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Screen Talk: Tom Cruise Takes Flight, New Oscar Movies, and the David Foster Wallace Controversy

11 hours ago

On this week's Screen Talk, Indiewire's Eric Kohn and I cover the waterfront of fall film festivals and a rash of new titles to consider for the welcome adult film season to come. We debate Christopher McQuarrie's "Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation" --is it the best?--and parse the intricacies of the hybrid day-and-date release of Cary Fukunaga's "Beasts of No Nation" as well as the controversy behind the fictional David Foster Wallace movie "The End of the Tour." Will it effect its Oscar chances? And why the hell is Jason Segel being considered for supporting actor? Next week: Locarno! Check out some discounted indie films here.  And the podcast is available on iTunes.     »


- Anne Thompson

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Watch: Truman Capote Twisted Henry James into a Southern Gothic for 'The Innocents'

12 hours ago

Jack Clayton’s masterpiece, one of the greatest cinematic ghost stories, is ill-served by this lowbrow trailer that sells it like a cheap Eurotrash import. Although not a commercial success at the time, it has since been hailed as one of the best British films of the 1960s, with a powerhouse performance by Deborah Kerr as the frightened, possibly deranged governess.Her chilling charges are played by Martin Stephens and, in her film debut at 11 years of age, Pamela Franklin. »


- Trailers From Hell

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Another Relativity Project Gets Rescued

15 hours ago

An intergalactic love story originally set up at now-bankrupt Relativity under the title "Out of This World" has now migrated to Stx Entertainment, a fast-growing, deep-pocketed film and TV studio launched last year by Robert Simonds. Relativity, which has had a hell of a week, had not fully greenlit the project when Stx began bidding in mid-July. But the film had a script from Allan Loeb and a director, Peter Chelsom ("Hector and the Search for Happiness"), who's staying onboard. Based on a story written by Richard Lewis, Stewart Schill and Loeb, the film is now untitled and is set to star Gary Oldman, Asa Butterfield, Carla Gugino and Britt Robertson. Here's the synopsis: Read More: Troubled Western "Jane Got a Gun" Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy In this modern love story about two galaxy-crossed teens from different worlds, Gardner Elliot, the first human born on Mars, is secretly »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Fall Calendar Reveals Awards Itinerary and Stealth Contenders

15 hours ago

The fall festivals and various date shifts bring a new perspective to the coming awards season. We assess the Oscar chances for key films as dates for "Carol" and other films shift and new contenders enter the fray. Weinstein Co. boasts multiple contenders but will be dealing with the loss of capable COO David Glasser, a seven-year TWC veteran who as the Weinsteins' lieutenant was deeply involved in the complexities of booking theaters and marketing campaigns amid a challenging landscape. Most TWC execs don't last that long under such duress; Glasser will assist in the transition through November as the Weinsteins seek his replacement. September: "Pawn Sacrifice" (Bleecker Street, September 16), written by UK Oscar-nominee Steven Knight ("Dirty Pretty Things") and directed by Edward Zwick, stars Tobey Maguire in a comeback bid as American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer who duels for the World championship with Russian Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber). »


- Anne Thompson

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2015 Student Academy Awards Finalists Unspool

15 hours ago

Now celebrating 42 years, the Student Academy Awards honor up-and-coming filmmakers who've submitted their projects earlier in the year to the Academy. Past Student Academy Award winners have gone on to receive 46 Oscar nominations and have won eight awards, including John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Robert Zemeckis, Trey Parker and Spike Lee. Read More: Oscar Predictions 2016 Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medal Awards — with cash grants of $5000, $3000 and $2000, respectively — plus a trip to Los Angeles are given by the Academy. If they satisfy the criteria for a given Oscar category, winners are eligible to enter the following year's Academy Awards competition. Alternative Daniel Drummond, “Chiaroscuro,” Chapman University M. Louis Gordon, “Girl in the Chair,” Nyu Tisch School of the Arts ChiHyun Lee, “Zoe,” School of Visual Arts Balbinka Korzeniowska, “Awaken,” UCLA David Karp, “Disconnected,” Cornell University Animation Jack Anderson, “Wire Cutters,” Chapman University Lynn »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Sarajevo Film Fest Lineup Has Auteurs, Cannes Winners and Favorites

