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The Weekend Report Archive for May, 2009

Would You Like to Ride on My Beautiful Balloon?

Up was away up as it entered the marketplace with an estimated $67.8 million to command weekend ticket sales. The session also saw the national bow of the horror parable Drag Me to Hell,which ranked third with $16.7 million. Revenues overall were essentially flat from 2008 (to be rigorous; -0.5%). Regionally there was a strong…

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Exhibitionists Rivet Robots

It was a trip to the Smithsonian rather than a date with doomsday that prevailed with American audiences at the multiplex. Night at the Museum 2 posted an estimated $53.4 million while Terminator Salvation brought in $43.3 million during the first three days of the Memorial weekend holiday. The impressive showdown nonetheless fell slightly short…

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Angels and Demons and … Raindrops on Roses, Whiskers on Kittens

This weekend’s much anticipated tentpole Angels and Demons bowed to an estimated $47.1 million with Star Trek on its heels with a gross of $41.8 million. The perceived four quadrant appeal of The Da Vinci Codefranchise had rivals opting out of counter programming but it didn’t open quite to expectations and the Star Trek reinvention…

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Hi Trek!

It was another weekend of “how big?” Short of a mass flu epidemic sweeping the nation, nothing was going to get in the way of the Star Trek juggernaut. Though tracking and trekking were buoyant along with advance sales, the gut instinct was that it would not open quite as vigorously as X-Men Origins: Wolverine….

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Wolverine in Wolf’s Clothing

The question wasn’t whether but how much as X-Men Origins: Wolverine entered the marketplace as the first of the summer tentpoles. The film’s estimated $85.5 million (including approximately $5 million from Thursday midnight shows) resounded with “a lot.” Not a record, not a benchmark but unquestionably a lot of moolah for a franchise that could…

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The Weekend Report

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“To be a critic is to be a workaholic. Workaholism is socially conditioned: viewed favourably by exploiters, it’s generally ruinous to a worker’s mental health. When T.S. Eliot said criticism was as inevitable as breathing, he failed to mention that, respiratory problems notwithstanding, breathing is easy. Criticism is reflexive before reflective: to formalise/industrialise an involuntary instinct requires time, effort and discipline. The reason we seek remuneration, as opposed to the self-hatred of being a scab, is because all labour should be waged…

“Criticism, so the cliché by now goes, is dying. None of the panel discussions on its death agony, however—including those in which I’ve formally participated—come at it from the wider perspective that the problem surely needs. They defend the ways in which criticism functions in relation to the industry and to the public, but they fail to contextualise these relationships as defined by ultimately rotten and self-harming imperatives.

“Criticism was a noble profession so long as only a few could practice it for money; when the field expands, as it has with a so-called ‘democratisation’ of our practice, those few lose their political power. Competition grows and markets are undercut: publications are naturally going to start paying less. Precarity is both cause and effect of a surplus workforce: the reason you’re only as good as your last article is because there are plenty of other folks who can write the next one in your place. The daily grind is: pitch, or perish.

B”ut criticism, so a counter-cliché goes, is not dying. An irony: this is an elite sport that is no longer elite in terms of who is able to practice it, but in economic terms it’s clutching to a perverse and outmoded hierarchical structure. It’s more meritocratic than ever, now: which is to say it isn’t meritocratic at all. That’s a paradox in bad need of a resolution…”

~ Michael Pattison Manifestoes Film Criticism

“It’s easy to forget when you’re reading a critic every single week or multiple times a week, that most of us who do this job, and have been doing it for a long time, understand that this is basically a parasitic profession. I don’t mean in the sense that we’re evil bloodsucking creatures, but we couldn’t exist if we didn’t have something to analyze. And I’m always conscious of that. So whether I like or don’t like a particular thing you do, my point of view is always that of an appreciator. I just like to be in the world that you create.”
~ Matt Zoller Seitz To Sam Esmail

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