7 items from 2007
Filmmaker Robert Benton finds himself again drawn to places in the heart with Feast of Love, a tender examination of love and romance in all their ever-shifting permutations. It is based on the novel by Charles Baxter.
Set in a close-knit Oregon community, the film, with its intersecting vignettes, might ultimately feel like more of a sampler platter than a sustaining smorgasbord, but it's effectively rooted in a lovely Morgan Freeman performance.
The MGM release is aimed squarely at an older-female audience with an appetite for something other than Westerns and vigilante movies, and that timing could result in moderately attractive ticket sales.
Finding it particularly hard to make sense of this crazy little thing called love is Greg Kinnear's Bradley, a coffeehouse owner whose personal life is anything but frothy.
First, Bradley's young wife, Kathryn (Selma Blair), left him for another woman, then the real estate agent (Radha Mitchell) he has fallen for on the rebound moves in with him but has chosen not to cut off her clandestine affair with a married man (Billy Burke).
He seeks guidance from Freeman's Harry Stevenson, an on-sabbatical college professor in an enduring, deeply loving marriage to his wife, Esther (Jane Alexander), but while Harry's happy to dispense advice, inside he's still grieving about the fatal drug overdose of their only son.
Rounding out the roundelay is a budding romance between two young coffeehouse employees (Alexa Davalos, Toby Hemingway) with troubled pasts who cast fate to the wind and embark on an intense, urgent relationship.
Benton, working from a sturdy adaptation by Allison Burnett (Resurrecting the Champ), choreographs all the comings and goings through the revolving door of love with grace and fluidity, not to mention a great deal of nudity, but the results are more robust than explicit.
While things occasionally get a little soapy around the edges, the encroaching melodrama is masterfully held at bay by Freeman, whose scenes with Alexander are exceptionally moving.
The rest of the cast does uniformly good work, though Fred Ward, who plays Hemingway's knife-wielding abusive dad, has a trickier time trying to put a human face on all the looming menace.
Visually, the Feast is quite sumptuous, what with director of photography Kramer Morgenthau's (Fracture) warm tones and Missy Stewart's earthy production design -- you'd swear you could smell those freshly ground coffee beans in Kinnear's cozy shop.
Aurally, Stephen Trask's emotionally restrained score makes a nice fit with a song selection that alternates between soul-stirring (Jeff Buckley's take on Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah) to silky-smooth (Corinne Bailey Ray fronting the New Mastersounds on Your Love Is Mine).
FEAST OF LOVE
A Lakeshore Entertainment production in association withGreeneStreet Films and Revelations Entertainment
Director: Robert Benton
Screenwriter: Allison Burnett
Based on the novel by: Charles Baxter
Director of photography: Kramer Morgenthau
Production designer: Missy Stewart
Music: Stephen Trask
Costume designer: Renee Ehrlich Kalfus
Editor: Andrew Mondshein
Harry Stevenson: Morgan Freeman
Bradley: Greg Kinnear
Diana: Radha Mitchell
Esther: Jane Alexander
Chloe: Alexa Davalos
Oscar: Toby Hemingway
Kathryn: Selma Blair
Jenny: Stana Katic
David: Billy Burke
Bat: Fred Ward
Running time -- 102 minutes
MPAA rating: R
The lull before the summer blockbuster invasion brought a surprise top finisher internationally this weekend as "Wild Hogs" zoomed to No. 1 with an estimated $11.5 million from 3,046 screens in 38 markets, lifting its foreign gross total to $43.3 million.
A 15-market expansion propelled "Hogs" past Universal International's "Mr. Bean's Holiday" and Warner Bros. International's "300," which had been sharing first place in the overseas rankings for the past five weekends.
The suburban biker comedy starring John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy bowed strongly in 15 new markets including No. 1 openings in Germany (an estimated $2.9 million from 600 screens), Switzerland ($480,000 from 50 sites for a per-screen average of $9,600), Austria ($375,000 from 85 situations, more than the market's No. 2 through No. 4 titles combined) and in Singapore ($285,000 from 26 spots for a per-screen average of $10,961).
"Hogs," which has been playing for eight weekends in Australia (where its market cume is $12.7 million), also finished first in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. »
- By Frank Segers
As the North American boxoffice took a bit of a breather before the coming onslaught of big-budget summer releases, Paramount Pictures' release of DreamWorks' teen-skewing thriller "Disturbia" hung on to the top spot for the second weekend in a row, while New Line Cinema's adult-oriented thriller "Fracture", landed in the runner-up position with $11 million.
