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“Nightcrawler” marks the first acquisition of Paris-based Selective Films, the outfit launched by former Wild Bunch Distribution Jean-Philippe Tirel and his partner, the producer Maya Hariri (“Under the Bombs”).
Selective co-acquired the movie at script stage last year with its partner Orange Studios and got Paramount France on board to distribute it in Gaul.
“Nightcrawler,” which stars Gyllenhaal as a Los Angeles denizen who takes pleasure in shooting gritty crimes to feed news networks and make ends meet, has grossed approximately $1.5 million from 187,000 admissions in France since opening Nov. 26 on 255 screens.
Compared with other Nov. 26 releases, the pic — titled “Night Call” in France — ranks second behind the franchise-based toon feature “Asterix, The Mansions of the God.” It beat out Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Search, »
- Elsa Keslassy
Solution Entertainment Group has released the first image from the Shia Labeouf-led psychological thriller "Man Down" which also Gary Oldman, Kate Mara and Jai Courtney. Set in a savage post-apocalyptic America, Labeouf and Courtney play a pair who are in search of the former's family.
"Zhang Yimou's first English-language film, 'The Great Wall' at Legendary East, has seen a budget increase to $135 million with filming to begin in February. The period action spectacular with sci-fi elements is currently casting..." (full details)
"Ivanhoe Pictures has picked up the film rights to Ryan Graudin's young adult action-adventure novel 'The Walled City'. The story follows three teenagers who are fighting to survive and escape a lawless, walled city..." (full details)
- Garth Franklin
While, in every day life, the shadowy manoeuvrings of various governmental intelligence agencies may be troubling to many, they are also an undeniably abundant source of material for dramatic entertainment – and director Michael Cuesta has become a regular fixture in that genre. Having worked on Homeland as executive producer and occasional director, he has recently completed megaphone duties on Kill The Messenger – a biographical crime drama about the smearing of a journalist who exposes the part the CIA played in the Iran-Contra scandal over thirty years ago. That theme continues with Code Name Veil – which Black Label Media just tapped Cuesta to direct.
The Matt Billingsly-penned script for Code Name Veil featured on The Black List, and is loosely based on real events. It follows an inexperienced CIA agent tasked with investigating the first terrorist attacks on America, after the Embassy and Marine barracks bombings in Beirut in 1983. The »
- Sarah Myles
Read Jim Batts’ review Here.
Recently, I had the chance to sit down with director Michael Cuesta, along with a small group of press, to talk about the film. Check it out below.
Two-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner (“The Bourne Legacy”) leads an all-star cast in a dramatic thriller based on the remarkable true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb. Webb stumbles onto a story which leads to the shady origins of the men who started the crack epidemic on the nation’s streets…and further alleges that the CIA was aware of major dealers who were smuggling cocaine into the U.S., and using the profits to arm rebels fighting in Nicaragua. Despite warnings from drug kingpins and CIA operatives to stop his investigation, »
- Melissa Howland
Although it is a ’90s-set story dealing with an ‘80s political cover-up, Michael Cuesta’s Kill the Messenger, the true story of journalist Gary Webb, couldn’t be more of the moment. When filmmaker Laura Poitras is documenting the work of a new breed of crusading journalists, it’s enlightening to revisit the work of a writer like Webb and to remember the opposition he faced from not only the U.S. government but his fellow scribes in the mainstream press. In Kill the Messenger, Jeremy Renner delivers a quietly gripping turn as the San Jose Mercury News reporter who comes across information revealing […] »
- Scott Macaulay
Chicago – When journalists were heroes and exposed those in power for their sins, movies were made like “All the President’s Men.” Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News was one of those journalist heroes during the 1990s, but he wasn’t celebrated in his time. The indictments, induced paranoia and outright lies against him are distinctly chronicled in the luminary “Kill the Messenger.”
Jeremy Renner gives a riveting performance as Webb, who broke the story that the CIA partnered with drug lords to flood poor, minority neighborhoods in Los Angeles with crack cocaine, in order to fund the anti-communist Contras in Nicaragua (Central America). This Ronald Reagan administration effort was essentially true, as reported by Webb, but the corporate powers that had changed and controlled their media holdings since Watergate wanted the story to go away – and therefore wanted Webb to be brought down. Filled with head-smacking revelations, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
The Weinstein Company opened St. Vincent on a traditional platform and it appears to have reaped rewards from that old-school approach with a solid debut in a very crowded box office weekend for limited releases.
