Margaret: The Only Living Girl in New York

by Ethan Alter September 30, 2011 1:30 pm
<i>Margaret</i>: The Only Living Girl in New York

After a nearly six-year stint in the editing room, Kenneth Lonergan's long-delayed sophomore feature Margaret finally arrives in theaters still feeling somewhat unfinished. The version of the film that opens in (extremely) limited release today is rife with jarring tonal shifts, clunky dialogue, overly mannered performances and least a half-dozen subplots that lead nowhere. And yet despite -- or maybe, because of -- the movie's free-form messiness, it possesses a vitality that more carefully manicured studio movies, even one like last week's exceptionally well-crafted Moneyball, sometimes lack. Margaret is a movie that demands the viewer's attention and engagement throughout its sprawling two-and-a-half hour runtime, as Lonergan spins his tale without directing us as to how we should react to or feel about what's unfolding onscreen. It's only in the film's moving, but perhaps too-literal, final scene that his intentions become clear. Margaret is a music-less opera, complete with screaming matches that resemble arias and plenty of heightened emotion and melodrama played against the beautiful backdrop that is New York City.

From <i>Margaret</i> to <I>Mandy Lane</i>: Long-Delayed Films That Were (and Weren’t) Worth the Wait

In the fall of 2005, celebrated writer/director Kenneth Lonergan started shooting his sophomore feature Margaret, a drama about the aftermath of a tragic bus accident featuring a cast that included Anna Paquin, Matt Damon and Mark Ruffalo. Six years later, the movie is finally being released in theaters. What exactly took so long? Well, it depends on who you ask. One version of events paints Lonergan as an indecisive perfectionist that was unable to deliver a cut he was satisfied with. Another version points the finger at one of the producers, claiming he attempted to encroach on the director's contractual "final cut" provision and didn't pay his share of the movie's budget. Either way, Margaret remained trapped in limbo until Lonergan finally came up with a cut that he and the studio were ready to release. The only question now is will it be worth the protracted wait? We'll have to see come Friday, but in the meantime, here's a scorecard of some of the other recent movies that have suffered similarly long delays before hitting U.S. screens.

Four Things to Know About The Wizard of Oz: IMAX 3D

by Ethan Alter September 20, 2013 6:00 am
Four Things to Know About <I>The Wizard of Oz: IMAX 3D</i>

All due respect to Sam Raimi's decent Oz: The Great and Powerful, but when it comes to onscreen depictions of that magical land over the rainbow, it's impossible to top the 1939 childhood favorite The Wizard of Oz, which is now 75 years young. (Although, if you want to be all ageist about it, the film doesn't technically hit the big 7-5 until 2014.) Warner Bros., which currently holds distribution rights to the Victor Fleming-directed musical fantasy, is marking the occasion by releasing a five-disc Blu-ray and DVD set sporting all-new bonus features and collectibles on October 1. But before you can bring Oz home, you can also experience it on the big screen thanks to a WB-funded IMAX 3D presentation that's opening for a one-week-only stint today. (Go here to find specific IMAX locations in your area.) If you do decide to take your family to The Wizard of Oz -- and honestly, why wouldn't you? -- here are four things you should know:

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 4, 2012

by Ethan Alter September 4, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"C'mon guys! Please guest star on How I Met Your Mother this season? I'm so sick of that show."

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, April 10, 2012

by Ethan Alter April 10, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Any chance she hails from the Iron Islands?

Indie Snapshot: The Iron Lady, Pariah and A Separation

by Ethan Alter January 6, 2012 1:56 pm
Indie Snapshot: <i>The Iron Lady</i>, <i>Pariah</i> and <i>A Separation</i>

For the love of God, skip The Devil Inside this weekend and check out some of these independent and foreign releases instead.

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