MCN Originals Archive for February, 2013

Wilmington on Movies: Identity Thief

Up to that point, Identity Thief actually looks as if it might be a good movie, or at least a bad funny one. I was actually looking forward to it. (The more fool me.) But then, in a bewildering, mind-numbing plot twist that bewilders and mind-numbs me still…

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The Weekend Report

Americans were ready for a good laugh and Identity Thief tickled the funny bone to an estimated $36.4 million, readily topping weekend ticket sales. The session’s only other new wide release was dramatic thriller Side Effects that prescribed third with a decent bow of $9.6 million.

Also sorta-new was a stereoscopic version of 1986’s Top Gun that grossed $1.9 million at 300 venues. In the niches, activity was fierce among Indian imports. China box-office tsunami Lost in Thailand ($200 million box office) hardly brought in the New Year with a bang, grossing just $28,400 from 35 screens. The “Oscar Bump” seems to have been reserved for Silver Linings Playbook, though Argo‘s re-release is doing well.

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Friday Estimates

Universal’s “Giant Heads Of Comedy” ad campaign for the not-well-reviewed Identity Thief worked like gangbusters, likely heading to the biggest opening of 2013 so far. Also opening, Soderbergh’s last pre-retirement theatrical release, Side Effects to a touch over $7 million. And Top Gun IMAX has an icy launch.

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Wilmington on Movies: Side Effects

Mara has another role that, like her Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which paled next to the original by Noomi Rapace), may be a little too dark for her — though her Emily is enough of a cipher to let the story work.

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20W2O: All Over But The “And The Oscar Goes To”ing

So what is The Academy Awards show? It is a celebration of film and everything that film means to people. People tune in because it presents itself as the definer of quality (however ridiculous that may seem at times). People are interested in the story behind the story… the glamor… what actors are really like behind the mask of performance. People tune in for the race of it all. And people tune in because they are hoping to be surprised in some exciting way in real time.

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The DVD Wrapup

House of Cards, Flight, Peter Pan, Cabaret, Narayama, Hello I Must Be Going, PA4, Vreeland, Side By Side and more…

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Gurus o’ Gold: Voting Begins In 2 Days (1/2)

The Gurus are ranking all 24 categories for you, just a couple of days before the voting for the finals. From Best Picture to Best Documentary Short, our best guesses are here for you.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Flight

Flight is also a very entertaining movie, and its very mutability and changeability — the way it hops from genre to genre, mood to mood, from high action and high entertainment to high seriousness, is a large part of what makes it so compellingly enjoyable.

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The Weekend Report

In honor of the Super Bowl, no thinking today… just a chart.

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Friday Estimates

The top of the chart remains a horror show, this time with a comic edge. Warm Bodies, Hansel, Gretel, and Mama take the #2 and #4 spots, with the still-growing Silver Linings Playbook stepping up into the #3 slot. SLP also passes Zero Dark Thirty, both in daily gross and overall domestic gross. Meanwhile, Lincoln passes $170m today, Django Unchained $150m tomorrow, and Les Misérables $140m today.

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Sundance Review: Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

Lowery’s Texas, simmering, shimmering, altogether gorgeous, is a place of extraordinary ordinariness and the simplest details sing: Ruth’s simple white dress in an early scene, lightly cinched with thin rope, barelegged in boots with the tongues nearly loose; a second-story view of a street corner at dawn, similar to a quietly haunting shot in Badlands; a sandwich in wax paper folded just so; fingers tickling the dark under a bar counter, finding, of course, a sawed-off double barrel; shadows as deep as daylight is bright, the warmth of particular shadows that fall to black just past faces.

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Wilmington on Movies: Bullet to the Head

Stallone and Hill both came in at the end of the ‘70s, they both hit their commercial peaks in the ‘80s. But I don’t think a lot of their latter movies in that decade did them much good, however rich those shows might have made them. In Bullet to the Head which shouldn’t be confused with John Woo’s Hong Kong 1990 bone-crusher, or with the German movie Knife in the Head by Reinhard Hauff, or with “Bullet in the Schnozzola,” which I just made up), they’re both back to fantasizing.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Farewell, My Queen; Ten Best Movies, 2012

We know she is doomed. Much of the tension of the film comes from our own wonderment at when the Queen and the King and the court will realize it too. Instead they act, in the few days (July 14-17, 1789) that we and Sidonie watch them, as if only a temporary disturbance—a tempest in a pastry shop—were underway, not the end of the world.

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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