16 articles

Box Office: 'Hunger Games' Cinches Holiday Victory Over 'Creed,' 'Good Dinosaur'

28 November 2015 7:47 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2” continues to vanquish its Thanksgiving holiday box office competitors, tracking for a five-day total of $74 million.

The Jennifer Lawrence starrer generated $21.5 million at the Friday box office in 4,175 locations. “Mockingjay — Part 2” also dominated Thanksgiving day ticket sales, bringing in $10.4 million on the holiday. The Lionsgate release is the fourth and final chapter in the “Hunger Games” films; the fourth installment bowed to $102.7 million last weekend, the lowest opening in the franchise. “Mockingjay — Part 1” opened ahead of Thanksgiving in 2014 to $121.9 million.

Behind Katniss Everdeen is Disney/Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur,” which took in $15.6 million on Friday from 3,749 locations. The animated feature is on track to finish the five-day holiday weekend with a U.S. gross around $55 million. Pixar’s 16th pic follows dinosaur Arlo, who befriends a caveboy in an alternate history of Earth.

In third place for the holiday weekend is “Creed,” the »

- Marianne Zumberge

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Ron Howard Directing Thriller ‘The Girl Before’ for Universal

27 November 2015 3:13 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Ron Howard will direct a movie adaptation of the J.P. Delaney thriller “The Girl Before” for Universal.

Michael De Luca is producing with Imagine Entertainment’s Howard, Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins. Imagine’s Tyler Michael will be exec producer and Elishia Holmes will exec produce for Michael De Luca Productions.

Universal bought the movie rights to “The Girl Before,” a novel that Ballantine Bantam Dell Random House will publish in the fall of 2016. The story involves a traumatized woman who falls in love with a minimalist house and the man who designed it — only to discover that another woman died at the house three years earlier.

Delaney is believed to a pen name for novelist Tony Strong.

Howard directed Warner Bros.’ “In The Heart Of The Sea,” which opens on Dec. 11, and Sony’s “Da Vinci Code” follow-up “Inferno,” which launches Oct. 14, 2016. De Luca is a producer on »

- Dave McNary

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What Is This ‘Project Delirium’ Jennifer Lawrence Wants To Direct?

27 November 2015 12:54 PM, PST | Deadline | See recent Deadline news »

Jennifer Lawrence, out promoting the final installment of The Hunger Games, that disclosed she wants to make her directing debut on a picture called Project Delirium. What exactly is going on with this? It’s set up to be financed by 2929, with Lawrence and her partner Justine Ciarrocchi producing along with Todd Wagner and Ben Cosgrove. Lawrence doesn’t plan to act in it. Although the pickup the trades gave the story after Lawrence made comments in EW has her defining the… »

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‘Gods Of Egypt’: ‘Selma’ Director Ava DuVernay Responds To Alex Proyas & Lionsgate Apology For Lack Of Diversity – Update

17 hours ago | Deadline | See recent Deadline news »

Updated, 3:01Pm Saturday:  Selma director Ava DuVernay took time out today to Tweet her responses to Friday’s post about the conspicuously non-diverse casting of Gods Of Egypt, and Lionsgate and Alex Proyas’ uncharacteristically quick public acknowledgement of the matter. This kind of apology never happens – for something that happens all the time. An unusual occurrence worth noting. https://t.co/xRTEy7woWs — Ava DuVernay (@Avaetc) November 28, 2015 Gods Of Egypt makes… »

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Box Office: ‘Hunger Games’ Leads Thanksgiving Pack, ‘Creed’ Scores

46 minutes ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Moviegoers said goodbye to Katniss Everdeen and welcomed back Rocky Balboa, a series of farewells and reunions that powered Thanksgiving box office receipts above last year’s holiday.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” led a crowded field of contenders, topping charts with $75.8 million and bringing its domestic total to $198.3 million. It marks the final film in the hugely popular series, although Lionsgate, the studio behind the franchise, has hinted it wants to figure out ways to create future spin-offs.

The previous two “Hunger Games” films have both debuted the week before Thanksgiving and gone on to rule multiplexes over the holiday. Its dominance is practically a holiday tradition.

