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What did you see this weekend? I caught a masterpiece!

This weekend saw several new films hitting theaters including the trashy Unforgettable (reviewed), the epic The Promise, and Ben Wheatley's Free Fire (reviewed). Apart from the Disney Nature documentary Born in China and the almost-wide expansion of last week's newbie The Lost City of Z, none made much of an impact with moviegoers, as the holdovers just won't quit filling theaters. Boss Baby and Going in Style, for example, only dropped 20% in their 4th and 3rd weekends respectively.

I spent the weekend hitting the Tribeca Film Festival (our reviews have already begun) but the highlight by far was the rare opportunity to see Lina Wertmüller's Seven Beauties (1975) which is best known to Oscar buffs as the first instance of a woman being nominated for Best Director. The film was more amazing than I was prepared for. We're talking a tonally daring, politically charged, sexually crazed, harrowing and hilarious World War II movie. Most movies don't even have 10% of its verve and personality. I was riveted from the first frame to the last and if you ever have a chance to see it (or live in NYC) you'd be insane to pass it up. I'm going to try to hit at least one or two more Wertmüller movies while the series is running at NYC's newly renovated Quad cinema. 

What did you see this weekend? 

TOP WIDE (800+ theaters)
01 Fate of the Furious $38.6 (cum. $163.5) Ranking the Franchise
02 Boss Baby $12.7 (cum. $136.9) Review
03 Beauty & the Beast $9.9 (cum. $471) Review
04 Born in China $5.1 NEW
05 Going in Style $5 (cum. $31.7) 

01 The Lost City of Z $2.1 (cum. $2.2) 614 screens Review 
02 Colossal $584k (cum. $1.3) 224 screens Review
03 Their Finest $555k (cum. $1.1) 176 screens
04 Norman $136k (cum. $272k) 18 screens
05 T2 Trainspotting $80k (cum. $2.2) 160 screens

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Reader Comments (32)

Gifted - Nice performances, but meh.
Free Fire - Kinda numbing. Only fun to be had was predicting who gets killed off next.
Colossal - Very ambitious and Anne Hathaway is great in it. Not sure if it quite sticks the landing.


April 23, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterchasm301

"13 Reasons Why," which is entertaining as a YA "Big Little Lies." The cast is uniformly clever and good.

Not film (yet), but the musical "Hamilton." Even better than I expected, it is a great work of theatre.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

I watched an LGBT film called Lazy Eye on Netflix. I thought it was very good. It had a slow effect on me but it hit me pretty hard. It was a unique delving into the "what could've been" of a broken relationship.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatt St. Clair

Seven Beauties is awesome. The only thing I saw this weekend is Le Plaisir and a re-watch of Cherish.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

I saw The Promise which wasnt as bad as the reviews have suggested. kind of slow at times but the story does get emotional at times and the acting was pretty good. i also did a re watch of Brief Encounter. still a wonderful film.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEli

Seven Beauties caught me off guard. Difficult to describe, but an awesome viewing experience. Giancarlo Giannini was sensational!

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJames from Canada

1972 John Huston's Fat City with Jeff Bridges and Stacy Keach.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Is it bothersome that the lone Best Director win for a female filmmaker came for a definite boy's movie? The other female Best Director nominated movies are feminine in their perspective and execution.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I saw Mulholland Drive again. Such a great film, Naomi Watts robbed of an oscar nom, she is so good! Also saw The Zookeeper's Wife, Jessica Chastain looking glamorous while resisting the nazis, not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterchoog

@/3rtful - I was saying the exact same when Bigelow won her Oscar.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

"Is it bothersome that the lone Best Director win for a female filmmaker came for a definite boy's movie? The other female Best Director nominated movies are feminine in their perspective and execution."

Honestly, yeah. It does bother me, to some extent.

Though I'm much more troubled by how few nominees there have been. Like last year, we could have easily had a top-tier, all-female lineup. Instead Mel Gibson gets a nomination. Aside from what a rotten person he is, Hacksaw Ridge is objectively a bad movie.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

I saw the streaming of the London Old Vic's production of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" with Daniel Radcliffe. It's the 50th anniversary of the Tom Stoppard play. A few years ago, I saw the film with Tim Roth and Gary Oldman, both with depths of skill and personality.

Radcliffe, as Rosencrantz, was really very good. It certainly provides food for thought on his approach to his profession. Hard-working, sincere, willing to take risks, and getting better all the time. Andrew Haig was also great as the Player King.

