MCN Originals Archive for November, 2017

20 Weeks To Oscar: Year of the Reconstructed Rom-Com

Award seasons have a theme that emerges as the season progresses. With the arrival of Phantom Thread and The Post, this year is loaded with rom-coms that don’t want to be rom-coms.

The form has been torn down in recent years and barely exists now in Hollywood movies, indies, or even TV. But take the idea of a romantic comedy about, say, the black guy being brought home to meet the over-exuberant white suburban parents and give it a twist… and BAM!… Get Out.

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DVD Gift Guide II: Red Skelton, Bob Hope, Der Bingle, Hitchcock, Homicide, Agatha Christie, Jean Rouch, MST3K, Curtiz, Logan Lucky, Animal Factory, Woodshock and more

Because our grandparents and great-grandparents already seem to have everything they need, they get shorted when gifts are being handed out around the Christmas tree. The challenge of picking out presents grows greater every year, it seems. After all, how many sweaters, robes and slippers can a person possibly own? Why not give the gift that never gets older that it already is: nostalgia. No matter how many channels there are, the ones dedicated to shows seniors might recall with fondness are limited to TCM, PBS and niche services on premium networks.

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The Weekend Report

Coco prevailed at the Thanksgiving movie feast with an estimated $49.3 million for the weekend and a 5-day gross of $71.5 million. The session’s other national newcomer was the legal eagle Roman J. Israel, Esq. with $4.5 million that ranked ninth.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Coco reminds Pixar why they don’t open movies in November. Some of their great titles (like The Incredibles) and their weakest (The Good Dinosaur) opened in November to contextually uninspiring numbers. And now, Coco does better than Dinosaur, but not a lot better. It will be interesting to see the ethnic demos. Meanwhile, Justice League falls further behind Wonder Woman, though it is running apace with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and $250m domestic seems likely. Wonder is the surprise hit of the season (especially relative to cost). And in the battle for awards, Call Me By Your Name sets the per-screen opening record for the year with Three Billboards expanding strongly, a solid launch for Darkest Hour, and a disappointment for Denzel J. Amazing Performance, Esq.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Thanks

The Gurus offer their usual Best Picture chart, with The Post having arrived for screenings and Phantom Thread due a day after the turkey’s been eaten. In addition, please check out the Oscar nominations that The Gurus would be thankful for as the first groups start voting next week. Lots of wonderful treats voters should have an eye out for.

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The DVD Wrapup: Good Time, Hitman’s Bodyguard, Tavernier’s Journey, Valerion, Lemon, Jabberwocky, Mick Ronson, Harmonium and more

Robert Pattison has come a long way from his tenure as Edward Cullen.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Oscars For The Ages

The Gurus do the normal Top 10, then take a look at what age groups in The Academy they think will be the primary base of support for each movie. (Here’s a hint… Get Out is for the young voters, Victoria & Abdul for the elders.)

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The Weekend Report

The righteous prevailed as Justice League dominated the marketplace with an estimated $95.6 million debut. Counterprogramming still proved effective with Wonder charting second with a potent $27.1 million and inspirational animated The Star grossing $9.8 million.

Exclusives were led by Roman J. Israel, Esq., which launched at four locations to $64,700 prior to a wide expansion Wednesday. Expansions of Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri sizzled as early favorites in an awards season that’s just starting.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Justice League has a better Friday/Thursday Night than Wonder Woman, but is estimated by some to open to less than Wonder Woman over the 3-day. Is WB convincing box office writers to underestimate the weekend now so that a still-soft $105 million opening for the film will seem like a win tomorrow? Probably. Meanwhile, Lionsgate is looking at its best non-Power Rangers opening in over a year, opening Wonder to $9.6 million on Friday with a good chance of gaining strength over the weekend with an appeal to younger audiences and women. Lady Bird expands nicely, as does Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Season of a Different Color

I don’t know if this will be an #OscarSoWhite year. But even if Denzel Washington and Octavia Spencer are nominated, it will be the same way as two seasons ago… and likely, two seasons into the future.

The problem is not how many nominations people of color get from The Academy. The problem is that we have such a small group of “movies of color” for Academy members to consider.

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The DVD Wrapup: Wind River, Unlocked, In This Corner of the World, Funeral Parade of Roses, Zoology, Romero Redux, Indiscretion and more

What makes Wind River compelling is how Sheridan integrates it into the depiction of life above the tree line both for humans and animals.

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The Weekend Report

Thor: Ragnarok rocked and yokked to the top once more with an estimated $57.3 million. A pair of new national releases started out well: Daddy’s Home 2 took with $29.7 million while the remake of Murder on the Orient Express came into the station with $28.3 million.

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Friday Box-Office Estimates

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The Gronvall Report: “Planet of the Apes” Costar Terry Notary Takes Center Stage in “The Square”

“They were real art-world people: donors, billionaire donors, owners of galleries, and famous photographers, and some singers, too. He didn’t tell me any of that. Only on the last day did he say, ‘Do you know who you’ve been throwing water on? A billionaire donor; she’s actually the biggest donor in Sweden.'”

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Gurus o’ Gold: Pick The Winners Way Too Early

As The Gurus get into the weekly habit of prognosticating again, there was no messing around. Who is going to win? The Gurus, who are insightful, but not fools, didn’t vote for any of the movies or performances that haven’t yet been shown widely (that changes over Thanksgiving). For a “wide open season,” there are a bunch of categories that seem surprisingly close to settled in the minds of The Gurus.

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The DVD Wrapup: King George, Cars 3, Overdrive, Afterimage, Glass Castle, Whisky Galore, The Journey, Into the Night, Sissi, Stay Hungry and more

Even if Olive Films weren’t presenting its Blu-ray release of The Madness of King George as a cautionary tale, it would be difficult for any American – Republicans included – not to draw parallels to our current political predicament.

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The Weekend Report

Marvel Studios has its best off-summer opening by a large margin with Thor: Ragnarok. When everyone is following their zig, they zag. (Universal should partner on a Hulk movie. There is too much money in play not to consider it.) A Bad Moms Christmas made a number of mistakes on its way to theaters (including opening an adult Christmas movie on November 3), but $21.5m at the end of opening weekend is only a little off the original, which did five times its opening. Lady Bird delivered the biggest per-screen opening of 2017, just shy of $100k. One of the three or four likely Best Picture nominees at this late date, it delivered appropriately.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

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The DVD Wrapup and Gift Guide I: Fellini, Ernie Kovacs, Green Acres, Carol Burnett, Person-to-Person and more

It’s difficult to imagine discovering a movie by Federico Fellini that lovers of foreign films haven’t seen at least once. In the case of Arrow Academy’s “The Voice of the Moon: Special Edition” Blu-ray, “discovery” might not be the right term. The Maestro’s final feature has been sitting around in plain sight for more than a quarter-century, just waiting for some distributor to give it a whirl. Better late than never.

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MCN Originals

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“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch

To me, Hunter S. Thompson was a hero. His early books were great, but in many ways, his life and career post–Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail is a cautionary tale for authors. People expected him to be high and drunk all the time and play that persona, and he stuck with that to the end, and I don’t think it was good for him. I always sort of feel mixed emotions when I hear that people went and hung out with Hunter and how great it was to get high with Hunter. The fact is the guy was having difficulty doing any sustained writing at all for years probably because so many quote, unquote, “friends” wanted to get high with him … There was a badly disappointed romantic there. I mean, that great line, “This is where the wave broke, the tide rolled back … ” This was a guy that was hurt and disappointed and very bitter about things, and it made his writing beautiful, and also with that came a lot of pain.
~ Anthony Bourdain