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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The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

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“Yes, good movies sprout up, inevitably, in the cracks and seams between the tectonic plates on which all of these franchises stay balanced, and we are reassured of their hardiness. But we don’t see what we don’t see; we don’t see the effort, or the cost of the effort, or the movies of which we’re deprived because of the cost of the effort. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice may have come from a studio, but it still required a substantial chunk of outside financing, and at $35 million, it’s not even that expensive. No studio could find the $8.5 million it cost Dan Gilroy to make Nightcrawler. Birdman cost a mere $18 million and still had to scrape that together at the last minute. Imagine American movie culture for the last few years without Her or Foxcatcher or American Hustle or The Master or Zero Dark Thirty and it suddenly looks markedly more frail—and those movies exist only because of the fairy godmothership of independent producer Megan Ellison. The grace of billionaires is not a great business model on which to hang the hopes of an art form.”
~ Mark Harris On The State Of The Movies

How do you make a Top Ten list? For tax and organizational purposes, I keep a log of every movie I see (Title, year, director, exhibition format, and location the film was viewed in). Anything with an asterisk to the left of its title means it’s a 2014 release (or something I saw at a festival which is somehow in play for the year). If there’s a performance, or sequence, or line of dialogue, even, that strikes me in a certain way, I’ll make a note of it. So when year end consideration time (that is, the month and change out of the year where I feel valued) rolls around, it’s a little easier to go through and pull some contenders for categories. For 2014, I’m voting in three polls: Indiewire, SEFCA (my critics’ guild), and the Muriels. Since Indiewire was first, it required the most consternation. There were lots of films that I simply never had a chance to see, so I just went with my gut. SEFCA requires a lot of hemming and hawing and trying to be strategic, even though there’s none of the in-person skullduggery that I hear of from folk whose critics’ guild is all in the same city. The Muriels is the most fun to contribute to because it’s after the meat market phase of awards season. Also, because it’s at the beginning of next year, I’ll generally have been able to see everything I wanted to by then. I love making hierarchical lists, partially because they are so subjective and mercurial. Every critical proclamation is based on who you are at that moment and what experiences you’ve had up until that point. So they change, and that’s okay. It’s all a weird game of timing and emotional waveforms, and I’m sure a scientist could do an in-depth dissection of the process that leads to the discovery of shocking trends in collective evaluation. But I love the year end awards crush, because I feel somewhat respected and because I have a wild-and-wooly work schedule that has me bouncing around the city to screenings, or power viewing the screeners I get sent.
Jason Shawhan of Nashville Scene Answers CriticWire