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Venice: Julie Delpy's 'Lolo' Offers Crowd-Pleasing Romcom With A Psychotic Twist (Review)

49 minutes ago

For a number of years now Julie Delpy has been perfecting her caustically comic voice by playing on cultural differences between the French and Americans – as co-writer and star of “Before Sunrise” and “Before Midnight”, and as writer, director and star of “2 Days in Paris” and “2 Days in New York”. So it’s with great interest that one sees her directing a romantic comedy wholly in a Gallic milieu. The result is as brazen and frequently hilarious as we’ve come to expect from her, if also less sophisticated, as though Delpy is acknowledging – or succumbing to – the fact that the French do tend to prefer their comedy in broader strokes. Delpy is Violette, a Parisian art director and single parent on a spa holiday in Biarritz with best friend Ariane (Karin Viard), who is encouraging her dour companion to “get your chimney swept”. Along comes jug-eared, geeky but romantic »


- Demetrios Matheou

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Venice: 'Beasts of No Nation' Takes A Young Boy Into The Heart Of Darkness (Review)

7 hours ago

Cary Fukunaga’s eagerly anticipated adaptation of Uzodinma Iweala’s 2005 novel about the forging of a child soldier is every bit as good as one might have hoped. It’s a harrowing, heart-breaking and physically exhausting account of the loss of innocence. The fact that the experience of the boy on screen is currently being replicated a quarter of a million times worldwide, at a conservative estimate, gives the story a terrible currency. But it’s Fukunaga’s storytelling chops, aided by what is arguably Idris Elba’s best performance on film – better than his Mandela – that lend this message movie its indispensable aura. Iweala told the story of Agu (Abraham Attah), a young boy in an unspecified West African country ravaged by civil war, who loses his family and falls into the hands of a rebel army comprised entirely of children; Agu’s transformation from kind-hearted boy into cold-blooded »


- Demetrios Matheou

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Academy Picks 2015 Governors Awards Producers

10 hours ago

Julie Lynn and Bonnie Curtis will produce the 7th Annual Governors Awards for the Academy. The ceremony will be held on Saturday, November 14, 2015, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center. The news arrives on the heels of yesterday's announcement that David Hill and Reginald Hudlin will produce the 2016 Oscar show. Lynn and Curtis are partners at their Mockingbird Pictures, which has produced films including “Last Days in the Desert,” “5 to 7,” “The Face of Love,” “Albert Nobbs" and the upcoming "The Sweet Life." Read More: Academy Governors Do the Right Thing For the last two years, Lynn has served as producer of the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Awards Presentation & Live Read with director Rodrigo Garcia. Before joining Lynn at Mockingbird, Curtis spent 15 years with Steven Spielberg, producing such films as “Minority Report” and “AI,” as well as co-producing “Saving Private Ryan.” As previously announced, the »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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What Spielberg Really Wants

11 hours ago

It's hard to recall what a big deal it was when Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen created DreamWorks Skg as an alternative studio back in 1994. Many have analyzed the multiple reasons for the ultimate failure of their experiment. To put it simply, you can't run a studio-scale studio without studio-scale resources, and it was business genius Geffen who knew how to mastermind that--until he left in 2008. In 2005 he supervised the sale of DreamWorks to Paramount, which was a disaster. Jeffrey Katzenberg wisely broke away in 2004 with public company DreamWorks Animation, which eventually moved from a distribution deal at Paramount to current partner Twentieth Century Fox. In 2006 India's Reliance came to the rescue to fund DreamWorks, and it's hard to say how many billions they have lost to date. Through this entire period, while he was running Dreamworks live action with ex-Universal chairman Stacey Snider (who eventually left DreamWorks for Fox), Spielberg. »


- Anne Thompson

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Tiff Watch: Naomi Klein Narrates Climate Doc 'This Changes Everything'

11 hours ago

Based on the critically lauded bestseller by journalist, activist and author Naomi Klein, "This Changes Everything" presents seven distinct portraits of societies on the battlefield of climate emergency. Klein narrates writer/director and former Al Jazeera host Avi Lewis' documentary, slated to premiere at Tiff on September 13, to speak about fossil fuel dependency. The advocacy doc wants to show us how we can transform our failed economic system into something more solvent for future generations. Shot in nine different countries over four years, "This Changes Everything" will be repped for worldwide sales by FilmBuff and has already pre-sold Canadian rights to Vsc. Abramorama and FilmBuff are partnering on a multi-platform Us launch set for early October. A bigger global campaign is expected. The film’s trailer has already been released in 26 languages, and the subtitles have been crowd-sourced by fans. The film will also be part »


- Ruben Guevara

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Foreign Oscar Submissions So Far (Trailers)

