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Rip Spaghetti Western Director Sergio Sollima

3 hours ago

When he spoke these words, Italian film director Sergio Sollima, who died this week at age 94, was referring to his love of travel, of the ability to visit far-flung parts of the world, observing and absorbing varied and unfamiliar cultures afforded to him by his career. But he always seemed to translate that love of observation and experience to even his grimiest, most disreputable thrillers, infusing his films with vitality and a distinct political thrust that often separated them from the more routine product of the Italian film and television industry of the ‘60s and ‘70s.  Sollima was born in Rome in 1921 and as a young man graduated from the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, the Italian national film school established in 1935. He started out writing film criticism but soon moved toward crafting plays and screenplays. The first of them to be produced, "Behind Closed Doors" (1951), on which he was one of four writers, »


- Dennis Cozzalio

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Watch: Nicole Kidman Fearlessly Takes on Sensual 'Strangerland' (Exclusive Video Interview)

5 hours ago

Nicole Kidman is one of our most fearless actresses, from her Oscar-winning role as a depressed Virginia Woolf in "The Hours" and warbling woman of the night in "Moulin Rouge!" to the grieving mother in "Rabbit Hole," aggressive newswoman on the rise in "To Die For," and sexy turn in "Paperboy." I talked to her on a chilly Sundance balcony right before her latest film "Strangerland" made its debut in the World competition.   "Strangerland" is a gorgeously moody outback thriller shot in Alice Springs about a pharmacist (Joseph Fiennes, replacing originally cast Guy Pearce) and his wife (Kidman) who move to a new town after their sex-crazed 15-year-old daughter has an affair with a teacher. They haven't had a chance to settle down when the girl and her younger brother vanish during a dust storm, presumably into the desert, spawning all sorts of talk and suspicion as the town police chief (Hugo Weaving) tries to. »


- Anne Thompson

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Comic-Con Preview: As TV Takes Over, Affleck, 'Star Wars' and 'Hunger Games' Make Splash

10 hours ago

It's not news that over the past few years Comic-Con, July's gargantuan genre fan convention in San Diego, has moved from movies toward television. Clearly, it's a reflection of the entertainment industry, as HBO's "Game of Thrones" and AMC's "Walking Dead" needed the scale of Hall H to accommodate their fan hordes.  And for the first time this year, Amazon Instant Video will be introducing new series, Philip K. Dick's "The Man in the High Castle" (from Frank Spotnitz and David Zucker) and "Hand of God" (from director Marc Forster) at Comic-Con (trailer below). PBS is promoting "Sherlock," the Brit series that made new Academy member Benedict Cumberbatch a star. Netflix is showcasing the Wachowskis' "Sense8." And Seth Macfarlane, Anne Druyan and Neil deGrasse Tyson are participating on a "Cosmos" panel.  But this year more than usual, the Con (July 8-11) is leaning away even from the comic book. »


- Anne Thompson

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How Brando Narrated Biodoc 'Listen to Me Marlon'

11 hours ago

After a strong debut at the Sundance Film Festival, Showtime Documentary Films is releasing "Listen to Me Marlon" in theaters July 29 before airing on cable, which means it will be eligible for the doc Oscar.  Developed by Showtime and produced by John Battsek's Passion Pictures, "Listen to Me Marlon" delivers a multi-faceted portrait of Brando that is fascinating because it's narrated by Brando himself using never-before-heard audiotapes from his vast archives. Brando talked to himself, essentially, throughout his career, often as part of his preparation for roles, from "On the Waterfront" and "The Godfather" to "Last Tango in Paris." And Passion Pictures and writer-director-editor Riley also animated a digital mask of Brando created for "Superman" to deliver some of Brando's dialogue. The movie immerses us in Brando, takes us inside his head. We feel we know him in a way we never did before.  Also »


- Anne Thompson

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Steven Soderbergh Picks 11 Favorite Films

11 hours ago

This list dates back to 1989, when Steven Soderbergh was hot off his debut indie sensation "Sex, Lies and Videotape," which managed the rare feat of scoring the Palme d'Or after already premiering (and winning) at Sundance. Then in his mid-20s, Soderbergh was already well-read in the American classics. And now, after dozens of features and TV's "The Knick" and all but directing this weekend's "Magic Mike" sequel, he ranks with most of the names you see below. (Hat tip: The Film Stage.) Read More: Why "Magic Mike Xxl" Is Still a Soderbergh Movie "All the President's Men" (Alan J. Pakula, 1976) "Annie Hall" (Woody Allen, 1977) "Citizen Kane" (Orson Welles, 1941) "The Conversation" (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974) "The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T" (Roy Rowland, 1953) "The Godfather" (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972) "The Godfather: Part II" (Francis Ford Coppola, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Lost Script by Jules Feiffer—Who Wrote Films for Nichols, Resnais and Altman—Sees the Light

