Z

MCN Originals

Friday Box Office Estimates

Apocalypse noise at $26.2 million, Alice hardly heard at $9.7 million; and birds stay Angry at $5 million, even after a 54% plunge.

Read the full article » No Comments »

The DVD Wrapup: Zoolander 2, Finest Hours, A Married Woman, Manhunter, The Damned and more

With approximately 100 minutes to go, co-writer-director-star Ben Stiller will be required to recycle gags from the original, coordinate the many cameo appearances of well-known stars and fashionistas, preen in character for the camera and hope that viewers have forgotten that Robert Altman’s Prêt-à-Porter did a far better job skewering the industry seven years before Z1 was unleashed in 2001.

Read the full article » No Comments »

The Weekend Report

The debut of The Angry Birds Movie flew to the top of the weekend charts with an estimated $39.1 million. Other wide openers were Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising in third spot with $21.8 million and the 1970s-style neo-noir spoof The Nice Guys a step back at $11.1 million.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Friday Box Office Estimates

Kids love anthropomorphic animals… even birds who can only fly by slingshot. And satire is what closes on Saturday night according to George S. Kaufman and The Nice Guys, which WB really worked their asses off on, is suffering through that this weekend. ope for legs. In between, take a wonderfully broad hit comedy, cleverly add girl power, and… meh. Less than half the opening of Neighbors for 2. Meanwhile, Weiner and Maggie’s Plan get solid, if not overwhelming arthouse launches.

Read the full article » No Comments »

The DVD Wrapup: Theeb, Naked Island, Witch, Maurice Pialat, Cop Rock and more

There are times when Naji Abu Nowar’s terrific World War I adventure, Theeb, feels very much like Lawrence of Arabia writ small. Less than half as long, it tells a similarly exciting story from the point of view of Bedouin tribesmen who attach themselves to a British Army officer assigned to blow up an Ottoman railroad in the heart of the desert. Because Theeb is essentially a coming-of-age story, it betrays no secrets to reveal that the officer rather quickly becomes a non-factor in the drama, leaving only what he left behind to drive the narrative

Read the full article » No Comments »

Review: The Nice Guys, Maggie’s Plan

Although unshielded,  The Nice Guys are the newest crew of the buddy cop genre that spawned 48 Hrs., Lethal Weapon, Bad Boys and more recently,Ride Along. They are bigger goofballs than their antecedents and, regrettably, lack the requisite charm to divert attention away from a muddy narrative that involves nefarious shenanigans linking the automobile and porn industries.

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

Cannes Review: Hell Or High Water

“Three tours of Iraq and no bail-out for people like us,” reads a spray-painted wall in the opening shot of Hell or High Water (formerly Comancheria), a crime drama from David Mackenzie (2013’s Starred Up). With gripping tension and real-world stakes from the get-go, the graffiti message resonates as a reminder of the bitter resentment people have for financial institutions, and they’re willing to fight back against them.

Read the full article » No Comments »

The Weekend Report

Captain America: Civil War took a sharp turn but nonetheless maintained a commanding lead  with an estimated $72.6 million. The week’s two national rollout performed roughly as expected, with Money Monster slotting third with $14.8 million and the The Darkness a notch back at $5.2 million.

Read the full article » 2 Comments »

Cannes Review: The Transfiguration

Out of the darkness, the remedy to tired post-Twilight vampire movies arrives in Cannes with little to no fanfire: U. S. director Michael O’Shea’s The Transfiguration, a debut that drives an sturdy stake into familiar material while breaking new ground in urban realism.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Friday Box Office Estimates

No surprise to find the Avengers sequel disguised as a Captain America movie still in front by a large margin. The 74% drop isn’t even a surprise, matching last summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and running only $16m behind the same. Some may be disappointed with the Money Monster opening, but it’s solid given its material. Its figure outpaces Hail, Caesar! and The Finest Hours‘ openings, which are really the only comparables this year and isn’t far behind Bridge of Spies‘ opening last year. Good start for Love & Friendship on four screens, projecting a $25k per-screen for the weekend.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Cannes Review: The Student

On Day 3, sidebar program Un Certain Regard has again proven more interesting and daring than the Competition. It’s a list of films that already includes a fundamental powerhouse: The Student, by Russia’s Kirill Serebrennikov,

Read the full article » No Comments »

The DVD Wrapup: Mustang, Where to Invade Next, Patty Duke, In a Lonely Place and more

Nominated for a 2015 Academy Award in Best Foreign Language Film category, Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s and co-screenwriter Alice Winocour’s heart-breaking coming-of-age drama, Mustang, describes what happens in a country, Turkey, where the dreams and hopes of too many girls are crushed at the onset of puberty.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Review: DHEEPAN, THE LOBSTER

At its heart, Audiard’s film is about identity. In the process of starting a new life his trio of refugees have the additional hurdle of adopting roles that have little bearing on their pasts. Ironically, the scenario playing out in the building among the locals is presented as more tenable to their experience than they are allowed to admit.

