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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“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook