MCN Columnists

Digital Nation

The DVD Wrapup

Murph the Protector, Ukulele Live, Runner, Badges of Fury, Dreamworld, Godard’s Hail Mary, Killing Fields, Following and more.

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Frenzy On Blog

SNL Recap – Helen Mirren and Foo Fighters

If you’ve ever seen an interview with Helen Mirren, then you’d know that in addition to being a world-class actress, she also has a wicked sense of humor.  She has the twin traits of being both regal enough to play Queen Elizabeth II (The Queen) and versatile enough to play the proprietor of a Nevada…

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Frenzy On Column

Frenzy on the Wall: If I Had a Ballot 2011

I’m going to give my picks for the Oscars in the major awards, as if I had an actual ballot. Since the Academy cannot be trusted to make the right decisions and will probably make the safe choice whenever possible, it’s fun to give my perspective. Needless to say, I don’t see the Academy sending me a ballot anytime soon.

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Gross Behavior Column

The Gronvall Report: Michaël Dudok de Wit On THE RED TURTLE

There are many animals among this year’s contenders for the Best Animated Film Academy Award, including Finding Dory, The Secret Life of Pets and Zootopia, but none as mysterious as the title character in the hauntingly beautiful The Red Turtle. This wordless fable shows how a man shipwrecked on an uninhabited island, far from any other land mass, copes with loneliness and his sometimes hostile environment. The arrival of a giant red sea turtle changes his life in ways he never could have foreseen.

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The Weekend Report

The Weekend Report

Black Panther devoured seventy percent or more of the marketplace, with a record-setting box office estimated at $192.2 million (all numbers reflect three-day portion of holiday weekend). Two films premiered nationally as counterprogrammers: animated Early Man wound up slotting seventh with $3.1 million, while faith-targeted biblical drama Samson earned $1.9 million.

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20 Weeks to Oscar

20 Weeks To Oscar: The Big Quiet

Can you hear it?

Listen carefully.

Silence.

We are still a month from The Oscars.

We are still weeks from voting.

And in what has felt like a pretty open season is not accelerating into a passionate discussion of the top movies of 2017. The discussion is about the Solo trailer and Black Panther.

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The Hot Blog

Friday Estimates by T’Klady

Okay… Black Panther. The definitive answer to how super-huge Black Panther will be in the box office pantheon will come from foreign ticket sales. Domestically, it will be Top 10 and maybe Top 5 all-time. There have been 32 billion-dollar worldwide movies. Black Panther will make it 33. Only two of those billionaires have been…

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Movie City Indie

2017 FYC (For Your Consideration) Screenplays Now Up To 36 Titles

PDF downloads, for the duration of the 2017 awards season. (Make a note in comments if a link doesn’t load.) Battle of the Sexes, written by Simon Beaufoy Beauty and the Beast, screenplay by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos; based on 1991 animated film written by Linda Woolvert The Beguiled, Written by Sofia Coppola, based…

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Pride

Premiere: “Raising Bertie” On POV

One of my favorite docs of the year, Margaret Byrne’s long-in-the-works Raising Bertie, is a behaviorally rich and visually ravishing six-year immersion into the largely African-American North Carolina farming community of Bertie County.

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Film Essent

Wilmington on Movies: The Purge: Election Year

Back in the 1970s, when the paradigms for shows like this were being set down — by Roger Corman and other ballsy independent producers — this kind of picture would have been a low- budget job, and it probably would have been better for it. If they were going to spend more money on The Purge: Election Year, they might at least have played around more with the idea of an entire nation plunged into chaos.

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Voynaristic

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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Wilmington

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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Voices

Only Nic Forgives: Gilchrist Talks Style And The Future With Refn

We sat down with Refn at the recent Los Angeles press day for Only God Forgives to get a snapshot of the budding auteur’s creative process. In addition to talking about his ongoing collaboration with fellow on-the-riser Ryan Gosling, he reveals the intuitive process by which he combines personal experiences, psychological themes and conventional stories to create something entirely unique—and often provocative—but always interesting.

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Quote Unquotesee all »

What do you make of the criticism directed at the film that the biopic genre or format is intrinsically bourgeois? That’s the most crazy criticism. That’s an excuse for not engaging with the content of the movie. Film critics sometimes, you know, can be very lazy.

Come on, formal criticism is valuable too. But I’m amazed when this is the thing they put in front of the discourse. My situation is that I’m dealing with a highly explosive subject, a taboo subject that nobody wants to deal with.

Karl Marx? Yes, this is the first film ever in the Western world about Marx. And I managed to make an almost mainstream film out of it. You want me at the same time to play the artist and do a risky film about the way my camera moves and the way I edit? No, it’s complicated enough! The artistic challenge — and it took me ten years with Pascal to write this story — was the writing. That was the most difficult part. We were making a film about the evolution of an idea, which is impossible. To be able to have political discourse in a scene, and you can follow it, and it’s not simplified, and it’s historically true. This is the accomplishment. So when someone criticizes the formal aspects without seeing that first, for me, it’s laziness or ignorance. There’s an incapacity to deal with what’s on the table. I make political films about today, I’m not making a biopic to make a biopic. I don’t believe in being an artist just to be an artist. And by the way, this film cost $9 million. I dare anyone in the United States to make this film for $9 million.
Raoul Peck on The Young Karl Marx

“The Motion Picture Academy, at considerable expense and with great efficiency, runs all the nominated pictures at its own theater, showing each picture twice, once in the afternoon, once in the evening. A nominated picture is one in connection with which any kind of work is nominated for an award, not necessarily acting, directing, or writing; it may be a purely technical matter such as set-dressing or sound work. This running of pictures has the object of permitting the voters to look at films which they may happen to have missed or to have partly forgotten. It is an attempt to make them realize that pictures released early in the year, and since overlaid with several thicknesses of battered celluloid, are still in the running and that consideration of only those released a short time before the end of the year is not quite just.

“The effort is largely a waste. The people with votes don’t go to these showings. They send their relatives, friends, or servants. They have had enough of looking at pictures, and the voices of destiny are by no means inaudible in the Hollywood air. They have a brassy tone, but they are more than distinct.”All this is good democracy of a sort. We elect Congressmen and Presidents in much the same way, so why not actors, cameramen, writers, and all rest of the people who have to do with the making of pictures? If we permit noise, ballyhoo, and theater to influence us in the selection of the people who are to run the country, why should we object to the same methods in the selection of meritorious achievements in the film business? If we can huckster a President into the White House, why cannot we huckster the agonized Miss Joan Crawford or the hard and beautiful Miss Olivia de Havilland into possession of one of those golden statuettes which express the motion picture industry’s frantic desire to kiss itself on the back of its neck? The only answer I can think of is that the motion picture is an art. I say this with a very small voice. It is an inconsiderable statement and has a hard time not sounding a little ludicrous. Nevertheless it is a fact, not in the least diminished by the further facts that its ethos is so far pretty low and that its techniques are dominated by some pretty awful people.

“If you think most motion pictures are bad, which they are (including the foreign), find out from some initiate how they are made, and you will be astonished that any of them could be good. Making a fine motion picture is like painting “The Laughing Cavalier” in Macy’s basement, with a floorwalker to mix your colors for you. Of course most motion pictures are bad. Why wouldn’t they be?”
~ Raymond Chandler, “Oscar Night In Hollywood,” 1948