingNut) version of Tolkien's prelude novel from the '30s: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again. Hurrah. This new movie, which only a goblin would call a prequel, is a delight. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Hitchcock, Rise of the Guardians, Holy Motors, Chasing Mavericks, Red Dawn

The movies changed after Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, and so did the director himself -- as we see in the compelling but not always satisfying new movie Hitchcock, directed by Sacha Gervasi and starring Anthony Hopkins as the Master of Suspense and Helen Mirren as his longtime wife and most important collaborator, Alma Reville Hitchcock. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: The Master, Skyfall, Sinister

The Master is Paul Thomas Anderson's dark tale of post-war America, of a master (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a follower (Joaquin Phoenix), and the master's wife (Amy Adams). It's the epic yarn of how a con job became a big cult, and of how the seemingly placid Eisenhower-era '50s planted the seeds that grew later into the Abbie Hoffman '60s -- the story of an explosive friendship between a charlatan and a drunk, between a preacher and a hell-raiser, sabotaged by the preacher's determined wife. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Argo, The Sessions, Flight

Based on fact -- although it's fact run through the usual big-movie embellishing machines -- Argo tells the story of a CIA "exfiltration" expert (director-star Ben Affleck as real-life operative Antonio "Tony" Mendez), who joins forces with an Oscar-winning makeup man (John Goodman as the real-life studio legend John Chambers) and a few other movie people, to cook up a real-life great escape. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Seven Psychopaths, The Possession, For a Good Time Call...

Martin McDonagh mixes the worlds of "real life" crime and the movies in Seven Psychopaths, a lively dark comedy about the perils of being an Irish screenwriter named Martin, writing a crime thriller screenplay called "Seven Psychopaths" in modern L.A., where your best friend is a psychopath, and at least six other certifiable psychos are hobnobbing around. >More
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