MCN Originals

The DVD Wrapup: Think Like a Man Too, Richard Lewis, Battery, Eraserhead, Chain Saw, Spartacus, Roosevelts, POWs … More

Watching comedian Richard Lewis in Bundle of Nerves, I naturally flashed back to a night, more than 25 years ago, when I first saw him perform live. It was in an intimate room in a Chicago hotel famous for the many legendary comics and musicians who had previously stayed there and whose ghosts may still be haunting the stage and lobby. What I remember most was laughing non-stop throughout the show and, at one point, almost falling on the floor. I’d seen Lewis on the late-night talk shows and he was even funnier in person.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Skeleton Twins

Many American plays and movies about families are horror stories of a sort. That’s true of some of the masters of the form, like Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller and Eugene O’Neill—and it also goes somewhat for Craig Johnson’s The Skeleton Twins, in which Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, two brilliant comic actors taking a whirl at drama, play a pair of New York-born suburban twins, Milo and Maggie, who’ve been alienated for a decade (since their mid-‘20s) and are now drawn together by what was very nearly a double tragedy: near-simultaneous near-suicides of both because of unhappy love lives.

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The Torontonian reviews This Is Where I Leave You

Like a middling episode of House-”Arrested Development,” Shawn Levy’s This Is Where I Leave You—adapted from the Jonathan Tropper novel of the same name—is a dysfunctional family dramedy lacking in laughs and an emotional punch to really bring it home. The film gets by on its likable cast, but the fact that this film merely passes despite such a talented crop of comedic talent should speak to a general failure, or at least a sense of disappointment.

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Wilmington on Movies: Honeymoon

Suppose you drove off for a romantic rendezvous in your parent’s isolated cabin in the woods, and the honeymoon quickly degenerated from an idyll into something…else. Suppose you went off together to be alone and wild and erotically indulgent and your lover began behaving like someone or something….else.

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Wrapping TIFF 2014

It was a really good TIFF. Solid.

What was missing, really, were the home run hitting feature films. (Great docs… but we expect that.)

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Confessions of a Film Festival Junkie: It’s a Wrap

Officially there were 366 features shown at the just completed edition of the Toronto International Film Festival. I saw about 30. So it should come as no surprise that few of this year’s public and jury prize winners managed to elude my grasp.

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The Weekend Report

It was anticipated as a close race between debuting movies No Good Deed and Dolphin Tale 2 with the former given the edge. In the end Deed exceeded expectations with an estimated debut of $24.4 million and the sea tail opening to $16.6 million in what’s being viewed as a depressed market in need of a pick me up. The crime meller The Drop opened to fair results of $4.4 million that ranked fifth overall.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

When Sony made the decision not to screen No Good Deed for critics, it pissed off critics and didn’t bother ticket buyers one little bit. Idris Elba, staked by Thor, PacRim, and a series of Screen Gems doozies that have opened well, gets out of the box strong (like it or not). Meanwhile, Dolphin Tale 2, which is a WB output deal movie, opens about 18% behind the original, which projects to a $15.5m weekend. Meanwhile, The Guardians have hit $300 million domestic (#1 US) and is closing in on $600m worldwide (#8).

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The Torontonian reviews It Follows

One of the most enjoyable aspects of David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows—alongside its brilliant cinematography and chilling scares—is the inventive premise, which is as much to fun to describe as it is to watch (tell your friends about the “sexually-transmitted ghost” movie and watch their faces turn from disgusted to wildly amused).

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Wilmington on Movies — Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

The first movie was better. Or it played better. Based on Miller’s “Sin City” graphic novels–which took the tricks and tropes of film noir (both the literary and cinematic varieties) to a point of stylistic near-meltdown—the movie was a shadowy, violent, blisteringly cynical comic book rock ‘n roll parody-melodrama hoot: an orgy of movie lust and celluloid violence and pulpy eloquence that was all about the crooks, thugs, lonely men, strippers, whores, men with guns or hotly-pursued dames and femme fatales who hung out at Miller’s evil Neverland.

