MCN Originals Archive for July, 2012

20W2O: 29 Weeks To Go

Did You Know?: Six of the last seven Best Picture winners had their North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival? And the one that didn’t had its US junket over the last weekend of TIFF that year?

And, of course, six of the seven BP winners before that had nothing to do with TIFF. Things change. So don’t get overly locked into one idea of how these seasons go.

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Wilmington on Movies: Step Up Revolution

This is a ludicrous example of what you might call the “Hey Kids! Let’s put on a flash mob, and get it on You Tube!“ musical, a slick-quick-and-dumb-as-a-brick movie, shot in Miami, that has no apparent rationale except to get a bunch of buff kids, led by Guzman and McCormick, slithering and hopping and flash mobbing and dirty-dancing away to recorded music by talent like J.Lo, M.I.A., M83 and Far East Movement (all news to me).

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The Weekend Report

The Dark Knight Rises continued to ascend as the clear movie going favorite with an estimated $62.4 million gross in its second weekend. The current session featured two new national releases that bowed to so-so results. The comedic security romp The Watch opened third in the ratings with an estimated $12.8 million and a pas behind Step-Up Revolution bowed to a box office of $11.7 million.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Queen of Versailles

Of all the amusing, depressing and jaw-dropping things in “The Queen of Versailles”—Lauren Greenfield’s documentary about the construction and deconstruction of the largest one-family dwelling in the United States, a domicile modeled on both the original French Palace of Versailles and the Las Vegas Paris Hotel and built by time-share resort hotel czar David Siegel (and a film with many amusing, depressing and confounding things in it) — one of the two that bothered me most was the impression I had that in this entire massive, outlandishly ornate yet fundamentally cheesy edifice, intended as a glorious Got-rocks celebration by Siegel and his family (including wife Jackie, seven children, one niece and 19 servants), I could did not spot a single book.

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Friday Estimates

A 62% drop without Midnights and 77% with Midnights of The Dark Knight Rises continues to allow question about whether there is a fear of going to the movies, though friday night also opened against the most watched night of The Olympics. Drops for other returning movies are also looking a bit heavier than usual. And the two newcomers both opened soft, though there are other possible issues with both.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Watch

I can only think of one logical explanation for this screenplay (which isn’t much interested in logical explanations itself), and that‘s that, before these three guys started writing it, monstrous aliens from outer space burst into their working rooms, took their places and wrote the script themselves — as part of a sinister conspiracy to befuddle moviegoers, and then, while everybody was wandering around flabbergasted, conquer the earth. Maybe they already have.

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The Gronvall Files: Red Lights

“What jumped out at me about Tom were the themes of self-acceptance and obsession, because those I think are sort of the twin engines for him, and everybody can identify with that. When you take away the setting of this sort of paranormal world, or this sort of genre, and just talk about the characters—that, to me, is what I’m always interested in: character.”

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Last Days of Disco

Whit Stillman‘s best film — a portrayal of the latter days of the New York Disco scene, and of a club that looks suspiciously like Studio 54 — is a movie that manages to let us enjoy the sensuality and fun of the era, and a lot of the then-trashed but still danceable disco music, and at the same time, see why it fell and why it prompted outraged middle or working class rockers to insist “Disco sucks.”

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The DVD Wrapup: Three Stooges, Margaret, Metropolitan, Institute Benjamenta, Footnote… More

Typically, movies with a gestation period of more than five years bear the fingerprints of far too many studio meddlers and investors hoping to return a dime on the dollars they put into the project. Some have been edited and re-edited to the point where they’re unrecognizable from the concept originally green-lit and are disowned by their parents. By the time they’re accorded a limited release, more lawyers have seen the movie than critics. “Margaret” has just such a backstory.

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The Weekend Report

“The Dark Knight Rises” debuted this weekend to a reported $160.9 million. Industry pundits had predicted that the final chapter in this incarnation of Batman would open to between $180-$190 million.

But then the tragedy occurred in Aurora, Colorado at a Thursday midnight screening.

