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The popularity of The Visitor has surely helped secure financing for his next project -- another independent film drama titled "Win Win" which according to Pw, is due to begin filming late February in New York and New Jersey. McCarthy filmed The Station Agent in several parts of the garden state. Look for more details to trickle in next month. - Overture Films were all too happy with the results of writer/director Tom McCarthy's The Visitor. The socially conscious, post 9/11 commentary, lite drama starring Richard Jenkins and Hiam Abbass drew in audiences -- the film remained in theaters for a seven month stretch and accompanying 9 million dollar plus box office take. Pretty darn good for an indie pic. After appearing in Lukas Moodysson's Mammoth, Duplicity, 2012, The Lovely Bones, David Schwimmer's Trust (currently filming), it looks like McCarthy is going to begin to put the emphasis back »
The red carpet has been laid out, the big screen is ready and some of the leading stars are here. Dubai is all set to reel out the sixth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival today (December 9, 2009, Wednesday).The definitive film festival of the region, Diff will officially open with celebrities in attendance at the Opening Gala of Nine, director Rob Marshall.s newest all-star musical.Hours before it also screens in Los Angeles, the film starring Daniel Day Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Judi Dench, Kate Hudson and Sophia Loren will open for the first time to a global public audience in Dubai.Diff Chairman Abdulhamid Juma said the selection of 168 films from 55 countries to be screened over the next eight days confirms the festival.s emergence as the leading festival of the region..As a nation, we have always believed in building bridges between civilizations and people, »
Be ready to be star-struck! Celebrity spotting enters a new realm as A-list stars from around the world descend on Dubai for the sixth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival (Diff) from December 9 to 16.Diff Chairman Abdulhamid Juma said the celebrity attendance at Diff 2009 reflects the increasing global appeal of the festival. .These celebrities are not making a nominal appearance but most of them are integral part of movies that are being screened at Diff, making their presence even more relevant..Headlining the celebrity list from Hollywood is Gerald Butler, the Ps, I Love You and The Ugly Truth star, who will receive the Variety International Star of the Year at Diff.He joins a power-pack including Matt Dillon, Oscar-nominated for his performance in Crash; Christina Ricci (Penelope); Mandy Moore (Licence to Wed); Christopher Lambert (Southland Tales) and Jason Flemying (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). Broken Embraces star »
The gratitude lists emailed among friends and families this Thanksgiving are lovely and thoughtful, expressing heartfelt appreciation for food, shelter, health, friends, family, babies' smiles, rainbows, Mom's lasagna, all that good stuff. The only problem is, when mentioned in the same breath as Mom and rainbows, offering thanks for the genius of Netflix looks pretty puny. But not here: Here's where movie lovers can offer up movie love in the spirit of the holiday. I'll go first: 1. Thanks to great American actors whose appearances invigorate every movie they're in. My choice trio: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, and Jeffrey Wright, »
- Lisa Schwarzbaum
The difficulties faced when the mideast meets the midwest soon after the 9/11 attacks provides the drama in director/writer Cherien Dabis’ new film Amreeka. From Palestine to White Castle, Amreeka is a classic American immigrant story that follows the adventures of a heavy-set 40ish woman from her war-torn homeland to suburban Illinois. It’s a story that’s been told countless times and when Amreeka sticks to the fish-out-of-water elements, it’s a warm and entertaining study of struggle and displacement. Where the film falters is in its narrow-minded and one-dimensional view of mistrusting Americans as racists and hatemongers.
Divorced and discouraged, Palestinian bank employee Muna (Nisreen Faour) scores a green card (it’s not made clear exactly how) and flees the occupied West Bank with her teenaged son, Fadi (Melkar Muallem), to move in with her sister Raghda (Hiam Abbass) and her family somewhere 150 miles from Chicago. Unfortunately, calamity strikes immediately, »
Team Qatar by Liz Mermin (top); Hiam Abbass in Najwa Najjar’s Pomegranates and Myrrh (bottom) Doha Tribeca Film Festival Executive Director Amanda Palmer and Robert De Niro handed out two audience awards, worth Us$50,000 each, at the festival’s closing night gala on Nov. 1. Coincidentally, both winning films were directed by women. British filmmaker Liz Mermin’s documentary Team Qatar, which chronicles the creation of that country’s first debate team, was awarded Best Festival Film, while Palestinian Najwa Najjar’s debut feature, Pomegranates and Myrrh (talk about a poetic title), was chosen the Best Arab Film. Starring Hiam Abbass (who deserves a best actress Oscar nod for Lemon Tree), Pomegranates and Myrrh revolves around a Palestinian woman torn between being faithful to her [...] »
- Andre Soares
© 2009 Getty Images, Credit: Michael Buckner Reports are in from the opening night of the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, and by all accounts, it was a magical evening! More on that in a moment. Martin Scorsese, Jane Rosenthal, Sir Ben Kingsley © 2009 Getty Images, Credit: Michael Buckner One thing we wanted to share about the days leading up to opening night: Martin Scorsese caused a stir with his arrival in Doha, and he was treated to a tour of the Museum of Islamic Art (the stunning headquarters of Doha Tff, featured to the left in the photo above) and of Al Jazeera, headquartered in Doha. Tff Executive Director Nancy Schafer reports, 'When he walked into the newsroom, the whole Al Jazeera staff gasped and twittered in appreciation.' (L) Hiam Abbass, Patricia Clarkson (R) Amanda Palmer © 2009 Getty Images, Credit: Michael Buckner But the biggest news is about the main event. »
Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker (top); Nisreen Faour, Hiam Abbass in Amreeka (middle); Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind in A Serious Man (bottom) Considered the official beginning of awards season in the United States, the Independent Feature Project announced its 2009 Gotham Award nominations earlier today in New York City. The five nominees for best picture are: Cherien Dabis‘ Amreeka, the tale of a Palestinian mother (Nisreen Faour) who immigrates with her teenage son to the American Midwest. No more pesky Israeli check-points, but lots of meat-patty flipping at burger joints. Robert D. Siegel’s Big Fan, in which a hardcore New York Giants fan (breakthrough actor nominee Patton Oswalt) gets beaten up by his favorite player — and [...] »
- Andre Soares
This week's releases arrive draped in a pervasive air of dissatisfaction -- Chris Rock's daughter is unhappy with her hair, a '70s feminist movement is unhappy with their options, and Jason Ritter and Jess Weixler are unhappy with each other. Elsewhere, British cultural icons are talked up while global corporate interests are torn down.
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In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Oscar-winning filmmaker and activist James Lecesne's decision to bring a production of the Off-Broadway musical "Once on This Island" to the storm-ravaged city of New Orleans was both obvious and inspired, with an extra layer of resonance provided in the casting of local kids affected firsthand by the disaster. Captured by director Hilla Medalia, this documentary takes us behind the scenes of the production to follow 12 young actors »
- Neil Pedley
Hnr's Michael Stevens reporting from Toronto: Thanks go out to Martin & Ingrid's Tiff 09 Kick-Off Party, Wednesday, September 9th @ the Gat + M.Link Festival headquarters in downtown Toronto's Yorkville, providing select wines from Bryan J. Robertson's Kingsway Brokerage Ltd., on behalf of Wild Bunch, Elle Driver, Celluloid Dreams, Film&Doc, Capri Films, The Works International & UMedia, supporting the following films screening at this year's Toronto International Film Festival: Contemporary Cinema : Rabia directed by Sebastian Cordero, will screen a world premiere with Cordero in attendance. "...South American immigrants working in Spain, builder José María and housekeeper Rosa have been together for a few weeks and are very much in love. Rosa's bosses, Señor and Señora Torres, leave their home on a trip, and the volatile José María spends a few days at the run-down mansion, fantasizing about what life with Rosa could be. When a violent confrontation with his foreman results in the other man's death, »
From writer-director Cherien Dabis, Amreeka takes on a loaded subject, strips it of its political ramifications and draws out the common humanity underwriting even the most divisive of hot button issues. About a Palestinian family struggling to adjust to immigrant life in America, the film turns on the everyday challenges, poignant small triumphs and burdens of the daily grind they face and strive to overcome. There’s no aggrandizing or preaching, just an understanding of the difficulties that arise in any sort of clash of cultures and the hopeful suggestion that, were we just more willing to talk to each other, some of them might be solved. The picture, set in 2003 at the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, stars the wonderful actress Nisreen Faour as Muna Farah, mother to Fadi (Melkar Muallem), who seizes on the opportunity to move with her son from their restrictive West Bank home to small town Illinois, where »
- Robert Levin
Ford will be the guest of honor at Deauville, which kicks off on Sept. 4 in the Normandy seaside town. The fest also plans homages to Garcia, whose film "City Island" from Raymond de Felitta will screen at the fest, and Wright Penn, whose "Private Lives of Pippa Lee" will unspool out of competition.
Nine films will compete for the event's top prizes, four of which are first features, namely Oren Moverman's "The Messenger," Cary Joji Fukunaga's "Sin Nombre," Daniel Davila's "Harrison, Montgomery" and Sophie Barthes' "Cold Souls" starring Paul Giamatti and Emily Watson. »
- By Rebecca Leffler
Movie Jungle has new film clips as well as interview excerpts from National Geographic's "Amreeka" drama starring Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallem, Hiam Abbass, Alia Shawkat and Jenna Kawar. Cherien Dabis directs the fim produced by First Generation Films, Alcina Pictures, Eagle Vision, Media Group, Buffalo Gal Pictures and Levantine Entertainment. A Palestinian single mom and her teenage son arrive in rural Illinois to escape a life of oppression, only to face the fallout from America's war on Iraq »
See the trailer for "Amreeka," starring Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallem, Hiam Abbass, Alia Shawkat and Jenna Kawar. The drama is produced by First Generation Films, Alcina Pictures, Eagle Vision, Media Group, Buffalo Gal Pictures and Levantine Entertainment. National Geographic sends this critically acclaimed film by Cherien Dabis out on September 4th. A Palestinian single mom and her teenage son arrive in rural Illinois to escape a life of oppression »
Lemon Tree (Etz Limon)
Directed by: Eran Riklis
Running Time: 1 hr 45 mins
Release Date: June 5, 2009
Plot: When the Israeli Defense Minister moves in next to a woman’s lemon grove, the Secret Service determines it must be cut down for national security, but Salma Zidane (Abbass) refuses to allow that to happen. She takes her neighbors to court in an effort to preserve her trees, which make up her livelihood as well as a connection to her past.
