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When a film widely seen as a dead cert to make the Cannes lineup doesn't ultimately appear, there can be any number of routine explanations, from shooting and editing overruns to inter-festival politics to the aesthetic whims of the selection panel – but it's unusual for a filmmaker to withdraw his own work for “personal reasons.” That's what's happened, however, with German-Turkish auteur Fatih Akin, whose first narrative feature in five years, “The Cut,” was on most Competition prediction lists. Akin has offered no further explanation for his decision to pull the film, which stars Tahar Rahim and is the belated final instalment in Akin's “Love, Death and the Devil” trilogy, with started with 2004's “Head-On” (a Berlinale Golden Bear winner) and continued with 2007's “The Edge of Heaven.” The latter premiered at Cannes and won the Best Screenplay award, so Akin has a history with the festival; two years ago, »
- Guy Lodge
The 2005 horror film "Wolf Creek" did rather well commercially, prompting director Greg McLean to make a sequel, which premiered at last year's Venice Film Festival. In this exclusive clip, we see McLean break down the anatomy of the gory opening scene for "Wolf Creek 2." The opening scene follows two highway patrol officers who--well, see for yourself. McLean credited Sergio Leone as an influence when crafting the scene, explaining his desire to give it an American western feel. Like in the first film "Wolf Creek 2" follows the serial-killer Mick Taylor, who preys on tourists in Australia's outback. "Wolf Creek 2" will be available on VOD April 17 and will hit theaters May 16. »
- Eric Eidelstein
London – German-Turkish director Fatih Akin has pulled his new drama The Cut from contention for a spot in this year's Cannes Film Festival, citing "personal reasons." In a statement provided by a spokeswoman, he didn't provide further explanations or details. Photos: Cannes 2012: Fatih Akin on 'Polluting Paradise' Observers had seen the new film with Tahar Rahim in a dialog-free lead role, which Akin has described as a cross between Charlie Chaplin and a Sergio Leone Western hero, as a strong contender for the Croisette lineup. After all, Akin won a screenplay award in Cannes in
- Georg Szalai
So, last week I watched the Keanu Reeves abomination that was 47 Ronin and this week I took it upon myself to watch the 1941 original, The 47 Ronin, available on Hulu Plus and it's rather astonishing the differences between the two. Of course, the original doesn't have magic, monsters or the Reeves character and those are the immediate differences, but what's even more fascinating is to compare the way the two films approach the story and what is considered important. The first difference is in the approach to the story. Even though the '41 film runs 223, versus the 118 minutes that make up the 2013 remake, it wastes no time getting started. A little on screen text and immediately we see Lord Asano attack the court official Kira Yoshinaka. Due to the injection of Reeves' character into the remake it takes forever to get to this moment and by that time it's already »
- Brad Brevet
Written by Ryuzo Kikushima and Akira Kurosawa
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
It is the mid 19th century in Japan as a wandering ronin (the term designated to samurai who no longer have a master to follow), Kuwabatake Sanjuro (Toshiro Mifune), roams the windy, autumnal countryside, unsure as to the direction he should head next in search for food and money. Gambling on one particular route takes him to a small town awash in corruption and gamesmanship between two warring factions, one commandeered by Seibi (Seizaburo Kawazu) and the other by Ushitora (Kyu Sazanka). Each has associated themselves with one of the two major industries the sullen town calls its own, a sake brewery run by Tokuemon (Takashi Shimura) and a silk factory owned by Tazaemon (Katamari Fujirawa). Despite the consternation and warnings of a local tavern owner, Goji (Eijiro Tono), the ronin sees a window of glorious opportunity »
- Edgar Chaput
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
By the time Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress was released in 1958, it was more or less settled that the Japanese filmmaker — the only Japanese filmmaker most average moviegoers had heard of at that point — was among the world’s best. This was after Rashomon, after Ikiru, and after The Seven Samurai. Kurosawa’s talent was beyond question, and his global cinematic prominence was growing. However, his last three films, while positively received by critics, did not do so well with audiences. He needed something that would combine quality with commercial success. “A truly good movie is really enjoyable, too,” he once said. “There’s nothing complicated about it.” He would meet this condition with The Hidden Fortress, out now on a new Criterion Collection Blu-ray/DVD combo. While not containing the narrative innovation, »
- Jeremy Carr
A belated festival premiere for Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher” and a powerhouse showing for British filmmakers including Mike Leigh and Ken Loach — plus appearances by other usual suspects such as David Cronenberg, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and the Dardenne brothers — are among the strong possibilities hovering over the lineup of the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival.
