MCN Originals Archive for November, 2011

The Weekend Report: November 20, 2011

Twilight pretty much ran over Happy Feet Two that was expected to open with at least $30 million and rising to more than $35 million. It also had a majority female audience of 60% and despite its younger appeal wound up with an audience of 53% aged 25 years and more upwardly mature. A studio spokesman cited the comparably disappointing opening of Polar Express and crossed fingers that the picture will sustain through the holidays.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part One

  The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part One (Two Stars) U.S.: Bill Condon, 2011 You would have thought that the eagerly awaited marriage of Bella Swan (as played by Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (as played by Robert Pattinson) of the Twilight movie saga would solve that series’ ongoing sex and repression issues.  But…

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Friday Estimates, November 18, 2011

As anticipated, Part One of the final entry in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, strongly leads the pack, while kiddie entry Happy Feet Two battles for space against Puss in Boots. Meanwhile, The Immortals and Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill arm wrestle for the third and fourth place slots.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Classics. The Phantom Carriage, The Outlaw and His Wife, A Man There Was, Ingeborg Holm

The Phantom Carriage (Four Stars) Sweden: Victor Sjostrom, 1921 (Criterion Collection)   I. The Swedes Victor Sjostrom, a Viking of a 20th century Swedish artist, a great actor-director with sad, somber eyes, infallible instincts and a granite chin, is best known for his masterful performance, at 78, as the dying, memory-tormented professor Isak Borg in Ingmar…

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DP/30: Melancholia, actor Kirsten Dunst

Kirsten Dunst has had a long career as a screen actress. But nothing has been quite like her turn for Lars von Trier in Melancholia. It’s a tour de force of emotional turmoil combine with the blonde beauty and what seems to be the end of the world. She speaks about it here.

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Wilmington on DVDs. The Rest: Larry Crowne, Bellflower, The Trip, Despair, Phaedra

              “Larry Crowne” (Two and a Half Stars) U.S.: Tom Hanks, 2011 In Larry Crowne — a romantic comedy with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts that should have been a timely, funny show, but isn’t — Hanks plays the title character, an up-from-working-class managerial guy suddenly cut adrift from his life, and forced to…

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DP/30: Cormans World, documentarian Alex Stapleton, subjects Roger & Julie Corman

Roger Corman is a living legend, with his wife Julie by his side in the business for many years now. What happened when a young filmmaker, obsessed with Corman’s legacy, decides to try to make a documentary? They’ll tell you in this interview.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Picks of the Week: Blu-ray. Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides; The Big Lebowski

 Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides (Blu & DVD Combos) (Three Stars) U.S.: Rob Marshall, 2011 (Disney) Johnny Depp isn’t acting at full pressure in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides — the fourth in the lucrative comedy pirate adventure movie series inspired by the great Disneyland theme park ride. But then, how…

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The DVD Wrapup: West Side Story, Perfect Age of Rock, The Tree, Beginners, Rio Sex Comedy, Bellflower, Money Matters, It Takes a Thief …

West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition Box Set: Blu-ray When “West Side Story” opened on Broadway in 1957, audiences and critics understood immediately they were watching something new and possibly revolutionary in musical theater. The book was as topical as tabloid, with a message that was as old and familiar as “Romeo & Juliet.” The…

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DP/30 Double Feature: Gore Verbinski on Rango & George Miller on Happy Feet 2

Two of the world’s great action directors have taken on animation this year. Gore Verbinski worked with ILM to built a brand new animation space for Rango. George Miller returned to Happy Feet, but also built a new animation house in Australia, Dr D Studios, to deal with the newest technology and the most intense 3D. Both men are heading back to live action. But in the meantime, they’ve left a big mark on the year in animation.

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Gurus o’ Gold: November 15, 2011

There’s not a lot of movement in the slotting of the Best Picture chart this week, though there is incremental movement all over the place.

Directors are back… though Mr. Eastwood is no longer on the chart.

And The Gurus take on Original & Adapted Screenplay for the first time this season, with 2 comedies not on top of the BP charts landing firmly in the writing Top 10.

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Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: New. The Rolling Stones Some Girls Live in Texas — 1978

The Rolling Stones: Some Girls Live in Texas  1978 (Also Blu-ray and DVD/CD Combo) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S. (Eagle Rock Entertainment) 1978-2011          It was 1964, the summer after my senior year in high school, and the song blasting out of the juke box at the Arctic Circle, a frozen custard drive-in and…

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DP/30 Double Feature: Nick Nolte

DP/30 Double Feature Week continues with a double-dip of Nick Nolte. 50 minutes in all, the conversation starts with his career beginning in theater and his early TV work, including Rich Man, Poor Man. Then in Part 2, the discussion turns to his work in this year’s Warrior.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Melancholia.

What can you say about a film which begins and ends with the end of the world — and imagines that end in the most extravagantly arty 19th century way, with a musical lament from Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” Prelude, falling birds and images of star Kirsten Dunst (who plays the movie’s depressive heroine Justine, von Trier’s emotional stand-in) floats by in the water like Millais’ Ophelia, while images of apocalypse resound like Wagnerian chords, or the prelude of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, restaged for some lunatic Festival of Armageddon? It better be beautiful — or von Trier will look like a fool. It better be striking; it better be memorable. It is.

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DP/30: Shame

Shame tells the story of Brandon, a man fighting his demons through sex, pushed into painful self-awareness by the arrival into his home of his sister Sissy. One of the powerhouse films of the year and the award season, 2nd-time director and co-writer Steve McQueen delivers another blow to the solar plexus of audiences.

Hear from the two lead actors (Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan) and McQueen in these two DP/30 interviews.

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Wilmington on Movies: J. Edgar

 J. J. Edgar (Also 2 or 3 Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Three and a Half Stars) U.S.: Clint Eastwood, 2011 (Warner Bros.) J. Edgar isn’t the movie I expected, but I liked it. Clint Eastwood’s noirish, moody bio-drama on the repressed life and powerful career of the FBI’s longtime founder-director, J. Edgar Hoover, with Leonardo DiCaprio…

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The Weekend Report, November 13, 2011

The Greeks had a word for it and it certainly wasn’t lost in translation as Immortals ascended to the Olympus of weekend movie going with an estimated $31.4 million. The session featured two other national bows that ranged from the ridiculous to the sublime. The two title Adam Sandlers of Jack and Jill slotted into third with $25.1 million while G-Man J. Edgar arrived with $11.4 million.

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Wilmington on Movies. Jack and Jill

In comedy, shamelessness is sometime a virtue, sometimes a vice — and Adam Sandler hits both those keys in Jack and Jill. It’s his drag comedy movie. Sandler plays identical male and female twins, Jack and Jill Sadelstein, who live on opposite coasts (and, in many ways, in different worlds), but are getting together for Thanksgiving, with a possibility, as it turns out, of a stay through Hanukah and beyond. They have, to put it mildly, a complicated relationship. It’s a complicated movie too — funnier than most recent Sandlers, but also sometimes violently obnoxious.

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Friday Estimates, Novemeber 11, 2011

The Immortals opens solidly while Sandler’s two-sex romp opens in his normal non-summer range. And the J. Edgar releasing choice – opening wide, but only on 1910 screens – produces decent, but unclear results.

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The Week In DP/30

Michelle Yeoh on The Lady
Werner Herzog on Into The Abyss
Scott Z Burns on Contagion
Saoirse Ronan on Hanna
Sneak Peek: Nick Nolte

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MCN Originals

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon