MCN Originals Archive for April, 2012

The Weekend Report

Cusp of summer box office experienced a lull with weekend revenues of roughly $115 million that amounted to a 17% decline from the prior frame. It was a steeper 30% downturn from 2011 when the bow of Fast Five blew away the competition with an $86.1 million launch. The weekend’s big noise was happening overseas with The Avengers getting a jump start on domestic with a 39 territory debut estimated at close to $180 million. Also heaping up advance gelt internationally is Battleship with $150 million to date prior to its North American bow on 5/18.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Raven

But wait a minute. This isn’t the kind of horror that puts money in your pockets. A loser roaming the streets and expiring in a hospital? Not in our bottom-line, money-obsessed, failure-hating age. Let’s imagine something more horrible — and certainly more modern, more suitable to contemporary tastes.

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The DVD Wrapup: Contraband, Camelot, Return, Young Goethe, Innkeepers, Hollis Frampton … More

Like JFK’s legacy, the movie version of “Camelot” hasn’t aged well in the succeeding nearly 50 years. In fact, after knocking ’em dead on Broadway in the early 1960s, the movie version failed to overwhelm Oscar voters or attract nearly the same number of fans as “My Fair Lady.”

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Picturing Ebertfest 2012 Day 2

Edifices, blue skies, books for sale, karaoke, Life Itself…

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Wilmington on Movies: Headhunters

Slick and fast and gorgeously shot—if sometimes almost criminally over-the-top.

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Review: The Five-Year Engagement

The successful rom-com never overestimates its own charms – or the charms of its superstar leads, for that matter. Rather than resting on their laurels, Segel and Stoller take inspiration from the best of the genre. They turn to the gags and goofiness of “There’s Something About Mary,” the darkness, neediness and commitment-phobia of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” the sheer buffoonery of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” and the earnest poignancy of “Until Sunrise” to form a story that’s at once heartfelt and packed to the brim with hearty laughs.

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Is Crossmedia Film’s Next Wave?

At the forefront of one of the film narrative’s many reinventions is a next wave of software developers, gamers, filmmakers, writers and composers; a confluence of independent talent dedicated to creating entertainment which employs a variety of mediums and crosses all media platforms, in order to create immersive story experiences for the general public. Think Steve Jobs meets James Cameron, who meets Joe Papp, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and then Maya Deren. Together…

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Picturing Ebertfest 2012

Looking at opening day and night of the 14th annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, Champaign, Illinois, March 25, 2012.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Godzilla

I’ve never visited Japan, and probably I never will. But if I get there, I know I’ll dream of seeing several things, all of which, to me, signify “Japanese cinema“ and “Japan.” A furious Kurosawa swordfight caught by three cameras. Two Ozu characters sitting on tatami mats, musing on the sadness of life. A geisha or wife suffering while Mizoguchi’s camera tracks slowly and beautifully around her. Something tragic or transgressive caught lucidly by Ichikawa or Imamura. And, rising up from the ocean, while the sun sets, Honda’s Godzilla (excuse me, Gojira), staring toward Tokyo and licking his chops.

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Innkeepers

Ti West’s movie is loaded with seedy atmosphere and cracked wacko personality, and I much preferred it to the over-expensive blood-drenched massacres they usually give us. Paxton’s Claire and Healy’s Luke are engagingly scarable protagonists. The cellar is a doozy.

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Wilmington on Movies: Darling Companion

The movie has its flaws — that outlandishly implausible ending chiefly among them — but compared to most of the un-naturalistic, unfunny, unserious, totally phony and sometimes obnoxiously ageist and condescendingly smart-ass gloppy stuff that often passes for American movie comedy-drama these days (and that sometimes gets a pass from the same people who pile on movies like “Darling Companion”), it’s a movie that deserves some encouragement.

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The Weekend Report: April 22, 2012

“The Hunger Games” finally moved out of the top spot to make room for newcomers “Think Like a Man” and Zac Efron’s “The Lucky One,” both performing better than expected. Disney’s nature doc “Chimpanzee” turned in a respectable fourth with $10.2 million.

