MCN Originals Archive for August, 2014

The Weekend Report

Traditionally one of the industry’s slowest sessions, the Labor Day weekend provided the usual summer’s end blahs with two new genre pics. The horror yarn As Above/So Below opened in fourth spot with an estimated $.8.3 million (all figures represent the 3-day portion of the weekend) and the spy thriller The November Man was a jot behind at $7.6 million.

The frames top grosser were Guardians of the Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with respectively $16.3 million and $11.7 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Guardians of the Galaxy, now the top domestic grosser for the summer, returns to the top of the box office chart in one of the weakest movie weekends of the year. And the newcomers assure that status will remain with two sub-$9m 3-day openings. On the indie side, Cantinflas will crack the Top Ten for the weekend with around $6k per-screen on 382 screens.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Pre-Venice/Telluride/Toronto Best Picture Field

It’s time for another award season to begin. And The Gurus o’ Gold are back. This week, a look at the field before the fall festivals launch. Each Guru was asked to pick 15 titles, in no order, that they see as the top contenders for Best Picture this season. Besides setting the field, it is worth noting that in the last four seasons, every film that has gone on to win Best Picture has been selected on this chart by all the Gurus or by all Gurus except for one. Take that for what it’s worth.

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The Weekend Report

Guardians of the Galaxy rocketed back to the top of the movie going hart with an estimated $17.7 million, fending off a trio of foes. Of the freshmen, only the YA adaptation of If I Stay demonstrated any real commercial strength with a third place entry of $16.4 million. The combo of football and “inspiration” tallied $8.8 million for When the Game Stands Tall and mostly firing blanks, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, plugged $6.3 million.

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The Gronvall Report: Ira Sachs On LOVE IS STRANGE

Irony is a weapon that’s most effective when wielded lightly, rather than with sledgehammer force. In the engrossing, richly textured indie drama Love is Strange, directed, co-written, and co-produced by Ira Sachs, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina), New Yorkers who’ve been lovers for 39 years, tie the knot under their state’s recent Marriage Equality Act. But shortly after their nuptials George loses his teaching job at a Manhattan parochial school because of that institution’s opposition to gay unions. Instead of binding them closer, their wedding now drives Ben and George apart, as their sudden financial hardship forces them to sell their co-op and find separate, temporary lodgings with others.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

The weekend winner will be Girls Gone Weepy entry If I Stay, Chloe Moretz’s 2nd film as a big-head poster lead. Opening day is 5% ahead of Carrie. Meanwhile, things are rough for The Weinsteins, as When the Game Stands Tall, a last drop of the pre-Rothman Tri-Star miscellaneous releasing arm, out opens Sin City 2, which is 78% off the first film on opening day.

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The DVD Wrapup: Only Lovers Left Alive, Spider-Man 2, Fading Gigolo and more

If you plan to watch only one more vampire movie this year, make it Only Lovers Left Behind. Like Tomas Alfredson and John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In and Neil Jordan’s Byzantium, Jim Jarmusch’s dreamy undead romance stands apart from the crowd of horror pictures whose sole intention is to make audiences cringe.

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The Weekend Report

A trio of new releases couldn’t unseat last weekend’s top titles, resulting in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Guardians of the Galaxy leading the session with estimated respective box office of $27.9 million and $24.6 million. Newcomers lined up right behind with Let’s Be Cops grossing $17.6 million, The Expendables 3 with $16.1 and YA adaptation The Giver trailing at $12.7 million.

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The DVD Wrapup: Railway Man, Boredom, Cold Lands and more

It’s not that Americans don’t already assume the worst about the CIA and mostly don’t care about the techniques used to glean useful intelligence, with much disinformation thrown in to save another beating. Fact is, our elected officials simply don’t want their constituents to know how little control they had over what happened in the execution of the war on terrorism. I was reminded of this by Jonathan Teplitzky’s The Railway Man, which graphically describes the application of torture on British POWs in World War II by Japanese soldiers and officers. In a very real sense, it serves as a companion piece to The Bridge on the River Kwai.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

We are in the dregs of summer as the movies open that look, smell, and feel like franchises, but are either on the decline or were never meant to ascend. The Expendables 3 is falling off twice as fast from the sequel as the sequel did off the original. Let’s Be Cops, despite real-world events, looks like a money-maker in spite of what reads as a weak start. And audiences have given up on the YA wannabe, The Giver. Meanwhile, Guardians passes $200m on the way to top domestic gross of the summer (still likely under $300m) and the turtle who are mutant and ninja have the expected second Friday drop and will pass $100m today.

