MCN Originals Archive for February, 2014

20 Weeks To Oscar: 3 Days To Go

There’s no real sport to making Oscar picks. The star athletes have, in most cases, completed their work over a year ago. The others, including the director, have been done with the work of creation for at least 4 months. Nothing will change between this last Tuesday and Sunday evening.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Time To Open Envelopes

In their final look at the Oscars, picking only a winner in each category, The Gurus are unanimous on 12 of 24 awards and the only categories without at least a two-thirds majority are Picture, Film Editing, and Live Action Short. Based on the Gurus vote, 12 Years A Slave would win Best Picture and 2 other Oscars, while Gravity would lead in wins for the evening, taking home 6 Oscars. And Dallas Buyers Club would have the third highest Oscar count on the night. In a year where people are talking about a limited field, Gurus voting says that the Top 8 categories would go to 5 different movies. Statisticians, start your spreadsheets.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Wind Rises

Miyazaki‘s The Wind Rises. A lovely name. A lovely film. A poem to flight, as soaring and lyrical as those of the sometimes heart-piercing French writer-artist-pilot Antoine de St. Exupery.

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The DVD Wrapup

Gravity, Thor 2, You Will Be My Son, Come Back Africa, Mother of George, Twice Born… and more.

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It’s Different

I want to let movies breathe. I want to breathe. I want to believe in the ambitions of most everyone who does something along the lines of what I do. I want to be challenged smartly, beaten as appropriate, and made better by my failures. I want to love things without cynicism.

I love so much of what I have had the privilege to do for a very nice living for a very long time. But I do feel these days like I am being moved around the chess board in a way that stifles growth.

For the first time in my journalistic career, I have to remind myself to play the game.

I hate that.

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Harold Ramis & The Last 35 Years Of Comedy

He was one of the 25 or 30 people, who are writers, actors, and/or directors, not only created classic comedies, but set the tone for comedy for many years of these last 35. He seemed to be at or around every key comedy trend from the early 70s into the early 90s. And that is a truly remarkable legacy.

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The Weekend Report

The Lego Movie (and the Canadian hockey team) got the hat trick as it once again commanded session moviegoing with an estimated $31.5 million. That left fair to poor results for a couple of new national releases. The thriller 3 Days to Kill performed pretty much to expectations with a $12.2 million bow but the historically explosive Pompeii was left to stew with a disappointing $10.1 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

The Lego Movie clicks into the top slot for the second weekend. Kevin Costner in faux-Neeson actioner 3 Days to Kill, from Relativity, places while Pompeii shows. In an unusual circumstance, Sony Pictures is responsible for 4 consecutive slots in the Top Ten (3-6) with 3 different divisions releasing and the 2 Columbia titles coming to the studio through very different means. On the smaller side, two films will do about $12k per screen for the weekend, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me and The Wind Rises.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Top 3

This week, The Gurus offer their Top 3 in 13 Oscar categories.

Only 2 of the categories are still highly competitive in the Guru voting, however, given the chance to vote on fewer than 3 in each category if they felt it was a lock, very few Gurus chose to step up to that in very few categories.

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Divining Cannes 2014

It may seem premature to discuss the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, even before the Oscars 2013 ceremony. But there’s less than 100 days before some of the world’s greatest filmmakers hit the Croisette. So what can we expect?

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20W2O: 12 Days To Go – Season of Pudding

I have to say, I am pretty agnostic at this point. I have my favorites, but I know that a very good film will win Best Picture, great performances will win the acting categories, and so on. I can foresee very few opportunities for me to really feel that anyone is going to win an Oscar this year leaving me feeling like the result was bad.

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The DVD Wrapup

Nebraska, Pervert’s Guide, Darkman, Shadow, Inn of 6th Happiness, Devo, 419, 1984 and more.

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The Weekend Report

Despite considerable incoming heat (or because of it) The Lego Movie retained top spot during the Presidents’ Day holiday session with an estimated $48.9 million (all figures reflect the 3-day portion of the session).

The new crew included a potent $26.7 million start for a contemporized version of About Last Night in second spot; fair returns of $20.5 million for a re-engineered RoboCop and disappointment for a new embrace of 1981’s Endless Love and the weekend’s sole screen original Winter’s Tale with respective openers of $13.4 million and $7.5 million.

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Wilmington on Movies: Winter’s Tale

Any time you see a movie based on a hugely popular, critically-hosannaed, densely-populated epic romance novel like Mark Helprin‘s Winter‘s Tale—a prestige movie about endless, undying love boasting such first-class actors as Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe, Jessica Brown Findlay, William Hurt and Eva Marie Saint—and the picture gets stolen by a flying horse, you know the show is in some kind of trouble.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Everything remains awesome for The Lego Movie, with a Friday drop from last week that suggests an even better overall weekend drop. The Kevin Hart party continues with About Last Night, his third $30m+ opening in the last year. Romances Endless Love and Winter’s Tale probably hurt each other, with Endless looking at double the opening of the Tale. And RoboCop won’t quite make it to $20m, which in part may be the price of being one of two movies being opening by the same marketing department in the same week.

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Wilmington on Movies: Endless Love

  ENDLESS LOVE (One and a Half Stars) U.S. Shana Feste, 2013 Endlessly, undyingly…No, we’ve already done that one. Still, if your appetite for  a Valentine’s Weekend of unfettered romance and unashamed date movies hasn‘t been satiated by Winter‘s Tale or About Last Night, you can always dive in to the endless malarkey of another…

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Gurus o’ Gold: If We Could Sway The Academy

After opining on the Best Picture race (which isn’t changing much in order, but is getting tighter & tighter), The Gurus offer their personal feelings about The Race. If they could sway Academy members to vote for as many as 5 nominees to win the gold, these are the ones they would choose.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Media, Publicists, And Trying To Do Harm

My perspective on this season is that the movies have been well-liked and the fighting mostly affirmative. Inside Llewyn Davis asserted itself intensely and with some really beautiful efforts… and didn’t get the votes. Nebraska pushed hard with actors, but not much else, and did get the votes. Go figure.

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Wilmington on Movies: Like Father, Like Son

Here is a beautiful film, whichever way you look at it.

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The DVD Wrapup

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MCN Originals

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“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