Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Trailers For New David Ayer And Bong Joon-Ho Movies Give A Peek Into Netflix's Ambitious 2017 Movies Slate

This image of Jake Gyllenhaal on the set of Okja will be my new go-to image of Jake Gyllenhaal for any occasion
Thus far, Netflix's forays into original cinematic offerings have not been greeted with the same level of audience adoration nor awards attention that their TV fare has. In 2017, it looks like they're very much trying to change that, with practically each week this week bringing some sort of new Netflix movie To boot, those new Netflix feature films are high-profile offerings starring the likes of Lily Collins (To The Bone). Jason Segel & Rooney Mara & Robert Redford (The Discovery), Melissa Leo (The Most Hated Woman In America), Henry Cavill (Sand Castle), Alexander Skarsgard (Mute) and Brad Pitt (War Machine).

Monday, February 27, 2017

Believe The Hype Folks, Get Out Is Sublime Horror Movie Cinema

Hollywood absolutely loves to imitate whatever's popular and making money and the genre of horror is no stranger to this rule. Because horror movies tend to be made on the cheap, it's way easier to crank out films in this genre that imitate whatever spooky motion picture is raking up big bucks. Thus, slasher movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday The 13th begat numerous slasher movie knock-offs in the 80's while Paranormal Activity spawned countless found-footage movies that heavily featured possessed people. Lately, it feels like The Conjuring, and its emphasis on old-timey objects being creepy and chilling sound effects, has been the one many recent horror fare have been imitating.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Get Out Has Scarily Good Opening Weekend While Rock Dog Gets Put To Sleep And Collide Gets Its Brakes Cut

Just before March 2017 arrives with its deluge of blockbusters, February 2017 closed out with a small original horror movie taking command of the box office. Jordan Peele's directorial debut Get Out was the number one movie in America this weekend, generating a fantastic $30.5 million debut.  That's 16% above the opening weekend of Don't Breathe and one of the bigger non-sequel horror movie debuts in quite some time. This is especially impressive given that Get Out didn't have a huge source material or well-known actors leading it, it just got to such impressive financial heights thanks to marketing campaign that highlighted its unique and socially relevant premise.

A Father And Child Reunion Is More Than A Motion Away In Late Spring

Sight & Sound Voyage Entry #10
Placement On Sight & Sound 50 Best Movies List: #15

Both Late Spring and Tokyo Story are the first Yasujiro Ozu movies I've ever seen, and if they're any indication, the concepts of family and mortality loom large in his productions. Ozu seems quite fascinated at contemplating how the finite time we have on this Earth impacts the way we interact with our loved ones, especially since the realization of us all having only so much time to live is likely to be more prevalent on the minds of older individuals compared to their younger relatives. Whereas Tokyo Story was about coming to terms with death as it occurs, the story of Late Spring is more concerned with preparing for that kind of possibility.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Douglas Laman's 20 Best Movies Of 2016 (Part Two)

I thoroughly apologize for this taking much longer to get done than I originally planned, but hey, here we are and now it is finally time to look at the other half of my 20 Best Movies Of 2016 piece, which includes my pick for the best film of 2016 overall!

Let's start this off with...

And Now Warner Bros. Has Put A Nightwing Movie Into Development

The DC Extended Universe currently comprises of three feature films, Man Of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad. 2017 will bring two more entries into the cinematic universe, Wonder Woman and Justice League. After that, the schedule gets fuzzy, as the original plan for 2018 (which would have seen the release of three movies, The Flash, Aquaman and an untitled project that was presumed to be Ben Affleck's Batman movie) have been put into disarray following The Flash being shoved back into development and behind-the-scenes reshuffling of the new Batman movie. It's expected the original slate for 2019 and 2020 will also be changing, especially since Warner Bros, and DC Films have been adding a bevy of new projects into the pipeline for this cinematic universe.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The End Is Nigh In The Engrossing Apocalypse Now

Sight & Sound Voyage Entry #9
Placement On Sight & Sound 50 Best Movies List: #14

Every single war in human history is a brutal affair from which no participant in it comes away unscathed. But the Vietnam War took on a whole other life of its own that made it a particularly gruesome affair. New innovations in cameras and TV news allowed people to see grisly first-hand footage directly from the battlefield, once that footage was actually allowed to be aired on TV that is. People were getting an up-close glimpse at the harshness of war for the first time and the fact that the Vietnam war ended in a loss for America only added a further layer of tragedy to what was already a cataclysmic affair.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Martin Scorsese's Next Film Is Going To Netflix!

