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Entries in Wild Tales (7)

Monday
May252015

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.

TOP FIVE WIDE
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?

Sunday
Mar222015

Not Much Divergence In These Box Office Grosses

The Divergent Series: Insurgent (argh. that title) mirrored its predecessor with roughly the exact same opening weekend take. So it kept its audience but didn't grow, which might not bode well for a long life or the blind greed now-common decision to split its final movie into two parts. The reviews are worse this time. Nevertheless it's the 4th big hit for divisive Shailene Woodley out of only 6 movies so we're stuck with her for a long time to come. The other interesting mirroring going on is with Cinderella. While it hasn't been posting numbers quite as big as its Disney live-action predecessor Maleficent day-by-day, it's been close surprisingly close despite no Jolie-sized starpower. In other words, it's going to be far more profitable; despite looking more beautiful and lux it costs HALF AS MUCH to make.

KISS HIM! 

WIDE RELEASE
01 Divergent: Insurgent $54 NEW
02 Cinderella $34.4 (cum. $122)  Review
03 Run All Night $5.1 (cum. $19.7) Review
04 The Gunman $5 NEW 
05 Kingsman: Secret Service $4.6 (cum. $114.5) Review
06 Do You Believe $4 NEW
07 Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel $3.4 (cum. $24.1)
08 Focus $3.3 (cum. $49.4)
09 Chappie $2.6 (cum. $?) Review
10 SpongeBob Movie $2.3 (cum. $158.7)

PLATFORM RELEASE
01 It Follows (US) 32 Theaters $.3 (cum. $.5) Review
02 What We Do In the Shadows (New Zealand) 134 Theaters  $.3 (cum. $1.8) Review
03 Wild Tales (Argentina) 81 Theaters $.2 (cum. $1.1) Review
04 '71 (UK) 116 Theaters $.2 (cum. $.6) Review
05 A La Mala (Mexico) 123 Theaters $.1 (cum. $3.4)
06 Mr Turner (UK) 79 Theaters $.08 (cum. $3.8) Review & Interview
07 Love & Lost (China) 24 theaters $.08 NEW
08 Red Army (84 Theaters) $.07 (cum. $.5)
09 Danny Collins (US) 5 Theaters $.07 NEW 
10 Deli Man (US) 38 Theaters $.07 (cum. $.3)  

'71 looks good to hit 1 million IF it can keep its theaters for another couple of weeks (which is a big question mark since its per screen average isn't super strong). Critically raved horror film It Follows and Oscar nominated comedy Wild Tales continue to do strong business while slightly expanding. The latter just passed Leviathan's gross domestically which puts it behind only Ida from its competitive pool in the US market. That said Wild Tales is by far the most popular of last year's foreign nominees, having already grossed $25 million globally. Al Pacino's star has seen more bankable days. Did The Humbling ever even open after its Oscar qualifying release in December? And now Danny Collins made under $100,000 in its tentative 5 theater launch.

What did you see this weekend?

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. 

Friday
Dec192014

Oscar's Foreign Language Finalists. Shocking As Per Usual...

And now, dear reader, we have our official OSCAR FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM FINALIST LIST direct from the Academy and it's full of tongue-twisting shockers, no matter your mother Mommy tongue. You mean no Xavier Dolan? No Marion Cotillard and the Dardenne Brothers? No rampaging dogs or winter sleeps that made people cheer at Cannes? Nope...The nine remaining films are (in alpha order)

Can IDA finally break Poland's losing streak in this category?

THE FINALIST LIST

  • ACCUSED (The Netherlands. 7 nominations | 3 wins)
    This film, known as Lucia De. B in The Netherlands, is a courtroom drama about a lawyer who later regrets convicting a nurse for murder. The director was previously Oscar nominated for Zus & Zo
  • CORN ISLAND (Georgia. 1 nomination | 0 wins)
    Capsule Review though we called the Oscar prospects for this farmer and his daughter outpost drama "nil" ...oopsie! 
  • FORCE MAJEURE (Sweden. 14 noms | 3 wins)
    Reviewed and then reviewed some more because this sharp comedy about masculinity and marriage (among other things) is so damn good. Currently in release and the only film on this finalist list that's occasionally nabbing Foreign Film critics prizes from Ida 
  • IDA (Poland. 9 nominations | 0 wins)
    Love this movie but then again, doesn't everyone? It's the third biggest subtitled hit of the year and the most unlikely since its a confrontational stark black and white drama about a Jewish nun.
  • LEVIATHAN (Russia. 13 noms | 4 wins)
    Reviewed but more on this one (which is difficult to summarize) coming soon... it's also very good. 
  • THE LIBERATOR (Venezuela. Never nominated)
    Reviewed though we called the Oscar chances "unlikely" Oopsie again. We did SO much coverage on this race this year that I guess we got a little cocky. And also... maybe I was a little irritated by it since I was so in love with the runner up for submission from Venezuela. 
  • TANGERINES (Estonia. Never nominated)
    I've been predicting this film, about a farmer who takes in a wounded soldier, for months now after hearing intense love for it from a festival programmer in LA. Have yet to lay my own eyes on it though.
  • TIMBUKTU (Mauritania. Their First Submission!)
    Reviewed but I haven't yet seen this searing drama about Sharia law and the havoc it creates on a tribal community. I hear only exciting things (though miserably depressing things).
  • WILD TALES (Argentina. 6 nominations | 2 wins) 
    Reviewed and lurved. It's really hilarious and somehow maintains its energy throughout despite being essentially a collection of shorts 

Wild Tales is the only film to plan an opening right around Oscar night that lucked out by doing so.

The biggest omissions in terms of how high profile they were are undoubtedly Canada's Mommy (which I suspected would be too youthful anarchic for them), and Belgium's Two Days One Night which were two of the best films of 2014 according to many (including myself). The latter film is currently hoping for a Best Actress nomination for Marion Cotillard (UPDATED CHART)  and this omission could actually help her. Past races have shown us that perceptions of unkind treatment in the foreign film category can boost your nomination chances. Consider the fates of City of God (subitted but not nominated for foreign one year but chased with a regular release the next), Talk to Her (not submitted by Spain), and Three Colors: Red (deemed ineligible) which went on to nominations in other categories. 

It's also worth noting that ALL of the LGBT entries (there were six) did not make the finalist list. 

THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE SAVE
One of the more discussion-prompting elements of this Oscar game each year is their recently refined rules which involve two different sets of groups coming up with these nine finalists. The six top vote-getters from the ballots of the general committee volunteer AMPAS members who attend the screenings make the list but then 3 additional films are chosen as finalists by a special committee (presumably to prevent really embarrassing omissions like Oscar had when say 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, an instant masterpiece from Romania, didn't make the cut). The titles (aka which films are which) are never revealed so it's internet speculation only that says...

Oh, the Executive Committtee totally saved that one!" 

NO MOMMY
So what this means is that whichever films that special more powerful committee saved, they liked them more than Mommy and Two Days One Night and whatnot. I'm sad to see both go but you can make a VERY respectable shortlist of Oscar nominees from these nine. I've only seen 4 of the remaining 5 but all 4 are worthy. 

You should expect to see some shifting release dates around this news. It's a huge danger to plan your releases around Oscar campaigns, as Mommy did by waiting to open (presumably until the nomination came). Every year films succumb to this hope addiction when it's better to mount an honest "this film is great!" release and if Oscar comes, it comes. Other movies that did not make the finalists that were planning on opening very  soon are Germany's Beloved Sisters, Two Days One Night (both due on Christmas Eve in theaters) and France's Saint Laurent, like Mommy was probably waiting for Oscar to come up with a plan.

More coming on this category soon once we've fully digested the news.

Related Pages

Current Predictions
Submission Chart Pt 1 Afghanistan through Ethiopia 
Submission Chart Pt 2 Finland through Nepal 
Submission Chart Pt 3 Peru through Venezuela 

Everything You Wanted To Know About the Foreign Film Race... but were afraid to ask 
Part One: We explored trivia about the Oscar's most global category
Part Two: Nathaniel jumped to Towleroad, "a site with homosexual tendencies," for a discussion of the six LGBT films in the competitive long-list.

