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Box Office: Neighbors Come Out On Top

Amir here, with the weekend's box office report. Three new films were released, all of which surprised with their numbers but in different directions. Neighbors, the Seth Rogen/Zac Efron comedy beat The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to first place, and while that isn't surprising in and of itself, the fact that it raked in $51m certainly is. I quite like Seth Rogen, at least compared to other dudebro-y comedians of the moment, and Rose Byrne is a treasure, but I couldn't find the enthusiasm to drive to their neighbourhood just yet. Maybe when the film is out DVD...

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return turned out to be a flop of catastrophic proportions, the likes of which I don't think I've ever seen. It managed a paltry 1.4k per screen average. Mom's Night Out is yet another "faith-based" film, this time dressed as a comedy - not that Heaven Is For Real and God's Not Dead aren't (unintentional) comedies, but I digress. Moms' Night Out didn't do as well the other recent religious stuff, but its mere existence surprises me. Surely its production isn't a reaction to the success of other faith-based films, but I wonder how studios emerged with this kind of material all at the exact same moment. Further research into this shall be done soon!

01 NEIGHBORS $51.0 *new* Review
02 THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 $37.2 (cum. $147.9) 
03 THE OTHER WOMAN $9.2 (cum. $61.7) 
04 HEAVEN IS FOR REAL $7 (cum. 75.2)
05 CAPTAIN AMERICA 2 $6.5 (cum. 244.9) Review  
06 RIO 2 $5.1 (cum. $113.1)  
07 MOMS' NIGHT OUT $4.2 *new*
09 DIVERGENT $1.7 (cum. $145) Review
10 BRICK MANSIONS $1.5 (cum. $18.3)

For the second week running, there was no arthouse title making waves though both Jon Favreau's Chef and Gia Coppola's Palo Alto performed respectably. I spent the weekend at home, catching up with some classics and enduring the pain of gouging my eyes out at the sight of We're The MillersWhat were you up to, dear readers? Did you take your mother to a movie?


Podcast: Mother's Day Special

For this very special and ultimately quite spontaneous edition of the podcast, Nathaniel calls a few of his team members to grill them about their moms & the movies. Sadly the entire team was not available -- some of them were being good kids en route to visiting their mothers so they have a good excuse -- but you get to hear from a few of us and how our moms factor into our cinephila. Expect name-droppings of Margo Martindale, Susan Sarandon, I Remember Mama, The Lord of the Rings, A Separation and much more... 

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes.

00:01 Intro
01:00 Amir
09:00 Abstew
14:00 Anne Marie
20:30 Tim Brayton
27:00 Funny Girl Interlude & Surprise Guest
32:00 The Guest of Honor, Nathaniel's Mom!
40:00 Exit Music "Baby Mine" with Bette Midler 

Nathaniel's mom & dad in 1960I can't interview each and every one of you out there listening about how your moms shaped your moviegoing but if you have any key stories, please share them in the comments. I actually teared up making this one. Keep the love a-going. And call your mama or take her to a movie today!

Further Reading To Enhance This Podcast
Anne Marie's "A Year With Kate"
Tim's Home Schooling Essay on "Mean Girls"
Amir's "Hello Cinema"
How Many Barbra Streisand's Have You Seen?
Loretta Young, Nathaniel's Mom's Favorite


Mothers Day with TFE


Hot Docs '14: The Possibilities Are Endless

[Amir, our Canadian correspondent, is reporting on The Hot Docs Film Festival which wrapped last week. Reviews will continue for the next few days.]

When Scottish singer-songwriter Edwyn Collins suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 2005, his movement became restricted, his memory was lost and his speech became limited to four phrases that he repeated over and over again: “yes,” “no,” “Grace Maxwell” (the name of his wife) and “the possibilities are endless.” There was little chance of him getting his health back on track, let alone restarting his career, but that last phrase in his small vocabulary proved to be prophetic. With the help of his ever-caring wife and son, Edwyn gradually began to piece his memories back together, took on painting and slowly began to form new sentences again, recalling and even singing his old lyrics...

Click to read more ...


"Neighbors" Starring Seth Rogen's Hairy Back and Zac Efron's Penis

This article originally appeared in slightly abbreviated form in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad (Complete with a poll - so go smoke it ... vote on it!]

Zac Efron and his dildo The new frat boy comedy NEIGHBORS wastes no time with foreplay. The movie begins in the middle of a quickie between husband Mac (Seth Rogen) and wife Kelly (Rose Byrne, because all schlubby guys in movies deserve hot girls. It's, like, the rules of showbiz) who haven't had sex in too long. But soon it's coitus interruptus. Their daughter Stella, the worlds cutest baby (seriously cute - so gifable), is staring right at them spoiling the mood. 

The movie doesn't waste time with its story either, rushing right in. Mac and Kelly are first time homeowners and they think they're getting gay neighbors (yay, property values!) only to realize that a fraternity is moving in next door. Mac's response when he first sees Teddy, the alpha dog of the fraternity on the front lawn:

"That's the sexiest guy I've ever seen. It's like something a gay guy would create in a laboratory." 

