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Entries in box office (181)

Sunday
Oct192014

Box Office: Fury Attacks with a Tank Full of Gas

Amir here, reporting to box office duty. America finally flocked to the theatres to quench its months-long thirst for knowledge: just what the hell is Brad Pitt’s hair cut about? Most of you have surely found out by now, but I have to wait until Tuesday to see Fury, because my favourite actor present or not, I’m just not willing to spend more than the $7 for ticket plus popcorn deal on a war movie in a tank.

What did you see this weekend? Let us know in the comments how you liked it.

TOP TEN WIDE
01 FURY $23.5 NEW
02 GONE GIRL $17.8  (cum. $107)  Jason's Review
03 THE BOOK OF LIFE $17 NEW Interview
04 ALEXANDER AND THE... $12 (cum. $36.8)
05 THE BEST OF ME $10.2  NEW
06 DRACULA UNTOLD $9.8 (cum. $40.7) 
07 THE JUDGE $7.9 (cum. $26.8)
08 ANNABELLE $7.9 (cum. $74.1)
09 THE EQUALIZER $5.4 (cum. $89.1)
10 THE MAZE RUNNER $4.5 (cum. $90.8) Nathaniel's Review

TOP TEN LIMITED
Excluding Wide Releases Losing Theaters

01 ST. VINCENT $.6 68 theaters (cum. $.8) Michael's Review
02 KILL THE MESSENGER $.4  427 theaters (cum. $1.8)
03 BIRDMAN $.4 4 theaters NEW composer interview | opening night party 
04 DEAR WHITE PEOPLE $.3 11 theaters NEW Michael's Review
05 MEN WOMEN & CHILDREN $.3  608 theaters (cum. $.4)

The weekend’s other wide openings, a Día de Muertos-themed film called The Book of Life and a Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Best of oh, who even cares?, both snuck in the top ten, though critical and public enthusiasm seems rather low. I’m happy for Reel FX bouncing back from the train wreck that was Free Birds, though. Meanwhile, the biggest news of the weekend was the per screen average gross of Birdman, where it ranks among the top 20 of all time.

This year’s best average gross still belongs to Wes Anderson’s Budapest Hotel, but Birdman is the bigger surprise. Anderson is one of a series of active filmmakers whose films always pull the same trick, opening on a few screens to massive numbers before expansion – his namesake P. T. Anderson and Woody Allen always do the same to great degrees of success. Yet, for Birdman to pull of similar numbers is genuinely surprising. My guess is that the film’s appeal remains limited outside of the major markets, but I reserve the right to retroactively edit this prediction out if the film does well.

Other films of note opening this weekend: Listen Up Philip, Dear White People, and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, a film I have surprisingly thought about so often since TIFF that it has forced itself into my top 10 of the year. Go see it! It’s magical.  

Tuesday
Oct142014

Top Ten Unseen Hits

Is this "top ten day" annoying you yet? Every once in a while I like to look at the "yearly" charts to see which films are the most popular with the general public... i.e. that strange undulating shape-shifting mass of terror that inflicts so many terrible sequels, reboots, derivative horror flicks, and Adam Sandler movies on us. That blob of horror doesn't even get adventurous within genres it freaking loves. Why don't they flock to like The Boxtrolls instead of The Nutjob, you know? Why The Purge movies and not, like, The Babadook?

Here are the 10 biggest hits of 2014 once you subtract all the film's Nathaniel has seen and the ones that aren't yet on DVD. You may force him to watch something and write about it by voting. You can choose two films.

 

 

 

ALSO I'M CURIOUS...
Which big hits this year have you avoided or just didn't think to check out?

Sunday
Oct122014

Box Office: Gone Girl Keeps Her Money

Amir here, returning to box office duty. I had to discard my long, passionate obituary for every cinephile’s favorite math-themed website, Box Office Mojo, because thankfully it’s back on air. The scare is (seemingly) over. We can all feast our eyes again on that old-school, colourless, eyesore of a design we know and love. 

