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The work of Daniel Clowes already has a lineage with the Sundance Film Festival as it once served as the launchpad for the last “Clowes” graphic novel-to-film adaptation. There is a distinct chance that Wilson, a project that once had Alexander Payne attached to direct, will follow in the footsteps of Art School Confidential and carve out a little fest premiere before theatrical release. The film gods were kind to Craig Johnson with his break out, sophomore film The Skeleton Twins as it claimed the Sundance’s Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award and did some healthy box-office. The film demonstrated the flexible acting range of Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader in working with the more serious and humorous tonalities, and for Johnson it deftly displays how he excels in comedic and dramatic writing. Starring Judy Greer, Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern and Cheryl Hines, production took place in Minnesota this past June, »
- Eric Lavallee
Whether you are a filmmaker, or one of the Sundance programmers whose task it is to identify the films that make up a line-up, it is indeed the most wonderful time of the year. The 32nd edition of the Sundance Film Festival kicks off on January 21st with Park City and Salt Lake City. Two decades back, Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan’s Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern was the Grand Jury Prize winner in the Documentary section while Todd Solondz’s Welcome to the Dollhouse beat out the likes of Nicole Holofcener’s Walking and Talking, Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott’s Big Night, Mary Harron’s I Shot Andy Warhol and Alexander Payne’s Citizen Ruth for the Grand Jury Prize dramatic.
As per our tradition here on the site and as we all get ready for the festival, we like to propose an overview of the films we »
- Eric Lavallee
What's the funniest movie ever written? Last week, the Writers Guild of America, West held a celebration event to answer that very question. Looking to find the best and funniest comedy movies, the list goes as far back as Charlie Chaplin's "The Gold Rush," which landed at number 94, while the most recent comedy, "Bridesmaids" (written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo), took the number 16 spot. Ironically, and suspiciously, host and moderator Rob Reiner's "This is Spinal Tap" was voted number 11 on the impressive list. The abundance of guests at the event included — but were not limited to — David & Jerry Zucker, Bobby and Peter Farrelly, Alexander Payne, Jon Favreau, Buck Henry and Peter Bogdanovich, all of whom sought to answer that age-old question. Read More: Writers Guild of America Names 'Annie Hall' the Funniest Screenplay of All Time The event's format was a reverse chronological countdown to the number one. »
- J. Carlos Menjivar
Viacom was stung by the lack of a “Transformers: Age of Extinction”-sized hit and weighed down by falling ad revenue at its cable channels, as earnings at the media conglomerate dropped during the fiscal fourth quarter.
Revenues declined 5% to $3.79 billion over the three-month period ending in September, while adjusted earnings per share fell from $1.71 to $1.54. Net income did improve, spiking 21% to $884 million.
Those results missed Wall Street’s projections. Analysts had expected the company to post adjusted earnings of $1.55 per share on revenue of $3.88 billion.
Viacom’s stock has been dragged down in recent months by lower advertising results and softening ratings at its suite of cable channels. To that end, the quarterly results were disappointing. Domestic advertising revenues declined 7% while worldwide advertising revenues decreased 1%. Overall revenues in the unit grew 5% to $2.79 billion, which the company attributed to a 15% increase in domestic affiliate fees and a 10% rise internationally in rates. »
- Brent Lang
“Annie Hall” has been named the funniest screenplay in voting by the members of the Writers Guild of America.
The script by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman topped “Some Like it Hot,” “Groundhog Day,” “Airplane!” and “Tootsie,” which make up the rest of the top five. “Young Frankenstein,” “Dr. Strangelove,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and “National Lampoon’s Animal House” rounded out the top 10.
The awards for the 101 funniest screenplays were announced at the Arclight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood at the conclusion of two hours of panel discussions and clips, hosted by Rob Reiner. He noted that his “This Is Spinal Tap” script had finished at the No. 11 spot — a coincidence that recalled the “go to 11” amplifier joke in the film.
