MCN Originals Archive for January, 2015

Friday Box Office Estimates

American Sniper showed traditional fatigue yesterday, dropping a more normal 45% from the previous Friday. Still, as the film’s weekends have gone so well so far, it will pass $250 million domestic Sunday. Three wide release newcomers (Project Almanac, Black or White, and The Loft) will fail to reach as much as $10 million. In limited release, the “Game of Thrones “special IMAX release drew about $3300 per screen and showings of Oscar-nominated shorts will extend to almost $200k this weekend.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Is The Door Wide Open Again?

Could the Academy’s bizarre preferential balloting system be the defining issue in coming to a Best Picture winner this year?

And let me note again, before going any further, that the existence of the preferential ballot system at The Academy is IDIOTIC and I will forever believe that this was a bad joke foisted on The Academy by an exiting Bruce Davis.

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Sundance Seen Part 1

The whispering of powder from a dull quiet sky. Snowflakes fall between the screenings. Then the sun is bright and powder dusts off the slopes.

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The DVD Wrapup: The Judge, Downton Abbey, My Old Lady, Green Prince, Bird People and more

Downey and Duvall may be dredging up ghosts of characters they’ve played in countless previous movies, but that’s enough to recommend The Judge to their fans and courtroom drama buffs.

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Sundance 2015 Review: Advantageous

In Phang’s imaginary future, it’s pretty much the same-old, same-old: As men grow older and wiser, they morph into handsome “silver foxes” without losing stride on the career or social desirability fronts. As women grow older and wiser, though, their perceived worth diminishes while those aging men chase after younger, newer versions to upgrade to. Phang’s tale imagines a reality where a woman could choose to “upgrade” herself to a younger and thereby more desirable version. You don’t have to be a woman working in the film industry to relate to (or fear) such a thing, though Hollywood is perhaps closer to the future we see here than anywhere else and, sadly, populated by a lot of women who would quite likely line up around the block to take advantage of it.

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Sundance Reviews: The Wolfpack, Slow West

Unique ironies surround Crystal Moselle’s bewildering documentary, The Wolfpack, not the least of which is that the film opens with a group of brothers at home re-enacting Reservoir Dogs, a film that premiered at Sundance 23 years ago.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: It’s Gettin’ Hot In Here

There are a lot of theories out there about how to read the tea leaves this season. But for me, the truth is that I have never seen anything quite like it.

PGA and SAG, Birdman. Globes, Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel. LAFCA and NYFCC, Boyhood. Coming up in short order… DGA, BAFTA, WGA.

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Sundance 2015 Review: The Second Mother

The intelligent, sometimes biting social commentary woven throughout the film is somewhat reminiscent of Lucretia Martel’s 2008 Cannes entry The Headless Woman, but where that film relied on ethereal cinematography and wove its social commentary enigmatically and almost abstractly, The Second Mother tackles similar issues of class division and human dignity primarily through humor and studies in contrast: Val’s unquestioning acceptance of the social construct versus her smart, modern daughter’s questioning of “the way things are.”

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The Weekend Report

American Sniper continued to hold sway at the box office with an estimated weekend gross of $63.9 million. Trailing in second place was the debut of the sexual suspenser The Boy Next Door with $15 million. Two other titles opened nationally to close to D.O.A. results. The not so madcap comedy Mordecai bowed with $4.1 million and the not terribly animated Strange Music (“from the mind of George Lucas”) eked out $5.5 million.

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Sundance Review: The Witch

The most effective horror films have a sense of dread that never really goes away, constantly pushing the needle and raising the stakes. There needn’t be cheap jump scares every minute or two to create something tense if everything else in the production is unsettling.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

American Sniper dropped a little bit more than some projections expected, but will still have a remarkable second weekend and will be in range of $200 million by weekend’s end (a little under or over). The much-abused The Boy Next Door will do a little less than last weekend’s The Wedding Ringer, which is off 53% Friday-to-Friday. And in carwreck mode are both Johnny “Time For A New Schtick” Depp’s Mortdecai and George Lucas’ Lucasfilm swan song, Strange Magic.

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Sundance Review: THE BRONZE

It was unreasonable to expect the opening night U. S. Dramatic film would play as well as 2014’s electric Whiplash for a curtain-raiser to Sundance.

