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Selling a Brand: Spurlock Partners with Virgil and Abramorama on ‘Morgan Spurlock Presents’

14 hours ago

When you've got a brand, use it. Morgan Spurlock has made himself a name in documentaries. He's one of those prolific larger-than-life personalities who knows how to work the system. Going into the new era indie distribution business makes sense.  Warrior Poets, the New York based production company founded by Spurlock ("Super Size Me," CNN's "Inside Man") and his producing partner Jeremy Chilnick is partnering with Virgil Films ("Restrepo," "Forks Over Knives") and Richard Abramowitz’s indie distribution company Abramorama ("Exit through the Gift Shop,""Particle Fever") to acquire and release distinctive fiction and documentary features theatrically and on cable VOD. The films will be distributed under the banner “Morgan Spurlock Presents,” beginning with Brent Hodges' Tribeca documentary "A Brony Tale" in July and Heather Winters' award-winning rock doc "Two: The Story of Roman & Nyro" later in 2014. The partners aim to champion »


- Anne Thompson

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End of an Era: Only Woman Studio Distribution Chief Nikki Rocco To Step Down

16 hours ago

When the first --and only--female distribution chief at a major studio lasts for 18 years at her job, she's damned good at it. Well, Universal Pictures distribution president Nikki Rocco is finally stepping down at the end of 2014 after 47 years at the studio--it's the only place she ever worked. She's a lifer, something that doesn't happen that much anymore.  (The other studio distribution player is Warner Bros. International exec Veronika Kwan Vandenberg; Paramount marketing czar Megan Colligan also weighs in on special distribution strategies.) While Rocco survived many management changes, her most recent boss, co-chairman Adam Fogelson, was let go last year, leaving Donna Langley as solo Universal Pictures chair. Now NBCUni exec Jeff Shell is chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment; he'll likely move up her lieutenant Nicholas Carpou. It will be fascinating to see how NBC Universal owner Comcast --which has made a bid to buy Time Warner »


- Anne Thompson

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Emmy Hopeful Tatiana Maslany Returns in 'Orphan Black' Season Two (Trailer)

17 hours ago

Last year, an awards-season backlash seemed to be developing against the underdog BBC America clone conspiracy drama "Orphan Black," even though the frontlash for this absorbing Canadian production, which kicked off its second season over the weekend, continues to gather steam. Could chameleon Tatiana Maslany pull off an Emmy nod this year when nominees are announced on July 10? (Reviews for the new season thus far are quite strong.) Naysayers have suggested that the elaborately plotted show is too coyly fond of its own contrivances; that it races ahead and leaves its audience in the dust. To one commenter on Deadline, this post-meta playfulness typed the show as “hipsterish” and thus problematic for Emmy voters. Initially, and rightly, a lot of the praise for the show settled on its Critics' Choice and Golden Globe-nominated star, the amazingly versatile Tatiana Maslany, who is instantly engaging as Sarah Manning, a kohl-eyed, British-accented punk. »


- David Chute

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Jeremy Irons to Receive San Francisco Film Fest's 2014 Excellence in Acting Award

17 hours ago

Jeremy Irons will be the recipient of the Peter J. Owens Award for excellence in acting at the upcoming 57th San Francisco International Film Festival, kicking off this week and running April 24 through May 8. The award will be presented on May 1. The Sf Film Society and its year-round programming will be the beneficiary of the star-studded fundraiser honoring Oscar winner Irons (“Reversal of Fortune”), who will be filling the shoes of Bruce Wayne's trusty butler Alfred in the upcoming "Batman vs. Superman" mashup from Zack Snyder.Meanwhile, Richard Linkater is the recipient of the Founder’s Directing Award; Stephen Gaghan the recipient of the Kanbar Screenwriting Award; and John Lasseter the recipient of the George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award. Previous recipients over the past decade of the Owens Award are Harrison Ford (2013), Judy Davis (2012), Terence Stamp (2011), Robert Duvall (2010), Robert Redford (2009), Maria Bello (2008), Robin Williams (2007), Ed Harris »


- Beth Hanna

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Colcoa Opening Night in Los Angeles Fetes Director Claude Lelouch

18 hours ago

City of Lights, City of Angels -- Los Angeles' premier French film festival, and surely one of the biggest Francophile fests this side of Cannes -- sure knows how to throw a party. The line was out the door Monday evening at the DGA Theater on Sunset Boulevard as ticket-holders eagerly awaited Colcoa's opening night gala, a lavish fete followed by a screening of Claude Lelouch's "We Love You, You Bastard," a quaint French family drama that juggles romance, melodrama and mystery with the help of an eclectic acting ensemble.Lelouch, 76, is the tireless French director of 44 films including, most notably, "A Man and a Woman," the 1966 heart-clutching romance starring New Wave titans Anouk Aimee and Jean-Louis Trintignant, which won the Cannes Palme d'Or and took two Oscars including Best Foreign Language Film. With "We Love You, You Bastard," Lelouch proudly wears his particular brand of earnest, middle-of-the-road dramedies. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Review: Argentina's Outstanding 'The German Doctor' Finds a Heart of Darkness in Gorgeous Patagonia

