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Exclusive: The Hamptons Film Festival just got a good one for its opening night on October 9. It will premiere St. Vincent, the Ted Melfi-directed comedy that had a rousing opening-night World Premiere at Toronto, was just slotted into the first night of the Long Island festival. This fest launch fit nicely into The Weinstein Company’s release strategy that begins October 10. Now, of course, the question becomes whether the Hamptons is fortunate enough to get a dose of the film’s star, Bill Murray, who charmed the entire city of Toronto after the festival declared it Bill Murray Day and he showed up with a crown and a slew of great stories.
Murray came through even though it was an open question till late whether he would cross the border; he doesn’t have a cell phone or an agent, and he’s a pretty elusive guy — which is part of his charm, »
- Mike Fleming Jr
As the final acquisition deals roll in on Toronto’s 2014 film festival movies, a couple of overriding themes emerged that bode well for the appetite for indie fare and have sellers smacking their lips for Afm, Sundance, Berlin and beyond. In a fest where Harvey Weinstein left his checkbook home and didn’t make a single splashy deal, I have never seen so many new players make statement buys at a festival than happened in Toronto.
The other intriguing development came on the fest’s biggest deal, when Paramount Pictures swooped into the auction of the Chris Rock-directed comedy Top Five, and blew buyers out of the water by paying $12.5 million for worldwide rights. It was the second straight fest where Paramount did this, after the studio made a precedent-setting pre-buy Cannes deal for the Denis Villeneuve-directed Amy Adams sci-fi film Story Of Your Life. Some established indie »
- Mike Fleming Jr
Following its premiere at the Venice Film Festival last month, Fox Searchlight has now debuted the first brief clip from Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s (21 Grams, Biutiful) latest film Birdman, which features Michael Keaton (Batman) and Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-Man 2). Check it out below…
“Birdman is a black comedy that tells the story of an actor (Michael Keaton) – famous for portraying an iconic superhero – as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself.”
Also featuring in the cast of Birdman are Edward Norton (The Incredible Hulk), Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion), Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover Part III), Naomi Watts (21 Grams) and Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone).
Birdman is set for release in the States on October 17th and on January 2nd 2015.
- Gary Collinson
By Anjelica Oswald
With the Telluride Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival now over, all eyes are on the 52nd New York Film Festival, which runs Sept. 26 to Oct 12. The festival’s lineup includes some festival favorites from these past few weeks, including Whiplash and Foxcatcher, but the festival’s premieres have been gaining buzz since the lineup was released. Here is a list of the top 10 films to see in New York (in alphabetical order with their festival date):
Birdman (Oct. 11)
Dir. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
This dark comedy features Keaton as a former film star who created a Broadway play in an effort to make a comeback. The film premiered in Venice to rave reviews before heading to Telluride where it created more Oscar buzz. It will close the festival, which the Academy Award-winning Her (2013) did last year. »
- Anjelica Oswald
It’s September, so why wouldn’t we start predicting an Oscar race that won’t finish for another five months?
To be fair, Venice, Telluride, and the Toronto film festivals have all concluded. Many films have screened. Many films have connected with audiences, and a rough draft of the Oscar race is beginning to come into focus. Sure, no Academy member will even begin popping in those screener DVDs for another couple of months, but it’s still worth discussing what has buzz and what is likely to still be on voters’ minds once the weather finally begins to cool off. »
- Nicole Sperling
Paris– Chicago-based Music Box Films and U.K.’s Soda Pictures have acquired Anne Fontaine’s “Gemma Bovery,” a romantic comedy toplining British rising star Gemma Arterton, on the heels of its Special Presentation premiere at Toronto.
Sold and co-produced by Gaumont, “Gemma” was warmly received at Toronto where it steered a standing ovation and proved one of the fest’s arthouse crossover highlights. A satirical take on Gustave Flaubert’s classic novel “Madame Bovary,” “Gemma” also sparked two offers from Australian buyers.
“Gemma” stars Arterton as a passionate young British woman who moves with her husband to a small Norman town where she meets a quirky French baker, played by popular Gallic thesp Fabrice Luchini.