29 of 83 Foreign Submissions Reviewed or Otherwise Investigated  AfghanistanArgentinaAustraliaBelgiumBrazilCanadaCubaCzech RepublicFinlandFranceGeorgiaGermanyHungaryIcelandIsrael, Iran, ItalyLatviaMauritania, New ZealandNorwayPanamaPolandPortugal, SwedenSwitzerlandTurkeyUruguay, and Venezuela.
Complete Oscar Charts Here.

 

Tuesday
Dec022014

National Board of Review's Most Violent Awards

Glenn here with the NBR results as they come to hand. They used to be the first awards of the season to announce their winners, but now the National Board of Review are trumped annually by the Gotham Awards and the NYFCC in the merry-go-round that is award season. I maintain that unless you're a guild, your absence is more or less moot. However, it can definitely help get your name and face out there to be acknowledged early and often. The NBR is where the likes of Moulin Rouge! and Amy Ryan made it known that they would be forces to be reckoned with. What did this 105-year-old group select this year? Let's find out...

NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW WINNERS

  • Best Film: A MOST VIOLENT YEAR
  • Best Director: Clint Eastwood, AMERICAN SNIPER
  • Best Actor: (tie!) Oscar Isaac, A MOST VIOLENT YEAR and Michael Keaton, BIRDMAN
  • Best Actress: Julianne Moore, STILL ALICE
  • Best Supporting Actor: Edward Norton, BIRDMAN
  • Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, A MOST VIOLENT YEAR
  • Best Original Screenplay: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, THE LEGO MOVIE
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson, INHERENT VICE
  • Best Animated Feature: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2
  • Special Achievement in Filmmaking: Appears to not exist this year?
  • Breakthrough Performance: Jack O'Connell, STARRED UP and UNBROKEN
  • Best Directorial Debut: Gillian Robespierre, OBVIOUS CHILD
  • Best Foreign Language Film: WILD TALES (Argentina)
  • Best Documentary: LIFE ITSELF
  • William K. Everson Film History Award: Scott Eyman
  • Best Ensemble: FURY
  • Spotlight Award: Chris Rock for writing, directing, producing and starring in TOP FIVE
  • NBR Freedom of Expression Award: SELMA and ROSEWATER

What exactly does Clint Eastwood have on these people that they give him an award for almost every single movie he makes? Best director for American Sniper and a placement on their top ten (below) seems... extravagant.

 

 

Anyway, it was a big day for A Most Violent Year winning three big prizes including best film. Will this film fall alongside the likes of Quills as a NBR best picture winner without a corresponding Oscar nomination in the same category? That super, ultra, very-very late release date still makes me worried. Whatever the case may be, the NBR loved it and good on A24. Ever the wealth-spreader, the mysterious organization liked The Lego Movie enough to give it a rather shocking (although not entirely undeserved) screenplay win and top ten placement, yet Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon 2 took out the animated film prize. They consolidated their breakthrough prizes into one award for handsome Jack O'Connell. Fair enough, I suppose. Meanwhile, after Jennifer Kent's win at the NYFFF and now Gillian Robespierre's win at the NBR, women directors are staking a claim to breakthrough director awards in 2014!

TOP FILMS
(alphabetical)

  • AMERICAN SNIPER
  • BIRDMAN
  • BOYHOOD
  • FURY
  • GONE GIRL
  • THE IMITATION GAME
  • INHERENT VICE
  • THE LEGO MOVIE
  • NIGHTCRAWLER
  • UNBROKEN

Remember, this is basically places 2-11 hence A Most Violent Year's omission. I don't claim to know how that works, but let's just roll with it. Very happy to see Nightcrawler here as now that the flurry of indie nominations have surpassed, citations for the Jake Gyllenhaal movie may be hard to come by. The rest of the list is pretty standard, although the people behind The Theory of Everything, Big Eyes, Foxcatcher, Into the Woods, Grand Budapest Hotel, Wild and Whiplash will all be a bit miffed that they didn't receive a single token nomination anywhere amidst the NBR's field. Selma, too, being stuck with that kiddie-table "Freedom of Expression" award feels like a disappointment for that team, too.