Yes, you read that headline right! Martin Scorsese, the filmmaker behind some of the most influential American films of the last 40 years, will have his next film, The Irishman (which stars Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino) debut straight to Netflix, as it appears Paramount Pictures, which is in the middle of an upheaval, has decided not to take the major risk of simply distributing the film domestically. Thus, Netflix is in the process of securing worldwide rights to the title, with this pairing offering a paradigm shift for Hollywood.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Someone Find A Remedy For The Story Problems That Plague A Cure For Wellness

It's fairly obvious that director Gore Verbinski carries a soft spot for the twisted and morbid. His debut directorial effort, Mouse Hunt, was a family movie obviously intended to be just a Home Alone knock-off, so of course, he starts off the feature with a funeral procession and a separate on-screen heart attack in short order. His Pirates Of The Caribbean movies frequently diverged into spooky terrain and don't forget about the random cannibal elements (including ravenous rabbits) in The Lone Ranger. After nearly fifteen years of playing in the real of PG & PG-13 fare, Gore Verbinski's newest movie, A Cure For Wellness, offers him the chance to just go nuts with all the twisted story content he can imagine.

Silent Movie Laughs Are Plentiful In The Fantastic Charlie Chaplin Effort The Gold Rush

Note: This review covers the 1942 version of The Gold Rush.

As Smash Mouth once sang, "All that glitters is gold". And in the 19th century, people headed West in the great California gold rush in hopes of scoring a fortune that was located directly below your feet. Even once that gold rush died down, people fervently traveled across the globe to all kinds of biomes in hopes of obtaining financial prosperity beyond their wildest dreams. This concept of striking rich by way of gold was such a ubiquitous idea throughout the 19th century and early 20th century, it was inevitable that one of the most prolific filmmakers of the early 20th century would tackle it in one of his films.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Go On A Thoughtful & Beautiful Journey Out To Sea With The Red Turtle

We've all heard the phrase "A picture's worth a thousand words" ad nauseum in our lives at this point, but there's really no better axiom to pull out in order to really pinpoint why The Red Turtle works so well. This newest feature hailing from Studio Ghibli is a hand-drawn animated feature (with computer animation embellishments) that is an entirely dialogue-free affair, instead choosing to tell its original story solely by way of boatloads of gorgeous animation. Without verbal communication at its beck and call. The Red Turtle creates something extraordinarily unique with a remarkably potent emotional center.

LEGO Batman Builds Up Another Victory At The Box Office As A Trio Of Newcomers Underperform Over President's Day Weekend

Note: All figures discussed here are for the 3-Day weekend.

Well, it's President's Day weekend and a trio of newcomers failed to generate audience interest in a way that made this holiday weekend much weaker at the box office than it has been in the past few years despite the strong showings put up by some holdovers. Leading the pack was The LEGO Batman Movie, which built up another $34.2 million, which is a 35% dip from its opening weekend, a larger second weekend decline than past early February family fare like The LEGO Movie (28%) and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (27%) but is still a fine hold that brings its 10-day domestic total to $98.7 million, meaning it'll surpass $100 million domestically by tomorrow.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Douglas Laman's 20 Best Movies Of 2016 (Part One)

I started out this years Best Movies Of The Year list by wanting to trim down the amount of movies I recognized from 25 to something smaller. I started out doing just 10 of the best movies of the year, then 12, then 13, then 16, then 18 and now I managed to get it down to 20. Yay for brevity! Yes, this is the 20 Best Movies Of 2016, as I cull from the 151 movies I saw from 2016 as of February 17th, 2017, to create a list that examines the best of the best. Plenty of great movies (notably The Handmaiden, The Little Prince and 10 Cloverfield Lane) barely missed this list while I'll freely admit I still haven't many critically raved about movies like Toni Erdmann, The Salesman or I Am Not Your Negro yet. As in the past two years, I rank my movies in alphabetical order instead of from best to worst, though, again as in years past, have selected one movie to be the absolute best of the year.