TOP TEN WIDE
01 GONE GIRL $26.8 (cum. $78.2) Jason's Review
02 DRACULA UNTOLD $23.4  NEW
03 ALEXANDER AND THE ... DAY $19.1 NEW
04 ANNABELLE $16.3 (cum. $62.1)
05 THE JUDGE $13.3  NEW
06 THE EQUALIZER $9.7 (cum. $79.8) 
07 ADDICTED $7.6  NEW
08 THE MAZE RUNNER $7.5 (cum. $83.8) Review
09 THE BOXTROLLS $6.6 (cum. $41) In praise of Laika
10 LEFT BEHIND $2.9 (cum. $10.9)  

Gone Girl kept her cool and slit Dracula’s throat to stay at number one. Dracula Untold – ugh, that title – was one of four new wide releases that failed to overcome Fincher’s film. There was also the children’s film Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and the much maligned TIFF opening film, The Judge, starring Robert Downey Jr. sans the lucrative iron man suit. If those titles sound unappealing, wait till you get a hold of Meet the Mormons, yet another Christian film entering the top ten, making this a truly exemplary year for the little genre. This one is a documentary financed by the church of LDS, so you know it’s going to be even-headed and nuanced.

Still, all isn’t lost. You’re not alone in thinking this year’s highbrow film season is off to an unusually slow start, but there are good things to see out there, as Nathaniel highlighted the other day. Pride, Whiplash, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, and if you’re a Canadian reader, Mommy, are all playing and doing relatively strong business on few screens. Entertain yourselves with those, or Bill Murray’s St. Vincent (with the weekend's highest per screen average), or this wonderful little documentary called The Overnighters.

Anyway, I’ve mostly been busy with screeners for next week’s films with hit or miss results. What did you watch this weekend?

Sunday
Oct052014

Box Office: Expect Gone Girl To Stick Around

Hey all, Nathaniel back at my own home blog. Sorry for my radio silence the past couple of days but on rare occasions the words just don't come. What did you see this weekend? Here's what the masses turned out for.

Gone Girl's strong opening weekend -- a best for David Fincher -- suggests that it's going to stick around for awhile given how many conversations it starts (and editorials it will continue to inspire). That must be what that blurb whore meant when he said "date movie of the decade"... that you'd want to talk about it after seeing it giving you conversation fodder at dinner. At least I hope that's what he meant because the story is so cynical about relationships and would probably be a horrible thing to see with someone you barely knew and didn't know if you could trust and didn't know how to read their reactions to entertainment yet (people want different things from it, after all).

TOP TEN WIDE (800 THEATERS PLUS)
01 GONE GIRL $38 NEW Review
02 ANNABELLE $37.2 NEW
03 THE EQUALIZER $19 (cum. $64.5) Why Denzel?
04 THE BOXTROLLS $12.4 (cum. $32.5) The Most Exciting Animation Studio
05 THE MAZE RUNNER $12 (cum. $73.9) Review
06 LEFT BEHIND $6.8 NEW 
07 THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU $4 (cum. $29) 
08 DOLPHIN TALE 2 $3.5 (cum. $.1)
09 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY $3 (cum. $323.3) Review & Ten Best Trees
10 NO GOOD DEED $2.5 (cum. $50.1)  

Hrithik Roshan gets wet for action flick BANG BANGTOP TEN LIMITED (EXCLUDING WIDE RELEASES LOSING THEATERS)
01 BANG BANG $1.2 NEW 
02 THE GOOD LIE $.9 NEW
03 THE SKELETON TWINS $.7 (cum. $3.5)
04 MY OLD LADY $.4 (cum. $2.2)
05 BREAKUP BUDDIES $.2 NEW
06 HECTOR AND THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS $.2 (cum. $.5)
07 LOVE IS STRANGE $.1 (cum. $2) Review
08 THE TRIP TO ITALY $.1 (cum. $2.6) Review
09 PRIDE $.09 (cum. $.2) Review
10 JIMI: ALL IS BY MY SIDE $.09 (cum. $.2)  

The latest Bollywood action flick starring Hrithik Roshan, he of the very huge muscles and stunning eyes opened big. I don't see Bollywood movies unless there's a dance sequence so someone let me know if Hrithik shows his moves again in this one.

I can watch his dancing in Dhoom again forever...

The other newbie The Good Lie was just behind. I keep hearing that the advertising is not very accurate. Maggie Smith fans have come out for My Old Lady despite a total lack of publicity but weirdly it isn't doing nearly as well as Quartet did and that was a really bad movie. And now two great gay films:  Love is Strange didn't take off like I'd hoped but a $2 million theatrical gross for an indie without bankable stars these days isn't exactly bad news either. Meanwhile Pride, my fav cause of the moment, is only in three cities but will add more next Friday. As I've said before I think this would be a massive arthouse hit if this were still the 1990s when people went to charming limited release movies rather than waiting for them to go to Netflix.

