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"Any chance this transfers to broadway I wonder?" - Joseph

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Entries in Year in Review (158)


Favorite Trios! Three Days...

...until Oscar nominations arrive. So let's celebrate with our three favorite threesomes trios this year.

3. The Crown Princes in Brave 
I love Hamish, Hubert & Harris primarily because I share their weaknesses for pastries. If I had seen the pastry before them I would have been doomed to a life of furry hibernation. Cast a spell on a pastry and I will be magically defeated. Actually, even without a spell, a pastry will defeat me. Bonus points: we need more ginger characters in the movies. Apparently redheads are going to be gone in 60-75 years time, genetically speaking, so stock up on them now!

2. Royals + 1  in A Royal Affair
King (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), Queen (Alicia Vikander) and Their Personal Physician (Mads Mikkelsen)
Doctor Streunsee bills himself as the royal's personal physician but he's really more of a political adviser with a pinch of therapist / gynecologist when it comes to this royal marriage. This movie is good. See it.

1. "The B Faces" in Bachelorette Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Gena (Lizzy Caplan), and Katie (Isla Fisher) are
coke-snorting, bed-hopping, mean girls and though they're cruel to each other and especially to their fourth wheel Becky (Rebel Wilson), the one who is no longer a bachelorette, they're actually friends with shared messy history and statis problems. That's an uncomfortable sometime truth of long-term friendships that you don't often see dramatized in movies. Anyway, we can't get enough of them. Or at least we suspect we can't. Doesn't it seem like the type of movie we'll all know by heart in ten years time? 


Year in Review: Movies You Should Have Invested In

Some alarmists might consider the seemingly mandatory media coverage of weekend box office to be the true death of vital film culture, more money meaning nothing other than, well, more money. (See: Cosmopolis). Even for the sites that do it well, the figures are only good for so much. Generally speaking the most gargantuan hits of any year cost a lot to make so even when they're as big as everyone involves hopes they'll be (like Bond or the superhero epics they generally only return $4 bucks or so for every $1 they cost -- at least in their original window of money-making opportunity. Merchandising and sequels are obviously a reason for the gamble and will make you much much more later on). So I read through all the charts on Thompson in Hollywood's blockbuster box office wrap specifically with profit in mind. So here's what I've gleaned as the most profitable pictures of the year based on total global gross versus their budgets... Just for kicks I substracted $25 million of profits for promotional costs though as the article states that is on the low end of the typical scale. 

the biggest hit of the year everywhere but THE AVENGERS was also super expensive to make / market which cuts into your profit margins

But this approximate interpreted list by me still gives us a smudgy window view into which films really returned on investment for those who backed them. 

Ten Most Profitable?
01 The Devil Inside grossed 76 times its budget
02 Paranormal 4 grossed 23 times its budget
03 Magic Mike grossed 20 times its budget
04 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel grossed 11 times its budget
05 Ted grossed 9 times its budget 
06 Ice Age Continental Drift grossed 9 times its budget
07 Hunger Games grossed 8 times its budget
08 Taken 2 grossed 8 times its budget
09 Chronicle grossed 8 times its budget
10 Sinister grossed 8 times its budget 

Channing Tatum's 2012 filmography grossed $587 million around the world

Best Lesson Learned: keep your costs low and your stars well cast (Magic Mike & Ted & Marigold Hotel & Taken 2)

No-Duh Lesson: low budget genre movies are, historically, a strong financial bet (Devil, Paranormal, Chronicle) which is why so many actors and directs get their start in them

Soul-Crushing Lesson We Learned Again: Keep delivering what people already like (Ice Age, Taken 2, Paranormal 4, Devil Inside... not part of an official franchise but there are a bajillion possession movies and people always pay money to see them)

the #1 global top grosser that was in no way a franchise (unless you view Pixar as one continuous franchise10 Biggest Global Hits of 2012
01 The Avengers ($1.51 billion)
02 The Dark Knight Rises ($1.08 billion)
03 Skyfall ($1.02 billion)
04 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ($.8 billion) -- this is why we will get a lot more padding so movies can be divvied up for even more profit. Soon 2 hours of story will make 4 or 5 films (pt 1)
05 Ice Age Continental Drift ($.8 billion)
06 Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 ($.8 billion)  -- this is why we will get a lot more padding so movies can be divvied up  for even more profit. Soon 2 hours of story will make 4 or 5 films (pt 2) 
07 Spider-Man ($.7 billion) --  this is why we will get a lot more instant reboots of big hits. *sigh*
08 Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted ($.7 billion)
09 Hunger Games ($.6 billion)
10 Men in Black 3 ($.6 billion)

runner upBrave ($.535 billion)