If “Mockingjay – Part 2’s” strong returns was a familiar Thanksgiving sight, the big surprise was how well “Creed” performed. The film successfully brought back Sylvester Stallone’s iconic Rocky character and revived a boxing franchise that seemed like a Reagan-era relic after »

- Brent Lang

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Getting on: how the Manic Pixie Dream Grans conquered Hollywood

2 hours ago | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Lily Tomlin’s fierce lesbian poet, Blythe Danner’s spunky widow, Sally Field’s kooky nan ... Move over Zooey Deschanel, granny wants a piece of the action

“Why didn’t you use a condom or, for humanity’s sake, get a vasectomy?” snarls Lily Tomlin in her new film, Grandma. One of the great pleasures of getting older is that it offers opportunities, not so much for telling truth to power, as telling truth to smug, libidinous, adolescent jerks.

“Who is this?” incredulous jerk asks girlfriend. “My grandma,” girlfriend replies. The unsuitable suitor has just impregnated Tomlin’s granddaughter during a one-night stand, prompting her to ask granny for $630 for an abortion. When the jerk cheeks Tomlin, she seizes his ice hockey stick and administers a blow to his crown jewels. Had that blow been struck just before the one-night stand it would surely have precluded the need for the loan. »

- Stuart Jeffries

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Greg Berlanti and Peter Roth Reflect on Television at Paley Center for Media

2 hours ago | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

The Paley Center for Media is holding a series of "Paley Dialogues" that go in depth with the best in television. This past week, the dialogue included Peter Roth (President and Chief Content Officer for Warner Brothers Television Group) and Greg Berlanti (Executive Producer of the hit CW series "Arrow," "The Flash" and CBS's "Supergirl"). The snazzy event was moderated by Debra Birnbaum, Variety executive editor for television, in an event sponsored by Film La. Read More: How Jon Stewart and Stephen Amell Might Teach You To Love Professional Wrestling Peter Roth and Greg Berlanti chatted about a variety of topics in television, which included Berlanti's beginnings on "Dawson's Creek" and "Everwood" to the malleability of television and audience viewership. Here are some of the highlights of their discussion. Greg Berlanti's Television Success with the Superhero GenrePeter Roth credits Greg Berlanti for the »

- J. Carlos Menjivar

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Carol review – Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are dynamite

7 hours ago | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Todd Haynes’s flawless adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel is a ravishing tour de force

This superb adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt doesn’t put a foot wrong. From Phyllis Nagy’s alluringly uncluttered script to Cate Blanchett’s sturdily tremulous performance as a society woman with everything to lose, this brilliantly captures the thrills, tears and fears of forbidden love. As the young shutterbug finding her true identity amid an atmosphere of perversely festive paranoia, Rooney Mara brings a touch of both frost and warmth to the screen, while Ed Lachman’s richly textured Super 16mm photography digs deep into the mid-century milieu.

But it is director Todd Haynes, oozing the confidence that defined 2002’s Far From Heaven, who is the real magician here, combining the subversive clout of his 1991 Jean Genet-inspired Poison with the flawlessly empathetic character study of 1995’s Safe »

- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

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Radiator review – pathos and heartache in a dysfunctional family drama

8 hours ago | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

A masterful final performance from Richard Johnson crowns this authentic, bleak and unexpectedly funny film

Richard Johnson is mesmerising in his final lead role as the cantankerously debilitated father whose loving but long-suffering wife (Gemma Jones, exceptional) and estranged son (co-writer Daniel Cerqueira) struggle to care for him. Shot in the Cumbrian home of his late parents, co-writer Tom Browne’s directorial feature debut has an unmistakable air of authenticity that brings real pathos and heartache to some of the film’s bleakest moments. But there is a palpable warmth, too, in the dysfunctional family dynamics, while moments of unexpected laughter dispel the darker clouds of the past.

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- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

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Bridge of Spies review – cold war, warm wit

8 hours ago | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Spielberg brings humour to the spy thriller genre, while Mark Rylance and Tom Hanks add odd-couple chemistry

Hanks and Rylance are as far apart in their acting styles as their characters are in their national allegiances

“What makes us both Americans?” asks Irish-American insurance lawyer James B Donovan (Tom Hanks) of German-extracted CIA agent Hoffman (Scott Shepherd) in Steven Spielberg’s slickly satisfying cold war thriller. Donovan has been charged with defending Mark Rylance’s Rudolf Abel, a man whose nationality – like his accent – is uncertain (is he British? Russian? German?). The authorities want a show trial, but Donovan is driven by something more: “The rulebook. We call it the constitution.”

