MCN Originals Archive for November, 2010

MW on DVDs: Antichrist, Liverpool, Moonfleet, Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 … and more

CO-PICKS OF THE WEEK: NEW Antichrist (Two Discs) (Three and a Half Stars) Denmark/U.S.A.: Lars von Trier, 2009 (Criterion Collection) Lars von Trier strikes again. The beginning looks like a poor man’s Citizen Kane which segues into a disease-of-the-month teleplay that becomes a Sam Shepard two-character Gothic pop drama in the deep woods, and then…

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Gurus o’ Gold: True Grit Week – Episode One

This is Round 1 of 2 rounds of voting this week, as True Grit rolls out for most of the Gurus. Will it change the complexion of the race? Tune back in on Friday to see, as The Gurus vote on all of the Top 8 categories. Today, Winter’s Bone moves into a Top Ten tie.

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The DVD Wrap: Fantasia/Fantasia 2000, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Knight and Day, Cairo Time, The Sicilian Girl, Vampires Suck … and more

Fantasia/Fantasia 2000: Blu-ray The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Blu-ray According to Disney legend, Dopey the Dwarf was originally pushed for the role in Fantasia that went to Mickey Mouse. Instead, Uncle Walt went with the established star, hoping the role would maintain Mickey’s high profile in movies. Although Dopey might have been an inspired choice, there’s no…

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Frenzy on the Wall: How to Fix the Oscars

I am an unabashed fan of the Academy Awards. I have watched every telecast since I was a young boy and I still anticipate Oscar Day as much as I always have. Historically, I have never really been a fan of the choices the Academy has made, but I still see the show itself as…

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Weekend Box Office Report — November 28

Industry trackers generally predicted that Deathly Hallows would prevail at the box office but few anticipated that Tangled would be truly competitive with the Hogwart’s grad. They also generally over estimated the strengths of the remaining trio of new entries; especially Faster, which was given the edge over Love and Other Drugs.

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Friday Estimates – November 27

As anticipated, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1 has a firm hold on the top box office slot in its second weekend. Animated kid-flick Tangled looks to be off to a decent start, while the tenacious Unstoppable surprises by clinging to 4th position over newer entries in the field — at least for now.

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MW on Movies: Tangled, Burlesque and White Material

Tangled (Three Stars) U.S.: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard, 2010 I don’t know: Maybe I’m going though my second childhood. But, these days, very often, the kids’ movies coming out of the big studios (and I mean mostly the cartoon features) seem and look to me so much brighter, funnier, more entertaining — hell, so much…

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Box Office Hell — November 25

Heading into the long Thanksgiving weekend, our box office pundits predict that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1 will handily hold onto the top slot. Meanwhile, newcomer kid-flick Tangled will have to battle it out with Megamind for second place in the frame.

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Love & Other Drugs, dir/co-wr Ed Zwick, co-wr/prod Marshall Herskovitz

DP/30 – They have been making TV and movies together for decades. This week, they have Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal in the Oscar-buzzed Love & Other Drugs. They took some time to talk about the film, their work together, and the future of the industry.

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MW on DVDs: Metropolis, Flipped, Last of the Mohicans, The Bing Crosby Collection … and more

PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC Metropolis (Most Complete Version) (Four Stars) Germany: Fritz Lang, 1927 Metropolis, Fritz Lang’s great, spellbinding science fiction epic about a futuristic city gone mad, has been regarded as a cinematic classic since almost the very hours of its premiere, in Berlin in 1927. At that first showing, German audiences and…

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Review: Burlesque

It’s a Xerox of a Xerox of an Original. Steve Antin imitates Rob Marshall imitating Bob Fosse. Cher plays… “Cher”. Stanley Tucci queens it up to great effect, The Magic Homosexual, really. Cam Gigandet plays The Boy. Kristen Bell is objectified as The Villain. And a series of cardboard cutouts posing as actors turn up,…

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The DVD Wrap: Flipped, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, The Six Million Dollar Man: The Complete Collection, Deadwood: The Complete Collection … and more

Flipped Anyone who lost faith in Rob Reiner after blowing their hard-earned dough on such star-studded duds as The Story of Us, Alex & Emma and Rumor Has It …, might want to give the filmmaker another chance. In the pre-pubescent romance Flipped, we meet a boy and girl who could have lived down the…

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Gurus o’ Gold – November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving all. Some votes have changed and three films have fallen off The Chart, but the Top Ten remains unchanged from last week. This week’s special categories are Unexpected Nods I’d Be Thankful For and a pair of categories in memory of Ronni Chasen.

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Frenzy on the Wall: Anne Hathaway is a Great Actress … Right?

“Anne Hathaway is a great actress.” “Is she, though?” Both speakers in that conversation are me. This was the dialogue I was having with myself as I watched Hathaway on Saturday Night Live this past weekend. She was so effortlessly charismatic, her timing excellent, and her presence inviting. Whether she was playing a hillbilly waiting…

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Weekend Box Office Report — November 21

Harry and the Deathly Swallows … Gulp! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 ascended to an estimated $126.2 million and corralled more than 60% of weekend ticket sales. Comparatively speaking the remaining films in the multiplex had to settle for chump change, including the bow of the thriller The Next Three Days which…

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Weekend Estimates – November 21

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One falls just about where our Box Office Hell pundits predicted, effectively stupefying all competition for the top slot of the weekend. Meanwhile, Megamind stops Unstoppable from taking the second position.

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Friday Estimates — November 20

As expected, Part One of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows gets off to a good start for the weekend with just over $60 million, bolstered by sold-out Thursday midnight previews. The rest of the pack straggles far behind, battling it out for the leftovers.

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Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

There’s remarkable attention to the setting of tone of both character and setting in the fantastic production design. Yates uses carefully framed shots of remote, isolated settings to establish the complete and total isolation of Harry, Ron and Hermione once they are forced to disappear into the ether to hunt for the Horcruxes.

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MW on Movies: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1, The Next Three Days, and Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One (Three Stars) U.S.; David Yates, 2010 The beginning of the end for a very long, mostly gratifying, often magical and sometimes splendiferous and surprising cinematic journey on a constantly twisting fantastical/literary road, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One splits the last of the J. K….

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Biutiful, director Alejandro González Iñárritu, cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, editor Stephen Mirrione, composer Gustavo Santaolalla, executive producer Guillermo del Toro

DP/30 – Five of the people who made Biutiful come to life, led by the writer/director, sit for a long chat about the film, the process, and the future of cinema for adults.

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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