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Updated: Why Netflix Shelled Out for Cary Fukunaga's 'Beasts of No Nation,' Shunned by Exhibitors

12 hours ago

Update: The ink hasn't even dried on Netflix's latest deal and already four major theater chains have boycotted the day-and-date release of "Beasts of No Nation." AMC, Regal, Carmike and Cinemark have stated that they will not show the film without a 90-day window between its theatrical and streaming premieres. According to Variety, Tim League's indie chain Alamo Drafthouse will, however, be screening the film when it opens simultaneously in theaters and on Netflix later this year. The Texas-based exhibitor fared well screening "Snowpiercer," which had a very short window, last Summer. The four exhibitors that have boycotted the film so far are the same chains that shunned the "Crouching Tiger" sequel when in late 2014 Netflix announced its imminent day-and-date release. Earlier: Netflix has stirred the pot once again with its latest feature film release, Cary Fukunaga's African-set "Beasts of No Nation," by not exactly catering to »


- Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio

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Zephyr Benson on Scorsese-Inspired 'Straight Outta Tompkins': "I Probably Have Taken Every Drug That Exists"

15 hours ago

Following in your famous father’s footsteps while pursuing your own showbiz dreams can prove to be a daunting career path. Just imagine if Dad were as beloved as Robby Benson, a teen heartthrob in the ‘70s in such films as the basketball drama “One on One” and the skating romance “Ice Castles.” He would move on to more mature roles in the ‘80s such as “Harry & Son” opposite Paul Newman and leave an enduring mark on animation history as the voice of the Beast in 1991’s “Beauty and the Beast.” And then there is Mom, Karla DeVito, no slouch, either. The actress/singer, once dubbed “The Sweetheart of Rock and Roll” by David Letterman, sang backup for Meat Loaf on his Bat Out of Hell tour and starred on Broadway in “The Pirates of Penzance.“ It makes sense, then, that their progeny and quadruple threat Zephyr Benson, who turns »


- Susan Wloszczyna

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Miranda July Will Debut New Work at San Francisco Film Fest

15 hours ago

Miranda July sadly hasn't directed a feature since 2011's "The Future." But the talented multi-hyphenate will launch her latest interactive performance piece in a special two-night run during the San Francisco International Film Festival. This theater experiment first premiered on the east coast last year. "New Society," set to premiere April 28 at the Brava Theater Center, investigates how groups form, change and disintegrate and will, according to the San Francisco Film Society, test the limits of what is possible in two hours with a roomful of strangers. July won Sfiff's New Director prize for her 2005 Sundance debut "Me and You and Everyone We Know," a creepy, beautiful and button-smashing comedy that also entwined strangers of disparate ages in uncomfortable scenarios. In her just-published first novel "The First Bad Man" and tender 2005 short story collection "No One Belongs Here More Than You," July observes similar themes of »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Tribeca 2015 Skews Young, Female with First Wave of Lineup

16 hours ago

The 2015 Tribeca Film Festival (April 15-26) today unveiled the World Narrative and Documentary Competition film selections, along with the films selected for the Viewpoints section recognizing fresh voices in international and American independent cinema. In total, 51 films have been announced so far from the festival's slate of 97 features. 119 directors will present features, with 40 directorial debuts and 30 films directed by women, marking the highest percentage in the festival's history. "We're finding even though there are so many different films from less common countries, such as Albania and Costa Rica, there's a universality that reflects the global culture we're living in," said Genna Terranova. "We have a lot of very young filmmakers in the program. We remember that when Damien Chazelle showed his first film 'Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench' several years ago, he was just out of Harvard, practically 20. People are making movies at a young age which is. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Eugène Green's 'La Sapienza' Sees the Architecture of All Things (Trailer)

19 hours ago

Eugène Green, whose blithely intoxicating “La Sapienza” played the New York Film Festival, knew at age 11 that he wanted to leave New York --- Brooklyn, specifically. But he waited till he was 20. Over the last 30-odd years, he has been back only sporadically, with this film or that, having lost a bit of his English but none of his affinity for European culture and the sense of artistic history that makes “La Sapienza” so alien to standard moviegoer expectations, yet so blissfully enigmatic. “I had the impression when I as young that the world around me wasn’t real and that reality was in books and literature,” Green said at a screening of “La Sapienza” – which is usually translated as “wisdom” or “knowledge”” but which Green said actually means “the knowledge that leads to wisdom.” He acknowledged with a smile that, yes, you have to keep explaining it. Which is »


- John Anderson

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Career Watch: For Jennifer Lawrence, If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