Unfortunately Guildenstern was unbearable. Standard British classical actor pontificating, making what he said meaningless. It increased my respect for Radcliffe's professionalism that he can go on, night after night, creating an interesting and sympathetic character, with such an unhelpful partner.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Yes, isn't Seven Beauties fabulous? Really harrowing but also ebullient. You have to brace yourself to watch it.

@/3rtful & MDA: I agree re: Bigelow - though it seems a small price to pay to have a female winner finally. But among the nominees, Seven Beauties isn't exactly feminine either.

All I watched this weekend was The Godfather Part II on DVD with my Dad. Still excellent on, what, its tenth viewing for me? Also watched quite a bit of football on TV! There were some big games in England today.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

/3rtful -- what Edward said. It's interesting that of the 4 female nominees, 2 were working in traditionally male genres (War films) with male leads.

April 23, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

"Beauty and the Beast" which was better than I expected and while often magical it does not match the animated classic or Cocteau's masterpiece. The FX work was mixed bag- the various objects were a marvelous but the wolves and specially the Beast seemed phony at crucial moments- they really should have used more actual make -up for the beast and not so much CGI. The gay Le Fou was more comic than anything else

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

My life as a zucchini: bitter and beautifully made.
Paradise: Russian submission for film in a foreign language. Suffice to say it is better than The Salesman.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarcelo - Brazil

Colossal - has a great hook but doesn't live up to that promise. Kind of likable, but no part of it really excels. And gets so sidetracked on (plot twist) that the central metaphor all but dissolves and Hathaway's character doesn't see much personal growth or resolution.

And a theater here in Chicago did a 16mm double bill of Nilsson's "The Point" and Carole King's "Really Rosie". Both meander, but I have nostalgia blinders on for those two - lots of fun.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDave S.

Hanna - The film in which Cate Blanchett demonstrates a passionate dedication to oral hygiene. Other stuff happens too. It was ok.

Easy Rider - I pretty much loathed it from the get go.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEz

Dave S -- i agree on Colossal... i really think if they'd trimmed the Jason Sudekeis part it would be a lot more impactful.

April 23, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I rewatched Safe, Todd Haynes's first masterpiece with Julianne Moore. It has morbidly become a comfort film of sorts, like Rosemary's Baby. I also watched The Suicide, his debut short film he made at only 17, which is actually stunning. It seems almost like a homage to the Kuchar brothers.

I watched two Haneke films for the first time. The White Ribbon screened on film at the art museum and I finally watched my DVD of Code Unknown.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

Her LOVE AND ANARCHY is pretty fantastic. Hope that is also playing...

I had a really successful weekend. Had a great time at YOUR NAME. Loved the detail and color in that animation.

and then I got lucky with a fun Dino Risi retrospective at the Castro: IL MATATORE, PROFUMA DI DONNA and the incomparable IL SORPASSO. Truly movie-going heaven.

I suspect COLOSSAL tonight will underwhelm a bit... it will be hard to top the rest of the weekend.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSFOTroy

"A Quiet Passion"! It is amazing. I did not expect such piercing wit and laugh-out-loud humor from Terence Davies. It's very reminiscent at times of "Love & Friendship" and other Whit Stillman gabfests. But it's also distinctly Davies and so extremely melancholy. Cynthia Nixon better be in the Best Actress conversation later this year.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

I saw the German film Jonathan which is about the realisation of a farm-based youth that his dad was in love with another man in the past. The pacing is just right (just right for me is on the slow side of things), with lots of found footage incorporated to the visual narrative. These found footage includes shots of insects that recall Malick and Kieslowski. The acting is never over-the-top although some scenes call for the actors to perform them in wrong chords -- must be the writing and/or direction from first-time director Piotr Lewandowski. This is like a more rural version of Beginners but lacking in the latter's complexity. Jonathan is still watchable but it made me wonder what a more adept storyteller could have done with this material with the same actors.

April 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

Never seen "Seven Beauties" but it is in my bucket list, for sure.