- Elsa Keslassy
Bill Murray isn't quite ready to be canonized, judging by the first poster for his upcoming comedy St. Vincent. The poster shows Murray, in character as Vincent, smack in the middle of the film's two female leads, Naomi Watts and Melissa McCarthy. In the film, Watts' prostitute character is Vincent's only friend, while McCarthy plays the harried mother whose son Vincent babysits. The poster cheekily references the title by placing what initially appears to be a halo over Murray's head, although it's more likely to be a smoke ring. The film, directed by Ted Melfi, premiered at the
- Ryan Gajewski
Murray stars as an elderly recluse with a secret heart of gold that begins to shine when he starts taking care of his young neighbor and his mom, played by Melissa McCarthy. Naomi Watts also stars as Murray’s girlfriend, who just happens to be a stripper and pregnant. The film premiered as the headlining event on “Bill Murray Day” at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month and will open in theaters gradually across the country beginning Oct. »
- Jake Perlman
Within days of the film's premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, FilmNation has closed deals for Noah Baumbach's While We're Young in virtually every international territory. The dramedy stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as a married couple whose lives are disrupted by the arrival of a younger couple, played by Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried. While We're Young also stars Charles Grodin, Adam Horovitz, Maria Dizzia and Ryan Serhant. “It is fantastic to see the distributor response match all the critical praise that Noah’s film has received,” said FilmNation CEO Glen Basner. During Toronto, While We're Young sold
- Pamela McClintock
Hipsters: you love to hate them and hate to love them. These uber-chic, urban-dwelling, subclass of twenty-somethings are usually defined by their originality through unoriginality, absurd style of fashion, “meta” sense of humor, and pop culture-referencing like there is no tomorrow. Hipsters’ unabashed preciousness and self-awareness rub many the wrong way to the point where anything with the slightest whiff of Hipster-ism is like presenting garlic to vampires, but for those with enough patience to swallow the twee self-indulgence prevalent in all hipster culture, often there is something of substance beneath all the excessive posturing.
Case in point, director Noah Baumbach. Whether Baumbach regards himself as a hipster or not, Baumbach, along with his friend and sometimes writing partner Wes Anderson, are associated with cinematic Hipster-ism. This makes Baumbach’s newest feature, While We’re Young, a very interesting film indeed, for the movie is essentially a satire of Hipster culture. »
- Christopher Lominac
Noah Baumbach’s newest film While We’re Young will be screened in theaters all around the world following a very well-received reception at Tiff.
While We’re Young stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as a married couple who struggle with the idea that their big moments in life are behind them, and their lackluster life gets a boost when they become intertwined with a younger couple, played by Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried. Driver plays Jamie, a young, hipster documentarian, while Stiller’s Josh is a washed up documentary filmmaker, and the film plays on a conflict between the generations..
The film premiered in Toronto to rave reviews, and was quickly bought for Us distribution by A24. A24 reportedly paid around $4 million for the rights, giving While We’re Young one of the highest price tags at Tiff.
“We are enormous fans of Noah’s and were completely »
Like wild geese in reverse, movie lovers and the press corps head to the Great White North in early September— specifically, to the Toronto International Film Festival, which ended yesterday — for any number of reasons: to catch up with some of the best movies of the previous Sundance and Cannes as the flicks make one last fest-circuit stop; to see stars in their natural habitat, i.e. on a red carpet with microphone shoved in their faces; to stumble across something weird, wild or off-the-world-cinema grid that may not be coming soon, »
Even when his choice of material has been suspect, Alejandro G. (formerly Gonzalez) Inarritu has never given us reason to doubt him as one of the most purely gifted filmmakers of his generation. For him, no less than for Michael Keaton, this ferociously inventive plunge into the corroded soul of American celebrity represents a career-reigniting comeback; for that wizardly cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, it’s the latest in a steady stream of digital long-take miracles, like “Black Swan” as directed by Max Ophuls. (Venice, Telluride, New York)
“From What Is Before”
The extreme length is inseparable from the power and conviction of Lav Diaz’s historical epic about the devastation of a small Filipino barrio amid the political and military unrest of the early 1970s. As a slow-burning study of social decay, this winner of Locarno’s Golden Leopard prize is both a thematic companion piece to Michael Haneke »
- Variety Staff
London — Beta Cinema has inked further deals on Giulio Ricciarelli’s post-war drama “Labyrinth of Lies,” which was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics for North America last week following its Toronto premiere.
Beta also revealed further sales on Venice Days audience-award winner “The Farewell Party,” which also played in Toronto, and fellow Toronto entry “Tour De Force,” as well as a pre-sale on the next pic from Oliver Hirschbiegel (“Downfall”).
“Labyrinth of Lies,” which is based on the true story of a young man’s campaign to prosecute members of the Waffen SS who ran Auschwitz, went to France (Sophie Dulac Distribution), Italy (Good Films), Portugal (Films4You), Israel (Nachshon Films), Australia (Madman), Taiwan (Swallow Wings) and Brazil (Mares Filmes). Deals with distributors from U.K., Australia, Japan, Spain, Benelux, Scandinavia and Eastern European territories are in final negotiations.