In recent years, festival topper Thierry Fremaux and his selection committee have tended to push their final decisions to the very last minute under a nearly impenetrable veil of secrecy, defying the intense media scrutiny and endless speculation that always swirl around the Cannes lineup at this time of year. Although anything could change between now and April 17, when the official selection is unveiled — there are still enough hotly anticipated titles in the mix to warrant some educated guesswork about what is shaping up to be a promisingly diverse slate of auteurs. »
- Justin Chang and Elsa Keslassy
Criterion re-releases Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 adventure The Hidden Fortress for a ravishing blu-ray update this month, following hot on the heels of a similar refurbishing for Throne of Blood (1957). Long hailed as a “primary” influence on George Lucas’ Star Wars, there are indeed notable structural similarities, but they’re quite superficial, as those attracted to the title based on this tidbit alone should take note. An entertaining adventure comedy that utilized widescreen technology to breathtaking effect (and represents Kurosawa’s first time using Toho Scope), it’s an impressively structured endeavor on its own, and was actually the first substantial hit for Kurosawa since 1954’s Seven Samurai.
At its core a re-dressed version of The Prince and the Pauper, two peasants in war torn feudal Japan, Tahei (Minoru Chiaki) and Matakishi (Kamatari Fujiwara) escape as prisoners of war and attempt to make their way back home to their own province. »
- Nicholas Bell
There are plenty of fascinating unrealized projects from great directors – Sergio Leone's "Stalingrad," Martin Scorsese's "Dino," and David Lynch's "Ronnie Rocket" among them – but few as unlikely and bizarre as Alejandro Jodorowsky's "Dune." Frank Herbert's beloved sci-fi novel was eventually adapted by Lynch in a version that sees him grappling with studio interference and a gigantic scale the director clearly isn't comfortable with, so giving the project to another famous surrealist doesn't necessarily sound like a great idea. Yet in "Jodorowsky's Dune," Frank Pavich's documentary about the aborted project, Jodorowsky proves to be as charming and thoughtful as he is wildly ambitious, to the point where it's hard to believe that anyone could resist the man.Read More: Trailer for 'Jodorowsky's Dune' Gives a Peek of One of the Craziest Movies Ever Proposed Indiewire spoke with director Frank Pavich about the ongoing »
- Max O'Connell
In Jonathan Glazer's latest film about an extraterrestrial driving around Scotland in search of male prey, nothing is certain, except, says Leo Robson, Scarlett Johansson's uncanny ability to act like an alien
Scarlett Johansson has a striking face and a resonant voice, though it seems that either will do. In Spike Jonze's Her (2013), which came out last month, she plays the title role but never appears. Now we have Jonathan Glazer's science fiction film of Michel Faber's novel Under the Skin, in which she is present, deadpan and dead-eyed, throughout, but barely says a word.
Johansson's role in Glazer's film, despite its restrictions, gives her the opportunity to draw equally on the different elements of her personality – sunny and neurotic, sassy and glassy. Woody Allen explored both of these sides in Match Point (2005). In his later film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), the two heroines were opposites, »
- Leo Robson
Written by Leigh Brackett
Directed by Howard Hawks
When El Dorado was first shown in 1966, the Western in its classical form was beginning to disappear from American cinema. John Ford, synonymous with the genre, released his last feature that year, and El Dorado would be the second-to-last film by its own legendary director, Howard Hawks. The Western was evolving and its old masters were giving way to modern innovators. The stylishly self-conscious films of Sergio Leone first signaled the shift (the films of his “Dollars Trilogy” came out in 1964-1966), and it was certified by the critical, ominous, and violent The Wild Bunch, directed by Sam Peckinpah in 1969. Hawks decried the slow-motion bloodletting of Peckinpah. He argued that he could kill four men, get them to the morgue, and bury them before this newcomer could get one on the ground.
With this as the context of its gestation, »
- Jeremy Carr
It seems whenever Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress is mentioned it is invariably linked to George Lucas and Star Wars. The connection has been discussed for many years, perhaps best kept alive by an interview with Lucas discussing the film and its influence, which has first released on the 2001 Criterion DVD release. The interview is included once again on this new Blu-ray re-release of the film in which Lucas says the main influence Hidden Fortress had on Star Wars was the decision to tell the story from the perspective of the narrative's two lowliest characters. In the case of Star Wars that would be C-3Po and R2-D2, in Hidden Fortress it's a pair of bumbling and greedy peasants who stumble upon a general (Toshiro Mifune) and a princess (Misa Uehara) attempting to smuggle royal treasure across enemy lines. You could point to the use of long lenses, wipes »
- Brad Brevet
Rome – Lionsgate has inked a long-term output deal with Italy’s Leone Film Group, the company originally founded by spaghetti western master Sergio Leone that is rapidly becoming a major Italo distributor, one year after its output deal with DreamWorks.
The multifaceted deal covers feature films from the Lionsgate and Summit labels. Italy was one of the last remaining major territories not previously covered by an output arrangement for Lionsgate’s distribution structure. The deal, finalized at the Berlin film festival last month, includes Lionsgate’s exploration of worldwide promotional opportunities on a case-by-case basis with Leone’s Pacmedia promotional group.
Now headed by Leone’s children, Andrea and Raffaella, Leone Films effectively acts as the Hollywood agent for pubcaster Rai’s 01 Distribuzione.
The group was floated late last year on the Milan stock market with a positive Ipo geared toward becoming a bigger distributor of high-profile product.
