MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

Klady By Leonard KladyKlady@moviecitynews.com

Confessions of a Film Festival Junkie: It’s a Wrap

Officially there were 366 features shown at the just completed edition of the Toronto International Film Festival. I saw about 30. So it should come as no surprise that few of this year’s public and jury prize winners managed to elude my grasp.

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Confessions of a Film Festival Junkie

It’s kinda official. To be honest I really haven’t noticed anyone taking notice of the fact that Toronto mayor Rob Ford hasn’t shown his face at the Toronto International Film Festival. Granted the local attendees don’t appear to be his constituency and there is a mayoral race coming up before the end of the year. In fact, there either was a debate scheduled (there are three others on the ballot) or one that went forward that Ford opted out of without extending much of a reason.

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Confessions of a Film Festival Junkie: Toronto 2014 – Getting Started

Naturally my Canadian content level has risen in recent days and came into focus last week when Telefilm Canada hosted a pre-fest event for journalists and buyers in Los Angeles. Apart from product reels and a limited bar, the ‘do also had a healthy supply of TIFF’s program book … or rather tome. To the event’s credit it’s developed a rather good system of press and industry screenings that run parallel to the public showings. The veteran TIFFer can keep to the P&I projections with a couple of regular screenings tossed in to mingle with the hoi polloi.

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Confessions Of A Film Festival Junkie: TIFF 2014 Opening Days

The first thing you notice, or, rather, sense about Toronto is there is no recession. In the midst of festival village and all around there is massive construction. A couple of natives (and former TIFF employees) told me they hadn’t seen this level of building activity in the downtown district for at least two decades. So it’s noisy. Traffic, human and vehicular, is very stop-start. And just to up the ante the festival got the city to agree to closing off about four blocks and turning the area around its Bell Lightbox into a temporary mall with art and live music events.

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Knights At Table: Remembering Mazursky

On the appointed day I made my way toward Bob’s Donuts and could hear laughter and boisterous banter well before I reached my destination. When I finally spied Mazursky I could see him at the center (not literally) of a group of about eight people—the loud folk I’d heard from a distance. I approached cautiously and as I neared he waved me over.

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Confessions of a Film Festival Junkie: AFI 2012

The AFI Fest opened Friday with the world premiere of Hitchcock, a likable yarn focusing on the iconic filmmaker and his wife at the time of his filming Psycho. In retrospect it seemed an almost anachronistic choice in light of the recent broadcast of “The Girl,” a more Machiavellian portrait of the man and his mentor/Svengali relationship with his The Birds discovery Tippi Hedren.

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Friday Estimates: November 2, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph takes the high score with $13.4 million and will hang onto it for the weekend. Flight takes off with a strong start with $8.1 million and Man with the Iron Fists is in a dead heat for the third spot with Argo.

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The Weekend Report: Abandon Hope

A couple of new releases hardly made a ripple in weekend movie going that sunk to a level not seen in decades. The Words, a convoluted yarn of authorship, bowed to an estimated $4.8 million that ranked fourth on the leader board while the thriller The Cold Light of Day, a leftover from Summit, bowed with $1.8 million. The latter film has already opened overseas where it already grossed a disappointing $12.5 million.

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Gross Behavior: Summer on Low Simmer

The preliminary numbers are in and summer season 2012 clocks in at approximately $4.04 billion at the box office. The figure represents roughly a 5% gross decline in gross revenues and an 8% decline in actual tickets bought during the period running from early May through the conclusion of Labor Day weekend.

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Friday Estimates: July 6, 2012

After opening big on Tuesday, Spider Man stays topside with another $20.3m on Friday. Ted will pass $100 today and Brave holds strong. Oliver Stone’s Savages debuted in fifth on the list with $5.6.

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Friday Estimates: June 30

It’s a stripper and teddy bear weekend! While Merida and her Brave friends will no doubt capture more of the family market, Ted and Magic Mike are at the top of the box office charts on Friday.

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The Weekend Report: Shipwreck!

No one expected the trio of new national releases to unseat “The Avengers” … they just expected them to be more competitive. “The Avengers”‘ third weekend prevailed with an estimated $55.2 million with “Battleship” not quite right behind with $25.3 million. Third spot went to “The Dictator” with $16.7 million and the third freshman, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” slotted fifth with $10.5 million.

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The Weekend Report, May 6, 2012

“The Avengers” rewrote the record books with the biggest ever opening three-day weekend that’s estimated at $200.5 million. With $30 million more than the former champ, there’s little chance that the Monday actual will change Sunday’s ebullience.

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Friday Estimates: May 4, 2012

“The Avengers” is out of the gate with with a Hulk-sized opening. Estimates put “The Avengers” at number two on the list of all-time opening days at the box office – behind “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part II” and the first “Twilight” movie.

