MCN Columnists

Gross Behavior Column By Andrea Gronvallandreagronvall@aol.com

The Gronvall Report: Michaël Dudok de Wit On THE RED TURTLE

There are many animals among this year’s contenders for the Best Animated Film Academy Award, including Finding Dory, The Secret Life of Pets and Zootopia, but none as mysterious as the title character in the hauntingly beautiful The Red Turtle. This wordless fable shows how a man shipwrecked on an uninhabited island, far from any other land mass, copes with loneliness and his sometimes hostile environment. The arrival of a giant red sea turtle changes his life in ways he never could have foreseen.

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Leonard Klady on Claude Sautet

Although he would occasionally return to the thriller format, it’s the sagas of the bourgeoisie that Sautet is most identified with and provides his legacy.

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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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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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Guillaume Canet’s Series of Most Fortunate Events

Considered one of the most versatile leading actors of contemporary French cinema, Guillaume Canet self-confesses that stardom –even the prospect of becoming a working performer — was a series of accidents. Canet, 37, is ostensibly in Los Angeles for a few days to promote the film Farewell, a fact-based thriller about a French functionary in…

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If You Build It, Will They Come?

The Los Angeles Film Festival kicks off Thursday night with a curtain raiser of The Kids Are All Right, which won awards and commercial distribution following its premiere at Sundance in January. And despite its relative nascence, LAFF is attempting to do a bit of re-imagining. The most obvious change is its location. Following home bases in Hollywood and Westwood,…

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Let’s Be Perfectly Franque

With Cannes and COLCOA in the wings, I was reminded of an encounter with the actor Philippe Leotard (now deceased) in the streets of the French festival town. He was walking in the street with actress Nathalie Baye and I stopped him just to say how much I admired his performance in Le Gueule Ouverte, a searing family…

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Reap What You Til

Til Schweiger is probably the biggest star in the German film industry today. He recalls the rugged masculinity of the likes of William Holden. Schweiger became a star with the release of the social comedy Der Bewegte Mann (Maybe … Maybe Not in the U.S.) in 1994 and has managed a career that has encompassed high and low brow…

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It’s an (Organic) Wrap

Las Vegas – There was a lot to digest at the recently concluded Showest convention, ranging from matters of life and death (digital conversion, access to diverse movies) to the frankly frivolous (healthier snack foods). On balance, one left with the sense that at least the distribution sector was 1) on relatively stable economic ground and 2)…

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It Was the Showest of Times, It Was the Showorst of Times

The film industry ought to be giddy. Box office is booming thanks to a pair of 3D movies; namely Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. Attendance is up; people, according to industry statistics, are going more often and rate the experience with four stars. Yet, apart from the rare instance of hyperbole, you’d have to characterize the mood…

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Confessions of a Festival Junkie …

Despite avid research I’ve been stumped. The wag who observed that when one receives something for free, the value is commensurate with the cost (or words to that effect) appears to have been lost to time. I’ve certainly employed that theorem over the years and it’s something I’ve believed/experienced without exception. So, the first blush…

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Festival in …

They don’t have car shows in Detroit. But in Los Angeles — a once near-moribund venue for alternative cinema — the landscape is rife with celebrations of the seventh art. The unprepossessing-sounding Los Angeles Film Festival is one of two annual events (the other, AFI Fest, unspools in November) that at least on paper strive…

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The Eye of the Navel 2008

(Something Like a Top 10 List) Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Compiling a “best of” list reflects one’s mood on the day of doing the deed. The films most recently seen are advantaged because one’s had less time to ruminate about their qualities. Today I’m feeling more magnanimous than usual and have…

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Last One Out Turns Off the Lights

The traditional glib article about the American Film Market will talk about the parade of Troma characters parading in front of the Loew’s Santa Monica Hotel. Or, it will highlight the weird exploitation titles being sold (I Ate His Liver with Fava Beans) or the busty women handing out pamphlets and trade papers. Regardless, there’s…

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Que la Fete Commence 2

The expression goes “that if I had a nickel for every time I (fill in the blank), I’d be a millionaire.” What crosses my mind at this particular point in time is the number of articles and words I’ve committed to film festivals. In a broad sense it can be boiled down to: the role…

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Paul Newman

You knew something was wrong when Paul Newman announced that he was retiring from acting a couple of years ago. Oh, there had been others that had made it “official” in the past. Cary Grant stuck to his guns and Cagney stayed out of the picture for two decades until his doctor ordered him back to work. Grace…

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Will That be Poppyseed?

The question most asked about living in Los Angeles is: why can’t you get a good bagel in the city? Some would argue otherwise and then there’s the whole explanation that involves water and yeast. With the Los Angeles Film Festival beginning full screenings Friday, this is one of those times of year when there’s…

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Vadim Perelman

Vadim Perelman had the sort of feature film debut most filmmakers dream about but rarely are able to realize. An acclaimed director of commercials, he optioned the novel House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III, adapted it for the screen with Shawn Lawrence Otto and co-produced the film with Michael London. The tale of a young woman…

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Charlton Heston

Charlton Heston was the sort of movie icon that received either grudging respect or abject derision rather than the praise or affection extended such contemporaries as William Holden and Burt Lancaster. The caricature is one of a face permanently cemented in some tense fashion with teeth clenched. The verity of his filmography contradicts such easy comic illustrations….

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Quote Unquotesee all »

“I was 15 when I first watched Sally Hardesty escape into the back of a pickup truck, covered in blood and cackling like a goddamn witch. All of her friends were dead. She had been kidnapped, tortured and even forced to feed her own blood to her cannibalistic captors’ impossibly shriveled patriarch. Being new to the horror genre, I was sure she was going to die. It had been a few months since I survived a violent sexual assault, where I subsequently ran from my assailant, tripped, fell and fought like hell. I crawled home with bloody knees, makeup-stained cheeks and a new void in both my mind and heart. My sense of safety, my ability to trust others, my willingness to form new relationships and my love of spending time with people I cared about were all taken from me. It wasn’t until I found the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre that something clicked. It was Sally’s strength, and her resilience. It was watching her survive blows to the head from a hammer. It was watching her break free from her bonds and burst through a glass window. It was watching her get back up after she’d been stabbed. It was watching her crawl into the back of a truck, laughing as it drove away from Leatherface. She was the last one to confront the killer, and live. I remember sitting in front of the TV and thinking, There I am. That’s me.”
~ Lauren Milici On “The Final Girl”

“‘Thriller’ enforced its own reality principle; it was there, part of the every commute, a serenade to every errand, a referent to every purchase, a fact of every life. You didn’t have to like it, you only had to acknowledge it. By July 6, 1984, when the Jacksons played the first show of their ‘Victory’ tour, in Kansas City, Missouri, Jacksonism had produced a system of commodification so complete that whatever and whoever was admitted to it instantly became a new commodity. People were no longer comsuming commodities as such things are conventionally understood (records, videos, posters, books, magazines, key rings, earrings necklaces pins buttons wigs voice-altering devices Pepsis t-shirts underwear hats scarves gloves jackets – and why were there no jeans called Bille Jeans?); they were consuming their own gestures of consumption. That is, they were consuming not a Tayloristic Michael Jackson, or any licensed facsimile, but themselves. Riding a Mobius strip of pure capitalism, that was the transubstantiation.”
~ Greil Marcus On Michael Jackson