MCN Originals Archive for June, 2015

30 Weeks To Oscar: Trailer Parade (20 Currently Available)

Here are all the trailers currently available – some domestic, some international, one just a clip – for films from the broad contenders list published Monday.

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30 Weeks To Oscar: Setting The Field

So our big list is already at 14. Let’s take it to 25 with titles with serious awards potential from major Oscar-playing distributors…

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The Weekend Report

Jurassic World took the hat trick as top viewing choice for the frame with an estimated $54.2 million and set a new speed record for a movie grossing $500 million. It now ranks fifth among all time domestic box office champs (unadjusted). And still radiating joy in second position was Inside Out with $52.2 million. Neither of the session’s new wide releases performed up to expectations with Ted 2 napping third in the lineup with $32.9 million and Max, the Afghan vet pooch, grossing $12.2 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Inside Out again leads Friday with Jurassic Park nipping at its heels. Jurassic Park has held like a family movie through its first two weekends, so expectations will be for more of the same this frame. Ted 2, which was projected at $50 million early in the week, then $40 million in the last couple of days, is looking like it will come up short on both of those marks. And WB’s fifth release in seven weekends, a family dog movie called Max, could end up being right in the middle of the WB summer pack in terms of openings with anywhere from $11m – $14m, depending on how strongly it plays today with families.

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The DVD Wrapup: Timbuktu, The Bridge, Pit Stop, Dog Soldiers and more

When Kidane confronts the belligerent fisherman, the pistol he’s carrying to intimidate the man accidentally discharges, killing him. This sets off a series of events that puts Kidane in direct contact with the jihadists and their alternately severe and absurd interpretations of Sharia law. It outlaws music, dance, laughter, cigarettes and, even, the bare hands of women selling messy products in the market, while authorizing stoning adulterers to death, lashing outlawed musicians and accepting bribes and granting favors. Kidane’s biggest problem is his inability to come up with the compensation – 40 cows – ordered by the court, which includes a man who’s itching to steal the herdsman’s wife. If this was all Sissako gave us to ponder in Timbuktu, it would be an unbearable experience. Instead, he lightens the overall tone by demonstrating the determination of residents to get around the rules, even under the watchful eyes of the fanatics.

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Review: Ted Again (Ted 2)

A basic rule about narrative art… the first thing with which an audience connects is the heart of what the material is about. Ted was a sensational idea to which people could universally relate. What if the childhood toy you were obsessed with not only came to life, but continued to live past his cuteness, your cuteness, and to the point where he was keeping you from becoming an adult?

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Review-ish: True Detective, Season 2, Episodes 1-3 (spoiler-lite)

“True Detective” Season 2 is nothing like “True Detective” Season 1. Just take a minute and clear your palate. I’ll ease you in… the song… the theme song… not as good. Not as memorable. Not eerily memorable.

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The Weekend Report

The debut of animated Inside Out had ‘em in the aisles clapping with an estimated $91.2 million opening. But that wasn’t quite enough as the second weekend of Jurassic World plowed ahead with $101.9 million, seconds away from a possible record speed to a $400 million gross. The frame’s other wide newcomer – urban high school comedy Dope – bowed to a disappointing $5.8 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Inside Out looks to be the second biggest Pixar opening ever, behind only Toy Story 3, with a launch (with Thursday sneaks) in the low 90s. Jurassic World holds well for a mega-opening, dropping just 55% Friday-to-Friday (remember to forget the $18.5m Thursday sneaks), suggesting an $86.5 million second weekend (382.5m cume), which would keep its domestic just ahead of The Avengers after two weekends. No other films are looking at $10 million or better for the weekend. The Overnight looks to be the strongest arthouse player with a strong $15k per-screen (maybe more, if it plays as a date film tonight) on three screens.

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Review: Inside Out (spoiler-free)

Inside Out is about one specific step in growing up. It may be, in some ways, the end of innocence… but it’s hardly the giant leap into the teenage abyss of fear, loathing, and wild insecurity. But it’s glory is in that simplicity. It allows Team Pixar to bring every detail to life in tremendous ways.

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The DVD Wrapup: Welcome to Me, Wild Tales, Gett, Bob Hope and more

Any doubts that Wiig might not be able to accurately depict her character’s tortured mental state disappeared when leaked photos of a stark-naked Wiig, walking through a crowded Palms Spring casino, began to appear on celebrity-skin websites. It’s a brave performance and Wiig is excellent throughout Welcome to Me. How far her fans are willing to accompany Kleig into her journey into madness is open to question.

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Confessions Of A Film Fest Junkie: LAFF 2015

Toronto always seems to be compete with the events of the day. I can remember everything going gloomy (including the weather) when Princess Diana was killed during TIFF 1997 and it’s difficult to convey the impact of 9/11 on that Canadian metropolis all those many years ago. Los Angeles is divorced from reality in any event.

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The Weekend Report

A trip to the past was well worth it as Jurassic World blew away the competition with an estimated $204.3 million debut. Roughly three of every four moviegoers that bought a ticket this weekend were watching familiar Raptors and the new monster on the block, Dominus Rex. There was no counterprogramming on the horizon.

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Wilmington on Movies: Jurassic World

Ever since Jaws made his name and fortune in 1975 Steven Spielberg has been the king of the summer movie, and his production of this weekend’s nearly-record-breaking mega-hit Jurassic World simply continues that tradition. Where would we be if we didn’t have a shark, a dinosaur, a U.F.O., or an E. T. to run from or play with or queue up for? Even when his movies aren’t released in summer, they can feel like summery treats.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Universal’s explosive year (coming off their strongest year of profits without tentpoles) continues, as the return of Jurassic Park captures the imagination of the world 22 years after the original, opening to a then-record $18.2 million (including Thursday previews as seems to be the studio-chosen style right now). The lack of other wide newcomers and the holdovers paid some price on Friday for the Jurassic success. Two strong indie openings, as Me, Earl & The Dying Girl did $4613 per on 15 and The Wolfpack pulled $4550 per on two.

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The DVD Wrapup: Camp X-Ray, Free the Nipple, Giuseppe Andrews, Pillow Book and more

Who knows how many of today’s straight-to-DVD movies will stand the test of time and find new audiences decades after their initial release? Some of today’s crop of genre filmmakers almost surely will be asked to look back on their early films in featurettes recorded 20 years from now for Blu-ray or whatever new format is being foisted on consumers.

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Confessions of a Film Festival Junkie: LAFF 2015

The Los Angeles Film Festival took a look at a festival topographical map and considered the needs of its core membership and made some sage decisions. The program is chock-a-block with films by members and other indies. Ideally there ought to be a prize somewhere in this box of crackerjack.

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Review: Jurassic World

The phrase “all kinds of wrong” is usually about putting multiple spotlights on one tragic flaw. But with Jurassic World, it is an apt description of the film from pretty much start to finish. There are all kinds of things that are wrong with this film, though none of them are really tragic. This is a professionally, slickly made movie.

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Peter Greenaway talks “Pillow Book” (from the 20th century)

“A writer, or a painter, working on a private basis, the conditions would be even more deplorable. The responsibilities of time and collaborators creates a series of strictures that push you on. Unless those didn’t exist, to push it further there would be no reason to get out of bed in the morning! I would simply sit in bed and write scripts.”

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Wilmington on Movies: San Andreas

That famous Fault we Angelenos dread cracks apart and sends much of Los Angeles and San Francisco crashing down into the streets, the freeways, and the ocean and tsunamis rise and skyscrapers topple…

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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