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Edward Zwick is a great filmmaker, but he rarely gives you subtlety. Some have criticized his medium-to-large-budget action films – titles that include Glory, Defiance and Blood Diamond – as too simplistic, which would have stained those efforts more if they were not so compelling and exciting. So, to hear that the director was behind a film about the introspective game of chess and its most famous player, the complex and controversial Bobby Fischer, was nerve-wracking. Would the film skimp on the nuances of the New York chess sensation? Could the Last Samurai director figure out a way to depict the game in an inventive way onscreen?
Well, although Zwick has still not managed to find a way to visually communicate the game of wits and cunning, he has still made a biopic and thriller that should entertain those who do not even know how to play chess. Pawn Sacrifice is a »
- Jordan Adler
Toronto — It’s quite remarkable that up until now there has never been a biopic on the life of Bobby Fischer, arguably the greatest chess player of the 20th Century. Yes, his name was used in the acclaimed 1993 film “Searching for Bobby Fischer,” but that referenced his potential successor. Fisher’s life and his greatest moment, a dramatic match against his Russian counterpart, are finally depicted in the new drama “Pawn Sacrifice,” which screened at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Fisher’s genius as a chess player first manifested at the age of 12 and by 13 he had become the youngest winner of the U.S. Junior Chess Championships. He enjoyed a spectacular rise as a master chess player and by 1957 he won the first of eight U.S. Championships (a competition he never lost). The world stage, on the other hand, was different. Rising to prominence at the height of the Cold War, »
- Gregory Ellwood
Andrew Karpen’s newly minted distribution company Bleecker Street has acquired the domestic rights to the movie, which is directed by Ed Zwick from Steven Knight’s screenplay about the 1972 iconic Fischer-Spassky match in Iceland. Peter Sarsgaard also stars.
The deal closed Wednesday at the Toronto Film Festival, a day before the world premiere of “Pawn Sacrifice.”
Producers are Zwick, Gail Katz and Maguire.
CAA and Wme Global repped the filmmakers. Lionsgate is handling international sales.
News was first reported by Variety sister site Deadline Hollywood.
- Dave McNary
Exclusive: In a low-seven-figure deal, Andrew Karpen’s Bleecker Street has acquired North American rights to Pawn Sacrifice, the Ed Zwick-directed drama that stars Tobey Maguire as enigmatic U.S. champion Bobby Fischer and Liev Schreiber as the Russian champion Boris Spassky, whom Fischer challenged in a historic match that captured the world’s attention in 1972. The Steven Knight-scripted drama covers Fischer’s rise leading up to the historic match. Peter Sarsgaard also stars and Maguire, Gail Katz and Zwick produced. The film was one of the highest profile titles and it premieres tomorrow night in Toronto’s Gala premiere section. CAA repped the film with Wme Global.
This is a big deal for Karpen, the longtime former co-head of Focus Features who launched Bleecker Street, putting back together a lot of his old team. They were expected to make a splashy buy, and they have. The film will be released next year. »
- Mike Fleming Jr
Acute portrayals and nice performances by leads Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen as best friends who pledge to lose their virginity before college, helps this mildly racy but ultimately innocuous teen sex film Very Good Girls stay a step or two above the exploitative premise to emerge as something almost worthwhile. Boyd Holbrook also gives more than the role calls for as the handsome street artist who becomes their would-be conquest. His role is believable and even brings out Fanning’s performance, delivering something that could have been icky, but remains tender and even a tad affecting. Olsen is good as well, but Fanning’s always seemed a lightweight before.
The problem with Very Good Girls (besides the 25-year old Ms. Olsen being far too old for this role) is that, despite the sexually tinged subject matter, the script is never fleshed out beyond what’s needed to service the plot. »
- Tom Stockman
Based on the 2011 Australian miniseries of the same, the Americanised version of The Slap has a couple of new additions to its impressive cast. Zachary Quinto (Heroes, American Horror Story) and Brian Cox (Manhunter) have signed on to co-star in this modern morality tale. Set around an altercation at a family barbeque, the story involves the repercussions after one man slaps a badly behaving child. The kid’s not his, hence the heightened social responsibility aspect, that’s no doubt gonna make Christmas well awkward.
Quinto is in line to play the slapper (ahem), Harry. A married man with a teenage boy, he deals in antiquated European cars. And it would seem punishment, as well. Cox will play the family’s gruff old-time grandpa, Manolis. They’ll both co-star opposite Peter Sarsgaard as Hector, a married man with kids who submits to the advances of a much younger woman; and Mary Louise Parker, »
- Gem Seddon
Kyle Gallner ("Veronica Mars") and Holliday Grainger ("The Borgias") have joined the cast of Craig Gillespie's true-disaster feature "The Finest Hours" for Disney Pictures. The story chronicles the massive rescue mission that’s launched when two oil tankers collided off the coast of Cape Cod in 1952.
Gallner plays the rescue-boat's engineman, a man who feels he has a lot to prove. Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Josh Stewart and Graham McTavish also star in the film which begins production this month in Massachusetts. [Source: Deadline]
Untitled Game Brain Project
Albert Brooks and Gugu Mbatha-Raw are in talks to join Peter Landesman's upcoming feature about football concussions at Sony Pictures. Will Smith and Alec Baldwin lead the cast for the Ridley Scott-produced film based on the GQ article "Game Brain".
Brooks will play Cyril Wecht, the chief forensic pathologist who mentors forensic neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu (Smith) and »
- Garth Franklin
Heroes and Horror Story alum Zachary Quinto will deliver the titular, catalytic strike in The Slap, NBC’s eight-episode miniseries about how one man’s punishment of another couple’s child explodes into a complex family drama.
Related Zachary Quinto to Guest-Star on HBO’s Girls
Specifically, Quinto will play Harry, a married father who’s seemingly pleased with his life yet “perennially angry,” always game to pick a fight — but he »
Quinto will play Harry, a mechanic/dealer specializing in expensive European automobiles who lives in Brooklyn with his family. He’s married with a 15-year-old son, and is apparently “always trying to a pick a fight.” Problems arise when the mechanic slaps a misbehaving child of another couple, which explodes into a conflict that pulls his family apart, exposes secrets and ignites a lawsuit.
Cox will play Manolis, the patriarch and peacemaker of the family. He’s described as a “stern yet magnanimous man” with old world values.
Quinto’s last foray into television was his role in the first two seasons of “American Horror Story” — he was nominated for an Emmy for the second season. Cox won an Emmy and was nominated for a Golden Globe for “Nuremberg, »
- Alex Stedman
The show is billed as complex family drama about what happens after a man slaps another couple’s misbehaving child. Quinto has signed on as Harry, the slapper. From the official description: “Married, with a 15-year-old son, he is a mechanic/dealer specializing in expensive European automobiles, and lives with his family in a Brooklyn loft. Perennially angry but seemingly pleased with his life, Harry is a staunch believer in family and loyalty and never shies from picking a fight. »
- James Hibberd
"Oh, dear. Scientists."
So could the reaction be confronting this year's Toronto International Film Festival, where two of the most lauded and talked-about films are portraits of elite mathematical minds, courtesy of Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne. In The Theory of Everything, Redmayne plays theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking; in The Imitation Game, Cumberbatch plays British mathematician and World War II code breaker Alan Turing.
After glowing receptions in Toronto, both films are expected to be major players on Hollywood's awards circuit this fall following their theatrical openings. (Theory is due out Nov. 7. Imitation Game follows two weeks later.) Redmayne and Cumberbatch are already calculated by pundits to be favorites for a best-actor Oscar nomination.
"A lot of people talk about »
- Cineplex.com and contributors
Pawn Sacrifice, 2014.
Directed by Edward Zwick.
American chess phenomenon Bobby Fischer squares off against his Russian rival Boris Spassky in the 1972 “Match of the Century” in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Archival news footage talks about the disappearance of Bobby Fischer who is competing for the World Championship of Chess against his Russian adversary Boris Spassky in Iceland. A torn apart hotel room where everything from telephones and lamps have be disassembled appears with a figure staring out the window which then transitions to a young boy looking at person in car taking a picture of his home; he runs to his mother who plants the seeds of paranoia in him which will grow with age.
The child becomes a Brooklyn teenager who demands complete silence when he is studying resulting in his mother leaving with her boyfriend to California. With every »
- Trevor Hogg
After watching Liz Garbus’ documentary Bobby Fischer Against the World several years ago and now Edward Zwick’s Pawn Sacrifice, I’m learning towards the conclusion that Bobby Fischer wasn’t an incredibly interesting human being, but we continue to study him because he had a big personality and was arguably the best chess player who ever lived. Many geniuses are labeled as “temperamental”, but sometimes their temperament leans towards some redeeming aspect of their personality. Bobby Fischer, as far as we can tell, did not have any, and even in Zwick’s dramatic retelling of Fischer’s career leading up to his famous 1972 world championship, there’s no shading. The Bobby Fischer of the popular conscious is still a mean guy who was phenomenal at chess, and Zwick has barely anything to add except some mildly interesting supporting characters and plenty of news clip montages. The film functions mostly »
- Matt Goldberg
With the Watergate scandal making headlines, America's involvement in the Vietnam War under scrutiny and the height of the Cold War upon a nation in desperate need of a win the country turns to an unlikely hero, chess player Bobby Fischer. Edward Zwick's Pawn Sacrifice builds to 1972's World Chess Championship between Fischer and defending champion, Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union, but not only is this a film about a great chess player in Fischer as well as the paranoid demons he faced, but of his upbringing, his obsessive nature and, of course, the politics surrounding Fischer's face-off against his Russian opponent. For the most part Pawn Sacrifice plays as a standard, true life sports story, building to the big game at the end and eventually closing with the details of the lead character's future beyond the events portrayed on the big screen. The fact Zwick was able »
- Brad Brevet
The moves are none too surprising but the psychological back-and-forth still compels attention in “Pawn Sacrifice,” director Edward Zwick’s conventionally well-crafted dramatization of the life of Bobby Fischer. Revisiting that astonishing moment when a world reeling from Vietnam and Watergate was held spellbound by an epic, emblematic 1972 chess match between Fischer and Soviet grandmaster Boris Spassky, , though Tobey Maguire’s angry, bristling lead performance does capture the man’s outsized personality in spades. An elegant if unrevealing title and the somewhat rarefied historical material may keep broad audience exposure at bay, but an enterprising distrib could court discerning grown-up interest.
