MCN Originals Archive for January, 2012

Wilmington on Movies: Man on a Ledge

Man on a Ledge has that slick, self-satisfied gleam movies can get when they cost too much and they’re stuffed with formula and clichés and stars, and nobody can do anything about it. It also has a plot so preposterous, motivations so inane, and an ending so bonkers that the only possible way to play them may be for laughs, if the show were good at comedy.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Grey

At its best, The Grey reminds you of such classics as Boorman’s and Dickey’s Deliverance, or Lev Kuleshov‘s London-derived Russian silent Outside the Law, or even a flawed but exciting show like Lee Tamahori’s and David Mamet’s The Edge, The Grey makes the wilderness a terrifying place. And it works, sometimes smashingly.

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The Weekend Report: Wolf at the Door

There was a lack of Lupophobia at the multiplex as The Grey ascended to the top of the weekend movie charts with an estimated $19.5 million debut. Two other national bows figured into the top five with the romantic actioner One For the Money slotted third with $11.7 million and the suspenseful Man on a Ledge two notches back at $7.9 million.

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Friday Estimates, January 27, 2012

Open Road’s first big opening comes with The Grey, which should be in the top 5 of all indie openings for the last year. Meanwhile, Lionsgate returns to HeiglLand, not breaking any records, but continuing to make an argument that Ms. Heigl can consistently open movies to 8 figures. And SummitGate’s Man On A Ledge fell off.

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DP/30: Sundance 2012 Interviews Sneak Peek

The experience of Sundance is a melange of images, ideas, personalities, and passions. And that’s before you even see the movies. Here is a quick look at some of that energy via the filmmakers.

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Gurus o’ Gold: 1st Ranking Of Oscar Nominees In All Categories (Pt 2 of 2)

As they offer 13 more Oscar categories (everything but shorts), The Gurus are predicting that The Artist will win three big prizes on Oscar night… but Hugo will dominate the evening with 5 Oscar wins. Is it likely that Best Picture, Director, and Score will stand alone?

Can The Help score Best Actress and Supporting Actress and nothing else?

These and more questions… as The Gurus turn.

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Gross Behavior: Leonard On Bingham

Bingham had a number of virtues few of us can claim. He didn’t hold many grudges and wasn’t someone prone to gotcha politics. When we talked it was a true discussion whether it was one-on-one or in a group. He wasn’t diplomatic, not that he was abusive or dogmatic. Bing simply spoke his mind and that was fine, mostly, when he was running October Films with Jeff Lipsky and problematic when he worked for others.

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Real Steel, Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008), Welcome to L.A.

PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC
Identification of a Woman (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars)
Italy: Michelangelo Antonioni, 1982 (Criterion Collection)

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The DVD Wrapup: Real Steel, Whistleblower, 8 more

Everyone in the movie looks as if they belong there, except Jackman, whose Charlie Keaton is altogether too soft and unscarred to be a broken-down boxer and hard-drinking grease monkey. Kids who only know the Aussie actor through his “Wolverine” persona won’t mind the discrepancy.

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Gurus o’ Gold: 1st Ranking Of Oscar Nominees In All Categories (Pt 1 of 2)

The Gurus have their first group of post-nomination projections. (The other categories will be published tomorrow.) There is a tie at the top of one category, and two categories out of these 8 that are unanimous.

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The Oscar Nominations

“And to the Academy: “You don’t like me. You really don’t like me.” – tweeted Albert Brooks on his non-nomination

The full list of nominations:

Full List of Nominations
Nominations by Picture
Sidebar
Nominee Reactions

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Oscar Nod Morning

There are few real surprises in the Oscar nominations today.

1. Demian Bichir vanquished Michael Fassbender and Leonardo DiCaprio to get a Best Actor nomination.

2. Albert Brooks got left out… trumped by Jonah Hill and Max von Sydow.

3. 9 nominations for Best Picture… a surprisingly wide spread.

4. Extremely Close & Incredibly Loud got nominated for Best Picture ahead of Tinker Tailor Solider Spy and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

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Wilmington on Movies: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

          EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Stephen Daldry, 2012   I don’t want to come across as mean and heartless here, but, though there were parts of it I liked a lot,  the movie Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close affected me something like a persistent urchin…

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Wilmington on Movies. Red Tails

            RED TAILS (Three Stars) U. S.; Anthony Hemingway, 2012   There are two ways to look at Red Tails, producer George Lucas’s long-gestating  World War II movie about the storied all-black Air Force unit, The Tuskegee Airmen. You can see the show as a big spectacular action movie, with incredible…

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The Weekend Report: Float Like a Butterfly … Sting Like a Bee

The debut of Underworld: Awakening led weekend ticket sales with an estimated $25.2 million. Two other films bowed nationally and a fourth platformed after four weeks in Oscar-qualifying exclusives. The saga of the Second World War Tuskegee Airmen, Red Tails, ranked second with $19.1 million and the take no prisoners actioner Haywire kicked out with $8.9 million. Wedged in-between was the expansion of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close in position four with $10.4 million.

