MCN Originals Archive for April, 2011

Friday Estimates: April 29

Fast Five gets off to a furious start, leading the box office pack as pundits anticipated. Kiddie flick Rio holds the second position, while Tyler Perry’s latest clings to third in spite of a dip. Meanwhile, newcomers Prom and Hoodwinked Too! linger in the middle of the pack, while Insidious hangs in there, slow but steady.

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The Royal Wedding is Over. You May Now Stop with the Snark.

I didn’t wake up at 2AM to watch the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton, now Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but I get why a lot of people did. The Internet is chock-full of Royal Wedding coverage today — but it’s almost as chock-full of people writing about how stupid the wedding…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Picks of the Week:The Way Back, Blow Out

The Way Back (Also Blu-ray) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S./Poland: Peter Weir, 2011 (Image) Movie tales of  agonizing attempts at human survival against long odds in dangerous situations — from Robert Aldrich‘s The Flight of the Phoenix (plane-crash in the desert), Mikhail Kalatozov’s The Red Tent (Arctic expedition gone wrong) and Akira Kurosawa’s Dersu…

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Wilmington on DVD, The Rest: Somewhere, Gulliver’s Travels, Country Strong, Birdemic, Mirage, The World in His Arms

CURRENT AND RECENT DVD RELEASES: Somewhere (Also Blu-ray) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: Sofia Coppola, 2010 (Universal) Sofia Coppola’s film Somewhere, the Golden Lion winner at the last Venice Film Festival, is about a star Hollywood movie actor named Johnny Marco (played with deceptively lazy-looking grace and expertise by Stephen Dorff) who lives a pointless…

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The DVD Wrapup: Jolene, Bunny & the Bull, Dinoshark, Three Idiots, The Lickerish Quartet …

Jolene: Blu-ray Anyone who’s ever wondered how a pretty young woman ends up on stage, stripping, or in a parking lot doing something less legal, will see in the character of Jolene a familiar stereotype. After reaching puberty on the foster-home circuit, the flirty redhead marries the first guy with a job who pays her…

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The Weekend Report: April 24, 2011

Holy cow! Easter saw a close race between the animated Rio and the agitated Madea’s Big Happy Family. Sunday estimates gave the former a slight edge of $26.2 million to the latter’s $25.7 million. The holiday session featured another national bow with the adaptation of Water for Elephants that ranked third in the lineup with…

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Wilmington on Movies: Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants  (Three Stars) U.S.: Francis Lawrence, 2011 Water for Elephants is an old-fashioned romantic picture done in new-fangled ways, and it‘s so good for such a long time, that it seems a shame, at the end, to feel so let down by it. But that’s how it goes… Director Francis Lawrence’s show, co-starring…

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Friday Estimates: April 22, 2011

With kids out of school, Rio lands at the top of the Friday box office – ahead of it’s own opening numbers last week. It’s also a good day at the movies for Madea’s Big Happy Family, Water for Elephants and, of course, Hop.

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Digital Nation: Amid the rubble, ‘Incendies’ locates heart of a woman destroyed by hate

In Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Wajdi Mouawad’s powerful stage play, “Incendies,” it’s possible to identify tragedies as ancient as the theater itself and as contemporary as the latest dispatches from Libya and Afghanistan. By chronicling the journey of a Middle Eastern woman along the ruined roads of her homeland and through a life shaped by…

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DP/30 Redux: Morgan Spurlock on POM Wonderful presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

The day after the film premiered at Sundance, we talked to Morgan Spurlock about how he made his film and why.

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Wilmington on Movies: African Cats

That might not be a tone some adults would prefer in their movies. They might rather have Morgan Freeman, today’s movie narrator of choice: a wonderfully mellow tale-spinner who combines wisdom, gravity, vocal resonance and warmth with earthiness and street smarts — though maybe Freeman, in our increasingly nasty and divisive, Birther-ridden post-Obama era, would have been also attacked for too much ghetto jive.

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The DVD Wrapup: The King’s Speech, The Way Back, Into the Cold, Gulliver’s Travels, Kes, Sweetie, Vision …

The King’s Speech: Blu-ray When movies are made about American presidents, including those considered among the most charismatic, they tend to be wooden, factually imprecise and uninspiring. John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton may have possessed larger-than-life personalities, but their accomplishments have been deemed more worthy of treatment in small-screen mini-series and cable…

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The Massive DirecTV Campaign For Home Premiere

DirecTV kicked off its Home Premiere program today with a fanfare that consisted of adding a “29.99” to the “Just Go With It” graphic amongst a bunch of “regular” VOD titles on its on-screen guide.

That’s it.

I would appear that some will be perfectly happy for this “experiment” to fail… so they can go on to the cheaper pricing for the shorter window.

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DP/30 State Of The Union: Bill Mechanic on Premium VOD

Bill Mechanic knows a few things about windows. He spent 20 years building them.

In ’78, he was programming a new window at Select TV. In ’82, he was VP of pay-TV and post-theatrical at Paramount. In ’84, he moved over to Disney, where he handled pay-TV and then was Senior VP of Home Video. In ’94, he brought all this to the Chairman/CEO job at Fox Filmed Entertainment, where he created production “windows” inside of the big studio.

What’s next? Why do studios make the moves they do? Is Premium VOD the end of the world? Asked and answered, in this supersized DP/30.

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Wilmington on DVD, Picks of the Week: The King’s Speech, Le Cercle Rouge, Legends: Bette Davis

“The movie, thanks largely to Rush and Firth and the sparks of language they strike together, becomes an ode to expression and friendship and the English language, and to the power of the human voice, in the right hands.”

“The title of Le Cercle Rouge refers to an alleged saying and story of Buddha, who supposedly draws a red circle with red chalk and explains to his students that those who are destined to cross paths, will do so within the circle, no matter what.”

“Ah, if only we had more Bettes today: actresses battling to bring more quality and beauty and fierce snap and idealism and sparkling adult intelligence and unforgettable moments to our movies: fighting to make them better, fighting to make them good, fighting to make them great, by whatever means necessary.”

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DP/30 Sneak Peek: Bill Mechanic On VOD & Windows

“It’s not whether it has to happen or there’s a natural evolution of things. You can cause things to fail.”

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MVODBS (More VOD Bulls***)

Studios told consumers to expect ever lowering prices in the post-theatrical environment. And now they are trying to reverse the result of their actions. Understandably. And they are asking us to believe that “this is just a test,” when the long history of all of these businesses is that once the cherry is broken, the appetites increase exponentially and irrationally.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Conspirator

Redford obviously made this movie with all his heart. The picture, economically shot, has a grim, dusty look, and, for me, it also looks a little too TV-historical-dramatic-ish. But the story and the actors are so good, it doesn’t matter.

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WILMINGTON ON DVD (PICKS OF THE WEEK): Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One, White Material, Topsy-Turvy, The Mikado, The Norman Conquests

CO-PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One U.S.; David Yates, 2010 (Warner Home Video) The beginning of the end for a very long, mostly gratifying, often magical and sometimes splendiferous cinematic journey on a constantly twisting fantastical/literary road, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One splits the last…

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The Weekend Report: April 17, 2011

The box office continued to be animated with the aviary stereoscopic Rio high aloft from the film flock with an estimated $39.9 million. Session bridesmaid was another freshman, the long delayed squeamquel Scream 4 that grossed $18.9 million.

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MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook