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Editor’S Note: We had this scheduled to be published on July 30th which was also when the announcement of the First Wave of films for Fantastic Fest 2015 was announced.
Fiends, there is no doubt in my mind that the weeks in late September in Austin, TX is heaven on earth for a genre fan like me. Why? Two words – Fantastic Fest!
Every year, we’ve been trying to see if we can figure out what might play before those three separated waves of amazing content roll out. Some years, our guesses have been good. Some years, not so good. Even if these films don’t play at the best genre film festival in the United States, we hope that you put them on your radar, regardless. Most of our picks are from films that are on our radar and have possibly played other genre film festivals.
Our Picks Hardcore »
- Andy Triefenbach
The paparazzi have been busy this year chasing stars filming in the Eternal City, as Hollywood has rediscovered Italy, making the country — and Rome’s storied Cinecitta Studios — a hot destination for foreign shoots.
Competitive tax breaks, a great euro-to-dollar exchange rate, and Italy’s depth of crew and craftsmen recently lured Paramount’s “Zoolander 2” as well as MGM and Paramount’s “Ben-Hur” remake, marking the first time in at least a decade that Cinecitta has hosted two big Hollywood productions. Ron Howard’s “Inferno” and the next James Bond installment, “Spectre,” have also shot in Rome and other parts of Italy.
Growing its production sector could be a shot in the arm for the nation’s ailing economy — after all, as former prime minister Giulio Andreotti famously said of an earlier epic film shoot, “ ‘Quo Vadis’ did more for Italy than the Marshall Plan.”
It was only a »
- Nick Vivarelli
New photos from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies suggest that the forthcoming big-screen adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's novel may not be exactly what we've been anticipating. First published in 2009, Grahame-Smith's book became an unexpected bestseller, thanks in part to the novelty of introducing the undead into the world created by Jane Austen. The writer followed that up with his novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which was made into a broadly comic, self-consciously silly blockbuster in 2012 by Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted). That set audience expectations for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but a new interview suggests that the filmmakers have something else in mind. As in Austen's classic book, the movie will revolve around Elizabeth Bennett (Lily...
- Peter Martin
Alexei Tcitcilin’s 3D animated movie “The Snow Queen 2,” which screens out of competition at the Annecy Film Festival this week, has secured the widest ever release for a Russian film in China. It’ll open there on July 31 on 3,400 screens.
“The Snow Queen 2” will be released in the U.S. this year after all rights were acquired by eOne. The pic will also play in Spain, France, Germany, Brazil, China, Japan, Malaysia, Bulgaria, Indonesia and Thailand this year.
At Cannes, Spain’s Barton Films took all rights to “The Snow Queen” and “The Snow Queen 2,” and Bollywood Films took all rights for the pics in Pakistan. It will be the first time a Russian film has been released theatrically in Pakistan. »
- Leo Barraclough
Teens face a supernatural cyberspace threat in Unfriended. If you missed the Skype-centric horror film in theaters, don't despair—Universal Studios Home Entertainment is releasing it on Digital HD this July and on Blu-ray and DVD in August:
Press Release: "Universal City, California, June 9, 2015 – For a group of teenage friends, a devastating fate lurks on the other side of a computer screen in Unfriended, the first in a new generation of found-footage thrillers coming to Digital HD July 28, 2015 and Blu-Ray™, DVD and On Demand August 11, 2015, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Unfriended is a startlingly contemporary nail-biterfrom two modern masters of mayhem, executive producer Jason Blum (The Purge, Ouija, Sinister) and producer Timur Bekmambetov (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Wanted).
What starts as a seemingly innocent online prank produces a sequence of events that spirals out of control. During a routine group video chat, high-school friends are terrorized by an unseen figure. »
- Derek Anderson
For a group of teenage friends, a devastating fate lurks on the other side of a computer screen in Unfriended, the first in a new generation of found-footage thrillers coming to Digital HD July 28, 2015 and Blu-Ray, DVD and On Demand August 11, 2015, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
Unfriended is a startlingly contemporary nail-biter from two modern masters of mayhem, executive producer Jason Blum (The Purge, Ouija, Sinister) and producer Timur Bekmambetov (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Wanted).
What starts as a seemingly innocent online prank produces a sequence of events that spirals out of control. During a routine group video chat, high-school friends are terrorized by an unseen figure. The anonymous intruder implicates each of them in the death of an acquaintance, revealing damning secrets and transforming trusted allies into wary adversaries. Forced into a sordid “game,” the teens try to figure out who is behind the mysterious threat, but all signs »
- Michelle McCue
Russian producer Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Night Watch) is bringing what looks to be a thrilling space film in the same wheelhouse as Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity. Called First Time (or Vremya Pervyh), the movie is based on the true story of cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first man in space.
More specifically, First Time chronicles Leonov's arduous, five meter space walk from one part of the "Voskhod-2" to the another and with only 30 minutes of oxygen.