Effectively a fictionalized companion piece to Liz Garbus’ 2011 documentary “Bobby Fischer Against the World,” Steven Knight’s screenplay is structured around an event that, rather remarkably, has never furnished a dramatic feature film before. Amid escalating Cold War tensions, the 1972 World Chess Championship in Reykjavik — dubbed “the Match of »
- Justin Chang
Andrew Karpen's new distribution company Bleecker Street has made its first buy, acquiring U.S. rights to the Ed Zwick-helmed chess movie Pawn Sacrifice. Tobey Maguire, Liev Schreiber and Peter Sarsgaard star in the film that chronicles the epic chess match between Bobby Fischer (Maguire) and Boris Spassky (Schreiber). The 1972 battle between the American phenom and the Russian champ was dubbed the Match of the Century and played against the backdrop of Cold War politics. Steven Knight (Eastern Promises) wrote the screenplay. The drama first screened for buyers at the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 5 but won't officially
- Tatiana Siegel, Pamela McClintock
If the acquisitions frenzy and precedent-setting deals struck in Berlin and Cannes is going to continue, it will surprise many of the sellers who’ve come to the Toronto Film Festival to fill slots in their 2015 slates. Maybe it’s because there were so many spectacular deals this year, of perhaps it’s because Toronto 2014 is so stocked with studio films that star the likes of Robert Downey Jr, Bill Murray and Denzel Washington. Whatever the reason, acquisition titles seem to be lower key than last year, when Can A Song Save Your Life and Bad Words prompted overnight auctions and $7 million deals, and just about every movie that played here found distribution.
The deal action got underway yesterday and today with Relativity’s acquisition of The Woman In Black 2 and Saban Entertainment’s deal for fest title Tracers. All the ingredients for a continued buying surge seem to be there, »
- Mike Fleming Jr
Last year, 12 Years a Slave clinched the Academy Award for Best Picture at the Toronto Film Festival. Well, that’s not actually true. In fact, you could argue that the Best Picture winner almost lost the statue at the festival. Steve McQueen’s harrowing instant classic was so instantly and universally anointed in Toronto that seeds were planted for an inevitable backlash to flower in the six months before the Oscar winner was finally announced. Ultimately, 12 Years’ biggest Oscar competition came from another Toronto film, Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity. Though both films premiered at Telluride and Venice, respectively, the awards »
- Jeff Labrecque
If you're not able to hit the Venice Film Festival, the Telluride Film Festival or the Toronto Film Festival this year, perhaps now's the time to catch up with a movie that created a lot of buzz on the circuit in 2013. Kelly Reichardt's "Night Moves" hit Venice, Tiff and the BFI London Film Festival a year ago, going on to hit many more fests before opening in limited release this year. But if the film didn't play near you, we've got some Blu-ray copies to share with some lucky readers. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard, the film follows follows three radical environmentalists who come together to blow up a dam in Oregon. But the consequences of their actions begin to unravel the group and may push one of them over the edge. It's quite tense, recalling Alfred Hitchcock and Claude Chabrol (read our review), and one worth tracking down. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Night Moves, 2013.
Directed by Kelly Reichardt.
Three radical environmentalists look to execute the protest of their lives: the explosion of a hydroelectric dam.
An eco-terrorism story on the surface, Night Moves sees the quiet, solemn Josh (Jesse Eisenberg) working on an organic farm when he meets Dana (Dakota Fanning), an environmentalist in a small countryside town close to him. Soon enough, the two of them are off in a pick-up truck, en route to meet up with Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard), a loner across state who lives in the midst of the wilderness. But quite why the three of them have now met up together is still somewhat of a mystery, as their soon-to-be-revealed intentions have not yet presented themselves. Such is the way the story unravels, director Kelly Reichardt keeps us »
- Scott Davis
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