MCN Originals Archive for April, 2014

The DVD Wrapup

Best Offer, Selfish Giant, Hill Street Blues, Mr. Selfridge, Devil’s Due, Dead Shadows, Bucksville and more.

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Countdown To Cannes: Bennett Miller

The third in a series of snapshots outlining the nineteen directors in the 67th Palme d’Or Competition.

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The Weekend Report

The Other Woman was the top choice at the weekend box office with a debut estimated at $24.8 million. Two other films also entered the marketplace at a lower threshold. Actioner Brick Mansions slotted fifth with an okay $9.6 million while chiller The Quiet Ones hardly nudged the thermostat with an opening gross of $3.9 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Fox counterprograms the comic books, tweener, and kids movies with the first comedy with aggressive appeal for women since Enough Said & Baggage Claim back in September 2013… and wins big. It isn’t Bad Teacher but it will be Cameron Diaz’s best start as a non-animated lead aside from that since Charlie’s Angels And it will be Leslie Mann’s biggest opening as a lead and her biggest since Knocked Up. Paul Walker’s 2nd non-F&F release in the last 7 years will open… to about half of what his other one, Takers snatched. Does anyone really know what that means? Not likely.

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Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (spoiler-free)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a piece of quality filmmaking with actual attention to consistent coherent (and emotionally coherent) storytelling.

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Wilmington on Movies: Bears

Three bears huddled on the snowy lopes of a vast white mountain as a raging avalanche crashes down alongside them. Fish fighting their way upstream in a glistening river, with one spunky salmon rising up from the spume and spray to nearly swat a waiting bear. A mama bear bravely standing between her two threatened cubs and a renegade clanless bear who circles and circles and wants to make a meal of them.

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Countdown To Cannes: Atom Egoyan

The second in a series of snapshots outlining the eighteen directors in the 67th Palme d’Or Competition.

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The DVD Wrapup

Bettie Page, Inspector Lavardin, Cell Block 11, Sorcerer, Pawnbroker, Tin Can Man, Junction, Billie Jean and more.

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Countdown To Cannes: Tommy Lee Jones

The first in a series of snapshots outlining the eighteen directors in the 67th Palme d’Or Competition.

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Wilmington on Movies: 2014 COLCOA Film Festival — Truffaut, Lelouch

Here’s the bill of fare. The COLCOA Film Festival, a fixture in Los Angeles for 17 years, shows new and classic French films in two American movie theaters at the Directors’ Guild complex: plush theaters named for legendary French filmmakers, François Truffaut and Jean Renoir. They mean a lot to me — the filmmakers, the films, and especially those two directors (or cineastes), Renoir and Truffaut.

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The Weekend Report

A quartet of new releases couldn’t unseat Captain America: The Winter Soldier from the lead on Easter weekend. The Marvelous super hero grossed an estimated $26.2 million, with Rio 2 not far off with $22.6 million. Among new national releases was the unexpectedly competitive true-life inspirational saga Heaven is for Real with $21.2 million and, conversely, the unexpectedly non-competitive Transcendence, which downloaded only $11.1 million. Chiller spoof A Haunted House 2 did an OK $8.9 million and nature tale Bears was off to a fair start of $4.8 million.

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Wilmington on Movies and DVDs: The TCM 2014 Classic Film Festival: How Green Was My Valley; Meet Me in St. Louis; Make Way for Tomorrow

Families, at their best, give us solace and they give us joy. At their worst, they tear us apart. Both extremes were visible on screen at this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival: often the best (How Green Was My Valley) and sometimes the worst (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?), but always the crucial parts of a film to remember.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

The numbers are 21% smaller, but once again we have a $100,000 lead for Rio 2 over Cap 2 on Friday. This weekend, however, we have four new films chasing the top spot – and failing to come close – instead of two. The top of the group is Heaven Is For Real, which opened on Wednesday and should be over a $25m cume by the end of the weekend. After uniformly negative reviews, WB’s big hitter, Transcendence, has technology running well behind God. The new sequel in town, A Haunted House 2, has been crowded out, but not so much as DisneyNature’s Bears.

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The DVD Wrapup

Ride Along, Labor Day, Invisible Woman, Bastards, Everyday, Ripper Street, Bletchley Circle, Black Nativity and more.

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The Torontonian Tips Cannes

In sticking with the Festival’s long-standing tradition of programming veterans in Competition, 13 of the announced 18 films are from returning auteurs. 18 is a small number for Cannes, though, so expect one, two, and possibly even three more films to be announced in the coming weeks.

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The Weekend Report

Captain America: The Winter Soldier remained at the top of the charts despite significant incoming competition from newcomer Rio 2. The Captain grossed an estimated $40.9 million to the feathered flock’s $38.5 million. The session also featured two other national openers, which fought for positions three and four on the charts. Mirror chiller Oculus bowed to $11.8 million while football-themed Draft Day touched down with $10 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Captain America: The Winter Soldier takes a predictable 54% drop, opening the door to Rio 2 taking the top slot with around $40m for the weekend.

Also in more modest debuts, the horror film that no one can pronounce beats Kevin Costner’s oddly-dated feel-good football comedy.

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17 Weeks Of Summer: Episode One – The Studios

There are 30 wide-release films due to be released by the 6 major studios in these 17 weeks of summer (May 2-August 24). And the majors haven’t done anything to change the popular media tune about an ongoing obsession with big, expensive movies.

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DVD Geek: 12 Years a Slave

How can the random displacement of humans being distributed as property sustain a consistent intrigue of character? How can modern actors embody any of the characters, black or white, truthfully, without going insane? McQueen oversees all of these challenges, creating a powerful, beautiful work—no more or less violent than many great films that have addressed violence—that is entertaining and exciting throughout its 134 minutes.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Hidden Fortress; Blue Jasmine; August: Osage County; Saving Mr. Banks

Like all the best Kurosawas — which encompasses most of his output — this is a beautifully crafted, tremendously exciting movie, and it features some of Kurosawa’s best action scenes, shot and cut in his characteristic vigorous three-camera set-ups. It’s better than Star Wars.

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MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“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