The film by Theodore Melfi grossed over $121K in four New York and L.A. theaters this weekend after opening the Hamptons International Film Festival Thursday. For the weekend, the Bill Murray comedy averaged more than $30K and boasts the weekend’s highest per-theater average. The film led a huge pack of new openers that included festival heavy-hitters such as Sundance winners Whiplash and documentary The Overnighters as well as the faith-centered Meet The Mormons and Christian Mingle The Movie.
TWC said that St. Vincent had a 67% jump from Friday to Saturday. TWC picked up the film in the script stage for a reported $13 million. Heading into the weekend, the company said it was capitalizing »
- Brian Brooks
Gone Girl remains at the top of the box office, scoring $26.8 million in its second weekend, dropping only 29% as the domestic total for the R-rated adult drama grows to $78.2 million. Coming in second is the first of the weekend's several new releases, Universal's Dracula Untold, which actually did quite well scoring $23.4 million in its first three days and an "A-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences. I don't know who showed up and who was asked, but they clearly didn't see the same movie I saw. Universal, however, is now calling it a $70 million budgeted film instead of the $100 million that was originally reported... that will help the bottom line. New releases continue in third with Disney's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day bringing in $19.1 million to go along with its "A-" CinemaScore and I expect this one will stick around for some time, not to mention »
- Brad Brevet
Jeremy Renner and director Michael Cuesta braved the red carpet on Thursday night for the premiere of their gritty new docudrama “Kill the Messenger,” based on the life of late San Jose Mercury News journalist Gary Webb.
Webb’s stories exposed connections between South Central crack cartels, and CIA-funded paramilitaries in Nicaragua and solicited a shaming campaign from other papers (and, by some reports, government intimidation) before he took his own life in 2004.
“The thing is, Gary actually wasn’t a whistleblower,” said “Homeland” veteran Cuesta. “He was a journalist. He was just doing his f—ing job. Before the script came to my attention, I didn’t know the grind that he went through, the discreditation campaign, the price that he paid; so that really made me want to make this movie. There’s a sense of knowing that this thing he’s tapped into is way bigger, but he doesn’t stop. »
- Steve Macfarlane
I really admire investigative journalists. They're like detectives who works for all of us where it's not about protecting one person, but looking out for society as a whole by trying to get at the truth and hold the guilty accountable for their actions. However, too often we get bogged down in what's salacious rather than what’s honest. Director Michael Cuesta falls into the same trap with his new film, Kill the Messenger. Although his movie (which is based on a true story) firmly sides with reporter Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner), the director seems distracted by Gary's paranoia and government intrigue when the more interesting story is about how newspapers would prefer to sabotage each other rather than join the search for truth. As depicted in the film, Webb worked as hotshot reporter working for the San Jose Mercury News when in 1996 he stumbled across the story that the »
- Matt Goldberg
Opening this weekend is director Michael Cuesta's (Homeland, Dexter) dramatic thriller Kill the Messenger. Based on the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner), whose life was ruined when he linked the CIA to a scheme to arm Contra rebels in Nicaragua and import cocaine into California. His investigation not only threatened to ruin his career, but also his life and the life of his family. The film also stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt, Andy Garcia, Tim Blake Nelson, Robert Patrick, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Paz Vega. For more on Kill the Messenger (which I thought was really well done), watch the trailer. Last week I sat down with Michael Cuesta for an extended video interview. He talked about balancing fact and fiction while bringing this story to the screen, his first cut, deleted scenes, working with Renner, »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
Kill the Messenger, out Friday, asks Jeremy Renner to portray Gary Webb, the San Jose Mercury News Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist as he undergoes a controversial investigation into a CIA conspiracy in Nicaragua that led to America's cocaine epidemic. Also starring Michael Kenneth Williams, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Andy Garcia, Tim Blake Nelson, Oliver Platt, Michael Sheen, Robert Patrick, Paz Vega, Rosemarie DeWitt and Ray Liotta, the cautionary tale marks Michael Cuesta's first big-screen feature since his major television success with Homeland. The Focus Features title opens in 374 theaters in select markets. Watch more 'Kill the Messenger': Jeremy Renner Deconstructs Journalist Gary Webb's
- Ashley Lee
In the 1980s, the CIA was complicit in the marketing of Nicaraguan cocaine to lower class Californians in order to fund the country’s Contra rebels. This was a thesis that San Jose Mercury News journalist Gary Webb put out into the world in the late 90s, and was eventually destroyed because of it. The new film Kill the Messenger is Webb’s own story, a “David vs. Goliath” tale in which David is crushed and ruined by forces that can spin the media in their own favor, while easily discrediting the blood-sweat-tears efforts of a reporter who had to keep many of his sources anonymous.