Top 5 Foreign Language Films
(In Alphabetical Order)

  • FORCE MAJEURE (Sweden)
  • GETT: THE TRIAL OF VIVIAN AMSALAM (Israel)
  • LEVIATHAN (Russia)
  • TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT (Belgium)
  • WE ARE THE BEST! (Sweden)

I think the recognition of Lukas Moodysson's ace teen movie We Are the Best! is my favourite of the NBR's choices. Way to go, NBR! Y'all should go watch it immediately. Three of these films (plus Wild Tales, their actual foreign film winner - again, confusingly) are eligible for Oscar, with the Dardennes' Two Days, One Night now appearing on multiple award lists after the NYFCC yesterday.

Top 5 Documentaries
(In Alphabetical Order)

  • ART AND CRAFT
  • JODOROWSKY'S DUNE
  • KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON
  • THE KILL TEAM
  • LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM

All six documentaries cited - Life Itself won the big prize as noted up top - are on Oscar's 15-wide doc shortlist. That's some good dart-throwing, NBR!

Top 10 Independent Films
(In Alphabetical Order) 

  • BLUE RUIN
  • LOCKE
  • A MOST WANTED MAN
  • MR. TURNER
  • OBVIOUS CHILD
  • THE SKELETON TWINS
  • SNOWPIERCER
  • STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOORS
  • STARRED UP
  • STILL ALICE

Ignoring the pure idiocy of a list like this that makes no sense (are independent films not eligible elsewhere?), this is a good batch of flicks. Blue Ruin! I was ecstatic to see Stand Clear of the Closing Doors get an acting nomination at the Indie Spirits the other day, and now this little mention. That film is so good and I suggest y'all check it out if you can. It's small, but beautiful. Beautiful can't be used to describe Starred Up starring Ben Mendelsohn and breakthrough winner Jack O'Connell, but I'm glad it showed up, too. Likewise The Skeleton Twins and Obvious Child, two of the best comedies this year that I'm sure the Globes will ignore almost entirely.

What do you make of this year's NBR awards? I'm sure we'll have more to say about them later when Nathaniel returns from hobnobbing with Angelina Jolie and I am salivating at the thought of another hilarious podcast as they discuss Clint Eastwood's magnetic hold over the NBR, but for now did they get it right? Embarassingly wrong? Let us know!

Wednesday
Sep172014

TIFF Jury of One: Nathaniel

Channing & Chastain hit TIFFAnd now, a superfluous but fun-to-write "awards" wrap of the 25 films I saw at TIFF to close out the coverage. I did a little wrap post for Towleroad as well, focused on the LGBT content and the celebs, but if you're a TFE regular I know what you like: awards and lists!

I had intended to see 40 films but with only 8 days of actual screening time (travelling the other 2 days) that proved ridiculous to even try for, impossible really. Especially since I was planning to AND DID write up everything I saw before the festival actually ended. I've never written this quickly so excuse the typos (yeesh).

If you were reading along the whole time this might feel redundant but who doesn't love to box their experiences up in list format? In a festival with hundreds of films everyone has a different experience so this was mine... with nominations only. Don't even ask me to pick winners because I like things to marinate. It's good to get a little distance before bold decrees of "THE BEST!"

BEST PICTURE
links go to the reviews 

Xavier Dolan and Anne Dorval on the set of "Mommy"

  • Force Majeure (Sweden) -Magnolia Pictures. Opens October 24th
  • Mommy (Canada) - Roadside Attractions will release. When though? Unfortunately they aren't exactly a swift distributor. (A headscratcher addendum: Xavier Dolan's Tom at the Farm, which debuted last year at TIFF is still without a US distributor. US audiences just can't jump on the Dolan train without hitting festivals. Maybe that will change with all three of his first features currently winning new fans on Netflix Instant now)
  • A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (Sweden) - Currently without US distributor
  • Wild (USA) - Fox Searchlight. Opens December 5th
  • Wild Tales (Argentina) - Sony Pictures Classics will release. When though?

My favorites at the fest turned out to be this eclectic mix of two Swedish comedies, one hyperstylized the other realistic and intellectually provocative, one Canadian melodrama about a bad seed and his wild mommy, one Oscar bound US solo hiking trip, and an exciting Argentian anthology mixing revenge, thrills and comedy.

Favorite Scenes and Performances After the Jump

Click to read more ...