18 hours ago

In the opening sequence of Lucía Puenzo’s “The German Doctor,” a family in 1960 Argentina takes a road trip across the wide, Cinemascoped expanse of Patagonia’s countryside. But they’re not alone. Following closely behind is a blue sedan, and in it, the Angel of Death -- or at least the man who was given that ominous nickname, the notorious Nazi and Auschwitz physician Josef Mengele (played with cunning charm and sinister by German-fluent Spaniard Alex Brendemühl).The family doesn’t know he’s Mengele. And if they do, they push the information to the back recesses of their brains as they realize that the man who follows them and insinuates himself into their lives, with ruthless persistence but seeming harmlessness, can help them in various ways. The daughter of the family, Lilith (a naturalistic Florencia Bado, making her screen debut), suffers from stunted growth, and Mengele takes a »


- Beth Hanna

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Netflix Plans Price Hike for New Subscribers

19 hours ago

Given that just about everyone we know subscribes to Netflix, the streaming site can probably get away with charging more for their goods. A couple months ago Amazon Prime announced its annual fee would jump by $20 beginning in 2015. Now Netflix intends to raise its subscription price for new customers by $1 or $2 per month. Clearly Netflix is putting a lot of bank into its original content -- like pricey "House of Cards," and "Orange Is the New Black" -- and, per the Wall Street Journal, the subscription raise would go towards not only that continued output, but higher quality content. And their popular $7.99 per month streaming plan hasn't taken a price jump since 2011; similarly, Amazon's Prime hasn't increased in several years either. Even after the price bump goes into effect, current subscribers would reportedly stay at the $7.99 price point for "a generous time period." At this point Netflix has about 48 million global customers, »


- Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna

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New 'Star Wars' Will Cost $200 Million, Casting "Almost Done," George Lucas Still Consulting on Films

19 hours ago

Disney chair Alan Horn sat down with Jon Erlichman of Bloomberg Television to discuss the on-the-horizon "Star Wars" trilogy set to unfold over the next several years. Quote highlights, below. Of the several nuggets of information given, Horn confirmed the next installments will shoot at Pinewood Studies in the UK, and in Abu Dhabi, for the "Star Warsian look." Plus, after the internet was up in arms about the first film, being helmed by J.J. Abrams (above), setting a release date for December of 2015 ("Star Wars" films have traditionally come out in May), the second and the third installments may revert back to the May release template -- but no word on what dates those would be. Here's what Horn had to say: Is casting for the next Star Wars almost done?"It's almost complete. We're not prepared to announce it yet, but we will be very shortly."On the »


- Beth Hanna

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Exclusive: Stream a Track from Andrew Hewitt's Astonishing Score for 'The Double,' Starring Jesse Eisenberg

19 hours ago

Richard Ayoade's deliriously cinematic comedy-of-errors "The Double," adapted from Fyodor Dostoevsky's novella, doesn't hit theaters or VOD until May 9. But in the meantime, stream this track off the film's soundtrack, composed by Andrew Hewitt, exclusively on Toh!Set in a gloomy dystopia, "The Double" stars Jesse Eisenberg as a joyless data clerk whose obsession with a beautiful coworker (Mia Wasikowska) brings him face-to-face with his far more charismatic and charming doppelganger. (Here's our Toh! review.)Composer Andrew Hewitt, who scored Ayoade's 2010 hip feature debut "Submarine," has created a head-spinning orchestral score that perfectly captures "The Double"'s stressful, frenetic tone. The score, like the film, is brilliant and infectious. The soundtrack is available to download in full on May 6 before the film arrives May 9 via Magnolia Pictures. Stream the main theme below, and watch the trailer. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Cannes 2014 Directors' Fortnight Lineup Includes 'Whiplash,' New Films by Boorman, Wiseman and More

20 hours ago

After revealing its competition lineup on April 17, Cannes has now unveiled its Directors' Fortnight program for the 67th edition of the fest.  Notably, two films that bowed at Sundance have made the cut, Damien Chazelle's "Whiplash," starring Miles Teller as a talented young drummer driven mad by his relentless and cruel teacher, J.K. Simmons; and Jim Mickle's Southern thriller, "Cold in July," starring Michael C. Hall. (A trailer for the latter recently dropped; watch it here.) Bruno Dumont's procedural "Li'l Quinquin" is part of the lineup, as is John Boorman's latest (his first feature in eight years), "Queen and Country," and a new Frederick Wiseman doc "The National Gallery." Full lineup below: Special Screenings The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Tobe Hooper Li’l Quinquin Bruno Dumont Feature Competition Halleluiah Fabrice Du Welz (Belgium/France) Next to Her Asaf Korman (Israel) Catch Me Daddy Daniel Wolfe (UK) Cold in July Jim. »


