MCN Originals Archive for December, 2014

20 Weeks To Oscar: Oscar Zit Of The Day

Wasn’t it just 48 hours ago that I wrote about the foolishness of reconsidering Selma as a work of art because of what may a legitimate beef on the detail of the film by a witness to a part of the history the film covers? Now we have an eruption from the only participating central subject in Foxcatcher, Mark Schultz. He is angry, angry, angry at Bennett Miller…

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The DVD Wrapup: Binoche, Coogan, Lewis, Clarkson, Mamet, Maclaine & Plummer and More

Anyone who fell in love with Michael Winterbottom’s wonderfully offbeat buddy/road comedy, The Trip, should relish the opportunity to follow Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in the equally delicious sequel, The Trip to Italy. I doubt, however, that anyone unfamiliar with or unimpressed by The Trip — or the not-for-everyone Coogan, for that matter – will have their minds changed by what happens to them in Italy.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: History Is Written By…

I don’t care whether Selma is a work of precise historical accuracy. I do care how it makes me and other audiences feel, how it makes us think, what it has to say. This is just as true of The Interview and American Sniper and Foxcatcher and The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything and Unbroken and Big Eyes and The Penguins of Madagascar.

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The Weekend Report

No big changes from Friday… or Thursday. Unbroken remains about a million ahead of Into The Woods , both headed to $100m+. The Hobbittstill on top by more than 30%. The Imitation Game showing its commercial legitimacy. The Interview averages an estimated $5,800 per screen on 331 after all the noise, suggesting that VOD day-‘n-‘date remains cannibalistic.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Two days into the Christmas 4-day, The Hobbit 3 returns to the top, both for Friday and for the cume of Thurs-Fri. Still, Unbroken and Into The Woods are doing strong business and should be around the $50 million mark by the end of the weekend. American Sniper remains steady on Day 2, down minimally from opening day, though still on just four screens. Selma takes a 35% hit from opening day, but could be extra-strong on Sunday, as churches send parishioners from the pews to the theaters. And The Interview drops from its millio- dollar opening day to $720k, drawing about $2,175 per screen… which is good, but hardly overwhelming. The story continues to write itself, day by day.

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Review-ish: The Interview

It’s real simple. If you find James Franco playing a relentlessly positive buffoon right out of a Preston Sturges movie funny, you will love The Interview. If you find it boring and trite that Franco and Kim Jong-Un bond over a Katy Perry song and their hopelessly demanding fathers, you will hate The Interview.

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Wilmington on DVDs: A Christmas Carol (1951)

Perhaps critics and movie lovers treasure it because they can see how deftly Hurst and Langley have resisted the obvious temptations of the material. This is the one of the most faithful of all “Christmas Carol”adaptations and also one of the least sentimental, one of the most stylishly crafted and one of the more psychologically acute. It’s beyond question a film for adults more than for children, which is almost never how “A Christmas Carol” is played.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Academy Members, Please Watch…

The Gurus wish you a Merry Christmas and whisper the names of the films they hope will end up in the Academy membership’s viewing stockings to be watched before the new year. At the top of the list, NightcrawlerA Most Violent YearTwo Days, One Night

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Review-ish (spoilers): Annie (2014)

The problem with the new songs is that they are instantly forgettable and don’t seem to have anything to do with the show with which so many are familiar. I get adding a song or two. But dumping most of the show from the second half is just obnoxious. It could be less painful if the new songs were good. But they are not. They are auto-tuned bellowing that seems like a bad rip-off of Foxx in Dreamgirls. Brutal.

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The Weekend Report

The final installment The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies not unexpectedly led weekend viewing with an estimated $55.9 million. Two other new releases slugged it out for the bridesmaid slot with Night at the Museum: The Secret of the Tomb slight ahead of the re-imagined contemporary urban Annie with $16.9 million to $16.1 million respectively. Session box office chimed in just shy of $140 million and an upward bump of 64% from the immediate prior weekend. It was nonetheless 5% behind the 2013 frame was the second weekend of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug edged out Anchorman 2 with, respectively $31.5 million to $26.2 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

A lot of very hopeful movies are opening between now and a week from now, as is the norm for the holiday. It’s hard to judge the Friday for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five ArmiesHobbit movie after doing it with all three Rings movies.The domestic gross has been behind Rings on all Hobbits, but the international ahead in all but the Oscar-winning finale. So… we’ll see. Signs are good. As for Museum 3 and Annie , the history of this kind of opening in December is that $100m domestic is still a legit option for both… playability will be key.

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The DVD Wrapup: Woody’s Magic, Where I Leave You, Stonehearst Asylum, TMNT, Iguana, Altina, Ed Woods Porn, Doby Gillis … More

After holding his own against big summer blockbusters with such small gems as Midnight in Paris, Blue Jasmine, and To Rome With Love, Woody Allen delivered a light summer confection that had no chance against Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Guardians of the Galaxy.

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Gurus o’ Gold: The Top 8 Categories Heading Into The Holiday Break

The Gurus take on the “Top 8″ categories… Picture, Acting, Screenplay, and Director. Selma continues to fly high, but the big mover this week is The Grand Budapest Hotel. And the biggest loser? Foxcatcher across the board.

