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Departure Day: When it comes to TV, is closure important?
If you happen to follow a decent number of TV critics on Twitter, you may have noticed a minor eruption of late. A schism has emerged, prompted by accounts like The Cancellation Bear, which concerns itself solely with the topic of whether or not series are likely to survive based on current ratings patterns. That may sound perfectly innocent on its own, but quite a few admirers have expressed the notion that they refuse to dive into a series if they get the sense that it will come to a premature end, thereby robbing them of closure. This idea has, naturally, left many critics incensed: isn’t TV a medium founded on chaos, on the thrill of working within limitations and at the whims of fickle audiences? Moreover, isn’t it silly to always want tidy resolution in the context »
The Post-1960S, Pre-Digital Age: Real-time One-offs, 1975-1998
British filmmaker John Byrum is responsible for the first (and in some ways only) real-time period film. Inserts (1975), set in the early 1930s, is about a Boy Wonder movie director (called Boy Wonder, played by Richard Dreyfuss fresh from American Graffiti (1973) and Jaws (1975)) now washed up before the age of 30, resigned to making porn because of Hollywood’s conversion to sound. Not only is Inserts scrupulously real-time (with the exception of the opening credits sequence, which offers glimpses of the stag film we’re about to see made) and period, but it’s rather long for such a film, just shy of two hours. To tell the entire story would be spoiling the fun, but the Boy Wonder deals with recalcitrant actresses, the problem of his own potency, career problems, death, sex, after-death and after-sex…and in the end, as »
- Daniel Smith-Rowsey
What do film directors Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Agnès Varda, Robert Wise, Fred Zinnemann, Luis Buñuel, Alain Resnais, Roman Polanski, Sidney Lumet, Robert Altman, Louis Malle, Richard Linklater, Tom Tykwer, Alexander Sokurov, Paul Greengrass, Song Il-Gon, Alfonso Cuarón, and Alejandro Iñárritu have in common? More specifically, what type of film have they directed, setting them apart from fewer than 50 of their filmmaking peers? Sorry, “comedy” or “drama” isn’t right. If you’ve looked at this article’s headline, you’ve probably already guessed that the answer is that they’ve all made “real-time” films, or films that seemed to take about as long as their running time.
The real-time film has long been a sub-genre without much critical attention, but the time of the real-time film has come. Cuarón’s Gravity (2013), which was shot and edited so as to seem like a real-time film, floated away with the most 2014 Oscars, »
- Daniel Smith-Rowsey
When Pulp Fiction opened in theaters 20 years ago today, the mainstream moviegoing audience was introduced to a dynamic new Hollywood talent. Quentin Tarantino was a 31-year-old hipster whose formal film education never rose much higher than working as a clerk in a Manhattan Beach video store. A walking encyclopedia of film history who fetishized some of the more obscure genres, Tarantino had a gift for dialog and his own visual toolbox that expanded the language of cinematic storytelling. Pulp Fiction was the culmination of a two-year stretch where the director went from Nobody to Wunderkind, beginning with the Sundance premiere »
- Jeff Labrecque
In today's roundup of news and views: Chris Marker's photographs taken in North Korea, David Lynch's depiction of Los Angeles, a discussion of the work of Claire Denis, a Martin Scorsese symposium, revisiting Michael Powell's The Tales of Hoffmann, Jonathan Rosenbaum on Jean-Luc Godard's Notre musique, a collection of writing by George Kuchar, an interview with Abdellah Taïa, Christopher Hitchens on John Wayne, reviews of David Cronenberg's first novel, Tom Tykwer's plans for a television series set in Berlin in the 1920s, Joe Sarno Day at DC's and more. » - David Hudson »
The series is based on Volker Kutscher’s bestselling crime books. Tykwer (pictured) will serve as showrunner.
The 1920’s-set “Babylon Berlin” centers on the investigations of a police inspector Gereon Rath. The show delivers an “atmospheric portrayal of the most exciting city in the world, a hotbed of drugs and politics, murder and art, emancipation and extremism,” according to Beta Film.
X Filme Creative Pool tapped Tykwer, Hendrik Handloegten, Achim von Borries and Stefan Arndt to develop the concept for the adaptation of Kutscher’s books. The German-language series will start shooting in mid-2015.
” ‘Babylon Berlin’ is another great milestone for Sky Deutschland. It is not only our first investment in a major German production, but also the close cooperation with Ard, a »
- Elsa Keslassy
Exclusive: As we wait for the acquisition titles here at Toronto to get moving, Relativity has scored its second deal for a film not in the festival. Relativity has closed U.S. distribution rights to the Lotus Entertainment thriller Kidnap, which stars Halle Berry and will be directed by Luis Prieto from a script by Knate Gwaltney. Production on the thriller begins this fall. This follows Relativity’s deal on the fest’s opening day for Woman In Black 2, which is in the can.
