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  • Film Review: PARIS (NY Times)
    Qalandar | October 17, 2009, 7:56 PM | no comments | 1,227 views

    September 18, 2009
    A Sick Man Embracing a City’s Life, Just as His Own Is Threatened

    By STEPHEN HOLDEN
    In “Paris,” Cédric Klapisch’s sumptuous Gallic comedy, the camera, whether surveying the landmarks from on high or peering out of an apartment window at the passing parade, becomes a surrogate for a first-time visitor to the City of Light. Both a Parisian answer to Woody Allen’s “Manhattan” and a multicharacter mosaic in the mode of Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts,” the movie sprawls invitingly across the screen like a glowing Impressionist painting. Instead of George Gershwin, Erik Satie supplies the signature music.

    But “Paris” is much lighter fare than either “Manhattan” or “Short Cuts.” The film glosses the psyches of its likable characters. Even when tragedy strikes, its outlook remains buoyant. People die, but life bubbles on.
    (more…)




  • Weekend Report: Tyler Perry ‘Can Do’ Good at the Box Office
    Som | September 14, 2009, 9:47 AM | no comments | 582 views

    Weekend estimate

    Tyler Perry’s Madea swung her weight at the box office again, handily topping a modest weekend at the box office with her latest appearance in Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself. The weekend also saw a passable start for the animated 9 and the failures of two thrillers, Sorority Row and Whiteout. Overall business was off seven percent from the same weekend last year, when Burn After Reading and Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys opened.

    I Can Do Bad All By Myself yanked an estimated $24 million out of approximately 3,200 screens at 2,255 sites. It was the third highest-grossing debut for a Tyler Perry movie, though slightly above average in terms of attendance, and a new high for one of his Fall releases, topping The Family That Preys ($17.4 million) and Why Did I Get Married? ($21.4 million). Though not named in the title like Perry’s biggest hits, Madea was front and center in I Can Do Bad’s marketing, suggesting the character’s continued popularity with Perry’s audience.

    More HERE




  • Weekend Report: ‘Final Destination’ Clings to Labor Day Lead
    Som | September 7, 2009, 12:38 AM | one comment | 696 views

    Weekend estimate

    With the usual smattering of modest Labor Day releases, Summer 2009 came to a quiet close. While overall business was up 40 percent from the corresponding (non-holiday) weekend last year, it was the least-attended Labor Day weekend in over a decade.

    Falling 55 percent but still leading the weekend, The Final Destination pulled in an estimated $12.4 million, lifting its total to $47.6 million in ten days. The horror sequel had a steeper drop than its predecessors as well as My Bloody Valentine 3-D from earlier this year. Nonetheless, it surpassed the final gross of Final Destination 2 and will soon top the other Final Destination movies, though it has a ways to go in terms of attendance.

    More HERE




  • Weekend Report: ‘Final Destination’ Rips Into Top Spot
    Som | August 30, 2009, 10:50 PM | one comment | 817 views

    LINK

    In a rare instance of two movies of the same genre going head-to-head, the latest entries in the popular Final Destination and Halloween horror franchises collided and neither was particularly scathed by the clash, if their opening grosses were any indication. Overall, the weekend was the highest-grossing ever seen for the end of August and was up a whopping 32 percent from the same weekend last year, due mainly to the more potent new releases and recent holdovers.

    The Final Destination impaled an estimated $28.3 million on approximately 4,300 screens at 3,121 sites, scoring the biggest start of the franchise. The previous best was the last movie, Final Destination 3, at $19.2 million three and a half years ago. Included in the fourth movie’s opening were 3D presentations at 1,678 sites, and they accounted for 70 percent or nearly $20 million of the gross. While each Final Destination is basically the same story, the new movie remained an attraction due to the marketing’s promise of a thrill ride in which the invisible hand of death makes mincemeat out of young people in new, elaborate ways involving everyday situations. Applying 3D enhanced the appeal as the right fit for this type of visceral, disaster-oriented thriller. Distributor Warner Bros.’ exit polling indicated that 52 percent of the audience was female and 60 percent was under 25 years old.

    Drawing far less blood than its predecessor, Halloween II (2009) nabbed an estimated $17.4 million on around 3,600 screens at 3,025 sites, and, according to distributor The Weinstein Company’s research, 54 percent of the audience was under 25 years old and there was an even split between genders. By comparison, Halloween (2007) seized $26.4 million out of the gate on the same weekend in 2007, and the original Halloween II sold more tickets initially back in 1981. That picture itself was ultimately a huge step down from the first movie from 1978, so the same fate was reasonably expected for the remake, regardless of whether it faced off with another horror movie or not. After all, that’s what happened with the recent Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Hills Have Eyes repeats as well.

    Unlike The Final Destination, Halloween II (2009) was a continuation of the story of its predecessor and effectively offered the same slasher horror that audiences already experienced. It’s difficult for horror franchises to maintain their audiences, because they are often ephemeral experiences and, once people get the scares, there’s little reason to return. Franchises like Final Destination and Saw are exceptionally consistent, because they keep things fresh with new characters and more compelling suspense and mystery elements. (more…)




  • Weekend Report: ‘G.I. Joe’ Doesn’t Roll Snake Eyes
    Som | August 9, 2009, 10:39 PM | no comments | 660 views

    LINK

    The summer’s last would-be event picture, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, wielded its kung fu grip on the box office over the weekend, though it wasn’t quite a real blockbuster hero. With a big movie opening, the weekend as a whole was up 22 percent over the same timeframe last year, when The Dark Knight led for the fourth weekend in a row and Pineapple Express debuted in second. Compared to previous years, though, weekend attendance was middling.