Nice to see "Colossal" still holds strong and has a chance to let word of mouth grow... you know I am a Vigalondo fan even when one of his films - Open Windows - has a questionable resolution..He's one of the few directors that seems to have his carree planned as a constant challenge to surprise and explore the unexplored. "Timecrimes" did everything "Back to the Future" didn't dare to do. "Extaterrestrial" was the ultimate martian rom-com (the attack of the tennis balls has to go down as one of the most shocking/hilarious/twisted scenes of the XXIst century). "Open Windows" was a tour de force that only got flawed with an ending that heavily required of suspension of disbelief, but otherwise was a thrilling experience after a whole twisted version of "Rear Window" that never felt like a copy. It's almost logical that he would go for something like "Colossal", which I still haven't seen but I have been heavily spoiled already... it opens this summer in Spain.

On the other hand, we get "Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2" this next weekend. The only Marvel franchise that everyone seems to love. And for a good reason.

April 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

I watched SING which was cute but nothing to write home about. Still crushing on Taron Egerton though.

And THE EDGE OF 17 which had a good ending but was not as strong or as funny as reviews had led me to believe. Hailee Steinfeld is very good but her character was so annoying a lot of the time it was hard to root for her. Kyra Sedgwick has a couple of really good scenes though.

April 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G

I have to say, I don't share the same rapturous reaction to "Seven Beauties", although I wonder how I would've felt if my library didn't have the wacky English-dubbed version (I have a real problem when the words don't match the lips).

Fun bonus facts, though: Lina Wertmuller is still the only female Lone Director! And somehow it lost Foreign Film to "Black and White in Color"; a decent movie, but certainly nothing spectacular.

Not much time for new movies this weekend, but I re-watched "49th Parallel". Have you guys ever done a Powell/Pressburger series?

April 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGuestguestguest

Saw PHOENIX FORGOTTEN which was an OK pseudo-documentary style sci fi film.

April 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P

I saw Blow-Up, which I had never seen before. Still sinking in - strangely skeletal movie, with just a dollop of Vanessa Redgrave (oddly similar to her role in Julia, as the otherworldly presence around whom the movie orbits without spending that much time on screen). Lots of critical thought on the film. Will have to ponder more.

Also watched Soapdish, also for the first time. Fun performances, though it wasn't necessarily as laugh out loud funny as it was twisty fun. I love to see how today's "wokeness" would work for older movies, and I doubt that the sex change plot twist with Cathy Moriarty would play today without protests from all sorts of groups. Great to watch Whoopi in a supporting comedic role, it's a shame she didn't get more well written parts in comedies.

April 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJCon

rest of Five Came Back (Netflix) - very good, though I didn't love Streep's narration, seemed an odd choice, but this is worthwhile show esp for those who appreciate the works of the five directors, and any stories involving WWII, propaganda films, behind-the-scenes, etc. Plus, Mark Harris--'nuff said.

Ingobernable (Netflix) - crime/political drama starring Kate del Castillo as the First Lady of Mexico. Interesting plot, good performances, and certainly binge-worthy, even with some inevitable slow parts, including some long telenovella-style takes where characters just stare at one another with roiling music in the background.

Two episodes of Queen Sugar (Hulu) - originally aired on the OWN channel, but now first season is available on Hulu. I'll watch anything Ava DuVernay does. This is based on a decent book by Natalie Baszile, so I'm curious how closely this will follow the source material.

April 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPam

@Marcelo - Yes! My Life as a Zucchini is so good!

JCon - Aw, sorry to hear you didn't love Soapdish more. I think it's just fantastic although I agree about that plot twist and how it would play today. But I think that whole cast is just superb.

Saw Oldboy (2003 version) and loved it. It is just so insane and colorful and insane. But for some reason, as much as I enjoyed it, I'm wary of seeing the other two films in its trilogy. I'm worried it'll start to get repetitive or they won't live up to the quality of this one.

And saw Frantz - really lovely. Its use of color was surprising and, once I figured it out its purpose, affecting. Paula Beer was just great, showing so much with such subtle facial expressions. Loved its use of stillness and silence.

Finished Patriot on Amazon. Not the kind of show that I would normally appeal to me, but by the end I kind of loved it. There's a lot of smart, funny, complicated writing and characters and surprises you with unexpected feeling. The strain of melancholy that runs through the show can drag the pace at times but otherwise I'm very much looking forward to season 2.

April 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

A "feminine" movie hasn't won Best Picture since Chicago (and even that couldn't win Best Director).

April 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I rewatched Brooklyn. The subtlety of Saoirse Ronan's performance is incredible. I know Meryl Streep thinks very highly of her. They would be perfect to play mother and daughter!

April 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

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