MCN Originals Archive for December, 2016

Wilmington On Movies: Paterson

A confession. I love Jarmusch’s movies — or most of them anyway, because, like Jerry Seinfeld‘s TV show, they’re so resolutely and unblushingly about nothing or nothing much, or, to be succinct, about the poetry of nothing.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Doc & Foreign Faves

The Gurus are on vacation, but they left behind their thoughts about the short-list races of Feature Documentary and Foreign Language, offering up their personal preferences about both categories. And as always, Best Picture. Happy New Year to all. Oscar nomination voting starts in less than a week.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The (Shock) Corridor

My problem with The Corridor is that the period has become desperate and grabby. The smartest and the most simplistic players are stuck playing the same game… using fake awards events (high and low) and all forms of screening/dining contraptions and terrible hackneyed advertorial that not even ad buyers expect to be read.

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Fifteen Nonfiction Films For 2016 (Plus 5 Blu-rays)

An alphabetical roster of fifteen fine nonfiction pictures.

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The DVD Wrapup: American Honey, Snowden, Man Called Ove, Orphan Killer and more

Even though American Honey was filmed on location in smallish towns throughout the Midwest – Walmart country, if you will — Arnold brought to the Cannes favorite a familiarity one might not have expected. That’s because, apart from hiring Shia LeBeouf and Riley Keogh for key roles, she committed herself to casting actors who she discovered on the street or virtual unknowns.

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The Weekend Report (4-Day Christmas Edition)

Christmas got crowded but Rogue One led weekend movie charts with an estimated four-day gross of $93.3 million. As expected, the best of the new entries was animated Sing in second spot with a $56 million bow.

Trailing behind with fair results were the sci-fi Passengers that grossed $23 million, the videogame adaption Assassin’s Creed with $15.1 million and the dating comedy Why Him? with $16.8 million.

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The Weekend Report

Rogue One continues to dominate seasonal moviegoing with an estimated $68.5 million for the three-day portion (four-day estimates arrive tomorrow) of the Christmas holidays.

The annual flood of new releases amounted to a lot of coal in stockings. One notable exception was animated Sing, which grossed $33.1 million and appears to be the year-end family option. Otherwise Yule openers struggled to find audiences including sci-fi Passengers, which grossed $13.9 million. Videogame adaptation Assassin’s Creed battled to $10.5 million and the dating comedy Why Him? made out with a $9.9 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Seven studio Christmas weekend releases, four going wide, with three in exclusive runs. There is no comparative title for Sing, but the closest seems to be Alvin & The Chipmunks, which ended up with over $200m domestic. Passengers is looking to be Jennifer Lawrence’s worst wide opening, though not disastrously so, as international is anticipated as a big part of the box office total. Why Him? is soft, though not far off Sisters last December. And Assassin’s Creed seems to be Fox betting that the title will be the next Warcraft, which did only 10% of its business domestically. Silence will be the per-screen winner for the weekend by far, with Patriots Day poised to eventually do better wide than in exclusive release.

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Gurus o’ Gold: ChristmaChanukah Time!

The Gurus answer the question on everyone’s mind… what are the best gifts The Academy could give us this holiday season? And, as always, the latest look at Best Picture, where there isn’t a lot of change. Happy Holidays!!!

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The DVD Gift Guide 2: Da Cubs, Hellraiser, Downton Abbey, Bill & Ted; Bob Hope, Klown and more

.The nation’s longest-running soap opera ended this fall, after many generations of drama, romance, comedy, misplaced expectations, broken hearts, dismally small audiences and finally over-the-top ratings. It ran for more than a century, spanning the first isolated radio broadcast, in 1921, and the era of Internet streaming. Millions of fans lived and died without closure. It would come on a rainy early-November night in Cleveland, itself no stranger to heartbreaking losses, in an extra-inning baseball game fraught with tension and mixed emotions. Anyone who hasn’t already guessed that the subject of this review is the Chicago Cubs’ World Series championship – ending a 108-year drought — need never consider auditioning for “Jeopardy!” or any sports game show.

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The Weekend Report

Rogue One was the kind of rebel the movie industry adores as it hurtled into cinemas with an estimated $155.4 million, accounting for about 70% of all weekend movie sales. That didn’t leave much for the competition including the session’s other wide freshman opener, Collateral Beauty, which ranked fourth with a grim $6.9 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

What more is there to say than, “Star Wars: Rogue One?” It is impossible to say exactly what the $70m Friday-plus opening will lead to this weekend, but using The Force Awakens as a comp, it should do about $150m over the 3-day-plus opening. Nothing to sneeze at, but not Top 10 all-time either. Also opening, Collateral Beauty, for which there is more than enough room in the marketplace as a counterprogrammer, meaning that it is not collateral damage, just a flop in its own right Also, expansions of La La Land and Manchester by the Sea go well, if not shockingly so.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Golden Goose & Those Lovely Eggs

The illusion of free will that is foisted on Phase I becomes much more real in Phase II. Because the power of narrowing choices actually shifts to the Academy voters and away from the media and the consultants.