16 hours ago

It's mid-summer, which means European film festivals — from Karlovy Vary to Locarno and, now, Sarajevo — start to offer up alternative programming as the busy Fall season looms. Now in its 21st year, the Sarajevo Film Festival is bringing competition premieres as well as buzzy Cannes titles to Bosnia. Those who missed Sony Pictures Classics pickup "Son of Saul," the Holocaust drama that took the Coens' Cannes jury prize and is now Hungary's Oscar submission, can see it here. The festival runs August 14-22. Also from Cannes are "Amy," prize winner "The Lobster," "Irrational Man," "Green Room," Quinzaine winner "Mustang," "Panama," "The High Sun" and "The Treasure," from acclaimed Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu, who helmed postmodern procedural "Police, Adjective" and more. Director Andrei Cohn will also represent Romania with "Back Home." Read More: Hungary Submits »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Watch: Venice Trailer for 'Blood of My Blood,' From 'Vincere' Director Marco Bellocchio

16 hours ago

Alba Rohrwacher, whose filmmaker sister Alice Rohrwacher has a short film debuting at the fest this year, won Venice's Best Actress prize last year for her deranged and mesmerizing performance in "Hungry Hearts." She returns to the Lido this year with another creepy-looking film, "Blood of My Blood," from director Marco Bellocchio. He made 2009's splashy, flashy and gorgeous Mussolini romance "Vincere," and competed for the Golden Lion in 2012 with "Dormant Beauty." Venice awarded this prolific Italian auteur a lifetime achievement award in 2011. Check out the trailer for his 2015 Venice premiere, a period drama set in Northern Italy, 17th century when, in a monastery, "a nun accused of witchcraft seduces a young confessor who refuses to yield to his searing temptation. A fight of desires, illusions and lies that will unexpectedly vibrate until nowadays..." No subtitles, alas. Read More: 'The Danish Girl' and 'A Bigger Splash' Join »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Tom Hardy Series 'Taboo' Gets Director

17 hours ago

Tom Hardy's latest (and long-gestating) collaboration "Locke" writer/director and "Peaky Blinders" creator Steven Knight is "Taboo," an eight-episode miniseries starring Hardy as a rogue adventurer seeking vengeance for his dead father. The first four episodes will be directed by Kristoffer Nyholm, who steered episodes of the moody Scandinavian original series "The Killing." Hardy worked with his own father to shape this story. It's produced by Ridley Scott via his Scott Free London Banner, and Hardy's Hardy Son and Baker for BBC One and FX. The project centers on James Keziah Delaney (Hardy), a rogue adventurer who returns from Africa with 14 ill-gotten diamonds to seek vengeance after the death of his father. Refusing to sell the family business to the East India Company, he sets out to build his own trade and shipping empire and finds himself playing a very dangerous game. Hardy also stars in the second season "Peaky. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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'Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation' Drops Force-of-Nature Tom Cruise into a Glam Noir Shot on Film

17 hours ago

Tom Cruise and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie not only up the "M:i" franchise with smarter espionage and more thrilling action, but also break down the entire spy game as a cat and mouse between two rogue warriors: Cruise's Ethan Hunt and Sean Harris' Solomon Lane. That's what happens when you pair the daredevil superstar with the master of the doppelganger shell game, which made it a lot more creative for the indie-spirited cinematographer Robert Elswit, who last worked on "Nightcrawler" and "Inherent Vice." "Tom's a force of nature -- there's nobody like him -- and he pulled it off with McQuarrie," said the Oscar-winning Elswit ("There Will Be Blood"). "They wrestled this into shape and made it into something kind of fun." Actually, it's the only time the cinematographer has said "yes" to a movie without reading a script. He had that much faith in McQuarrie after getting to know him as the ghost. »