12 hours ago

29 years after he wrote it, Pulitzer Prize-winning Village Voice cartoonist and now-and-again screenwriter Jules Feiffer's "Bernard and Huey" will finally live on the big screen. Director Dan Mirvish and Bugeater Films more than doubled their Kickstarter goal this week, raising over $22,000 to mount Feiffer's comedy about two rekindled old friends and the women who complicate their lives. The characters were first introduced in 1957 in his eponymous Village Voice comic strip. (Check out the story of how Mirvish unearthed the script here.) Feiffer later wrote scripts for Mike Nichols' scabrous sex satire "Carnal Knowledge" (1971, based on his un-produced play), Alan Arkin's directorial debut "Little Murders" (1971), Robert Altman's "Popeye" (1980) and Alain Resnais' "I Want to Go Home" (a 1989 comedy about a cartoonist), among others. A WGA Lifetime Achievement Winner, Feiffer also wrote the 1961 Oscar-winning animated »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Paul Thomas Anderson Tackles 'Pinocchio'

13 hours ago

This project, reported by Variety, marks PTA's follow-up to “Inherent Vice,” which earned him an adapted screenplay Oscar nomination. Of course there's the chance that Anderson would also direct the adaptation of the 1883 Carlo Collodi children's classic "The Adventures of Pinocchio," about a wooden puppet who wants to be a real boy, assuming that Warner Bros. deems his script commercial enough. The studio released --and supported at a financial loss--Anderson's "Inherent Vice," which did not score at the box office ($8.6 million worldwide). So he owes them one. Anderson usually directs his scripts but demands considerable latitude.  The best-known version of the story is Disney's 1940 animated feature, arguably one of the least successful of the studio's many fairy tale hits. A score of live action versions of once-animated fairy tales are in the works.  Read: 'Pinocchio' Joins Roster of Live Action Fairy Tale Remakes In »


- Anne Thompson

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Karlovy Vary: A Female First Nation Canadian Makes Her Very Personal Film Debut (Exclusive)

14 hours ago

Director Sonia Bonspille Boileau digs into her First Nation roots for her new film "Le Dep," which heads to the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in Czech Republic this weekend. An award-winning documentary filmmaker, Boileau's feature debut offers timely reflection on aboriginal struggle in Canada, where natives struggle to wrest their autonomy. For this psychological drama set in a small First Nations community in rural Quebec, Boileau cast relatively unknown actors and real Innu tribe members Eve Ringuette and Charles Buckell to tell the story of a young native woman (Ringuette) who recognizes her attacker when she's robbed at gunpoint in her father's convenience store. The encounter unearths secrets buried in her family. Read More: Karlovy Vary Film Fest Lineup Lures Adventurous Cinephiles, Young Directors Produced by Nish Media, whose Jason Brennan is also native, "Le Dep" is the inaugural First Nation production to come out of Telefilm »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Broad Green Lures Emmy Chang from Weinstein Co. as PR VP

14 hours ago

Broad Green Pictures is continuing to beef up its staff as it prepares to release an ambitious slate by bringing in Weinstein Co.'s National Publicity Vice President Emmy Chang as Publicity VP. She used to work with Broad Green PR chief Adam Keen when he was at Relativity.  Read: Meet The Hammonds, Indie Film's New Kids on the Block At the Weinstein Co. she oversaw films "Philomena," "August: Osage County," "The Imitation Game" and "Big Eyes." Before serving as Vice President of National Publicity at Relativity, Chang was Director of National Publicity at Fox Searchlight, working on such campaigns as "Juno," "The Wrestler," "Once," "Little Miss Sunshine," and "Crazy Heart."  »


- Anne Thompson

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Xavier Dolan's Twisty Psychosexual Thriller 'Tom at the Farm' Finally Gets Its Due (New Trailer)

15 hours ago

Until last month, the stateside future of "Tom at the Farm," Xavier Dolan's artful adaptation of a Michel-Marc Bouchard play, looked bleak. It premiered at the 2013 Venice Film Festival to strong reviews. What took so long? But after outpourings of love for his 2014 Cannes winner "Mommy" (distributed here by Roadside), Amplify Releasing saved the day and scooped the hot Canadian auteur's thriller off the shelf. "Tom at the Farm" will finally be released on August 14, 2015. Dolan does double-duty behind and in front of the camera as the title's brooding, blond-headed hipster who invades the lives of his dead lover's family — who were unaware of their son's sexual orientation. On the farm, Tom falls under the spell of his departed's menacing older brother (Pierre-Yves Cardinal) who oozes an earthy, animal sexuality that indicates he may not be entirely straight. Dolan frames their woozy folie à deux using his usual arsenal of. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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BFI Takes Sight and Sound Documentary Poll to the Big Screen

