MCN Originals

Gurus o’ Gold: Our Final Votes


In this final look at the field before Oscar Sunday, The Gurus bet heavy on La La Land. Also, a long list of categories where The Gurus think upsets are still possible, though the only La La upset with any traction is Huppert over Stone (and still, all voting Gurus went Stone and only 5 consider the upset possible.) And the Gurus still seem fuzzy on all the shorts.

Thanks for joining us for another season. We predict we will see you again in August.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: 4 Days Away…


It wasn’t complex. It wasn’t full of surprises. And nothing in its nature has suggested any real change at The Academy or inside The Industry.

The Academy is still old and white. Young people still tend to spark what is new about the industry. But the process of “becoming” for non-actors tends not to be an overnight event.

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The DVD Wrapup: Hacksaw Ridge, Manchester, Arrival, Bad Santa 2, Tharlo, Chabrol X 3 and more

Hacksaw ridge

When a Hollywood movie is said to have been based on a true story, it’s safe to assume that the actions of the protagonist were embellished to make the character more heroic or saintly. In his multiple Oscar candidate, Hacksaw Ridge, director Mel Gibson was faced with the opposite problem. The real-life story of U.S. Army medic Desmond Doss — the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor – was too good to be true, even for the movies. If anything, the truth behind Doss’ actions during the Battle of Okinawa, in World War II, had to be scaled back, so that viewers wouldn’t think they were pumped up for dramatic effect. In Gibson’s first directorial effort since 2006’s Apocalypto – or, to be more precise, since he disgraced himself after being stopped in Malibu on suspicion of driving while drunk – the number of men Doss saved or rescued was limited to 75, when it probably was much higher.

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The Film Industry Sky Continues Not To Fall

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The Weekend Report (4-Day Estimates)

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The Weekend Report

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Friday Box Office Estimates

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“Chazelle doesn’t seem to know that a lot of us — including every woman, like Emma Stone’s character, who’s ever had jazz explained to her by a man — are happy that the culture hasn’t stood still. [The film] ignores the painful history of highways that native Angelenos try to forget, the one where the city essentially barricaded off poor neighborhoods with concrete pylons, ensuring segregation would be planned into the our very structure; highways literally divide races and classes here.”
LA WEEKLY Asserts La La Land Is “Propaganda”

“Content is king again because there are so many pipelines to fill. I can go after television projects, miniseries, small features and big features. The downside is you have to sing for your supper and find money. I actually wish more studio executives sang for their supper. Sometimes they will put you on the spot and say, ‘How is this film going to make half a billion dollars? That’s what our slots are worth.’ If it isn’t tentpole, I’m never sure how to answer that.”
Michael De Luca Talks Oscar And Producing

“Trump’s fixation on being a ‘winner’ fits perfectly into a culture that spends half of each year obsessing over which movie is going to win a statuette.”
John Powers On Oscar And Obsession With “Winning”

“We want to make it a little easier for the media to find films, for the industry to do their work and for the business that happens at the festival to take place.”
Toronto Int’l Film Fest Goes South, Dropping Two Northernmost Venues; Scaling Back Programming By Twenty Percent (Or 60 Films) And Cutting Vanguard And City-To-City Sections

NY Times

“Either my films were too early or your generation came too late. Either way, the success is coming too late.”
Dennis Lim‘s Times Obit For Seijun Suzuki

“Most of us were thinking, ‘What the fuck is wrong with you? You have the best job in the world. If I had the role of second-string critic, where you could discover things and make a different kind of mark… I don’t think there was a lot of sympathy for the way he was behaving.”
NYTimes Firing Of Theater Reviewer Of Twelve Years Charles Isherwood Still Mysterious

“Ruth lived through a Great Depression, a World War, the Beat Generation, Viet Nam, hippies, disco, the first great wave of Feminism, VHS, Betamax, yuppies, two Middle Eastern Wars, the next great wave of Feminism and sixteen US Presidents.”
Lights Go Down On Longtime Chicago Film Scene Kibitzer Ruth Ratny; Notice In Her Publication Typical Of Output

“If Trump is not your president, then La La Land is not your Best Picture. But it’s going to win.”
Michael Musto Osculates Oscar Opportunity

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Quote Unquotesee all »

“I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures. I like to subscribe to Susan Sontag’s thought of no highs and lows. I think dismissing popular culture and popular films can be really dangerous because they may seem innocuous, but some are works of art and even when they’re not they can say so much about the culture that they’re reflecting. This also gets into the idea of canon. What is good and isn’t good? Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about that. Specifically, who writes these canons? Mainly, straight white guys — which basically rigs the system. So, if you have a knowledge of female filmmakers, queer filmmakers, African or Asian filmmakers, some people won’t give them the same culture capital. They’ll say, “Oh, that’s nice niche knowledge.” No, it’s not. You’re just seeing it through the prism of something white and male. Like Shonda Rhimes’ ‘Scandal.’ I love that show, but is it a guilty pleasure because it’s a soap on TV? No. I think it has incredible writing, incredible thought and characters, so we should take it seriously. That’s a long-winded answer to say, “Yes, I love Titanic.” I was 10 years old when it came out and my mom took me to see it three times. I was so obsessed with it. A big thanks to my mom who’ll never get those nine hours of her life back.”
~ Toronto Int’l Programmer and Critic Kiva Reardon

“A lot of us felt blindsided,” Van Vliet told me. In the seventies, Van Vliet was drafted out of film school by Industrial Light & Magic, where he worked on The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Now 62 and semi-retired, he said, “Once you get into your fifties, you’re pretty disposable.” Van Vliet was in the middle of reviewing DVD screeners before casting his Oscar votes, a process he estimated would take a hundred and twenty hours. “The Academy is essentially asking us to give them three weeks of labor, and then they’re going to take our results, put them into a ceremony, and sell it,” he said, referring to the seventy-five million dollars that the organization earns from the television broadcast. “Then they’re turning around and kicking us in the teeth.”
~ “Shakeup At The Oscars”