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"I made my family disappear."
And with that, a Christmas classic (and a young star) was born.
There are a lot of titles that get bounded around during the festive period on what are ‘must-watch’ Christmas movies. Yuletide classics such as It’s A Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street (the original, obviously) always appear high on lists, but for the generation that was born out of the 80s and cultivated in the 1990s, there is only one film that comes to mind – Christopher Columbus’ Home Alone.
Written by teen movie icon John Hughes, Home Alone tells the story of young Kevin McCallister (a then innocent Macaulay Culkin) who has a huge argument with his family on the eve before they leave for Paris where they plan to spend Christmas. »
‘Catching Fire’ box office: To surpass Iron Man 3 in North America? (photo: Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair in ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’) Thanksgiving was celebrated this past week in the United States. Although the American economy remains in a seemingly never-ending rut, Lionsgate has much to be thankful for, financially speaking: on the weekend of November 29-December 1, 2013, Francis Lawrence’s $110-130 million-budgeted The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth, added another $74.5 million from 4,163 North American locations according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Even if Lionsgate’s estimates are (once again) off by a couple of percentage points, that’s a remarkable hold for a sequel. In fact, Catching Fire was down only 53% compared to its first weekend, which included $25+ million from Thursday night and Friday midnight screenings. And let’s not forget that the Hunger Games sequel blew off »
- Zac Gille
Film-makers have tried sex, murder and intrigue, and yet that most intellectual of spectator sports remains remarkably difficult to depict on screen
• Computer Chess: watch the trailer
Throw a rock at the sports genre and you'll hit a film about baseball or football, or hockey, or racing. Odds are, you won't strike a film about chess. Chess isn't generally considered a stadium filler (although it can be). It's perceived as a game for eccentric intellectuals and elderly historians. It doesn't have the glamour or sex appeal of more sedentary sports, such as pool, as demonstrated by Paul Newman in The Hustler. Chess won't even fit snugly in to other genre films, where the banality of cards, for example, naturally lends itself to a seedy, gambling gangster underworld (Rounders), the exotic highlife of a casino (Casino Royale), or even more piquant, a combo »
(Spoiler Alert: This piece reveals key plot details from “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”)
More than once over the past several years, during the steady diet of teenage wizards and emo vampires that we have come to call moviegoing, I’ve felt compelled to ask: What is the purpose of adapting popular fantasy fiction for the screen? Is it (a) to faithfully reproduce the author’s sacred text in every last particular for the benefit of hardcore fanboys and fangirls? Or is it (b) to refashion the material as an entirely new experience, trimmed down and in some cases completely overhauled?
The answer, of course, is (c) to make a killing at the box office, an outcome generally arrived at by finding some happy middle ground between options (a) and (b), between undue reverence and wholesale reinvention. Peter Jackson struck just the right balance in his magnificent “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, »
- Justin Chang
I remember watching it over and over, effusively quoting Robin Williams's over-the-top exclamations and giggling hysterically at the movie's comedic conundrums. It's truly a tour-de-force for Williams, who was given free improvisational reign on the set. His role as irresponsible Daniel, who takes desperate measures by impersonating a female nanny in order to see his kids during his divorce from wife Miranda (played by Sally Field), resulted in the birth of beloved character and the second-highest-grossing film of 1993 (behind "Jurassic Park"). It's a movie that spreads the schmaltz on thick, sure, but proves surprisingly ahead of its time when it comes to the fallout of divorce and the plights of working moms and perpetual man-boys, alike.
It's been ages since I've watched the film, so -- in honor of its 20th anniversary (November 24) -- I thought it important »
- Katie Calautti
In 1993, Robin Williams could do no wrong -- even when wearing a dress.
The comedian starred in "Mrs. Doubtfire," which opened November 24, as a divorcing dad who is forced to masquerade as an elderly British nanny to see his children. And not just any nanny, but the kindest (yet sternest) caretaker who cooks, cleans, plays soccer, and just happens to pee standing up.
The film was the second highest-grossing movie of the year (behind "Jurassic Park") with a total of $441 million worldwide. It also won the Academy Award for Best Makeup and earned Golden Globes for Robin Williams and Best Picture (Musical/Comedy).
A sequel, which was floated around in 2001, never got underway. While Williams has been doubtful (ha!) about the likelihood of a sequel, earlier this year, director Chris Columbus told HuffPostLive it might be back on track. "[Robin and I] have talked about it, and the studio is interested in it. »
- Sharon Knolle
Chances are slim that Chloe Zhao manages to break into the 2014 edition of the Sundance Film Festival and it isn’t because there is a lack of room for a pair of Native American portraits from female filmmakers (the other being Drunktown’s Finest). Supported by both Sundance Labs (read her experience here), and solid coin from Ang Lee Scholarship for Filmmaking and the Time Warner Storytelling Fellowship and Christopher Columbus/Richard Vague Film Production Grant and top that off with a successful 80+ grand Kickstarter campaign, lensing on Lee, was completed this past month (she got the chance to work with Andrea Arnold’s right-hand man Robbie Ryan), thus the 25 New Faces of Independent Film of 2013 personality would have to work at breakneck speed in post. Ingredient worth mentioning: the participation of Eléonore Hendricks.
