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What did you see this weekend?

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The Weekend's Only Pun-Free Box Office Report

Amir reporting. You’ve heard it all: Noah stormed the theatres; audiences flooded to see it; “Oh, Noah! The film isn’t very good;” Aronofski’s drowning in his worst reviews since The Fountain was showered with… oh fuck it! This will be the only pun-free box office report you will read this Sunday. (But yes, since you’re asking, Noah did sail comfortably ahead of the competition!)

With even stronger numbers coming in from abroad, Aronofsky’s latest is going to be a massive international hit despite the (mostly made up) controversies that preceded its release. On the other hand, God’s Not Dead barely dropped at all from last week’s astonishing sales. Perhaps Freestyle Releasing, the film’s distributor, has intentionally pit it against Noah to offer an ideological alternative? Am I reading too much into it? Possibly.

01 NOAH $44 *new*
02 DIVERGENT $26.5 (cum. $95.2) Review / Jai Courtney
03 MUPPETS MOST WANTED $11.3 (cum. $33.2)
04 MR PEABODY & SHERMAN $9.5 (cum. $94.9) this franchise's history
05 GOD'S NOT DEAD $9.0 (cum. $22.0)
06 THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL  $8.8 (cum. $24.4)
07 SABOTAGE $5.3 *new*
08 NEED FOR SPEED  $4.3 (cum. $37.7)
09 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE $4.3 (cum. $101.1)
10 NON-STOP $4 (cum. $85.1) Amir's Review 

Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is another film that continues its powerful streak, and for good reason. Despite what you might hear elsewhere, this is Anderson’s best film, give or take Fantastic Mr. Fox and a real delight. Most of his films look like pastries; this one tastes as sweet, too. With a worldwide gross that is already in the ballpark of the total of his biggest hits ($69m for Budapest to Moonrise’s 68m and Tenenbaum’s 71m) it is clear that Anderson’s dioramic designs and eccentric humor are no longer for a niche audience. Irrespective of what one thinks of the film, it’s worth celebrating that an auteur with such a distinctive vision can do solid business without compromising his artistic sensibilities.

Cesar Chavez, a rare chance to see Michael Peña in the lead and the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle Sabotage were the weekend’s other wide releases. Sight unseen, I’m willing to bet the latter is the biggest waste of Olivia Williams’ talent. On the limited side, two documentaries opened for the lucky readers living in major markets. Mistaken for Strangers follows the unfairly derided band The National and is as close as one can get to an interesting music documentary. Finding Vivian Maier is artless as a film but its subject, a mysteriously reclusive street photographer who spent decades working as a nanny, is so fascinating that it makes up for the shortcomings.

What have you watched this weekend?

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Reader Comments (24)

Too bad Noah is banned in my country, but we always find our way to watch it, ALWAYS. Though sometimes we did regret we did so not for the religious reason they banned it in the first place but for the quality reason (yes, Daredevil I'm talking about you).

I watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier. THE. MOST. BEAUTIFUL. ENSEMBLE. CAST. IN. MARVEL. HISTORY. Though they decided to only keep Chris Evans and Scarlett Johnasson front and center, and shove Anthony Mackie and Emily VanCamp sideline while covering up Sebastian Stan's face most of the time. The movie itself is entertaining enough for me to put it above Thir 2 and Iron Man 3 from last year. It's Chris Evans so maybe I'm biased.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPJ

Anytime I read "niche audiences" all that comes to mind is Cate's perfect speech. THE WORLD IS ROUND, PEOPLE.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

At $69 million right now, I'm thinking this is a, minimum, $120 million worldwide sensation. Maybe more.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Grand Budapest Hotel. Loved, loved it, and so did the audience judging from the reactions of the packed screening of mostly over 40 somethings. So the world of adults is indeed round. Would have preferred more screen time from Swinton, Murray, and Norton, but some of the other cameos were surprising and delightful. Fiennes, as always, was perfect.

Also, Married Life, available on Crackle. Who knew that a movie with Chris Cooper, Pierce Brosnan, Rachel MacAdams and Patricia Clarkson even existed? Weird plot but I'll watch anything with Cooper and Clarkson.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

I saw Grand Budapest Hotel and don't agree it is his best at all. It is his most distant and not nearly as deep as his usual films.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJames

Oh no... Royal Tenenbaums is still the best! :)

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

The Royal Tenenbaums is the best, but Grand Budapest is very good (maybe the second best?). I hope Ralph Fiennes becomes one of Wes's regulars.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I saw Grand Budapest Hotel and enjoyed it immensely. Damn it was gorgeous, but it felt like a Mendl's pastry - a trifle which is enjoyed and then gone. I'm afraid there just wasn't much impact there (how will it fair in my recollection in a year?). The conclusion for M. Gustave was but the blink of an eye. I wanted more. And the multiple framing devices were too brief for my taste too. I especially would have enjoyed a more in-depth story with Jude Law and F. Murray Abraham (who was so wonderfully soulful in his few scenes).