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The Weekend Report

Cusp of summer box office experienced a lull with weekend revenues of roughly $115 million that amounted to a 17% decline from the prior frame. It was a steeper 30% downturn from 2011 when the bow of Fast Five blew away the competition with an $86.1 million launch. The weekend’s big noise was happening overseas with The Avengers getting a jump start on domestic with a 39 territory debut estimated at close to $180 million. Also heaping up advance gelt internationally is Battleship with $150 million to date prior to its North American bow on 5/18.

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The Weekend Report: April 22, 2012

“The Hunger Games” finally moved out of the top spot to make room for newcomers “Think Like a Man” and Zac Efron’s “The Lucky One,” both performing better than expected. Disney’s nature doc “Chimpanzee” turned in a respectable fourth with $10.2 million.

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The Weekend Report: March 25, 2012

The Hunger Games set a slew of records and debuted to a jaw dropping estimated $153.6 million. Nuff said. The competition decided there was little point to even consider a counter-programmer. But in the niches Bollywood offered Agent Vinod that bowed to an OK $440,000 at 121 venues.

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GROSS BEHAVIOR: Sound and Fury…

Movie going is unquestionably destined to become the opera of the future. By that I mean that the 18th century’s favorite form of entertainment still exists but it long ago ceded its vaunted position. The movies today cannot compete with television and that diversion abetted by home entertainment has had the biggest impact on the Seventh Art since its debut circa 1896.

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Gross Behavior: Leonard On Bingham

Bingham had a number of virtues few of us can claim. He didn’t hold many grudges and wasn’t someone prone to gotcha politics. When we talked it was a true discussion whether it was one-on-one or in a group. He wasn’t diplomatic, not that he was abusive or dogmatic. Bing simply spoke his mind and that was fine, mostly, when he was running October Films with Jeff Lipsky and problematic when he worked for others.

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The Weekend Report: Float Like a Butterfly … Sting Like a Bee

The debut of Underworld: Awakening led weekend ticket sales with an estimated $25.2 million. Two other films bowed nationally and a fourth platformed after four weeks in Oscar-qualifying exclusives. The saga of the Second World War Tuskegee Airmen, Red Tails, ranked second with $19.1 million and the take no prisoners actioner Haywire kicked out with $8.9 million. Wedged in-between was the expansion of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close in position four with $10.4 million.

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Klady

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Yes, good movies sprout up, inevitably, in the cracks and seams between the tectonic plates on which all of these franchises stay balanced, and we are reassured of their hardiness. But we don’t see what we don’t see; we don’t see the effort, or the cost of the effort, or the movies of which we’re deprived because of the cost of the effort. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice may have come from a studio, but it still required a substantial chunk of outside financing, and at $35 million, it’s not even that expensive. No studio could find the $8.5 million it cost Dan Gilroy to make Nightcrawler. Birdman cost a mere $18 million and still had to scrape that together at the last minute. Imagine American movie culture for the last few years without Her or Foxcatcher or American Hustle or The Master or Zero Dark Thirty and it suddenly looks markedly more frail—and those movies exist only because of the fairy godmothership of independent producer Megan Ellison. The grace of billionaires is not a great business model on which to hang the hopes of an art form.”
~ Mark Harris On The State Of The Movies

How do you make a Top Ten list? For tax and organizational purposes, I keep a log of every movie I see (Title, year, director, exhibition format, and location the film was viewed in). Anything with an asterisk to the left of its title means it’s a 2014 release (or something I saw at a festival which is somehow in play for the year). If there’s a performance, or sequence, or line of dialogue, even, that strikes me in a certain way, I’ll make a note of it. So when year end consideration time (that is, the month and change out of the year where I feel valued) rolls around, it’s a little easier to go through and pull some contenders for categories. For 2014, I’m voting in three polls: Indiewire, SEFCA (my critics’ guild), and the Muriels. Since Indiewire was first, it required the most consternation. There were lots of films that I simply never had a chance to see, so I just went with my gut. SEFCA requires a lot of hemming and hawing and trying to be strategic, even though there’s none of the in-person skullduggery that I hear of from folk whose critics’ guild is all in the same city. The Muriels is the most fun to contribute to because it’s after the meat market phase of awards season. Also, because it’s at the beginning of next year, I’ll generally have been able to see everything I wanted to by then. I love making hierarchical lists, partially because they are so subjective and mercurial. Every critical proclamation is based on who you are at that moment and what experiences you’ve had up until that point. So they change, and that’s okay. It’s all a weird game of timing and emotional waveforms, and I’m sure a scientist could do an in-depth dissection of the process that leads to the discovery of shocking trends in collective evaluation. But I love the year end awards crush, because I feel somewhat respected and because I have a wild-and-wooly work schedule that has me bouncing around the city to screenings, or power viewing the screeners I get sent.
Jason Shawhan of Nashville Scene Answers CriticWire