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The Weekend Report

Ever try to put a stake through a turtle’s heart? Just when you thought the franchise had gone moribund Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stunned with an estimated $65.1 million debut that led session moviegoing. Three other films opened nationally to varying results including predictable returns of $17.8 million for the tornado commandos of Into the Storm, a soupçon better than expected $11.2 million for The Hundred-Foot Journey and a franchise-killing $6.2 million for Step Up: All In

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Wilmington on Movies: The Hundred-Foot Journey

Helen Mirren, of Great Britain is a great movie actress and Om Puri, of India, is a superb actor—and together, as they share the stage and the kitchens for their new film The Hundred-Foot Journey, they whip up quite a tasty dish: a lip-smacking love story and a culinary comedy treat.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

A big Friday for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. How strong will Saturday hold? Also, a decent drop for Guardians… the best of this summer for the $90m+ openers. And three other new entries open wide and get a kick in the teeth, the biggest of which is the effects actioner Into The Storm, which won’t manage $20 million for the weekend. The Hundred Foot Journey may survive the overly aggressive release… if it is still in theaters in a couple weeks when its audience tends to turn up. And Step Up is stepping down as a franchise.

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The DVD Wrapup: Finding Vivian Maier, Around the Block, Ping Pong Summer, L’amore in Citta, Without Warning, Need for Speed, I’ll Follow You Down, Bitten … More

The thing to remember about Vivian Maier is that, while something of a hoarder, she wasn’t a recluse. Not only was Chicago her oyster, but she also travelled internationally and recorded the habits and fashions of people representing all social classes.

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The Weekend Report

Add a franchise to the list. Guardians of the Galaxy swept up roughly half of weekend box office biz with a commanding estimated $93.2 million debut. That left the other national newcomer Get On Up working hard to secure third position with $14.1 million. Among exclusive bows there was encouraging initial response for the dark Irish walk along the Via Doloroso, Calvary, with $71,600 from four confessionals. The frame also featured noteworthy expansions for Boyhood and Magic in the Moonlight.

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Wilmington on Movies: A Most Wanted Man

Bachmann is a cynic, a spoiled idealist, an addict who chain smokes cigarettes, downs whiskey after whiskey and speaks in a rumbling monotone glib growl laced with world-weary innuendo. For his sins, he’s been assigned to the anti-terrorist office in Hamburg, a snake pit of spying and double-dealing in which murder runs rampant and catastrophes like the 9/11 World Trade Center attack are planned. You could not possibly see this part performed better than Philip Seymour Hoffman does here.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Guardians of the Galaxy opens strong. James Brown works about half as hard as Jackie Robinson. Calvary charges into the top-ten indie opening.

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The DVD Wrapup

Noah, Herzog, Grace Kelly, Deneuve, Curtains, Cuban Fire, Yellow Sun, U.S. of Secrets and more.

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MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“A shot is a story. A shot on its own should be a piece of a story. Which is why I talk a lot about watching films, even the films we’re working on, with the sound off. Just to analyze how the film works, because a film should work for an audience without any sound. The biggest problem I see is that someone may have a superficial understanding of what a shot is propositionally, but they don’t have an understanding of how all of these shots are part of a family that needs to connect, and so you’ll get something that’s like a sentence arranged poorly with six nouns in a row. That surprises me, because I think that’s something that can be learned. Some things can’t be, but that can. It’s a grammar. In a classroom I could walk somebody through the difference between a sequence in which the filmmaker has a deep understanding of how images connect, and someone who doesn’t. It’s not really an intellectual process. Some people are just born with it and are just sort of savants at that deep mathematical understanding of shot construction.  I’m better than I used to be, but there are some people I’m just never going to catch. Spielberg. His staging ability. I’m never going to catch him. But when you’re trying to figure out how to get better—I’m not competitive in the sense of looking around at other filmmakers and comparing myself to them. What I do have to think about in trying to navigate myself through a career is: what can I get better at, and what do I have that I can enhance that somebody else doesn’t have?”
~ Steven Soderbergh

“It’s not going to be huge. He and I had been corresponding for a while. When I finally met him, he said, ‘We should collaborate.’ When John Ashbery says that to you, you don’t say when, you just say yes. It has not been easy to conjure this out of nothing. Sean Price Williams and I spent time with him, and it will appear on FilmStruck before the year is out…. I have figured out how to streamline things. I still have dreams of making movies with bigger budgets, and they might be considered to have more of a voice in pop culture. I don’t want to let go of that. I also realize that you grow up a lot of your life with wishful thinking and waiting. I have figured out ways to avoid doing that. I am working on a bigger movie about Nikola Tesla, set in the past, so it is not an easy film to make. I am also working on an adaptation of Don DeLillo’s ‘White Noise.’ That seems more likely to catch fire.”
Michael Almereyda Steps It Up