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DVD Geek: Snowpiercer

So, the science is at best dubious, the drama, while engagingly performed, is hardly profound, and the story, even aside from the fantasy parts, is illogical and is a mad amalgam of genres. Why, then, is Snowpiercer so entertaining? The answer is simple, it’s a train movie.

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The Weekend Report

Exodus: Gods and Kings swept into the marketplace with an estimated $24.5 million to lead weekend movie ticket sales. The session’s other national newcomer was raw romantic comedy Top Five that bowed to $7.1 million. The exclusive bow of Inherent Vice generated a potent $336,000 box office from five pads and modest expansions for The Imitation Game and Wild maintained both pictures’ commercial momentum.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Exodus will “win” the weekend easily, but right there in between December releases with hope of Christian audience interest The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Golden Compass, both of which were considered flops at the time. This does not preclude word-of-mouth from arriving for Exodus. But the launch leaves much to be desire. Likewise, Top Five, which has every indication of getting very, very strong word-of-mouth started slow, even on just 979 screens. Paramount clearly saw this problem coming in tracking and slowed the roll (out) to build the chatter on the film. They will know whether that paid off by next weekend .Inherent Vice lands on five pads with a per-screen that should inhale about $80k for the weekend.

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Gurus o’ Gold(-n-Globes)

The Gurus pay tribute to The Golden Globe nominations (due Thursday morning), but projecting the Picture, Actor & Actress races. And of course, this week’s update on Oscar’s Best Picture race.

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The Gronvall Report: Screenwriter Graham Moore on THE IMITATION GAME

Graham Moore is no slouch. He was only 29 when his debut novel, “The Sherlockian,” hit The New York Times bestseller list in 2010. Now his first feature film, The Imitation Game, is pegged for awards group plaudits in this year’s very crowded Oscar race. Adapting Andrew Hodges’s nonfiction book “Alan Turing: The Enigma,” screenwriter Moore (also the film’s executive producer) has crafted a biopic that may have a few purely fictional elements, but nonetheless sheds light on a real-life war hero whose professional achievements were long clouded–in the popular imagination, at least–by personal scandal in his final years.

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DVD Gift Guide II: Guardians of the Galaxy, Wonder Years, Jacques Tati, Spielberg, Red Skelton and More

As difficult as it might be to imagine gifting a fan of mainstream films with a collection of comedies by a French filmmaker and actor, I have no qualms about suggesting you stock up on Criterion Collection’s The Complete Jacques Tati for stocking-stuffing. Funny is funny and one needn’t be fluent in French—or a film scholar—to dig Tati’s many talents. He can be fairly compared to Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and other great Hollywood actors of the silent era, as well as Marcel Marceau and, yes, Jerry Lewis. His alter ego, Monsieur Hulot, with his trademark raincoat, umbrella and pipe, is simply one of the most recognizable comic characters in the world.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Box Office

After The Hurt Locker won with less than $15 million in the box office till… after The Artist won with $32 million… And even 12 Years A Slave at $50 million and 4 well-respected contenders over $100 million… does “a wasted vote” exist anymore?

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MCN Originals

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From AMPAS president John Bailey:

Dear Fellow Academy Members,

Danish director Carl Dreyer’s 1928 film “The Passion of Joan of Arc” is not only one of the visual landmarks of the silent era, but is a deeply disturbing portrait of a young woman’s persecution in the face of the male judges and priests of the ruling order. The actress Maria Falconetti gave one of the most profoundly affecting performances in the history of cinema as the Maid of Orleans.

Since the decision of the Academy’s Board of Governors on Saturday October 14 to expel producer Harvey Weinstein from its membership, I have been haunted not only by the recurring image of Falconetti and the sad arc of her career (dying in Argentina in 1946, reputedly from a crash diet) but of Joan’s refusal to submit to an auto de fe recantation of her beliefs.

Recent public testimonies by some of filmdom’s most recognized women regarding sexual intimidation, predation, and physical force is, clearly, a turning point in the film industry—and hopefully in our country, where what happens in the world of movies becomes a marker of societal Zeitgeist. Their decision to stand up against a powerful, abusive male not only parallels the cinema courage of Falconetti’s Joan but gives all women courage to speak up.

After Saturday’s Board of Governors meeting, the Academy issued a passionately worded statement, expressing not only our concern about harassment in the film industry, but our intention to be a strong voice in changing the culture of sexual exploitation in the movie business, already common well before the founding of the Academy 90 years ago. It is up to all of us Academy members to more clearly define for ourselves the parameters of proper conduct, of sexual equality, and respect for our fellow artists throughout our industry. The Academy cannot, and will not, be an inquisitorial court, but we can be part of a larger initiative to define standards of behavior, and to support the vulnerable women and men who may be at personal and career risk because of violations of ethical standards by their peers.


.“People that are liars — lying to his wife, to his children, to everyone — well, they have to turn around and say, ‘Who stabbed me?’ It’s unbelievable that even to this moment he is more concerned with who sold him out. I don’t hear concern or contrition for the victims. And I want them to hear that.”
~ Bob Weinstein