* I think it's worth noting that Prometheus, which earned $402 million globally, and is therefore not too far outside this list is a much bigger hit than people have assumed based on media coverage of it as a "disappointment" and "flop". When something underperforms in the US, people assume it was a flop. It wasn't.

Did you support all of these economies? Which of these movies would you have invested in if someone had asked you?  Don't all say Magic Mike at once. 

Previously on 'Year in Review' 
Water-Logged - major flooding at theaters
Michael's 10 - Moonrise, Django, etc
Beau's 10 -Cabin in the Woods, Bachelorette, etc
Interviewlapalooza -from Kidman to Cumming
LGBT Characters - from "Mitch" to "Silva" 
James Bond Mania -Bond Girl Reader Rank
Snow White the apple muching fairest of all
Overrated Amy Adams, superheroes, film critics
Nathaniel's Worst Cloud Atlas, Spider-Man
Summer Crushes Pt. 1 and Pt. 2

Best of the Blog from...
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November


Michael's Best of 2012

Before Nathaniel's Top Ten drops over the next few days he has invited TFE correspondents to share their own best of 2012 lists. I confess up front that I have not yet managed to catch Tabu, Oslo August 31 or Middle of Nowhere, but then all lists are a work in progress, aren't they?

Honorable Mentions...
Richard Linklater's Bernie featured the enduringly weird paring of Shirley MacLaine and Jack Black in addition to a unceasingly funny peanuts gallery of small town Texans arguing that murder really isn't all that bad. Lauren Greenfield's Queen of Versailles is the perfect film for the moment with subjects that make the cast of Marie Antoinette seem admirably self-aware and thrifty. Walter Salles's On the Road is a bracing jolt of life that is being seriously undersold by critics. Looper does the sci-fi genre proud with its thoroughly imagined script that piles on the surprises well beyond the big hook. And finally, Amour should rightly be near the top of this list based strictly on filmmaking skill, but there was something about its unremmiting bleakness that felt incomplete to me. I can't help asking "Is that all there is?" even as the film itself calmly repeated that "Yes. It is." over and over. 

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 ... after the jump

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Beau's 2012 Bests

Nathaniel's top ten hits this weekend but he's invited TFE correspondents to share their own, so here are my personal loves of the year. [Disclaimer: I have yet to see Holy Motors, Amour, Rust and Bone, and On the Road.]

honorable mentions...  

13) Arbitrage -Nicholas Jarecki's feature debut is a whopper, a palate cleanser for the John Grisham crowd and a showcase for Richard Gere's most effortless work in this thirty-five year career. Coupled with Zemeckis' Flight, you'd be hard pressed to find two more similar and dissimilar anti heroes who crowded the multiplexes this year. Charisma carries the Devil on its cape. You've never wanted the bad guy to win more.

12) Flight -The messiest of messes, a meditation on faith, humanity and temptation that true to form, sways and stumbles and remains standing, a loud, brash bombardment of the amoral and their blinding pain. Washington is Everyman to Goodman's Satan. And who the fuck is James Badge Dale? He pulls a Beatrice Straight and basically walks away with the film.

11) Ted -There is something deeply unlikeable about Seth McFarlane, an addictive toxicity that repulses you and engages you simultaneously. With 'Ted', his watermark (read: pissmark) on network television transfers over to the big screen with a spring in its step and a grenade in its pocket. Defaming the stunted lifestyle of men all the while celebrating its appeal, Ted made me laugh harder and feel worse about myself than anything else I saw this year. It establishes Macfarlane as the newest, crudest uncle of American comedy - you hate him when he's sober, but goddamn, there's nobody else you'd rather get hammered with.

top ten from 'Cloud' to 'Cabin' is after the jump...