- Dave McNary
Heaven’S Floor screen Saturday November 14th at 1:00pm at The Tivoli Theater as part of this year’s St. Louis International Film Festival. Director Lori Stoll and storyboard artist Jeanie Everett Mitchell will be in attendance. Ticket information can be found Here
In director Lori Stoll’s semi-autobiographical Heaven’S Floor, La-based photographer Julia (Clea Duvall) meets an expedition leader who convinces her to join a trip to the Canadian Arctic. Desperate for more meaning in her life, Julia chooses to go despite growing tension with her husband. But a journey that starts on a whim soon becomes a life-threatening disaster, as an ill-equipped Julia finds herself stranded on sea ice with temperatures plummeting to minus 30 and darkness falling. Rescue arrives when Julia spots a lone skidoo racing across the frozen tundra. Malaya, an 11-year-old orphaned Inuit girl, and her uncle take Julia to a small Inuit community by the Arctic Circle, »
- Tom Stockman
Matthew McConaughey drawled “all-Reese, all-Reese, all-Reese,” as a variant on his catchphrase, to present the American Cinematheque Award to Reese Witherspoon on Friday night. But by the time she picked up the trophy at 11 p.m. Pt, the Oscar-winning actress and “Gone Girl” producer had already been bathed in praise by colleagues ranging from Jennifer Aniston and Sofia Vergara, to Laura Dern and “Election” director Alexander Payne. “For two fun-filled episodes, she was my TV sister,” Aniston chirped. Also Read: Matt Damon, Reese Witherspoon Movie 'Downsizing' Acquired by Paramount Kate Hudson’s friendship with Reese originated in the »
- Mikey Glazer
The American Cinematheque honored Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon and DreamWorks Animation honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg at the organization’s annual fundraising gala Friday night at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.
Witherspoon received the American Cinematheque Award, reserved for an extraordinary artist currently making a significant contribution to the art of the Moving Picture. Specifically not a lifetime achievement prize, it is meant for mid-career recognition. Recent honorees have included Matthew McConaughey, Jerry Bruckheimer, Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon and Samuel L. Jackson.
“This whole experience is just overwhelming and unbelievable because I’m really just a girl from Nashville who had a dream,” Witherspoon said. “I grew up on backlots and on locations. I had my entire childhood on film. I went through puberty on film, which is something I don’t feel totally great about, but I don’t regret it at all. It’s preserved forever.”
- Kristopher Tapley
With the rising buzz about female superheroes, let’s praise the plain old Hollywood heroics of Reese Witherspoon, who’s being honored Oct. 30 by the American Cinematheque. The brainy blonde was ahead of the gender equality curve, founding her own movie company, Pacific Standard, and developing female-driven projects with partner Bruna Papandrea. Given the New Orleans native’s Type-a personality, it’s no surprise that her company’s first two films, “Wild” (in which she starred) and “Gone Girl,” earned three Oscar nominations — with Witherspoon nabbing one for actress.
With these two films, Witherspoon, an avid reader, solidified the bridge between chick lit and chick films that had already been established by Ya super-hits “The Twilight Saga” and “The Hunger Games.” And, like the heroines in these post-feminist movies, Witherspoon wasn’t going to go all damsel-in-distress: if there weren’t enough challenging female roles, she would build them herself. »
- Thelma Adams
No film buff wants to see a promising, or prominent filmmaker pull a disappearing act a la Terrence Malick, (though it seems he isn’t keen to repeat another lapse like the one between Days of Heaven to The Thin Red Line), but whether they’re dealing with unforeseeable professional (endless pre-production woes, writer’s block) or personal issues, sometimes there is a considerable time between projects.
