MCN Originals Archive for May, 2015

The Weekend Report

The earth moved but there was no fault line for San Andreas as it buried the competition in the rubble with an estimated $53 million debut. The other national newcomer Aloha lei-ed an egg with a $9.8 million opening.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

The seventh wide opening of the summer, San Andreas, opens to the third best Friday of the 2015 season, behind only Pitch Perfect 2 (still #2 in its third weekend) and Avengers: Age of Ultron, which seems like a hundred years ago already (still #6 this weekend). But how it will hold this weekend and moving forward, that is the question. It has a very strong chance of significantly outperforming PP2 internationally, just as it is unlikely to ever pass PP2 domestically.

Also opening is Aloha, which will be the summer’s weakest wide opening (we’re letting The D Train have a pass, which never went wider than 1009 screens). Just to frustrate film critics, who have lined up against the film both on quality and on political correctness, the film will likely open better than We Bought A Zoo, Cameron Crowe’s last, much better-reviewed film. Maybe casting Emma Stone as Alison Ng paid off.

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Review: Aloha (non-spoiler)

There should be no pleasure in tearing down the work of a mighty and sincere aesthetic warrior. Cameron Crowe is one such warrior. It would be easy, if lazy, to compare him to other greats who disintegrated before our eyes, their personal visions somehow muddled by too much success, too much money, too many years. But Aloha doesn’t feel like that to me. It feels like something that has ambition to spare, but an utter inability to tie all of its disparate strands together.

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The DVD Wrapup: Magician: Orson Welles, The Confession and more

In the stage and cinema works of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, it wasn’t always easy for postwar German audiences to differentiate between social satire, parody and provocation. The same holds true for his legacy on film, outside Germany. In a career that lasted 16 years, he was responsible for writing, directing and acting in nearly 50 movies, shorts and TV mini-series, as well as continuing to create Brechtian theater pieces. After beginning his career in the late 1960s making films that ranged from experimental to difficult, Fassbinder would turn to the Hollywood melodramas of German émigré Douglas Sirk for creative inspiration.

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Wilmington on Movies: Poltergeist / When Marnie Was There

One thing you can say in favor of the latest Poltergeist is that at least nobody in it gets tortured, hideously maimed, eviscerated, eaten, or chopped to screaming bits. Children may take their parents to this picture, without fear of nightmares.

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The Weekend Report (4-Day Estimates)

The four-day estimates are in and Tomorrowland expands its lead slightly for the 34th best Memorial Day Weekend gross ever (but expect the “actuals” to be a little lower because of an aggressive Monday estimate). If Disney wants some information about what went wrong, they can call 411, which is also the number of millions Avengers 2 hit domestically this weekend. Poltergeist turns in the 13th best four-day of 2015 so far. Far From The Madding Crowd expands positively, though gently. And I’ll See You In My Dreams tops all per-screen grossers.

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The Weekend Report

It was the future by a nose as Tomorrowland edged out Pitch Perfect 2 for the holiday box office crown. It opened to an estimated $32.2 million to PP2 with $30.3 million (all figures reflect 3-day box office). Also bowing for Memorial weekend was the reboot of Poltergeist that generated a scary $22.7 million that slotted fourth overall.

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Cannes 68: A Wrap

It was a Festival divided from the outset.

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Wilmington on Movies: Tomorrowland

Watching Tomorrowlan—a great big film hunk of love and optimism and confusion from the Walt Disney Studio—you sometimes get the idea that director-writer Brad Bird and company are trying not just to create a new movie but maybe to found a new movement; Dianetics for Disneyphiles, or Pessimists Anonymous or Worldmakers. (Just kidding.)

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Friday Box Office Estimates

“Let’s play two,” says Pitch Perfect 2 as Tomorrowland comes out of the blocks slow, hoping that family audiences will power it to a long weekend win, while Poltergeist is going to scare up some business, but nothing quite as shocking as a scary clown. Meanwhile, the much beloved Mad Max: Fury Road continues to do mediocre business, struggling towards $100m domestic, while PP2 passses that landmark today, just nine days into the run.

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The DVD Wrapup: Leviathan, Lovesick, Before I Disappear, Blue Room and more

Instead of being iron-fisted by Communist Party functionaries, however, the populace is ruled by an increasingly militaristic government and bullied by plutocrats, gangsters, small-minded politicians and conservative leaders of the ascendant Russian Orthodox Church. That much, at least, can be inferred in Andrey Zvyagintsev’s overtly allegorical drama, Leviathan, which ironically was inspired by the story of a Colorado man whose beef with city officials eventually led him to armor-plate a bulldozer and use it as a battering ram against bureaucratic intransigence.

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Cannes Review: Love

Love is a waste of time. It’s a waste of time because, well, most importantly—does anyone really spend more than ten minutes staring at pornography?

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Wilmington on Movies: Pitch Perfect 2 / Pitch Perfect

Any movie sequel that starts out by having its costar moon the President of the United States and the First Lady at Lincoln Center obviously doesn’t suffer from a lack of self-confidence.

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Cannes Review: Youth

It seems like a lot of Paulo Sorrentino’s work is steeped in the truth that it doesn’t matter what age you are, because the grand narratives of life seem to more or less remain the same.

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Cannes You Dig It?: Episode 3

It’s odd to leave Cannes not having fallen fully in love… with a movie.

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Cannes Review: Sicario

Trust in Denis Villeneuve.

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Cannes Review: Son of Saul

Call it a gimmick, but there’s a ghostly, haunting vibe here, especially in the production design (and of course the historical substance). You and I have seen other films with a similar setting, but Son of Saul really moves through this concentration camp with an overwhelming sense of urgency and context that is unfamiliar.

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Wilmington on Movies: Mad Max: Fury Road

Head-banging, car-crashing action movies with minimal dialogue and maximum carnage may make a lot of money, but they’ve also gotten (deservedly) a bad odor for some film-lovers, including, sometimes, me

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The Weekend Report

Pitch Perfect 2 hit the right note and bowed to an estimated $70.2 million to win weekend bragging rights. The session’s other wide release, Mad Max: Fury Road, also opened dynamically with $44.4 million

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Cannes Review: Carol

Subtle, delicate, exquisite. Like staying up all night to witness the blooming of a flower, Todd Haynes’ Carol is something special.

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MCN Originals

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“It’s a film festival’s job—and increasingly so—to create moments of recognition, of enjoyment, of shock, of learning. Not of consumerism. Not of implementing cultural policy. But moments without pretence, unclouded by vested interests, by intervention, by cynicism, by everyday business. Committed to nothing but the thing itself. Under obligation to nothing, to no one, not even to the filmmakers themselves. To basically seek access to a form that does not yet exist, a place no one has been to, a time that has not yet come. ’A form that thinks, and a thought that forms,’ as Jean-Luc Godard has it.”
~ Hans Hurch, late director of the Viennale

“There’s a mass belief that if you’re texting, you’re somehow not interrupting the conversation—you’re not being rude. It’s an illusion of multitasking. I started filmmaking when people didn’t expect to have a phone on set, when it would’ve been seen as unprofessional to pull out a phone. Phones have become a huge distraction, and people work much better without them. At first it causes difficulty, but it really allows them to concentrate on what they’re doing. Everybody understands. I’ve had a lot of crews thank me. With a set, we’re trying to create a bubble of alternate reality.”
~ Christopher Nolan