MCN Originals Archive for March, 2015

The Gronvall Report: Simon Curtis On WOMAN IN GOLD

When he segued into film after notable work for the stage and in television, director Simon Curtis may not have set out to revive that staple of the Golden Age of movies, the “woman’s picture,” but so far he’s two for two.

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The Weekend Report

Estimates for DreamWorks Animation’s Home make it the best opening for the studio since moving to Fox for distribution, topping even last summer’s Oscar-winning Dragon sequel. Get Hard is the #3 opening of Will Ferrell’s live-action career, very similar to Blades of Glory. Radius/Weinstein throws It Follows into theatrical release without the threat of immediate VOD and it will become their #1 theatrical grosser ever, in just a few more days.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Home lands in the top third of DreamWorks Animation openings, right in the range of last summer’s How To Train Your Dragon 2, prompting a much-needed sigh of relief for DWA and Fox marketing. Get Hard opens to a number remarkably close to another Will Ferrell late-March opening, Blades of Fire, which also happens to be one of his Top Five career openers as a lead. And, finally, some life on the arthouse scene, as Radius’ decision to withdraw It Follows from the day-n-date VOD market will pay off with a $4m+ weekend that would not have happened with day-n-date. And Noah Baumbach’s While We Are Young is looking at a $40K+ per-screen on four.

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The DVD Wrapup: Into the Woods, Unbroken, Errol Morris, Michael Almereyda, Mr. Bean and More

It’s no secret that the Disney empire owes a great debt of gratitude—if not any licensing fees or screen credits–to the Brothers Grimm, whose many wonderful stories the company has cherry-picked for movies, television shows, Broadway, amusement parks, plush toys and costumes. If proceeds from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs allowed Uncle Walt to create Disney Studios in Burbank, the success of Cinderella, 13 years later, probably saved it from financial ruin.

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48 Weeks To Oscar: Academy In Crisis(?)

The grass always seems greener on the other side. But it is not always the case. In the case of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, it is a sad story of insecurity, fear, oversized yet easily bruised ego, and a lack of perspective on itself.

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The Weekend Report

Insurgent, the second chapter in the YA series, led weekend viewing with an estimated $53.2 million. The potent bow left little more than scraps for the counter-programmers that debuted nationally. The muscle-flexing The Gunman flabbed with a $5 million launch while the faith-based Do You Believe? had a skeptical $3.8 million box office. Exclusive debuts ranged from an excellent $74,200 bow for Danny Collins for neophyte distrib Bleecker Street to a dismal $4,600 for Accidental Love, the remnant of David O. Russell’s 2008 production formally titled Nailed and now credited to the Smithee-esque Stephen Greene.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Insurgent brings us the second weekend in a row with a $20 million Friday. It’s not quite Cinderella but then, who is? Speaking of Cindy, she takes a reasonable hit, but nothing else in the Top 10 manages to gross even $2 million on Friday, including the opening day of The Gunman. At the arthouse, only Al Pacino as Danny Collins manages over $3k per screen on opening day.

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The DVD Wrapup: Top Five, Soft Skin, Disorder, Mondovino, Troop Beverly Hills and more

If Chris Rock’s film career isn’t nearly as celebrated as those of Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy–standup giants before turning to feature films–it isn’t because the movies he’s in don’t make money. Most of them, especially the animated features to which he adds his distinctive voice, do well enough at the box-office to think that they probably did even better on DVD. It’s likely that Rock was responsible for selling as many tickets as Adam Sandler to the critically reviled, yet financially successful Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Salvation

The movie Western is a durable genre that has sometimes fallen on hard times. But that genre gets a powerful reworking from a couple of knowledgeable foreigners—not-so-gloomy Danes Kristian Levring (director-writer) and co-screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen—in the Go-Eastwood-Young-Man revenge shocker The Salvation.

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Wilmington on Movies: Run All Night

Why doesn’t Liam Neeson make movies today like Schindler’s List or Michael Collins?

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Leonard Klady Remembers Albert Maysles

On another occasion I called him and was told he was off with David shooting Grand Funk. The two were nuts about trains and I jumped to the wrong conclusion that they’d finally got a bead on how to do a document on the subject. When we talked the following Monday he just shrugged and mumbled something about endless requests to shoot rock groups post-Gimme Shelter and, in this case, Grand Funk Railway of We’re an American Band reknown. But his final film, the forthcoming In Transit, may finally have fulfilled that dream project.

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The Weekend Report

Cinderella broke through the glass (slipper) ceiling to command weekend viewing with an estimated $69.1 million. The venerable partygoer put a damper on the session’s only other wide newcomer, brooding thriller Run All Night, that came to ground with $11 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Cinderella slips into a comfortable $22.3 million, while a gloomy Liam Neeson only threatens $2.8 million with Run All Night.