With John Cameron Mitchell, Charlie Kaufman, Rebecca Miller, Patty Jenkins, Kenneth Lonergan and more recently, Barry Jenkins recently moving out of the so called “inactive” period, we decided to compile a list of the top ten American filmmakers who, for the most part, we’ve lost sight of and would like to see get back in the director’s chair again. Most of the filmmakers listed below have gone well over half a decade without a substantial movement in this category. Here is »
- Nicholas Bell
He’ll be seen being a nasty sort in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but Domhnall Gleeson is sticking to his more usual good-natured hopeless romantic for a new comedy, Crash Pad. Christina Applegate, Thomas Haden Church and Nina Dobrev are all joining him in the film, which Kevin Tent – an Oscar-nominated editor who has worked with Alexander Payne – has started shooting in Vancouver as his directorial debut.Gleeson stars as a man who thinks he’s struck the jackpot of true love with an older woman (Applegate). Until, that is he learns that she’s just using him to get romantic revenge on her neglectful husband (Church). Our hero threatens to blackmail his paramour by telling her hubby all about their affair, only for the man to decide he’s going to get back at his wife by moving in with Gleeson and returning to his bachelor ways. »
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” star Domhnall Gleeson, Christina Applegate, Thomas Haden Church and Nina Dobrev are starring in the romantic comedy “Crash Pad,” which has started shooting in Vancouver, Variety has learned exclusively.
Wonderful Films, Indomitable Entertainment, and Windowseat Entertainment are the production companies. Kevin Tent, the Oscar-nominated editor on Alexander Payne’s”The Descendants” and “Nebraska” is making his directorial debut with a Black List script by Jeremy Catalino.
Gleeson stars as a hopeless romantic who thinks he’s found true love with an older woman, played by Applegate — only to learn that she’s married and that his fling is merely an instrument of revenge against her neglectful husband, played by Church. He threatens to blackmail her by telling her husband but his plan backfires when the husband decides the best way to get back at his wife is to move in with Gleeson’s character »
- Dave McNary
Plus… Vrwerx, Paramount and AMC Theatres bring ‘Paranormal Activity’ virtual reality game to theatre lobbies; Anchor Bay, Foresight Features and Raven Banner line up ‘The Hexecutioners’.Wonderful Films, Indomitable Entertainment and Windowseat Entertainment have begun production in Vancouver, Canada, on the comedy Crash Pad starring Domhnall Gleeson (pictured), Thomas Haden Church, Christina and Nina Dobrev. Alexander Payne serves as executive producer.
Imax Corp senior executive vice-president Greg Foster will deliver the keynote address at the Asia Society Southern California’s sixth annual Us-China Film Summit in Los Angeles on November 5. For the full line-up of panels click here.
Vrwerx, in collaboration with Paramount Pictures and AMC Theatres, will bring the new Paranormal Activity Vr Game Demo to Us theatres. Filmgoers can play for free from October 22-24 on the Htc Vive in select AMC locations in key markets including Los Angeles, New York, Boston and San Francisco.
Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada, Foresight Features »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
Plus… Vrwerx, Paramount and AMC Theatres bring ‘Paranormal Activity’ virtual reality game to theatre lobbies; Anchor Bay, Foresight Features and Raven Banner line up ‘The Hexecutioners’.Wonderful Films, Indomitable Entertainment and Windowseat Entertainment have begun production in Vancouver, Canada, on the comedy Crash Pad starring Domhnall Gleeson (pictured), Thomas Haden Church, Christina and Nina Dobrev. Alexander Payne serves as executive producer.Imax Corp senior executive vice-president Greg Foster will deliver the keynote address at the Asia Society Southern California’s sixth annual Us-China Film Summit in Los Angeles on November 5. For the full line-up of panels click here.Vrwerx, in collaboration with Paramount Pictures and AMC Theatres, will bring the new Paranormal Activity Vr Game Demo to Us theatres. Filmgoers can play for free from October 22-24 on the Htc Vive in select AMC locations in key markets including Los Angeles, New York, Boston and San Francisco.Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada, Foresight Features »
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
This one is for the real cinephiles. Empire asked Bond director Sam Mendes to guest edit the "Spectre" issue and he launched a massive Q&A with fellow A-ist directors, talking to Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, Ang Lee, Edgar Wright, Alfonso Cuaron, Joe Wright, Paul Greengrass, Joss Whedon, Rob Marshall, Sofia Coppola, Susanne Bier, George Clooney, Alexander Payne, Roger Michell, and Christopher Nolan. He got those famous names to candidly (and often hilariously) answer questions including...
