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Film history is dotted with stories of immensely talented people who launched their careers with a bang then disappeared from the scene far too quickly. What a shame we haven’t seen more from writer/director Emma-Kate Croghan, who rose to acclaim in the 90s and has made only two feature films: 1999’s Strange Planet (with Claudia Karvan and Naomi Watts) and 1996’s Love and Other Catastrophes.
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- Luke Buckmaster
Whether or not you’re a fan of the genre, romantic comedies — you know, rom-coms — are abundant and, well, unavoidable. That’s not to say they aren’t enjoyable, they certainly are, especially when penned by someone like Woody Allen or Nora Ephron. Though no matter who is behind the pen or the page, romantic comedies tend to stick towards a genre-specific checklist. In other words, there are seven qualities all rom-coms have, and if you follow them, ideally you can complete your own screenplay, too. Read More: 20 Great Films About Relationships in Crisis In a video essay by BFI Films, writer Tess Morris of the upcoming “Man Up” (starring Lake Bell and Simon Pegg — read our review here) discusses how to strategize when developing a film based on a specific relationship. Morris recommends Billy Mernit’s book “How to Write a Romantic Comedy,” and she summarizes the seven beats these films will need. »
- Samantha Vacca
The mainstream movie world hasn’t been too kind to romantic comedies in recent years, mostly eschewing the kind of charming fare that Nora Ephron, Tom Hanks, and Meg Ryan built their careers on (at least, the humorous and heartwarming side of their careers) in favor of chemistry-less offerings that fail to do anything new and films that are stuffed to the gills with multiple intersecting storylines, all the better to divert attention from a lack of sweetness and humor in each individual story. The golden age of the meet-cute rom-com — basically, the nineties — fizzled out long ago, gone the way of scrunchies and AOL chat rooms, and audiences hungry for original love stories with laughs to spare have been forced to look beyond the multiplex. And the snappy, smart, and undeniably sweet “Man Up” fills that gap with ease, a new wave rom-com unafraid of old school trappings. All »
- Kate Erbland
“Annie Hall” has been named the funniest screenplay in voting by the members of the Writers Guild of America.
The script by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman topped “Some Like it Hot,” “Groundhog Day,” “Airplane!” and “Tootsie,” which make up the rest of the top five. “Young Frankenstein,” “Dr. Strangelove,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and “National Lampoon’s Animal House” rounded out the top 10.
The awards for the 101 funniest screenplays were announced at the Arclight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood at the conclusion of two hours of panel discussions and clips, hosted by Rob Reiner. He noted that his “This Is Spinal Tap” script had finished at the No. 11 spot — a coincidence that recalled the “go to 11” amplifier joke in the film.
- Dave McNary
Traditionally, TV pilots are pitched, greenlit and then presented to network executives, who view the finished products in the privacy of their own studio-lot screening room and then, like the modern Roman emperors they are, vote with their thumbs. Never one to do things the old-fashioned way, Amazon has opted to let the audiences have a say in the process as well — the streaming service-cum-online network posts a round of comedy, drama and kids' series pilots they're considering for series on their site, and let viewers decide which ones are worth moving forward on. »
Depending on one’s point of view, Amazon’s periodic dump of pilots into the media ether is either wonderfully democratic – letting users choose what they’d like to see more of – or a bit of a copout, given the traditional process in which executives employ tools like research, yes, but ultimately have to trust their guts. Still, watching the six candidates together does offer a pretty good picture of the service’s off-kilter approach, yielding a mixed bag that contains promise but only sporadically achieves liftoff.
Nobody can accuse Amazon of narrowly sticking with one niche. The lineup — which will be available to view beginning Nov. 5 — includes two half-hours that aren’t designed to be funny, a western, two period pieces, and an almost absurdly dark satire.
Given the inroads Amazon made with the Emmy-nominated “Transparent,” the bar has clearly been raised in terms of expectations. Based on first impressions, »
- Brian Lowry
Sundance Audience Award winner and Sheffield Doc/Fest selection Meru was honored with a lunch hosted by Meredith Brokaw, Tom Brokaw, Austin Hearst and Doc NYC 2015's new Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Barbara Kopple at the 21 Club, organised by Peggy Siegal. Meru composer J. Ralph, who also worked on Orlando von Einsiedel's Oscar nominated Virunga, Bob Eisenhardt, who was also the editor of HBO's Everything Is Copy, directed by Jacob Bernstein on his mother Nora Ephron, which had its world premiere at the New York Film Festival , were at the lunch and discussion. Jean Doumanian, a producer of John Wells' wild and furious August: Osage County, documentarian Alexandra Pelosi, director/playwright Israel Horowitz, Absolute Wilson director/producer Katharina Otto-Bernstein and Wendy Ettinger, Chicken & Egg Pictures founder, were among the guests.
