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Entries in box office (151)

Sunday
Dec222013

The Anchorman Continues...

Amir's Weekly Box Office Report

chart repurposed from boxoffice.com

Ron Burgundy and his news team were the story of the weekend with Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, though their numbers are anything but a big deal. The film opened at the lowest end of its expected spectrum and I have yet to come across anyone who’s liked this film unreservedly. I was never a big fan of the original, which I got around to a few years too late. (I expect this one to hit my rental queue sometimes in 2017). It opened behind The Hobbit, for which the amount of critical goodwill hasn’t been nearly strong enough to convince me something better than the insufferable first episode is in store. Smaug smug as it may sound, I can think of quite a few better things to do with two and a ½ hours.

American Hustle expanded beyond New York and Los Angeles and all the way to snowy Montreal, where I was able to watch it. (Personal story: this is the third time in my life that I’ve went to le cinema on trips to Montreal, after the first Sherlock Holmes installment and Ted. The experiences are very slowly but surely improving. I expect to catch a real good one on my 2017 trip.) Hustle is Russell’s unruliest but least energetic offering, though it’s totally worth watching because of Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper’s perm. At $20m, it doesn’t seem positioned to beat Silver Linings Playbook’s gross, but The Fighter’s should be within reach.

chart repurposed from Boxoffice.com

Further below, the stellar Inside Llewyn Davis continued its slow expansion and is hovering just outside the top ten. Like virtually any other film by the Coen Brothers, it is an essential watch. Spike Jonze’s Her is also playing now, though only on six screens. I’m less enthused than most, though there are certainly worthy elements about it – Hey! Look! Amy Adams again! – but Jonze is such a unique, vital voice. We should treasure this film before he hides for another three or four years.

Finally, Asghar Farhadi’s The Past has opened, though on even fewer screens than Her. This one’s really grown on me with repeat viewings so I encourage you to see it. Oh, and read my interview with Mr. Farhadi. Anyway, my weekend has consisted of Short Term 12 (I’m sorry Nathaniel) and American Hustle so far and will continue with whatever else goes with the mood on the train ride back home. What did you watch this weekend?

Sunday
Dec082013

Box Office or: How I Learned to Stop Going to Theatres and Play Catch-Up

Amir here, bringing you this weekend’s box office report, which looks curiously like last weekend’s box office report. Of course no one is surprised that Out of the Furnace didn’t have the power to blast off Catching Fire and Frozen. The reviews aren’t over the moon; its stars aren’t quite stars, but famous actors; and this time of year, if you’re not a franchise entry or an animated film, you better be an Oscar player with huge buzz to sell tickets. Furnace is none of those things, and this weekend isn’t particularly notable for big numbers anyway. The last time any film opened in the first week of December to what can be considered reasonably successful sales is The Golden Compass all the way back in 2007. The only other noteworthy release is Inside Llewyn Davis, which opened on 4 screens to a strong per screen average. I find it strange that the studio didn’t go straight for a wide release, given they’ve been building buzz since May, but there’s gotta be a reason I’m not a studio strategist. I’m sure they know best.

TOP OF THE BOX OFFICE
01 Frozen $31.6 (cum. $134.2) Review | Let it GoJonathan Groff
02 Hunger Games Pt 2 $27 (cum. $336.6) Review
03 Out of the Furnace $5.3 *new* 
04 Thor Pt 2 $4.7 (cum. $193.6) Review  
05 Delivery Man  $3.7 (cum. $24.7) 

I didn’t hit the theatres this weekend but for a preview screening of Spike Jonze’s Her, and looking ahead to the coming weeks, only American Hustle and Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street are films I’m eager to see. Otherwise I’ve been playing catch-up. It’s that time of the year again when we prep for our top ten lists and blind spots need to be covered. If I want to write my Team Experience Awards - yay! they’re coming in January - ballot with any sort of confidence, I need to watch everything from Fruitvale Station to Aleksander Sokurov’s Faust, from Short Term 12 to Joao Pedro Rodrigues’s The Last Time I Saw Macao. I’ve seen around 90 films so far this year, but a top ten list just can’t be compiled without Laurence Anyways and The Great Beauty, can it? We all have to be completists!