Gist: Lee is a seventeen-year-old Lakota boy who idly spends his days in young love with »
- Eric Lavallee
Feature Simon Brew 19 Nov 2013 - 06:40
Just a silly comedy? There might be more to Mrs Doubtfire than it's given credit for...
This article contains spoilers for Mrs Doubtfire.
If you dig through the box office takings for the films of Robin Williams, then - taking aside his supporting performance in Night At The Museum - his most lucrative film at the Us box office remains 1993's Mrs Doubtfire. Inflation-adjusted, it tops the list.
The film was released in the aftermath of Disney's record-breaking Aladdin (and followed the fascinatingly flawed Toys), and in the years that followed, Williams would enjoy a bunch of further hits, including the likes of Jumanji, The Birdcage (two films that, fact-fans, passed $100m at the Us box office on the same weekend), Patch Adams and Flubber. He'd nab an Oscar in the midst of that run for Good Will Hunting, too. This was Robin Williams »
The inaugural San Francisco Film Society Fall Celebration on Nov. 14 has an announced intention of “honoring creativity, innovation, collaboration and inspiration in cinema,” which meshes nicely with the Bay Area film community’s “not L.A.” vibe.
The program of “Fruitvale Station,” “Her,” “Nebraska” (pictured) and “The Square” with filmmakers including Ryan Coogler, Spike Jonze, Michael B. Jordan, Jehane Noujaim, Alexander Payne and June Squibb in attendance was curated by the Sffs team to represent a “summation of what the year held, what were the best films of the year,” according to the org’s executive director Ted Hope.
While the primary mission of the Sffs remains its springtime San Francisco film fest, a Bay Area fixture for more than 50 years, Hope’s brief one-year tenure (he recently announced a return to indie film production) as topper has yielded this new event that Hope says is designed to place San »
- Steven Gaydos
Exclusive: This week, Jack Giarraputo has been telling associates at studios like Sony and Paramount that he will retire after he finishes producing the Warner Bros comedy Blended, and after that the Chris Columbus-directed Pixels for Sony. The 46-year old Giarraputo has been Adam Sandler‘s partner in Happy Madison since the company’s inception in 1995. So why would a young guy step out of a dream job at a company that continues to thrive, and which just saw Grown Ups 2 turn in a $113 million foreign gross to become the biggest offshore result for a Happy Madison pic? Believe it or not, Giarraputo made a life decision that is based on making time for his sons, who at seven and four years old need a father who doesn’t spend all his time away on a movie set or working late developing scripts. And so Giarraputo told Sandler, »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
Gary Ross is going to end up being the Chris Columbus of the "Hunger Games" franchise, the guy who set up a solid template before stepping aside for a director who brought a much stronger sense of style to the series. I think the first "Hunger Games" film is a much better movie overall than the first two "Harry Potter" films were, but I think the weakest link in what Ross did with the first film was his visual plan. I liked that he seemed unconcerned with spectacle, but there could definitely have been a richer sense of world-building in someone »
- Drew McWeeny
‘Ender’s Game’ movie to go the way of ‘John Carter,’ ‘The Golden Compass’? (Photo: Ben Kingsley and Asa Butterfield in ‘Ender’s Game’) Directed by Gavin Hood and starring Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford, Ender’s Game is going the way of Andrew Stanton’s John Carter and Chris Weitz’s The Golden Compass at the domestic box office. After opening with a disappointing $27.01 million last weekend (including Thursday evening shows), the $110 million-budgeted was down a whopping 62% this past weekend, November 8-10, 2013, collecting a paltry $10.25 million from 3,407 theaters (no reduction in number of venues) according to box office actuals found at Box Office Mojo. One can blame Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World, but the action fantasy starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Tom Hiddleston wasn’t the sole culprit. After all, Ender’s Game was already trailing both Last Vegas and Bad Grandpa last Thursday. After two weekends, »
- Zac Gille
Mpi/Dark Sky Films and Xyz Films are mounting an all-female horror anthology titled “Xx,” in which each segment will be directed by a woman and feature a female lead. The directors onboard the momentous indie movie include Jennifer Lynch (“Boxing Helena”), Mary Harron (“American Psycho”), Karyn Kusama (“Jennifer’s Body”) , sisters Jen and Sylvia Soska (“Dead Hooker in a Trunk”) and Jovanka Vuckovic (“The Captured Bird”). The filmmakers will develop their own stories, and each will have a female lead character. The various segments will be linked by work by Guadalajara-based stop-motion animator Sofia Carrillo, who will also create the film’s title sequence. »
- Jeff Sneider
Larry Charles has signed on to direct A Walk in the Woods, which has Robert Redford and Nick Nolte attached to star. Richard Linklater, Chris Columbus and Barry Levinson had previously been attached to direct at different times during the project's development.
