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7 items from 2006


Arthur and the Invisibles

27 December 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

For his children's fantasy Arthur and the Invisibles, writer-director Luc Besson appears to have grabbed bits of this and that from a number of fairy tales, tossed them into a blender and hoped for a family adventure. The result isn't an unpalatable pudding but rather a fair-to-middling children's film that is half CG-animation and half live-action. Adults may shake their heads at the blatant borrowings from the King Arthur legend and The Wizard of Oz to the 1980s comedy Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, but many youngsters will enjoy the ride.

The film will also supply the answer at some future date to the barroom challenge: What 2006 movie starred Madonna, David Bowie and Snoop Dogg? The trick is that these singer-actors do not appear in this movie but perform the voices of several of the tiny CG beings who live in the hero's backyard.

The decision by MGM and the Weinsteins to move the national release of Arthur to Jan. 12 is odd, since it will miss the holidays when the film's biggest audience is out of school. This does avoid head-to-head competition with "Charlotte's Web," though, so perhaps the film will have the playing field more to itself.

Besson's story is based on his own children's book, Arthur and the Minimoys, which he adapted in a screenplay written with visual artist Celine Garcia. Young Arthur (Freddie Highmore of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory") lives on a Connecticut homestead with his grandmother (Mia Farrow) and pet dog. Life is good, but he does suffer from neglect by his parents, wage slaves in a distant city.

His vivid fantasy life is fueled by tales of his grandfather, who mysteriously disappeared awhile back. In deepest Africa, granddad made friends with a jungle tribe of huge proportions and, conversely, the Minimoys, a tribe of tiny creatures.

An evil real estate developer will foreclose on the grandmother's property in 48 hours unless she can come up with a king's ransom. Arthur's rescue plan sends him searching for African rubies his granddad buried in the yard. A treasure map, conveniently discovered in a nick of time, instructs Arthur to miniaturize himself by passing through a telescope into the land of the Minimoys, inch-tall creatures who inhabit the backyard.

Here, insects assume huge sizes, and good and evil are locked in constant warfare. There is a good king, a villain whose name no one dares speak, a rastaman named Max (Snoop) and a princess (Madonna). He falls in love with the tiny princess and must travel with her and her younger brother toward the center of power for the evil Maltazard (Bowie) and the place where he believes his grandfather is a prisoner. All this is done as a cartoon, but even so, the idea of Madonna coming on to a 10-year-old boy is a bit weird.

The action and derring-do are exciting, but Besson drags things out considerably for his young audience at 122 minutes. The CG work is clever but cannot measure up to Pixar's standards in cleverness or imagination. Nothing is fresh here. Nevertheless, Besson's tech crew and visual effects overseers make the two worlds meld quite well.

ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES

MGM

The Weinstein Co. presents an Europa Corp./Avalanche Prods./Sofica Europacorp/Apipoulai production

Credits:

Director: Luc Besson

Screenwriters: Luc Besson, Celine Garcia

Based on the book by: Luc Besson

Producers: Luc Besson, Emmanuel Prevost

Directors of photography: Thierry Arbogast, Dominique Delguste

Production designer: Hugues Tissandier

Music: Eric Serra

Special effects: Dominique Vidal

Costume designer: Patrice Garcia

Cast:

Arthur: Freddie Highmore

Grandmother: Mia Farrow

Voice of Princess Selenia: Madonna

Voice of Maltazard: David Bowie

Voice of Max: Snoop Dogg

Mother: Penny Balfour

Father: Doug Rand

Voice of the King: Robert De Niro

Voice of Miro: Harvey Keitel

Voice of the travel agent: Chazz Palminteri

Voice of Ferryman: Emilio Estevez.

Running time -- 122 minutes

MPAA rating: PG

»

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'Minimoys' making big noise at b.o.

14 December 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

PARIS -- Luc Besson's long-awaited Arthur and the Minimoys premiered on 956 screens in France on Wednesday, amassing a total of 316,026 tickets sold on opening day, distributor Europacorp said Thursday. The opening followed 15 days of successful advanced screenings at the Grand Rex in Paris.

The film broke boxoffice records, with 11,281 tickets sold at 25 screens in Paris alone by 2 p.m. The feature, which took five years and more than €65 million ($85.9 million) to complete, is an adaptation of Besson's book of the same title. It tells the story of ten-year-old Arthur on a quest for a hidden treasure in the land of the Minimoys, a people so tiny they are almost invisible.

A combination of live-action and CGI courtesy of Gallic special effects house Buf Compagnie, the film stars Mia Farrow and Freddie Highmore and features the voices of Madonna, David Bowie and Snoop Dog.

Arthur and the Minimoys encompasses the first two chapters of Besson's four-part saga (Arthur and the Minimoys and Arthur and the Forbidden City). The second two chapters (The Vengeance of Maltazard and "Arthur and the War of the Two Worlds") are already in pre-production despite Besson's claims that Wednesday's release will be his final film. »

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Broadcast Film Critics Association noms

12 December 2006 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- Promoting themselves as a barometer for Oscar predictions – this pretty much group all the favorites and safe picks. Leading the pack are “Babel," "The Departed," "Dreamgirls" and "Little Miss Sunshine" each with seven nominations each. Now its in 12th year, the Critics Choice Award is voted on by film critics from almost 200 television, radio and online critics. The 12th annual Critics’ Choice Awards ceremony will be held on Friday, January 12, 2007, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Best Picture Babel Blood Diamond The Departed Dreamgirls Letters From Iwo Jima Little Children Little Miss Sunshine Notes on a Scandal The Queen United 93 Best Actor Leonardo DiCaprio - Blood Diamond Leonardo DiCaprio - The Departed Ryan Gosling - Half Nelson Peter O'Toole - Venus Will Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland Best Actress Penelope Cruz - Volver Judi Dench - Notes »

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Truth: 'Borat' will hurt 'Fiction'

10 November 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Poor Will Ferrell. The popular comedic actor and proven boxoffice draw has taken a big risk with Stranger Than Fiction. Playing against type as Harold Crick, a sad sack who hears voices in his head, Ferrell has received high marks in early reviews, as have co-stars Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman. But a little movie called Borat is likely to steal the thunder from Ferrell and Fiction. 20th Century Fox's Borat -- on its way to becoming a comedic phenomenon considering its stellar opening bow of $26 million from just 837 theaters -- has created something of a black hole for all other films bowing this weekend.

Expanding to 2,566 theaters today, Borat also is likely to eat up some of the grosses that would have gone to Fox's new entry, Ridley Scott's A Good Year, starring Russell Crowe. Industry insiders are pegging the second-week grosses for Borat in the $30 million range. Coming off a phenomenal first-weekend bow that saw a per-theater average of $31,607, the R-rated film surely will dominate the boxoffice. Starring Sacha Baron Cohen, who has been likened to a modern-day combination of Peter Sellers and Andy Kaufman, Borat's midweek numbers have remained strong, averaging

$3 million each day.

That's not to say that Sony Pictures isn't trying with Fiction. Directed by Marc Forster and based on a screenplay by Zach Helm, the film won early accolades at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Bowing in 2,264 theaters, the PG-13 film centers on Crick, an IRS auditor who suddenly finds that his thoughts and actions are being narrated by a voice in his head. Praised for its smart script and strong performances, the film could open decently and hold on through a crowded end-of-year moviegoing season. Insiders are predicting the film will bow in the $8 million-$10 million range but could get into the low teens.

That's about the same number many are predicting for A Good Year. Crowe also plays against type as a romantic lead in the PG-13 drama set in Provence, France. Opening in 2,066 theaters, the Fox 2000 film centers on a high-powered British trader (Crowe) who learns that his uncle has left him a vineyard in France. Year, which co-stars Albert Finney, Freddie Highmore and Archie Panjabi, is based on the novel written by Scott's friend and Provence neighbor Peter Mayle. It evokes similar themes to Buena Vista's Under the Tuscan Sun, which bowed to $9.7 million in 2003. Expect similar numbers for the beautifully photographed Year.

Focus Features will open Rogue Pictures' The Return in 1,986 theaters. Starring horror queen Sarah Michelle Gellar, the PG-13 film from Asif Kapadia (The Warrior) centers on a woman who is troubled by vivid nightmares about the murder of a woman she has never met. It is expected to bow to single-digit millions.

MGM is going to be busy this weekend. The distributor will open Bauer Martinez's Harsh Times in 956 theaters. A high-profile acquisition out of last year's Toronto fest, the film comes from Training Day screenwriter David Ayer, making his directorial debut, and stars Christian Bale and Freddy Rodriguez. The gritty, R-rated drama centers on an Iraq War vet (Bale) who, upon being turned down for a job with the LAPD, recruits his childhood friend (Rodriguez) for a joyride through Los Angeles. Eva Longoria co-stars.

MGM also will open Copying Beethoven in limited release. The PG-13 film, from Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, stars Ed Harris as the composer in the last year of his life. Agnieszka Holland directs, and Diane Kruger co-stars.

Picturehouse will open Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus on four screens in Los Angeles and New York. The film from director Steven Shainberg (Secretary) stars Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey Jr. »

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Truth: 'Borat' will hurt 'Fiction'

9 November 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Poor Will Ferrell. The popular comedic actor and proven boxoffice draw has taken a big risk with "Stranger Than Fiction".