Peggy Siegal introduces Tom Brokaw »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Everything Is Copy has Lena Dunham, Reese Witherspoon, Meg Ryan and Gaby Hoffmann reading excerpts from Nora Ephron's essays and articles for Esquire straight to the camera of the great cinematographer, Bradford Young, who shot David Lowery's lyrical Ain't Them Bodies Saints and J.C. Chandor's icy A Most Violent Year and Ava DuVernay's heated Selma. Ephron's illustrious circle of friends, Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Gay Talese, Rita Wilson, David Remnick, Bob Balaban, Amy Pascal, Barry Diller, Liz Smith and many more have more than something to say about the woman we hear say: "When I was a kid, I wanted to be the President's daughter."
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Read More: Laura Bispuri's Transgender Odyssey 'Sworn Virgin' Wins Tribeca Film Fest's Nora Ephron Prize The Denver Film Festival has announced its first wave of programming, including films like "Sworn Virgin" and "India's Daughter." "Sworn Virgin," which picked up the Nora Ephron Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, is about an Albanian woman who becomes a chaste man to avoid marriage and later reclaims her female identity. The documentary "India's Daughter" tells the story of Jyoti Singh, a medical student who was raped and murdered on her way home from seeing "The Life of Pi." Both films are a part of the festival's side bar events, which include "Women+Film," "Focus on National Cinema: Poland," "CinemaQ," "CineLatino," "Short Packages" and "Music Spotlight." The Denver Film Festival runs November 4-15. The full slate of films announced so far is as »
- Karen Brill
When Nora Ephron, the famed director, screenwriter, and essayist whose take-no-prisoners wit made her an icon for generations of women, passed away from complications of leukemia in 2012 at age 71, the news came as a shock not just to the public but to many of her friends. Despite the lifelong mantra that "Everything is copy," or that the worst hiccups of life always ought to be seen as material for one's writing and jokes, she'd kept her illness secret from all but a select few. Within her inner circle, of course, was Ephron's eldest son, Jacob Bernstein, a journalist himself, who spent the last several years trying to understand her death by writing about it. Like mother, like son. First came his beautiful tribute to her in The New York Times Magazine. Now there's a documentary, Everything Is Copy, which Bernstein wrote and co-directed with Nick Hooker, combing through »
- Jada Yuan
Jacob Bernstein's Everything Is Copy, a documentary about his mother, screenwriter and director Nora Ephron (When Harry Met Sally…, Julie & Julia, Sleepless in Seattle), features anecdotes from the likes of Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Amy Pascal, Gay Talese, Rob Reiner, the late Mike Nichols and passages from Ephron's essays read by Lena Dunham, Reese Witherspoon, Rita Wilson and Gaby Hoffmann. For some, the film is mere hagiography, but others are "moved and inspired by this frisky, funny, and heartbreaking bio-doc." We're collecting reviews. » - David Hudson »
Both as warm and as no-holds-barred blunt as its subject, “Everything Is Copy” proves a stirring portrait of Nora Ephron by her son, writer-director Jacob Bernstein. Ephron passed away in 2012 at the age of 71 from leukemia, a fatal disease whose manifestation she kept secret from all but her closest confidants. That deliberate silence struck many, upon her death, as not only shocking, but something of a betrayal, given that Ephron had previously operated by her own mother’s motto that everything in life was fair-game fodder for her work. Whether Ephron truly believed that creed is the investigative through-line of Bernstein’s doc (which, following its New York Film Festival premiere, is slated for HBO in March 2016), and helps turn it not only a loving biography of a titanic talent, but a look at the way in which artists strike a balance between the personal and the private.
Like his mother a journalist by trade, »
- Nick Schager
It's a big year for Rachel Weisz. The Oscar-winning actress appears in Paolo Sorrentino's "Youth" and Yorgos Lanthimos' "The Lobster" just in time for awards season, and has been tapped to star in Fox Searchlight's forthcoming "My Cousin Rachel" remake, based on the book of the same name. The 1952 original, which starred Olivia de Havilland and Richard Burton, will get a modern day makeover with writer/director Roger Michell at the helm. Weisz will also star alongside Tom Wilkinson in a new vehicle from writer David Ayer, "Denial," due next year. In other casting news, Meryl Streep's daughter Grace Gummer will be joining Amazon's upcoming pilot season, portraying the late trailblazing director, Nora Ephron, of whom her mother was a great admirer and frequent collaborator. The series follows a group of Newsweek reporters who sued the magazine in 1970 for sexual harassment and discrimination, in which Ephron led the charge. »
- Ruben Guevara
Everywhere you look, filmmakers are talking about how they make films — from behind-the-scenes featurettes for each episode of a cable series to now-ubiquitous YouTube interviews with directors of even the most artless action movies. So perhaps it’s no wonder that the most august of fests, the 53rd New York Film Festival, is presenting documentaries on filmmakers Brian De Palma, Nora Ephron, Haskell Wexler, Robert Frank, Jia Zhang-ke and even one-time producer Ingrid Bergman. It’s a bigger reflexive lineup than at any Nyff in recent memory.
