MCN Originals Archive for November, 2013

The DVD Wrapup Gift Guide II

Breaking Bad, Lilyhammer, Argo, Bruce Weber, Gene Autry, Anchorman, Rutles, MST3K and … More.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Fire bests Frozen.

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Gurus o’ Gold: We Would Be Thankful For…

It’s time to give thanks and to offer what we would be thankful for. The Gurus offer up their personal choices of who and what they would be thankful for in acting (male and female) and in any category they like. There are many great choices offered up here, whether they got lots of votes or few, making The Gurus especially thankful of having so many great films and performances from which to choose.

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The DVD Wrapup

The Canyons, Le Joli Mai, Animals, Sanguivorous, Unhung Hero, Undressing Israel, Horror Show.

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20W2O: What About Mandela?

At the center of the film are two performances that are, simply, undeniable. Idris Elba grabs hold of all the things that have drawn audiences to him over the last 20 years and puts it all into this telling of a life – a great man who remains a man – showing a range heretofore unasked of him. 50 years… and it never once feels like a stunt. You feel the power this man must have to lead so many so effectively for so many years.

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The Weekend Report

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire—no surprise—dominated weekend moviegoing with an estimated $159.7 million, which translates to about 67% of session sales. For the record (books) it’s the biggest grossing November opening, and if the numbers hold will rank fourth among all-time top grossing debuts. Conversely, counterprogramming failed to ignite the other national frosh entry Delivery Man, which slotted into position four with an underwhelming $8.1 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Pretty simple analysis… The Hunger Games: Catching Fire grossed more than 4x the rest of the Top 10 combined on Friday. Enuf said. Disney/Dreamworks’ The Delivery Man offers some alternative programming to the over-30s (in body or spirit) and is looking at about $7m for its trouble. The hope, no doubt, is that once the fire stops catching quite as many people, there will be a nice Thanksgiving haul… but still, this is the worst gross for a wide-release opening of Vince Vaughn’s entire career.

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The DVD Wrapup

Frances Ha, The Millers, Hannah Arendt, Paranoia, Therese, Here’s Edie!, Vivien Leigh, Women Without Men and so much more.

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Gurus o’ Gold: What If…

This week, the Gurus consider their usual Best Picture list, but then a couple of categories that don’t really exist. First, Best Screenplay, without a distinction between Original and Adapted. Then, a proposed category (which not all the Gurus agree should be created) for Best Casting of A Motion Picture.

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Wilmington on Movies: AFI FEST 2013: Nebraska; August: Osage County; Pickpocket; The Selfish Giant

For any properly enthusiastic movie critic or movie lover, a great film festival is the Perk of Perks. It’s the grand cinematic banquet or smorgasbord on their schedule, and hopefully more of a Babette’s Feast than a Grand Bouffe. At its best, a first-rate filmfest makes the rest of the year, and most of the rest of the year’s movies, worth the trouble.

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The Weekend Report

Thor: The Dark World once again led weekend movie sales with an estimated $38.2 million … but this time it had competition. The surprising contender and the week’s only incoming national release, ensemble urban comedy The Best Man Holiday, bowed with a sturdy $30.6 million. Feelgood holiday entry The Christmas Candle grossed $68,700 from a mere five tapers. And the heartland of Nebraska flourished with a $143,000 opening at an initial four locations.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Fourteen years after the original The Best Man, the sequel is looking at nearly the same gross on opening weekend that the original took in its entire successful run. Meanwhile, Thor: The Dark World is doing fine, no matter what “place” it is in on the box office list, actually further ahead of the first in its series after 8 days than it was at the end of opening weekend.

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The DVD Wrapup

All Things JFK, Man of Steel, Turbo, Ip Man, Pablo, Black Devil Doll From Hell, The Attack, The Fall, Farscape and so much more.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Only Two Films Still Waiting To Be Seen

This week, The Gurus take on Best Director and Best Animated Feature in addition to the weekly look at Best Picture, which has one big move up the chart, showing that black and white isn’t always so black and white.

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The Weekend Report

Thor: The Dark World lightened up an estimated $86.2 million to lead weekend moviegoing both here and abroad. The potential wrath of the gods kept competitors at bay though several films expanded to a level that provided them national exposure. Even niche entries largely steered clear of the Thor playdate. The few intrepid exceptions—a new adaptation of Great Expectations and the near-future teen romance How I Live Now—failed to gain a marketplace foothold. And among the week’s exclusive launches only the historic drama The Book Thief turned the page with a solid $105,000 bow at four venues.

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The Gronvall Report: Kevin Macdonald Gets to the Heart of How I Live Now

“The power of love helps you survive. Daisy at the beginning can’t feel love, but when she comes to love this family, she finds enormous strength. John Boorman’s Hope and Glory is a lovely film based on his memories of growing up in London during World War II. For the child at the center of the movie, the Blitz is a wonderful time, a magical time. When a bomb drops on his school, he doesn’t see it as a disaster; he’s thrilled that he doesn’t have to go to school! It shows how differently a child can perceive the world than the adults around him.”

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Thor is back and his opening is about $5m better than the last time he showed up, 2 years ago. Disney is being conservative in projecting the 3-day, but the improvement, opening weekend to opening weekend, looks like it will be 10% – 15%. If that holds through the run, the film would land around the $500m worldwide level… which is strong, but not overwhelming considering the expense of these films.

The expansion of 12 Years A Slave continues, and on 1144 screens, it will be a $5m+ weekend as the film passes the $15m domestic mark.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Late Game

If you read the award season coverage, you might think the season ended 2 months ago. But you’d be wrong.

It’s been a very odd season already. Toronto was loaded to the degree that when the media got as consumed as we were with 12 Years A Slave and Gravity, some strong films got overlooked and underestimated. And now, as AFI rolls out 3 or 4 more contenders – and renewing interest in some of the earlier festivals’ films – things are bubbling up.

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The DVD Wrapup

Lovelace, Passion, Intolerance, White House Down, 3 Faces of Eve, Out in the Dark, Renoir, Jack Irish and so much more…

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Gurus o’ Gold: Let The Games Begin!!!

The Gurus are back with their weekly chart, from now until the week before the Oscar ceremony.

This week, Best Picture and all the acting categories.

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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