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Wilmington on DVDs: La Haine

La Haine (or Hate) is the legendary 1995 feature debut of the young French actor turned writer-director Mathieu Kassovitz (in his 20s when it was released, as were his three leads), who based his story on the chaos and death of real shootings, and real riots, and real deaths in the early ‘90s, which he witnessed. It is a remarkable movie, with a hypnotic grip. It burns itself into your memory.

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GROSS BEHAVIOR: Tears Dry on Their Own

In the best of all possible worlds when tragedy occurs – as it most certainly did two days ago in Aurora, Colorado – we can only hope that out of the rubble of something virtually incomprehensible to grasp some glimmer of understanding will peek through and we the people will do something about it. This…

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Wilmington on Movies: To Rome With Love

I laughed more than I did at the last three or four alleged Hollywood romantic comedies (or rom-coms) I’ve seen — several of which even got good reviews, or at any event, better than a lot the reviews for “To Rome With Love.” It deserved much better.

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No Friday Box Office Estimates This Week

Len Klady writes in: “As you’re likely aware, WB and some other companies have decided not to send out estimates … others have sent me emails requesting that I not share their estimates.”

Out of respect to all of these companies, as well as the dead, Movie City News will not be offering any box office coverage until Sunday. Thank you for understanding.

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A Shooting In Our Church

The only difference between this mass killing and someone opening fire inside the Academy Theater or a screening room full of critics is the boldfaced names and news angle.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Dark Knight Rises

This review of The Dark Knight Rises was written yesterday, before I had heard the news of the tragic shootings and twelve deaths at the movie theatre showing the film at Century 16 Theatres in Aurora, Colorado. I had intended to write several more paragraphs on the movie today, and maybe I will later. But not now.

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The DVD Wrapup: Friends With Kids, Singin’ in the Rain, Here, Salmon Fishing, 4:44, Johnny Carson, Julia Child, InBetweeners … More

Shot almost exclusively in rural Armenia, “Here” is the kind of movie whose scenery almost overpowers the story, whose existential conceits are extremely fragile.

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Review-ish: The Dark Knight Rises (spoiler-free)

The Dark Knight Rises is, finally, the best of the Nolan Batman films. For the first time, the 3rd act is the best act in the film. Some may feel that this is because there is some form of “conclusion,” a word you should not try to parse before seeing the film. I feel it is that Nolan finally allowed himself to make the movie he’s been after twice before.

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The Weekend Report: July 15, 2012

Ice Age 4 is arriving on these shores after a two week head start internationally that’s generated more than $250 million. Apart from the very good news for Denis Leary – who is also featured in weekend runner-up The Amazing Spider-Man – the film debuted pretty much to expectation. Exit demos revealed a slim female bias of 50% and an audience composed equally of over/under 25 year olds; presumably some willingly in tow with their youngsters.

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Wilmington on Movies. Ice Age: Continental Drift

  ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Steve Martino/Mike Thurmaier, 2012 Animated features have gotten so generally good these days, so surprisingly witty and adult , that it’s almost reassuring to run into one that’s just as poorly written, confusing and juvenile as a lot of  the live action movies for…

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MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“The purpose of film isn’t to present the kindness of the world.”
~ Isabelle Huppert

The Promised Land steers into the fact that the United States can mean whatever people want it to mean. You may not be able to be Elvis, but you can sure as shit impersonate him for a living. America, like its current President (at least as of this article’s publication), is so dangerous precisely because it’s a blank canvas on which anyone can project their dreams. Whatever it is that you see for yourself, there’s someone you can pay for the pleasure of believing that it’s possible. In his view, the pursuit of happiness is the ultimate con, a delusion that prevents us from seeing our circumstances for what they are.

“Forget the Matrix, it’s the invention of happiness that blinded us to the truth. The rich got richer and the poor help them do it. Jarecki doesn’t argue that the American Dream is dead; he argues that it was never alive in the first place — that we were all lobsters in a pot full of water that was boiling too slowly for any of us to notice. And now it’s time for dinner. Donald J. Trump is the President of the United States. Elvis has left the building.”
~ David Ehrlich