MCN Originals Archive for July, 2012

Wilmington on Movies: Red Lights

The first half of this movie is pretty good — which may be a case of digging yourself a beautiful hole and then getting trapped in it. Cortes mercifully doesn’t direct like a rock-video maker and he knows how to tighten knots and turns screws. But he’s not that good yet.

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Friday Estimates, July 13, 2012

Ice Age 4 opens right in the middle of the series pack domestically. No Ice Age movie has ever grossed as much as $200m domestically and the big story of the series’ success is overseas, where it’s still early in its rollout. The Friday-to-Friday drop for Amazing Spider-Man is decent, though last Friday was the film’s 4th day in domestic release. Ted continues to hold strong.

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Organizer (I Compagni)

The Italian title of The Organizer, I Compagni, means “The Comrades,” and Monicelli was in fact a lifelong socialist deeply committed to the Italian labor union movement, and if that seems strange — given the comical ways he portrays both Professor Sinigaglia and his great strike, we should recognize that it’s Monicelli’s blend of comedy and tragedy, realism and wit that’s responsible for this film’s remarkable depth and the complex emotions it arouses, the way it generates poignancy and humor and many shadings in between.

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The DVD Wrapup: Twins of Evil, Black Limousine, Kassim, Quill, Making Plans for Lena, Cherry Bomb, Chariots of Fire … More

The gimmick attraction was the casting of identical Maltese twins, Mary and Madeleine Collinson, as the vampire-bait siblings, Maria and Frieda. Having recently posed for the centerfold pictorial of Playboy magazine and being cast in a short stag film, they were pretty marketable. After 40 years, however, “Twins of Evil” can stand on its own merits… not that Collinsons don’t retain their allure.

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Wilmington on Movies: Savages

These three lead a sort of idyllic hippie-outlaw-rich-druggie existence (like young, successful moviemakers maybe), with lots of money to spend, lots of ganja to smoke, and lots of sheets to get tangled in — in paradisiacal surroundings on Laguna Beach, drenched in the blazing colors and the lush foliage of beachside life on the Pacific, as shot by cinematographer Dan Mindel. Then their dream world begins to crumble.

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DVD Geek: The Artist

The black-and-white image is crisp and captivating. The quality of the BD presentation enhances, among other things, the film’s fabulous production design, so that the locations—such as the Bradbury Building stairwell, evocative of a Jerry Lewis production design, which shows Dujardin’s character on the way down meeting Bejo’s character on the way up, as extras breeze past them and around them in a mysteriously perfect rhythm—and costumes pelt the viewer continually with refreshing stimulation.

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Friday Estimates: July 6, 2012

After opening big on Tuesday, Spider Man stays topside with another $20.3m on Friday. Ted will pass $100 today and Brave holds strong. Oliver Stone’s Savages debuted in fifth on the list with $5.6.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Amazing Spider-man

So Tobey Maguire, who apparently became obsolescent at 32 (or at least too old for playing angst-ridden teenagers), gets sent off to the Old Superheroes‘ home, to be replaced by 28-year-old brooding British cutie-pie and critic’s pet Andrew Garfield, who played Mark Zuckerberg‘s (Jesse Eisenberg’s) college chum/partner Eduardo in The Social Network — not my idea of an American teenager, but we‘ll let that pass.

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Pride’s Friday 5 (July 6, 2012)

Where’s “Margaret”? “The Battle Of Algiers” is re-fought in Los Angeles and New York this week; Yang Chung’s “China Heavyweight” opens in New York City; The Overlook Hotel is constantly under construction; and Godard’s “Contempt” shows via Film Independent at LACMA.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Carol Channing — Larger Than Life

I never saw Carol Channing perform live, but the new documentary Carol Channing: Larger Than Life convinced me I missed something very, very special — a great talent and a great lady and a great good time.

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The DVD Wrapup: American Dream, Joe + Belle, Barbarella, Chesty Morgan, Kirk Douglas … More

If there’s anything that brings out the high-school sophomore in adult men, it’s a bust that measures 73 FF. That vital statistic, alone, made Chesty Morgan (a.k.a., Lillian Wilczkowsky) a name recognized in frat, fire and grind houses throughout North America from 1972 to 1991. And, yes, her breasts were – and continue to be, at 75 – 100 percent real.

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Wilmington on Movies: Andy Griffith (1926-2012)

Andy Griffith, who died at 86 on Tuesday, would have been celebrating his last Fourth of July today. I’m sad. But that makes me even sadder — the fact that he just missed it — because there are some people you always want to be around somewhere, somehow, and Andy Griffith was one of them: a real American guy on a real American holiday like the Fourth of July, with flags and barbecues and patriotic speeches and families gathered together in the sweltering heat — or together in the cool night air to watch the fireworks go pop-pop-pop-pop-Yaaaayyy!!!

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The Gronvall Files: Actress Elizabeth Banks on People Like Us

Looking at the roster of titles this year that star Elizabeth Banks, one of Hollywood’s hardest working actresses, it’s a mystery where she ever finds time to sleep.

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The Weekend Report, July 1, 2012

The pundits anticipated that audience hearts would once again be in the Highlands and Brave would be atop weekend box office.

They were wrong.

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Wilmington on Movies: Magic Mike

The Kid’s star rises. Things get darker. There’s a lot of sex and nudity, including an orgy with a pig wandering around. (You suspect something like this once happened somewhere.)

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The Gronvall Files: Lorene Scafaria on Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

“know what I would be like. I would go for love, I would go for a relationship, and I’d look for friends. Death is inevitable, and it is the great equalizer, so the idea that [when that moment comes] you could just be looking into the eyes of the person you love, that is a happy ending to me.”

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Wilmington on Movies: Grand Illusion

Few films about war and the men who fight them have the resonance, beauty and power of Jean Renoir’s 1937 Grand Illusion — which Renoir based on his own experiences as a fighter pilot and a Prisoner of War in World War I.

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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