The story is adapted from Bill Bryson's book that centers on a travel writer (Robert Redford) who reconnects with an estranged friend (Nick Nolte) he's been avoiding for years, by hiking up the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail. Along the way, they end up squaring off with each other while meeting an assortment of colorful characters. Here's what the director had to say about the project in a statement.
"Growing up in the wilds of Brooklyn, you can see why I was the natural choice to direct A Walk in the Woods. I didnt see a tree till I was 27. I've pitched a lot of projects, but I've never pitched a tent. »
Im Global is selling international territories at the American Film Market. The project had been for sale at Cannes.
Redford and Bill Holderman are producing through their Wildwood Entertprises banner with Route One Films’ Chip Diggins. Route One is financing through its partnership with Union Investment Partners in South Korea. Exec producers are Route One’s Jay Stern and Russell Levine and Kim Young-Don of Union Investment Partners.
The project is adapted by Michael Arndt from Bill Bryson’s 1998 book “A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail,” which recounts his attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine, with a friend.
- Dave McNary
News Simon Brew 28 Oct 2013 - 07:29
Alan Parker recalls his conference call with Warner Bros, where it became clear that he wasn't going to direct the first Harry Potter film.
It seems a long time ago now that Warner Bros was struggling to find the right director to take on the Harry Potter cinematic franchise. For a while, the first film, Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone, was heavily linked to Steven Spielberg. Spielberg reportedly wanted a level of control that didn't sit well with J K Rowling and Warner Bros - although that's never been fully confirmed - and eventually the job would go to Chris Columbus. He would go on to direct the first two films.
Andre Ovredal, the helmer of fantasy horror movie ”Troll Hunter,” is to direct psychological horror film “The Autopsy of Jane Doe.” Goldcrest Films will fully finance the pic and handle world sales. It will be pitched to buyers for the first time at the Afm.
Based on an original screenplay by Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing, “Jane Doe” is produced by Fred Berger (“Taking Chance”) and Eric Garcia (“Matchstick Men”) under their Impostor Pictures banner, alongside Rory Aitken and Ben Pugh of 42 (“Welcome to the Punch,” “Monsters: Dark Continent”). Goldcrest’s Nick Quested and Pascal Degove are exec producers.
Pic will shoot in London this winter, and sister company Goldcrest Post will handle post. Casting is to be announced.
Action takes place in a small-town, family-owned mortuary, where father and son coroners receive a mysterious homicide victim — a beautiful young “Jane Doe.” As they attempt to figure out how she died and who she is, »
- Leo Barraclough
Exclusive: Andre Ovredal’s English-language horror The Autopsy of Jane Doe to shoot this winter.
Based on an original screenplay by Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing, The Autopsy of Jane Doe is produced by Fred Berger (Taking Chance) and Eric Garcia (Matchstick Men) under their Impostor Pictures banner alongside Rory Aitken and Ben Pugh of 42 (Welcome to the Punch, Monsters: Dark Continent).
Goldcrest’s Nick Quested and Pascal Degove are serving as executive producers.
Goldcrest will handle global sales and distribution and will introduce the film to buyers at the upcoming American Film Market (Afm).
Production will take place in London this winter with casting underway. Goldcrest Post, under managing director Chris Quested, will provide picture and sound post-production services.
Set in a small-town, family-owned mortuary »
- email@example.com (Andreas Wiseman)
The San Francisco Film Society has announced plans for the first annual Fall Celebration – which will honor Fruitvale Station, Her, Nebraska and The Square. The event is described as a way to honor creativity, innovation, collaboration and inspiration in cinema. It is co-chaired by filmmakers and Sffs Board Members Victoria Raiser and Todd Traina and hosted by fellow Board Members Sid Ganis and Chris Columbus. It will take place on Thursday, November 14. Ryan Coogler, Spike Jonze, Michael B. Jordan, Jehane Noujaim, Alexander Payne and June Squibb will be in attendance. In a press release, San Francisco Film Society Executive Director Ted Hope stated: “The San Francisco Bay Area has a unique perspective on film, with different values »
- Patrick Luce
The San Francisco Film Society, the org that presents the city’s film festival every spring, will launch a new annual event this autumn, a Fall Celebration that this year will fete features “Fruitvale Station” (pictured, above), “Her,” “Nebraska” and doc “The Square.”
The gala aims to honor creativity, innovation, collaboration and inspiration in the cinema. Inaugural edition will host helmers Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station”), Spike Jonze (“Her”), Jehane Noujaim (“The Square”) and Alexander Payne (“Nebraska”), plus thesps Michael B. Jordan (“Fruitvale”) and June Squibb (“Nebraska”).
With its mid-November date, the celebration positions itself as an early event in the run-up to awards season, this year singling out four films that have proven buzzmagnets in kudos discussions.
The film society, currently led by outgoing exec director Ted Hope, also presents year-round programming plus the Bay »
- Gordon Cox
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