Emmy Threats to the standard lineup don't you think? Jeffrey Tambor for Best Actor in a comedy and Viola Davis for Best Actress in a drama

In TV's version of box office, the ratings, Viola's How To Get Away With Murder is the best ranked new network show of the fall -- thus far, at least, since it's premature to say such things given that premieres are still happening. If you haven't yet checked out my liveblog of the first two episodes why not do it. I'm probably spendingnew week bingeing on Amazon's Transparent. Watched the first three episodes last night and wow it's good with fantastic performances, intriguing and tangled character-based plots, and a firm sense of taking it all very seriously while also being able to laugh at itself. Amazon had been waiting for a series to capture accolades / attention in a way that would put them on the map as a content creator and this could well be it. I haven't heard anything about whether any of their recent pilots (we reviewed Hand of God) will be making it to series. 

What did you see this weekend?

Sunday
Sep282014

Denzel Still Rules The (Box Office) World. But Why No Artistic Risks?

Is there any movie star more consistent than Denzel? Pro: No matter what he makes, it opens big. Con: Maybe that's because he's just not a risk taker. He may be our least adventurous megastar.

TOP O' THE BOX OFFICE
1 EQUALIZER $35 million NEW
2 MAZE RUNNER $17.5 (cum. $58) Review
3 BOXTROLLS $17.2 million NEW best animation studio right now

On the stage he only appears in time-tested prestige pieces (Raisin in the Sun and August Wilson or Shakespeare plays). Onscreen he only makes two kinds of movies: disposable action thriller flicks & would-be prestige dramas. The Equalizer, adapted from a television series, is obviously one of the former. People won't remember he made it in a couple of years as a newer model surfaces to replace it. 

Washington hasn't altered this pattern in twenty years -- take a look for yourself if you don't believe me -- unless you count his curiousity about directing (both of his efforts were pitched towards awards gold but neither The Great Debaters nor Antwone Fisher won Oscar nominations). In the first decade or so of his stardom things were a teensy-bit rangier since the prestige pieces were sometimes full-fledged costume dramas (he doesn't do those anymore really) and the mainstream flicks were sometimes romantic (nix on that, too, nowadays). There were even one or two comedies (gasp)!

It'd be nice if he got the balance better. Many major stars try the '1 for them, 1 for me' approach to maintain both audience favor and critical ardor. But it's easy intead to imagine that Denzel Washington's preferred pattern of '5 for them, 1 for Oscar' might actually be a result of 'all for me'; maybe he just has extremely limited taste in movies? It wouldn't be the first time a bonafide superstar had no interest in cinema as art

Viola and Denzel in their 2010 Tony winning roles. The following year Viola won box office gold with The Help. But still no film version of FENCES.

Still as he tops the charts yet again with another violent man-fantasy, one wishes he would use his clout for good. Why isn't he using that financial and creative muscle to push important work to the screen? Couldn't he at least do the right thing in a completely self-serving way? Why not try for a third Oscar for Fences? Supposedly he's going to direct and star in it but things never seem to get moving towards actual filming and there've been rumors that he's doing it for roughly, oh, ever. Denzel and Viola Davis, his original co-star, who has more than earned another big screen big opportunity lead role after the box office / awards success of The Help, both won Tonys on stage. What's more it's positively insane that nobody ever adapts August Wilson's plays for the big screen. Viola has starred in three of them on Broadway, winning two Tonys in the process. Why isn't this a primary mission for the actor to get at least a few of them on the big screen - preferrably with Viola starring - since he has more money than God, they're important works in African American history, and he also produces now?! 

Denzel could get Fences done quickly if that's what he really cared about getting done. There is no way that the money wouldn't be there immediately if he said "sure I'll do that action movie. But Fences is what I'm doing next. And until I do it no more waving guns around for you!" There is nobody who isn't an idiot in Hollywood who would say no to helping him get it done with gazillions for more gunplay on the line the following fiscal year.

But back to the now ~ What did you see this weekend?

Monday
Sep222014

Box Office: The Lost Cause of September

Amir here, back to weekly box office reporting duty. Coming back from TIFF, I tried to catch up a bit today with all the sales numbers I’d missed since August. It turns out the biggest bit of news was... the release of Forrest Gump IMAX??? Really, September? Is that the best you can do? Turgid stuff.