It’s in that spirit that we started our FYC series here, and in that same spirit that I want to share a few words on some films I think you should all watch if nothing at the multiplex entices you. Saudi Arabia’s Oscar submission, Wadjda, is an absolutely outstanding film. It’s a great feat of storytelling, an illuminating piece on women’s rights in the country that unravels with beautiful surprises and gentle humor, and it features what is undoubtedly one of the best female performances of the year by its young lead. Tim recently covered Ernest and Celestine in his column and it's the best animated film of the year by a country mile.

 

What film would you say we all have to watch before 2014 comes around?

If you follow me on twitter, surely you’ve seen me champion Jem Cohen’s Museum Hours before. It has remained my top film of the year since I saw it in the summer. Its evocative, incantatory images are still swirling around in my head. Frederick Wiseman’s At Berkeley may have missed AMPAS’s cut, but we all knew that was coming. When you get the chance to see it, grab it with both hands. There are few better ways to spend four hours than watch this expansive doc. Chad Hartigan’s This Is Martin Bonner comes across as a different, unique type of film, the likes of which we rarely see on the American indie scene these days. No best actor ballot should be made this year without giving a shot to the two brilliant leads in this film. Finally, Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing and Belgium’s Oscar submission, The Broken Circle Breakdown, both have their vocal supporters, but if you haven’t been convinced to see them yet, let me try to persuade you otherwise. The former is only trumped by The Heat as the year’s most entertaining film; the latter is an emotional roller coaster ride like nothing else I’ve come across recently.

What did you watch this weekend? And more importantly, what film would you say we all have to watch before 2014 comes around?

Sunday
Dec012013

Box Office: Hollywood Queen Beats Disney Princess

Amir here, bringing you Thanksgiving weekend’s box office report.

It’s a testament to the popularity and success of The Hunger Games series that Frozen, in its own right a breaker of multiple records this weekend, could not displace it as the number one film. Catching Fire has banked almost $300m in just ten days, leaving virtually no doubt that it will trump Iron Man 3 as the best selling film of the year. One can only imagine how much a Katniss vs. Tony Stark mash-up film would sell, though I struggle to think of any way in which Jennifer Lawrence is not superior to Robert Downey Jr. at the moment. Frozen, meanwhile, is now firmly positioned as the frontrunner for the animated film Oscar, what with positive reviews, strong word of mouth and incredible sales that guarantee every voter will be tempted to pop this screener in.

BOX OFFICE
01 THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE $74.5 (cum. $296.5) Review
02 FROZEN $66.7 *expanded* (cum. $93)
Review | Like Wicked? | Snow Queen History | Jonathan Groff Interview
03 THOR: THE DARK WORLD $11.1 (cum. $186.7) Review  
04 THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY  $8.4 (cum. $63.4) Discussion 
05 HOMEFRONT $6.9 *new* (cum. $9.7)
06 DELIVERY MAN $6.9 (cum. $19.4)
07 THE BOOK THIEF $4.8 *expanded* (cum. $7.8)
08 BLACK NATIVITY $3.8 *new* (cum. $5)
09 PHILOMENA $3.7 *expanded*  (cum. $4.7)
10 LAST VEGAS $2.7 (cum. $58.7)

None of the other new films fared even remotely as well as Frozen. You can now put Homefront in your DVD box of indistinguishable Jason Statham flicks right next to Chaos, Safe, The Mechanic and your pre-ordered copy of Heat. Black Nativity has roughly the same per screen average, and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom proved that audiences are not hungry to see yet another generic political biopic, especially one so generic that the title literally spells out Name: Dull Greatest Hits Version of Life Events Ending in Triumph. Without a doubt the biggest flop of the weekend was Spike Lee’s Oldboy remake though. I have no desire to see it, mostly because I adore the Korean original, but I can’t help but feel a bit excited about Lee’s misfortune with this one. Yes, yes, I’m petty. Look down on me all you want! But after a series of “incidents” such as this and this, I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels gleeful schadenfreude.