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The Daily Buzz Podcast @TIFF 2014: The Yes Men

Fans of comic documentaries can rejoice. If you’ve never heard of the Yes Men, you’re in for a treat; if you’ve followed their antics in earlier films, you’ll delight in a new barrage. Either way, you’ll find in this film a fresh reflection on the question: How does one sustain a life of activism?

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The DVD Wrapup: God’s Pocket, Captain America, For No Good Reason, Pumpkinhead, Fed Up, Midnight Special, Goldbergs, New Who … More

Anyone who may have wondered what was lost with the untimely death of Philip Seymour Hoffman–last February, at 46, to a drug overdose–shouldn’t have to look very far to study his impressive body of work. Once a prince of the indie realm, Hoffman more recently balanced his schedule with key supporting roles in such studio blockbusters as Mission: Impossible III and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, as well as dramatic turns on Broadway. Never someone who could be mistaken for a classic Hollywood leading man, Hoffman’s presence was felt in every scene in which he appeared.

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The Torontonian reviews Good Kill

Written and directed by Andrew Nicoll and riddled with all the appropriate military jargon like “rules of engagement” and “painting the target,” his script compliments the disconnected horrors of these drone strikes by underlining the ironies of this cyclical, cynical conflict

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The Torontonian Reviews Sunshine Superman

BASE jumping—or building, antenna, span and Earth jumping—wasn’t a thing before Carl Boenish appeared, but because of him it’s now the liberating (read: insane) act of parachute-controlled freefall that was never really regulated or understood by the authorities as anything other than a liability.

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Confessions of a Film Festival Junkie

It’s kinda official. To be honest I really haven’t noticed anyone taking notice of the fact that Toronto mayor Rob Ford hasn’t shown his face at the Toronto International Film Festival. Granted the local attendees don’t appear to be his constituency and there is a mayoral race coming up before the end of the year. In fact, there either was a debate scheduled (there are three others on the ballot) or one that went forward that Ford opted out of without extending much of a reason.

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The Weekend Report

The dog days of summer’s end box office remain doggy.

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The Torontonian Reviews NIGHTCRAWLER

Currently my favourite film at TIFF, Nightcrawler is so refreshingly original that it’s surprising to see it’s also screenwriter Dan Gilroy’s directorial debut. But it is, and that’s fantastic, because the film goes places and takes risks I wish were more common in North American cinema. The result is a memorable, even great first feature.

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Friday Estimates

Consider the Universe guarded for at least one… more… week.

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Confessions of a Film Festival Junkie: Toronto 2014 – Getting Started

Naturally my Canadian content level has risen in recent days and came into focus last week when Telefilm Canada hosted a pre-fest event for journalists and buyers in Los Angeles. Apart from product reels and a limited bar, the ‘do also had a healthy supply of TIFF’s program book … or rather tome. To the event’s credit it’s developed a rather good system of press and industry screenings that run parallel to the public showings. The veteran TIFFer can keep to the P&I projections with a couple of regular screenings tossed in to mingle with the hoi polloi.

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The Torontonian reviews Eden

Sure enough, the buzz is that Eden is the “Daft Punk” movie. It’s admittedly reductive to call it the “Daft Punk” movie in queues as the shorthand reference to what the film is about. Hansen-Løve is a name I respect more than that, but after seeing the film, though, I realize it’s the only salient thing.

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MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Studios treat audiences like lemmings, like cattle in a stockyard. I don’t want to ask actors or anyone else on a movie to work so hard with me if the studios treat us as though we’re making Big Macs. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is not a Big Mac. Gone Girl is not a Big Mac.”
~ David Fincher In The October Playboy

“We’re on our way out. Anybody that doesn’t realize that is looking like it’s Christmas or something. We’re on our way out, as a culture. America doesn’t make anything anymore! The Chinese make it! Detroit’s a great example. All of those cities that used to be something. If you go to a truck stop in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, you’ll probably see the face of America. How desperate we are. Really desperate. Just raw.”
~ Sam Shepard Sings America