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1-20 of 361 items from 2013   « Prev | Next »


Why Isn’t ‘Lone Survivor’ Getting More Awards Attention?

24 December 2013 1:00 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Universal’s “Lone Survivor” faces two big tests: reception by general audiences and by Oscar voters. The film begins a qualifying run on Dec. 25, then opens wide Jan. 10. Despite being short-changed in awards handouts so far, the film could do well when Oscar noms are announced Jan. 16.

Some year-end films start awards buzz even before production starts. “Survivor” was not one of those. Universal saw the film as primarily an audience-targeted movie and a passion project for writer-director Peter Berg. A kudos consideration was a possibility, but not inevitable.

At early industry screenings, the reception was enthusiastic, and that continued at subsequent screenings. So the question has been asked more than once: “This film is terrific, why isn’t it getting more awards attention?” The answer is that it’s a crowded year, but there are other factors.

December awards from critics (and nominations from the Golden Globes) are often »

- Tim Gray

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Leon Panetta's 'Zero Dark Thirty' Secret

11 December 2013 11:15 AM, PST | Rollingstone.com | See recent Rolling Stone news »

According to newly declassified documents first reported by the Associated Press, former CIA chief Leon Panetta revealed secret information to Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal while the latter was in attendance for a debriefing about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. "I had no idea that individual was in the audience," Panetta said in a statement, referring to his 2011 speech at CIA headquarters. His spokesman, Jeremy Bash, added that Panetta assumed everyone in the audience had the proper clearance.

Read Mark Boal's Landmark Story "The Kill Team »

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Leon Panetta Revealed Secret Info To 'Zero Dark Thirty' Screenwriter

11 December 2013 8:00 AM, PST | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Washington -- Newly declassified documents show Tuesday that former CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed secret information to Zero Dark Thirty scriptwriter Mark Boal when Panetta gave a speech at CIA headquarters marking the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Panetta said through a spokesman that he didn't know Boal was in the room. Judicial Watch filed a request for the more than 200 pages of documents, which the CIA released Tuesday. The documents concerned the internal investigation of its role in the film about the bin Laden raid. Photos: 9/11 in Film "I had no idea that individual was in the

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- The Associated Press

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’12 Years a Slave,’ ‘Fruitvale Station’ Excluded From WGA Awards

3 December 2013 6:33 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The Writers Guild of America has remained tough on qualifying scripts for its screenplay awards, excluding more than a dozen high-profile scripts, including John Ridley’s screenplay for “12 Years a Slave.”

The guild’s restrictions — far more rigorous than other guilds — require that scripts be produced under WGA jurisdiction or under a collective bargaining agreement in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or the U.K. The WGA had no immediate comment on the exclusions, but the restrictions on eligibility are a longstanding practice at the guild.

Other notable screenplays excluded include Peter Morgan’s screenplay for “Rush”; Ryan Coogler’s script for  “Frutivale Station”; “Philomena,” written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope and “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” penned by William Nicholson.

Voting to determine the WGA’s nominees launched Tuesday on 95 eligible screenplays — 41 in the adapted category and 54 in the original category. The guild’s restrictions also require that the »

- Dave McNary

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Freshmen Writers of 2013: New Scribes Prove Wise

21 November 2013 8:00 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Oscar has a way of falling in love with first-time scripters, including Chris Terrio (“Argo”), Michael Arndt (“Little Miss Sunshine”), Diablo Cody (“Juno”), Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”), Mark Boal (“The Hurt Locker”) and Geoffrey Fletcher (“Precious”).

But those “freshmen” are sometimes showbiz veterans. That’s certainly true of “Don Jon” writer-director Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The thesp drew on his acting experience to pen the script.

“I wasn’t sitting looking at a computer writing,” Gordon-Levitt says. “I was up on my feet acting. When I would get the scene to a version that I like then I would go back to the keyboard and write it down. My writing process was not dissimilar from my acting process. I was basically doing the same thing except a few steps earlier.”

Cormac McCarthy, on the other hand, is a veteran novelist but “The Counselor” is his first screenplay. The script and picture have polarized critics, »

- Addie Morfoot

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Awards Race: Politics Re-Enters Campaigns for Oscar Films

4 November 2013 2:11 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

It’s started already.

Every few years, awards strategists offer some innovations to the campaign formula. In the late 1980s, it was screeners. Then it was Q&A’s and “in honor of” receptions. Last year, politics became a campaign tool, and that appears to be happening again, but earlier in the season than last year.

