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And This Year's Tony Awards Presenters Are...

32 minutes ago

If you can't win it, present it. Or in the case of this year's Tony Awards, maybe both? Two of this year's 26 Tony presenters, Bradley Cooper and Sting, are nominees. Plenty of these folks are also on Broadway right now, or are doing well in TV and film, like Taylor Schilling, Rose Byrne, Amanda Seyfried, Corey Stoll and Anna Chlumsky (who recently had a mic-dropping moment on HBO's "Veep" that should garner her Emmys kudos). This year's towering nominees include "The Elephant Man," "Skylight," "Wolf Hall," "American in Paris" and "The King and I." The 69th Tony Awards hosted by Kristin Chenoweth (also a nominee this year) and Alan Cumming will take place at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, broadcast on CBS. Here's the list of presenters: Read More: Tony Awards: Hollywood Falls for Broadway, But Some Get Tony Cold Shoulder Current nominees: Bradley Cooper (up for Leading Actor in "The Elephant. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Quentin Tarantino Spoils La Cinephiles with New Beverly's June Program

1 hour ago

Quentin Tarantino's 35mm movie haven, now 37 this year, ditched digital last Fall when he took over programming. Despite skepticism of this celluloid model, Tarantino's $8 35mm double features work with La audiences. (Last month, I attended a near-packed screening of Atom Egoyan's "Exotica." Who knew?) New Beverly's June program looks delicious to any La movie maven. From Hitchcock to Godard, Bogdanovich to Billy Wilder, there's a lot to love here. Diehard "Kill Bill" fans can catch "Vol. 2" every Friday in June at midnight. It's hard to believe that film is already over 10 years old. Read More: Quentin Tarantino Enjoys Running the New Beverly, Even When He's Shooting a Movie Jean Becker's rare ménage à deux "Backfire," starring the ultimate cinema dream team of Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, is a must-see for Nouvelle Vague completists. Preminger's "Anatomy of a Murder" looks dynamite on 35mm, and here »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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James Schamus Makes First-Look Deal with China's Meridian Entertainment

17 hours ago

James Schamus’s New York-based film and TV production company Symbolic Exchange has found a backer for its English-language slate. It makes perfect sense that one of the few creative executives and producers in Hollywood to have worked successfully on Chinese projects, producing and writing with long-time collaborator Ang Lee such films as "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," would make a pact with a Chinese company. Chinese start-up Meridian Entertainment has entered into a first-look and strategic cooperation agreement with Symbolic Exchange and will provide development and production funding, while the two companies also co-develop Chinese projects. Schamus will serve as a chief creative and strategic advisor to Meridian, as it seeks to widen its investments outside China.  "While we continue to build our portfolio in China, the world’s fastest growing film market," stated Meridian’s Jennifer Dong, "we know »


- Anne Thompson

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Jason Reitman Taps His Inner Child for DreamWorks Animation's 'Beekle'

19 hours ago

Jason Reitman needs redemption after his 2014 flop "Men, Women & Children" and tepidly received 2013 awards-hopeful-that-couldn't "Labor Day." The typically adult-leaning director of "Thank You for Smoking," witty Oscar nominees "Juno" and "Up in the Air" and under-appreciated and acidic "Young Adult" will now write and direct "Beekle" for DreamWorks Animation. The story of an oddball imaginary friend who embarks on a magical journey to find his perfect (real-life) match, the project marks Reitman's first animated effort, and DreamWorks Animation's first project under new co-presidents Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria. The studio is feeling confident after racking up nearly $350 million worldwide for this year's animated "Home," and is taking sweet time on promising projects, including 2016's "Kung Fu Panda 3." DreamWorks Animation development exec Damon Ross brought the project to the »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Revisiting John Huston's Late-Career 'The Life & Times of Judge Roy Bean'

19 hours ago

This late career John Huston comedy-western seems to have been an attempt to hitch a ride on the " Butch Cassidy" train to box office glory, but it was a critical and financial misfire. Paul Newman is back, this time as a highly unlikely incarnation of frontier hardass Roy Bean, the self-appointed “judge” known as “the only Law west of the Pecos”. Huston seems to be having fun, as does the terrific character-laden supporting cast. »


- Trailers From Hell

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Tom Cruise and His 'Edge of Tomorrow' Director Doug Liman Start Shooting 'Mena'

19 hours ago

Originally a 2014 Black List spec script by Gary Spinelli, Liman's reconnaissance thriller is based on the outrageous and real exploits of hustler and pilot Barry Seal, a CIA recruit tasked with bringing down a burgeoning communist threat in Central America. This covert operation spawned the Medellin cartel and nearly brought down the Reagan White House during the days of the Iran Contra scandal. Seal was eventually gunned down in Baton Rouge. "Mena" has now begun filming in Georgia, where star Tom Cruise will be joined by a hot cast including Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Jesse Plemons, E. Roger Mitchell Caleb Landry Jones and Lola Kirke. Cross Creek Pictures will fully finance Mena. The film is produced by Cross Creek’s Brian Oliver and Tyler Thompson, alongside Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer and Kim Roth, and Quadrant PicturesDoug Davison. "Mena" will film through July in counties throughout Georgia including Cherokee, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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How the Safdies Made Verité Drug Drama 'Heaven Knows What' with a Real-Life Ex-Junkie

20 hours ago

Josh and Ben Safdie burrow into "Panic in Needle Park" territory with their raw-nerved heroin addiction drama "Heaven Knows What." Star Arielle Holmes lived this life, and wrote a book, "Mad Love in New York City," about her experiences kicking it on the streets of New York as a homeless drug fiend after the Safdies found her and put her in front of a camera for the very first time. "That's her life we recreated," Josh Safdie said of star Holmes, whose memoir is the basis for the film's script. Now she has signed with an agency. "She's doing another film right now, which is very beautiful." Caleb Landry Jones, the only professional actor here, also anchors this suffocatingly powerful work as her on-and-off and also drug-addicted boyfriend Ilya, a stringy-haired transient who is barely tolerating the needy Harley's (Holmes) excesses, from her toxic infatuation with him to her scratchy need to get high. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Tilda Swinton Enters Marvel Universe with 'Doctor Strange' (Exclusive Video)

20 hours ago

THR reports that cinema chameleon Tilda Swinton has been tapped to portray a Tibetan mystic called Ancient One, a mentor to Benedict Cumberbatch's Dr. Stephen Strange, in Marvel Studio's upcoming project. Set for November 4, 2016 release and directed by Scott Derrickson, "Doctor Strange" turns on the titular supernatural hero, a genius surgeon who, after the demise of his career, gets taken under the wings of the Ancient One who trains him to defend the world against evil. Originally in the comics, the Ancient One had been male. But, likely in light of increasing gender paradigm shifts within the industry, Marvel Studios is going female. The film will begin shooting this November in the UK, with Kevin Feige onboard to produce. Busy actress Swinton will soon be seen in Judd Apatow's Summer comedy "Trainwreck," the Coens' 2016 release "Hail, Caesar!" and (later this year, we hope) "A Bigger Splash" from Luca Guadagnino, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Louis C.K., Back on the Knife's Edge as 'Louie' Season Finale Looms

20 hours ago

"Did Louis C.K. go too far?" This was the question on the lips of more than a few media outlets this weekend, after the comedian's opening monologue on the season finale of "Saturday Night Live." In what amounted to a nine-minute excerpt from one of his stand-up routines (with the foul language edited out), C.K. tackled Middle Eastern politics, his own "mild racism," and the psychology of child molesters, setting off uncomfortable titters in the audience and a common debate in contemporary comedy. Was he provocative, or simply offensive? Did he go too far, or did he go just far enough? When it comes to C.K.—a humorist of privilege and its discontents—even framing one's response in these terms implies a certain success. As evidenced by the sterling fifth season of his FX series, "Louie," which concludes Thursday night, he's at his funniest, and his most insightful, »


- Matt Brennan

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Watch: Trailers for Sundance Must-Sees 'Diary of a Teenage Girl,' 'End of the Tour'

21 hours ago

Two of the buzziest films to emerge from Sundance 2015 were "The Diary of a Teenage Girl" and "The End of the Tour." These may be Summer releases, but don't count them out of the year-end awards race. A moving and tender story of female sexuality in full bloom set in '70s San Francisco, Marielle Heller's "Diary of a Teenage Girl" opens from Sony Pictures Classics on August 7. Kristen Wiig shines as the hard-living mother of titular Minnie, played by spectacular newcomer Bel Powley, who takes up an affair with mom's hunky boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgard). Read More: Breakthrough New Director Marielle Heller on the Road to "Diary of a Teenage Girl" A24, meanwhile, will give James Ponsoldt's "End of the Tour" an early start going into the 2015 Oscar corridor for Jesse Eisenberg, who plays journo David Lipsyky, opposite Jason Segel's David Foster Wallace. Based on Lipsky's memoir »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Cinematography Legend Caleb Deschanel Gets AFI Alumni Medal