- Bill Desowitz

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Jason Segel Takes On David Foster Wallace in Controversial 'End of the Tour' (Video)

30 July 2015 3:45 PM, PDT

"The End of the Tour" opens as David Lipsky hears about the death of David Foster Wallace, unearths the audiotapes he used to record an earlier interview with Wallace and puts fresh batteries into his Sony Tape Recorder (the same model I still own). The journalism rings true, as do the debates between two wily writers. Jesse Eisenberg plays the alert and slightly envious novelist Lipsky opposite lanky Jason Segel as Wallace, who was uncomfortable with all the kudos he was getting for his postmodern novel "Infinite Jest."  Lipsky told me at Sundance that he was relieved at the time that he didn't have to write the feature, as other things came up and pushed it aside. Segel says the movie is like the trajectory of a relationship as they first meet, start to know each other, get comfortable, then intimate, then angry, and break up. They never met again. »


- Anne Thompson

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First Look: Cynthia Nixon Plays—and Narrates—Emily Dickinson in Two Films

30 July 2015 1:44 PM, PDT

It's a joyous day for lit buffs as not one, but two Emily Dickinson projects are coming up. While director Terence Davies beavers away at his long-awaited Dickinson biopic "A Quiet Passion" starring Cynthia Nixon—and readies another film, "Sunset Song," for Tiff this September—the film's team is working on a doc about the poet. UK production company, Hurricane Films is looking to release "Phosphorescence: Words Into Shining Light" by 2016 through the help of a new Kickstarter campaign. Starting today, and ending August 28, the crowdfunding effort hopes to raise enough money to cover both the feature's production and post-production costs. It's directed by Davies' longtime producer Sol Papadopoulos, and set to be narrated by Nixon. Meanwhile, Terence Davies' highly anticipated Dickinson biopic, "A Quiet Passion," starring Nixon as the reclusive American poet opposite Jennifer Ehle, has wrapped filming in Belgium. Produced by Papadopoulos, the »


- Ruben Guevara

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Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated)

30 July 2015 1:11 PM, PDT

Update: Relativity Media officially filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday after laying off 75 staffers yesterday and extricating "Jane Got a Gun" from its slate. More titles, outlined below, are also up for grabs. Ryan Kavanaugh's 11-year-old indie-studio-that-couldn't will now be up for sale. Kavanugh proposes that the auction be supervised by bankruptcy court. Though Relativity is reportedly selling a bulk of its film and TV units, it wants to hold onto divisions including Relativity Sports, Relativity EuropaCorp Distribution and Relativity Education. The company, which hopes to close a deal by early October 2015, is also chasing $45 million in financing to cover the cost of the Chapter 11 procedure. Here's Kavanaugh in a statement: “Relativity continues to pursue its mission as a next-generation global media company, and we remain firmly committed to our film and television businesses. The actions we are announcing today will protect our valuable franchise and allow »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Read Martin Scorsese's Column on His Favorite Hollywood Leading Ladies

30 July 2015 12:25 PM, PDT

August means its 24-hour tribute season on TCM. In his monthly column, director and movie doyen (and, it turns out, witty columnist) Martin Scorsese singles out a few actresses whose work has affected him over the years, to complement Turner Classics' programming. On Gene Tierney, whose career is highlighted on August 1: Looking back at the pictures of the '30s and '40s, the period now known as the Golden Age of Hollywood, you can feel, more and more, just how controlled many of the performances were, especially in relation to movies made after the arrival of Brando and James Dean in the '50s. There's a tension between directors and actors that I find extremely interesting now. It's there in Tierney's performances for Preminger, Lubitsch and Mankiewicz, and in John Stahl's "Leave Her to Heaven" (not included in this tribute). In those pictures, her beauty was a kind of mask. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Will 'True Detective' Revive Vince Vaughn? Actor Joins Mel Gibson Drama