- Beth Hanna

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Matt Bean Makes Changes at Entertainment Weekly

21 hours ago

New Entertainment Weekly editor Matt Bean, a Time Inc. Sport Illustrated editorial star who took over from Jess Cagle (who now runs People), is making changes. Gone is film critic Owen Gleiberman, replaced by younger staffers like Chris Nashawaty.  Last week, Bean imported Kyle Ryan of The Onion A.V. Club to run EW.com. Like many publications, dwindling print sales and ads still bring in more revenue than the burgeoning website, which is successful in its own right. And in a staff memo Monday, Bean revealed more hires and promotions: Bean promoted two assistant managing editors to executive editor: Sean Smith (who put in time at Premiere and Newsweek) now runs film, and seven-year veteran Meeta Agrawal runs television. EW's executive editor for integrated content, Kristen Baldwin, has been promoted to deputy editor, taking over for Henry Goldblatt who joined Cagle at People. The question is whether the print edition so resembles the. »


- Anne Thompson

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What Will Spielberg Direct Next? 'Robopocalypse'? 'Montezuma'?

22 April 2014 3:14 AM, PDT

Spielberg is a director who has a hard time making up his mind. Hence the many projects he's constantly attached to. (Sometimes, producers find, the good news of having Spielberg attached becomes bad news, when the movie never gets made.)  The latest announcement has Spielberg partnering with old pal Tom Hanks on an untitled Cold War thriller (expect more Cold War plots to return as Russia becomes a convenient enemy again). Hanks is attached to star as real-life James Donovan, an American attorney recruited by the CIA to maneuver behind the Iron Curtain to release a captured pilot whose U-2 spy plane went down in Russia. Spielberg might direct for DreamWorks. Stacey Snider crony Marc Platt will produce the Matt Charman script with Spielberg.  Hanks and Spielberg have collaborated on three films, “Saving Private Ryan,” “Catch Me if You Can” and “The Terminal," the only soft box office performer of the three. »


- Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna

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Rip Danny Anker: Oscar-Nominated Documentary Filmmaker was 50

21 April 2014 7:22 PM, PDT

Sad to share the news that documentary filmmaker Danny Anker died Monday morning of lymphoma, at the age of 50.  He was an Oscar-nominated director (Best Documentary Feature) for "Scottsboro: An American Tragedy" (2000), which was a selection of the Sundance Film Festival and won a Primetime Emmy in 2001.   Many of his other productions were Emmy nominated and/or screened at prestigious film festivals, such as "Icebound" (2012).  He is perhaps best known for "Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust," which won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2004 Hamptons Film Festival. Narrated by Gene Hackman, it featured interviews with directors including Steven Spielberg.   Anker was in post-production on "Sidney Lumet: The Moral Lens," and had directed nine other documentaries, including "Voices Unbound: The Story of the Freedom Writers" (winner at the 2010 Valladolid Film Festival), "Through My Eyes: The Charlie Kelman Story" (2010), as well as »


- Annette Insdorf

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Oscar-Winning '12 Years a Slave' Scribe John Ridley's Jimi Hendrix Biopic to Open Seattle Film Fest

21 April 2014 12:31 PM, PDT

Screenwriter John Ridley won an Oscar this year for "12 Years a Slave," and now his sophomore directorial feature "Jimi: All Is By My Side," will be the opening night film at the 40th annual Seattle International Film Festival on May 15. Ridley wrote and directed this Jimi Hendrix biopic, which stars Andre Benjamin (aka rapper/singer Andre 3000) as Hendrix and Imogen Poots as love interest Linda Keith, who met him in 1966 while dating Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. The film focuses on their relationship, Hendrix's rise in the London music scene before his death at age 27 in 1970, and the complications that arise when a new admirer (played by Hayley Atwell of "Captain America") enters the scene. "All Is By My Side" blends Ridley's interpretation of the story with archival footage of the era. The film will be released theatrically this summer by XLrator Media with Open Road Films.  Watch a clip below, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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David Fincher Photographs Rosamund Pike's Smeared Dark Side for W Magazine Updated