It’s also the second deal for Lotus and Gold Star Films, the Kidnap financiers. They previously made a pre-fest North American rights deal with Lionsgate on Maggie, the Henry Hobson-directed zombie film that stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin, the latter playing the title character who goes through the slow corpsey metamorphosis. Lotus is selling international on Kidnap, a task made easier given Berry »
- Mike Fleming Jr
A Hologram For The King, the upcoming drama that reunites Tom Hanks with his Cloud Atlas director Tom Tykwer, has drawn attention from buyers in Toronto, with Lotus Entertainment closing multiple international territories. The film doesn't yet have a U.S. distributor. The adaptation of the Dave Eggers' best-seller about a failed American businessman who tries to sell his idea to a wealthy Arab monarch co-stars Sarita Choudhury (Homeland), Omar Elba (Intelligence), Tracey Fairaway (Enough Said), David Menkin (Zero Dark Thirty) and Tom Skerritt (Ted). Lotus sold Hologram to Scandinavia, Benelux, Poland, Portugal and all of Latin American
- Scott Roxborough
Bill Johnson, Jim Seibel and the sales team have closed deals in Scandinavia (Mis.Label); Latin America excluding Mexico (Swen); Benelux (A-Film Benelux Rechten); Poland (Monolith); Portugal (Pris Audiovisuais); and the former Yugoslavia (Blitz Film).
Lotus has also licensed rights in Hong Kong (Golden Scene); Singapore (Shaw Renters); Taiwan (Caichang Int’l); Thailand (Mono Film); and China (Hgc Entertainment).
Further deals closed in Greece, Cypress, Turkey, Middle East, India and Pakistan (Italia Film); Iceland (Myndform); Israel (United King); Bulgaria and Romania (Programs4 Media); South Africa (MNet.) and airlines (Cinesky).
X Filme Creative Pool co-produced the feature and retains rights for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, while executive producer Fábrica de Cine controls Mexico and Spain.
A previously announced Icon Film Distribution holds UK rights to the tale of a man teetering on the brink of insolvency »
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
Lotus Entertainment announced today that Ed Gass-Donnelly (Small Town Murder Songs, The Last Exorcism Part II) will write and direct the new sci-fi thriller Pivot. When a scientist's loving wife is killed, he invents a device to Pivot between parallel universes to save her life, but to be with her, he'll have to kill the parallel version of himself. Lotus' Jim Seibel and Bill Johnson will produce the film, with D.J. Gugenheim and Ara Keshishian of Lotus executive producing alongside Ed Gass-Donnelly.
"A high-quality concept like Pivot is exactly the type of project we were looking for. Ed has the perfect approach to bring Pivot to life and we are eager to embark on our journey."
Donnelly is known for his hands-on method to film - often serving as director, producer, writer, and editor. He made his feature debut, »
I'm a sucker for solid political thrillers, and this one definitely has my attention, if only because it's set in an African country (Kenya), with a black African cast and crew, and is a 4th collaboration between German filmmaker Tom Tykwer's One Fine Day Films, and Nairobi (Kenya)-based Ginger Ink - a project we first alerted you to a year ago, when it was beginning principal photography. S&A has covered every film that's been developed under the One Fine Day Films/Ginger Ink collab: "Soul Boy," from director Hawa Essuman, "Nairobi Half Life," from director David Tosh Gitonga, and most recently, "Something Necessary," »
- Tambay A. Obenson
The UK’s Icon Film Distribution has acquired A Hologram For The King. The Tom Tykwer-directed comedic drama stars Tom Hanks and is based on the eponymous novel by Dave Eggers which Tykwer adapted. Also starring are Sarita Choudhury, Omar Elba, Tracey Fairaway, David Menkin and Tom Skerritt. The highly-anticipated picture takes place far away from the recession-weary U.S., as an up-and-coming Saudi Arabian city provides the backdrop for foundering American businessman Alan Clay’s (Hanks) last-ditch effort to stave off bankruptcy, pay his daughter’s college fees, and accomplish something grand. Producers are Uwe Schott and Stefan Arndt of X Filme Creative […] »
Hanks plays Alan Clay, an American salesmen who finds himself in Saudi Arabia making a desperate bid to save his ailing career after the construction of a huge new complex in the middle of the desert.
