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With a lackluster collection of films opening wide in multiplexes this holiday weekend, it’s time to herald an indie gem. Love is Strange debuted at Sundance in January, and opened to the top per-screen average in select theaters last weekend. It expands slightly today, and critics seem to be near-unanimous that it’s worth seeking out.
Directed by Ira Sachs, the film tells the story of George (Alfred Molina) and Ben (John Lithgow), a gay New York City couple who officially tie the knot after 39 years together. But once their relationship is made legal, George is fired by the »
- Jeff Labrecque
“Philip never really got to star in movies,” said Howard Cohen, president of the film’s distributor, Roadside Attractions. “He was always known as a utility player…There’s no question that part of the appeal is the idea of him giving a final, great performance.”
The adaptation of John le Carre’s novel debuted to $2.7 million on 361 screens last weekend, cracking into the box office top ten. Now Roadside and Lionsgate are preparing to double the number of screens this weekend to more than 700 in an effort to capitalize on the warm reception.
- Brent Lang
Luc Besson loves his lady warriors. Beginning with the original La Femme Nikita, and then in action movies like The Professional, The Fifth Element, and The Messenger, he’s introduced his own brand of memorable action heroines. Scarlett Johansson’s Lucy might be the most hardcore of the bunch. She goes from party girl to super-evolved sorceress when the experimental drug an Asian gangster has smuggled in her body spills into her bloodstream, raising her brain activity to 100 percent capacity. “Lucy is a thinly drawn character, just someone who needs to survive,” writes EW’s Jeff Labrecque. “But Johansson vividly »
- EW staff
Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz are back together again. After starring in Bad Teacher, the 2011 comedy hit that topped $100 million, they reunite to play a married couple who’ve lost their spark. Kids, work, and age have taken their toll on what was once a spontaneous and prolific sex life, and Annie and Jay try to get it back by making their own homemade sex tape. But when their video gets uploaded to the Cloud by accident and sent to their friends, neighbors, and even their mailman, they have to race around town to prevent the naughty movie from becoming a scandal. »
- Jeff Labrecque
Christian Bale is in early talks to star as Travis McGee in The Deep Blue Good-by for 20th Century Fox. The adaptation is based on John D. MacDonald's 1964 novel, the first of 21 books that featured the Travis McGee character.
The studio doesn't have an official offer out to the actor yet, but he has agreed to come on board, with an offer to come very soon. Leonardo DiCaprio was attached to play Travis McGee back in March 2013, but now he will only produce with his Appian Way Productions partner Jennifer Davisson Killoran.
Travis McGee is a salvage consultant based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, living aboard a houseboat dubbed The Busted Flush. The Deep Blue Good-by centers on Travis meeting a battered woman named Lois, as he tries to track down her abusive boyfriend, which proves to be more difficult than he had imagined.
James Mangold is directing from a »
Wme has just signed Dana Stevens, the prolific feature writer who is the exec producer and sole creator of Reckless on CBS. Stevens last year adapted the Nicholas Sparks novel Safe Haven for Relativity, and her other credits include City Of Angels and the Kevin Costner baseball pic For Love Of The Game. She currently is adapting for James Cameron’s Lightstorm and Fox The Dive, the touching story of Cuban free diver Pipin Ferreras and his wife Audrey Mestres, the latter of whom died trying to better her record for a free dive, in which she plunged to an unimaginable […] »
“Reckless,” a hot and steamy CBS drama set in the South that debuts Sunday has a decidedly female bent both in front of the camera and – most unusual for Hollywood – behind it. Kim Moses, an executive producer of the show, spoke to TheWrap's WaxWord about a rare network production that was conceived, written and directed by women. WaxWord: Who are the women behind the scenes on this show? You're an executive producer, who else is involved? Kim Moses: Catherine Hardwicke (“Twilight”) directed the pilot, Dana Stevens (“Safe Haven”) is the creator of the show. Lilly Kilvert, an Oscar-nominated production. »
- Sharon Waxman
Representing CBS’ latest attempt to produce a sort-of summer soap, “Reckless” mixes an ongoing storyline with a procedural element, in a slightly tawdry tale of Southern sex that — reflecting the network’s sweet spot — still doesn’t stray from the police station and courthouse. Modestly diverting on its own terms and well-cast at the fringes, the show’s leads probably aren’t as compelling as they need to be, given the desire to produce fireworks between what CBS describes as its “gorgeous Yankee litigator and charming southern attorney.” So while the show masters the network’s formula, it could use a little help with chemistry.