“We have »
- Nick Vivarelli
Director: Fatih Akin
Writer: Fatih Akin
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available
It’s when he worked within his working trilogy that Fatih Akin has provided us with his deepest, thematically most daring material to date. With the promise of a Tahar Rahim embodying the spirit of a muted, Sergio Leone character type, there are more than enough reasons to believe that The Cut will make us forget about his messy, 2009 comedy Soul Kitchen.
Gist: Final installment in his Love, Death and the Devil trilogy, will focus on the devil — that is, the evil inherent in mankind.
Release Date: Following in the shoes of The Edge of Heaven, this could find itself in the Main Comp at the Cannes Film Festival.
More Top 200 Most Anticipated Films of 2014 Top 200 Most Anticipated Films for 2014: »
- Eric Lavallee
Movies with perfect pace aren’t those that move quickly or slowly - they’re the ones that move at the right speed for the story being told and the style being used to tell them. There are lots of movies that I love which fail the pace test, including 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Superman (1978), Dawn Of The Dead (1979), Apocalypse Now (1979) and Taxi Driver (1976).
Consider in this list - and those aforementioned that didn’t make it to the finals - that pace is not the only thing a film needs to offer, and that it can still be a terrible film even if it is well-paced. So this is not a collection of ‘best’ movies - it’s a collection of movies with great…
What contrasts. What innovation. Hitch’s adaptation of Robert Bloch’s gory, Ed Gein-inspired shocker knows exactly when to speed you uncomfortably to an uncomfortable place, »
Where do we even begin with this fun homage to cinema in Virgin Atlantic’s newest flight safety video? Rather than boring us to tears with the usual pantomime, the company enlisted the help of Art & Graft, which set the flight instructions within a series of scenes depicting different movie genres. It’s a cute pop-culture review, taking us through the Western era à la Sergio Leone, to James Bond-style action, a Big Lebowski/Busby Berkeley choreographed dance number, 1970s car-chase films, and more. “Just as the Virgin passengers are about to set off we wanted to take them on a little journey of our very own,” Creative Director Mike Moloney said. Watch this enjoyable genre-filled ode to film before you fly the friendly skies...
- Alison Nastasi
Interview Simon Brew 27 Feb 2014 - 05:44
In the first of a two part look back at his career, James Woods chats to us about family, Scorsese, Stone, Leone and more...
It took a false start or two before we finally got James Woods on the end of the phone. There was no agent connecting us, no middle person to monitor what we were saying. Just a problem with a charging cable, oddly enough.
When we were connected, we launched into an interview that was intended to last 15 minutes, but as it turned out, it passed the hour mark. And heck, we got through a lot: so much, that we've split this interview into two articles. A genuinely fascinating man.
Regular readers will know that we've been long-time fans of James Woods - as highlighted by our look at some of his least appreciated films, here - and as our conversation started, »
Simon Columb continues our Al Pacino Retrospective with The Godfather Part II....
Is The Godfather Part II superior to The Godfather? In a lively discussion on sequels, film fanatic Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) in Scream 2, argues how “sequels suck”. But, unlike Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Aliens, The Godfather Part II stumps him. It covers a greater space of time, tells a grander story and turns what was a family-centred, but nevertheless New York “Gangshter” story, into a personal drama set on an epic, ambitious scale.
Though the dialogue in The Godfather holds iconic and memorable lines, definitive scenes in The Godfather Part II show Michael Corleone’s true menace revealing itself. The Godfather portrays his sinister and deeply-calculated methods of management, but they are subtle and carefully-constructed. He recommends the hit on Solozzo and MacCluskey; he marries Kay (Diane Keaton) to maintain a strong family unit; he settles »
- Gary Collinson
Joy Todd, a casting director whose career in Hollywood spanned more than three decades, has died. Her granddaughter, Heather Daimion, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Todd passed away on Feb. 18 in San Diego. Todd has been credited with presiding over casting for more than thirty feature films, including Ghostbusters, Playing for Keeps, Rambo III, Gettysberg, Of Gods and Generals and The Next Karate Kid. Todd cast Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America and Ridley Scott's Someone to Watch Over Me. She also worked on Sidney Lumet's Network, A Stranger Among Us, Prince of the City, Q&A and other titles.
- Erik Hayden
Casting director Joy Todd, whose credits include Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in America,” “Demolition Man,” “Rambo III” and Sidney Lumet films including “Prince of the City” and “The Verdict,” died Feb. 18 of natural causes.
Todd started out in Philadelphia as an actress and standup comedienne. She had small parts in shows including “Act I,” “Hello, Dolly” “Naked City” In Las Vegas, she was the comedy relief in a book show called “That Certain Girl,” with Walter Slezak, Virginia Mayo and Dennis O’Keefe, and she also worked in some night clubs on the Canadian border.
Shortly thereafter, Todd did her first casting work, for Marty Richards (now a Broadway and film producer), who needed help casting film extras in New York. She then assisted Ralph Serpe, exec producer for Dino De Laurentiis on “Mandingo,” in Louisiana.
She kept an office in New York from 1976-93. Her first »
- Variety Staff
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