12 hours ago

Among the foreign-language titles on display at Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York are many titles that will wind up in the foreign Oscar race as their countries choose their final official submissions. Other Oscar entries are nearing the end of their run on the festival circuit. See trailers below.  China has selected China Film Group's big-budget Mongolian wilderness adventure "Wolf Totem" (September 11), directed by French director Jean-Jacques Annaud ("Quest for Fire"), which bears some resemblance to the Kazakhstan entry, Yermek Tursunov's sixth feature, "Stranger," which has its world premiere in the Toronto Contemporary World Cinema section. Both films are about the risks of interfering with the wild wolf population. South Korea has submitted period martial arts drama "The Throne." Taiwan is likely to go with Hou Hsiao-Hsien's Cannes martial arts epic "The Assassin" (Well Go USA); Sony »


- Anne Thompson

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The Dramatic Story Behind Satyajit Ray's 50s Masterpiece 'The Apu Trilogy'

12 hours ago

The more I've gotten to know Peter Becker, the President of the Criterion Collection and partner in Janus Films, the more I appreciate his virtues. Like many successful people, he is smart, tireless and knowledgeable, but that doesn't come close to capturing his passionate drive to restore and present the best films in the world. In short, he's obsessed. And patient. And perfectionist. He hangs on for years until a movie is right, restored and ready to be shared with the rest of us. He leaves no detail unexamined. And people trust his dedication to the original intentions of the filmmaker. Will we ever see the right and proper version of Orson Welles' fractured masterpiece "Chimes at Midnight"? Watch this space. Read More: How a Near-Pristine 35mm Print of Orson Welles' "Chimes at Midnight" Was Found As the years go by, retrieving archival prints and finding original negatives »


- Anne Thompson

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'Concussion' Controversy Is Sony Hack Attack Déjà Vu All Over Again

13 hours ago

The cyberattack that dropped a bomb on Hollywood when "The Interview" opened last Christmas could now threaten another Sony holiday picture, "Concussion." The Christmas Day release stars Will Smith as real-life Nigerian researcher Bennet Omalu, who identified chronic head trauma as the root of a degenerative brain disease in pro-football players. Since the trailer (below) broke Monday, internal Sony missives from the lion's share of leaked documents (published by WikiLeaks in April) have resurfaced, revealing the insecurity among studio heads about how to position "Concussion"'s portrayal of the NFL. The New York Times quoted an email written by Sony Pictures marketing president Dwight Caines dated August 2014, "Will is not anti football (nor is the movie) and isn’t planning to be a spokesman for what football should be or shouldn’t be but rather is an actor taking on an exciting challenge... We’ll develop messaging with the help of N. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Daniel Craig Hints 'Spectre' May Be Last Bond Film

14 hours ago

Sam Mendes' second crack at Bond, "Spectre" (November 6), also written by John Logan and Neal Purvis & Robert Wade, could mark Craig's fourth and last turn as MI6 agent 007 after "Skyfall," "Quantum of Solace" and "Casino Royale." As the British star revealed in a new Esquire profile, he may only have one Bond left in him. “I don’t know,” he said. Really? “I really don’t know. Honestly. I’m not trying to be coy. At the moment I can’t even conceive it." Read More: Meet Bond Women Léa Seydoux and Monica Bellucci Has the franchise, which in his term has scored over $2 billion worldwide, dried him out? He added that if asked to play Bond again, he'd say, “At this moment, no. I have a life and I’ve got to get on with it a bit. But we’ll see.” The Esquire piece arrived on the »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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An Alternative to Tiff for Toronto Moviegoers

15 hours ago

Films from Cannes and Sundance-winning directors like Pippa Bianco, Patrick Brice, Robert Eggers and more will be presented in Program No. 1, a new program of 10 short films from emerging Us and Canadian filmmakers. This collaboration between indie production company Memory and Medium Density Fibreboard Films is a 90-minute, one-night event offering many exclusive world premieres, with three of this year's directors already featured in the Tiff program. The program, detailed below, will be followed by an after-party for the filmmakers and audience. Read More: Cannes: AFI Directing Workshop for Women Student Wins Cinéfondation's Top Prize The Reflektor Tapes “Porno”  - Directed by Kahlil Joseph (Exclusive)An theater-specific excerpt from Joseph’s full length documentary The Reflektor Tapes, starring the Canadian band Arcade Fire, that is having its world premiere at Tiff 2015.  Brothers - Directed by Robert Eggers (World Premiere) Robert Eggers first »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Wily Stars Robert Redford and Nick Nolte Spar in 'A Walk in the Woods'

