The grass always seems greener on the other side. But it is not always the case. In the case of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, it is a sad story of insecurity, fear, oversized yet easily bruised ego, and a lack of perspective on itself.Read the full article »
Insurgent, the second chapter in the YA series, led weekend viewing with an estimated $53.2 million. The potent bow left little more than scraps for the counter-programmers that debuted nationally. The muscle-flexing The Gunman flabbed with a $5 million launch while the faith-based Do You Believe? had a skeptical $3.8 million box office. Exclusive debuts ranged from an excellent $74,200 bow for Danny Collins for neophyte distrib Bleecker Street to a dismal $4,600 for Accidental Love, the remnant of David O. Russell’s 2008 production formally titled Nailed and now credited to the Smithee-esque Stephen Greene.Read the full article »
Insurgent brings us the second weekend in a row with a $20 million Friday. It’s not quite Cinderella but then, who is? Speaking of Cindy, she takes a reasonable hit, but nothing else in the Top 10 manages to gross even $2 million on Friday, including the opening day of The Gunman. At the arthouse, only Al Pacino as Danny Collins manages over $3k per screen on opening day.Read the full article »
If Chris Rock’s film career isn’t nearly as celebrated as those of Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy–standup giants before turning to feature films–it isn’t because the movies he’s in don’t make money. Most of them, especially the animated features to which he adds his distinctive voice, do well enough at the box-office to think that they probably did even better on DVD. It’s likely that Rock was responsible for selling as many tickets as Adam Sandler to the critically reviled, yet financially successful Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2.Read the full article »
The movie Western is a durable genre that has sometimes fallen on hard times. But that genre gets a powerful reworking from a couple of knowledgeable foreigners—not-so-gloomy Danes Kristian Levring (director-writer) and co-screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen—in the Go-Eastwood-Young-Man revenge shocker The Salvation.Read the full article »
Why doesn’t Liam Neeson make movies today like Schindler’s List or Michael Collins?Read the full article »
On another occasion I called him and was told he was off with David shooting Grand Funk. The two were nuts about trains and I jumped to the wrong conclusion that they’d finally got a bead on how to do a document on the subject. When we talked the following Monday he just shrugged and mumbled something about endless requests to shoot rock groups post-Gimme Shelter and, in this case, Grand Funk Railway of We’re an American Band reknown. But his final film, the forthcoming In Transit, may finally have fulfilled that dream project.Read the full article »
Cinderella broke through the glass (slipper) ceiling to command weekend viewing with an estimated $69.1 million. The venerable partygoer put a damper on the session’s only other wide newcomer, brooding thriller Run All Night, that came to ground with $11 million.Read the full article »
Cinderella slips into a comfortable $22.3 million, while a gloomy Liam Neeson only threatens $2.8 million with Run All Night.Read the full article »
Because American students have never been required to be proficient in the history of the Americas south of the Alamo, the vast region continues to be something of a mystery to us. After learning how the conquistadors demolished and/or converted the indigenous population and sent their treasures back to Spain to fill the depleted coffers of the monarchy, we were left only with misconceptions. It took the martyrdom of Che Guevara, fear of communism and outrages of fascism to rekindle our interest in the affairs of South and Central America. The scourge of cocaine, black-tar heroin and illegal immigrants added a sense of urgency heretofore unwarranted. Affordable airfares and improved tourist accommodations have done more to educate Americans about the new realities of life in the western hemisphere than all of the textbooks that ignored imperialism and CIA meddling in national politics.Read the full article »
In less than two months, festival circuiteers return to the sunny Festival de Cannes, an event with serious heavy-hitters returning to the Croisette. That’s what the Palme d’Or Competition will likely be programmed primarily with this year: alumni.Read the full article »
Sundance 2015, I told myself, would be a festival of no quick takes, some tweets, lots of movies, interviews, conversations, unforeseen run-ins and path-crossings, hundreds of photographs, and a few more movies. A noble experiment. Time to consider, reflect. Of course, afterwards, I was quickly reminded that there’s good reason for buckling down in the midst of all the sensory input of a film festival and churning copy and burning digital files. What happens once you’re back on the ground? Sure, plant your ass in the chair and type-type-type until all is tidy and done. But not so fast.Read the full article »
Not exactly a happy Chappie but nonetheless the debut yarn of a “human” robot led session viewing with an estimated $13.1 million in an inclement frame. Two other new national releases bowed with Vince Vaughn vehile Unfinished Business posting dire results of $4.7 million, while The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel provided a ray of sunshine with $8.4 million.Read the full article »
Chappie leads crappy. But this will all change again next weekend as the fairy godmother sprinkles box office fairy dust around. Focus drops 55% vs last Friday, despite its fairly soft opening.
The hero of the weekend is The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which opened wide and will eclipse the best-ever weekend for the the original ($6.4 million) as a result.
Unfinished Business charts a big dip in the Vince Vaughn franchise. This will be his worst wide opening ever, which follows directly on the heels of the previous owner of that inauspicious honor, Delivery Man. Time to go rebuild in supporting roles, as he did with Mr. & Mrs. Smith.Read the full article »
It’s difficult to imagination that any film starring Al Pacino, directed by Barry Levinson and adapted by Buck Henry, from a novel by Philip Roth, couldn’t find distribution outside the festival circuit and a couple of big-city art houses. Thirty years ago, such a thing would be unthinkable.Read the full article »
Under the mistaken assumption that it would teach me fiscal prudence, my parents limited my comic book purchases as a child to two magazines a month. This was a wrenching dictum, because there were four or five that I enjoyed very much, and all of them came out monthly, but while I may have varied…Read the full article »
The audience enjoyed the scams of Focus led weekend viewing with an estimated $18.9 million. The session’s other wide newcomer The Lazarus Effect slotted fifth with $10.7 million.Read the full article »
Focus unlikely to open to $20 million, which is not good news for any of the already superstar-deprived studios. The Lazarus Effect heads right back into the grave. Fifty Shades of Grey continues to drop like a pair of Anastasia’s panties.
And Oscar bumps arrive, but in minor fashion, for Birdman (estimated $530k Friday from last week’s $247k) and Still Alice ($750k from $685k).Read the full article »
The Academy is acting like a supermodel who is deeply worried that her boyfriend is going to leave because she has a zit. And the answer is, men do leave supermodels. And that insecurity haunts the most beautiful and the most plain. But when you are going out there for the show, if people start noticing you are insecure, your career is over. When you are in public, you need to be all in, turned on, rocking the world because you “know” you have what everyone else wants.Read the full article »
Divorce court in the movies has never been as suspenseful as the proceedings at the center of Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem.Read the full article »