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTravis

Ha - seems like the consensus is against you, Amir! Stay strong! I will need to see Budapest several more times before I can decide where it falls on the Anderson power ranking - I just know that it was a wonderful experience that I can't wait to repeat.

My weekend started early, on Thursday, with Noah. There is PLENTY to question and criticize in there, but Aronofsky's passion and vision, matched with Crowe's epic performance - his best in quite a while - carried it across beautifully. I was honestly blown away by the second half.

Saturday I saw Nymphomaniac Part 1, which was mostly excellent but very much felt like half of a much longer work, and I don't think I can properly assess part 1 until I've seen part 2.

I also saw a bizarro Spanish art film called Story of My Death as part of New Directors/New Films at Lincoln Center. I fell asleep, but the film has such a dreamlike ambiance that I didn't really feel like I missed much.

All in all, a very fine weekend. I've been having a lot of those lately!

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

Speedy (Harold Lloyd silent comedy)
Sapphire (British film from late 50s)
A Hijacking (Danish corporate/pirate thriller)

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

james - i agree. I had trouble accessing it. it seems so detached. i'm surprised that it's the one that people are really excited about. Moonlight Kingdom was way better.

March 30, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Roark - Thanks brother! Hope you enjoy it more on revisits because clearly I need support on #TeamBudapest.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Jason Bateman is my husband and Jude Law is my lover on the side. This weekend I spent time with both. My husband's vanity directorial debut Bad Words is a waste of time and talent for all involved. Don't let the positive notices for this rubbish fool you. Avoid it at all cost. My lover's vehicle is Dom Hemingway. Jude gained weight and I like it. This offers up a superior viewing experience than the dreadfulness of Words but isn't much of a movie in its own right. Only for the completist or those of us who fetishize the Brits.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I can confirm that Sabotage is a waste of Olivia Williams the likes of which we have not seen before and are hopefully unlikely to see again. And I am not forgetting Hyde Park on Hudson. She looks unbelievably miserable the whole time and delivers every last line in a uniform monotone.

Also, I'm on team "Grand Budapest is better than Tenenbaums" with you, Amir, though for Anderson's #1, I still have to go with Rushmore, as I pretty much always have since 1998.

March 31, 2014 | Registered CommenterTim Brayton

Nymphomaniac - Parts 1 and 2, which together form a masterpiece.

Not a perfect film but then masterpieces never are. Fearless, shape-shifting, no-rules storytelling. So much richness, it's hard to process it all from a single viewing. At the very least I can say Joe is one of the most singular, densely detailed protagonists in years.

Otherwise, if nothing else, we reeeally need to talk about Uma Thurman's performance round here...

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commentergoran

I saw Grand Budapest Hotel, which was perfectly entertaining and delightful. I still think either Tenenbaums or Moonrise is Anderson's best, but this might just be the MOST Wes Anderson-ian of all Wes Anderson films, so I kind of get where people are coming from when they say it's his best. Maybe.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Tim- re Olivia Williams. That's a shame, but she's got a lot upcoming (according to IMDb). I really liked her performances in The Ghost Writer and Dollhouse.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

I saw Take This Waltz, which I am still digesting--those final scenes are tough to nail down, still trying to figure them out. But Polley is one of the best young directors around. I rewatched The French Lieutenant's Woman--the minutia of wonderful details of life's daily routine during that period were fascinating.

Oh, and I watched a horror movie. Amour.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

"is as close as one can get to an interesting music documentary"

I haven't seen The National doc, but I take incredible umbridge with this statement. Unless you mean as close as one can get to an interesting music documentary about The National.

As for Anderson...

1. Tenenbaums
2. Fox
3. (the rest)
4. Life Aquatic

Or, that's how I see it.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Glenn - Music docs are just really, really not my thing. But I'm aware of how loaded my statement was.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Sorry, Movies, but I've been in bed with Television. My every free minute has been given to reliving my years-long affair with MAD MEN on Netflix. Four seasons down, two to go, just in time for the premiere of Season 7.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

Like San FranCinema, I stayed away from movies and watched TV (and live performance) this weekend: the last episode of Fox's surprisingly good freshman comedy Enlisted before an indefinite hiatus; the chewy season finale of The Walking Dead; the still-needs-work but well-sung Barry Manilow (non-jukebox) musical Harmony at the Ahmanson here in L.A.; and The Least Important Things, an ensemble performance piece presented all over the LACMA campus, in- and outdoors.

Next weekend: Captain America, Noah.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I saw "Divergent" which felt like a 1970's sci-fi tv show it was entertaining and while Theo James does have movie star looks it was Jai Courtney who made the stronger impression ( but villains are always more fun...)

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

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June 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGregJo24

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