Director Michael Cuesta creates a vivid portrayal of Webb (played by Jeremy Renner) presenting him as a dedicated working man and also a conflicted father. Kill the Messenger becomes more than the story of a media victim, but a patriarch who tries to maintain »
- Nick Allen
Intense music drama Whiplash, already a big winner at Sundance and the Deauville American Film Festival earlier this year, should drum up plenty of audience interest in its debut this weekend, even though it faces a crowded specialty market that also features several other notable newcomers, including the Bill Murray comedy St. Vincent, Hilary Swank‘s You’re Not You and Jeremy Renner‘s Kill the Messenger. All are what I’d call “big” specialty releases, with big names attached that should attract big attention.
The weekend also includes what I’d call some “small” releases, including documentaries The Overnighters (another Sundance winner) and I Am Ali, about the former heavyweight boxing champion, alongside the Mormon Church-backed Meet the Mormons. All will be clawing for attention in a market that’s seen more than 30 films debut in the past three weeks.
That said, Whiplash should be a real career turner »
- Brian Brooks
“Stop the presses” was a line of dialogue used in all manner of thrillers and mysteries throughout Hollywood’s Golden age as a reflection of the movies’ love affair with newspapers and crusading reporters. Now this romance has had its bumps, since for every The Front Page or His Girl Friday, there’s a Citizen Kane who created news events to sell copy. But overall, the seekers of truth, the reporters have been the heroes in cinema (is it any wonder that Superman’s human disguise is that of “mild, mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper”?). One of the best examples may be 1976′s All The President’S Men with Woodward and Bernstein as an investigative dynamic duo who would follow every lead, turn over every rock in order to publish the facts. The fourth estate isn’t what it used to be in today’s world what with »
- Jim Batts
Director Michael Cuesta ("Homeland") and cinematographer Sean Bobbitt (Shame, 12 Years a Slave) have gone old school in their approach to telling the story of journalist Gary Webb in Kill the Messenger. The look and feel has hints of '70s journalistic procedural All the President's Men, or perhaps it's best to say this film was most clearly inspired by Alan J. Pakula's 1976 political thriller. Thematically the films hold a kinship, largely in the way we can now look at All the President's Men as a time-capsule piece when it comes to the way investigative journalism used to be treated and respected when compared to today's 24-hour news cycle where journalists are just as likely to be the story as the story itself. In terms of quality Kill the Messenger can't quite stand up to the comparison, but just to make the comparison alone, I think, is saying something. Set in the mid-'90s, »
- Brad Brevet
Michael Cuesta’s Kill the Messenger made me so angry over the apparent injustice done to its journalist hero, Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner), that I found it hard to remain in my seat. Actually, I didn’t — I walked out three-quarters of the way in, but only to a nearby corridor, where I could hear the soundtrack and also access Wikipedia on my phone. Cowardly, I know. But I wanted to read in advance about Webb’s fate so I could steel myself for the grim finale.Webb was a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, for which, in 1996, he broke one of the most amazing and disgusting U.S.-based stories of the last two decades (which is saying something). Following the trail of a notorious crack dealer, he discovered that, in return for cash funneled to the Nicaraguan contras (that part of the story was well known »
- David Edelstein
Opening in a limited release this Friday, October 10, director Michael Cuesta's Kill the Messenger brings to the big screen the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb who, in 1996, began publishing a series of articles linking covert CIA operations to America's cocaine trade. Webb's accusations led, despite their veracity, to an attempt on the part of the American government to discredit him and his work though a shocking series of event that would ultimately threaten to tear apart everything Webb's entire life. »
Opening this weekend is director Michael Cuesta's (Homeland, Dexter) dramatic thriller Kill the Messenger. Based on the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner), whose life was ruined when he linked the CIA to a scheme to arm Contra rebels in Nicaragua and import cocaine into California. His investigation not only threatened to ruin his career, but also his life and the life of his family. The film also stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt, Andy Garcia, Tim Blake Nelson, Robert Patrick, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Paz Vega. For more on Kill the Messenger (which I thought was really well done), watch the trailer. At the Los Angeles press day I landed a video interview with Rosemarie Dewitt. She talked about why she wanted to make the movie, balancing fact and fiction, the incredible true story, the Poltergeist remake, »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
Fans of All The President’S Men (1976) will appreciate this new political thriller about investigative journalism.
From director Michael Cuesta (“Homeland”) and writers Peter Landesman, based upon the books Dark Alliance, by Gary Webb, and Kill the Messenger, by Nick Schou, the movie also stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Tim Blake Nelson, Barry Pepper, Oliver Platt, Michael Sheen, Paz Vega, Michael Kenneth Williams, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Andy Garcia.
Based on Webb’s remarkable true story, watch the new featurette and 4 new clips from the film.
- Michelle McCue
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