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Gurus o’ Gold: What Films Are On The Edge & Who Will Win Golden Globes?

The Gurus tighten things up, with only 10 Best Picture picks. They ask, “What films are on the edge of being in or out of Best Picture contention?” Also, in honor of the Golden Globes nominations, The Gurus pick their winners. Only two of eight categories are unanimous, but all but Best Drama have overwhelming leads.

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The DVD Wrapup: Streep Sings, Obama’s Date, Seagal Kills, Noir Classics, Roma, Driller Killer and more

Florence Foster Jenkins: Blu-ray Anyone who watches Florence Foster Jenkins and opines, “That’s a role only Meryl Strep could play,” would only be half right. As terrific as Streep is, playing the most innocently delusional opera diva of the twentieth century, her characterization was equaled months earlier by perennial César Award candidate Catherine Frot, in Marguerite,…

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20 Weeks To Oscar: #GlobesSoWhite

The other three “black” films? Fences was good enough for its two big stars of color to be nominated. Loving was good enough for its two likely Oscar nominees to be nominated. Hidden Figures was good enough for its Oscar-winning star to be nominated along with, uh, Best Score.

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The Weekend Report

Moana remained atop the marketplace for the third week with an estimated $18.9 million, ahead of incoming Office Christmas Party, at $17.4 million. The session’s only other wide opener (following two weeks exclusive), Miss Sloane, lobbied only $1.9 million. Also sputtering was romantic comedy The Bounce Back with a $229,000 tally from 608 dates.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

The top grosser of the weekend will be Office Christmas Party. But the lead story will be La La Land, which, on five screens, will be behind only 1995’s Pocahontas and 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel in per-screen opening average on more than two screens.

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The DVD Wrapup: Secret Life of Pets, JT Leroy, Just Eat It, Howard’s End, Quiet Earth, Henry, Phantasm and more

Somehow, it took almost a quarter-century for an animation studio – in this case, Universal’s ambitious Illumination Entertainment division — to merge the core elements of “America’s Funniest Pets” and Pixar’s Toy Story franchise into a spanking-new entertainment franchise. Emboldened by the success of Despicable Me and Minions, IE wisely invested its financial resources in The Secret Life of Pets, a 3D computer-animated buddy/adventure/comedy about what happens when our pets are left to their own devices. The A-list cast of voice actors probably had something to do with the stunning box-office appeal as well.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Top 8 Categories A Few Days Before The Globes Nominations

Thirteen Best Picture titles have votes from more than half the voting Gurus this week, after all the movies expected to be in play, aside from Passengers, have been seen. That is the field from which 7-10 will get Best Picture nominations. Scorsese’s Silence didn’t rise… but it didn’t fall either. Denis Villeneuve, Andrew Garfield, Isabelle Huppert and Janelle Monáe are on the rise.

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MCN Originals

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A Spirited Exchange

“In some ways Christopher Nolan has become our Stanley Kubrick,” reads the first sentence of David Bordwell’s latest blog post–none of which I want or intend to read after that desperate opening sentence. If he’d written “my” or “some people’s” instead of “our”, I might have read further. Instead, I can only surmise that in some ways David Bordwell may have become our Lars von Trier.”
~ Jonathan Rosenbaum On Facebook

“Jonathan has written a despicable thing in comparing me to Trump. He’s free to read or not read what I write, and even to judge arguments without reading them. It’s not what you’d expect from a sensible critic, but it’s what Jonathan has chosen to do, for reasons of a private nature he has confided to me in an email What I request from him is an apology for comparing my ideas to Trump’s.”
~ David Bordwell Replies

“Yes, I do apologize, sincerely, for such a ridiculous and quite unwarranted comparison. The private nature of my grievance with David probably fueled my post, but it didn’t dictate it, even though I’m willing to concede that I overreacted. Part of what spurred me to post something in the first place is actually related to a positive development in David’s work–an improvement in his prose style ever since he wrote (and wrote very well) about such elegant prose stylists as James Agee and Manny Farber. But this also brought a journalistic edge to his prose, including a dramatic flair for journalistic ‘hooks’ and attention-grabbers, that is part of what I was responding to. Although I realize now that David justifies his opening sentence with what follows, and far less egregiously than I implied he might have, I was responding to the drum roll of that opening sentence as a provocation, which it certainly was and is.”
~ Jonathan Rosenbaum Replies

“In my own mind, I’ve always been a writer and the fact that I act is, well… it’s been very enjoyable and I love doing it. It has been good for me, but in my own mind I’m just a writer with a bizarre activity—acting—that I undertake.”
~ Wallace Shawn