MCN Originals Archive for June, 2017

The DVD Wrapup: T2 Trainspotting, Autopsy of Jane Doe, Dirty, Trespass, Monster Hunt and more

God bless Margaret Mitchell. When pressured for a sequel to the novel of Gone With the Wind, she claimed not to have a notion as to what may have happened to Scarlett and Rhett, and that she had “left them to their ultimate fate.” Ditto, François Truffaut, who, in 1974, turned down an opportunity to remake Casablanca. It took 14 years for writer-director Richard Curtis to acknowledge the clamor for a reunion sequel to his surprisingly resilient Love Actually. It runs all of 15 minutes, and was shown on British and American television two months ago, as part of one of his charity’s worldwide events. If fans of Grown Ups, Bridget Jones’s Diary and American Pie could be as easily sated, the world would be a better place. That said, however, as unnecessary sequels go, Danny Boyle’s T2 Trainspotting, isn’t bad.

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Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming (spoiler-free)

Sony, who had something to gain from allowing Spider-Man to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, just allowed Marvel to make their superstar into a supporting player.

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The Weekend Report

Transformers: The Last Knight led weekend moviegoing in its debut with an estimated $45.3 million. The alleged franchise “finale” was anticipated to be a commercial powerhouse with competition steering clear of its path … including counterprogrammers.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

It’s not pretty, but the projections on Transformers 5 are pretty much on target at this point… slightly low. Even people in Iowa know that the movie is waiting for international to take it from relative zero to an uncomfortable hero. Drops for Cars 2, Wonder Woman, and Pirates 5 are looking pretty good for the weekend. The Beguiled will do boffo per-screen on four… high 50k, low 60k. But the king of indie this weekend is The Big Sick, which could end up doing $70k per screen on five.

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Rotten Tomatoes, Movie Openings & Reality

There have been 131 wide-release summer movies in from 2014 until now.

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The DVD Wrapup: Marseille Trilogy, Life, Bird With Crystal Plumage, Lawnmower Man, Car Wash and more

Way back in the Pleistocene Age, when all film students and cineastes had to rely on for evidence of a film’s virtues were barely-watchable 16mm prints of vintage movies, it was sometimes difficult to appreciate what differentiated true classics from run-of-the-mill entertainments. Poorly maintained projectors occasionally caused the film stock to melt, while scratches and other defects turned dialogue into garble. That all changed with laserdiscs, DVDs and the concerted efforts of preservationists, who benefitted mightily from advanced digital technology. In his introduction to the Criterion Collection release of Marcel Pagnol’s “The Marseille Trilogy,” Bertrand Tavernier (‘Round Midnight) describes how his opinions about Marius (1931), Fanny (1932) and César (1936) changed after watching the 2015 restoration, conducted by Compagnie Méditerranénne de Film and the Cinémathèque Française. In short, the experience was revelatory.

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WTF? Lord/Miller Latest Disney Victims?

Thing about Young Han is… Wonder Woman. Guardians of the Galaxy. Dr. Strange. Ant-Man.

IP Machine Shops are figuring out that the way to keep the engine running is to have some bits that aren’t 100% canon. Loosen up, people.

Star Wars is a mature bit of IP. It’s power is remarkable. But everything can be killed by misguided, well-intended management.

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The Weekend Report

Cars 3 sped to the top of weekend moviegoing with an estimated $53.3 million. It was also good news for the Tupac bio All Eyez on Me that ranked third with $26.4 million. The other two national newcomers were less vibrant. The shark threat nail biter 47 Meters Down had an OK start of $10.9 million but the female rave Rough Night pancaked with an $8 million debut.

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The Gronvall Report: Director Aisling Walsh On MAUDIE

“I think it all starts early: you say as a teenager that, for instance, you want to be an astronaut. I come from a family who believed I could do whatever I wanted to; I never thought of myself as a female in a male-dominated world. People have asked me if my directing career would have been different if I had been born a man. I don’t know. Who knows what kind of films I would have made? But given my interests and my methods, I don’t know that I would have done things any other way.”

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Cars 3 opens to almost exactly the same Friday number as Cars, while the whole enterprise looks to international and merchandising to make the effort worth Pixar and Disney’s while. Meanwhile, All Eyez on Me reminds us that a 24 on Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t matter if there are people predisposed to see the movie. Byron Allen’s new distribution venture opens 47 Meters Down to about two-thirds of what The Shallows opened to… which will likely be seen as a win in some quarters. And Rough Night lived up to its title at the box office.

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Review-ish: Rough Night

Rough Night takes five appealing and funny actors, starts down the road of a very broad (no pun intended) comedy, and then stops dead in its tracks…

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The DVD Wrapup: John Wick 2, 3 Generations, Frantz, Three Sisters, South Park 20 and more

Director Chad Stahelski and writer Derek Kolstad make it ridiculously easy for Wick to be found and even more ridiculously easy for the battle-hardened assassin to eliminate his pursuers using “gun fu,” a hybrid fighting style that combines martial arts and close-up gun play. That’s pretty much the whole story here. How John Wick differs from almost every other ultra-violent franchise extant, including the straight-to-video flicks of Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal and Chuck Norris, is the attention paid to detail, nonstop action and imaginative death blows. Reaves, who, like Tom Cruise, performs most of his own stunts, is an attentive student of the martial arts.

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Confessions Of A Film Festival Junkie: LAFF 2017

The bottom line for LAFF is that it will live or die based on its film selection. LAFF is not not a film market with the industry eyeing film acquisitions and emerging talent, and it’s not a series of social events sustained by deep-pocketed patrons.

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The Weekend Report

Wonder Woman lassoed top spot for a second weekend a with an estimated $57.5 million That was bad news for the high-profile The Mummy reboot that dug up only $32.2 million. The session featured two other national debuts: the spartan horror It Comes at Night ranked sixth with a chilly $5.9 million, while military pooch patrol Megan Leavey barked up $3.7 million.

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Friday Estimates


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The DVD Wrapup: The Assignment, Beauty/Bambi, Land of Mine, Sense of an Ending, The Ticket, Gene Kelly, Heath Ledger and more

While you can’t say the story told in Walter Hill’s latest, The Assignment, was ripped from today’s headlines – Denis Hamill’s original screenplay is nearly forty years old, after all – the fact that a protagonist undergoes gender reassignment, however involuntary, is reasonably topical.

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Review: The Mummy (spoilers)

But The Mummy is, in so many ways, everything that is wrong with the IP era of film. So much so, that it is a shocking experience.

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The Weekend Report

Wonder Woman wowed with an estimated debut of $100.7 million to lead session movie going. It was also good news for the frame’s other national newcomer the animated Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie that bowed with $23.5 million to rank second overall.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

She’s a wonder, Wonder Woman. There are a lot of ways to dissect the opening of Wonder Woman, the first non-Batman/Superman standalone character film in the DC Cinematic Universe. The broadest one is that this will be the smallest opening of the four films under Zach Snyder, but may well be the biggest domestic grosser when all is said and done… because “average moviegoers” actually like it. The film may also skew the gender balance of ticket buyers, which would add to audience count, not detract.

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Review: Wonder Woman

After arriving in London, Diana Prince does a lot of fish-out-of-water schtick. And it’s pretty terrific. Diana is a walking emancipation proclamation for women and this plays charmingly, not archly. After all, she is 100% right and she is in situations where if a modern woman showed up, these things absolutely should have been said.

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MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

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