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Gross Behavior: It’s All Business in Showbusiness

Cinemacon, the annual convention of movie theater owners, gets underway Monday in Las Vegas. And you might want to ask that age old Eskimo truism: Why is this Cinemacon different from all other Cinemacons?

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Cannes Slate

(Editor’s Note: Welcome to Jake Howell, who will bring a young, new, and sometimes Canadian perspective to our Cannes coverage this year.) Cannes Artistic Director Thierry Frémaux has revealed the full slates of both the Competition and Un Certain Regard programs, and the film world has been officially enticed for the glamorous film spectacular this coming May.

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Friday Estimates: April 20, 2012

Screen Gems reminds the industry why they are still the strongest niche distributor in the game. And WB has a strong launch of their entry into Screen Gems’ (formerly New Line’s) “Aren’t The Pretty… Who Will Die & Who Will Cry?” romance genre. And monkeys do the trick for Disney’s strongest DisneyNature launch.

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A Brief History Of Disney OR Welcome To Uncle Bob’s I-Disney 3.0

The elephant everyone sees in the room is John Carter. But the real angle has to be Uncle Bob’s I-Disney 3.0.

It will be ugly no matter what. But John Carter was survivable for Rich Ross, even without pointing fingers at Team Pixar and trying to throw them – The Uncrushable – under the bus. That is, if Iger’s Disney 2.0 was working. But it was not.

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The DVD Wrapup: Ghost Protocol, Shame, Last Rites of Joe May… More

Even if “Shame” doesn’t offer many answers and fewer resolutions, it can’t be said that we don’t know these people after 101 minutes in their presence. It feels like a fully realized short story or novella. The acting is terrific and McQueen’s direction delivers a real punch. It’s not an easy movie to watch, though, so viewers not looking for a challenge may want to think twice before renting it.

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Wilmington on DVDs. A Streetcar Named Desire

The young Adonis-like Brando was the actor whom critics and Britons believed would be the American stage and screen’s great Hamlet. (But he never even tried.) He was the player for whom Tennessee Williams wrote play after play year after year. (But Brando turned them all down, except for the Sidney Lumet movie of “Orpheus Descending,” retitled “The Fugitive Kind)”.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Shame

I can’t recall a single smile crossing Brandon’s mouth, or a single joke passing his lips (if there were, they were lonely), or much tenderness at all, during the course of the movie.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

This is the best action movie out this year not just because it has the best action, but because the characters are interesting too.

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MCN Originals

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“The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes. It’s the destruction of our business. I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up film criticism was a real art. And there was intellect that went into that. And you would read Pauline’s Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore. Now it’s about a number. A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives. Now it’s about, ‘What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score?’ And that’s sad, because the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low on Batman v Superman I think it put a cloud over a movie that was incredibly successful. People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that. It’s mind-blowing. It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie. In Middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck.’ But that number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct. I’ve seen some great movies with really abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores. What’s sad is film criticism has disappeared. It’s really sad.”
~ Brett Ratner Has A Sad

“The loss of a local newspaper critic is a real loss. People who know the local audience and know the local cultural scene are very important resources. You can’t just substitute the stuff that comes in from nowhere through syndication or the wire. I think at the same time, some of the newer outlets have really beefed up and improved their coverage and made room for criticism. The real problem is in the more specialized art forms — fine arts, classical music, dance and jazz, say. There is a real slowing of critical voices, partly because those art forms have smaller audiences. Newspapers and magazines can say that doesn’t get enough traffic, so we don’t have room for that. To me, that’s especially worrisome. This is the opposite of what newspapers are supposed to do, which is not to try to figure out what people are already interested in and recite that back to them, but to hopefully guide them to something that they should be interested in, connecting potential audiences with more interesting work.

“Then again, not everyone needs a critic. People have been going to movies for more than 100 years now, and probably the vast majority of those people have not read movie reviews or cared what critics thought. But there has always been an important subset that wants to know more, that wants to think about what they’ve seen and what they’re going to see, and wants someone to think along with. I think critics are important, not just as dispensers of consumer advice — though that’s certainly part of it, too — but as trusted voices and companions for people to argue with in your head when you’re going to movies or afterwards.”
~ A. O. Scott