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The DVD Wrapup: Liberator, Watchers of the Sky, R100, Code Black, Red Road, Red Tent and more

Because American students have never been required to be proficient in the history of the Americas south of the Alamo, the vast region continues to be something of a mystery to us. After learning how the conquistadors demolished and/or converted the indigenous population and sent their treasures back to Spain to fill the depleted coffers of the monarchy, we were left only with misconceptions. It took the martyrdom of Che Guevara, fear of communism and outrages of fascism to rekindle our interest in the affairs of South and Central America. The scourge of cocaine, black-tar heroin and illegal immigrants added a sense of urgency heretofore unwarranted. Affordable airfares and improved tourist accommodations have done more to educate Americans about the new realities of life in the western hemisphere than all of the textbooks that ignored imperialism and CIA meddling in national politics.

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Divining Cannes 2015

In less than two months, festival circuiteers return to the sunny Festival de Cannes, an event with serious heavy-hitters returning to the Croisette. That’s what the Palme d’Or Competition will likely be programmed primarily with this year: alumni.

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Sundance Seen Part 2: The Cooled Take

Sundance 2015, I told myself, would be a festival of no quick takes, some tweets, lots of movies, interviews, conversations, unforeseen run-ins and path-crossings, hundreds of photographs, and a few more movies. A noble experiment. Time to consider, reflect. Of course, afterwards, I was quickly reminded that there’s good reason for buckling down in the midst of all the sensory input of a film festival and churning copy and burning digital files. What happens once you’re back on the ground? Sure, plant your ass in the chair and type-type-type until all is tidy and done. But not so fast.

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The Weekend Report

Not exactly a happy Chappie but nonetheless the debut yarn of a “human” robot led session viewing with an estimated $13.1 million in an inclement frame. Two other new national releases bowed with Vince Vaughn vehile Unfinished Business posting dire results of $4.7 million, while The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel provided a ray of sunshine with $8.4 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Chappie leads crappy. But this will all change again next weekend as the fairy godmother sprinkles box office fairy dust around. Focus drops 55% vs last Friday, despite its fairly soft opening.

The hero of the weekend is The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which opened wide and will eclipse the best-ever weekend for the the original ($6.4 million) as a result.

Unfinished Business charts a big dip in the Vince Vaughn franchise. This will be his worst wide opening ever, which follows directly on the heels of the previous owner of that inauspicious honor, Delivery Man. Time to go rebuild in supporting roles, as he did with Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

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The DVD Wrapup: Better Angels, Humbling, Tinker Bell, Blacula, Outlander and more

It’s difficult to imagination that any film starring Al Pacino, directed by Barry Levinson and adapted by Buck Henry, from a novel by Philip Roth, couldn’t find distribution outside the festival circuit and a couple of big-city art houses. Thirty years ago, such a thing would be unthinkable.

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DVD Geek: Batman – The Complete Series

Under the mistaken assumption that it would teach me fiscal prudence, my parents limited my comic book purchases as a child to two magazines a month.  This was a wrenching dictum, because there were four or five that I enjoyed very much, and all of them came out monthly, but while I may have varied…

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MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many recappers, while clearly over their heads, are baseline sympathetic to finding themselves routinely unmoored, even if that means repeating over and over that this is closer to “avant-garde art” than  normal TV to meet the word count. My feed was busy connecting the dots to Peter Tscherkassky (gas station), Tony Conrad (the giant staring at feedback of what we’ve just seen), Pat O’Neill (bombs away) et al., and this is all apposite — visual and conceptual thinking along possibly inadvertent parallel lines. If recappers can’t find those exact reference points to latch onto, that speaks less to willful ignorance than to how unfortunately severed experimental film is from nearly all mainstream discussions of film because it’s generally hard to see outside of privileged contexts (fests, academia, the secret knowledge of a self-preserving circle working with a very finite set of resources and publicity access to the larger world); resources/capital/access/etc. So I won’t assign demerits for willful incuriosity, even if some recappers are reduced, in some unpleasantly condescending/bluffing cases, to dismissing this as a “student film” — because presumably experimentation is something the seasoned artist gets out of their system in maturity, following the George Lucas Model of graduating from Bruce Conner visuals to Lawrence Kasdan’s screenwriting.”
~ Vadim Rizov Goes For It, A Bit

“On the first ‘Twin Peaks,’ doing TV was like going from a mansion to a hut. But the arthouses are gone now, so cable television is a godsend — they’re the new art houses. You’ve got tons of freedom to do the work you want to do on TV, but there is a restriction in terms of picture and sound. The range of television is restricted. It’s hard for the power and the glory to come through. In other words, you can have things in a theater much louder and also much quieter. With TV, the quieter things have to be louder and the louder things have to be quieter, so you have less dynamics. The picture quality — it’s fine if you have a giant television with a good speaker system, but a lot of people will watch this on their laptops or whatever, so the picture and the sound are going to suffer big time. Optimally, people should be watching TV in a dark room with no disturbances and with as big and good a picture as possible and with as great sound as possible.”
~ David Lynch