MCN Originals Archive for September, 2012

The Weekend Report

Audiences checked into Hotel Transylvania and the occupancy rate in its maiden edition topped session charts with an estimated $42.6 million. The bridesmaid’s spot went to freshman sci-fi entry Looper with $20.9 million and a third national debut – the hot button education yarn Won’t Back Down – flunked the commercial test with a $2.7 million gross. Also upbeat was the limited opener of the tuneful Pitch Perfect (expanding nationally next weekend) that tallied $5.2 million at 335 venues.

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Wilmington on Movies: Looper

To tell the truth, Looper has a plot almost as tricky and paradoxical enjoyable as “All You Zombies” — or as Heinlein’s earlier classic “By His Bootstraps,” or as Alfred Bester’s amazing “5,271,009,” or as Philip Dick’s (alternate universe) “Eye in the Sky,“ or as Fredric Brown’s well-named “Paradox Lost,“ or as Chris Marker’s melancholy French film-poem La jetée, and the nightmarishly weird American movie it inspired, Terry Gilliam‘s Twelve Monkeys (which also starred Bruce Willis).

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Friday Estimates

Sony takes the two top spots with an animated film about a guy who never dies and his daughter and the hotel they own and a live action thriller about a guy who is supposed to kill himself and a kid and a mom and the house in the cornfield. Two other new entries, focused on female audiences, open to considerably less box office, though the singing hotties nearly doubled up on the shouting mommies.

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Review: Life of Pi

I sat in the film, completely open to all of the elements of the film. Ang Lee, check. Irrfan Khan, check. Fantastical journey story, check. Spiritual enlightenment, check. One man confronts his soul, check. The elements had me at “Hello.” But…

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Pride’s Friday 5: Looper, Drunkboat, Woman In The Fifth, Damsels In Distress,The Samaritan

This was a Sunday afternoon a long time ago, sometime near the end of the twentieth century. In years of theatergoing in Chicago and other cities, I’d seen some grand coups de theatre, but this one, this one that shaped itself beyond the actors’ pace, made an indelible mark. Outside, a sunny afternoon on the second floor above the Victory Gardens theater; inside, a variation on Fritz Lang’s M. Somewhere in the middle of the brief, striking piece, the sound of whistling rose from the Clark Street sidewalk a floor below. The character of The Detective stood at an open window, listening to the whistling, holding the pose, holding the scene…

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The DVD Wrapup: Klown, Avengers, American Horror Story … More

Because Klown is the product of a country, Denmark, that isn’t afraid of portraying the sexual maturation process in an honest and occasionally comedic way, director Mikkel Norgaard can have his cake and reserve a large slice of it for viewers, too.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Lonesome, The Last Performance, Broadway

Ah wait, you say. You’ve seen and heard it, or something like it, before. Indeed. Your grandparents probably saw and heard it before, and maybe theirs as well. In fact, as in countless other Hollywood movies, this is a classic example of the famous movie romance formula “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy…”

Stop. You know the rest. Or do you?

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Wilmington on Movies: End of Watch

End of Watch is a pretty damned exciting Los Angeles buddy-cop movie, made with lots of energy and style. But it has one pretty big flaw: Those damned cameras.

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The Weekend Report

The fight for bragging rights dominated weekend estimates with three incoming movies all claiming top spot on the charts. From this perch the lineup shakes out with the cop on the beat End of Watch ahead with $12.9 million, Clint in baseball Trouble with the Curve right behind with $12.7 million and the chiller The House at the End of the Street trailing with $12.4 million.

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Wilmington on Movies: Dredd 3D

Hmmmm. I don’t know if any of you have had deranged fantasies of running around a 200-story vertical slum in a stiff black mask, dodging gun battles and massacres and periodically going into slow-motion attacks, or being hurled out of windows or whatever and dropping slowly to the street. But, if you have, this movie will almost certainly satisfy them all, perhaps forever.

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Friday Estimates

Jennifer Lawrence, Jake Gyllenhaal, Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams and Chair lead the box office in a heavy weekend of new titles. The other newbie cracking the Top Ten is Dredd, though it is a bit disappointing at $2.2m on Friday. The Master goes semi-wide (783 screens) and the per-screen plummets from $48k to $1800 per-screen for the day. This weekend’s muscular exclusive release is The Perks of Being A Wallflower with just over $21k per-screen on 4 on Friday.

