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Seth Rogen to star in Adam McKay-directed comedy from Ben Schwartz

6 hours ago | EW - Inside Movies | See recent EW.com - Inside Movies news »

Funny guys Seth Rogen, Adam McKay, and Ben Schwartz are teaming up for a new comedy. McKay and Will Ferrell’s Gary Sanchez Productions, Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s Point Grey Pictures, and Good Universe bought a pitch from Schwartz for Rogen to star in and McKay to direct. Schwartz, known for his work on television in Parks and Recreation and House of Lies, will also appear in the movie.

“Evan and Seth have been doing amazing things and we’re so excited to work with them,” McKay said in a statement. “Ben, not so much.  Most of my problems with him are personal ones, »

- Esther Zuckerman

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Paramount Sets ‘Top Five’ for Dec. 5 Release; Chris Rock Pushes Rosario Dawson Nom

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

Paramount has given Chris Rock’s comedy “Top Five” a release date of Dec. 5 in the U.S. followed by a wide release on Dec. 12.

The studio acquired worldwide distribution of “Top Five” a week ago following its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival to strong reviews.

At the Variety Studio in Toronto, Rock said he hoped the film would get a release this year so Rosario Dawson can get an actress nomination. Dawson beamed and laughed, and thanked her costar-director.

The “Top Five” dates follow closely on Sony Classics’ announcement that it will open the Julianne Moore vehicle “Still Alice” this year as well.

Though the best-actor derby is already overcrowded, the five Oscar slots for best actress have fewer contenders, with strong possiblities so far including Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”; Shailene Woodley, “The Fault in Our Stars”; Hillary Swank, “The Homesman”; and Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything.”

The »

- Tim Gray and Dave McNary

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Despite MPAA's 'R' rating, '12 Years a Slave' to become a high school learning tool

6 hours ago | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

If the National School Boards Association is to be believed, we're in a golden age of education Oscar movies. Fox Searchlight announced today that a partnership with the Nsba, New Regency and Penguin Books will make copies of the 2014 Best Picture winner "12 Years a Slave" and Solomon Northup's autobiographical source material available to America’s public high schools. This follows Participant Media's own educational campaign for "Lincoln," which put DVD copies of Steven Spielberg's historical film and the necessary projection technology in a number of underserved communities. According to Fox's press release, the initiative was the brainchild of director Steve McQueen and Montel Williams, the latter feeling particularly strong about getting the film in front of young eyes. Educators who gain permission to teach the movie in class can receive the "12 Years a Slave" educator toolkit, which includes a DVD, book and study guide. The push doesn't end there. »

- Matt Patches

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Jessica Chastain-Oscar Isaac’s ‘A Most Violent Year’ Set for Dec. 31

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

A24 has given an awards-season release date of Dec. 31 for Participant Media’s thriller “A Most Violent Year,” starring Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac.

The film, written and directed by J.C. Chandor (“All is Lost”), will open in Los Angeles and New York on New Year’s Eve before expanding during January.

A Most Violent Year” is set in New York City during the winter of 1981 — one of the most violent years in the city’s history. The film follows the lives of an immigrant family trying to expand their business and capitalize on opportunities amid violence, decay and corruption.

A24 acquired the rights early this year. Image Nation Abu Dhabi are co-financing “A Most Violent Year,” which is produced by Before The Door’s Neal Dodson and Washington Square Films’ Anna Gerb, along with Chandor.

A24 also released a teaser trailer for “A Most Violent Year.”


- Dave McNary

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Oscars: ‘Fair Play’ Selected As Czech Contender

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

The Czech Film and Television Academy has selected “Fair Play” to represent the country in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the upcoming Academy Awards.

The film, directed by Andrea Sedlakova, follows a nineteen year-old sprinter who gets involved with the state-controlled doping program during the country’s normalization era.

The film was produced by Negativ with Katerina Černa and Pavel Strnad.

“Our film tells the story of a sprinter but the preparation and shooting of the film was rather a marathon, a long distance run,” said Sedlakova. “Four years passed between the moment when I read a newspaper article about the state-controlled doping in Czechoslovak communist sport and the shooting itself. During those years I wrote nineteen versions of the screenplay and the producers from Negativ were taking care of the finances. Then the shooting of the film was a sport performance for everybody.”


- Shelli Weinstein

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Lionsgate Acquires YouTube Star's Film ‘The Smosh Movie’

7 hours ago | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

Lionsgate has acquired the distribution rights to “The Smosh Movie,” the studio announced Thursday. A co-production of AwesomenessTV and Defy Media, the film stars YouTube sensations Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox, who combine to form Smosh, which is now the largest content brand for 13-17 year olds. The brand's collective networks boast over 30 million combined YouTube subscribers, 19 million social followers, and 12 million monthly unique website visitors. Also read: Cinedigm to Distribute Videos From Alloy Digital's Smosh, Clevver Brands The film will draw on even more digital star-power, with YouTube stars Jenna Marbles, Grace Helbig, Harley Morenstein, Shane Dawson, Mark Fischback (Markiplier) and. »

- Jordan Zakarin

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Iff to honour Arnon Milchan and Mace Neufeld

just now | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

The producers will be feted at the opening night gala of the 28th Israel Film Festival on October 23.

The event in Beverly Hills will see New Regency Productions founder Milchan collect the 2014 Iff Visionary Award and Neufeld the 2014 Iff Lifetime Achievement Award. 

The Israel Film Festival runs from October 23-November 6 and will showcase more than 30 Israeli features, TV shows and shorts. »

- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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