With all of those formalities out of the way, let's start things off with the first part of my look at the 20 Best Movies Of 2016!

Fist Fight Is About As Painful As A Punch In The Face

Charlie Day is funny. Ice Cube is funny. Jillian Bell is funny. Tracy Morgan is funny. Kumail Najiani is funny. Dean Norris was awesome on Breaking Bad. Christina Hendricks is....I actually haven't watched Mad Men, so my only prior exposure to her has been in two Nicolas Winding Refn movies and her brief cameo in Zoolander 2, so I'm unclear on her talent levels right now but I've heard phenomenal things about her role on Mad Men. Anywho, put all these people in a movie together and you're bound to get something remotely resembling a fun comedy, right? Not quite, what we end up with instead is kind of sort of the exact opposite of that.

Psycho Is Every Bit As Engrossing As You've Heard And Then Some

Sight & Sound Voyage Entry #8
Placement On Sight & Sound 50 Best Movies List: #35 (tied with Metropolis, Jeanne Dielman 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles and Satantango)


You'd think, for a guy as strongly associated with high quality horror/thriller fare like Alfred Hitchcock, the experience of discovering he's directed a top-to-bottom phenomenal movie wouldn't be the least bit surprising at this point. But good golly, the guy's done it again. Watching Psycho for the first time instilled in me a deep a sense of shock how this master of cinema had done it yet again. I could feel the glee spreading from my head to my toes as I watched each new scene of Psycho unfold, with that emotion stemming from me realizing that Hitchcock hadn't just knocked it out of the park here, he'd knocked it out our solar system!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Giddy On Up With The Searchers

Sight & Sound Voyage Entry #7
Placement On Sight & Sound 50 Best Movies List: #7

Certain actors you tend to associate with specific types of movies. Matthew McConaughey, for instance, was the go-to romantic comedy guy for so long that that's what became known for while Adam Sandler was the proprietor of broad immature comedies. Perhaps no single actor is as directly tied to a genre they frequently inhabited as John Wayne is to the world of the Western. That no-nonsense attitude of his that always seemed to have a retort and a bullet ready to go for any situation seems to be the pop culture default for what many classify as a protagonist in a Western motion picture.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Let's All Go Pay A Visit To (Deep Breath) Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Sight & Sound Voyage Entry #6
Placement On Sight & Sound 50 Best Movies List: #35 (Tied with Psycho, Satantango and Metropolis)

Part of the reason why I wanted to go through all 50 films on Sight & Sounds 50 Best Movies list was because I wanted to get a better grasp on world cinema and the various filmmakers behind some of the most acclaimed motion pictures of all-time. I may be a proud film geek, but there are too many blind spots in my cinema knowledge to count and getting through this list would be a great way to do just that.  Plus, it would expose me to all kinds of movies made in a style that I was completely unfamiliar with, which, of course, is a way to segue into my newest review in this series, which covers the 1975 motion picture Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

In An Attempt To Boost Its Image, DC Films May Hire Noted Anti-Semite Mel Gibson To Direct Suicide Squad Sequel

In addition to that Gotham City Sirens movie that original Suicide Squad director David Ayer and Margot Robbie are doing, it appears that a Suicide Squad 2 is officially a-go, with Warner Bros. actively searching for a filmmaker to take over the job of directing those baddies on a mission since original director David Ayer is busy with the aforementioned Gotham City Sirens movie. The Hollywood Reporter brings word this evening that Daniel Espinosa is one candidate up to direct, with another one that Warner Bros. is actively seeking being....MEL GIBSON???