16 hours ago

With the "Odd Couple" pairing of Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, director Ken Kwapis ("Big Miracle," "He's Just Not That Into You") has made an unmistakable buddy road picture in "A Walk in the Woods."  It's certainly laconic vs. loquacious on the Appalachian Trail: one part existential journey and another part environmental reverie, as told by sardonic travel writer Bill Bryson (Redford) in his memoir, adapted for the screen by Redford's producing partner, Bill Holderman. Of course, it's easy to see the attraction for both Redford and Nolte: "A Walk in the Woods" perfectly plays off their iconic personas. And for Redford it's even more personal, about aging and learning to co-exist with the environment (a marvelous bookend to "Jeremiah Johnson"). But for Kwapis, who's always had a facility for straddling comedy and drama, it was about finding the sweet spot where those two conflicting personalities could best »


- Bill Desowitz

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Venice: Baltasar Kormákur's Spectacular 'Everest' Moves and Amazes in Equal Measure

18 hours ago

Any thoughts that Baltasar Kormákur may have bitten off more than he could chew in attempting to recreate the 1996 disaster on Everest are swept away by an avalanche of live action derring-do, extraordinary 3D visuals and heart-in-mouth drama. As openers go, Venice has bagged a commercial film that packs a serious punch.  Jason Clarke and Jake Gyllenhaal play the two accomplished climbers, New Zealander Rob Hall and American Scott Fischer, who led high-end tours to the summit of the mountain. The question of whether it's advisable to take amateurs, even avid climbers, on such an arduous and risky adventure is a moot point, which the film doesn't shy away from. As one hardened pro muses, "the last word always belongs to the mountain." Yet it's impossible to leave the film without the bitter realization that human frailty and folly played its part.  Kormákur, then, has played a good hand, combining »


- Demetrios Matheou

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The Repugnant Religion of Amazon's 'Hand of God'

20 hours ago

When Judge Pernell Harris (Ron Perlman) is born again, one of the first casualties is his standing appointment with sex worker Tessie Graham (Emayatzy Corinealdi). After revealing his newfound faith in the series premiere, His Honor maintains the relationship, but the $1500 he shells out for each rendezvous now pays for conversation, not coitus. "He's taking this Christian trip very seriously," Tessie later confides to a friend, though the same can't be said of Amazon's repugnant new series, "Hand of God." Rather, writer/creator Ben Watkins approaches his subject—desperate, possibly deranged faith—as little more than a mechanism for meting out trauma. For a series so enamored of its own solemnity, the "Hand of God" view of religion is laughably insubstantial, and it turns out the joke is on us. Read More: "The Radical Belief of Sundance Channel's Extraordinary 'Rectify'" We first see Harris stark naked, speaking in tongues, standing in the. »


- Matt Brennan

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Academy Names 2016 Oscar Show Producers

1 September 2015 1:57 PM, PDT

As Toh! predicted, last year's Governors Awards producer Reginald Hudlin is one of the 2016 Oscar producers. There are two: he is joined by Emmy-winning Australian Sky and Fox Sports maverick David Hill; it's their first involvement with the Academy Awards show airing live on ABC on Sunday, February 26, 2016. Under president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy is making sure that the 88th telecast will be a diverse one. Hill, formerly the senior executive vice president of 21st Century Fox, and Hudlin, Oscar-nominated producer on "Django Unchained," will have many elements to contend with in the footsteps of last year's showrunners Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, including the length of the show, tech and Governors Awards recaps and the various musical segues and monologues. Read More: The Academy Governors Do the Right Thing Here are full bios for the producers: An executive with the Fox group of companies for more than 25 years, »


- Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio

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The Essential Films of Neil Labute, Canny Inquisitor of White People Problems

1 September 2015 1:31 PM, PDT

Neil Labute aims at the angst and entitlement of yuppies like a kid with a magnifying glass, torturing ants. He writes and directs comedies where you're not really laughing: you're choking on your own discomfort as he pokes and prods the sexual crises of the bored, the rich, the spoiled, the middle-classed. Which is to say many of us. Cuckolds, man-babies and emotional eunuchs are some of the types you'll encounter in Labute's films, which are brazenly, specifically about the facade of the American hegemony, and the fictions it is barely concealing. You'd never known from his savagely charming and scabrous comedies that Labute is a lapsed Mormon who, before getting kicked out of the Church of Lds in the late-1990s for a deemed-to-be offensive off-Broadway play, started at Brigham Young, where he met one of his earliest screen co-conspirators, actor Aaron Eckhart. In Labute's cruelly funny film debut »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Documentary Awards Race Comes Into Focus with Fall Festivals

