MCN Originals Archive for August, 2010

Wilmington on DVD: Red Riding Trilogy, Ludwig: Requiem for a Virgin King, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, Errol Flynn Adventures … and more

CO-PICKS OF THE WEEK: NEW The Red Riding Trilogy (Four Stars) U.K.; Julian Jarrold/James Marsh/Anand Tucker, 2009 (IFC Films) Easily one of the most ambitious and best films of 2009 is writer Tony Grisoni‘s three part adaptation of David Peace’s Red Riding novels. This is noir times three, with the three films spanning a decade…

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DVD Wrap: 9th Company, OSS 117: Lost in Rio, Drive in Cult Classics, Squeal, Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire … and more

9th Company: Blu-ray It took several years before American filmmakers could get a sufficiently tight grip on the enormity of the Vietnam War to produce historically accurate and psychologically coherent portraits of our soldiers as they fought in it. Several anti-war documentaries had been released in the wake of the gradual pullout of U.S. forces,…

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DVD Geek: The Runaways

Not as tightly composed or as carefully devised as the most popular rock biography films, The Runaways, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, is nevertheless a satisfying production. It tells the story of one of the earliest all-female, hard rocking bands, which got started in the mid-Seventies with Joan Jett. Later, the band broke up and…

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Excuse Our Dust

Nothing like living in a hotel that has major construction going on… even if your room is brand new and perfect, the dust in the hallways can be distracting. Welcome to MCN Gen 2, where we are still hard at work. So sit back, relax, and pretend you don’t hear hammering.

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Frenzy on the Wall: 10 Movies to See This Fall/Winter

I write this column every year. In fact, I write this column three times a year, with the changing of the movie seasons. The interesting thing about writing this particular column at this particular time in this particular year is: 1) this has been such an unfathomably terrible year at the movies that the fall…

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Weekend Box Office Report

Call it a tie with horror vs. heist. Estimated weekend box office for the frame’s two national releases gives a razor-thin edge of less than $100,000 to The Last Exorcism with $22.2 million to Takers’ $22.1 million.

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Friday Estimates – August 27

Two new films lead the pack heading into the weekend, as The Last Exorcism and Takers battle it out for first place …

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Voynaristic Review: Takers

Takers won’t win any awards or set a new watermark for spectactular heist films, but for what it is — a rather generic heist film with a mostly decent ensemble cast and one very good performance by Matt Dillon — it’s mostly harmless. If you’re a particularly passionate fan of any of the ensemble cast,…

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Voynaristic Review: The Last Exorcism

Up until about the last eight or so minutes, I was really into The Last Exorcism. Then it all fell apart at the end, but in a way that was actually kind of interesting to dissect. Director Daniel Stamm, who previously made suicide mockumentary A Necessary Death, uses a similar style here, in an interesting…

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Box Office Hell – August 27

The Guessers see The Expendables dropping into third place this weekend, with newcomers The Last Exorcism and Takers leading the way…

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Wilmington on Movies: Flipped, Takers, Vampires Suck and Centurions

For the past few years, I’ve been looking, yearning even, for a few American studio movies that would make me feel the way I sometimes did as a movie-going kid: searching for smart, realistic dramas or thrillers or comedies (or comedy-dramas), good solid movies that had the warmth, sensibility and humanity of the classics of…

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Vincent Cassel on His Portrait of a Gangster

In gangster circles, here and abroad, there are three sure ways for a criminal to know he’s made the Big Time: 1) his mug shot is on display in post offices across the nation; 2) the cops and media have honored his nefarious achievements by giving him a cool nickname; and 3) he’s been awarded…

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Arthouse Redux: Claire Denis: A Little Restraint Goes a Long Way

There are filmmakers who use their medium purely to entertain, or to preach a particular message, or to guide their audience down the path of a particular story, tightly controlling and manipulating their audience’s reactions to what’s on the screen: milking the laughs, exagerrating the conflicts, torquing up both the actions and the reactions of…

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Wilmington on DVDs: Me and Orson Welles, Ajami, Mona Lisa, Elvis 75th Birthday Collection, and more …

CO-PICKS OF THE WEEK: NEW Me and Orson Welles (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.; Richard Linklater, 2009 (Warner/Target) In Me and Orson Welles, Richard Linklater, a director whose films I usually like, takes on a highly ambitious subject that really, really appeals to me — a portrayal of the astonishing youthful theatrical triumphs of…

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The DVD Wrap: City Island, The Back-Up Plan, $5 a Day, Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg, The Square, Abandoned and more …

City Island: Blu-ray If Leo Tolstoy had written Anna Karenina in the 1970s, instead of the 1870s, and as a screenplay, instead of a novel, it might have begun thusly, “Happy families are all alike; every dysfunctional family is dysfunctional in its own way.” Or to put it another way, “Happy families belong in TV…

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Is Angelina Jolie the First Female Action Hero?

I finally caught up with Salt this weekend and I’m surprised it’s gotten a pass from most of the critical community (61% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). It’s not that it’s an awful movie, but it’s certainly not a very good one. In fact, it’s a ridiculous and outlandish film that feels twenty minutes too long…

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Wilmington on Movies: Nanny McPhee Returns, Mao’s Last Dancer, Eat Pray Love and Lottery Ticket

Nanny McPhee Returns (Three Stars) U.S.; Susanna White, 2010 I love Emma Thompson, even snaggle-toothed and warty. And this Thompson-written, Thompson-starring way-beyond-Mary-Poppins WW2-era film of the Matilda books of Christianna Brand — who also wrote that wonderful WW2-set thriller Green for Danger (which became one of Alistair Sim‘s finest hours) — is a little loud,…

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Wilmington on DVDs: The City of Your Final Destination, Black Orpheus, Hamlet, The Last Song, and more …

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW The City of Your Final Destination (Three and a Half Stars) U.K.-U.S.; James Ivory, 2009 (Screen Media) In The City of Your Final Destination — maybe the last of the lovably old-fashioned, classically constructed, deeply literate and beautifully wrought Merchant Ivory films, in the string that began back in 1963…

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Magnificent Seven, Date Night, Little Women, Chicago and more …

PICK OF THE WEEK: Blu-Ray The Magnificent Seven (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.; John Sturges, 1960 (MGM) Akira Kurosawa’s classic 1954 battle epic, Seven Samurai was originally distributed in the U.S. under the title The Magnificent Seven. So that’s the title MGM used when John Sturges made the seemingly inevitable Western remake — in…

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Scott Pilgrim Vs the World: Less Than Perfect, But That’s Okay

I hate to repeat the beginning of my Inception column, but Scott Pilgrim Vs the World is neither the best nor the worst movie ever. What is it about us as a culture these days? It seems like every film, album, painting, ballet, etc. has to be categorized as either “amazing” or “terrible.” Art runs…

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MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas