MCN Originals Archive for July, 2013

The DVD Wrapup

Cloudburst, G.I. Joe, Bronte Sisters, Dahmer, Di Leo, The Fog, Whistleblowers, Shameless, Demented… and so much more.

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The Weekend Report

It was clear sailing for The Wolverine as he clawed to the top of weekend moviegoing with an estimated $54.3 million. With but a single new national release the field was wide open for niche players to get a toehold in the marketplace. Coming-of-ager The To Do List ticked off $1.5 million in a limited wide opening. Blue Jasmine received “money” reviews and that translated into gold for the bespectacled filmmakers’ spin on “A Streetcar Named Desire.” The vet has emerged as the surprise summer alternative hit -aker and with some careful massaging his new effort could well emerge as one of his highest-grossing efforts.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

The Wolverine slices off a big opening, though after a lot of hype, the number is going to be between The Great Gatsby and World War Z, in the “successful but not mega-opening” category. Two limited releases had strong launches. The To Do List will gross about $1.5m on 591 screens. And the new Woody, Blue Jasmine, is looking in the $80k+ range on just 6 screens. But perhaps the most impressive number, on the edge of wide release, is Fruitvale Station, which is over $3.5 million and will end the weekend over $5 million, expanding to 1064 screens.

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Only Nic Forgives: Gilchrist Talks Style And The Future With Refn

We sat down with Refn at the recent Los Angeles press day for Only God Forgives to get a snapshot of the budding auteur’s creative process. In addition to talking about his ongoing collaboration with fellow on-the-riser Ryan Gosling, he reveals the intuitive process by which he combines personal experiences, psychological themes and conventional stories to create something entirely unique—and often provocative—but always interesting.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Wolverine

The Wolverine was directed by the almost bizarrely versatile James Mangold and the script is credited to a gifted threesome that includes Christopher McQuarrie, Mark Bomback and Scott Frank—and their show pours on the action and the production values. But it also ladles out the personality, and emotion that these kinds of movies often skimp on—and even throws in some humor. It’s a good show, full of zip and style—maybe not as good as I may be making it seem. But you can’t say this film doesn’t do what it’s meant to do, or that it doesn’t joyously exceed some of the usual parameters. Man of Steel, eat your heart out.

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Wilmington on Movies: The To Do List

The movie is cute and so is Aubrey Plaza—though, with her pouty, sexy, full-lipped looks, I don’t know if she ‘s the right actress to play an all-time valedictorian, or a virgin. (An Ellen Page type might have been better.) On the other hand, if Plaza had played the bad sister Amber, she probably would have stolen the movie, as Bilson almost does.

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DVD Geek: The Killing

More and more, movies seem like short stories and TV shows seem like novels. It took two ‘seasons’ (actually, each is a half-length season) for the murder mystery program, “The Killing,” to reach its highly satisfying conclusion. Set in Washington State, it is stocked with more red herrings than Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market, and there are rumors of fans having to buy new shoes and new televisions each week for having tossed the one into the other at the end of each episode.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The File on Thelma Jordon; Adua and her Friends; Bullet to the Head

Recent birthday girl Barbara Stanwyck, one of the smartest and toughest of all the classic Hollywood femme fatales, was terrific at playing earthy babes who knew their way around a bedroom—and sometimes a courtroom or an insurance claims office as well,

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Wilmington on DVDs: Band of Outsiders (Bande à part)

Avec

Pulp.

Poetry.

Politics (Peut-etre).

Two Guys, A Girl and a Gun.

Robbery

Murder

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Wilmington on DVDs: Gate of Hell

There were two great gateways to the international movie houses of the post-war world for 1950s Japanese cinema. The first was Rashomon. The second was Gate of HellMost of us remember the former—Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 period masterpiece about four conflicting views of a rape and murder in the woods—and we can recall easily, intensely, rightfully. The latter, the much lesser known writer-director Teinosuke Kinugasa, is another period film, gorgeous almost beyond belief, and once widely hailed as the most beautiful color film of all time.

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The DVD Wrapup

Beyond the Pines, Silence, Vanishing Waves, Twixt, Trance, Babette’s Feast, Starbuck, New World … and so much more.

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The Weekend Report

Spooky The Conjuring became the weekend favorite with an estimated $41.4 million debut. Three other new films vied for eyes, including the animated Turbo, which bowed to $21.5 million; the aging spies of RED 2 grossed $18.1 million; and the men in long coats of R.I.P.D. took up the rear with $12.8 million. There was no paucity of exclusive newcomers with only the nonfiction entries Blackfish and The Act of Killing showing signs of ongoing life. The former grossed $58,500 at four tanks while the latter had a $31,400 count from three initial recreations.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Conjuring

The Conjuring is supposedly based on the true story of a haunted house, possessed by demons or otherworldly spirits, as investigated by honest-to God “paranormal researchers”: the real-life combo of Lorraine and Ed Warren, played in the movie by the brilliantly sensitive Vera Farmiga and the convincingly more prosaic Patrick Wilson.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

There will be only one happy new movie on a weekend of 4 new wide releases. The Conjuring got some nice notices and now it’s doing some nice box office, though given the genre, the weekend total may juts be in the mid-30s. Less happy is Turbo, which will probably go in the opposite direction as the horror film for the weekend, but still is not getting out of the 20s. Red 2isn’t going to equal the original’s opening weekend, but it could be just as leggy and the real hope will be for a sequel bump internationally. And almost as though they were partying away their sorrows, Universal gave a raunchy bash for Kick-Ass 2 at ComicCon last night, putting RIPD behind them even before it had been open for a full day.

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The Gronvall Report: Coogler & Jordan On FRUITVALE STATION

As vast a country as the United States is, and as diverse as its regions are, all too often there’s one news report that resonates from coast to coast.

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Review: RIPD

It’s not vanilla… because vanilla can be great. It was more like a movie made of tofu, sitting there, waiting to suck up flavor from something else in the pot. But nothing that was put in the pot had enough flavor to add much of anything.

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33 Weeks To Oscar: The Season Without A Frontrunner

In this whole group of films that are generally considered legit contenders, there is nothing with that sense of inevitability that, for instance, last season had with Lincoln or Les Miserables or Life of Pi or Zero Dark Thirty. Everything seems to have question marks around it.

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The DVD Wrapup

Jackie Robinson, Venus & Serena, Bullet to the Head, Wild Bill, White Frog, Damages, Jaglom, Street Trash, Downloaded… and so much more.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Our Man in Havana; Evil Dead (2013); The Evil Dead

Like The Third Man, the plot plunges a naïve but imaginative amateur into a political game that turns deadly serious in a city that is dark and corrupt and filled with criminals and deceptions.

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Wilmington on DVDs: 42

These Dodgers were among the elite units in baseball, but they were also cursed with their own share of prejudice (Walker was among the players who circulated a petition against Jackie), yet also blessed with tolerance and anti-bigotry as well.

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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