Fire Island, an update on Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, gets a trailer, as does Peter Strickland’s Flux Gourmet; TCM Classic Film Festival wraps in Hollywood while NAB Show and CinemaCon open in Las Vegas; The Northman co-writer Sjón looks at women roles in Viking society. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.
Vegas, Baby: Greetings from sunny Las Vegas where I will be attending NAB Show for the next few days. If you are a vendor or attendee who’d like to connect, I can be reached at [email protected]. After nine years in Los Angeles, this is strangely my first trip to Vegas, so if you have any food recommendations, etc., I’m all ears in those departments as well.
Box Office Report: This weekend, animated feature The Bad Guys further proved what Sonic the Hedgehog 2 did a few weeks prior — there is a box office appetite for family movies. Speaking of Sonic 2, it’s still doing well, maintaining second place in its third weekend. Focus Features’ The Northman hit $12 million and Lionsgate’s The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent locked in $7 million, both in their opening weekends. Deadline has the details.
More Theaters Doing Well News: Opposite the NAB Show, CinemaCon, the annual conference for theater owners is also happening right now in Vegas. With very public cracks developing in Netflix’s armor, this year’s CinemaCon points to a moment of renewed hope in the future of the theatrical experience. Pamela McClintock in The Hollywood Reporter has a preview of what to expect from this year’s conference, which kicks off today.
Not Your Average Himbo Film: If The Northman looks too macho for your taste, consider what co-writer Sjón tells MovieMaker on the history of women’s role in Viking culture. “Women had incredible independence compared with what happened after Christianity arrived. They had a great role in society and their individual freedom was accepted. For example, a woman could not be given away without her agreeing to it. … They could get divorced. There were very specific rules about how property would be divided after divorce and things like that – it was a very special time. And that means that they have great roles in the Sagas.” Nicole Kidman and Anya Taylor-Joy’s characters play the strong women in Robert Eggers and Sjón’s Viking Saga.
TCM Classic Film Festival Wraps: After virtual editions in 2020 and 2022, one of the best L.A. film festivals — alongside AFI Fest — returned to its rightful place in the heart of Hollywood. A highlight for me this year was watching a 35mm print of the pre-code Barbara Stanwyck classic Baby Face in the beautiful Hollywood Legion theater (which also houses a beautiful Art Deco bar in its basement). Another was watching Barry Levinson’s Diner, also on 35mm, also at the Legion. Stars Kevin Bacon, Tim Daly, Steve Guttenberg, and Paul Reiser were present for a lively discussion celebrating its 40th anniversary. It was as if the Legion theater stage briefly transformed into the Fell’s Point Diner, and we were again eavesdropping on a group of lifelong friends shooting the breeze.
TCM Book Recommendation: I also spent the weekend diving into my brand new signed copy of Eddie Muller’s Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir. The recently revised and expanded edition is a must-read for any film lover with even a passing interest in film noir.
Fire Island Trailer: Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice gets a fresh treatment with Andrew Ahn’s Fire Island, which follows a group of friends who travel yearly to the small resort community in New York. A gay rom-com with Asian leads (including SNL’s Bowen Yang), the film has been billed as a step forward for the rom-com genre. Fire Island hits Hulu on June 3.
Ken Burns News: The U.S. and the Holocaust, a new three-part documentary series from American treasure Ken Burns, will premiere this September. “The film examines the rise of Hitler and Nazism in Germany in the context of global antisemitism and racism, the eugenics movement in the United States and race laws in the American south. The series sheds light on what the U.S. government and American people knew and did — and did not do — as the catastrophe unfolded in Europe,” the press release says. While you wait for September, why not revisit Burns’ timeless Things I’ve Learned as a Moviemaker advice.
Flux Gourmet Trailer: Peter Strickland (The Duke of Burgundy, In Fabric) is a singular talent working in film, a sentiment codified with his latest, Flux Gourmet. An unclassifiable film, Flux Gourmet looks at a residency for a group of musicians/performance artists who create their ambient soundscapes through cooking. Like all things Strickland, Flux Gourmet maintains an obsessive attention to detail with color, production design and sound design. It’s a delight to experience.
Main image: Fire Island, from director Andrew Ahn and writer-star Joel Kim-Booster.