The Weinstein Co. today announced that President Obama will be screening “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” at the White House Nov. 7, with the list of attendees to include stars Idris Elba and Naomie Harris, as well as Nelson Mandela’s daughters Zindzi and Zenani Mandela. The press release included praise for the film from Zindzi M. and Nelson Mandela’s former wife Winnie.

Earlier this year, the pinnacle of politics-as-showbiz was Bill Clinton’s appearance at the Golden Globes to introduce a film clip from “Lincoln.” Not even presenting an award, but presenting a Clip! »

- Tim Gray

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Why ‘Prisoners’ Is Too Easy on the Subject of Torture

1 October 2013 12:36 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

(Spoiler Alert: This piece reveals key details about the plot of “Prisoners.”)

Why is it so often the ambiguous, unresolved movie that generates controversy while the easy, complacent one gets a free pass? To wit: Why does “Prisoners,” Denis Villeneuve’s self-serious booby-trap of a thriller, cause nary a stir for its pseudo-provocative condemnation of torture, while director Kathryn Bigelow’s hard-hitting, tough-minded “Zero Dark Thirty” gets her called names like “torture’s handmaiden”?

Apples and oranges, perhaps. But in light of a recent Mother Jones piece that praised Villeneuve’s movie as a corrective to Bigelow’s pro-torture propaganda, it’s hardly too soon to revisit “Zero Dark Thirty,” which kicked off a far-reaching debate last year over the use of “enhanced interrogation” techniques in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the ethics of its representation, the demands of historical accuracy, the differences between journalism and dramatization, and the »

- Justin Chang

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Kathryn Bigelow, Ben Kingsley Earn Britannia Awards

5 August 2013 9:07 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Kingsley are the first honorees announced for the 2013 BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards.

Bigelow will receive the John Schlesinger Award for excellence in directing, while Kingsley will be presented with the Albert R. Broccoli honor for worldwide contribution to entertainment.

The ceremony take place on Nov. 9 and air on BBC America the following evening in primetime. Additional honorees will be announced in the coming weeks.

Bigelow is currently working on an untitled project with screenwriter Mark Boal, with whom she delivered 2012′s “Zero Dark Thirty,” nominated for five Oscars and five BAFTAs (including best picture in each) and 2010′s “The Hurt Locker,” winner of six Academy Awards including picture, directing and original screenplay.

Kingsley, most recently in “Iron Man 3″ with “Ender’s Game” on tap, has been nominated for four Oscars, winning for 1982′s “Gandhi.” »

- Jon Weisman

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Bradley Manning Movies Already in Development

31 July 2013 6:30 AM, PDT | Moviefone | See recent Moviefone news »

Bradley Manning, the United States Army soldier who in 2010 was arrested for having passed along classified materials to the website WikiLeaks, was found not guilty on Tuesday on charges of "aiding the enemy," but was convicted on 17 of 22 charges -- including five counts of espionage and theft. Even though the verdict is only a day old, already several movies are in the works, looking to dramatize Manning's story.

Last year, Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney ("No End in Sight," "Taxi to the Dark Side") and producer Marc Shmuger, the filmmakers behind this year's "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks," optioned the rights to Denver Nicks's nonfiction account "Private: Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks, and the Biggest Exposure of Official Secrets in American History."

According to Variety, Gibney and Shmuger are looking to develop a drama, rather than another documentary like "We Steal Secrets."

In September, "The Fifth Estate," which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, »

- Drew Taylor

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Of Course Alex Gibney is Already Working on a Bradley Manning Movie

31 July 2013 6:19 AM, PDT | FilmSchoolRejects.com | See recent FilmSchoolRejects news »

It should come as little surprise that, in the wake of Bradley Manning being found guilty on charges that could add up to over a hundred years in military prison, filmmaker Alex Gibney is ahead of the curve on developing a feature film. According to Variety, the Oscar-winning director is following up We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks with a movie focused on the other side of the Wikileaks coin. He and producing partner Marc Shmuger have been developing it since gaining the rights to Denver Nicks’ “Private: Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks, and the Biggest Exposure of Official Secrets in American History” last year. The pair are looking for a screenwriter. In the meantime, filmmakers are all over Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Beyond Gibney’s documentary, there’s also Bill Condon’s Fifth Estate and a forthcoming potential work from Mark Boal based on the extensive investigation done by the New York Times’ Bill Heller (who was »

- Scott Beggs

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Bradley Manning Movie Already in the Works

30 July 2013 12:24 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Hollywood is already planning a movie about WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning, who was found not guilty of “aiding the enemy” on Tuesday for his role in one of the biggest intelligence leaks in U.S. history.