I'll Cast A Vote For The American President And Its Charming Romance

Watching it 22 years after its release, The American President is like stepping into a time machine and traveling back to a bygone era, when the computers were so large, Michael J. Fox was still around in movies (I always love seeing that guy in stuff!), Rob Reiner was making good high-profile movies and talking about the President didn't send a cold shiver down my spine. It's also a chance to see some of our most esteemed veteran actors like Michael Douglas and Annette Bening in something more light-hearted than they (well, primarily Bening in terms of modern-day roles) usually do.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Realism And Scripted Recreations Collide In Close-Up

Utilizing the filming style of a documentary for a fictional scripted affair is a style of filmmaking that's existed for eons now and has been popularized in the modern era by the likes of The Office and Borat. A cousin of sorts to that type of movie is the Docufiction, which merges documentary with fictional elements. The first American entry in this subgenre is apparently the 1926 motion picture Moana (yes, there was another Moana before last year's Disney musical), but one of the more acclaimed examples of this style of storytelling is an Iranian film from Abbas Kiarostami released in 1990 called Close-Up,

There Aren't Enough Words To Describe The Virtues Of The Phenomenal The Elephant Man

"People fear what they don't understand" is an oft-repeated axiom that feels exemplified by the events depicted in David Lynch's 1980 film The Elephant Man. I mean, look at where my own country, America, is right now. A President got elected by playing to people's ignorance and hatred of people slightly different from themselves. And this is far from the first time people of great power have gotten their high levels of authority by playing into humanities distrust of anything that dares to not adhere to the status quo. But those people who get mocked for being different are human beings, with a beating heart and dreams and their own personal ambitions that far too many refuse to acknowledge even exist.

Monday, February 13, 2017

What Lies Beneath Review

What Lies Beneath is a departure for Robert Zemeckis, a director whose inhabited many different genres in his multiple decades as a filmmaker, but only delved into the world of horror two other times in his career, with the 1992 horror/comedy Death Becomes Her and the feature that traumatized me as a youth, The Polar Express. What Lies Beneath may not be as terrifying as his 2004 Christmas-themed motion picture, but hey, it works on its own merits as a spooky ghost story with some appropriately bombastic twists that feel like they should be told around a campfire via an adult holding a flashlight under their face.

"DARKNESS!" and "NO PARENTS!!" Inform The Incredibly Fun LEGO Batman Movie

With The LEGO Batman Movie, we've now had eleven theatrically released movies starring Batman (the number goes up to twelve if ya wanna count Batman: The Killing Joke, which received a limited two-night long theatrical run last summer). Considering the characters been romping around in comics for nearly eight whole decades now, you can imagine there's plenty of fodder in the universe of Batman for way more than just eleven movies, but a large portion of his mythos has been swept aside in recent theatrical film depictions of the character, namely the presence of the Bat-Family, which consists of characters like Robin and Bat-Girl.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Looking For An Action Movie Sequel With Fun To Spare? John Wick: Chapter 2 Is Just What You've Been Looking For!

There are a couple things you need in an action movie to succeed. A good grasp of the language of how to shoot action sequences is vital, since a cohesive visual style is crucial for the audience to even get anything out of the extended shoot-outs or fistfights. Understanding how to keep bringing new elements to the table in each of your action sequences so they don't get repetitive is a great choice, ditto for getting editors who know how to make all of these scenes flow naturally. John Wick: Chapter 2 understands all these crucial rules as well as one other truism of life: it never hurts to have an adorable pit bull around.

The LEGO Batman Movie Edges Out Fifty Shades For Top Spot At Box Office While John Wick 2 Hits A Bullseye

This was one hopping February weekend as three new wide releases all debuted to over $30 million. Top of the pack was The LEGO Batman Movie, which debuted to $55.6 million, the seventh best opening weekend in February ever and easily the biggest opening weekend of 2017 so far. In terms of computer animated fare, that gives it the thirtieth biggest opening weekend ever, just behind the debuts of Big Hero 6 and Despicable Me. Interestingly, that is a debut that's below a number of opening weekend predictions for the title, which foresaw it managing to beat the opening weekend of The LEGO Movie, while it instead came in about 19% below the debut of that 2014 animated movie.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Don't Expect Salvation For The Terminator Franchise In Terminator: Salvation