16 hours ago

The British Film Institute has a mouth-watering July program for across-the-pond documentary buffs and moviegoers. The series culls from BFI's most recent Sight & Sound Poll of 340 critics, programmers and filmmakers in search of the greatest docs of all time. The program, detailed here, spans the birth and life of the genre, from early ethnographic classic "Nanook of the North" and earth-shaking Soviet experiment "Man with a Movie Camera" to Claude Lanzmann's Holocaust epic "Shoah" (here screened in its entirety) and Errol Morris' "The Thin Blue Line," which in 1988 was an early example of the true crime mysteries that are now the craze of the zeitgeist.  Read More: British Film Institute Unlocks Ambitious Plan to Digitize Films The rest of the series includes a double bill of Chris Marker's ode to memory, "Vertigo" and cats "Sans Soleil" and Alain Resnais' profoundly upsetting concentration camp doc »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Watch: 'Steve Jobs' Trailer Stars Michael Fassbender as Apple's Enigmatic Genius

17 hours ago

Written by Aaron Sorkin, the long-gestating film stars Michael Fassbender as the titular Apple mogul, alongside Kate Winslet (Macintosh marketing chief Joanna Hoffman), Seth Rogen (as Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak), Jeff Daniels (as former Apple CEO John Sculley) and Katherine Waterston (as the artist-mother of Jobs' first child). Read More: Steve Job Biopic Finally Lands at Universal; What Took So Long? Sorkin reportedly written a 181-page, three-act screenplay that spans 16 years and could yield a very long movie. Based on Walter Isaacson's 2011 tome, the film passed from director to director, and studio to studio, like a hot potato before finally landing at Universal, with Oscar winner Danny Boyle at the helm. (The Sony Hack revealed the tumultuous back-and-forth between then-Sony chief Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin.) Sorkin has said that he wanted to skirt the conventional "cradle-to-grave structure of a biography," looking instead at a "point of »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Watch: Michael B. Jordan Muscles Up in Trailer for Rocky Spinoff 'Creed'

17 hours ago

When Ryan Coogler's Sundance and Cannes winner "Fruitvale Station" hit theaters in July, MGM quickly scooped up the maverick indie to write and direct this seventh film in the "Rocky" series, co-penned by Aaron Covington. How will Coogler fare on a big-budget Hollywood canvas? We shall see when Warner Bros. opens "Creed" on the awards (and family) friendly date of November 25. "Creed" takes the original Apollo Creed/Rocky Balboa story and follows Adonis Creed (a ripped Michael B. Jordan), the son of world heavyweight champ Apollo, trying to make his way in Philadelphia. He turns to Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), his father's close friend and fierce rival, for help and mentorship. Judging from footage in CinemaCon and the trailer below, it looks gritty and terrific. "It's not 'Rocky 7,'" Stallone told exhibitors. Tessa Thompson and real-life boxers Tony Bellew and Andrew Ward round out the »


- Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio

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Polish Auteur Andrzej Zulawski Emerges for First Film in 15 Years

18 hours ago

We won't know the full 2015 Locarno Film Festival lineup until July 15, but so far the fest has booked world premieres from two top-flight auteurs. Cult Polish director Andrzej Zulawski returns for his first film in 15 years with "Cosmos," a metaphysical noir thriller that played the Cannes market. The Swiss film festival has served a home for Zulawski before, as in 1981 when he presided over the jury and his arthouse horror-psychodrama "Possession," a vanishing rarity starring a gloriously unhinged Isabelle Adjani that is well worth seeking out, screened out of competition. Zulawski has been polishing "Cosmos" since January. It's based on the 1965 seriocomic novel by Witold Gombrowicz and centers on two young men (Jonathan Genet and Johan Libereau) whose country retreat takes a turn for the sinister and mind-bending. The "Cosmos" cast includes French actress and Alain Resnais muse Sabine Azéma. Here's a more detailed »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Why 'Magic Mike Xxl' Is Still a Soderbergh Movie: Review and Roundup

30 June 2015 2:29 PM, PDT

Even though I enjoyed Steven Soderbergh’s 2012 “Magic Mike,” I went into Gregory Jacobs’ sequel “Xxl” with low expectations, expecting to be entertained by Channing Tatum, at least. That's because the well-muscled model-turned-actor, 36, who broke out a decade ago in the gritty street drama “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” and energetic dance romance “Step Up” has become a reliable movie star.  What does that mean? No matter how bad the movie—and there have been a few Hollywood clinkers, from “The Dilemma” and the two “G.I. Joe” actioners to “White House Down” and "Jupiter Ascending"—he’s believable. The bad stuff bounces off him like Teflon, and he survives with his charisma intact. Every time. Tatum’s just delightful to watch on screen, no matter what he does, drama ("Foxcatcher," “Stop Loss”) or comedy (the “21 Jump Street” series). Did his background as a stripper make him confident and »