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The DVD Wrapup: Boxtrolls, Lucy, Zero Theorem, Rudderless, Maddin, Sturges, Rohmer, Narwhals and more

Of all the branches of the Motion Picture Academy, it’s the ones representing animated films and documentaries that routinely produce the greatest howlers on the day nominations are announced. It’s not even close. In a year when The LEGO Movie and Life Itself could have just as easily rounded out the Best Picture category at 10 nominees – the full academy dissed audiences and filmmakers worldwide by limiting itself to eight finalists – the elimination of those fine films by their respective branches gave viewers two very good reasons to skip this year’s ceremony. I mean, why reward incompetency and elitism with Nielsen ratings? This isn’t to imply that the movies that did make the cut weren’t worthy of being invited to the party, just that whomever wins the Oscar in those categories will, like Roger Maris, forever have to live with an asterisk next to their names. The five films nominated as this year’s Best Animated Feature are excellent entertainments, if not the critical and commercial success that “LEGO” became, and all will have entered the Blu-ray market by March 17. So, you be the judge.

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Gurus o’ Gold: A Week After Nominations… Any Changes?

The Gurus update their Best Picture picks and answer this question: Has the leader in any of the other categories changed, in your view, over the last week?

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Ragin’

I don’t know that I have seen anything like this before. It’s kind of about Oscar season. It’s mostly not. But Oscar has yelled “pull” and now everyone is shooting at the clay pigeons. And the bullets are flying from every direction.

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Six Films To Watch At Sundance

Attending Sundance this year means personally jumping through a lot of difficult hoops to make it happen, but this festival is becoming legendary—2014’s iteration eclipsed both Cannes and TIFF combined—and I simply couldn’t skip this year.

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The Weekend Report (4-day numbers)

American Sniper is the big story at the box office, the #1 drama opening in movie history. Paddington and The Wedding Ringer each had $24m-$25m four-day openings. And The Imitation Game cracked $50 million.

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The Weekend Report (3-Day)

The national release of American Sniper was better than a bullseye with a record-breaking estimate of $89.3 million (all figures reflect 3-day box office) that represented roughly 45% of session box office. The Martin Luther King holiday frame saw three other national releases including strong returns of $20.9 million for the urban comedy The Wedding Ringer and $19 million for the beloved kid-lit bear Paddington. Conversely there was little threat from the hack attack Blackhat , which bowed to $4 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Clint’s bullseye: a $30 million opening day; Kevin Hart comes up relatively short at $6.9 million; Paddington‘s accepted by a new society at $4.6 million, while Liam Neeson’s Taken another $4.3 million for a cume of $53.1 million. Selma hits $20 million while Blackhat deciphers only $1.8 million at eighth.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Nomination Day (1 of 2)

The Gurus have voted on the slotting of 22 categories (no shorts yet) after today’s nominations. And if you listen to the Gurus today, 14 of those awards will be split pretty evenly between Boyhood, Birdman, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

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MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“When Bay keeps these absurd plot-gears spinning, he’s displaying his skill as a slick, professional entertainer. But then there are the images of motion—I hesitate to say, of things in motion, because it’s not clear how many things there are in the movie, instead of mere digital simulations of things. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that there’s a car chase through London, seen from the level of tires, that could have gone on for an hour, um, tirelessly. What matters is that the defenestrated Cade saves himself by leaping from drone to drone in midair like a frog skipping among lotus pads; that he and Vivian slide along the colossal, polished expanses of sharply tilting age-old fields of metal like luge Olympians. What matters is that, when this heroic duo find themselves thrust out into the void of inner space from a collapsing planet, it has a terrifyingly vast emptiness that Bay doesn’t dare hold for more than an instant lest he become the nightmare-master. What matters is that the enormous thing hurtling toward Earth is composed in a fanatical detail that would repay slow-motion viewing with near-geological patience. Bay has an authentic sense of the gigantic; beside the playful enormity of his Transformerized universe, the ostensibly heroic dimensions of Ridley Scott’s and Christopher Nolan’s massive visions seem like petulant vanities.”
~ Michael Bay Gives Richard Brody A Tingle

How do you see film evolving in this age of Netflix?

I thought the swing would be quicker and more violent. There have been two landmark moments in the history of French film. First in 1946, with the creation of the CNC under the aegis of Malraux. He saved French cinema by establishing the advance on receipts and support fund mechanisms. We’re all children of this political invention. Americans think that the State gives money to French films, but they’re wrong. Through this system, films fund themselves!

The other great turning point came by the hand of Jack Lang in the 1980s, after the creation of Canal+. While television was getting ready to become the nemesis of film, he created the decoder, and a specific broadcasting space between film and television, using new investments for film. That once again saved French film.

These political decisions are important. We’re once again facing big change. If our political masters don’t take control of the situation and new stakeholders like Netflix, Google and Amazon, we’re headed for disaster. We need to create obligations for Internet service providers. They can’t always be against film. They used to allow piracy, but now that they’ve become producers themselves, they’re starting to see things in a different light. This is a moment of transition, a strong political act needs to be put forward. And it can’t just be at national level, it has to happen at European level.

Filmmaker Cédric Klapisch