MCN Originals Archive for August, 2011

The DVD Wrapup: In a Better World, The Complete Jean Vigo, If …, Orpheus, Cell 211, Phantom Pain, Skateland, Wrecked, True Adolescents …

In a Better World: Blu-ray The winner of the 2011 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film poses several interesting challenges for its characters and audiences. First, it tests the convictions of modern-day Christians to live up to lessons taught by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Beyond that, by setting “In a Better World”…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Picks of the Week, Classic: Cul-de-sac, An Affair to Remember. New: Police, Adjective

PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC Cul-de-sac (Four Stars) U.K.: Roman Polanski, 1966 (Criterion) Roman Polanski’s Cul-de-Sac — one of the great English-language films of the ‘60s, a classic of neo-noir and of ’60s dark British comedy — begins with a long, still shot of a car on a road in a nearly empty landscape. The…

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Wilmington on Movies: Colombiana

  Colombiana (Two Stars) U.S.: Olivier Megaton, 2011 She’s young. She’s tough. She’s agile. She’s half-naked. And  she’s definitely deadlier than the male — at least in this movie. Zoë Saldana, who was kind of blue in James Cameron‘s Avatar, plays producer-writer Luc Besson‘s notion of a rock ‘em sock ‘em action heroine in Colombiana…

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Wilmington on Movies: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (Three Stars) U.S.: Troy Nixey, 2011    What’s that noise over there? What’s that knocking in the walls? Those ashes stirring in the fireplace? Ah, it’s nothing, it’s nothing. Don’t worry. Even though you’re all alone and I know you’re anxious…that there may be something…wrong. Or something unreal. Or…

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The Weekend Report

Almost as though The South was getting back at critics in the Northeast Corridor, Hurricane Help is estimating a drop of just 28% in its third weekend. The only newcomer to crack double digits is Columbiana.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classic and Box Set. The Killing/Killer’s Kiss

The Killing (Two Discs) (Four Stars)  U. S.: Stanley Kubrick, 1956 (Criterion Collection)    At exactly 3:45 on that Saturday afternoon in the last weekend of September, Marvin Unger was perhaps the only one among the hundred thousand people at the track who felt no thrill at the running of the fifth race… The Narrator…

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Friday Estimates, August 26, 2011

In a weekend dominated by Hurricane Irene, The Help stays on top, newcomers Columbiana and Don’t Be Afraid If The Dark are in pursuit and Our Idiot Brother makes a modest appearance. In a damp marketplace, Sony Classics and Roadside Attractions delivering nice launches for Higher Ground and Circumstance, leaving people to wonder how much nicer they could have been.

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DP/30: The Debt, director John Madden Debt – Take 2

We talked to John Madden last September, at Toronto, when The Debt was scheduled to come out in Fall 2010. So we talked to him again as the film is just now hitting theaters. (We also talk about his next film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which is now locked and Searchlight currently has scheduled for Spring 2012.)

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Win Win, Poetry

Win Win (Three Stars) U.S.: Tom McCarthy, 2011 (20th Century Fox) Paul Giamatti has that look — you know the one — that exasperated, slightly fed-up look…That hangdog pall we saw on his gloomy mug when he played the frustrated writer/vinomaniac in Sideways, or that scruffy comic artist in American Splendor: the look of a…

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The DVD Wrapup: The Beaver, Win Win, NEDS, Secret Sunshine, Breath, Road to Nowhere, To Die Like a Man …

The Beaver: Blu-ray Even it were possible to ignore all the baggage Mel Gibson brings with him to any new project, “The Beaver” would still be a movie that defied audiences to like it. There are three things that come immediately to mind when I see the word “beaver,” and none of them is a…

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Gurus o’ Gold: Pre-TIFF 2011

The Gurus are back!

Last season, the pre-Toronto list turned out to predict 9 of the 10 eventual Best Picture nominees, including the eventual winner in the #2 slot. Will this season be a horse of a similar color?

Also, The Gurus offer up some potential surprises in Actor & Actress categories.

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DP/30: Paul Mazursky

It’s the most epic DP/30 ever. Almost 3 hours covering almost 60 years in show business. From his early career as an actor and stand-up, to a high-profile writing career, working with Peter Sellers and helping create The Monkees, to his career as a writer and director, Paul Mazursky has had truly remarkable career.

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The Weekend Report: August 21, 2011

The box office got some unexpected assistance as The Help rose to the top of weekend ticket sales with an estimated $20.4 million. However a quartet – three in 3D – of new national releases failed to enliven late summer movie going. Best of the newcomers was a fourth installment of the pre-teen targeted Spy Kids that grossed $11.8 million to rank third in the lineup.

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On Art Versus Commercial Potential in Indie Filmmaking

The films that do aspire to have that reach are very often divisive among critics, derided as pretentious, or precious, or twee, or whatever the word-of-the-moment is that means “this doesn’t speak to me.” It feels like very often, a filmmaker has to choose: Share my vision, or share a vision that a majority of people watching it will connect to easily.

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Friday Estimates, August 20, 2011

Yesterday, The Help pushed the rising Apes out of the top slot, with a pack of newcoming remakes/sequels fighting for $3m – $4m each on the day and Anne Hathaway in One Day doing One Eight. And who’s on top of the indie debuts? John Sayles. Everything old is new again.

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The DVD Wrapup: Something Borrowed, Jane Eyre, Cul-de-Sac, Queen to Play, Meet Monica Velour, Big Lebowski …

Something Borrowed: Blu-ray There’s a very good chance I misinterpreted the publicity material that preceded the release of “Something Borrowed.”Am I the only one who expected it to be a romantic comedy? Given a cast that includes Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Goodwin, John Krasinski and a way too handsome Colin Egglesfield, Luke Greenfield’s adaptation of Emily…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classic. The Big Lebowski

The Big Lebowski (Four Stars) U.S.: Joel & Ethan Coen, 1998 (Universal) The Big Lebowski, that goofball masterpiece by the Coen Brothers — once damned by some as a shiftless, bone lazy movie that went nowhere slow, now hailed (rightly) as one of the great cult or un-cult movies of the ‘90s, the ‘80s the…

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DP/30: The Debt & The Year Of Jessica Chastain

The Debt is finally coming to theaters, almost a year after it premiered at Toronto last September. When the film was at TIFF, Ms. Chastain was the least known in a cast of established names. Now, she’s about as hot a name as there is with five movies out in 2011, at least three of which are being talked up for Oscar consideration.

We talked about The Debt and the entire range of her career right now.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Picks of the Week: New. The Conspirator; Jane Eyre

(Three Stars) U.S.: Robert Redford, 2010, Roadside Attractions The late Sidney Lumet, I think, would have liked Robert Redford‘s new movie, The Conspirator. It’s a film that, like Lumet’s courtroom masterpieces 12 Angry Men and The Verdict, deals dramatically and memorably with the vagaries of the law, and with the wars between justice and injustice,…

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DP/30: Jack Larson & James Bridges – A Hollywood Partnership

This is a very unique DP/30.

On the occasion of the release of a book on the work of his longtime partner, director James Bridges, Jack Larson, best known as an actor for playing Jimmy Olsen on the old Superman TV show, tells his Hollywood story, from the beginning to today. Over 60 years, many things have changed… and some haven’t changed at all.

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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