Sharon Maymon and Tal Grant’s “The Farewell Party,” a compassionate comedy about assisted suicide, »
- Leo Barraclough
On Saturday, Kate Winslet returned to the red carpet at the Toronto International Film Festival to premiere A Little Chaos. She's just one of the latest stars to step out for the cameras in Canada, after Ryan Reynolds and Chris Evans. On Monday, Jennifer Aniston made a chic return to the festival when she attended the premiere of her latest project, Cake; for the film's afterparty, she had the support of her handsome fiancé, Justin Theroux, and the two showed cute Pda while unwinding after the screening. Last weekend, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Garner did press for their new films and InStyle and Hollywood Foreign Press Association's party became a veritable who's who of Hollywood, with stars like Channing Tatum, Naomi Watts, Jake Gyllenhaal, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Ansel Elgort popping up. »
Though I did get to attend the TCM Classic Film Festival earlier this year (which was an amazing experience, and well worth your time), the New York Film Festival, in its 52nd year this time around, will be the first time I will have attended a festival as press. So, I’m very giddy about it. I’m excited to hobnob with other writers, get up at unfathomable times to catch screenings of films in languages I don’t often hear, and write like the wind. So, without further ado, here are my top five anticipated films of Nyff.
- Goodbye to Language 3D | Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Though I’ve never felt much warmth towards the iconoclastic Godard (save for Vivre sa Vie), I found myself realizing, as word came from Cannes, that I was incredibly eager to test out his newest film Goodbye to Language. Intellectually stimulating, supposedly playful, »
- Kyle Turner
★★★★☆Malaise of various kinds has manifested itself in the work of American director Noah Baumbach. In 2012, the much adored Frances Ha saw the director chronicle the ailing dance career and resultant ennui of an arrested development twenty-something whilst gently ribbing consciously cool New Yorkers. His new picture, While We're Young (2014), explores both professional stagnation and sends up trendy hipster culture through a more traditional mid-life crisis narrative. Providing a further through line between the films is Adam Driver who stars alongside Amanda Seyfried, Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts in a film that talks about getting old and artistic integrity while keeping the laughs plentiful.
- CineVue UK
The first image from Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees has arrived online, giving us a look at Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) as Arthur, a suicidal American who treks deep into Japan’s Aokigahara – a.k.a. ‘Suicide Forest’ – to kill himself at the base of Mount Fuji, only to come across a Japanese man – played by Ken Watanabe (Godzilla) – who has the same aim. Take a look…
“I say another title for this film is ‘You’ve got to go through annihilation to get to salvation’. It’s one hell of a survival story,” McConaughey tells EW. “Gus is a wonderful voyeur and a really gentle soul of a man. He’s got the right sensibility for a film like this. He listens and considers any ideas that I throw at him and I undeniably trust the direction he gives me. He’s a lot of fun to create with. »
- Gary Collinson
Confessions of an Aging Artist: Baumbach Humorously Reflects on Filmmaking Ethics and Middle Age
In some ways the complimentary antithesis to his last work of whimsy, Frances Ha, Noah Baumbach’s latest film, While We’re Young, clamps the cantankerous jaws of midlife crisis around hollow hipster nostalgia, inevitably asking where the importance of authenticity remains in our current media savvy culture and why we often seem to socially settle in and close up with age, ultimately losing touch with the contagious excitement of free flowing youthful creative energy. Likely the creative result of Baumbach’s relationship with his significantly younger significant other, Greta Gerwig, the notoriously bitter filmmaker seems to be grappling with his own gradual aging and inevitable disconnection from youth. Filmmaking may be a medium of immortality, but both he and his documentarian protagonist are beginning to realize that they are feeling their age, no longer relating »
- Jordan M. Smith
Today we have the first photo from "The Sea of Trees" drama, starring Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe and Naomi Watts. Check it out below. Plot: Arthur Brennan (McConaughey) treks into Aokigahara, known as The Sea of Trees, a mysterious dense forest at the base of Japan's Mount Fuji where people go to contemplate life and death. Having found the perfect place to die, he encounters Takumi Nakamura (Watanabe), a Japanese man who has also lost his way. The two men begin a journey of reflection and survival, which affirms Arthur's will to live and reconnects him to his love with his wife (Watts). The new movie is directed by Gus Van Sant (Milk, Good Will Hunting). A release date has yet to be announced. Photo: (click to enlarge) »
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