March 18, 1965. For 77 days before the Americans went into space, the Soviet Union wins the technological race when Alexei Leonov first greeted earthlings from outer space, and, according to the chronicle, safely walked back to the ship. But these 5 meters to the gateway are the [Continued ...] »
Box office winner and Golden Globe nominee Will Ferrell (Get Hard, Anchorman 1 and 2) will star in the comedy Tom’S Dad to be directed by Oscar nominated director Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, The Hundred-foot Journey).
Principal photography on the feature film is slated to begin early next year, with further casting underway.
Set in 1960s Nevada, Arthur (Ferrell) is a struggling nightclub performer hoping to make it big with his stage act involving circus animals. He is forced to reconnect with his estranged 12-year old son, Tom, when his ex-wife departs on a three week trip, leaving the pair to rekindle their father-son relationship.
It was announced today by producers Joni Levin and Keith Clarke (The Way Back, upcoming Ben Hur) of Point Blank Productions, Christi Dembrowski and Johnny Depp of Infinitum Nihil (Hugo, Rum Diary, Dark Shadows) and Arsenal’s John Ptak (Let Me In, »
- Michelle McCue
Exclusive: Female sniper movie marks first Russia-Ukraine co-production in years.
Epic Second World War female sniper movie Battle For Sevastopol has gone to several territories in advance of its screening in the Cannes market.
The film, which screened recently at the Beijing International Film Festival, is in advance negotiations with several other major territories including China, France and the UK.
Battle for Sevastopol, marked the first large-scale collaboration between Russia and Ukraine in years. It was completed in spite of deteriorating relations between the two countries last year.
The film, directed by Sergei Mokritsky, was a big hit when it was released in Russia earlier this spring, opening on 1,500 screens.
Co-producer Film UA is handling sales. Battle For Sevastopol is a Russian (New People Film Company), Ukranian (Kinorob Company »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Geoffrey Macnab)
Exclusive: Roman Kopelevich’s La-based sales company is in Cannes with a varied roster of completed titles.
Paws, Bones & Rock ’n’ Roll screens in the market and bears the distinction of a Timur Bekmambetov producer credit. Maxim Sveshnikov directed the tale about two dogs home alone who defend the home against intruders.
Also screening is the upcoming Los Angeles Film Festival world premiere It’s Already Tomorrow In Hong Kong (pictured) from writer-director Emily Ting. Jamie Chung and Bryan Greenberg star in the romance.
Michael Shumway directed and produces Alienate from a screenplay by Rick Hansberry and Lex Hogan about a man flying home to his family who becomes trapped on a plane during an alien invasion. Blake Webb, Tatum Ponce and Jaclyn Hales star.
Max Ryan, [link »
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
Kristen Stewart 'On the Road' dancing, with Garrett Hedlund on the right Down memory lane: Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart 'On the Road' images At the time best known as The Twilight Saga's conflicted human Bella Swan, Kristen Stewart was cast as the exuberant Marylou in Walter Salles' film adaptation of Jack Kerouac's iconic 1950s novel On the Road. Salles had been impressed with Stewart's pre-Twilight work in Sean Penn's Into the Wild. Based on LuAnne Henderson, Kerouac's close buddy Neal Cassady's first wife, Marylou is described as a "beautiful little sharp chick." Apparently, one who also likes to move seductively to the sound of music – as can be attested by the Kristen Stewart picture above, which first came out online in early 2011. Besides Stewart, On the Road also features Garrett Hedlund – at the time best known for Tron: Legacy – as Dean Moriarty, »
- Zac Gille
Roskino and Russian Cinema are joining forces for the first time to present companies in the Russian Pavilion at the forthcoming Marché du Film in Cannes.
In previous years, the two promotional platforms – Russian Cinema financed by the Russian Cinema Fund (Rcf) and Roskino by the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Culture – had operated from separate locations in Cannes.
And at the Berlinale’s European Film Market, Russian Cinema has had a stand in the Martin Gropius Bau, while Roskino was based on the first floor of the Marriott Hotel.