On three different occasions in the 21st century, someone has tried to get the Terminator franchise back up and rolling again, despite the entire saga coming to a pretty clear conclusion with Terminator 2: Judgement Day. And on each of these occasions, the resulting films have produced zero sequels and had steadily declining domestic box office results. In the middle of the two most wretched entries in this saga (Rise Of The Machines and Genisys) is Terminator: Salvation, a McG directed effort that brought Christian Bale aboard the franchise as John Connor and surprisingly comes out as the best post-T2 movie in the franchise, though don't take that as a glowing endorsement.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Pierrot le Fou Review

When director Jean-Luc Godard sets out to make a movie, he isn't just embarking on a quest to create a motion picture. No, he's going on a journey to fiddle around with the conventional structures of the storytelling medium his works inhabit. He's out to find new ways to convey time passages or inner thoughts and to explore groundbreaking editing techniques that are still looked as landmark achievements decades after their release. If one were carrying a desire to see his specific traits as a filmmaker in action, look no further than his 1965 effort Pierrot le Fou, a prime example of these recurring practices of his.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Justice League Dark Is Scarily Forgettable Fare

TV seems to be the one spot where DC Comics isn't going for solely grim n' gritty fare, with some more darker programming like Gotham being heavily outnumbered by the likes of Justice League Action, Supergirl, The Flash, etc. But in the likes of film, comics and video games, grittiness seems to be the primary name of the game, which isn't in and of itself a bad thing, it's just that so many of these grimmer fare feel like they're being more "adult" for mere shock value instead of doing what's best for their stories. At least it's understandable why Justice League Dark would go in a grim direction since it deals with more ominous superheroes like Constantine, Deadman and the other mystical horror-centric realms of the DC universe.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Yuks Are Found By Juxtaposing Perfect Surroundings With Imperfect People In Playtime

Thank God I watched Terry Jones video introduction on the Criterion Collection DVD of Playtime before watching the movie proper, as it provided the proper set-up for what I was about to watch. Without that information at my disposal, I likely would have found the earliest sequences of Play Time impossible to get into due to their unorthodox style of storytelling and filming that intentionally tries to create distance between the viewer and what is occurring on-screen. Luckily, I not only managed to get into Playtime, I found it to be quite enjoyable and memorable thanks to a unique and audacious rhythm that it carries around.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie Trailer Has Some Serious Daddy Issues

Considering how franchise crazy Warner Bros. is these days, you'd have to be crazy to think they were only gonna follow-up their smash hit feature The LEGO Movie with only one or two direct sequels. They're going spin-off crazy with this one, with this Friday bringing The LEGO Batman Movie and this September unleashing the LEGO Ninjago Movie on the populace. Now, I'm completely unfamiliar with the LEGO Ninjago franchises history beyond knowing that it was a TV show on Cartoon Network and also knowing that my younger brother was obsessed with it for a brief period. It appears the movie version of that property is giving itself its own mythology, so check out the first trailer for it below to get a first glimpse of this new take on the Ninja LEGO characters.

Terminator 3 Is A Derivative Disaster That Ended Up Being The Worst Movie In The Franchise

In the Terminator universe, the end of the world comes in the form of Judgement Day, the day when the machines took over, nuked the planet and sent humanity to near-extinction. But for the Terminator as a movie series, the end basically came when James Cameron left the directors chair and some producers decided to trot out the Terminator brand name for some easy bucks despite the fact that the entire Terminator plotline was obviously wrapped up in a tidy and satisfying bow at the end of the second Terminator movie. Screw concise storytelling though, we've got some pennies we still haven't wrung out of this dead horse!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Battle Of Algiers Is A Grim Look At The Enduring Nature Of A Resistance

One of the best things about watching a number of older foreign motion pictures is that many of these titles offer me the chance to explore aspects of other countries histories that I have only heard about passing or never even knew existed, Jean Renoir's The Rules Of The Game was a good example of this, a 1939 motion picture that clued me in on the societal issues of that day and age in France. The subject of this movie review, the 1966 film The Battle Of Algiers, is another strong example of this phenomenon, centering itself on an eight year long North Africa conflict that I had no idea even transpired.