Playing against type as Harold Crick, a sad sack who hears voices in his head, Ferrell has received high marks in early reviews, as have co-stars Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman. But a little movie called "Borat" is likely to steal the thunder from Ferrell and "Fiction". 20th Century Fox's "Borat" -- on its way to becoming a comedic phenomenon considering its stellar opening bow of $26 million from just 837 theaters -- has created something of a black hole for all other films bowing this weekend.

Expanding to 2,566 theaters today, "Borat" also is likely to eat up some of the grosses that would have gone to Fox's new entry, Ridley Scott's "A Good Year", starring Russell Crowe. Industry insiders are pegging the second-week grosses for "Borat" in the $30 million range. Coming off a phenomenal first-weekend bow that saw a per-theater average of $31,607, the R-rated film surely will dominate the boxoffice. Starring Sacha Baron Cohen, who has been likened to a modern-day combination of Peter Sellers and Andy Kaufman, "Borat"'s midweek numbers have remained strong, averaging

$3 million each day.

That's not to say that Sony Pictures isn't trying with "Fiction". Directed by Marc Forster and based on a screenplay by Zach Helm, the film won early accolades at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Bowing in 2,264 theaters, the PG-13 film centers on Crick, an IRS auditor who suddenly finds that his thoughts and actions are being narrated by a voice in his head. Praised for its smart script and strong performances, the film could open decently and hold on through a crowded end-of-year moviegoing season. Insiders are predicting the film will bow in the $8 million-$10 million range but could get into the low teens.

That's about the same number many are predicting for "A Good Year". Crowe also plays against type as a romantic lead in the PG-13 drama set in Provence, France. Opening in 2,066 theaters, the Fox 2000 film centers on a high-powered British trader (Crowe) who learns that his uncle has left him a vineyard in France. "Year", which co-stars Albert Finney, Freddie Highmore and Archie Panjabi, is based on the novel written by Scott's friend and Provence neighbor Peter Mayle. It evokes similar themes to Buena Vista's "Under the Tuscan Sun", which bowed to $9.7 million in 2003. Expect similar numbers for the beautifully photographed "Year".

Focus Features will open Rogue Pictures' "The Return" in 1,986 theaters. Starring horror queen Sarah Michelle Gellar, the PG-13 film from Asif Kapadia ("The Warrior") centers on a woman who is troubled by vivid nightmares about the murder of a woman she has never met. It is expected to bow to single-digit millions.

MGM is going to be busy this weekend. The distributor will open Bauer Martinez's "Harsh Times" in 956 theaters. A high-profile acquisition out of last year's Toronto fest, the film comes from "Training Day" screenwriter David Ayer, making his directorial debut, and stars Christian Bale and Freddy Rodriguez. The gritty, R-rated drama centers on an Iraq War vet (Bale) who, upon being turned down for a job with the LAPD, recruits his childhood friend (Rodriguez) for a joyride through Los Angeles. Eva Longoria co-stars.

MGM also will open "Copying Beethoven" in limited release. The PG-13 film, from Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, stars Ed Harris as the composer in the last year of his life. Agnieszka Holland directs, and Diane Kruger co-stars.

Picturehouse will open "Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus" on four screens in Los Angeles and New York. The film from director Steven Shainberg ("Secretary") stars Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey Jr.

»

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Highmore, Bolger cast in 'Spiderwick' fantasy

24 July 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Freddie Highmore and Sarah Bolger have been cast as the three Grace children in the fantasy film The Spiderwick Chronicles, which Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies will been shooting Sept. 12 in Montreal. Mark Waters will direct the film from a screenplay by John Sayles based on the best-selling series of children's books by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. In the movie, the three Grace children move to the ancient Spiderwick mansion, where they discover Brownie, an enchanted creature who introduces them to a world of goblins, fairies and sprites. »

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Weinsteins trek with 'Arthur'

2 March 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

NEW YORK -- Madonna, Snoop Dogg and David Bowie are among the voices featured in Arthur and the Minimoys, a live-action/CGI fantasy feature in production based on multihyphenate Luc Besson's popular French children's book. The Weinstein Co. nabbed rights to the project in English-speaking territories, the company said Thursday. Besson adapted his book for the screen and is directing the EuropaCorp.-produced feature, which centers on 10-year-old Arthur (Freddie Highmore of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), who tries to save the home of his grandmother (Mia Farrow) by seeking out his grandfather's treasure in the land of the tiny Minimoys. There he encounters Princess Selenia (Madonna) and Max (Snoop Dogg), who travel with him to a city ruled by the nefarious Malthazar (Bowie). »

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7 items from 2006


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