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The DVD Wrapup: Chico & Rita, Detachment, Cabin in Woods, End of Road … More

In the powerful ensemble drama, “Detachment,” director Tony Kaye and writer Carl Lund imagine what it might be like not only to teach in a school that, in and of itself, could constitute a level in Dante’s “Inferno,” but also how that experience might impact the teachers in their off-hours. As somber and dirge-like as “Detachment” often is, it demands that we not give up on our public schools and children who were born behind an 8-ball.

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The Torontonian Reviews: The Silver Linings Playbook

The film will assuredly please crowds and win hearts in the end—perhaps even Oscar’s—but audiences interested in something more complex should probably look elsewhere.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Rush To Poor Judgment?

What is The Academy trying to do by shortening the nomination season by 10 days this year? When I spoke to Ric Robertson about it late this afternoon, his only real argument for the shift was that by announcing the nominations 2 weeks earlier, it would make it easier for members to see the already…

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Wilmington on Movies: Searching for Sugar Man

I will say that I loved the movie, that it deserves all the praise it has received, and that, if you care about rock ‘n’ roll, and art, and politics, and the plight of poor people in our rich country, and if you’re curious about the mysteries of commerce and hype (or non-hype) in the United States if America (and the rest of the world), you must see this movie. I watched it again the other night and fell in love with it all over again. What’s more amazing: I just talked to a friend who also loves the movie, and he told me he was sitting in Starbucks last morning when suddenly he heard….Well, I won’t tell you.

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TIFF12 Review: The Act of Killing

As Anwar and company tell their story about their lives as gangsters it becomes quickly evident that what they have in mind isn’t a thoughtful, introspective reflection on their history, but a glorious, bedazzled, trumped up showcase of themselves positioned as the heroes of this bloody tale of horror, augmented with dancing girls in fancy costumes, the rotund, hairy Herman, dressed in makeup and a sparkly turquoise mermaid dress, gleefully bloody re-enactments of the murders they committed, and a giant concrete fish. It’s a truly bizarre perspective on the slaughter of millions and the role this men had in it, so much so that at times, it’s even a little funny, the sheer audacity and absurdity of it all. Until it’s not.

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Wilmington on Movies: Finding Nemo 3D

    FINDING NEMO (Five Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition, with Blu-ray/DVD/3D) (Four Stars) U.S.: Andrew Stanton & Lee Unkrich, 2003-12 (Walt Disney/Pixar) Finding Nemo, the first one, was that epic 2003 Pixar computer-animated cartoon adventure about a boy clownfish named Nemo (Alexander Gould) and his nervous father Marlin, how they were separated on Australia‘s Great Barrier Reef,…

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The Weekend Report

Newcomers Resident Evil: Retribution and Finding Nemo 3D led weekend ticket sales with respective estimated debuts of $20.9 million and $17.4 million. Both films nonetheless bowed to lower than anticipated returns and saw their media thunder stolen by potent returns in the niches. The sessions other national freshman _ the inspirational drama The Last Ounce of Courage _ weighed in with a dull $1.8 million.

The big noise was unquestionably The Master, a daunting, compelling study of inter-dependence that opened with five 70mm engagements and a staggering near capacity $748,000. Also displaying premiere power was the Wall Street cautionary Arbitrage with a $2 million launch from 197 engagements.

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Friday Estimates

About 5,000 people saw The Master on Friday on each of its five 70mm screens. That’s a lot of full or sold-out shows. Can the cult expand? Meanwhile, in studio world, the Resident Evil franchise is back again, still opening to over $8m on Friday, still likely to crack $40m domestic, and chasing the stunning up-shift in international business for the most recent incarnation (2010), which did $236 million overseas. If it does half of that, Sony will still be downright giddy.

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TIFF12 Review: Ginger & Rosa

The leftist bent of the characters and some heavy-handed nuclear symbolism might seem to imply that director Sally Potter’s reaching for a bigger message here, but really, this is a heavily character-driven story about these two young girls whose lifetime friendship grows threatened as they grow in separate directions, and, especially, a coming-of-age story about Ginger, who learns things along the way that force her to reassess all the things she thought she knew, about her parents, about friendship, and about life.

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MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“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