MCN Originals Archive for January, 2013

Sundance Review: Doc Wrap-Up

We understand these events to be troubling, but Rowley spends far too long lingering on the way life has changed for Scahill and the way these wars have had a negative impact on his mood. It is a film that is dirtied by its own lead, despite Scahill being definitively insightful and knowledgeable about the regions. The man is a brilliant journalist—there is no doubt about that—but the documentary sags when it should ignite.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Ivan’s Childhood

We remember young Ivan’s face as we remember the faces of the two tragic friends in Shoeshine, of the street kids in Rome: Open City, of the little boy in Bicycle Thieves—of all art film children caught in the crucibles of war and social injustice.

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DP/30 Sneak Peek: Alex Gibney on Zero Dark Thirty @ Sundance 2013

I sat down to chat with Alex Gibney about his new documentary, WikiLeaks: We Steal Secrets. But we eventually got into Alex’s public position on the movie Zero Dark Thirty in this Sneak Peek.

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Gurus o’ Gold: 8 Days Before Final Oscar Voting Begins

Lincoln still leads the Best Picture race according to The Gurus, with only one Guru voting Lincoln or Argo as anything other than #1 or #2 in the race.

Otherwise, the races haven’t changed much at all since we last saw you. The biggest move is Tarantino’s screenplay for Django Unchained up from #4 to #2 in that race.

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The DVD Wrapup

7 Psychopaths, Tin Drum, Imposter, Perfect Ending, How Green Was My Valley, Downton Abbey, Tales of the Night … and more.

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20W2O: 27 Days To Oscar – The Racial Thing

The movie about slavery has no Black nominees. The movie about the abolition of slavery has no Black nominees. The movie about Gulf coasters devastated by Katrina has a little girl as its only nominee. And the movie about a young Indian man has 1 Indian nominee, who happened to write lyrics for a song.

I have never felt like racial politics and The Academy Awards go together well. But I also don’t see any step forward in this year’s nominations from any other year.

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20W2O: 4 Weeks To Go – Quid Pro Quo, Clarice

I would argue – and have forever – that these groups are following the same bouncing ball as everyone else during the award season. There are years when consensus winners are quite close to undeniable. But there are usually 2 to 3 contenders who would not really be shocking winners of awards. Except for the issue of every award as a stepping stone to the next.

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Wrapping Up Sundance, Pt 1: The Not-Docs

Sundance is still easily the most important film festival in the world for American independents. It is pretty well run. They have pretty good taste. And even the swag shite that journalists love to mock as they try to figure out how to snag a pair of jeans that will make their ass look like J-Lo’s and their chests look like either Scarlett Johansson or Taylor Whomever is not nearly as rampant as it once was.

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Sundance Reviews: Cutie and the Boxer, Fallen City

There is vividness of color here, and contrast between the pair’s struggles in the real world and the way in which they express themselves artistically. Like all artists, including no doubt many of the filmmakers with films at Sundance, for Ushio and Noriko the financial struggles of an artist being able to survive while still creating are a constant source of tension, but there’s never a time when either of them says, well, we’re not getting rich of this, so we should give it up and get a steady job to pay the bills. They fight and they struggle, but the art and being able to keep creating it remains at the forefront of their relationship through it all.

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The Weekend Report

If not quite happily ever after, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters bowed at the top of the charts with an estimated $18.5 million. The session’s other debuting national releases proved less potent. The tough guy antics of Parker was fifth in the lineup with $6.8 million while Movie 43 was a notch below with $4.8 million. In the niches, a couple of films from the Indian diasporas had strong openings. Hindi Race 2 sped to $832,000 at 153 venues and Tamil Vishwaroopam scored $659,000 from 84 locations. A handful of exclusive openings also stepped out with encouraging results.

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Sundance Review: Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer

The performance footage is most engaging, when we see the girls of Pussy Riot rehearsing and performing; it’s guerrilla activism, shot guerrilla style, and it’s just great that it was even captured for historical purposes, given that the Pussy Riot collective has become a big enough deal to be of note as one of the more relevant and effective activist groups of our time, along with Occupy. Interviews with the girls’ parents round things out nicely, giving us a broader perspective on who these young women are.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

  PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC  THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars) U. K.: Alfred Hitchcock, 1934 (Criterion) Peter Lorre. He had the face of a chubby little morphine addict (which he was), the lush lips of a child looking for a lollipop, a languorous voice seething with malicious amusement or fright,…

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Friday Estimates

Newcomers Hansel & Gretel & corsets & crossbows will take the weekend… but without much force. Also opening to limp numbers, Parker and the movie famously forgotten by its own cast, Movie 43 In the battle of Oscar nominees, Silver Lining Playbookpasses Zero Dark Thirty for Friday while ZD30 has the domestic-gross edge. But the race is close enough that it could go either way. Django Unchained closes in on $145m while Les Misérables will pass $135m.

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Wilmington on Movies: Parker

Have you seen the great film neo-noir Point Blank, with Lee Marvin as a vengeful killer named Walker? That’s Parker. Have you seen—and there’s no reason you should—Mel Gibson in Payback, as a bad-mouthed, vengeful hard guy named Porter? That’s Parker too. (Stark, or Westlake, didn’t like his character’s name being over-used.)

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Sundance Review: Upstream Color

The patterns of nature and mathematics – and the breaking of those patterns which in turn make new patterns – are heavily threaded throughout the structure of this film, and the complexity of the ideas it explores and the way in which it inevitably requires the audience to actively participate in seeking to understand it is very much like a cinematic Socratic Circle. Socrates taught that all thinking derives from asking questions; the aim therefore is not to arrive at one right answer, but that asking one question should lead to further questions, and from this collective back-and-forth we construct meaning and answers.

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Sundance Review: Before Midnight

It’s not every January—so early in the awards season—that we see one of the likely best films of the year.

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Wilmington on DVDs: For a Good Time, Call….

  FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL… (Two Disc Combo Pack: Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy/UV (One and a Half Stars)  U.S.: Jamie Travis, 2012 (Universal) For a Good Time, Call…was no good time for me. It’s a romantic comedy about two Manhattan roommates who collaborate on a phone sex service, and discover the joys of talking dirty for fun…

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The DVD Wrap

Ivan’s Childhood, Pina, Sugar Man, Dead Sushi, Hard Romanticker, Birders, Officer Down, Hara-Kiri … and more.

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Gurus o’ Gold: A Month To Go

These votes have been sitting around for almost a week… but here we go with the latest Gurus votes for Picture and Director. Argo is the big mover.

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Sundance Review: Blood Brother

Perhaps it was some deeper spiritual call, a desire to strip away the typically materialistic Western values with which he’d been raised, to find the purity in a life of giving to others rather than taking from them. Or perhaps Rocky simply found in the children of that orphanage the closeness of family and unconditional love that he lacked at home. Whatever the case, he also found he didn’t want to leave. These kids needed him, and perhaps he needed them as well.

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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