The film is currently in post-production, following shooting in Morocco, Germany, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Rosser)
Tykwer, who co-directed Hanks in “Cloud Atlas” with the Wachowski siblings, adapted the script to “Hologram” from the novel by Dave Eggers. Joining Hanks in the cast are Sarita Choudhury (“Homeland”), Omar Elba (“Intelligence”), Tracey Fairaway (“Enough Said”), David Menkin (“Zero Dark Thirty”) and Tom Skerritt (“Ted,” “Top Gun”).
The film is set in an up-and-coming Saudi Arabian city, which provides the backdrop for the last-ditch efforts by foundering American businessman Alan Clay (Hanks) to stave off bankruptcy, pay his daughter’s college fees, and accomplish something great. It is described as “a gentle, crazy, wistful ballad.”
Pic is in post-production, following shoots in Morocco, Germany, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
- Leo Barraclough
London – U.K. distributor Icon said Friday that it had picked up the local rights to the Tom Hanks-starring comedy drama A Hologram for the King. Directed by Tom Tykwer and adapted from the 2012 book by Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King follows the story of a struggling U.S. businessman who journeys to Saudi Arabia to try to secure an It contract in a last-ditch attempt to save his career. Photos Tom Hanks Goes Disney: The Making of 'Saving Mr. Banks' Shooting on the film, which also stars Sarita Choudhury, Omar Elba, Tracey Fairaway,
- Alex Ritman
Though it boasts handsome production values and Tom Tykwer amongst its producer team, Kenyan crime thriller Veve is otherwise a catalog of missed and squandered opportunities, a thriller that simply fails to thrill thanks to a script overstuffed with unengaging subplots and two dimensional characters going through the motions of an overly familiar scenario and an utter lack of performers with any significant charisma. Back country politician Amos is the classic big fish in a small pond, a man of immense ambitions whose smooth and polished exterior covers a ruthless lust for increased power and money, both of which come via his involvement in the trade of veve (also known as khat), a relatively mild narcotic. Amos controls the veve supply in his region, the...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
A complex exploration of the trade in khat, a mildly narcotic crop grown in the East African nation, pic marks helmer Simon Mukali’s feature debut.
“(One Fine Day) gave me a chance to do this feature film that I had visualized in my head, but I didn’t know if it would happen,” he says. “It was a big show of faith.”
“(Diff) was the best possible platform to launch our Kenyan film,” says producer Sarika Lakhani, noting that “Half-Life” built on its Durban buzz with screenings at the AFI Film Fest and Rotterdam. »
- Christopher Vourlias
(Cbr) It’s all "Groundhog Day’s" fault. The 1993 comedy hit, which stars Bill Murray as a snarky weatherman forced to re-live the same day over and over again until he becomes a better person, made the idea of a time loop a very popular narrative device for movies and television — and for good reason. There isn’t one person who hasn’t had a day they wish they could take a mulligan on. It’s a very relatable idea, and it’s easy to see why Hollywood keeps going back to the time-loop well. With "Edge of Tomorrow" becoming the latest member of the “Groundhog Day-ing It Club,” Spinoff looks back at some of the most memorable TV and movie do-overs. “Cause and Effect” ("Star Trek: The Next Generation") Actually, maybe we should blame this fifth season episode of Tng, which aired in 1992 — a year before "Groundhog Day. »
- Phil Pirrello, Comic Book Resources
Sony Pictures Classics honchos Michael Barker and Tom Bernard have been feted up one side and down the other lately. The duo celebrated 20 years of Spc in 2012 and have received awards from the Museum of the Moving Image and the Gotham Awards as of late. Tonight they will receive the Los Angeles Film Festival's Spirit of Independence Award as the love keeps pouring in. Given that we recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of Fox Searchlight — another crucial entity in the indie film space — it seemed like we were over due for a similar appreciation of Sony Classics' 22 years of output. The interesting thing, though, is that unlike Searchlight, there isn't necessarily anything outwardly identifiable about Sony Classics films as, well, "Sony Classics films." They all have a strong whiff of good taste but they don't have the heavy marketing footprint of some of the studio's contemporaries. Barker and Bernard's cinephile passion is always evident, »
- Gregory Ellwood, Guy Lodge, Kristopher Tapley
Shanghai — Oriental DreamWorks, the joint venture between DreamWorks Animation and a trio of Chinese companies, has unveiled a diversified live-action and animation development slate of third-party content.
The Shanghai-based company has struck development deals with a trio of local Chinese companies, spanning five feature film projects.
This is a significant departure from the company’s previous mission, which was originally focused on in-house developed animated features, such as the now in production “Kung Fu Panda 3.” The change of tack was first signalled by Variety in September last year.
The deal includes an untitled historical period epic based on a screenplay by Wang Huiling, who previously wrote “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” and whose novel is currently being filmed as “The Crossing” by John Woo. »
- Patrick Frater
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