No film embodies this trend better than “Hitchcock/Truffaut,” which examines the two legendary auteurs through interviews with Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Richard Linklater and other filmmakers. Yet in a strange twist, despite garnering acclaim in Cannes, Telluride and Toronto, it was overtly snubbed by Nyff’s director, Kent Jones — who also happens to be the director of “Hitchcock/Truffaut.”
As Jones wryly notes, »
- Gregg Goldstein
Amazon Studios has unveiled its line-up of the six pilots it intends to premiere on the streaming giant's service this Fall.
As per usual, users will get to vote on the pilots and thus help determine which ones will go to series. So far only a few shows have gone on to series including "Bosch," "Transparent," "Hand of God," "Mozart in the Jungle," "Alpha House," "Catastrophe" and the upcoming "The Man in the High Castle" and "Red Oaks".
"Lethal Weapon" scribe and "Iron Man 3" writer/director Shane Black teams with "Monster House" co-scribe Fred Dekker for this adaptation of Terry Harknett's ultraviolent Western novel series "Edge". Max Martini plays a Union officer turned cowboy who prowls »
- Garth Franklin
"I want people to get infuriated by it," Martin Scorsese said of his initial impulse in making "Goodfellas." "I wanted to seduce everyone into the movie and into the style. And then just take them apart with it."
In fact, some people were appalled and repulsed at the early screenings of "Goodfellas," which opened 25 years ago this week (on Sept. 19, 1990). At one test preview, there were mass walkouts within the first 10 minutes. But Scorsese's angry gesture soon backfired. Viewers did get seduced by the lowlife mobsters (taken from Nicholas Pileggi's 1985 true-crime book "Wiseguy") and the director's own adrenalized filmmaking style. Instead of an assault on the audience, "Goodfellas" became one of the most influential and beloved movies of the past quarter century.
In honor of "Goodfellas" turning 25 this week, here are 25 things you need to know about Scorsese's masterpiece. Don't let that red sauce burn on the stove while you're reading. »
- Gary Susman
The 'overnight success' is a familiar enough narrative in the movie business. Actors are plucked from obscurity and set on the road to stardom. Directors offered major movie deals after one of their shorts goes viral on YouTube.
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, on the other hand, has worked his way up through the ranks of the film industry, culminating in his latest movie, Me And Earl And The Dying Girl, a moving and very funny drama which won a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Before that, Gomez-Rejon began as an assistant to the likes of Martin Scorsese and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu before moving up to the role of second unit director on movies including Babel and Argo. His work on TV »
With the 12 selections in Spotlight on Documentary, the New York Film Festival (September 25 – October 11) welcomes back Oscar-winner Laura Poitras’s new film and debuts Jacob Bernstein's "Everything Is Copy," a portrait of his late mother, writer-director Nora Ephron. Also in the sidebar is 85-year-old Frederick Wiseman’s 40th feature documentary set in a New York neighborhood, "In Jackson Heights" (a Toronto debut), as well as a new film, "A Guy from Fenyang," from Brazilian Walter Salles on auteur Jia Zhangke, whose film Mountains May Depart" is in the Nyff mainbar. Also in the lineup are films from Pam Yates ("Rebel Citizen" focuses on cinematographer-director Haskell Wexler), Stig Björkman on Ingrid Bergman ("Her Own Words" features Alicia Vikander reading from her letters and diaries as well as Bergman's own 8 mm films), Joaquim Pinto (Azorean island doc "Fish »
- Anne Thompson
The latest documentary by Laura Poitras, who won a 2015 Academy Award for “Citizenfour,” and a new film about Nora Ephron, directed by her son, are among the world premieres on tap for the 2015 New York Film Festival’s 2015 Spotlight on Documentary programming.
Also on the roster are “In Jackson Heights,” the new one from Frederick Wiseman about the Queens neighborhood, as well “Jia Zhangke, A Guy From Fenyang,” Walter Salles’ look at the Chinese director whose movie “Mountains May Depart” will screen as part of Nyff’s Main Slate this year.
Poitras’ work, “Field of Vision: New Episodic Nonfiction,” collects shortform works by the filmmaker, including a preview of her upcoming series “Asylum,” in which she follows Julian Assange as he publishes classified documents and seeks asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
- Gordon Cox
The latest slate announcement from the Film Society of Lincoln Center for this year’s New York Film Festival covers the documentary sidebar. There are several world premieres, including new work from Laura Poitras and New Yorkers’ first chance to see In Jackson Heights, Frederick Wiseman’s portrait of the Queens neighborhood. Here’s the lineup, with descriptions from the press release. Everything Is Copy Jacob Bernstein, 2015, USA, Dcp, 89m Jacob Bernstein’s extremely entertaining film is a tribute to his mother Nora Ephron: Hollywood-raised daughter of screenwriters who grew up to be an ace reporter turned piercingly funny essayist turned novelist/screenwriter/playwright/director. Ephron comes […] »
- Vadim Rizov
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