Set in Charleston, S.C., the series centers on a relocated Chicago lawyer, Jamie Sawyer (Anna Wood), forced to butt heads with the new City Attorney, Roy Rayder (Cam Gigandet). Lest anyone miss clues that they’re both supposed to be smokin’ hot, she conspicuously »
- Brian Lowry
Sex sells. Or at least that's what CBS is hoping with its newest legal drama Reckless. The series, which premieres Sunday at 9/8c, has been described as the network's "steamy" and "sultry" alternative to the normal summer network rerun blues and, more notably, to CBS' largely more PG-rated programming (with the exception of The Good Wife). But while this may be a venture into new territory for the network, creator and executive producer Dana Stevens promises that the show lives up to the hype, and then some.
"It's very sexy. We would make episodes where we'd be like, 'They are not going to...
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- Kate Stanhope
This weekend boasts two major studio releases ready to duke it out for the box office victory, as well as a few modest indies that have been holding court on the festival circuit all year. All are sitting with favorable reviews, so you can't really go wrong here. One of the year's first Oscar locks is "How to Train Your Dragon 2," DreamWorks' delightful animated sequel to the beloved 2010 original that lost the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature to "Toy Story 3." Both "Dragon 2" and this weekend's other sequel, the very R-rated comedy "22 Jump Street," though aimed at wildly different demos, are expected to break $50 million at the box office. "Jump Street," which reunites Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as an unlikely pair of cops, may alienate some. The two actors continue to play off their Mutt and Jeff mismatch, deconstructing their bromance for laughs. Slate's Dana Stevens points out »
- Ryan Lattanzio
In nearly 80 years of delicious Disney animated villains threatening princesses, nobody’s ever been as truly frightening as Maleficent, the horn-headed sorceress who could transform into a dragon and cursed baby Aurora in 1959′s Sleeping Beauty. But much as Wicked did for the evil witch of The Wizard of Oz, Maleficent digs deeper into the backstory of the sharp-cheeked villainess, with Angelina Jolie bringing her to vivid life.
Of course, such revisionist fairy tales have become increasingly common. As EW’s Keith Staskiewicz notes in his review, “The first line of Maleficent [''Let us tell an old story anew and see how well you know it"] could be emblazoned on a sticker and slapped onto the back-bumper of Hollywood, »
- Jeff Labrecque
Updates With Video: CBS‘s new summer series Reckless “is about cops and lawyers” but “the linchpin is sex,” creator/exec producer Dana Stevens told reporters at CBS Summer Junket Day. Reckless, written by Stevens and directed by Catherine Hardwicke, is set in Charleston, Sc, and stars Anna Wood and Cam Gigandet as a Yankee litigator and southern City Attorney who are intensely attracted to each other, while battling over a police sex scandal in which a woman may have grounds for claiming she was raped — adding to the pantheon of CBS series that have been/will be accused of trolling for ratings by making violent/sexual victims of female characters. Wood described her character as “uncompromising in her passion and her seeking of justice.. she doesn’t take crap from anybody. She’s very grounded and strong within her morals” and who “isn’t using her sexuality to get »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
Most parents would do anything to protect their children from danger. In Neighbors, that danger takes the form of a discarded used condom on a young couple’s front lawn, and the offending party is the raucous fraternity — led by an ab-fab Zac Efron — that just moved in next door. Seth Rogen and Bridemaids’ Rose Byrne play the young suburban couple whose lives are upended by the frat’s 24-hour antics. And as it turns out, the tit-for-tat battle of wills and pranks that ensues might be the season’s funniest comedy.
- Jeff Labrecque
Transcendence, the science-fiction artificial intelligence film stars Johnny Depp as a man who uses his own technology to save his consciousness and complete his lifework alongside his wife, played by Rebecca Hall.
In his directorial debut, cinematographer Wally Pfister, a longtime Christopher Nolan collaborator, tackles the frightening possibilities of technology. Transcendence, which has drawn ample comparisons to Spike Jonze’s Her, shows a mad scientist of sorts, who labors to create a sentient and omniscient super-machine that could change the world while existing as such a machine himself.
