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Entries in Mr Turner (11)

Sunday
Mar152015

Box Office: Wild Tales of CG Mice and Mike Leigh's Success

For today's box office charts, since there isn't much news beyond Cinderella's expected but terrific opening, here's two charts. 1) The unavoidable movies and 2) the movies you have to seek out. The quality differential is damn frightening. Every single one of the platform toppers are really good! If only audiences could have better taste... sigh... but it's not all their fault. The studios have trained moviegoers to not seek quality since quality is harder to sell and easy marketing hooks are a far more fail safe option with which to run a business since quality (a tough job) is neither here nor there. And once people stopped seeking quality, it got harder and harder to find even if you were seeking. The story of the dwindling of the American arthouse. Well, that and the fast turn-around to DVD and On Demand.

Erica Rivas in WILD TALES. Her wedding doesn't go as well as CINDERELLA's.

WIDE RELEASE
01 Cinderella $70 NEW Review
02 Run All Night $11 NEW
03 Kingsman: The Secret Service $6.2 (cum. $107.3) Review
04 Focus $5.8 (cum. $44)
05 Chappie $5.8 (cum. $23) Review

PLATFORM RELEASE
01 Wild Tales (68 Theaters) $.2 (cum. $.8) Review
02 '71 (65 Theaters) $.2 (cum. $.3) Review
03 It Follows (4 Theaters) $.1 NEW Review
04 Mr Turner (89 Theaters) $.1 (cum. $3.7) Review & Interview
05 Red Army (58 Theaters) $.07 (cum. $.4)  

Oscar nominated Dick Pope and Mike Leigh on the set of Mr TurnerIt Follows, the latest buzzy horror had the week's best per screen average. More artistically leaning horror films have been on a real roll lately creatively but the public interest hasnt yet been piqued so they haven't peeked. Mr Turner is closing out its run soon but it did well... Mike Leigh movies tend to gross right below that region in the US. The ones that Oscar likes do best which probably isn't a surprise:  Secrets and Lies (5 nominations, all in top 8 categories) grossed roughly quadruple what his films usually gross; Topsy-Turvy (4 nominations... mostly in craft categories and his only film to win Oscars, 2 of them) is his second most popular; Vera Drake (3 Oscar nominations, all in top 8 categories) and Mr Turner (4 Oscar nominations, all in craft categories) grossed slightly more than his usual releases. This explains why SPC is so obsessed with releasing them in December but it's a pity because some of them without obvious Oscar hooks need more time to build. Another Year, I maintain, would have been far more successful if released in the fall because it's quiet and contemporary and its power sneaks up on you. 

TFE Recommends: Do yourself a huge favor (if you haven't yet) and take a group of friends to see Argentina's Oscar nominee Wild Tales. It's so funny and comedies are always best with a group. Super accessibly entertaining too as long as your friends know how to read or can speak Spanish. I'm dying to hear which is your favorite from the six short films within the film. I'm partial to "The strongest" (#3) and "Until death do us part" (#6) but they're all good.

What did you see this weekend? If you saw Cinderella chat about that here. I liked it but I really wanted Lucifer to eat those damn CG mice. 

Wednesday
Feb182015

Let's Talk Costume Design

Manuel here to talk costume design, one of my favorite Oscar categories. Today’s detour into this category comes courtesy of this very cool “Oscar by the numbers” infographic MTV came up with which makes the bold statement that “Zero” is “the number of oscar nominations for women behind the scenes.” I’m sure they were hoping to point out the absence of women like Gillian Flynn (in Adapted Screenplay) and Ava Duvernay (in Directing) but isn’t it horribly misleading? You don’t have to go far to see Oprah Winfrey & Dede Gardner (Selma), Cathleen Sutherland (Boyhood) and Helen Estabrook (Whiplash) nominated in the Best Picture category, but you’re mostly also ignoring the women nominated in Production Design, Make up and Hairstyling and, of course, Costume Design. Aren’t these women working “behind the scenes”? This last category is to my mathematically challenged mind (and I’d have to double check the shorts categories to be sure), the only one outside of the actress nominations where we see an overabundance of female nominees.

And so, I wanted to highlight the work of the five costume designers nominated this year. If there’s one thing to be said about the increasingly PR-driven world of Oscar campaigning is the careful attention to the crafts categories as showcases for those working “below the line” as one would say. And so here are sketches (with accompanying links of where to read more about these designers and their work) from the five nominated films...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan032015

National Society of Film Critics Swings French for 2014

The NSFC has announced its "Best" and we have another treat for glum Marion Cotillard. She may have been fired from her job in Two Days One Night but the world's critics would love her to be gainfully employed for years to come.

The NSFC is composed of "many of the country’s most distinguished movie critics" and were once the third holy in the critical trinity (with NYFCC and LAFCA) before the days when every single city in the nation was naming their best a development which has significantly dulled the power of critics awards altogether... or  at least confused what it is about critics awards that anyone pays attention to anymore.