1 September 2015 11:34 AM, PDT

As the film industry continues to churn out more and more high quality documentaries, the fall festivals are key curators and gatekeepers, winnowing through the rich offerings available these days. Press attention, reviews and award wins will push the leaders of the pack lucky enough to get a robust 2015 theatrical release into Oscar contention. The others will have to land distribution in time to book qualifying runs in New York and Los Angeles. Docs already launched at Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca and Cannes have a head start. Read More: Oscar Predictions 2016 One powerful player in the doc world is Toronto and Doc NYC programmer Thom Powers, who also curates the SundanceNow Doc Club subscription series. Powers got on the phone to highlight some must-sees in the Tiff program. This year's Tiff documentary selection has expanded to 31 features, including the late-opening night world premiere from Michael Moore, "Where To Invade Next?"  "We haven't had this many since. »


- Anne Thompson

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SpectreVision to Present Keynote, Erotic Anime at Fantastic Fest

1 September 2015 10:11 AM, PDT

Read More: Meet SpectreVision, Elijah Wood-Cofounded Genre Company Horror chums Wood, Noah and Waller will open the Fantastic Market with a keynote on September 24 on behalf of SpectreVision, the genre company they cofounded. Fantastic Fest's market platform is designed to highlight emerging projects from Spanish-speaking countries, which have been an area of interest for SpectreVision. Past projects include "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night," "Cooties" and "Open Windows." Along with the keynote, they will world-premiere a restoration of the rarely seen 1973 Japanese erotic anime "Belladonna of Sadness," which looks as weird and Fantastic Fest-friendly as it sounds (trailer below.) The market runs from September 24 through September 26, 2015 in Austin, Texas alongside Fantastic Fest, which runs from September 24th to October 1st. Read More: Horror Junkies Elijah Wood and Nacho Vigalondo Break Ground in High-Concept 'Open Windows' »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Fox Searchlight Dates 'A Bigger Splash,' Starring Tilda Swinton, for 2016

1 September 2015 9:44 AM, PDT

Fox Searchlight has dated "A Bigger Splash," director Luca Guadagnino's latest Mediterranean collaboration with Tilda Swinton after "I Am Love," to open stateside in limited release on May 13, 2016. The film, which wasn't ready for Cannes but landed a September 6th Venice premiere and a London slot and could show up in Telluride, is set on the volcanic island of Pantelleria, where rock legend Marianne Lane (Swinton) is languishing with partner Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts) when an old flame and record producer (Ralph Fiennes) interrupts their holiday. He arrives with his daughter (Dakota Johnson) — and plenty of nostalgia and unfinished business. Read More: 'The Danish Girl' and 'A Bigger Splash' Join 'Everest' and 'Black Mass' at Venice Film Festival With "A Bigger Splash" out of 2015 awards play, Fox Searchlight will focus on building North American buzz for "Youth," "He Named Me Malala" and "Brooklyn," all running the »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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'Fifty Shades Darker' Taps James Foley, Submitting to the Male Gaze

1 September 2015 8:55 AM, PDT

Universal has finally found a director for the "Fifty Shades of Grey" sequel to follow Sam Taylor-Johnson, who announced earlier this year that after tussles with powerful writer E.L. James she would not be returning. And yes, it's a man, ladies and gentlemen. Which marks a risk for Universal chairman Donna Langley, who has been overseeing this series from the start. Variety reports that Langley has offered director James Foley "Fifty Shades Darker," which reunites Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as the original's kinky lovers. And he directs a script by James’ husband, Niall Leonard, who presumably works closely with his producer/author wife.  James produces the high-stakes sequel with  Dana Brunetti and new Universal in-house producer Michael De Luca, who left his Sony production gig to join the house of Langley. She's on a roll this summer as the studio is enjoying record-breaking box office--"Straight Outta Compton" is. »


- Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio

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What Did the London Film Festival Get?

1 September 2015 8:07 AM, PDT

The 59th annual BFI London Film Festival (October 7 through 8) has scooped plenty of top-tier titles off the festival circuit, landing European premieres of opening nighter "Suffragette" and closing selection "Steve Jobs." Both should pop up in Telluride this weekend. All in all, the festival will screen a total of 238 fiction and documentary features, including 16 World Premieres, 8 International Premieres, 40 European Premieres and 11 Archive films including 5 Restoration World Premieres. This year's galas include Cannes winner "Carol," along with a talk with director Todd Haynes, plus Venice world-premiere "Black Mass," "Trumbo," "Brooklyn," and European productions "The Lady in the Van" and Tiff premiere "High-Rise." Strand galas include "A Bigger Splash" (also in Venice), "The Program," Cannes winner "The Lobster," acclaimed SXSW doc "Brand: A Second Coming" »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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