Night Moves

MCN Originals

The DVD Report

If any actors should have been able to interest audiences in the concept of artificial intelligence forwarded in Transcendence, it was Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman.

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31 Weeks To Oscar: Telluride, Toronto & New York

I feel like all the pieces are in the right place after announcements from New York (FIRST!) and Toronto, with the Telluride schedule showing itself more clearly than ever because of TIFF’s new rules about opening weekend and North American premieres. I hate the idea of this all being a competition between the festivals. All three are so distinct. They each have a purpose. And for me, the more above board everyone is, the better.

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A Story Of Deep Delight: Talking BOYHOOD With Richard Linklater

A conversation about time, duration, contracts, some parallels between Boyhood and poetry, making a period film in the present tense, and why film “improvisation” doesn’t exist.

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The Weekend Report

Simple simian says Dawn of the Planet of the Apes rules again with an estimated $35.8 million. However, a trio of new wide releases lined up right behind it. Best of the bunch was the shocker sequel The Purge: Anarchy that bowed to $28.3 million. Both the animated sequel Planes: Fire & Rescue and romcom Sex Tape entered below expectations with respective grosses of $17.9 million and $14.9 million.

On the alternative side Begin Again added 363 screens and plateaued. The question now is just how far can Boyhood penetrate into the marketplace. Its weekend gross of $1.2 million from 34 screens in exclusive engagements in top urban markets is truly impressive. Nonetheless it will need sustained TLC and vigorous promotion to assure its embrace in second and third tier centers in order to reach a broad audience and secure its position as an early awards contender.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

The Purge: Anarchy leads on Friday, but it’s down about 23% from opening day of the first high-concept, low-budget thriller. If it continues on this trajectory, it will gross about $26m for the weekend and still be very profitable. But don’t look elsewhere or you may think that ending the weekend as the #2 film is some sort of tragedy. Also opening, Sex Tape, which looks like Cameron Diaz’s weakest comedy opening since 2005/2006. The film is, literally, in the mid-summer Friends With Benefits slot… a film that also underperformed in spite of some hot talent. And Planes 2 opens softer than Planes, which was basically an up-converted direct-to-DVD spin-off of Cars. Of course, given that this is a film for young kids, it could still end up with a $20m weekend and a gross not too dissimilar to the first release, given the paucity of kids’ films in the market.

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The DVD Wrapup

Like Father Like Son, Face of Love, Vinyl, TV Westerns, sxtape, Southern Comfort, WWI, D-Day and more.

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Interview: Jonathan Glazer On The Birth Of UNDER THE SKIN

In a rangy interview, we talk to Jonathan Glazer about themes in Under The Skin, sight, the eye, Mica Levi’s inventive score and artistic productivity. (He admires Fassbinder’s output.) There are spoilers.

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32 Weeks To Oscar: Toronto, Telluride, and Collateral Damage

Whatever corner was turned by Telluride and by distributors, make no mistake… Telluride is now in the “me-first” Oscar race game. After 33 years of not having a single Oscar nominee for Best Picture, suddenly they were cranking out at least one a year. This kind of thing just doesn’t happen like the breeze shifting directions. But most of these films “officially” premiered at Toronto. So TIFF made claims to being the first stop for Oscar as well. And TIFF’s pedigree in this regard started 7 years earlier than Telluride… 1999… with American Beauty. And they’ve had 8 Oscar winners in 13 years. And 3 Audience Award winners won Best Picture in the last 6 years.

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The Weekend Report

The Apes rise, the Transformers drop but are far from extinction, Begin Again expands nicely, and Boyhood does awards-season opening numbers in July with an estimated $74,000 on 5 screens.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

The Apes come out swinging, though on the second tier of summer hit openings. Transformers, which is still the biggest opening day of 2014, will become the quickest film to $200 million today, although Cap 2 was holding better in its third weekend. And Boyhoodopens very strong on just 5 screens, projecting to over $50k per, which would make it the biggest exclusive opening of the year after The Grand Budapest Hotel.

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The DVD Wrapup

Jodorowsky’s Dune, Le Week-End, Cannabis Kid, Rigor Mortis, Pretty One, Watermark, POWs, Vicious, Endeavor and more.

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Review-ish: Planet of The Apes (non-spoiler)

This film really becomes The Dark Knight to the first film’s Batman Begins. You spend much if the movie anticipating which weird, never-before-seen turn the thing might take next. It’s Shakespearean, it’s Biblical (Old and New Testament), it’s The Walking Dead, it’s The Lion King, it’s Lincoln it’s The Godfather, it’s Titanic. It’s all over the place. Yet… it really comes together.