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Look At The Box Office Prospects Of March 2017's Numerous Blockbusters

March 2017 is jam-packed with big releases with one big blockbuster arriving each week and even two blockbusters arriving in a single weekend late in the month. I honestly predict that not only will March 2017 beat out March 2016 as the biggest March at the box office ever, it'll also be the first time any given March grosses over $1 billion in its 31 day long lifespan. Seeing as how I'm a big box office obsessive, I got to thinking about the various box office prospects of these films by way of considering how their marketing campaigns are going and how past similar movies have performed at the box office. I've compiled my thoughts below on how I currently predict the six blockbusters of March 2017 will fare, so let's get right down to it!

There's Something Strange Afoot On Shutter Island

The 2010's have shown a lovely amount of versatility on the part of master filmmaker Martin Scorsese. He's examined the levels of excess rich white dudes can get away with in America in The Wolf Of Wall Street, confronted experiencing a crisis of faith in Silence and he found time to make Hugo, a 3D family movie that also served as a homage to one of cinema's earliest pioneers, George Melies. Before all of those though, he kicked off the decade with a horror/thriller starring long-time collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio entitled Shutter Island, which became the directors second biggest movie of all-time at the domestic box office.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Split Wins At The Box Office For The Third Weekend In A Row As Rings And Space Between Us Collapse

This was a far more quiet weekend at the domestic box office than the first four frames of 2017, so forgive me for this weekend's box office analysis for being shorter than usual. Anywho, Split won the box office for the third weekend in a row by grabbing another $14.5 million, a 43% decline from last weekend that puts it at a domestic total of $98.7 million. It will become the first movie of 2017 to cross $100 million on Tuesday, an impressive feat for the micro-budgeted thriller from M. Night Shyamalan. It's also only the second movie (along with The Last Airbender) from that director to cross $100 million domestically since The Village in 2004.

Fellow horror film Rings scared up few viewers in its opening weekend, grossing only $13 million, notably beneath the opening weekends of its two predecessors that debuted over a decade ago. Both of the two new releases that opened up in over 1,000 theaters this weekend have gone through numerous release date shuffles and it's apparent Paramount Pictures just didn't know what to do with Rings considering it originally slated for it to be released all the way back in November 2015. Now it's just gonna come and go without a trace and likely lose some money in the process given it's oddly high budget of $25 million.

A Dog's Purpose fetched another $10.8 million, a 40% drop from last weekend, as it brought its domestic cume up to $32.9 million. This one will lose a lot of family viewers to The LEGO Batman Movie next weekend but it should still end its domestic run in the neighborhood of $55-60 million, a solid cume. Hidden Figures continues to be a stand-out performer at the box office, dipping only 28% to gross another $10.1 million, bringing its domestic cume to a fantastic $119.4 million. I'm actually gonna say right now this one will end up crossing $150 million domestically which would be a phenomenal feat for this low-budget drama. And rounding out the top five was La La Land, which grossed another $7.4 million, down 39% from last weekend, and brought its total domestic gross to $118.3 million

A big second-weekend plummet greeted Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, which collapsed to the tune of 67% to gross another $4.5 million and bringing its domestic cume to $21.8 million.  Coming off its numerous high profile Oscar nods, Lion expanded into 1,405 locations and grossed a solid $4 million, bringing its domestic total to $24.7 million. This one may just end up making a run for as high as $45 million domestically, a big win for both film and the studio behind it, The Weinstein Company, who've been needing a sleeper hit like this one for awhile now.

After shuffling out around the release calendar multiple different times, STX Entertainment had hoped The Space Between Us would soar in an early February slot. Instead, the movie had the distributor's lowest-grossing wide release opening weekend ever, grossing only $3.8 million. That's also the eleventh worst opening weekend ever for a movie debuting in over 2,500 theaters, so the news is bad all around for this one. Expect Space Between Us to vanish quickly from theaters and it's guaranteed to close its domestic run below $10 million.