The most interesting thing is that though this critics society has "National" in its name, the members were just not that into American films this year. They've crossed the Atlantic for their major prizes handing Jean-Luc Godard's 3D experiment Goodbye to Language the year's best film (in a narrow one point victory over Boyhood), Marion Cotillard wins Best Actress (by a huge margin for her Belgian feature with the Dardenne brothers as well as The Immigrant). The other mild statement this weekend is two prizes for the British Mike Leigh film Mr Turner with wins in Best Actor and Cinematography.

This last burst of recognition for Timothy Spall (interviewed right here) in a very tight Best Actor race and for Marion Cotillard who remains a longshot for Best Actress since the precursors roundly favored the exact same five women (Julianne, Reese, Felicity, Jennifer, Rosamund) keeps things exciting. At least a little bit. If AMPAS is still asking for recommendations at all, mind you. Still, we know of at least one über famous Academy member who is rooting for Marion. 

 

 

Thanks, Jane! 

Otherwise the NSFC prizes were the standard winners you've seen everywhere else: Linklater, Simmons, Arquette, Citizenfour, and Budapest for Screenplay. All this agreement has been bizarre for such a rich film year but what can you do? (If you're interest in voting data, I've included it after the jump... and you can also visit their official site here.)

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec312014

Screener Adventures from American Snipers to British Painters (Pt. 2)

Previously... I shared brief thoughts about rewatches of Big Hero, Grand Budapest, Babadook well as The Homesman and Skeleton Twins.

What came next in the home-screening adventures, you ask? Here I am to answer. I haven't had as much time as I'd hope (aint that always the case) but I've been trying to cram movies in. Here are a handful of notes on movies from the screener stack.

AMERICAN SNIPER
Credit where credit is due: For once a Clint Eastwood movie is not filmed like its sinking into an inky black void where color is a total affront to sober intent. It turns out Tom Stern can make movies that take place in reasonably well lit places. Okay, okay, let's not get carried away. It's still largely colorless but this time there is daylight though the subject matter remains brutal. I'm not sure what to make of its dead-eyed killings which aren't filmed with any rah-rah glee that you'd think would accompany the movie's conservative America is #1 conservatism. Even its one note patriotism is presented rather than, I think, fully endorsed: Chris Kyle, very well played by Bradley Cooper though there isn't much in the way of an arc, memorably refuses to engage with any criticism and is all "God, Family, & Country" in each scene. But something about its very matter-of-fact presentation and inarticulate hero wore me down after awhile despite gripping action sequences. I have no idea how Oscar might respond but my hunch is it's either full hog or both sound nominations only a la Lone Survivor

Meryl's Insane Bankability Continues! Well done, diva.INTO THE WOODS
Reviewed by ranking its musical numbers here. It was the second time I'd seen it having watched it on a big screen originally. Weirdly I think the cinematography, which often looked too muddy and dark on the screen works a little better on a TV. But anyway...  let's hear it for Disney for a great opening weekend. It's important that musicals do well so that we get more of them! Into the Woods won not only the biggest opening weekend ever for a Broadway adaptation but the biggest of Meryl Streep's career, as well. I imagine we'll continue to talk about Into the Woods for a while --  multiple Oscar nominations coming -- so I'll let this be all for this post.

THE JUDGE
I already peed on that here but it keeps haunting me like bad trip flashbacks. Especially the dye job on Vera Farmiga who deserves better Hollywood, come on. Also that scene where RDJ is like superhero-lawyer and stops a bar fight with the power of his wily words!

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
A love letter from Tangiers & Detroit to all of you who recommended this movie throughout the year. Though I was once the type who would rush to anything vampiric, I'll readily admit that Hollywood's overuse of the bloodsuckers finally wore me out; I've been avoiding all such movies for years now. But I should have trusted Jim Jarmusch to come at it from an entirely different angle and I don't know how I missed that it was shot by Yorick Le Saux who won my silver medal for cinematography in 2010 for I Am Love. Detroit has never looked so beautifully haunted, Tilda and Tom couldn't have been a more exotically languid well-cultured pair, its slow moods weren't trying but contemplative, and the ending was pitch-perfect delayed gratification.

Excusez moi


MR TURNER
A surprise. If you only listen to this movie as opposed to watching it (which is what I sometimes do when The Boyfriend is watching TV) it sounds rather like a horror movie. I'm not kidding. There are a lot of scary animalistic noises supposedly emanating from human people (not just Spall's famed grunt speak) and the score by Gary Yershon might be the creepiest outside of Under the Skin this year.  

P.S. Speaking of The Boyfriend...
This time of year chez moi he watches a ton of screeners since he doesn't go to many critics screenings with me. I usually don't watch carefully (having already seen them) and drift in and out as I'm working. He is unpredictable about movies. He loved Pride and Ida (as most sane people do), thought Mr Turner was "good. well made" but clearly had no passion for it. Cried huge apartment-flooding puddles during Still Alice and Wild, and inexplicably H-A-T-E-D both Force Majeure and A Most Violent Year (what the what??? x 2). Finally, he was paying so little attention to Love is Strange that I had to make him shut it off. That wonderful movie from Ira Sachs is too delicate for half-watching. It requires your full attention or that glorious final 15 minutes just won't resonate. 

Have you ever learned something new about a movie you loved by catching only pieces of it or hearing it in the background?