21 April 2014 12:18 PM, PDT

Update: Rosamund Pike, aka the "Gone Girl" at the center of David Fincher's latest thriller set to hits theaters in October, graces the cover of May's W Magazine. The cover image and photo spread inside were taken by Fincher. Check it out, plus the film's recently released trailer, below. Though Pike ("The World's End," "Jack Reacher") isn't yet a household name, that will all change come this fall when she stars in the adaptation of Gillian Flynn's bestseller. Fincher has a knack for sensational, breakout casting (Rooney Mara, for example, was hardly known before her Oscar-nominated turn in Fincher's "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"), and Pike could very well follow the same rise. Due to plot twists in the story, she's not featured very much in the first trailer -- it's mostly all about Ben Affleck -- but it's a role that will require some serious chops. »


- Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna

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HBO Renews 'Veep' and 'Silicon Valley'

21 April 2014 12:01 PM, PDT

It's a good day for HBO's two strongest comedies, "Veep" and "Silicon Valley." Both got renewed for additional seasons.  "Veep" is currently in the midst of its third season (now renewed for a fourth), while "Silicon Valley" just kicked off its first to high acclaim (and is now renewed for a second season). All lead actors from both shows will be returning. We at Toh! are fans. Our review of the most recent season of "Veep" is here; and "Silicon Valley" here (plus, you can watch the first episode free online here). »


- Beth Hanna

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SnagFilms Announces Exciting New Weekly Streaming Exclusives

21 April 2014 11:43 AM, PDT

Beginning this April through the end of the year, Webby Award nominee and Indiewire parent company SnagFilms will roll premiere a new film for free each week. SnagFilms viewers will have the chance to watch 40 acclaimed indies and documentaries for the very first time exclusively on the website -- and at no cost! The monthly premieres, which you can stream online and through mobile devices and set-tops, will complement holidays as well as current and special events. The first of April's premieres is Alrick Brown's powerful Sundance Audience Award winner "Kinyarwanda" (available now), commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Also available now, in the spirit of Tribeca and Coachella, is "Let Fury Have the Hour," a portrait of 2012 counter-culture.Additional films making their April and May debuts include the following (select trailers below): "Rabbit Fever" (4/21) -- You've heard of dog and horse shows, but are you familiar with rabbit. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Read an Excerpt from Andy Warhol's Delightfully Morbid 1974 Interview with Alfred Hitchcock

21 April 2014 11:13 AM, PDT

A rare excerpt has surfaced from Andy Warhol's chat with director Alfred Hitchcock in a September 1974 issue of Interview Magazine. While this unusual meeting of the minds doesn't offer explicit insights into Hitchcock's filmmaking process, the conversation feels more like a portrait of these artists' warped minds. Read below as they talk about death, murder, corpse-disposal and psychosis. In other words, you know, just a little light banter. The interview was published two years after Hitchcock's violent serial killer thriller "Frenzy," and two years before Hitch's final film "Family Plot." He died in 1980, while Warhol died in 1987. Both had their start, interestingly enough, as illustrators. Andy Warhol: Since you know all these cases, did you ever figure out why people really murder? It's always bothered me. Why. Alfred Hitchcock: Well I'll tell you. Years ago, it was economic, really. Especially in England. First of all, divorce was very hard to get, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Want to Know How Many Characters Died in Your Favorite Films? This Website Has the Answer (Clips)

21 April 2014 10:38 AM, PDT

In a recent New York Times Magazine piece, Riff writer Alexander Huls yearns for the time when death in a Hollywood movie actually meant something: The problem is that death at the movies has died. The movie industry has corrupted one of cinema's -- if not all of fiction's -- most emotionally taxing moments into hollow formula, the kind of thing that passes in the blink of a plot point leading to a literal, if not figurative, explosive finale that takes up half the budget. Of course action films have saccharine subplots that exist only to lend meaning to their staggering body counts. But in recent years, killing a major character in your average blockbuster has become inert thanks to the increasing use of formulas to create stakes.These days, deaths in Hollywood movies are, quite literally, dime-a-dozen, and we're left with a feeling once articulated, unfortunately, by Stalin: "One »

- Ryan Lattanzio

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Meron and Zadan Return for Third Round as Oscar Producers

21 April 2014 10:33 AM, PDT

The fact that producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are returning to produce the Oscars for the third time running is no surprise. I took it for granted that they would come back for another round. Their last two shows --with hosts Seth MacFarlane and Ellen DeGeneres, respectively--played well enough both inside and outside Hollywood that the Academy and ABC were likely to want them back. “This year’s show reached viewers of all ages and set social media records,"  said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson, "proving that Craig and Neil are masters at tapping into the zeitgeist and capturing the hearts of movie fans around the world.” The 87th Oscars will air live on the ABC Television Network on Oscar® Sunday, February 22, 2015. Part of Zadan and Meron's skill is knowing how to mount an awards show with strong musical numbers--they are adept musical producers in theater, film and television, whose »


- Anne Thompson

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