MCN Originals

The Weekend Report

Black Panther devoured seventy percent or more of the marketplace, with a record-setting box office estimated at $192.2 million (all numbers reflect three-day portion of holiday weekend). Two films premiered nationally as counterprogrammers: animated Early Man wound up slotting seventh with $3.1 million, while faith-targeted biblical drama Samson earned $1.9 million.

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Friday Box-Office Estimates

Roar.

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Gurus o Gold: Counting Down To Oscar Night

The Gurus are working through this final stage of the Oscar season. This week, The Top 4s. Next week, The Top 3s. Then, The Top 2s. And on show week, Only The Winners. (They’re all winners… it is an honor just to be nominated.)

And as you asked… The Gurus currently thinking no movie wins more than four Oscars. And the second biggest number of Oscars to… Dunkirk.

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The DVD Wrapup: Ballad of Lefty Brown, Wonder, Blades, Seijun Suzuki, Fellini, Hellraiser, Paradise and more

Set in the desolate plains of Montana, before the arrival of the railroad, The Ballad of Lefty Brown is an ode to the traditional revenge Western. When famed frontier lawman and Montana’s first elected senator Eddie Johnson (Peter Fonda) is brutally murdered – assassinated, to be precise — his longtime sidekick and friend, Lefty Brown (Bill Pullman), vows to avenge his death. The trouble is, Lefty is more than a tad over the hill and he’s outgunned by some ornery desperadoes.

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The Weekend Report

Fifty Shades Freed topped weekend moviegoing with an estimated $38.8 million, followed by two other national newcomers, the free adaptation of Peter Rabbit, with $24.8 million, while clipped-from-the-headlines The 15:17 to Paris went hand-to-hand for $12.4 million.

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Friday Estimates

Wedding bonds, rabbit leaps, terror topped.

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The DVD Wrapup: Only the Brave, LBJ, Suburbicon, Aida’s Secrets, Clouzot’s Inferno, Jackie Gleason and more

Joseph Kosinski’s stunningly effective Only the Brave is the rare disaster movie guaranteed to leave its audiences not just in tears, but in mourning for the victims, their families and community at large, as well.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Big Quiet

Can you hear it?

Listen carefully.

Silence.

We are still a month from The Oscars.

We are still weeks from voting.

And in what has felt like a pretty open season is not accelerating into a passionate discussion of the top movies of 2017. The discussion is about the Solo trailer and Black Panther.

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The Weekend Report

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle returned to the top of the weekend viewing charts with an estimated $11 million. As the Patriots and Eagles await kick off of Super Bowl LII in frigid Minneapolis, moviegoing takes a back seat. And with that chill in mind the sole national newcomer – haunted house Winchester – opened in third with $9.1 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

One half-ass release, barely promoted or advertised. Holdovers defined by the two weekends since two wide releases for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend with a single weak studio release each. Star Wars out of the Top 10 long before Jumanji. Some Oscar boost in expansions, though nothing blowing up. Super Bowl Sunday. Winter Olympics coming. Welcome to February.

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The DVD Wrapup: Last Flag, Westfront 1918, My Art, Viva L’Italia, Gothic, Viva Espana and more

At first glance, the best reason for picking up Last Flag Flying are the names on the promotional material. The Amazon Studios production was directed by Richard Linklater (Boyhood), adapted from a novel by co-screenwriter Darryl Ponicsan (Cinderella Liberty) and stars Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne. (Good enough for me, anyway.) Last Flag Flying also got extremely positive reviews. But Linklater’s heartfelt story about whether honor and the bonds of brotherhood still matter, played in no more than 110 domestic theaters, earning  just under a million dollars before shipping off to ancillary markets, where money figures are kept close to a studio’s vest. When it was released, just ahead of Veterans Day, many pundits predicted Last Flag Flying might produce an Oscar nomination, or two, but it was ignored … not “snubbed,” ignored. That’s what happens when a picture underperforms in the marketplace for no good reason.

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Sundance: New Frontier Round-up

If you’re going to sell me that you have a six-player “epic ‘80s fantasy” experience featuring female warriors, man, I want some interactivity with that that goes beyond white-labeling last year’s cat cannon functionality reworked to shoot lasers out of my arms, and I want some story and character development that makes the female warriors feel actually incepted out of story and a hero’s journey, with enough substance wrapped around the experience to give me a connection to my character and the other avatars and to care why we are there.

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The Daily Buzz from Sundance (Day 9)

Ever had a project that you were super-passionate about but didn’t know how to fund? Elise McCave of Kickstarter discusses how to crowdfund for your passion projects. Heather Lenz talks about directing Kusama, and we talk about Game Changers with Louie Psihoyos, Joseph Pace and James Wilks. We end with the team behind Science Fair, Cristina Costantini, Darren Foster, Kashfia, Robbi, and Dr. McCalla.

