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Entries in Tomorrowland (7)


Review: Tomorrowland

Michael C here. Last week I was here to announce that one of my anticipated 2015 titles exceeded my expectations. This week I need to come to grips how another of my most anticipated could miss the mark so badly.

Like the theme park from which it takes its inspiration, the future in Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland is not a tangible thing, but an idea, a gleaming Jetsons cityscape forever just over the horizon inspiring the better angels of our nature with its promise of utopia. It’s not “the future”. It’s THE FUTURE! 

Unfortunately, where Disney World can get away with organizing a collection or attractions around nothing but a spirit of uncomplicated hope, a movie needs to build a structure around those feelings, and it’s there that Bird’s film struggles. It aims to stir the soul but its impact is dulled as it gets lost in its scattershot, thinly conceived screenplay. Enjoyment of Tomorrowland depends on one's ability to appreciate its vibe of retro optimism enough to overlook how far short it falls of its lofty ambitions...

Click to read more ...


Holidayland at the Box Office

Memorial Day Weekend 4 day estimates are in and though it was a week weekend overall - Tomorrowland was soft which is quite scary since its budget was decidedly not -- but the three top holdovers are all bonafide hits with moviegoers.

Tomorrowland reached for a giant pot of gold, came up short.

May 22-25 Weekend
01 Tomorrowland NEW $41.7 
02 Pitch Perfect 2 $38.5 (cum. $126) Review
03 Mad Max: Fury Road $32.1 (cum. $95.5) Review & Podcast
04 Avengers: Age of Ultron $27.8 (cum. $410.9) Review & Marathon & Podcast
05 Poltergeist NEWbutOLD $26.5 

If you adjust for inflation Avengers: Age of Ultron might end its run as only the seventh highest grossing superhero flick of all time behind (in this order) The Avengers (2012), The Dark Knight (2008), Spider-Man (2002), Batman (1989), Spider-Man 2 (2004), and Superman (1978), though the latter is within reach if it can hold its theaters. Which is not to say that it isn't a massive hit; the sequel shouldn't have any problem topping the 2015 box office unless the final Hunger Games film unexpectedly outgrosses all previous installments or there's an anomaly American Sniper like behemoth somewhere in the next 7 months.

In other notable news, The Age of Adaline and Ex Machina both lost nearly half their screens to new releases but continue to do respectable business. Meanwhile, Far From the Madding Crowd keeps expanding and now has $6 million in the bank domestically. Well done Fox Searchlight for a costume drama without bankable stars and with good but not 'give this all the Oscars!' reviews. (See, other prestige-loving distributors? Not everything needs to be released in December.) I've been meaning to review it. Soon, my darlings... possibly even today. 'Let no man steal your thyme!'  And at the arthouses Sony Pictures Classics had a decent weekend. Wild Tales is inching ever closer to $3 million in the US (which is a big deal gross for foreign films these days -sigh) and internationally it's much bigger, the biggest smash from Argentina since the Oscar winning The Secret in Their Eyes (2009). And finally Saint Laurent is currently the number #1 platform release with $210,000 so far and playing at 59 locations.

What did you do for the holiday?


In the Link Room

A very quick roundup to begin a Netflixy day (Daredevil anyone). Speaking of... Hi, Sissy!

Sissy Spacek photographed by Christian McDonald

Interview Todd Field (In the Bedroom) interviews Sissy Spacek on Bloodline etc...
NPR talks to Brad Bird on Tomorrowland. And yes, he is finally working on Incredibles 2 (very early writing stages) for which we will eschew our normal eye rolls at animated sequel news and instead cheer wildly.
Tracking Board Logans Run remake still a slight possibility. This time with female lead?
i09 posits that Practical Magic w/ Bullock & Kidman as witch sisters is a perfect movie 
Antagony & Ecstasy film criticism for a good cause: Tim takes on the daunting task of reviewing Vertigo aka "the greatest movie ever made" as part of his cancer charity drive -- he's raised over $2000 already!
Vanity Fair on Ryan Gosling as a director
Pajiba says "eff it... reboot everything" including Cybill. Hee!
Pajiba should you grow a Mad Men moustache? A handy guide 

Today's Watch ICYMI
It gives a whole new meaning to "instant watch"



New Tomorrowland Poster in Hashtags

Manuel here trying to help the social media-savvy Disney marketing team with their latest poster. Nathaniel discussed five would-be blockbusters while kicking off our We Can’t Wait series and one which was conspicuously absent (perhaps because of its constant date-shifts?) was Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland for which we got a brand new poster this past week. While I’m coolly reserved on this May 22nd film, I couldn’t help but come up with hashtags while staring at this bad boy:

#LookUp #CloudPorn #MalickMeetsDisney #ClaudioMirandaFilter #Wheatstagram #RememberTomorrow #CanBirdGoFiveForFive #DisneySynergy #MysteryPlot #StillDoNotKnowWhatThisIsAbout #InterstellarFlashbacksAnyone #BlueSkies #NotSoEmeraldCity #Normcore #Overalls #GeorgeMcQueen #LiveActionPixar #WhitherTheLeadGirl #InBirdWeTrust (or would you be an #InClooneyWeTrust kinda tagger?)

Are you excited for Tomorrowland? Gotta say, unless that new trailer totally spills the plot, I’m enjoying this “withhold everything” policy Disney & co. have been playing with this property? Might it be all smoke and mirrors, though?



YNMS: Tomorrowland, American Sniper, Black Sea

Tonight is the "Closing Night" of the New York Film Festival (Birdman and I'm happy to report that it's wondrous) though there are screenings tomorrow making the title only honorary, really. We'll wrap up soon with Inherent Vice and Birdman thoughts and things we learned at the fest. All the screenings and the first wave of Oscar seeking interviews (coming at'cha soon) have left us seriously behind on the matter of movie trailers / teasers so here are three which you may well have seen already but let's discuss in abbreviated Yes No Maybe So fashion.