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Year in Review: The Best LGBT Characters

Over at my weekly (okay, bi-weekly) column at Towleroad, I put up my annual review of the best queer characters of the film year. The year's most acclaimed gay narrative feature was obviously Keep the Lights On but since I didn't personally respond to that one I had to look elsewhere for my favorite gay characters. Likewise, many will wish for more love for that dandy Cloud Atlas couple of Sixsmith and Forbrisher.

But I made room for films as diverse as On the Road, ParaNorman, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The most controversial bit of the top ten will probably be the section I like to call "The 'Are They Or Aren't They?' Box Set" which begins like so..

With the ever increasing number of gay-identified characters it's less of a parlor game to imagine the characters who might well be queer than it used to be but it's still fun: Tomboy does not always equal lesbian but regardless of her orientation  "Princess Merida" in Brave really shakes up the heteronormative Disney fairytale world merely by being utterly uninterested and even opposed to that Someday When Her Prince Might Come; The chorus of townsfolk who continually sound off on "Bernie" in Bernie argue about whether he's cruising for men on the sly or sleeping with rich widow Shirley Maclaine but both sound pretty gay to me...



Previously on 'Year in Review' 
James Bond Mania -Bond Girl Reader Ranking. (+ Silva)
The Year in of Snow White the apple muching fairest of them all was everywhere
Overrated Amy Adams, superheroes, film critics, and more
Worst of 2012 Cloud Atlas, The Amazing Spider-Man, and more
Summer Crushes Pt. 1 and Summer Crushes Pt. 2

Best of the Blog from...
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November


Worst of the Year (Pt 2). My Eyes... My Eyes... My Very Soul!

Previously in the Year in Review we visited Snow White and the Overrated, Misjudged, Miscast Tomorrow the joyous positivity starts but until then, we purge. Let's rush through this final bout of negativity.


Now I know how the vampires of True Blood feel whey they cry... My eyes! My eyes!

These three posters for To Rome With Love, Quartet and Marvel's The Avengers probably do not represent the absolute worst movie advertisements of the year but they are indicative of three subspecies of Horribilus Posterus: To Rome With Love shoves its cast into  multiple little boxes, a common technique that is nearly always hideous on posters but that never stops designers from trying. To make matters worse they've selected color palette so bland that it seems to be advertising air-conditioned nap time, oatmeal breakfast at a theater near you, and A Film By Nancy Meyers all at the same time; Quartet represents the Indecisive Nonsensical brand of bad poster since its retro 80s color blocking suggests period comedy romp (No, sort of, and no) and then it's like oh "every diva deserves an encore" but the movie actually fights against this (I shan't spoil it if you're inclined to suffer through); The Avengers is appropriately colorful but belongs to the most populated subspecies of bad poster, the No One on This Poster Was Ever in The Same Room Together disconnect. Photoshop has become such a crutch for everyone that marketing departments seem to believe that no one values authentic connection in imagery anymore and I absolutely don't believe that's the case. You're paying stars millions of dollars to appear in a movie but you can't require in their contract that they pose together for promotional materials? 

Worst Miscellania and 5 Worst Movies of the Year after the jump

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Lump of Coal, Anyone? Cinematic Shame (Pt 1)


I plan to get all joyously positive from Christmas Eve through January 9th as I share my take on the Best of the Film Year That Was. But I make no promise about my mood come January 10th...  That's the fateful morning when 6,000 Academy voters play puppet master and yank my fragile psyche about with abandon. But until then... And before the Year End Best of hits, we purge.


I know that people quibble with this word and wish it dead and buried. But that's only because they take it far too seriously. It's a silly adjective but silly is fun. One should always take things for what they're worth. No matter who is using the word "overrated" it only ever means:

Other people are under the mistaken impression that this thing I think is merely okay is really great! They are quite wrong."

Unsatisfying performances, miscasting, bad moves in good films and more after the jump...

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