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The Weekend Report

There was a lot to celebrate during the Independence holiday span … but it wasn’t at the multiplex. Weekend business hit its lowest point for the period in the past decade. Leading the pack for its second weekend was Transformers: Age of Extinction with an estimated $36.2 million during the three-day skirmish. Raucous comedy Tammy was second and best of a trio of newcomers with $21.2 million. The other freshmen were exorcism chiller Deliver Us from Evil, which grossed $9.5 million and family-targeted Earth to Echo all that E.T.-ish at $8.2 million.

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Knights At Table: Remembering Mazursky

On the appointed day I made my way toward Bob’s Donuts and could hear laughter and boisterous banter well before I reached my destination. When I finally spied Mazursky I could see him at the center (not literally) of a group of about eight people—the loud folk I’d heard from a distance. I approached cautiously and as I neared he waved me over.

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Death & Life: Part Two

I knew Paul Mazursky for about 10 years.

I am a member of The Table, as we call it. The tradition is, simply, a bunch of guys – and yes, some women – who get together in the mornings to break bread (usually donuts) and talk shit. The common denominator is show business. And the table has enjoyed some of the best writers, directors, actors, comics, artists, execs, journalists, etc for which you could ask.

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The DVD Wrapup

The Unknown Known, Lunchbox, Cannibal Holocaust, Final Terror, Operation Petticoat, Helix and more.

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The Weekend Report

Mere quibbling! Transformers: Age of Extinction pretty much hit its target with an estimated $99.2 million that consumed roughly 55% of the marketplace and set the benchmark for 2014 openings. And to no great surprise its brethren majors opted not to set up a sacrifice title as counterprogramming. New titles in exclusive bows also registered some potent starts, including dystopian sci-fier Snowpiercer with a torrid $163,000 at eight railways and musical rom-com Begin Again tuning up $143,000 at five gigs. Biopic Yves Saint Laurent fashioned $23,700 from two screens and the fanciful historical re-write America summed up to $36,300 from four playdates.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Transformers: Age of Extinction is the biggest opening day launch of 2014 so far, but not by a lot. Godzilla opened to $38.4 million on Friday and ended up with just $93.3 million for that weekend. The best opening of the year is still Captain America: The Winter Soldier, with $95 million. So while the assumption was be that Transformers would be the first $100m opener of the year, it is unclear at this time. High-profile openers Begin Again and Snowpiercer are only on 5 and 8 screens, respectively, and will have decent weekends as limited releases. Maleficent continues to be the best mainstream holder of the summer, driven by a lack of any other titles for girls.

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The DVD Wrapup

300 Empire, Winter’s Tale, I Spy, Masters of Sex, Redwood Highway, Two Lives, The Bridge, Cisco Kid.

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Gary Oldman’s Foot In Mouth Disease

The year was 2000. Rod Lurie had made his second film, he Contender, which had been picked up by DreamWorks SKG. It was the year after American Beauty, so DreamWorks SKG had an Oscar glow and though Gladiator was their big show pony, Lurie being ushered into that company was a very big deal. Joan Allen was an immediate big-time contender to win Best Actress. And there was strong buzz around Gary Oldman for Best Supporting Actor, playing an ultra-conservative, buttoned-up Senator.

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MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I am just grateful I am still around. I would love to be Steven Soderbergh, but I am lucky to be Joe Swanberg. Actors want to work with me, people want to give me money, and my nightmare scenario remains: Getting in bed with a studio, spending years on a movie, and it turns out horrible, but now I’m rich.”

Actually, by Hollywood standards, you’re right, I said. That is unambitious.

“It is, and yet, if you can go to bed happy at night, doing what you want, isn’t that ambition for a lifetime?”
~ Swanberg On Swanberg By Borelli

“In retrospect, nothing of that kind surprised me about Philip, because his intuition was luminous from the instant you met him. So was his intelligence. A lot of actors act intelligent, but Philip was the real thing: a shining, artistic polymath with an intelligence that came at you like a pair of headlights and enveloped you from the moment he grabbed your hand, put a huge arm round your neck and shoved a cheek against yours; or if the mood took him, hugged you to him like a big, pudgy schoolboy, then stood and beamed at you while he took stock of the effect.”
John le Carré on Philip Seymour Hoffman