Read the full article » No Comments »

The Weekend Report

Captain America: Civil War delivered a blistering blow with a potent estimated debut of $182.4 million. The film accounted for roughly 76% of all weekend ticket sales, and coupled with its Disney stablemates, corralled 87% of business for the frame. The company also became the first in 2016 to surpass $1 billion at the domestic box office on Friday and set a new record for that benchmark as well. While no one put out a sacrificial lamb as counterprogramming, the second weekend of Mother’s Day served that purpose with a carbon-copy gross to its opening session.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Friday Box Office Estimates

“In a world… in which $70m – $85m opening days have become shockingly normal…” here comes the next Avengers installment, sans a couple of Avengers, with a Captain America title, thus opening just slightly lower than the two Avengers movies. Notably, it opened to less than Batman v Superman, though expect that to flip soon. Down-ballot films were clearly damaged, though The Jungle Book held well, even it had been a regular weekend slate.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Review: A Bigger Splash

There’s a glow that enshrines the Mediterranean isle of Pantelleria. The idyllic fashion in which it’s presented in Luca Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash, the skeptical would conclude it was a fictional locale. It’s not. Pantelleria is a getaway for wealthy Europeans.

Read the full article » No Comments »

The DVD Wrapup: East Side Sushi, Glassland, Scherzo Diabolico, The Club, Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre, Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party and more

In addition to excellent acting, Marty Rosenberg’s cinematography makes the sushi look consistently mouthwatering. East Side Sushi may not carry the weight of a potential nominee for an Oscar or a Spirit nomination, but it succeeds nicely as an entertainment that can be enjoyed by teens and adults. The blend of ethnic elements is as natural and unforced as the Juana’s prize recipes. It reminds me favorably of the underappreciated rom/com/dram The Ramen Girl, in which Brittany Murphy played a fish out of water in Tokyo. Predictably, that wonderful picture went straight-to-DVD, too. Need I mention that the casts for both pictures are predominantly non-white?

Read the full article » No Comments »

The Weekend Report

It was no contest for The Jungle Book as new fare collectively could not overtake the swinger’s estimated $42.6 million session. The trio of freshmen entries included action comedy Keanu with a third place finish of $9.3 million, followed by the ensemble warmedy Mother’s Day with $8.1 million, and videogame adaptation Ratchet & Clank failed to translate at $4.8 million.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Friday Box Office Estimates

In the dead weekend before the “official” start of summer, there are no challenges to the king of the April jungle. Three new movies, but only one from a major and all three chasing alternative audiences. Keanu chases the Key & Peele audience with a kitty cat… one scaring away guys and the other scaring away kids who love kitties. Mother’s Day is warmed over Garry Marshall hash… Four big heads on the poster is all they could do. And Ratchet & Clank is a cartoon from a popular video game… which we are still waiting to work as a movie for the first time.

Read the full article » No Comments »

The DVD Wrapup: Son of Saul, Phoenix, Losing Ground, Jane Got a Gun, Driftless Area, Packed in a Trunk, Dillinger, Sexploitation, What?, Krampus and more

As much as we’d like to put World War II in our rearview mirror and move on to less nightmarish film fodder, the sad truth is that we need constant reminders of what happened then and what could happen again, if hate is allowed to trump cries for peace and sanity. The sick legacy of Third Reich simply refuses to disappear into the fog of history, either in real life or in the movies. What’s amazing is that even 70 years after peace treaties were signed, ever more heart-wrenching stories continue to surface from the conflagration. How many more remain to be told is anyone’s guess. The concurrent release of Son of Saul and Phoenix on DVD/Blu-ray suggests that European historians, writers and filmmakers – the children and grandchildren of the silent generation — still have plenty to say on the subject.

Read the full article » No Comments »

MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

Tsangari: With my next film, White Knuckles, it comes with a budget — it’s going to be a huge new world for me. As always when I enter into a new thing, don’t you wonder how it’s going to be and how much of yourself you are going to have to sacrifice? The ballet of all of this. I’m already imaging the choreography — not of the camera, but the choreography of actually bringing it to life. It is as fascinating as the shooting itself. I find the producing as exciting as the directing. The one informs the other. There is this producer-director hat that I constantly wear. I’ve been thinking about these early auteurs, like Howard Hawks and John Ford and Preston Sturges—all of these guys basically were hired by the studio, and I doubt they had final cut, and somehow they had films that now we can say they had their signatures.  There are different ways of being creative within the parameters and limitations of production. The only thing you cannot negotiate is stupidity.
Filmmaker: And unfortunately, there is an abundance of that in the world.
Tsangari: This is the only big risk: stupidity. Everything else is completely worked out in the end.
~ Chevalier‘s Rachel Athina Tsangari

“The middle-range movies that I was doing have largely either stopped being made, or they’ve moved to television, now that television is a go-to medium for directors who can’t get work in theatricals, because there are so few theatricals being made. But also with the new miniseries concept, you can tell a long story in detail without having to cram it all into 90 minutes. You don’t have to cut the characters and take out the secondary people. You can actually put them all on a big canvas. And it is a big canvas, because people have bigger screens now, so there’s no aesthetic difference between the way you shoot a movie and the way you shoot a TV show.

“Which is all for the good. But what’s happened in the interim is that theatrical movies being a spectacle business are now either giant blockbuster movies that run three hours—even superhero movies run three hours, they used to run like 58 minutes!—and the others, which are dysfunctional family independent movies or the slob comedy or the kiddie movie, and those are all low-budget. So the middle ground of movies that were about things, they’re just gone. Or else they’re on HBO. Like the Bryan Cranston LBJ movie, which years ago would’ve been made for theaters.

“You’ve got people like Paul Schrader and Walter Hill who can’t get their movies theatrically distributed because there’s no market for it. So they end up going to VOD, and VOD is a model from which no one makes any money, because most of the time, as soon as they get on the site, they’re pirated. So the whole model of the system right now is completely broken. And whether or not anybody’s going to try to fix, or if it even can be fixed, I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the same business that I got into in the ’70s.”
~ Joe Dante

Z Weekend Report