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 »

A Spirited Exchange

“In some ways Christopher Nolan has become our Stanley Kubrick,” reads the first sentence of David Bordwell’s latest blog post–none of which I want or intend to read after that desperate opening sentence. If he’d written “my” or “some people’s” instead of “our”, I might have read further. Instead, I can only surmise that in some ways David Bordwell may have become our Lars von Trier.”
~ Jonathan Rosenbaum On Facebook

“Jonathan has written a despicable thing in comparing me to Trump. He’s free to read or not read what I write, and even to judge arguments without reading them. It’s not what you’d expect from a sensible critic, but it’s what Jonathan has chosen to do, for reasons of a private nature he has confided to me in an email What I request from him is an apology for comparing my ideas to Trump’s.”
~ David Bordwell Replies

“Yes, I do apologize, sincerely, for such a ridiculous and quite unwarranted comparison. The private nature of my grievance with David probably fueled my post, but it didn’t dictate it, even though I’m willing to concede that I overreacted. Part of what spurred me to post something in the first place is actually related to a positive development in David’s work–an improvement in his prose style ever since he wrote (and wrote very well) about such elegant prose stylists as James Agee and Manny Farber. But this also brought a journalistic edge to his prose, including a dramatic flair for journalistic ‘hooks’ and attention-grabbers, that is part of what I was responding to. Although I realize now that David justifies his opening sentence with what follows, and far less egregiously than I implied he might have, I was responding to the drum roll of that opening sentence as a provocation, which it certainly was and is.”
~ Jonathan Rosenbaum Replies

“In my own mind, I’ve always been a writer and the fact that I act is, well… it’s been very enjoyable and I love doing it. It has been good for me, but in my own mind I’m just a writer with a bizarre activity—acting—that I undertake.”
~ Wallace Shawn