Xander Cage rounded out the top ten with his newest movie, xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage, which grossed $3.7 million (a 57% plummet from last weekend) and has now grossed $40 million. The Founder continued to show solid legs at the box office, grossing another $1.5 million, a 42% decrease from last weekend, bringing it up to $9.9 million domestically. In its second frame, Gold withered away, going down 58% to gross another $1.4 million. This Matthew McConaughey movie has grossed only $6.6 million in ten days.

Debuting in 848 locations this weekend was The Comedian, only the second title ever from Sony Pictures Classics to open in wide release. It had the biggest opening weekend ever for the studio, but its $1.1 million bow was still mighty disappointing and was the worst wide release opening weekend ever for Robert DeNiro. On the other hand, Oscar-nominated documentary I Am Not Your Negro got off to a strong start, grossing $709,500 at 43 locations, the fourth biggest opening weekend ever for Magnolia Pictures and the twenty-seventh biggest opening weekend ever for a documentary.

The Top 12 movies at the domestic box office this weekend grossed a total of $81.1 million,  slightly below average in terms of the usual top 12 box office cumes past Super Bowl weekends have delivered.

Paterson Is A Splendidly Gentle Tribute To Everyday People

"Everybody's got a story" sounds like the kind of corny thing you might find inscribed on a wooden book trinket in a Cracker Barrell, but honestly, it is the truth isn't it? Everybody's living their own individual lives, going about their business as they try to do the best they can. Sometimes their stories have triumphs, sometimes they have grand defeats while most days they just have days filled with normalcy as one page of their flips to the next. And when we all manage to interact, sometimes in small ways, sometimes in more overt ways, our individual stories manage to briefly intersect and impact each other.

Terminator 2 Is Just Non-Stop Thrills And Fun

Nowadays, sequels come at relatively fast pace, with the superhero cinematic universes delivering multiple sequels a year and big franchises like Transformers and James Bond typically taking three year breaks in between movies. This was not so in the late years of the 20th century, when the perception of sequels began to shift drastically in the face of successful movies like The Empire Strikes Back and The Godfather: Part II. Previously, sequels were seen as a faux pas, but now, they were seen as potentially huge moneymakers, even if some franchises (like Robocop and Alien) still took their sweet time to get their much-anticipated follow-ups off the ground.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Political Ups And (Especially) Downs Are Chronicled In The Gripping Documentary Weiner

Like being an actor, being a politician shoves your entire life (and the lives of everyone you hold dear) into the public eye for all of the world to gawk at. If things are going swimmingly, such large amounts of attention may come in the form of massive crowds of fans. When things are not going according to play, well, you can suddenly feel every single one of the millions of eyeballs watching your every minuscule move. Oh, and amidst all that attention, you've also gotta do your job as a politician, which will likely include overseeing legislation and pieces of lawmaking that will immediately affect countless citizens.

Friday, February 3, 2017

In The Mood For Love Has Style To Spare, But Its Character Don't Quite Sparkle

Love makes people do crazy things, it's as simple as that. You'll buy expensive things for those you're infatuated with, you'll go eat at places you never would have gone to for the sake of going on a unique date, all that jazz. Movies, just like any other avenue of artistic storytelling, have been able to wring plenty of storytelling mileage out of depicting the lengths to which people will go to for the sake of romance, sometimes for drama, sometimes for comedy, but always as a way to tap into the universal notion of how powerful romance can be.


For this week's Disney Byways column, regular writer Gillianren has graciously allowed Douglas Laman (NerdInTheBasement) to fill in for her. Being a major Disney nerd himself, Doug is extremely grateful for this opportunity and hopes not to muck things up while Gillianren is briefly away!

Hollywood loves to create imitations of what's successful. This has been true for decades upon decades, so it might strike some as puzzling that Disney has actually done only two movies based on their theme park attractions (The Haunted Mansion and Tomorrowland) ever since those Pirates Of The Caribbean movies took off like a flash. While we sometimes hear rumblings of a Jungle Cruise movie (they've been trying to get that made for over a decade now) or Guillermo Del Toro's Haunted Mansion project, Disney seems to be in no rush to do a bevy of motion pictures based on their universally beloved theme park attractions.