At a press conference in Moscow, Rcf executive director Anton Malyshev spoke about the reasoning behind the decision to organise a united stand and pointed to the “necessity for optimisation of expenditure” and the fact that the available resources were limited this year. Although the financing from the state had not been formally cut, the weakening of the Russian rouble vis-a-vis the Us dollar had put the »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Blaney)
Unfriended is exactly the kind of film studios love. It.s a movie that was produced for practically nothing and made millions at the box office. After debuting in U.S. theaters on April 17, the film has earned more than $25 million. So it shouldn.t come as a major shocker that Universal has green lit Unfriended 2. According to Bloody Disgusting, the sequel to Unfriended, which is being hailed by critics as the most creative horror film of the year, is officially in the works. Nelson Greaves, who wrote the script for the first film, is already drafting the treatment for Unfriended 2. Unfriended was produced by Timur Bekmambetov and directed by Leo Gabriadze. Taking place entirely on a MacBook screen, the film follows six high school friends who receive a Skype message from their deceased classmate, Laura Barns. A year earlier, a video was anonymously posted online, showing her drunk and »
Read More: The Death-by-Skype Horror Movie 'Unfriended' is an Unlikely Critical Hit Let's face it -- the majority of horror films released by studios nowadays are neither all that scary or particularly creative. Universal's current micro-budget hit "Unfriended," written by Nelson Greaves and directed by Leo Gabriadze, is both. Dreamed up by "Wanted" director Timur Bekmambetov, "Unfriended" plays out entirely on a MacBook screen, where six high school students -- plus one sinister seventh party -- group chat on Skype on the one-year anniversary of their classmate Laura Barns' suicide. When the mystery user claims to be Barns, the teens start dying, one by one. The ingenious execution of "Unfriended" (who knew static webcam images could induce suspense?) hasn't gone unnoticed by film critics, many of whom embraced the film prior to its theatrical launch last week -- a rarity for the horror genre. For a roundup of the positive. »
- Nigel M Smith
Unfriended is a low budget horror film produced by Timur Bekmambetov. The film takes place entirely on a laptop screen and features six teenagers communicating via Skype when someone unexpectedly joins their call, someone who claims to be a girl named Laura Barns, a classmate of theirs who committed suicide a year ago. Soon after the first Unfriended trailer hit the web, it collected millions of views. It’s also racked up some serious social media attention with 261,951 tweets using the hashtag #Unfriended published in a single day, beating Fifty Shades of Grey’s record of 240,697 tweets the first day its trailer was released. The found footage genre has been long mastered by the authors of horror films, but Unfriended is still considered to be a fresh take not only in the genre, but also in cinematic language. Unfriended sparked a huge stir at the Fantasia International Film Festival in »
- Elizaveta Chalenko
“Furious 7″ ran laps around the competition, picking up $29.1 million in its third weekend of release, according to studio estimates.
The fast cars sequel withe the gravity-defying stunts is barreling toward the $300 million mark Stateside, having already hurtled past the $1 billion mark globally. Domestically, “Furious 7″ has earned $294.4 million.
“This is how you build a record year,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “These are summer-style numbers in April.”
Despite “Furious 7’s” continued dominance, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2″ did better than expected, pulling in a solid $24 million across 3,633 locations. It had been projected to fall short of the $20 million barrier.
It’s good news for Sony Pictures, which had a painful chapter from its recent history dredged up this week when Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks published an archive of emails and documents that were stolen by hacker group Guardians of Peace. However, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 »
- Brent Lang
Sony’s “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,” playing in 3,633 theaters, should open to a solid $22 million domestically. That’s slightly below the 2009 original comedy, which debuted to $31 million but still, better than the $16 million projections.
Universal’s “Furious 7″ will likely cruise to its third straight win with an estimated $26 million haul.
The racing blockbuster, directed by James Wan, just crossed $1 billion worldwide to become the fastest movie to ever reach the billion-dollar club. It should hit $300 million domestically next week.
Universal’s other release, low-budget horror film “Unfriended,” is logging in with $16.5 million this weekend. Not bad for a movie that cost over $1 million to produce.
“Unfriended” tells the story of six teenagers who are terrorized by an anonymous person online. The project hails »
- Variety Staff
Face to Face: Gabriadze’s Topical Mutation of Technological Terror
How effectively chilling it is may be arguable. But there’s no denying that Levan Gabriadze’s English language debut Unfriended manages to be clever and somewhat topically meaningful in the age of cyberbullying on social media apps that have chained humans unwittingly to being constantly recorded, in some sense, at nearly every waking moment. Produced by Timur Bekmambetov, the film premiered as Cybernatural (too kitschy for the cool kids) at the 2014 Fantasia Film Festival, its fascination with and deliberate technological framing manage to meld found-footage aesthetics with the attention span of the real-time generation. Screenwriter Nelson Greave’s plot feels kind of similar to Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s creepy 2001 internet ghost film Pulse (which got a Us redo in 2006), but manages to keep an adept, impressive focus on all the action taking place from the perspective of one character’s home screen. »
- Nicholas Bell
The 2008 movie Wanted was a good, solid hit for Universal Pictures and director Timur Bekmambetov. So much so that pretty much ever since, there's been chatter about a possible sequel. A sequel that, you've probably noticed, hasn't materialised.
In truth, we'd assumed that Wanted 2 was a dead project. The last we heard on it was a couple of years ago, and it just seemed like the film had missed its moment. Yet director Bekmambetov is still keen to move things forward.
In a new chat with Collider, he revealed that "for my part, I already have the concept of the new story. I have all the screenwriters and co-producers on board. I've seen that some websites have even posted the posters of Wanted 2! I think there »
It.s been close to seven years since Wanted smashed into cinemas in such gloriously over-the-top fashion that it instantly developed a fervent fan-base. Talk of a sequel has come and gone with every subsequent film that its rich ensemble and creative team have been involved in, and the subject of Wanted 2 has once again risen during a discussing with director Timur Bekmambetov - who insists that he.d love for it to happen and wants his original stars to return. During his chat with Collider, Bekmambetov admitted that he.s already been hard at work on Wanted 2. In fact, he.s already outlined the story for the film, got a team on-board to bring it to fruition, and he even teased that he wants to work with all of the original cast members from the original; even the ones who died in the film. Said the director, »
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