20 hours ago

With "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part II" slated for Nov. 20 release, the end of Jennifer Lawrence's blockbuster franchise is near. Indeed, it's been an unmatched breakout run for the actress: since 2011, Lawrence has racked up three Academy Award nominations ("Winter's Bone," "Silver Linings Playbook," for which she won Best Actress, and "American Hustle") and starred in a $1 billion-plus quadrilogy. How do you follow that up? For Lawrence, the answer seems to be, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Her forthcoming projects reflect the same deft balance of box office spectacles—including a reprise of her role as Mystique in 2016's "X-Men: Apocalypse," directed by Bryan Singer—and mid-budget prestige pictures from proven directors, including David O. Russell and now Steven Spielberg. (Due credit to "Winter's Bone" director Debra Granik for launching Lawrence's career, not to mention providing her finest role to »


- Matt Brennan

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On ABC's 'American Crime,' the Series to Launch a Thousand Think Pieces

22 hours ago

Barb Hanlon, whose son Matt turns up dead in the opening minutes of "American Crime," is the woman to launch a thousand think pieces. As played by the magnificent Felicity Huffman, she snarls and snipes her way through grief, eliciting our sympathies while testing our patience. She raised two boys alone after her husband, Russ (Timothy Hutton), walked out, and yet her rage has metamorphosed into frank, discomfiting racism. Her targets are, in her words, "some illegal" and "a black" accused of murdering her son, and a legal system she wrongly perceives to be weighted in their favor. "Hate crimes can't happen to white people," she says caustically, and your reaction to ABC's challenging, self-satisfied new drama may depend on whether you consider "American Crime" an effective critique of Barb's unexamined privilege. Created by Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley ("12 Years a Slave"), "American Crime," title »


- Matt Brennan

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How ''71' Broke Out Rookie Yann Demange and Led Him to a "Scorsese Homage"

2 March 2015 11:16 AM, PST

That's why Yann Demange has been eagerly sought out. For the last year, since ''71' broke out at Berlin 2014 (going on to play some 33 festivals including Telluride, Toronto, New York, London and Sundance), Demange has been a critical darling (best director winner at the British Independent Film Awards and BAFTA-nominated), wined and dined on the festival circuit and in Hollywood, where he has been hanging his hat for the moment. That's what you do. You go to meeting after meeting looking for the next best project. The danger, oft-repeated, is that agents and managers and sweet-talkers lure the unsuspecting rube into development limbo--or misguided studio projects--until the heat is gone and that catapulting career moment is past. Ask David Michod, Stephen Frears, or Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who unfortunately followed up his Oscar-winning "The Lives of Others" with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie boondoggle "The Tourist."  Some wondered if Demange. »


- Anne Thompson

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‘Broadchurch’ Returns, a Disappointing Shell of Its Former Self (Trailer)

2 March 2015 11:16 AM, PST

The morning after screening the first four episodes of the sophomore season of “Broadchurch,” I noted my initial impressions on Twitter, an assessment of which I am only more convinced after a few days of reflection. “Review: ‘Broadchurch,’ Season Two,” I wrote. “Kill it. Kill it with fire.” Having spent the five months since I reviewed the extraordinary first season praising the small-town mystery to everyone who would listen, a bit of hyperbole seems only fair: shunning the unassuming precision of its debut for high dudgeon and overwrought dramatics, the crime drama, which returns to BBC America Wednesday, is now but a shell of its former self. Read: “‘Gracepoint’ vs. ‘Broadchurch,’ or the Problem with Remakes” The new season courts the danger of high expectations from the opening minutes, setting the table for the trial of accused child molester and murderer Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle) with a superb, fleet-footed sequence »


- Matt Brennan

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Ethan Hawke and Denzel Washington Team for 'Magnificent Seven' Remake

2 March 2015 10:32 AM, PST

According to THR, Ethan Hawke is in "final negotiations" to board Fuqua's "The Magnificent Seven" starring Denzel Washington. Hawke and Washington made box office bank back in 2001's "Training Day," which earned both actors Academy Award nominations and Washington an Oscar win for Best Actor. Screenwriters John Lee Hancock ("Saving Mr. Banks") and Nic Pizzolatto (a double WGA winner for HBO's "True Detective") base their script on Kurosawa's 1954 "Seven Samurai" written by Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto and Hideo Oguni. That tale of seven gunslingers banding together to protect a destitute village from blood-seeking bandits was first remade in 1960 as "The Magnificent Seven" directed by John Sturges and starring Steven McQueen. Chris Pratt and Hailey Bennett also boarded the project, which MGM began developing back in 2012 alongside a spate of other titles from its studio library including the forthcoming »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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'Fifty Shades of Grey' Star Jamie Dornan Joins WWII Film 'Anthropoid'