Good Night, And Good Luck Review

In the first era directly after World War II, the American populace was scrambling to get things back to the way they were, to find comfort in normal life again. Of course, just as one war ended, another was brewing, this time between the U.S. and Russia in a Cold War that would span decades to come. This conflict created a panic among Americans for the potential presence of any Communist sympathizers in the United States who, in their minds, would bring with them the downfall of their country.  From this alarm (as well as, of course, plenty of other external factors) came the Joseph MacCarthy's rampant hearings accusing numerous individuals of having Communist ties or sympathies.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Indignation Has Some Great Acting But Feels Slight

While his Percy Jackson movie series sputtered out at just two movies, Logan Lerman has still emerged as quite the talented fellow in my eyes. He was phenomenal in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, held his own amidst an all-star cast in Noah and now he further proves his dramatic chops in Indignation, a summer 2016 film that served as one of two 2016 film adaptations of the works of Phillip Roth, the other being the dreadful American Pastoral. Logan Lerman is indeed mighty fine in the lead role of Indignation, even if the rest of the movie around him feels a bit more slight in comparison.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Beetlejuice Was Early Tim Burton That Went Full-On Strange To Mostly Endearing Results

We all know the tricks of the trade of Tim Burton movies at this point. Until recently, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter were guaranteed to show up in some capacity and the majority of his 21st-century output consists of remakes of already existing movies. And of course, the visual aesthetic that lands somewhere between gothic and quirky that's seen in nearly all of his work is perhaps his most defining trait as a filmmaker. But back in 1988, Burton had only directed one movie (as well as a slew of short films), so I'm sure seeing his morbid sensibilities very much front and center in the film Beetlejuice was very much a shock to many. Burton was coming out of the gate swinging and not putting aside any of his idiosyncrasies, that was for sure.

Note About Future Reviews: Welcome To The Sight & Sound Voyage!

This is just a brief notice that I've deiced to (after seeing former Dissolve critic Matt Singer suggest people do this in the New Year) undertake the challenge of watching all of the films in Sight & Sound's Top 50 Movies Of All-Time list that I have not watched in a series of reviews I hereby dub The Sight & Sound Voyage! There are currently 36 movies to go and I'm excited for the wide variety of motion pictures that lie ahead of me. Here is a list of the 36 movies I still have to go, which comes from Wikipedia:

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
The Searchers (1956)
Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
Battleship Potemkin (1925)
L'Atalante (1934)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Late Spring (1949)
Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
Persona (1966)
Mirror (1975)
L'Avventura (1960)
Contempt (1963)
The Godfather (1972)
Ordet (1955)
In the Mood for Love (2000)
Andrei Rublev (1966)
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Stalker (1979)
Shoah (1985)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Bicycle Thieves (1948)
The General (1926)
Psycho (1960)
Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
Sátántangó (1994)
La Dolce Vita (1960)
Journey to Italy (1954)
Gertrud (1964)
Pierrot le Fou (1965)
Playtime (1967)
Close-Up (1990)
The Battle of Algiers (1966)
Histoire(s) du cinéma (1988-1998)
Ugetsu Monogatari (1953)
La Jetée 

As you can see, I have lots of movies to watch! These won't be the only movies I'll be watching; there's plenty of classic movies not on this list that I've rented from the library that I shall be viewing and then promptly reviewing and I'll still be covering theatrically released new motion pictures. However, this new series of reviews shall help expand my scope of cinema thusly and I hope you'll be joining me for the adventure!

A Great Cast And Thoughtful Story Make Don't Think Twice A Riot

"Dying is easy, comedy is hard". Everyone's heard that phrase before and boy howdy is it ever the truth. Comedic acting skills tend to get undervalued compared to their dramatic counterpart, perhaps a bit of give-and-take in the fact that escapism comedies tend to make a whole lot more money than the darker dramas where dramatic acting excels. Still, one can't help but feel that those who immerse themselves in the world comedy acting don't quite get the sort of respect they deserve due to the kind of work they put into their craft. Thankfully, we've got a movie like Don't Think Twice that helps put the spotlight on those comedians struggling to get their time in the limelight and some respect.