I’ve had a great weekend so far. I didn’t have to leave the house but I caught up with Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, The Grandmaster, The Dirties, At Berkeley and Viola, and with varying degrees of enthusiasm, I can recommend them all. What did you watch this weekend?

Sunday
Nov242013

Katniss Sets Box Office Ablaze

Amir here with the weekend's box office report. To the surprise of no one, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire came out on top, edging out not just this week's meagre competition, but also the original Hunger Games. Back then, it was surprising that the YA adaptation could open to more than $150m, but with the book series now even more universally recognized and a leading lady who is threatening to become Hollywood's biggest star, these numbers aren't shocking. Still, to put things in perspective, Catching Fire now has one of the top five best opening weekends of all time, neck and neck with The Dark Knight Rises for the best 2D-only opening.

Batman franchise level openings for Hunger Games

Staggering numbers. The question at this point is whether the film has enough fuel in its tank to beat Iron Man 3 to the year's top spot.

BOX OFFICE
01 THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE $161.1 *new* 
02 THOR: THE DARK WORLD $14.1 (cum. $167.8) Review  
03 THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY  $12.5 (cum. $50.3) Discussion 
04 DELIVERY MAN $8.2 *new* 
05 FREE BIRDS $5.3 (cum. $48.5)
06 LAST VEGAS $4.4  (cum. $53.9)
07 JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA $3.4 (cum. $95.4)
08 GRAVITY $3.3 (cum. $245.5) Many Previous Posts 
09 12 YEARS A SLAVE $2.8 (cum. $29.3) Slavery in Cinema & Previous Discussions
10 DALLAS BUYERS CLUB $2.7 (cum. $6.4) Podcast & Review

The weekend's other debut is the critically dismissed Vince Vaughn joint, Delivery Man, about a man whose countless sperm donations in youth have led to countless children. I haven't seen it but I found Starbuck, the original Quebecois film this is based on, genuinely funny and engaging a couple of years ago at TIFF, where it was the runner up for the People's Choice Award. 

Beyond that, the main talking points are the buzzy Oscar contenders, all present in the top twenty at this point, unless you count Philomena a top contender. Dallas Buyers Club entered the top ten, 12 Years a Slave continues to hold well - am I the only one surprised by this film's success? Nebraska is also doing well (though Alexander Payne's approval ratings with critics continues to baffle me). But I think the real story is that All Is Lost has now reached almost $5 million,  pleasantly strong for a film with virtually no marketing hooks. I wasn't a big fan of the film, but I can't begrudge J.C. Chandor his success. He's an exciting talent.

Aside from Nebraska, I caught up with Terms and Conditions May Apply, which is on Oscar's documentary longlist and is actually really captivating, rewatched the superb Brazilian Oscar submission Neighboring Sounds, and caught up with an Iranian film called When Everybody Was Asleep, which is quite possibly the message-iest of all message-y movies. What did you all see?

Wednesday
Nov202013

'The Best Man Holiday' a Fascinating Portrait in Black Cinema

Glenn here. I get the sense that I am not meant to have much of an opinion on The Best Man Holiday. I suspect that even to the filmmakers it was meant to do little more than make audiences feel good (as well as a little sad – oh gawd, the tears!!) and make money while not rocking the boat. And yet I come to this 14-years-later sequel to Malcolm D. Lee’s original The Best Man (1999) and find it one of the year’s most fascinating films in terms of the evolution of black cinema and filmmaking in general.

 

Oh sure, it’s a perfectly adequate movie. It’s certainly never truly great. There’s quite a bit of stuff here that makes no sense (two deus ex machinas in the span of ten minutes is a bit much), and I’m dubious about some of its politics in regards to female sexuality. It’s also too long. On that same day I had watched What’s Love Got To Do With It? for the next Team Experience poll and that one, a biopic about the life of Tina freakin’ Turner, was shorter than The Best Man Holiday! Nevertheless, by the end credits I had laughed, I had cried, and I felt like I’d revisited old friends that left me with a smile on my face. Even if as a gay, white, Australian, Hollywood probably doesn't think I should have any interest in it. [more]

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