2 March 2015 9:35 AM, PST

Irish actor Jamie Dornan, currently on the big screen in "Fifty Shades of Grey" and on Netflix's moody crime drama "The Fall," has yet another project on his busy horizon. Dornan is set to star opposite Cillian Murphy in Oscar-nominated director Sean Ellis' ("Cashback," "Metro Manila") World War II picture "Anthropoid" about the real-life assassination attempt on SS general and Holocaust engineer Reinhard Heydrich. The film follows two Czech paratroopers tasked with taking out Reinhard, known in their homeland as "The Butcher of Prague." This year, Dornan will also shoot Netflix-acquired historical drama "Jadotville" as a Un commander who fell under siege in the Congo in 1961. The film debuts on the streaming service in 2016. Dornan also has roles in two films currently in post: an untitled John Wells chef comedy and Alexandre Aja's mystery-thriller "The 9th Life of Louis Drax." And of course, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Watch: Damien Chazelle's Original 'Whiplash' Short with J.K. Simmons

2 March 2015 9:11 AM, PST

In order to nail down financing for his Black Listed script, writer/director Damien Chazelle directed this 18-minute short film version of "Whiplash" for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. And the rest is history: the film lured investors to produce the full script to the tune of $3 million. (Watch below, courtesy of The Film Stage.) Produced by Right of Way Films and Blumhouse Productions, the short stars J.K. Simmons in an early treatment of the first "chair-throwing" scene from the 2014 feature, which won Sundance's Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize. Johnny Simmons assumes the Miles Teller role. Blumhouse's Jason Blum, who co-produced with Jason Reitman and a long list of other co-producers, said Reitman also co-conceived this idea to do the short. "Jason had a lot of success with this [in the past]," Blum said. "Jason Reitman's movies are tonally incredibly complicated, and he's amazing with tone and before he proved himself, he had. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Watch 'Citizenfour' for Free Online

2 March 2015 8:32 AM, PST

Director Laura Poitras' Edward Snowden documentary "Citizenfour" is now streaming online for free via Thought Maybe. Watch below. Here's what Snowden had to say following the film's Oscar win: “When Laura Poitras asked me if she could film our encounters, I was extremely reluctant. I’m grateful that I allowed her to persuade me. The result is a brave and brilliant film that deserves the honor and recognition it has received. My hope is that this award will encourage more people to see the film and be inspired by its message that ordinary citizens, working together, can change the world.” Read More: Laura Poitras Takes Us Behind the Scenes of 'Citizenfour' »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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With 'The Crowded Room' and 'The Revenant,' Is Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscar Finally in the Cards?

2 March 2015 7:38 AM, PST

With Friday's news that his company, Appian Way, has signed on to co-produce "The Crowded Room," not to mention a starring role in "Birdman" helmer Alejandro González Iñárritu's upcoming "The Revenant," Leonardo DiCaprio is set to appear in several juicy titles. Can the four-time Academy Award acting nominee ("What's Eating Gilbert Grape," "The Aviator," "Blood Diamond," "The Wolf of Wall Street") finally parlay his taste for eccentric characters into an Oscar statuette? As The Hollywood Reporter notes, DiCaprio has wanted to play "The Crowded Room" protagonist Billy Milligan for nearly two decades. In the 1970s, Milligan, who had 24 personalities, was acquitted on charges of robbery and rape by reason of insanity after pretrial evaluations diagnosed him with multiple personality disorder, the first such defense in American legal history. Based on the nonfiction title by Daniel Keyes »


- Matt Brennan

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'Mommy,' 'Orphan Black,' John Cusack Win 2015 Canadian Screen Awards

2 March 2015 6:18 AM, PST

Xavier Dolan's "Mommy," left off the shortlist of contenders for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, dominated Sunday's Canadian Screen Awards, winning nine—including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay (Dolan), and Best Actress (Anne Dorval). Other honorees included John Cusack, who won Best Supporting Actor for his role as a celebrity self-help guru in David Cronenberg's Hollywood freak show, "Maps to the Stars"; "Maps" composer Howard Shore; and the high concept disaster film "Pompeii," a German-Canadian co-production awarded five prizes in technical categories, including Best Visual Effects. On the television side, cult hit and critics' darling "Orphan Black"—which returns to BBC America for a third season April 18—took home Best Drama and Best Actress (Drama) for Emmy long shot Tatiana Maslany. The full list of film winners is below: Best Motion Picture | Meilleur film "Mommy" - Xavier »


- Matt Brennan

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