21 hours ago

Master cinematographer and television director Caleb Deschanel will receive AFI's 25th Annual Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal, which has previously gone to the likes of Darren Aronofsky, Patty Jenkins, David Lynch, Wally Pfister and fellow Dp Janusz Kaminski. This honor recognizes the extraordinary creative talents of an AFI Conservatory alum who embodies the qualities of filmmaker Franklin Schaffner, the Oscar-winning director of 1970's "Patton." An AFI grad from the class of 1969, Deschanel is a five-time Oscar nominee for "The Passion of the Christ," "The Patriot," "Fly Away Home," "The Natural" and "The Right Stuff." AFI cinematography alumni have been nominated 17 times across the past 12 years — winning five times. Deschanel won the American Society of Cinematographers (Asc) Award for "The Patriot" and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Asc in 2010. His directing credits »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Exclusive: Watch 10 La Film Fest Directors Talk Shooting Indie in Los Angeles

22 hours ago

Running June 10-18 in downtown La, Film Independent's Los Angeles Film Festival 2015 program includes its second annual Muse lineup of films set in, inspired by or shot in Los Angeles. Below, we reveal an exclusive video series documenting the making of these films. The 2015 La Muse lineup consists of three documentaries and seven fiction films; five films are by first time directors. All the films are having their world premiere at the Festival. You may recognize one name: Zoe Cassavetes, daughter of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands, who makes her first film since 2007 breakout "Broken English." “La is one of the most creative cities in the world –it’s where stars and rebels are born,” Roya Rastegar, Associate Director of Programming and Curated Content. “From Inglewood to Laurel Canyon, Venice Beach to Little Armenia, the films in the La Muse section feature the triumphs and tribulations of ballet dancers, Hollywood actresses and improv comedians, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Mary Ellen Mark: The Empathetic Eye

27 May 2015 9:08 AM, PDT

Mary Ellen Mark, the street photographer, empath and occasional catcher of celebrity souls, died Monday at the age of 75. She was equally deft at capturing the spirit of those on the fringes of the society as she was in getting those at the center of the red carpet.  My favorite among her celeb shots is the one she made of John Belushi on the set of The Blues Brothers, very deadpan, a perfect distillation of his sly humor. Yours? »


- Carrie Rickey

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La Film Fest Adds Free Screenings of 'Love and Basketball,' 'Roger Rabbit' and More

26 May 2015 12:57 PM, PDT

From June to 18, Film Independent's Los Angeles Film Festival returns to downtown's La Live with 74 feature films, 60 short films and over 50 new media works representing 35 countries. The festival has just added a 15th anniversary screening of Gina Prince-Bythewood's "Love & Basketball," Robert Zemeckis' "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" and more. Also announced today, the annual Coffee Talks Panels featuring actors Kathryn Hahn, David Koechner, Bryce Dallas Howard and Alfre Woodard, "Jurassic World" director Colin Trevorrow and more. The Festival will also host a special panel on the Un about filmmaking and a special Members only screening of "Fan Girl," starring Kiernan Shipka. Love & Basketball, dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood Gina Prince Bythewood's ode to romance on the court - and the competitive efforts to keep romance alive off the hardwood - stars Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps as friends whose lifelong relationship »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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'Carol' Producer Christine Vachon Talks Being Queen of the Croisette

26 May 2015 12:32 PM, PDT

One of the great things about getting into the Cannes Competition is participating in the festival rituals. I spoke to producer Christine Vachon, who attended Cannes with her frequent collaborator Todd Haynes and "Carol." What's it like to be part of one of the big films there? "You’re like, 'Okay, here’s the photo call. Here’s what we do.' The producer always stands on the end so they can get cut out. It’s like an unwritten law. You’re lucky if you’re standing next to Cate, so a bit of face will make its way in. You know what to expect, but, at the same time, you know that you go up the carpet, the director chooses the music. And the press conference is, again, I usually anticipate sitting up there like a houseplant, but that’s fine. I smile. After that, this year we »


- Anne Thompson

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Cannes Buy: Kino Lorber Acquires Cannes Award-Winner 'Measure of a Man'