Sidebar Confession: I don't really get Zac Efron. He's a decent if ungreat actor but my fellow gays are so obsessive about him that I sometimes worry they haven't noticed that the vast majority of young actors are gorgeous and in good physical shape. We can set our sights a little higher to include enormous talent in the mix, too! I'm just saying but I'm not minding. Just a few short years ago the people were obsessing over Taylor Lautner so... UPGRADE.

Bro shenanigans after the jump!

Click to read more ...


Team Top Ten: The Best Cannes Winners of All Time

Amir here, to bring you this month’s edition of Team Top Ten, a monthly poll by all of our contributing team at The Film Experience. Cinephiles all around the world turn their attention to the south of France in May as the most prestigious film festival in the world gets underway in Cannes.

The festival’s history is a rich one, full of interesting cinematic and political narratives. It’s an event that has celebrated the best in cinema and operated as a launching pad for emerging artists as much as it has played games of politics and festival world favouritism. Still, when all is said and done, the list of Palme d’Or winners can rival any list of the best films ever made.

With this year’s edition of the festival just about to begin, we thought it would be a good time to revisit the past and choose our Top Ten Favourite Cannes Winners of All Time. For this poll, we’ve excluded the first two editions of the festival (1939, retroactively awarded to Union Pacific, and 1946, when the top prize was shared between 11 films.)

There is really no easy way to select the cream of the crop here, because these films are already... well, the cream of the crop. Consider the eight films that finished behind our top dozen: Pulp Fiction; Dancer in the Dark; Viridiana; 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days; Farewell My Concubine; Secrets & Lies; The Tree of Life; The Pianist. Not to mention masterpieces like Black Orpheus, Wages of Fear and Rosetta that placed outside the top 20. The point is that this is the highest echelon of films awards so the standards are high and margins are slim. Some of you will surely disagree with our ranking, but we welcome that. Let us know what you think in the comments.

a non-definitive poll which begins with a three-way tie for tenth

10= La Dolce Vita (Fellini, 1960)

Click to read more ...


Cast This: Can We Get a Patricia Highsmith Biopic Up in Here?

We're getting three starry Patricia Highsmith adaptations in the next year or so at the cinemas. First up is The Two Faces of January (Viggo, Kiki & Oscar Isaac) and then Carol (Cate, Rooney & Sarah Paulson). 

 The latest to ready itself for the cameras is The Blunderer. The cast will include Patrick Wilson, Jessica Biel, Imogene Poots and Toby Jones. 

Highsmith adaptations are nothing new for the cinema and soon there will be little left to adapt.

Walter Stackhouse (Wilson) is a successful architect married to the beautiful Clara (Biel) and leading a charmed and perfect life. But his fascination with an unsolved murder leads him into a spiral of chaos as he is forced to play cat-and-mouse with a clever killer (Jones) and an over-ambitious detective. Walter's obsession, his lies and his lust for another woman (Poots) will collide in a crush of guilt, innocence and, ultimately, fate.

Highsmith adaptations are nothing new for the cinema and soon there will be little left to adapt.

But why hasn't anyone made a biopic yet?

She was a complicated character in her looks, her art, and her temperament: famously misanthropic (and racist, too), an alcoholic, complicated lifelong relationship with her mother (who once confessed to trying to abort her) who lived to be 95, bisexual with volatile affairs, and a crazy cat lady to boot.

Who should play her in a biopic?  Two names came immediately to my mind but I want to know your thoughts before I reveal them. A few more pictures after the jump [one NSFW] and a few more notes about Hollywood's interest in her work. 

Click to read more ...


Dressmaker Dressmaker Catch me A Catch

JA from MNPP here - have you guys heard about The Dressmaker? It's the new movie from Jocelyn Moorhouse (How To Make An American Quilt, Proof), which she adapted from a 2000 novel by Rosalie Ham, and it's about a woman who returns to her small hometown after being accused or murder; there she sets out to 1) make amends with her eccentric mother, and 2) show the town's ladies the power of excellent haute couture, and 3) get revenge on the people who wrong her, and 4) falls in love with Liam Hemsworth. Okay I am getting a little ahead of myself there with the Hemsworth thing since I haven't mentioned any of the rest of the casting, which is the real meat and potatoes...

... since the stylish accused-murderess is being played by Kate Winslet and her eccentric mother is being played by Judy Davis. Excuse me I'm sorry you're supposed to always type that in caps - her eccentric mother is being played by JUDY DAVIS. Kate Winslet and Judy Davis as mother and daughter! Revenge and high fashion! Liam Hemsworth as beefcake on a platter! All of these thing deserve exclamation points, you see.

And so do the other two names attached to the film - Isla Fisher (who has gone criminally under-used if you ask me; I can't even tell you how many times I quote her Bachelorette performance) and Elizabeth Debicki (who was easily the best thing in The Great Gatsby). This is a great big pile-up of awesomeness, that's what this is. Oh and a random aside I learned while writing this story up that goes on the awesome heap - did you know that Jocelyn Moorhouse is married to Muriel's Wedding director PJ Hogan? I did not know that until right now, and any connection I can make back to Muriel's Wedding is a cause célèbre above and beyond all else.