MCN Originals Archive for September, 2010

Box Office Hell – September 30

This week our pundits predict The Social Network as a solid lock for the #1 slot, while there’s some dissension over whether Let Me In will draw enough box office blood to capture the place position.

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Digital Nation: Barry Munday

As red herrings go, it’s tough to beat castration. The title character of Chris D’Arienzo’s truly offbeat comedy, Barry Munday, undergoes just such an operation. It’s required after the father of a promiscuous teenager slams a trumpet into crotch of the two-bit, happy-hour lothario in a movie theater. Poor Barry didn’t even have time to…

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22 Weeks To Oscar: The Year Of Good Being Good Enough

This is a very competitive race for a dozen or so movies looking to fit into a few slots. GREAT is not necessary. In fact, GREAT may be a problem for some of these films. This is the Oscar season of Really Good.
(New Charts This Week, Including Acting Races)

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The DVD Wrap: Get Him to the Greek, Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, The Thin Red Line, The Law, Ellery Queen … and more

Get Him to the Greek: Blu-ray In Richard Benjamin’s delightful 1982 comedy, My Favorite Year, all junior writer Benjy Stone was required to do was get the famously debauched British actor, Alan Swann, from his New York hotel to a nearby studio, where a popular comedy-variety show (think, “Your Show of Shows”) is being broadcast…

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MW on DVDs: The Killer Inside Me, The Law (La Loi), Palermo or Wolfsburg, Get Him to the Greek … and more

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW The Killer Inside Me (Three Stars) U.S.; Michael Winterbottom, 2010 All these years, ever since it first appeared as a paperback original novel in 1952, a possible movie of Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me — the first-person deep-noir tale of a smooth-talking small-town Southern deputy sheriff and murdering bastard…

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Super Movie Friends 8 – Sally Menke, Christian Berger, Joan Sobel

Sally Menke passed away yesterday, tragically, but this chat with her friend and colleague, Joan Sobel, and cinematographer Christian Berger is a chance to spend 45 minutes with three of the very best at what they do.

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Digital Nation: The Other City

Contrary to much circumstantial evidence, AIDS isn’t gone … it isn’t even hiding. That’s the primary message of Susan Koch’s documentary The Other City, which takes a look at what may be, to some, the surprising fact that HIV/AIDS has not gone away. In fact, in our nation’s capital, practically within shouting distance of the…

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Teasing True Grit

The Coen Bros are back… and their teaser may be the best minute you spend alone this month.

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Frenzy on the Wall: James Franco is … Okay

I’m mystified by the accolades that have been heaped upon James Franco over the last few years.  That’s not to say that I don’t think he’s a solid and talented actor because he surely is, but I’m not seeing the “genius” of his performances that others are seeing.  It’s especially odd that he’s held in…

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Weekend Box Office Report – September 26

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps topped the weekend box office charts with a logy estimate of $19.5 million. The new batch of national releases generally underperformed based on tracking including second place Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga Hoole, which hooted up $16.3 million.

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Friday Estimates – September 25

At this point in the weekend, Wall Street 2 and Gordon Gekko appear to be sitting on the top of the heap, with the owls of Legend of the Guardians flagging behind The Town in third place …

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Review: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Up until the last ten minutes or so, I was really digging Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps. It’s not that we needed to revisit Gordon “Greed is Good” Gekko (Michael Douglas), that classically evil rich white bad guy who preceded (some might say, foretold) all those rich (mostly) white (mostly) bad guys who built…

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Box Office Hell -September 23

This week, most of our box office pundits see Gordon Gekko and Wall Street 2 rising to the top, while the owls of Legend of the Guardians flap into the place position …

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DP/13 – Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps actor Shia LaBeouf

It’s Shia. It’s iPhone. It’s not pretty. But worth watching for the Shia experience and some interesting insights into how he got into the WS2 role.

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Wilmington on Movies: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, and Our Hitler

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.; Oliver Stone, 2010 Oliver Stone’s new movie Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps returns us to one of Stone’s great subjects of the 1980s: the glamour and corruption of the American financial markets. A sequel to Stone‘s 1987 Wall Street, this show plunges us back…

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Review – The Social Network (98.75% Spoiler-Free)

The Social Network is one of the greatest films not to quite make it to Great… perhaps as intended.

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Review: You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

Woody Allen‘s latest effort, You Will Find a Tall Dark Stranger, finds the director returning to Europe — the fertile ground which, in recent years, has served as the setting for the excellent Match Point and Vicky Cristina Barcelona and the fair-to-middling Cassandra’s Dream and Scoop. This time around he’s back in London with a…

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Arthouse Redux: Themes of Forgiveness

This past Sunday, the sermon at our Unitarian church was about the Jewish High Holy Days Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the bookends of the “Days of Awe” on the Jewish calendar. Yom Kippur is, of course, about atonement and repentance, and all the talk in the sermon about Yom Kippur got me thinking about…

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DP/30 @ TIFF ’10: Henry’s Crime actors Keanu Reeves, James Caan, Vera Farmiga

DP/30 – The stars of the unexpected TIFF hit get together to chat with David Poland about making the film.

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Excuse Our Dust

MCN is going through its second server change in less than a month. It seems that the demand on the new server was greater than had been anticipated. That’s good. Getting slow loads and “please come back later” screens… not so good. Hopefully, you haven’t noticed, but if you have, our apologies. We’ll be at full speed again shortly.

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MCN Originals

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin