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4 items from 2016


Berlin: Classic Horror Film ‘Phantasm,’ Restored Thanks to J.J. Abrams, Being Sold at Efm (Exclusive)

9 February 2016 5:50 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Phantasm,” the classic 1979 horror movie by U.S. cult director Don Coscarelli, has been freshly restored largely thanks to J.J. Abrams, a longtime fan. Pic is being sold as “Phantasm: Remastered” at Berlin’s Efm mart.

Abrams reportedly gave Gwendoline Christie’s character in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” the name of Captain Phasma as a tribute to the pic. “Phantasm” stars recently deceased character actor Angus Scrimm, who plays the Tall Man, who kills victims with flying spheres.

“When J.J. Abrams came to me with the unexpected and insanely generous offer of using the services of his Bad Robot Productions company to assist with a meticulous 4K restoration of ‘Phantasm,’ scanned from the original 35mm camera negative, it was literally a dream come true,” enthused Coscarelli in a statement.

“J.J. has been a fan of the film from way back and wanted to see ‘Phantasm’ presented to »

- Nick Vivarelli

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Oscars: ‘True Power of the Human Spirit’ the Theme of Best Picture Nominees

26 January 2016 10:00 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

At first glance, the choices for the Oscars’ best picture this year seem to represent vibrant diversity — not among the people who made them, as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith might quickly point out, but certainly in subject and style. It’s almost as if they were meant as a historic survey of American cinema: The immigrant drama (“Brooklyn”), the international thriller (“Bridge of Spies”), the detective story, albeit with journalists (“Spotlight”), effects-driven sci-fi (“Mad Max: Fury Road”), sci-fi posing as sci (“The Martian”).

On second glance, what we’re confronted with is a lineup of films about survival. “Room” certainly fits that bill, with Brie Larson’s captive character, Ma, trying to free herself and in the process save her 5-year-old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay).

Likewise, “The Revenant,” with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Hugh Glass crawling his half-bear-eaten way back to whatever passed for civilization in the 1820s American wilderness. »

- John Anderson

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Uma Thurman, Alexandra Daddario Join Marjane Satrapi’s ‘Extraordinary Journey’ (Exclusive)

25 January 2016 1:24 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Uma Thurman (“Kill Bill”), Barkhad Abdi (“Captain Phillips”) and Laurent Lafitte (“Little White Lies”) have joined Bollywood star Dhanush in Marjane Satrapi’s “The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir.”

Alexandra Daddario (“True Detective,” “San Andreas”) is in advanced negotiations to take one of the lead roles.

TF1 International reps the English-language project and will kick off pre-sales at Berlin’s European Film Market.

Gemma Arterton (“Hansel And Gretel”), Abel Jafri (“Timbuktu”) and Seema Biswas (“The Queen Bandit”) complete the cast.

“Extraordinary Journey” will mark the most ambitious project undertaken by Satrapi, the Iranian-born French comicbook artist and filmmaker behind Cannes’ jury prize winner “Persepolis” and “Chicken With Plums.”

Satrapi made her English-language debut with “The Voices” starring Ryan Reynolds.

Luc Bossi’s Brio Films is lead producing. Vamonos Films, Italy’s Paco Cinematografica and India’s Little Red Car are co-producing. “Extraordinary Journey” has already been picked up by SquareOne in Germany. »

- Elsa Keslassy

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Italian Comedy ‘Quo Vado’ Breaks Opening Record

4 January 2016 1:52 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Rome – Italian laffer “Quo Vado,” featuring local comic sensation Checco Zalone has scored a record-breaking Euros 22.2 million ($24.2 million) in its opening weekend at the Italian box office, a haul on a par with the total take-to-date in Italy of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” after more than three weeks.

“Quo Vado,” about a Southern Italian slacker hellbent on holding on to his parasitic government job even when he is transferred out of spite to the North Pole, has pulverised all Italian first-frame box office results since its January 1 release via Medusa on more than 1,200 screens, occupying roughly one-third of the country’s screen space.

Pic directed by Gennaro Nunziante pulled a boffo more than Euros 18,000 ($19,600) screen average. Expectations are now for “Vado” to be en-route to besting the all-time box office record for an Italian pic in Italy, held by Zalone’s previous pic “Sole a Catinelle,” which grossed a »

- Nick Vivarelli

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4 items from 2016


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