Sony Pictures' release of the Screen Gems' horror outing "Vacancy" bowed in fourth with $7.6 million, while Warner Bros. Pictures' femme-centric dramedy "In the Land of Women" trailed in eighth with $4.7 million.
The one new film that appeared to show some genuine buoyancy was the cop comedy "Hot Fuzz", from Focus Features' Rogue label. Bowing in just 825 locations, it entered the list in sixth with a promising $5.8 million and a per-theater average of $7,089.
All in all, the weekend was down from the comparable weekend last year when Sony's "Silent Hill" led the list with $20.2 million. The top 10 films fell 26% compared with last year's number.
The weekend continued DreamWorks' winning streak. The Paramount unit has topped the charts for the past four weekends, first with the comedy "Blades of Glory" for two frames and then with "Disturbia" for the past two weekends.
The PG-13 "Disturbia", from Montecito Pictures, took in $13 million in 3,015 theaters, bringing its domestic cume to date to $40.2 million as it further consolidated its young star Shia LaBeouf's standing as a boxoffice draw with appeal to the under-25 set. "The movie is putting people in the seats and keeping them in suspense when they get there," said DreamWorks spokesman Marvin Levy, noting that the movie fell only 41% in its second weekend.
Warding off several of the newcomers, "Blades" emerged in the third spot with $7.7 million from 3,459 theaters as it crossed the $100 million mark, bringing its cume to $101 million. »
Disturbia, Paramount Pictures' release of the DreamWorks thriller, fought off the new arrivals Friday to remain No. 1 at the boxoffice for the second weekend in a row. According to the boxoffice tracking site boxofficemojo.com, the PG-13 rated movie that is lauching Shia LaBeouf into stardom took in an estimated $4.7 million for the day, to bring its eight-day gross to $31.9 million.
Of the weekend's newcomers, New Line Cinema's starry thriller Fracture, starring Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling, enjoyed an edge over Sony Pictures' horror motel tale Vacancy, starring Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale. The R-rated Fracture took an estimated $3.6 million for the day, which earned it second place, while the R-rated Vacancy pulled up in third with an estimated $2.8 million.
While powerhouse comedy Blades of Glory shifted to fourth place with an estimated $2.5 million, Rogue's cop comedy Hot Fuzz, from the team that brought moviegoers Shaun of the Dead, made a strong appearance in fifth place. Playing in just 825 theaters, it scored an estimated $2.1 million for the day. »
The story follows the witnesses to a brutal murder suicide in a fast food restaurant as they cope with the aftermath of the incident and how they affect the people who help them along the way.
Tripplehorn is playing Fanning's mother, trying to help her daughter recover from the incident.
Davidtz is a wife suffering from migraines who places her husband's needs above hers.
Robert Salerno is producing the indie drama, in which Beckinsale was a driving force; her longtime attachment helped secure financing for the pic.
- 2006 was a relatively tame year when it came to sexy men in indie and foreign features. While some of the gentlemen below deserve Adonis honors (namely number's ten, two, and one), this year's most memorable men are not receiving praise for their abdominal muscles, but instead (gasp) for their talent? Hollywood seems to have the monopoly on the drool worthy D's - Depp, Damon, DiCaprio, but it's the mix of indie faces, some fresh, some familiar, that win our minds then our hearts. From drag queens to dictators, 2006 was full of characters and this list has them all, both on and off the screen. 10. George Clooney 2006: People Magazine voted him Sexiest Man Alive yet again and the A-list star shows no signs of stopping his actor/director/producer/bachelor ways. With Steven Soderbergh's, The Good German and the establishment of his new production company Smoke House, Clooney spent the year in uniform, »
- He is already one of the better young thesps to presently grace our screens, and now Ryan Gosling looks prepped to bring his screenplay to the big screen – and guess what - he’ll be making his directorial debut. The Lord's Resistance Army will be based on the child soldiers in Africa. The film will star nonpros and child soldiers, whom Gosling has helped find in East Africa. Variety reports that financing doesn,t look to be an obstacle especially after his performance in Half Nelson. Gosling next has Fracture, Lars And The Real Girl and The Good Heart to be released this year. »
7 items from 2007
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