"Have you ever walked off a set in a temper?" "What is the most common phrase you use on set?" "Music or no music on set?" "What's the most takes you've ever done?" "How many cups of coffee a day?" "What's your best-ever day on set?"
Here are the "most takes" responses:
- Gina Carbone
While (some) filmmakers will certainly open up to journalists, there’s the sense that they are more willing to greater discuss their process with a fellow colleague in the field. The smart folks over at Empire went all-out with this idea and recruited Spectre director Sam Mendes to reach out to a wide array of friends to get their tidbits when it comes to their specific filmmaking process.
Including Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, Ang Lee, Edgar Wright, Alfonso Cuarón, Joe Wright, Paul Greengrass, Joss Whedon, Steven Soderbergh, Susanne Bier, Alexander Payne, George Clooney, and more, the full Q&A’s are in Empire’s latest issue, but we’ve selected some of the best responses below for your viewing pleasure. Let us know your favorites answers in the comments and pick up the full issue here.
Have You Ever Walked Off A Set In A Temper?
Ang Lee: I only Hulked out once. »
- Leonard Pearce
'Million Dollar Baby' movie with Hilary Swank and Clint Eastwood. 'Million Dollar Baby' movie: Clint Eastwood contrived, overlong drama made (barely) watchable by first-rate central performance Fresh off the enthusiastically received – and insincere – Mystic River, Clint Eastwood went on to tackle the ups and downs of the boxing world in the 2004 melo Million Dollar Baby. Despite the cheery title, this is not the usual Rocky-esque rags-to-riches story of the determined underdog who inevitably becomes a super-topdog once she (in this case it's a “she”) puts on her gloves, jumps into the boxing ring, and starts using other women as punching bags. That's because about two-thirds into the film, Million Dollar Baby takes a radical turn toward tragedy that is as unexpected as everything else on screen is painfully predictable. In fact, once the dust is settled, even that last third quickly derails into the same sentimental mush Eastwood and »
- Andre Soares
For a while there, Alexander Payne's Downsizing sounded like one of those great sci-fi projects that was never going to happen. Between his acclaimed films Sideways and The Descendants, Payne was working on a sci-fi satire where the less wealthy are given the opportunity to shrink themselves. It makes perfect sense when you think about it; with property prices shooting up all the time, wouldn't it make better economic sense to shrink yourself to fit a small property instead of paying a fortune in rent for somewhere larger?
Paul Giamatti, Reese Witherspoon (both Payne collaborators, from Election and Sideways respectively) were set to star alongside Sacha Baron Cohen. It all sounded promising, but little more was heard about Downsizing until 2014, when Matt Damon was attached.
Now, it looks as though »
Director Alexander Payne carved out his niche as a chronicler of the mundane, a filmmaker who mines comedy and drama from high school elections and road trips across the midwest. So the fact that his next movie, Downsizing, is a high-concept science fiction comedy should come as a bit of a surprise. Yet he’s the kind of guy […]
- Jacob Hall
Downsizing will begin production next spring.
Written by Payne with his Sideways collaborator Jim Taylor, Downsizing tells the story of an Omaha man who undergoes a process that reduces people to a fraction of their normal size and moves to one of the many communities of small people sprouting up around the world.
The film will be produced by Payne and Mark Johnson and is expected to be released in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Brad Grey, chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, which previously worked with Payne on Nebraska and Election, said: “Alexander will once again bring to audiences a uniquely original film, one that showcases his tremendous skill as a storyteller. We are absolutely thrilled to be working with him again.”
Said Payne: »
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