Yes - This does what teasers, hell trailers themselves, should do: intrigues but doesn't give the game away. If only full trailers would follow suit. Come on studios: Help moviegoers rediscover a little something called curiousity. 
No - It's not really fair since he's had a couple of low key years but I'm feeling Clooney fatigue for some reason. Was it the wedding?
Maybe So -According to the vague summaries the story, about a futuristic utopia created by technology, is actually led by Britt Robertson (seen here discovering it via a magic pin) with Clooney in co-lead position as a former whiz kid she enlists to help her get back to this magical place and something something. Like I said: Vague. That's the best kind of pre-release info.


Yes - Trailers that are essentially one scene clips with flourishes round the edges to convey a movie are big "yes" moments. This scene, a sniper trying to decide whether to kill a woman or child is properly lose-lose upsetting. 
No - that tagline "the most lethal sniper in US history" paired with "12.25.14" is gross. Thanks for the coal in the stocking, Warner Bros! Merry Christmas to you, too.
Maybe So - It's a Clint Eastwood film. As you know his aesthetic is way too dreary for me to fully enjoy (even the recent musical was dreary!) but this kind of film can get away with dreary and probably should. Don't know about the banal easy juxtaposition of "American family life!" shoved aggressively into this Middle Eastern war zone via all those inserts but I like how mundane Bradley Cooper's voice sounds in this context.

Yes - Two obvious things. 1) Submarines and ocean settings in general often make for fine thrillers given the claustrophia or 'all alone in the world' madness. And 2) Jude Law, for all of the unevenness of his career, is always watchable. Isn't it great that "he's a liability" is voiced over our glimpse of Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom, The Place Beyond the Pines)? He's anything but a liability in movies but of course he is just that in context since he's so good at playing shifty/dangerous characters. Scoot McNairy is also in it.
No - A cuisinart presentation of the whole movie, albeit without grotesque spoilers just general spoilers that the men turn against each other. But we kinda figured that with the pitch in the first minute. Still, where is the hook to care about this? Or is it assumed we will through that blaring music and fast-cutting.
Maybe So -  Kevin Macdonald. Is the jury still out on him (The Last King of Scotland, The Eagle, State of Play, How I Live Now) or does everyone just expect a range from *shrug* to 'quite watchable' but never great?


Saving Mr Link

Towleroad the new men of Dowton Abbey. So excited to see Weekend's Tom Cullen in the mix!
The Kind of Face You Hate on David Cronenberg's The Fly (1986) and John Frankenheimer's Seconds (1966, newly released from the Criterion Collection)
Guardian Xan Brooks loves non-professional film actors. Someone has to.
Variety says Snowpiercer is doing great business in its home of Korea, though it can't be their Oscar submission given that it's in English. Unfortunately the Weinstein Co still plans to cut 20 minutes before the US release
Amiresque looks back at the filmmaking of 12 Angry Men

Dial P For Popcorn (in Portuguese) riffs on an old article I wrote in 2008 about actors who were overdue for Oscar wins and at the time everyone (not just me) thought Johnny Depp was next. My how time/choices change everything.
TV Blend Juliette Lewis, Matt Dillon and The LEOgend will all be appearing in M Night Shyamalan's TV series Wayward Pines based on the book series "Pines" by Blake Crouch. 
MNPP Which is hotter Mark Strong or...? 

D23 Buzz
Awards Daily
Saving Mr Banks is still fanning Oscar flames with clip debuts at D23, will the current buzz heat turn into a bonfire?
FanVoice Angelina Jolie also promotes Maleficent at the same expo, and the clip shown was the scene where she curses baby Aurora to the horror of the fairies 
Hero Complex Awesome director Brad Bird (the filmography! The Iron Giant, Ratatouille, The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol) is still playing coy with what Tomorrowland is actually about. But this is a good thing. More mystery in film promotion, please! 

Box Office
Elysium, which we've just reviewed, topped the box office. Meanwhile World War Z (Reviewed) is just inches away from $200 million domestic despite all the negative buzz before its opening - the film aged well for me (its best passages really stick) and now my review is looking too harsh. Blue Jasmine (Reviewed and Podcasted) is still going strong nearly cracking the top ten box office without the aid of thousands of theaters. Fruitvale Station (reviewed and podcasted) didn't turn into the crossover talking-point hit that The Weinstein Co but it's at a respectable $13 million plus and will undoubtedly use its DVD release to recharge its Oscar buzz later on this calendar year. 



Link Wars Episode IV: A New Blog

MNPP on Keep the Lights On in 250 words or less. Good insights here - love the ending - though JA likes the film more than I do.
Deadline Upcoming 3D conversions of all Star Wars movies cancelled. Thank god. Every day I pray to the movie gods to take the plague of 3D and its conversions away from us!
Two Dollar Cinema heads to The Last Stand on account of a childhood spent with Arnold Schwarzenegger movies
The Film Doctor 10 questions about Silver Linings Playbook


Stale Popcorn takes in Xavier Dolan's Lawrence Anyways. I love Dolan but I'm scared of this one - three hour dramas are hard to pull off. 
Vulture interviews Steven Soderbergh who apparently really is retiring now.
Movie|Line is the upcoming Brad Bird/George Clooney feature Tomorrowland (previously title 1952) about early space travel?
In Contention will Argo be a Driving Miss Daisy or an Apollo 13
The Carpetbagger Mistakes were made on the marketing of Django and The Master 

And did you see Matt Damon talking to Nicole Kidman a few nights back on Jimmy Kimmel Live Jimmy Kimmel Sucks?

Hilarious. Nicole Kidman can steal my utensils any time she'd like.