Oscar-winning documaker Alex Gibney and producer Marc Shmuger, the filmmakers behind acclaimed Sundance documentary “We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks,” last year optioned the rights to Denver Nicks’ book “Private: Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks, and the Biggest Exposure of Official Secrets in American History.” and are currently looking for writers to adapt the story into a dramatic feature film,

“I hope that Judge Lind will be lenient in her sentence, taking into consideration Manning’s intent, his willingness to take responsibility for his actions, and the outrageously abusive treatment he has received at the hands of the Obama Administration,” Gibney said in response to the Manning verdict on Tuesday.

Gibney and Shmuger’s film »

- Stuart Oldham

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WikiLeaks documentary: 'Julian Assange wanted $1m'

11 July 2013 3:31 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Alex Gibney's film We Steal Secrets is the first WikiLeaks documentary out of the gate – but it nearly didn't happen. The prolific film-maker talks Assange, Bradley Manning and paranoia

Had things worked out differently, Alex Gibney and Julian Assange could have been soulmates – instead, they've ended up more as enemies. Gibney is one of the most prolific documentary-makers of today, and his films often take the perspective of the victim or antihero. As such, Assange was hard to resist. "Here's this tremendously romantic figure travelling the world with a laptop in his knapsack, exposing abuses of power," says Gibney. "That sounds like a pretty good story to me."

He's not the only one: the saga of WikiLeaks, the group's part in exposing Us atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the subsequent sexual charges levelled at Assange, is one of the biggest of our era. It's a real-life, 21st-century spy »

- Steve Rose

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Status at the Half: Best Movies of 2013 So Far

1 July 2013 9:11 AM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

We are now officially half way through the year and so I’ve asked our staff to vote for their favourite films released thus far. Hollywood blockbusters may have disappointed us, but thankfully we can always rely on independent filmmakers to create some truly inspiring films. Rounding out the special mentions is Terrence Malick’s To The Wonder, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, and Cate Shortland’s Lore – all missing the cut by a couple of points.

****

#15: Iron Man 3 (24 points)

Directed by Shane Black

Written by Drew Pearce & Shane Black

USA, 2013

Fun has become a slightly forgotten commodity in the summer blockbuster, with many studios and filmmakers now inspired by the efforts of directors like Christopher Nolan to be as grim as possible. The modern superhero often has to be angst-ridden or otherwise mentally scarred to make an impact on audiences, so it’s a pleasant surprise »

- Ricky

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Director Costa-Gavras: European Cinema Could Not Survive Without State Protection

18 June 2013 4:39 PM, PDT | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

Filmmaking could not exist in Europe without the support of governments, veteran director Costa-Gavras told an audience at the Los Angeles Film Festival on Monday night. At the same time, the Greek director of such politically-charged films as "Missing" and the Oscar-winning "Z," said that he supports French exclusionary laws that limit the amount of American television that can be shown on the air. "If the state doesn't help, cinema cannot survive in Europe," the 80-year-old director said in a conversation with "The Hurt Locker" and "Zero Dark Thirty" screenwriter Mark Boal »

- Steve Pond

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Edward Snowden story on way to the big screen

14 June 2013 9:01 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Film about Nsa whistleblower already being planned, along with separate feature about Barack Obama's drones programme

Hollywood is planning to bring movies centring on the story of data-snooping whistleblower Edward Snowden and the equally controversial Us drones programme to the big screen, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Few details are available about either project, but the drones movie appears to be further along the road to a potential release. Production company Lakeshore Entertainment has picked up an untitled screenplay for an "action thriller with military elements" from writer Spenser Cohen, a recent University of Southern California graduate who last year sold a screenplay for upcoming true-life Somali pirate drama High Target Value.

Hollywood agency Wme is said to be offering a film about Edward Snowden, who exposed the Us National Security Agency's programme of widespread surveillance of its own citizens via the Guardian on 6 June, to studios.

Both projects »

- Ben Child

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Mad Max's Weekend Movie Guide: 'Man of Steel' & More

14 June 2013 7:00 AM, PDT | NextMovie | See recent NextMovie news »

Greetings from the apocalypse! You want destruction? This weekend's got Massive destruction. You want egos? This weekend's got Massive egos. Whether it’s the bickering Apatow Mafia or Zack Snyder pounding Superman's face into the pavement over and over it just might be the end of the world as we know it. Feeling fine optional.