On the bright side, with awards season now slowly getting into full gear, we can look forward to the highbrow films the studios have been withholding from all us all year, starting with this weekend’s... The Maze Runner and This Is Where I Leave You? Damn it September; get your act together!

big name casts don't always make big time movies

WIDE RELEASE BOX OFFICE
01 THE MAZE RUNNER $32.5 NEW Review
02 A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES $13.1 NEW 
03 THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU $11.8 NEW
04 NO GOOD DEED $10.2 (cum. $40.1)
05 DOLPHIN TALE 2 $9 (cum. $27)

Maze Runner easily topped the weekend’s box office. Our very own Nathaniel didn’t think much of the film and he seems to be with the majority. This is Where I Leave You? premiered at TIFF and was met with something resembling vitriol. Post-festival reactions from the mainstream press are only slightly better. The ensemble comedy starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Adam Driver performed below expectations, as did the film that actually surpassed it to second place, A Walk among the Tombstones. The new entry in the “Liam Neeson as the Saviour in an Action Film” series failed most likely because its only hook was Liam Neeson as the Saviour in an Action Film, with no aid from planes or wolves.

Limited releases were more exciting.

have you seen Love is Strange yet?TOP TEN LIMITED (EXCLUDING WIDE RELEASES LOSING THEATERS)
01 TUSK $.8 NEW 
02 MY OLD LADY $.4 (cum. $.6)
03 THE SKELETON TWINS $.4 (cum. $.9)
04 THE TRIP TO ITALY $.3 (cum. $2.1)
05 CANTINFLAS $.2 (cum. $6)
06 LOVE IS STRANGE $.2 (cum. $1.5) Review
07 THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY: THEM $.1 (cum. $.2) right way to watch? / review of him/her
08 THE GUEST $.08 (cum. $.1) Review
09 ZERO THEOREM $.08 NEW Review
10 CALVARY $.05 (cum. $3.4)  

At least three films worthy of your time opened this weekend. Michael liked Tracks for the most part. I’ve been falling more and more in love with Stop the Pounding Heart, a modest, evocative film that blends fiction and documentary to study a religious community in Texas. It’s almost ethereal in its beauty and very challenging in its subtlety and frankness. There was also 20,000 Days on Earth (review forthcoming) which is a fictionalized documentary about the creation of Nick Cave’s latest album. It’s a very interesting film about the creative process and one that really delves into the psyche of the man at its centre to contextualize his work. None of these films passed the $100k mark and neither did Simon Pegg’s Hector and the Search for Happiness or Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem (reviewed), but here’s hoping they get a fair shake soon.

What have you watched this week?

Monday
Sep152014

Box Office Report - No Good Dolphin Tale

Margaret here, back to report on another quiet weekend at the box office. Powered by the considerable force of charisma that Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson supply, home-invasion thriller No Good Deed topped the box office with close to 25 million. In second place is the family film Dolphin Tale 2, which took in decent dollars despite an aggressively bland marketing campaign and the fact that the first one was barely a hit. Guardians of the Galaxy dropped only 22% to third place, and is now the first movie since Frozen to pass $300 million domestically. The Year of Chris Pratt continues.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE

01 NO GOOD DEED $24.5 *new*
02 DOLPHIN TALE 2 $16.6 *new*
03 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY $8.0 (cum. $305.9)  Review
04 ...NINJA TURTLES $4.8 (cum. $181.0) remember the animated one?
05 LET'S BE COPS $4.3 (cum. $72.9)
06 THE DROP $4.2 *new*

The stealth success story here is Let's Be Cops, which, despite abysmal reviews and release in one of the worst cultural climates for an irresponsible-cop-comedy, is limping towards $75 million and a significant profit margin thanks to weak competition and a shoestring budget.

On the limited side, Dennis Lehane-penned crime drama The Drop outstripped its projected haul with $4.2 million from less than 1,000 screens. Such is the magnetic pull of a scruffy Tom Hardy snuggling a pit bull puppy, to say nothing of the chance to see James Gandolfini's final performance. 

Other notable limited releases include the Bill Hader/Kristen Wiig tragicomedy The Skeleton Twins, which brought in an impressive per-screen average and is well on its way to crossing the important indie-film benchmark of $1 million, and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them, which is getting an unenthusiastic critical response and middling ticket sales. Perhaps audiences are holding out for the Him and Her twofer instead.

Now that we've hit mid-September there are finally some festival hits and critical darlings trickling out into theaters (which admittedly mostly serves those of us in the country's three or four largest cities). I saw The Drop, in which Tom Hardy was absolutely wonderful and Dennis Lehane was entirely Dennis Lehane. What did you see in theaters this weekend?  Are any of you at festivals getting sneak peeks at TFE's most anticipated? Who wants to talk about Tom Hardy's mesmerizing Brooklyn accent or that baby pit bull?