MCN Originals

The DVD Wrapup: Resident Evil, Buster’s Mal Heart, Free Fire, Tommy’s Honour, Stormy Monday, T.J. Hooker … More

Writer-director Sarah Adina Smith has described her dark and challenging second feature, Buster’s Mal Heart, as a mix of Donnie Darko and Bad Santa. I might have added Life of Pi, Barton Fink and Lost Highway, if only as visual references. It’s a very curious movie, about a young husband and father, Jonah (Rami Malek), whose inability to handle basic realities of everyday life pushes him quickly past bipolar disorder, to outright schizophrenia, as a wildly eccentric mountain man, Buster (also Malek).

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Review: Dunkirk (spoiler-free)

It takes a genius. And Christopher Nolan is a genius filmmaker. It is impossible to imagine that he won’t, finally, get his first Oscar nomination for directing this… because it as directed a film as you can imagine. The images are big and bold and every frame is a picture of skill and elegance. The IMAX experience is different than the 70mm experience – one feels like uncharted territory and the other just gorgeous – but either way, it is a visual feast.

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The Weekend Report

War for the Planet of the Apes led weekend moviegoing with an estimated $56.3 million debut. The frame’s other national opener, horror tale Wish Upon barely registered with $5.5 million. But the national expansion of The Big Sick emerged as an effective counterprogrammer with a $7.6 million diagnosis.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

A bit better than the first of this series… a little worse than the second… this Friday ape-ening is a box-office non-story. As we humble Americans are getting sick of writing every week, the story is international, where Rise of the Planet of the Apes did $200 million more than Dawn ($502m international). $175m – $225 million is what domestic will look like. Spider-Home has a normal drop off a $100m+ open, so far. The Big Sick goes wide and with a $3.000-ish per-screen for the weekend, is doing solid business to scale. Baby & Woman hold fast. Wish Upon continues the meh-diocre opening streak for Broad Green.

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The DVD Wrapup: Lost City of Z, Zookeeper’s Wife, Fate of the Furious, Song to Song, Rossellini’s War, Quiet Passion, Norman, Terror in a Texas Town… and more

The fact that The Lost City of Z ends in mystery squares with what we know about the explorer’s story and doesn’t detract from Gray’s yarn. The vast Amazon basin is famous for discoveries of “lost tribes” and valuable resources that force scientists to rewrite their textbooks. Who says that El Dorado — or the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, for that matter – doesn’t exist shrouded in vines and trees, somewhere between the Andes and Brasilia. Sienna Miller, Robert Pattinson, Edward Ashley and Angus Macfadyen are fine in key supporting roles. Franco Nero appears in a scene almost certainly inspired by itzcarraldo, while the uncredited Aboriginal performers play their ancestors very well. Moreover, Darius Khondji’s cinematography deserves to be remembered

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Really Simple Perspective On The Film Business (Summer 2017)

We are at that time of the year when there isn’t a lot of news… so otherwise professional people start mouthing off like a bunch of nattering nabobs of negativity.

In 20 years of doing this, I have had maybe four or five years total in which I didn’t hear “It’s worse than it’s ever been!” Hollywood is always shutting down. It’s always over for theatrical. The Next Big Thing is forever running this town.

Then it shifts.

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Review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (spoiler-free)

I was entertained every minute of this movie. Honest. There was no room to get bored or not be surprised by what happened, what was happening and what was about to happen.

This is both a virtue and a flaw.

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The Weekend Report

Spinning to record highs, Spider-Man: Homecoming left the competition in the distance with an estimated $116.2 million debut. The absence of counter-programming again underlines the majors’ growing lack of confidence in that strategy.

A couple of exclusive debuts had encouraging starts, but only the meditative A Ghost Story raised goosebumps with a $106,000 launch from four hauntings. The slow rollout of The Big Sick continues as a commercial powerhouse, with $3.7 million from 326 screens. The season has also offered strong responses for Beatriz at Dinner, The Hero and Paris Can Wait. Canada has local heroes with Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 and Maudie.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Spider-Man returns… but how much better are the numbers? At the end of its first weekend, The Amazing Spider-Man had brought in $137 million. With a $51m Friday, Spider-Man: Homecoming is on pace to have about the same amount as ASM. The Big Question remains… can the latest reboot do more than $500 million worldwide to top the previous incarnation? Also opening wide… nothing. A24’s A Ghost Story will do about $25k per screen on four for the weekend.

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The DVD Wrapup: Laugh-In, Johnny and Friends, Homicide, Bob Hope, Pink Panther, Savage Innocents and more

Time Warner is offering “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series,” a boxed set covering all 140 episodes, from January 22, 1968, to March 12, 1973. The landmark 50th anniversary package is comprised of 38 discs, covering all 140 episodes and 150-plus total hours of entertainment. (Eighty-nine of the episodes have yet to be released on any format.)

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Review: The House

The House doesn’t suck.

The House is funny. I laughed a lot.

The House is short. It has one of those closing credit sequences that go in slow motion to hope to get the movie to 90 minutes. They clearly came up short of the target.

The House would have been a good mean-as-hell comedy if there were a third act that worked.

