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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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"Peaking at the right time" - Mark

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Entries in release dates (72)


Box Office: Katniss Reigns (Softly) While Spotlight Gains

[Whistles Katniss theme]

As expected Katniss and her unmerry band of rebels dominated the weekend box office as The Hunger Games franchise finally wrapped up. Though this is the softest opening yet for the franchise it's not soft enough to end Hollywood's love of splitting final chapters into two for no good narrative reason so the trend will obviously continue for now. (sigh). I personally have no real ill will for this franchise  (it's okay but I bowed out after the second film -- just too dull for my personal tastes) but The Film Experience does have official stance ill will for franchise decisions that no reasonable trustworthy person could ever claim were based on anything other than milking more money from fans. "Event" showbiz is fun but the first priority really should be to the generous fan bases of serial cinema -- Hollywood owes fans good storytelling, not padding to take more of their paycheck once you've hooked them. You're not drug dealers, movie studios, you're showmen! Putting on a great show needs to be your priority. Hopefully the upcoming slate of finale splitting franchises fail in much more embarrassing / decisive ways so -- Hollywood deserves the wrist-slapping.

(Nov 20th-22nd)
01 Hunger Games 4 (4,175 screens) $101 new Hunger Games & Oscar
02 Spectre (3,659 screens) $14.6 (cum. $153.7) Review
03 Peanuts Movie (3,671 screens) $12.8 (cum. $98.9)
04 The Night Before (2,960 screens) $10.1 new
05 Secret in Their Eyes (2,392 screens) $6.6 new
06 Love the Coopers (2,603 screens) $3.9 (cum. $14.8) 
07 The Martian (2,086 screens) $3.7 (cum. $213) Podcast
08 Spotlight (598 screens) $3.6 (cum. 5.8) First Impression
09 The 33 (2,452 screens) $2.2 (cum. $9.9)
10 Bridge of Spies (1,532 screens) $1.9 (cum. $65.1) Review, Tom Hanks
11 Goosebumps (1,787 screens) $1.7 (cum. $76) First Impression
12 Brooklyn (113 screens) $1.1 (cum. $2.1) Review, Saoirse & Best Actress
13 Hotel Transylvania 2 (828 screens) $.7 (cum. $166.4) on director Genndy Tartakovsky
14 Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (283 screens) $.6 (cum. $3.9)
15 Suffragette (517 screens) $.5 (cum. $3.5) Carey's Performance, Review

Among the limited releases Spotlight and Brooklyn had the strongest per screen totals. Hopefully they'll stay strong in wider release since at heart they're quite accessible entertainments and it's infinitely depressing that anything non-genre that aims for adult audiences and quality these days is automatically viewed as "specialized" in its appeal. Room, a much trickier sell than either of those premise-wise is having a tougher time expanding but if the A24 Best Picture hopeful can hold out until top ten lists and awards noms give it some extra juice it should do well. It's already gathered a reasonable $2.8 million in its first month or so in release.

In extremely miniscule release Todd Haynes's latest masterpiece Carol earned a robust quarter million on just 4 screens... though in rather frustrating news it seems to be sticking to its originally aborted release date (opposite Star Wars) in terms of when it will show up in a lot of sizeable markets and won't be in some other smaller markets until Christmas day and beyond. In short: we're not sure when to schedule our proposed Carol week since it's going to take forever for many of you to see it. We feel your pain; you don't deserve the torturous wait.

What did you see this weekend? 
I had a homebody weekend looking at screeners for Black Mass (for the first time), Truth (again), and the first half of Jessica Jones (Netflix).


Time to Head to the Theaters -- A Big Weekend for Oscar-Watching

Damn, Hollywood. Spread the wealth a little right? After two relatively quiet months for adult moviegoers all distributors have decided en masse that YOU are going to the movie theaters this weekend. As a result they've just released everything. All at once. If you've been all 'Netflix and chill' or dragging your feet with the movies for any reason, time to get up, stretch, text your friends and hit a movie. Or two. Or three. You don't want to get behind because it doesn't let up from here on out. (Next weekend is Suffragette and the following weekend Our Brand is Crisis

The images below will take you to our reviews (or the last major post on the film) if we've written one. If you're all like "this looks like the sidebar" it's our reminder to you that sidebars are there for a reason. Use them if you want to look up a particular film or topic.

Opening Wide This Weekend
Goosebumps, Woodlawn


Opening or Expanding
(Limited Release Only)

Steve Jobs goes wide
on Oct 23rd 


Still in Theaters 
See them soon if you've wanted to. They won't be around forever


What's your priority this weekend? 


"Me Tarzan. You.... wait."

You are forgiven if you've forgotten that they're making another Tarzan picture. Hell, your host forgot it and he's kind of more into Tarzan flicks (leftover childhood obsession) than anyone he knows. The film is currently slated to open wide July 1st, 2016.

This is not a still from the film. This is Nathaniel goofing around in Photoshop

We first heard about Alexander Skarsgård's involvement almost exactly three years ago. A year later there were still casting dramas but we eventually ended up with the new Jane (Margot Robbie) and the villain (eventually Christoph Waltz... because we've never seen him do European villain before. sigh) and eventually filming happened and then the producer Jerry Weintraub died and then the director David Yates departed during lengthy postproduction to start on the new Potterverse franchise and test screenings didn't go well making its $180 production budget look more dangerous than alligators and stampeding elephants. Basically there are lots of "Tarzan's in trouble" rumors.