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The Daily Buzz from Sundance (Day 8)

We cover Roll with Me, Zion and Nancy as well as talk to AAPI directors about their films. We start with two diverse AAPI directors, Bing Liu and Cecilia Hsu, then discuss Roll with Me with Lisa Frances, Jorja Fox and Gabriel Cordell. We also speak with Floyd Russ, director of Zion, and one of that short film’s producers. Director Christina Choe joins us for her psychological drama Nancy.

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Sundance Review: KUSAMA

Kusama is the top-selling female artist in the world, her art, which frequently features dots, mirrors,or both. As we learn from the film Kusama, directed by Heather Lenz, her journey to acceptance and fame in the art world was not an easy one. Lenz begins, more or less, at the beginning – in Kusama’s dark childhood, defined by the disapproval of her parents, in particular her mother, who forbade her daughter to be an artist – before taking the audience on a journey through Kusama’s later life and growth as an artist.

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The Weekend Report

The final installment of Maze Runner, The Death Cure, navigated to the top of the weekend charts with an estimated $23.6 million. Also debuting nationally was Hostiles following five weeks in limited release. It ranked third with $10.1 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Hollywood leaves the weekend to holdovers, with just the final Maze Runner opening wide. Hostiles expands and finds some buyers, but didn’t have the Oscar rocket fuel it had hoped for. The Shape of Water expands into the Top 10, joining The Post as the only Best Picture nominees in the 10.

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The Daily Buzz from Sundance (Day 7)

Today we have Chloe Zhao, director of The Rider,  on planning a film with budget restrictions. Co-directors of Genesis 2.0, Christian Frei and Maxim Arbugaev, talk about filming in the heart of Siberia. And we welcome female shorts directors, Anna Margaret Hollyman, of Maude, and Emily Anne Hoffman, of Nevada.

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Sundance New Frontiers Review: BattleScar

When you walk into the physical installation for BattleScar, a new virtual reality (VR)  project by filmmakers Martin Allais and Nico Casavecchia, you find yourself in a room that resembles a rather clean, well-decorated squat. Slip into the headset and you’re in 1978 New York City where you’ll follow Lupe, a Puerto Rican-American teen and her tough-talking fellow runaway Debbie, through their adventures navigating the ‘70s punk scene in Alphabet City. Debbie dreams of forming a punk rock band but can’t write lyrics, and she finds a connection in Lupe, an aspiring poet; together, the two of them explore New York’s Lower East Side, punk rock and poetry together.

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Sundance Review: THE DEVIL WE KNOW

The Devil We Know shines a light on something almost all of us come in contact with: Teflon – that magical non-stick compound found on the cookware you probably have in your kitchen right now, as well as in a lot of other places you don’t even think about, from sprays used to protect upholstery and carpets from spills and stains, to your Patagonia ski jacket – even in your dental floss.

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MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Film festivals, for those who don’t know, are not exactly the glitzy red carpet affairs you see on TV. Those do happen, but they’re a tiny part of the festival. The main part of any film festival are the thousands of people with festival passes hanging on lanyards beneath their anoraks, carrying brochures for movies you have never and will never hear of, desperately scrabbling to sell whatever movie it is to buyers from all over the world. Every hotel bar, every cafe, every restaurant is filled to the brim with these people, talking loudly about non-existent deals. The Brits are the worst because most of the British film industry, with a few honourable exceptions, are scam artists and chancers who move around from company to company failing to get anything good made and trying to cast Danny Dyer in anything that moves. I’m seeing guys here who I first met twenty years ago and who are still wearing the same clothes, doing the same job (albeit for a different company) and spinning the same line of bullshit about how THIS movie has Al Pacino or Meryl Streep or George Clooney attached and, whilst that last one didn’t work out, THIS ONE is going to be HUGE. As the day goes on, they start drinking and it all gets ugly and, well, that’s why I’m the guy walking through the Tiergarten with a camera taking pictures of frozen lakes and pretending this isn’t happening.

“Berlin is cool, though and I’ve been lucky to be doing meetings with some people who want to actually get things done. We’ll see what comes of it.”
~ Julian Simpson 

“The difference between poetry and prose, and why if you’re not acculturated to poetry, you might resist it: that page is frightening. Why is it not filled? The two categories of people who don’t feel that way are children and prisoners. So many prison poets; they see that gap and experience it differently. I’m for the gap!”
~ Poet Eileen Myles