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- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

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Magic Mike Xxl; Ant-Man; Jessica Jones; Joe & Caspar Hit the Road; River; Listen to Me Marlon – review

8 hours ago | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

All eyes are on Channing Tatum as a crowd-pleasing stripper, while Paul Rudd is cut down to size in Ant-Man

We complain about Hollywood’s ceaseless recycling of existing story material, yet two of this year’s most thrillingly inventive, unconventional mainstream films fall squarely into the sequel category. I’ve already joined the chorus of praise for Mad Max: Fury Road, but there’s been less fuss about the improbably extraordinary achievement of Magic Mike Xxl (Warner, 15). The return of Channing Tatum’s Florida-based stripping collective deftly passes itself off as a horny summer throwaway while defiantly serving a range of perspectives neglected by contemporary studio cinema.

It’s a “bro” comedy that gives (and gives in) generously to the female gaze, not to mention the queer one; a celebration of carnality that finds middle-aged desire no less sexy than twentysomething friskiness. Even the racial status quo is questioned and flipped. »

- Guy Lodge

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Black Mass review – not quite the godfather of comebacks

8 hours ago | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Johnny Depp arrests his decline with a transformation into gang boss Whitey Bulger

With the career-threatening whiff of hammy howlers such as The Lone Ranger and Mortdecai still lingering in the nostrils, it seems damning with faint praise to say that this true-crime thriller, co-written by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth, is Johnny Depp’s best film in years. Yet while director Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace) coaxes an all-but-unrecognisable performance from Depp as Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger, it isn’t quite enough to lift the drama out of the formulaic doldrums. Lacking the deft interpersonal intrigues of Mike Newell’s Donnie Brasco, this settles instead for broad, sub-Scorsesean strokes, right down to a too-close-for-comfort riff on Joe Pesci’s terrifying “Funny how?” routine from Goodfellas.

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- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

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My Skinny Sister review – humour and compassion

8 hours ago | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

A Swedish story of sisters bound by love, secrecy and jealousy is given insight and warmth by its director’s personal experience

Swedish writer/director Sanna Lenken describes her admirable debut feature as an attempt to “examine what it means to grow up as a young girl [and] be judged for the way you look and not who you are”. Rebecka Josephson is wonderfully engaging as Stella, the awkward adolescent who discovers with horror that her popular figure-skating sister Katja (Amy Deasismont) is hiding a growing eating disorder. Drawing on personal experience of anorexia, Lenken examines the conflicting web of intimacy and alienation that entraps both sisters and moves with humour and compassion toward resolutions born of honesty, insight and affection.

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- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

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Angelina Jolie Pitt: ‘I’m on fire inside’

8 hours ago | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Six kids, two cancer scares, a Un special envoy, marriage to Brad Pitt and now a film about marital break-up… Megan Conner meets Angelina Jolie Pitt

Angelina Jolie Pitt is poised and self-aware, yet she pulls a face when I ask whether her kids think she’s cool. There are, famously, six of them (aged between seven and 14). “They think I’m weird,” she says eventually. But then she shrugs: well, alright, they might. “Maddox [who is 14] talks to me sometimes about writing as if he doesn’t think I’m terrible at it… And Vivienne is just happy I’m a tiger in a panda movie. But, ah, she’s just the little one – she’s all sweet.”

She ponders again. “I mean, there are moments when I can be cool, but they like to mess with me. They like to make fun of me. I’m just…” She breaks off. »

- Megan Conner

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The Good Dinosaur review – not a Jurassic classic for Pixar

8 hours ago | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The animation studio’s evolutionary what-if tale was delayed by extensive production and story problems – and beyond the stunning visuals, it shows

Pixar’s second feature release of 2015 bears the scars of its troubled production. Having struggled to solve fundamental story problems, original director Bob Peterson was removed and extensive rewriting, restructuring and rerecording ensued, with most of the original cast (including John Lithgow and Bill Hader) being replaced. Now the long delayed film finally arrives on the coat tails of Inside Out, arguably Pixar’s most perfectly realised production, a juxtaposition that merely accentuates its story shortcomings.