Critics Review ‘Transcendence’
Transcendence, despite having Depp and Hall onboard, as well as Morgan Freeman and Kate Mara, has failed to win over critics. It’s been criticized for having a lack of focus and a poorer execution of its theme than has been seen in Nolan’s Inception, the Oscar-nominated Her and the Matrix series. The few positive reviews felt that Transcendence transcended its sci-fi genre. »
IndieWire covers a panel discussion in NYC:
In response to the titular question, panelists agreed on the struggles of sustaining oneself financially while working as film critics. “Journalism and jobs of people who write for a living are in danger,” said Slate critic Dana Stevens. “But I also think the web, and social media opened up other avenues for criticism, making it a more democratic endeavor, and less of an elite point.”
“Can women save film criticism as an occupation? No, it’s beyond hope,” said panelist Miriam Bale, who writes for the New York Times and other outlets. “It’s the only place I’ve seen that the rates get lower as you get more experience. But do I think women can save the culture of criticism? Maybe. I notice women whom I knew to be big film fans have this tendency to get really deep with what interests them. »
- MaryAnn Johanson
CBS will air an unprecedented number of original programming hours this summer, on Tuesday revealing a sked that includes four dramas alongside the thrice-weekly reality staple “Big Brother.” The lineup includes three original hours of programming on Sunday.
The Eye will hold off on launching its summer fare until late June, with “Big Brother” kicking off its 16th season on Wednesday, June 25. This will mark the second straight year that the reality vet has launched in late June after traditionally starting its summer editions post-July 4.
“Big Brother” will be airing in the same timeslots as a year ago: Sunday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. and the live eviction show on Thursdays at 9.
As previously announced, “Under the Dome,” last summer’s »
- Rick Kissell
Travis McGee lives on a houseboat in Fort Lauderdale dubbed The Busted Flush, taking on "salvage consultant" jobs whenever he is running low on money, recovering lost items for clients for half of the profits. When he meets the battered Lois, he tries to track down her abusive boyfriend, a journey which becomes far more violent and complicated than he imagined. The character, who appeared in 21 of John D. MacDonald's books, is seen as the precursor to other popular literary heroes such as Jack Reacher and Spenser: For Hire, who has a penchant of helping out damsels in distress during his adventures.
Exclusive: James Mangold is negotiating to direct The Deep Blue Good-By, the 1964 John D. MacDonald novel that kicked off series of mystery novels with character Travis McGee. This has long been eyed by Fox as the launch of a star-driven franchise based on the beach bum McGee, a forerunner of muscular solitary heroes like Jack Reacher and Spenser For Hire, helping (and romancing) damsels in distress as he kicks ass against the powerful. The film was originally set as a star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio. That’s not going to happen now, as DiCaprio has plenty of work in front of him and this film, with a most recent script draft by Mystic River novelist Dennis Lehane, is certainly ready to go. DiCaprio and his Appian Way partner Jennifer Davisson-Killoran are producing with Amy Robinson and Chernin Entertainment. Previous script drafts were done by Dana Stevens and Kario Salem. Mangold, »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
Alessandra Stanley discusses the presence of social causes, notably gay rights, in last night's ceremony. Citing Jared Leto's impassioned acceptance speech for "Dallas Buyers Club" and Ellen DeGeneres's playful allusions to her sexuality on stage, she writes: "Hollywood is so righteous, suddenly, about gay rights, and that’s a little puzzling because for so long, movies were part of the problem. Professional basketball has its first openly gay player, Jason Collins, but it’s still hard to think of romantic leads — male or female — who are A-list Hollywood movie stars and also openly gay." [New York Times] Critics may be unsure of DeGeneres, but audiences aren't: last night's ratings are the best since the last ceremony she hosted. [Hollywood Reporter] Why the host's emphasis on social media was a savvy move. [La Times] Ramin Setoodeh, meanwhile, thinks she's the best fit for the job since Billy Crystal. [Variety] Mark Harris declares last night's show, for better and worse, »
- Guy Lodge
"Dallas Buyers Club" is looks likely to win the Best Makeup and Hairstyling Oscar, not least because AMPAS members might feel happier checking that off than "Bad Grandpa" or "The Lone Ranger." If it does, though, it'll surely be the humblest achievement ever to take the award, as Katey Rich learns that makeup artist Robin Mathews' entire budget for the film was just $250: "'The Academy just gasped when they heard that,' Mathews says, with no lack of pride in her voice ... 'We had to take them back and forth from their sickest look to their healthiest look, up to five times in one day ... They maintained that 40-pound weight loss throughout. So when you see them in the film, and they look like they’re 25 pounds heavier and healthier because of the medication, that’s just makeup.'" [Vanity Fair] Dana Stevens loves "Frozen," but has serious issues with »
- Guy Lodge
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