26 May 2015 11:39 AM, PDT

The distributor scooped up all U.S. and Canadian rights to Stephane Brize's sixth feature, "The Measure of a Man," which took home the Best Actor prize for star Vincent Lindon. The movie is a sensitive portrayal of a working-class man struggling to stay employed and care for his family, as well as keep his values in a tough world.  The film was directed by Brizé ("Mademoiselle Chambon," starring Lindon) and co-written by Brizé and Olivier Gorce. Brizé supports his lead with a cast of non-pros playing dramatized versions of themselves. Art-house distributor Kino Lorber, which released "Mademoiselle Chambon" in the United States (grossing over $530,000 in theaters alone), is planning to release the film in theaters in the fall of 2015, after booking North American festivals. Home media and digital releases will follow in 2016.  "With 'The Measure of a Man'’s hugely deserved Best Actor honor," said Richard »


- Anne Thompson

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It's Curtains for Cary Fukunaga's 'It' Adaptation

26 May 2015 9:04 AM, PDT

The Wrap reports that New Line has dropped the ball on Cary Fukunaga's film version of Stephen King's "It," which the busy director intended as a two-part horror epic. Originally set up at Warner Bros. before shuttled to New Line, and slated for production in June, the project has been shelved indefinitely. "Fukunaga repeatedly clashed with the studio," writes Jeff Sneider, "and did not want to compromise his artistic vision in the wake of budget cuts that were recently demanded by New Line, which greenlit the first film at $30 million." Fukunaga took a gamble casting young "Maze Runner" breakout Will Poulter as Pennywise, the demonic clown that haunts a group of seven outcast friends. Fukunaga reportedly considered older actors like stage thesp Mark Rylance and "Bloodline" star Ben Mendelsohn for the part, but was knocked over by Poulter's audition. Rather than follow in the footsteps of the 1990 miniseries version of King's. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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A Teen Girl Finds Love and Sex the Hard Way in 'I Believe in Unicorns'

26 May 2015 8:45 AM, PDT

One of the finds at 2014's SXSW Film Festival was Leah Meyerhoff's directorial debut "I Believe in Unicorns," about the aftermath of a 16-year-old girl's first sexual experience, and the velocity of teenage love.  This young-lovers-on-the-lam film is by a newcomer and stars a newcomer, Natalia Dyer, who plays Davina, a wisp of a girl with her head in the clouds and who does, indeed, believe in unicorns -- or, at least, the wonder and magic that such mythological creatures signify. Love, or something like it, hits like a wrecking ball when she meets Sterling (Peter Vack), a dude with a studded leather vest, a punk bad and a piece-of-shit car. He's the definition of emotional unavailability, and it isn't long until he steals Davina's virginity on a dirty mattress in the back room of an underground club, a mosh pit thrashing away through the walls. Though not exactly »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Palm Springs ShortFest Reveals Online Lineup

26 May 2015 8:00 AM, PDT

The 2015 Palm Springs International ShortFest announced the first 13 films chosen to represent the ShortFest Online Film Festival. Theatrically, the festival has slated over 300 award-qualifying films. Online voting for digital films will open on June 9 and run through June 20, with the “ShortFest Online Audience Award” announced at the Festival Award Ceremony on Closing Night. Starting May 26, watch the films here. The ShortFest Online Film Festival will continue to play online through August 31 after the end of the festival. Here's the lineup: Animator vs. Animation IV (USA) A stick figure goes to war with his maker. Inventive and compulsively watchable, this is the continuation of a series that first went viral on the web in 2006. Director: Alan Becker. The Deadman (Peru) – A young man who everyone believes is dead returns to his parent’s house after seven years, followed shortly by two “detectives”… Director: Franco Finocchiaro. Cast: Miguel Iza, Hernan Romero, Ana Cecilia. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Cannes Awards Contenders, from the Weinstein Slate to 'Son of Saul'

25 May 2015 2:18 PM, PDT

The Cannes Film Festival often yields year-end awards contenders, from eventual Best Actor-winner Roberto Begnini ("Life is Beautiful") and "The Piano" and "The Pianist" to Michael Haneke's "Amour" and Best Picture-winner "The Artist." Last year's "Foxcatcher" wound up grabbing a few nods, more than Mike Leigh's "Mr. Turner," and the festival introduced several foreign film contenders, while "Clouds of Sils Maria," which didn't opened stateside until 2015, could provide a Supporting Actress shot for well-reviewed Kristen Stewart. So what of this year's crop of awards hopefuls? Weinstein Co. has a full slate this year: "Carol." This is a strong contender on many fronts. Most likely are its two leads. Rooney Mara shared the Cannes Best Actress jury award, which will help her going forward and lends support for a Best Actress slot along with Cate Blanchett. Mara was nominated once »


- Anne Thompson

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