Will they finish it in time? Do you care? Will the deliciously exhibitionistic Alexander Skarsgård do the iconic role proud? So many questions. Stay tuned. 


Southpaw returning to the ring. (And by ring we mean movie theaters.)

someone wants an Oscar... someone wants an Oscar...

We say this in a sing-song teasing way but super-affectionately! For who beyond Jake Gyllenhaal among Hollywood's current leading men has earned more Oscar love than he's received? It's still virtually unthinkable that he missed the shortlist last year for Nightcrawler in which he burrowed into a character that proved far more indelible and challenging and even showy (and AMPAS loves that) than many of the actual nominees. And his work was better than almost all of theirs, too. (At least we gave him a prize right here)

Jake is in theaters right now climbing mountains in Everest but his headlining gig in the summer's modest boxing drama success Southpaw will get another go at theaters (and thus industry attention) this weekend courtesy of The Weinstein Company who just don't mess around when it comes to campaigning for gold. (Although, frankly, if they were going to do this at all, shouldn't they have y'know, announced it with more preliminary fanfare? And maybe not done it during Matt Damon's possibly record-busting weekend?)

Breaking into this year's Best Actor field might still prove difficult since his work in Southpaw isn't as memorable as his work in Nightcrawler and isn't as uniquely inspired as his work in next year's Demolition (he's so terrific in that one - pity about the delay.) On the other hand this year's competition could well thin out if The Revenant is not all that or if AMPAS voters view all the Spotlight guys as supporting, or if Johnny Depp can't reheat that super brief bonfire of Black Mass goodwill or if Matt Damon keeps sticking his foot in his mouth or if...

If if if if if if. You know how this works. Do you think he has a (long) shot? 



This is a rhetorical question, right?

We'll come tonight if you'll be there, Carol. Jeezus.

On a scale of 1-20 how sick are you of waiting for the new Todd Haynes masterwork*? I finally get to see this on Monday... so Cate is just teasing me with this gif (with its "Sunday" nonsense) which I stole from The Tracking Board**

For the record icymi: Carol has an earlier release date than it once had and now arrives in limited release on November 20th. It screens as part of the New York Film Festival in October. 

*presumed, but it's Todd Haynes so such presumptions are historically based.

** The Tracking Board lists Carol as a movie they'll skip in theaters and watch on Netflix later. They are either a) insane or b) have never experienced a Todd Haynes movie on the big screen and either way we feel terribly for them. 


Victoria's single take is incredible, but it's not "better" than Birdman's

Sebastian here, not at TIFF, but now taking your donations to get me there next year...

Frederick Lau and Laia Costa in VICTORIA

Ever since its premiere at the Berlinale earlier this year, Sebastian Schipper's Victoria has been compared to Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman. The US poster even leads with a quote from Variety's Guy Lodge: "Fly away, Birdman — there’s a new one-shot wonder in town."

Victoria was shot in one take, which lead many to compare it (usually favorable) to the Best Picture winner. It's an odd comparison to make, though, since Iñárritu's film wasn't shot in one take, and never pretended to be, either. (The fact that Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione weren't even nominated for Best Editing is one of the stranger oversights in The Academy's recent history.)

Both films share in their production an elaborate, fairly - though not entirely - unique effort with a high degree of difficulty to pull off. But so does Boyhood. Or Mad Max: Fury Road, for that matter. That doesn't mean they're doing the same thing, and it certainly doesn't mean that one of them is "better" at it than the others.

As tempting as it may be for some to use Victoria's impressive technical achievement to get in one more jab at the much (and in this writer's view unfairly) maligned Oscar winner, it really doesn't do either of them justice.

VICTORIA had its North American premiere at TIFF this week and is being rolled out to US theaters next month, starting with New York and Los Angeles on October 10. Full release schedule here.


TIFF: Jake Gyllenhaal in "Demolition"

This review originally appeared in abridged version in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

All throughout Demolition, which opened the 40th annual Toronto International Film Festival which closes this coming Sunday, new widower Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal) is putting the title into action. His wife has just died, he is convinced he feels nothing about it, and he begins to tear things down and scatter their parts about. The general idea is ‘take something apart to see how it all fits together’ but he doesn’t bother with the fitting back together part.

He’s also demolitioning his own life, of course, in the process. This peculiar destructive streak starts out small with his morning routine. At first, in montage, this includes lots of preening and shaving (including his chest. *sniffle*) to turn him into a smooth starched and well dressed executive but it’s quickly abandoned. Cue: sexy scruff and increasingly erratic behavior. (Unfortunately we are not shown the return of the chest hair. Stingy move, movie!)

Everything has become a metaphor…”

…Davis intones in the middle of the picture to his confused and impatient boss and father-in-law (Chris Cooper), as an attempt to explain his new and frankly worrisome headspace. But he’s right. Everything is a metaphor in Demolition and thus, apart from Gyllenhaal’s work, the movie sparked polarized reactions. More...

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