Friday, June 14

Pow! In Theaters

Nap before Zod! Sorry, boys and girls, but I must be the bearer of sour tidings: "Man of Steel" isn't that great. Is it better than the coat hanger abortion that was "Superman Returns"? Yeah, but not by leaps and bounds. On the plus side the cast is terrific, anchored by the measured charisma of Henry Cavill as the superest man there is and Lois Lane at her spunky best courtesy of Amy Adams. Unfortunately, the retro sci-fi trappings are "Green Lantern"-level ponderous and a climactic Metropolis battle that's 9/11 times-a-hundred ("Yes, »

- Max Evry

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Special Features - Is M. Night Shyamalan really as bad as people say?

13 June 2013 10:55 PM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Having delivered another critical failure with After Earth, Anthony Stokes asks whether M. Night Shyamalan is really as bad as people say...

Nobody embodies the phrase "One Hit Wonder" better than M. Night Shyamalan. Initially deemed as "The Next Spielberg", he has been on a progressively steady slump his entire career, making weaker and weaker films with each passing release, and at this point it's up in the air which one is the worst. How could somebody who showed such initial promise end up becoming a punchline?

M. Night's formula is to have a mystery that revolves around a mythology and slowly give out information to the audience before hitting them with the pay off. His direction is very slow and deliberate, with horror sensibilities. His actors are all given thoughtful, pulled-back performances and his pacing is really slow to draw out tension, which is best embodied in The Sixth Sense. »

- Flickering Myth

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Muckraking Journalist Filmmaker Laura Poitras: Ahead of Surveillance Scandal, Making War on Terror Doc with Assange (Video)

10 June 2013 10:07 PM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Mark Boal, move over. Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras is aggressively reporting the National Security Agency surveillance scandal in the international press at the same time that she is filming material for her documentary on the subject, which also includes the participation of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange. Poitras first posted an op-ed and video interview with Nsa whistleblower Bill Binney last August in the New York Times. This past week she not only shared a byline on the June 6 Washington Post story announcing the Nsa tracking of nine internet companies, which detailed the Nsa's Prism domestic surveillance project, but shared a byline and shot the interview that accompanied Glenn Greenwald's piece in The Guardian that unveiled Nsa whistleblower Edward Snowden. Some think that Poitras herself may have found him; she, Greenwald and Ewan MacAskill were summoned to Hong Kong by Snowdon for his big Guardian reveal. Poitras knows whereof she speaks. »

- Anne Thompson

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DVD Review - Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

10 June 2013 9:17 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Zero Dark Thirty, 2012.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow.

Starring Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Mark Strong, Chris Pratt, Kyle Chandler, Taylor Kinney, Mark Duplass, Frank Grillo, Stephen Dillane, Edgar Ramirez, Harold Perrineau, Jennifer Ehle, James Gandolfini, Scott Adkins and John Barrowman.

Synopsis:

A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May 2011.

Zero Dark Thirty opens with the sound of real 9/11 recordings, between victims and emergency services, played over a plain black background. We’re faced with echoes of the dying head-on, nowhere for us to hide. It’s harrowing, but this isn’t manipulation. The genuine screams of terror aren’t placed front and centre of Zero Dark Thirty to justify the investigation that comes after – it’s just fact, director Kathryn Bigelow is saying. This is just what happened, »

- Flickering Myth

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Mark Kermode's DVD round-up

8 June 2013 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Zero Dark Thirty; Lincoln; A Good Day to Die Hard; For Ellen

From the moment columnist Naomi Wolf compared Kathryn Bigelow (the first woman to win the Academy award for best director) to Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl (no, really), it was clear that Zero Dark Thirty (2012, Universal, 15) was never going to get a sensible hearing. Claims that this gripping account of the hunt for Osama bin Laden somehow justified or endorsed torture were fuelled by stories of CIA co-operation, stories that the intelligence agency promptly debunked in an attempt to distance itself from harrowing scenes of water-boarding, humiliation and worse.

Yet, as Bigelow and writer Mark Boal point out, if you watch the film (rather than read the hysterical press), you'll find no evidence that "harsh tactics" produce anything other than rotten results. Indeed, the great irony of Zdt's complex narrative is that the CIA is too busy putting the »

- Mark Kermode

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