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DP/30 @ Sundance 2012: West of Memphis, director Amy Berg, producer Peter Jackson

There’s a brand new doc on the West Memphis 3 story coming to Sundance with Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Lorri Davis, and Damien Echols as producers, and Oscar-nominated documentarian Amy Berg directing. After years in production, new material was being edited into the film just last weekend.

We discussed the history of the film and the case while Amy & Peter finished the film in New Zealand.

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Sundance Preview: Documentary Premieres

Yes, the Paradise Lost films followed this story for years, and you could argue that they’ve said much of what there is to say about the West Memphis Three. But Amy Berg, who previously made the outstanding, Oscar-nominated doc Deliver Us From Evil (which was on my top ten list in 2006) is sure to have a compelling take on the topic that will make West of Memphis one of the docs to catch at Sundance this year.

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The DVD Wrapup: Moneyball, Dirty Girl, Bombay Beach, Division III, The Overcoat, Belle du Jour, Mysteries of Lisbon, Cold Sweat …

Moneyball: Blu-ray The term, “inside baseball,” often is used when a conversation about anything from politics to food preparation becomes so complex that only a professional could possibly understand its complexities. While it isn’t always used in a derogatory way, the term does suggest that one participant is attempting to dazzle the other with numbers,…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Pick of the Week: New. The Ides of March

  Despite my low-to-moderate rating of The Ides Of March, I still believe it’s a movie that should be seen by all movie types. Which is why it’s a co-pick.   The Ides of March (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: George Clooney, 2011 (Sony Pictures)   Why in Hell did George Clooney make a movie…

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. Mysteries of Lisbon

    MYSTERIES OF LISBON (Four Stars)  Portugal: Raoul Ruiz, 2010-11 (Music Box Films) Take the book down from the shelf. Open the pages. Interesting title. “‘Mysteries of Lisbon”…    Raoul Ruiz’s mesmerizing movie Mysteries of Lisbon, which was adapted from Camilo Castelo Branco’s 19th century novel about psychological/romantic torment in the Portuguese upper classes,…

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MCN Originals

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“A shot is a story. A shot on its own should be a piece of a story. Which is why I talk a lot about watching films, even the films we’re working on, with the sound off. Just to analyze how the film works, because a film should work for an audience without any sound. The biggest problem I see is that someone may have a superficial understanding of what a shot is propositionally, but they don’t have an understanding of how all of these shots are part of a family that needs to connect, and so you’ll get something that’s like a sentence arranged poorly with six nouns in a row. That surprises me, because I think that’s something that can be learned. Some things can’t be, but that can. It’s a grammar. In a classroom I could walk somebody through the difference between a sequence in which the filmmaker has a deep understanding of how images connect, and someone who doesn’t. It’s not really an intellectual process. Some people are just born with it and are just sort of savants at that deep mathematical understanding of shot construction.  I’m better than I used to be, but there are some people I’m just never going to catch. Spielberg. His staging ability. I’m never going to catch him. But when you’re trying to figure out how to get better—I’m not competitive in the sense of looking around at other filmmakers and comparing myself to them. What I do have to think about in trying to navigate myself through a career is: what can I get better at, and what do I have that I can enhance that somebody else doesn’t have?”
~ Steven Soderbergh

“It’s not going to be huge. He and I had been corresponding for a while. When I finally met him, he said, ‘We should collaborate.’ When John Ashbery says that to you, you don’t say when, you just say yes. It has not been easy to conjure this out of nothing. Sean Price Williams and I spent time with him, and it will appear on FilmStruck before the year is out…. I have figured out how to streamline things. I still have dreams of making movies with bigger budgets, and they might be considered to have more of a voice in pop culture. I don’t want to let go of that. I also realize that you grow up a lot of your life with wishful thinking and waiting. I have figured out ways to avoid doing that. I am working on a bigger movie about Nikola Tesla, set in the past, so it is not an easy film to make. I am also working on an adaptation of Don DeLillo’s ‘White Noise.’ That seems more likely to catch fire.”
Michael Almereyda Steps It Up