- Anne Thompson

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Focus Chases 'Jurassic World' Director Colin Trevorrow's Hush-Hush 'Book of Henry'

30 June 2015 1:10 PM, PDT

What is "Book of Henry"? Outside of being "Jurassic World" indie-turned-studio-for-hire director Colin Trevorrow's followup, marking a return to smaller-scale filmmaking, we know little about the project scripted by novelist Gregg Hurwitz. But Focus Features is reportedly circling the movie, reports Variety, on the heels of the box-office breaking numbers for Universal's "Jurassic." If the deal is sealed, this would keep Trevorrow — who is no longer the hot indie maverick of "Safety Not Guaranteed" days — in the Universal family. But is this high-end classy Focus or mainstream genre Focus (which is supposedly now Gramercy)?  Read More: 'Jurassic World' Director Colin Trevorrow Lands Hush-Hush Next Project Production is still expected to begin in New York this Fall, which means casting (and hopefully plot details) will surface in the coming months. Sidney Kimmel Entertainment will produce the film. Hurwitz is also adapting his »


- Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio

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How 'Amy' Shows Winehouse as You've Never Seen Before

30 June 2015 11:52 AM, PDT

At first blush “Amy” is a searingly depressing documentary. Something about the way London documentary filmmaker Asif Kapadia edits his multi-media portrait of Amy Winehouse, which debuted well out-of-competition at Cannes, is profoundly disturbing. We know going in that we’re going to see a train wreck, and maybe we feel a tad guilty about wanting to look at it. We all carry media images, clips, moments that we have witnessed online that form our own image of the gifted but troubled singer. And we also are all-too familiar with the trope of the talent who heads down the wrong path, unsupported by family and loved ones, distracted and destroyed by drugs, exploited by the people who want to make money off them. Again, Kapadia (“Senna”) skirts these shoals and digs deeper to deliver more. Read: Talking Must-See Formula 1 Racing Doc 'Senna,' Visceral 3 "Three-Act Drama" Yes, I was »


- Anne Thompson

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On Walter Hill, Renegade Poet of Action Cinema

30 June 2015 11:46 AM, PDT

Man walks into a bar, gets into a brawl, wins and walks out. The end. One of the key reasons why Walter Hill’s movies have aged so well is because they don’t waste any time getting down to business. They’re as brutal as they are streamlined, and the unnerving rapidity with which their tales unfold becomes the punchline rather than the setup. And boy, what a punch! Hill, whose first seven features were honored by an "early years" retrospective at the 69th Edinburgh International Film Festival last week, is one of those directors both highly respected across the film industry and yet still somehow neglected. He owes this partly to the fact that when it comes to genre filmmaking, critical praise more often than not comes with the obligatory disclaimer that he’s a “great action director” or similar. Hill makes adventures, policiers, westerns—hardly the kind »


- Michael Pattison

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PBS Masterpieces Find a New Home at Amazon Prime

30 June 2015 11:21 AM, PDT

Amazon has inked a pact to bring PBS Masterpiece series new and old exclusively to its Prime streaming service. New Masterpiece series taht will come to Prime include '50s detective drama "Grantchester" starring James Norton and Robson Green, post-Revolutionary War romantic saga "Poldark," critically applauded Hilary Mantel adaptation "Wolf Hall" starring Damian Lewis — which completed its PBS run on May 10 — and an intriguing new drama on the birth of modern India called "Indian Summers." Prime members already have access to all five seasons of "Downton Abbey," as well as fan faves "Mr. Selfridge" and "The Escape Artist" and, in addition, PBS Nova titles, Ken Burns documentaries, kids' programming and more. Read More: How 'Wolf Hall' Captured the Dark Magic of Hilary Mantel's Award-Winning Novels »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Sundance Slates Composers and Filmmakers for Music and Sound Labs

30 June 2015 11:02 AM, PDT

The independent narrative and documentary directors and composers headed for the Sundance Institute and Skywalker Sound's Music and Sound Design Labs have been revealed. The Labs will take place at Skywalker Ranch in northern California. These labs offer a space for composers, directors and sound designers to collaborate on a film soundtrack, in a workshop setting under the guidance of top film composers and film music professionals as Creative Advisors.  The Music and Sound Design Lab for narrative features goes down July 7 through 21, with the Lab for documentaries to follow on July 22 through 30. Creative Advisors this year include composers Jeff Beal, Todd Boekelheide, George S. Clinton, John Frizzell, Harry Gregson-Williams, Laura Karpman, and Anton Sanko; sound designers Chris Barnett, Pete Horner, Dennis Leonard, Tim Nielsen, Gary Rydstrom, Kent Sparling, and Randy Thom; Bmi Vice President, Doreen Ringer Ross; re-recording mixers Erik Foreman, Zach Martin and Brandon »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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