Who’s It For? You don’t have to be interested in Israeli/Palestinian politics to enjoy this film. It’s for anyone who likes a well thought out drama.
Expectations: I expected a slow melodrama about the inability of Israelis and Palestinians to get along.
Hiam Abbass as Salma Zidane: Abbass does an excellent job as a widow who »
- Megan Lehar
We're all for getting out in the summertime, but there might not be anything more refreshing than cooling off in a movie theater... or seeing a movie in the comfort of your air-conditioned home on demand, on DVD, or online... or better yet catching a classic on the big screen at a nearby repertory theater. With literally hundreds of films to choose from this summer, we humbly present this guide to the season's most exciting offerings.
Director: Bouli Lanners
Fest Cred: Cannes, Warsaw, Glasgow, Palm Springs,
The Gist: When Elie (Adde), a hapless young thief attempts to rob Yvan (Lanners), a 40-year-old car dealer, the two form a unlikely friendship that leads to a road trip across Belgium in this slight comedy that won the Best European Film at the Director's Fortnight at Cannes last year. »
- Stephen Saito
20th Century Fox’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” opened on Friday with a big $35 million estimate from 4,099 theatres. On Saturday, the film directed by Academy Award®-winner Gavin Hood, added a further $29.7 million and Sunday’s figured are indicated to be somewhere in the region of $22.5 million, making the actioner’s total opening weekend around $87 million. Film averaged $21,225 per theatre. Looking at the franchise’s run, “Wolverine” is second only to “X-Men: The Last Stand” which debuted on Friday, May 26th, 2006 with $45.1million. David Benioff and Skid Woods write. Cast constists of Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Liev Schreiber (Victor Creed/Saber tooth), Danny Huston (Stryker), Will I Am (John Wraith), Taylor Kitsch (Gambit), Dominic Monaghan (Beak), Lynn Collins (Silver Fox), Thayne Tizzy (Diamond Girl), Kevin Durand (The Blob), Daniel Hennery (Agent Zero), and Ryan Reynolds (Wade Wilson/Deadpool) Second placed romantic comedy “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” finished in second place with a very respectable $15.3 million from 3,175 theatres. »
“Wolverine” ready to rip through the weekend. 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” unspools into a massive 4,099 theatres. Directed by Gavin Hood, the Academy Award®-winning helmer of South African film “Tsotse,” “Wolverine” has had its hurdles thanks to its bootlegged availability and review of the leaked, incomplete material by entertainment blogger Roger Friedman. Still, “Wolverine” is ready to carve up a hefty slice of the box office pie. “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” looks to attract fans of the romance and comedy genres with Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner frontlining. Mark Waters, director of “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” “Mean Girls” and the “Freaky Friday” remake, helms from the writing by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. The film debuts in 3,175 locations. (Read the Review) The next widest release comes in “Battle for Terra,” the animated sci-fi flick from Roadside Attractions. Film is directed by Canadian-born Greek Aristomenis Tsirbas, an experienced digital »
With Tribeca well under way, there's much in the way of art house fare this week for everyone with a rich international flavor. Go crazy!
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"A Wink and a Smile"
Seattle-based documentary filmmaker Deirdre Allen Timmons makes her debut by pulling back the velvet curtain on the world of burlesque, where art and erotica co-exist in the same spectacle. Timmons introduces ten game volunteers, comprised of eager housewives and bored professionals, to Miss Indigo Blue's House of Burlesque, where the ladies find self-confidence and empowerment as they're instructed by Miss Blue in the age-old art of theatrical titillation.
Opens in New York.
- Neil Pedley
We have new clips in from Jim Jarmusch's "The Limits of Control," starring Isaach De Bankolé, Alex Descas, Jean-François Stévenin, Luis Tosar, Paz De La Huerta, Tilda Swinton, Youki Kudoh, John Hurt, Gael García Bernal, Hiam Abbass, and Bill Murray. Jarmusch returns to the helm after his last film of 2005 "Broken Flowers" also starred Bill Murray. The Ohio born director's previous credits include "Coffee and Cigarettes" and the documentary "Year of the Horse." Focus Features releases this on May 1st in limited areas. See the clips here! What's "The Limits of Control" about? The story of a mysterious loner (to be played by Mr. De Bankolé), a stranger, whose activities remain meticulously outside the law. He is in the process of completing a job, yet he trusts no one, and his objectives are not initially divulged. The film is set in the striking and varied landscapes of contemporary Spain »
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