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The Weekend Report

Despicable Me 3 led holiday moviegoing with an estimated $75.4 million. There was also good news for counterprogrammer Baby Driver, which vroomed into second place with its $20.3 million opening. The session also saw significant expansions for Southern gothic The Beguiled and the cross-cultural rom-com The Big SickBeguiled went medium-wide to an upbeat $3.2 million. Sick, still limited, maintained a sturdy $23,660 average and $1.7 million tally. Also holding its own in slow roll out was The Hero, with takings of $890,000.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Hard to say what this Despicable weekend will turn into when compared to other Despicable weekends. There still seems a strong chance of a $100 million 3-day, given normal patterns… but it could be short… or it could challenge Minions‘ $115m launch. And how will a Tuesday July 4 play? Baby Driver isn’t blowing the roof off, but it is getting the word of mouth to fuel it forward. Edgar Wright’s biggest domestic open by a long shot. And WB threw The House out like trash and it’s performing as such.

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The DVD Wrapup: T2 Trainspotting, Autopsy of Jane Doe, Dirty, Trespass, Monster Hunt and more

God bless Margaret Mitchell. When pressured for a sequel to the novel of Gone With the Wind, she claimed not to have a notion as to what may have happened to Scarlett and Rhett, and that she had “left them to their ultimate fate.” Ditto, François Truffaut, who, in 1974, turned down an opportunity to remake Casablanca. It took 14 years for writer-director Richard Curtis to acknowledge the clamor for a reunion sequel to his surprisingly resilient Love Actually. It runs all of 15 minutes, and was shown on British and American television two months ago, as part of one of his charity’s worldwide events. If fans of Grown Ups, Bridget Jones’s Diary and American Pie could be as easily sated, the world would be a better place. That said, however, as unnecessary sequels go, Danny Boyle’s T2 Trainspotting, isn’t bad.

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Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming (spoiler-free)

Sony, who had something to gain from allowing Spider-Man to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, just allowed Marvel to make their superstar into a supporting player.

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The Weekend Report

Transformers: The Last Knight led weekend moviegoing in its debut with an estimated $45.3 million. The alleged franchise “finale” was anticipated to be a commercial powerhouse with competition steering clear of its path … including counterprogrammers.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

It’s not pretty, but the projections on Transformers 5 are pretty much on target at this point… slightly low. Even people in Iowa know that the movie is waiting for international to take it from relative zero to an uncomfortable hero. Drops for Cars 2, Wonder Woman, and Pirates 5 are looking pretty good for the weekend. The Beguiled will do boffo per-screen on four… high 50k, low 60k. But the king of indie this weekend is The Big Sick, which could end up doing $70k per screen on five.

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Rotten Tomatoes, Movie Openings & Reality

There have been 131 wide-release summer movies in from 2014 until now.

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The DVD Wrapup: Marseille Trilogy, Life, Bird With Crystal Plumage, Lawnmower Man, Car Wash and more

Way back in the Pleistocene Age, when all film students and cineastes had to rely on for evidence of a film’s virtues were barely-watchable 16mm prints of vintage movies, it was sometimes difficult to appreciate what differentiated true classics from run-of-the-mill entertainments. Poorly maintained projectors occasionally caused the film stock to melt, while scratches and other defects turned dialogue into garble. That all changed with laserdiscs, DVDs and the concerted efforts of preservationists, who benefitted mightily from advanced digital technology. In his introduction to the Criterion Collection release of Marcel Pagnol’s “The Marseille Trilogy,” Bertrand Tavernier (‘Round Midnight) describes how his opinions about Marius (1931), Fanny (1932) and César (1936) changed after watching the 2015 restoration, conducted by Compagnie Méditerranénne de Film and the Cinémathèque Française. In short, the experience was revelatory.

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WTF? Lord/Miller Latest Disney Victims?

Thing about Young Han is… Wonder Woman. Guardians of the Galaxy. Dr. Strange. Ant-Man.

IP Machine Shops are figuring out that the way to keep the engine running is to have some bits that aren’t 100% canon. Loosen up, people.

Star Wars is a mature bit of IP. It’s power is remarkable. But everything can be killed by misguided, well-intended management.

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MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

What are we doing wrong?
“Well, first of all, by “we” I assume you mean the public, the public approach or the public discourse, which means the discourse that takes place in the media. And for the purposes of this discussion, let us imagine that the media is white and thus approaches the topic of race as if they (the white people) were the answer and them (the black people) were the question. And so, in the interest of fairness, they take their turn (having first, of course, given it to themselves) and then invite comment by some different white people and some similar black people. They give what purports to be simply their point of view and then everyone else gives their beside-the-point of view.

“The customary way for white people to think about the topic of race—and it is only a topic to white people—is to ask, How would it be if I were black? But you can’t separate the “I” from being white. The “I” is so informed by the experience of being white that it is its very creation—it is this “I” in this context that is, in fact, the white man’s burden. People who think of themselves as well intentioned—which is, let’s face it, how people think of themselves—believe that the best, most compassionate, most American way to understand another person is to walk a mile in their shoes. And I think that’s conventionally the way this thing is approached. And that’s why the conversation never gets anywhere and that’s why the answers always come back wrong and the situation stays static—and worse than static.”
~ Fran Lebowitz, 1997

“If one could examine his DNA, it would read ACTOR. He embraced every role with fire and fierce dedication. Playing Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood was his loving tribute to all actors and garnered him a well-deserved Academy Award. His work was his joy and his legacy.”
~ Barbara Bain On Martin Landau