MCN Originals

The Weekend Report

Weekend Estimates 2014-08-17 at 9.46.39 AM

A trio of new releases couldn’t unseat last weekend’s top titles, resulting in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Guardians of the Galaxy leading the session with estimated respective box office of $27.9 million and $24.6 million. Newcomers lined up right behind with Let’s Be Cops grossing $17.6 million, The Expendables 3 with $16.1 and YA adaptation The Giver trailing at $12.7 million.

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The DVD Wrapup: Railway Man, Boredom, Cold Lands and more

railway man

It’s not that Americans don’t already assume the worst about the CIA and mostly don’t care about the techniques used to glean useful intelligence, with much disinformation thrown in to save another beating. Fact is, our elected officials simply don’t want their constituents to know how little control they had over what happened in the execution of the war on terrorism. I was reminded of this by Jonathan Teplitzky’s The Railway Man, which graphically describes the application of torture on British POWs in World War II by Japanese soldiers and officers. In a very real sense, it serves as a companion piece to The Bridge on the River Kwai.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Friday Estimates 2014-08-16 at 8.06.31 AM

We are in the dregs of summer as the movies open that look, smell, and feel like franchises, but are either on the decline or were never meant to ascend. The Expendables 3 is falling off twice as fast from the sequel as the sequel did off the original. Let’s Be Cops, despite real-world events, looks like a money-maker in spite of what reads as a weak start. And audiences have given up on the YA wannabe, The Giver. Meanwhile, Guardians passes $200m on the way to top domestic gross of the summer (still likely under $300m) and the turtle who are mutant and ninja have the expected second Friday drop and will pass $100m today.

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The Weekend Report

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Wilmington on Movies: The Hundred-Foot Journey

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Friday Box Office Estimates

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The DVD Wrapup: Finding Vivian Maier, Around the Block, Ping Pong Summer, L’amore in Citta, Without Warning, Need for Speed, I’ll Follow You Down, Bitten … More

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“It’s time to seriously think about where we’re headed. The Giver shows us in ways few movies do. The U.S. is between decadence and decay. We don’t know where we’re going.”
Conservatives Take The Giver As Their Own

“In Plato’s ‘Republic,’ Socrates casts doubt on the notion of a self-contained aesthetic experience, saying, ‘As if music and poetry were only play and did no harm at all.’”
Alex Ross Takes On The “Liberals Are Killing Art” Assertion

“I believe this will be weighted by the crazies.”
Oz Distrib Village Roadshow No-Shows Online Piracy Forum

NY Times

“The films get hurt, and the filmmakers get hurt.”
Cieply Measures The “Toronto Effect” On Awards Season

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Quote Unquotesee all »

“By the time the sounds of the Von Trapp children warbling ‘Silent Night’ drift through The Giver, you may find yourself wondering what fresh movie hell this is. In truth, the enervating hash of dystopian dread, vague religiosity and commercial advertising-style uplift is nothing if not stale. Adapted from Lois Lowry’s book for young readers, the story involves an isolated society that, with its cubistic dwellings, mindless smiles, monochromatic environs and nebulous communitarianism, seem modeled on a Scandinavian country or an old Mentos commercial.”
~ Manohla Dargis’ Deadly Lede For Review Of The Giver

“It’s possible that in the coming days or, God forbid, weeks, the president could have something more specific to say about the freighted decades-long history of political imbalance at work, in this case between a mostly black working-class town and its majority white government and police force. But this is a black man who must choose his words about race, governance, and law enforcement even more carefully than a white politician would. And this is the third summer in which, as president, he would have to do so…

“Until this point in the turmoil, the absence of the crucial second face in the incident seemed to heighten the distance between police and the people they serve. It grants them both an anonymity and autonomy that matches the bizarre transformation, in Ferguson and elsewhere, of police into troops. The riot gear turns 2014 into a dot on a Jim Crow–era timeline. Since the officer’s name wasn’t made public more immediately, it should have seemed urgent for the police to lose the riot attire and take steps to minimize distrust, to dispel the contagious assumption that silence equates racism…

“What is so affecting isn’t just that 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed when he was barely a man. It’s other things as well. One was how many reports of the incident that first day mentioned that he was about to start college. That’s a rite that’s universally emotional. But for a black male from a poor family, the first day of college is a freighted day that usually requires the sacrifice of more than one person. Black people know the odds of getting to and graduating from college, and that they’re low. That Brown seemed to be on the right path compounded the parental, local, and national outrage over his being wiped from it.”

~ Wesley Morris On Let’s Be Cops, The Shooting In Ferguson, Obama…