Naturally, there are some breathtaking visuals, the sweeping landscape vistas providing sumptuous delights as Earth dodges an extinction-level asteroid event in the film’s opening (and best) “what if?” gag. This sets the scene for a role-reversed rites-of-passage tale in which an evolved apatosaurus named Arlo teams up with less-evolved human dog-boy »

- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

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Jennifer Lawrence Says ‘Joy’ Is Salute to ‘Women Who Are Unsung Heroes’

10 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Jennifer Lawrence on Saturday said her film “Joy” is a tribute to “women who are the unsung heroes of their households.” She also paid tribute to writer-director David O. Russell, saying she would do “anything with David until the day I die.”

Russell in turn said that in their third film collaboration, “She’s the first character we’ve done together who’s not crazy.”

The remarks came after simultaneous screenings in New York and L.A. of the film, which is the last big Oscar hopeful of 2015 to be unveiled. The Q&A session in N.Y. was satellite-fed to the Zanuck Theatre on the Fox lot. “Joy” opens on December 25.

Lawrence said the character, inspired by the real-life inventor Joy Mangano, “had a fire and gift that she had buried for 17 years.” The film is loosely based on Mangano’s life as a single mother of three »

- Tim Gray

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‘The Assassin’, ‘Carol’, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Top BFI Sight & Sound’s Best Of 2015

11 hours ago | Deadline | See recent Deadline news »

Taiwan’s The Assassin, from this year’s Cannes Film Festival best director Hou Hsiao-Hsien, has been voted the top movie of 2015 in the British Film Institute’s poll of 168 critics for the organization’s Sight & Sound magazine. No. 2 and 3 were Todd HaynesCarol and George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. Sight & Sound editor Nick James described The Assassin, released in the U.S. by Well Go USA, as “a gorgeous work of revenge, magic and delicate restraint – a work of… »

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Review: 'Doctor Who' Season 9 Episode 11, 'Heaven Sent': Groundhog Doctor

13 hours ago | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Previously: Review: 'Doctor Who' Season 9 Episode 10, 'Face the Raven': Death Wish "I've just watched my friend die in agony. My day can't get any worse."With two more episodes to go this season, Clara's death in "Face the Raven" was a shock for viewers and Time Lords alike. He's still grieving, still raging and seething and vowing the kind of vengeance he knows she wouldn't approve of. He's a danger to the universe, so it's probably a good thing that he's trapped in a castle in the middle of the sea, and being chased by a veiled creature straight out of his nightmares. "It's a killer impossible box and I'm trapped inside it. Must be Christmas."This is a "bottle episode," an episode that takes place entirely in one small space the characters -- or in this case, character - can't get out of. Normally slotted into a series for budget constraints, »

- Kaite Welsh

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Film Review: ‘The House by the Bamboo Grove’

14 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Hovering between folkloric myth and psychosexual reverie, Philippine helmer Alvan B. Yapan’s “The House by the Bamboo Grove” depicts a woman who develops an all-consuming attachment to her home. Though less visually rhapsodic than Yapan’s previous film, “Debosyon,” this sensual tale basks in the same pagan animism, and intrigues by its very simplicity. Although the opague ending doesn’t totally deliver on the promise of its suspenseful start, this arthouse curio, which features a sex scene that will leave audiences literally bamboozled, should leave home for a busy festival itinerary.

Like the helmer-novelist-scholar’s other works, his fourth is set in his hometown of Baao, in the province of Camarines Sur. Since losing all contact with her parents after they left to work abroad, Michelle (Mercedes Cabral, “Sapi,” “Thy Womb”) has become reclusive, devoting all her time to the art of Calado embroidery, which her mother taught her. »

- Maggie Lee

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Will DiCaprio, Depp Or Smith Nab Best Actor Oscar Or Does Redmayne Take It Again? — Awardsline

16 hours ago | Deadline | See recent Deadline news »

Two years ago the Best Actor race was so crowded that such surefire contenders as Robert Redford (All Is Lost) and Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips) saw their hopes dashed right out of the gate when both were overlooked for even a nomination. Competition was lethal, as it has been for the past few years in this category. Unlike what is usually the case in the Best Actress race—though not this year—it seems there are just too many great male performances fighting for one of… »

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