    G.I. Joe enlisted an estimated $56.2 million on approximately 5,900 screens at 4,007 sites, ranking as the fourth highest-grossing August opening ever, but a far cry from its Hasbro toyline stable mate, Transformers. Joe’s estimated attendance was nearly identical to XXX, another action spectacle that opened on the same August weekend in 2002, and it was slightly higher than similar pictures like Mission: Impossible III and Wanted but less than the Fantastic Four movies. Despite the sizable launches, none of those pictures attained true blockbuster status, and Joe would need to be unusually flinty to break the trend. Distributor Paramount Pictures’ exit polling indicated that 60 percent of the audience was male and 50 percent was under 25 years old.

    While riding on the 1980s toy-cartoon-comic brand name and attempting to cash in on some of the disaster thriller appeal of Transformers with the destruction of the Eiffel Tower, the marketing for G.I. Joe mostly resembled XXX and other movies with its clearly computer-generated action set-pieces, such as the brand’s most popular character, Snake Eyes, leaping over cars a la Spider-Man. Much of the focus was on The Rise of Cobra (on the movie poster, the bad guys are featured at the top, while the Joes are below the credits), which was a bit cockeyed considering that G.I. Joe itself had yet to be established as a movie franchise. That lack of central heroic characters for audiences to get behind may have limited the appeal. Curiously, though Paramount publicly eschewed advanced screenings for movie reviewers, they mysteriously presented reviewer quotes as the centerpiece of their television ads. Such dogmatic (and, in this case, hypocritical) adherence to critic’s quotes only comes at the expense of what audiences truly care about: the story, the characters, the spectacle, etc.

    Targeting a different audience than G.I. Joe, Julie & Julia julienned the record for biggest-grossing opening for a live-action cooking-themed movie (Ratatouille being tops if animation is counted). The comedy-drama served up a solid estimated $20.1 million on around 2,700 screens at 2,354 sites, which was more than 60 percent better than No Reservations, another late summer cooking comedy-drama from two years ago. According to distributor Sony Pictures’ research, 67 percent of the audience was female and 64 percent was aged 35 years and older. The picture was heavily promoted (including an obvious tie-in with the Food Network) as a relatable tale of two women taking charge of their lives, buoyed by being based on two true stories as well as its cast of Amy Adams and Meryl Streep, who was fresh from her recent summer successes of Mamma Mia! and The Devil Wears Prada. (more…)




  • Is it love? Three Times by Hsiao-hsien Hou…
    pardesi | August 9, 2009, 1:26 PM | 4 comments | 1,286 views


    Hsiao-hsien Hou’s unevenly paced film Three Times (Zui hao de shi guang) traces three stories through time. The first one called A Time for Love is set in 1966 and revolves around Chen (Chang Chen), a young man who is about to join the army. He frequents a pool hall, meets a young hostess there, and sends her a letter of declaration. By then the girl has moved on and been replaced by May. played by an ethereal Shu Qi. May finds the letter, is intrigued by it, then meets the young man when he is on furlough. Then he writes her similar letters and even gets responses. When he comes back, May is gone and the we follow along as Chen hunts for her, but comes up short again and again. The eventual meeting of the two is nothing short of magical, and is all told told through excellent used of light and shadows and body language and gestures that do not need any words! The essence of love in its purest form is captured by Hou in these 45 or so minutes. Just the simple beauty of this segment catapults Three Times into the excellent category.

    The second segment is titled A Time for Freedom and set in 1911. Chang Chen now plays the master and Shu Qi the concubine. The master is a writer and involved in discussions of freedom of the country. The dialog is replaced completely by intertitles and the segment is silent except for music. The concubine’s friend becomes pregnant and the master helps in buying her freedom so she can become 2nd wife to the father of the child. But his dealings with the concubine are of a mercenary kind, and her burning question as to what will become of her future, remains unanswered by the master. The segment deals with a physical and sensory kind of interaction between the two, with the master shown frequently washing his hands, sipping tea, and having his long hair combed by the concubine. Thus physical intimacy is implied and yet the emotional needs of the concubine are left unfulfilled. There is a stasis to this segment, and the use of intertitles instead of dialog, breaks the flow of the narration. There is still enough visual beauty here to make it worth watching.

    Read more at PakhiPakhi




  • Blade Runner named greatest sci-fi film of all time
    Som | August 5, 2009, 8:03 PM | one comment | 1,681 views

    LINK

    The 1982 sci-fi film, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford flopped when released but has since become a cult classic.

    But a poll conducted by Totalscifionline.com found it was the most preferred by movie lovers despite the film’s initial box office failure.

    (more…)




  • ‘Funny People’ Sputters, but Takes Weekend
    Som | August 3, 2009, 10:29 AM | one comment | 797 views

    LOS ANGELES — “Funny People” sputtered at the weekend box office, weakening Judd Apatow’s batting average as a director and continuing a slump at Universal Pictures.

    The movie, a two-and-a-half-hour look at stand-up comedians, one of whom is dying (Adam Sandler), sold an estimated $23.4 million in tickets at North American theaters over the weekend, according to box office tracking services.

    The total, though enough for No. 1, would be soft even if less were riding on it. The studio, part of NBC Universal, has stumbled badly this summer, with its expensive “Land of the Lost” virtually ignored by audiences and “Brüno” and “Drag Me to Hell” not meeting expectations. Universal was counting on “Funny People” to reverse its box office fortunes, or at least perform strongly enough to quiet speculation here about a management shakeup.

    (more…)



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