Saturday
Dec272014

Interview: Timothy Spall on "Mr. Turner" and Fathers and Sons

Mr Turner, Mike Leigh's long gestating dream project about the romantic painter J.M.W. Turner recently hit theaters in limited release but it's buzz began back in the summer when Timothy Spall took home the Best Actor prize at Cannes for his grunted commitment to this fusion of great artist and unsavory man. Last month I had the opportunity to sit down with the Mike Leigh favorite (this is their fifth big-screen collaboration). It'd be impossible to list all the ways in which the man and role are different but the physical strikes you first. Spall has slimmed down considerably since playing what he calls this "toby jug of a man." 

The generous friendly actor, a thousand times more articulate than his current character, talked about the hazards of working with Mike Leigh, and beautiful fathers and son relationships both on screen and off. 

Nathaniel R: I’ve talked to a few actors who’ve worked with Mike Leigh. You always hear about the months of prep work and not knowing how large your role will be. You're the lead this time but is it frustrating to do the work and then just have a small part? 

TIMOTHY SPALL: I think it is. I’ve been in situations where other actors have worked a long long time and because of the way the film is structured they’ve ended up working for three months for one scene. That’s just the way it goes. It is a hazard when you work with Mike Leigh and he doesn’t hide that fact. In all the 33 years that I’ve worked with him, he’s never guaranteed I’d be the center of the piece

Well this one you had a good idea...

Unless he was shooting another film secretly in the evening about Constable.

Or a film about the Academy.

Or about Tina Turner.

Kathleen Turner

One of the Turners. [Laughs]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec212014

Box Office: The Battle of the Holiday Releases Part 1

Manuel here reporting for box office duty. While news about the Sony hack dominated headlines, the domestic box office was slowly showing signs of life after a rather muted start to december (Exodus: Gods and Kings anyone?). Thankfully (for studios, critics would clearly disagree) the crop of new films offered some needed entertainment and seem poised to offer some successes as the holidays approach this coming week.

Peter Jackson’s sixth (sixth!!) entry in the Tolkien saga easily won the weekend (having opened on Wednesday), proving that, yes, audiences will visit Middle Earth #OneLastTime. New family-friendly films Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Annie came in second and third respectively while in the lower-rung of the Top 10 (and hovering right below it), specialty releases and Oscar-bound films performed rather well. I for one, am happy to see Reese Witherspoon (who we just Posterized) and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild at #6. It’s a great film which has, for reasons that feel both expected and frustrating, not been making enough of a dent in the “Best of”/Oscar conversations (after the McConnaissance and the Reesurgence, might Jean-Marc Vallée ratify the Gyllenhaalism we’re all experiencing with Demolition, out next year? Who should he take on next?)

TOP SIXTEEN
01 BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES $56.2 NEW (cum. $90.6) Five Beautiful Armies
02 NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 3  $17.3 NEW
03 ANNIE $16.3 NEW
04 EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS $8 (cum. $38.9) Michael's Review
05 MOCKINGJAY PT 1 $7.7 (cum. $289.2) Michael's Review
06 WILD $4.1 (cum. $7.2) Nathaniel's Review, Laura Dern Interview
07 TOP FIVE $3.5 (cum. $12.4) Nathaniel's Thoughts
08 BIG HERO 6 $3.5 (cum. $190.4) Tim's Review / Nathaniel's Take
09 THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR $3.5 (cum. $64.1)  Tim's Review
10 P.K. $3.5 NEW

11 INTERSTELLAR $2.6 (cum. $171.4) Michael's Review, Podcast
12 HORRIBLE BOSSES $2.1 (cum. $47.7)
13 THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING $1.59 (cum. $19.8) Review, podcast
14 FOXCATCHER $0.95 (cum. $4.4) Review, Michael's Take, podcast
15 BIRDMAN $0.91 (cum. $22.2) Review, podcast, interview

That #10 entry is for the Bollywood film P.K. which made headlines a couple of weeks back with its NSFW-ish poster of leading man Aamir Khan. Needless to say, it’s doing great business in India where it was also released this weekend. You’ll also note that the male-skewing Oscar favorites continue to expand (or hold on, in the case of Birdman) as they rack up critical and industry citations. Indeed, The Imitation Game’s #16 placement is impressive considering it is only in 79 screens, by far amassing the greatest haul for a film in under 100 screens.

PLATFORM (Under 100 screens)
01 IMITATION GAME$0.89 79 locations (cum. $3.19) Review, Glenn's take, Podcast
02 INHERENT VICE $0.147 5 locations (cum. $0.6) Conversation
03 MR TURNER$0.109 5 locations NEW Review, Press conference
04 THE BABADOOK $0.089 79 locations (cum. $0.466) Interview
05 CITIZENFOUR $0.058 52 locations (cum. $2.04) Podcast

Both at five locations, PTA's Inherent Vice and Mike Leigh's Mr Turner posted strong numbers. This gives them both a needed boost (and Vice the distinction of posting the biggest per screen average two weeks in a row, though losing half of its audience. Guess them PTA fans rushed to see it last week?)

What did you see this weekend?