30 July 2015 11:04 AM, PDT

If you're watching "True Detective," it's hard to buy that Vince Vaughn's performance as crooked Vinci ringleader Frank Semyon could put the defibrillators on his career. The actor, long known for his goofy comic turns, postures a faux-seriousness that whiffs of Matthew McConaughey's brooding season one turn, and a face that says, "I'm thinking about Emmys." (When "Delivery Man" opened in 2013, we called him a "toxic comedian" who "has burned many smart moviegoers over the years.") But Vaughn clearly wants to buff his dramatic chops. After "True Detective," he will usher into Mel Gibson's World War II drama "Hacksaw Ridge," Deadline reports. He's set to star opposite Andrew Garfield and Sam Worthington in Gibson's first film since 2006's "Apocalypto." Distributed by Lionsgate, "Hacksaw" will shoot in Australia. Read More: Lionsgate Nearing Mel Gibson's 'Hacksaw Ridge,' Starring Andrew »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Horror Fans: Don't Miss Arthouse Shocker 'Goodnight Mommy' (Trailer)

30 July 2015 10:24 AM, PDT

I saw "Goodnight Mommy" completely cold in 2014, when Fantastic Fest's Tim League dropped this shocking piece of auteur horror like a bomb onto the fest's secret screening-goers. It's best to enter this film tabula rasa, but watch the trailer below if you dare. It's a sick movie, with no hope or redemption. The film opens with plenty of atmospheric portent, as the camera slithers through a cornfield in an isolated natural world suggestive of a fairy tale, before introducing Elias and Lukas (Elias and Lukas Schwarz), identical adolescent twins who look like the pin-up children of the Third Reich, who aren't convinced that their chilly, (also) blonde mother (Susanne Wuest) is really who she says she is. Read More: "Goodnight Mommy" Review While garden variety American horror movies aren't prude about turning children into harbingers of evil (take for example, uh, any contemporary Us horror movie) "Goodnight Mommy" goes to even further, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Netflix's Oscar Hopeful 'Beasts of No Nation' Books Theatrical Release (Trailer)

30 July 2015 10:02 AM, PDT

Netflix dropped a whopping $12 million on rights to "Beasts of No Nation," its first original film, back in Spring 2015, and is following through on its intent to back a proper, albeit technically limited, release alongside the film's global streaming premiere. (Watch the first teaser below.) Netflix is partnering with indie film distributor Bleecker Street and exhibitor Landmark to release the film day-and-date on Friday, October 16, 2015 in 19 markets. Clearly, awards are in view and theatrical is needed to achieve that. The film has already booked a Venice competition premiere, followed by a Canadian premiere in Toronto. Which means we should expect "Beasts" to pop up in the secret Telluride lineup. Written and directed by "True Detective"'s super-busy Fukunaga, the film centers on Idris Elba as a warlord who takes in a child soldier torn from his family to fight in the civil war of an African country. It's based on the celebrated novel by Nigerian. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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New Beverly Reveals a Very Tarantino August Calendar

30 July 2015 8:54 AM, PDT

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. He kicks off August at the all-celluloid New Beverly with a print of "For a Few Dollars More" and will close the month with "A Fistful of Dollars," another classic Leone western Tarantino presented at Cannes 2014. Read More: Quentin Tarantino Enjoys Running the New Beverly, Even When He's Shooting a Movie In spirit of Summer smash "Mad Max: Fury Road," Tarantino presents a double feature of "Mad Max" and "The Road Warrior" in mid-August, followed by Charlie Chaplin double bills, and back-to-back Hitchcock classics "Notorious" and "Suspicion," both starring Cary Grant. Read More: Alfred Hitchcock's Top 25 Films, Ranked And of course, as you'll see in the calendar, there are plenty of Westerns »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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A Woman in Charge: Warner Bros. Names Sue Kroll Head of Global Distribution

29 July 2015 3:08 PM, PDT

As Warner Bros. distribution veteran Dan Fellman leaves the fray after four decades, as planned, the studio has named Sue Kroll, a 21-year-studio veteran who currently runs worldwide marketing and international distribution, to run North American distribution as well. This secures Kroll's position as an effective executive during a time when Warners has suffered at the box office, from femme comedy “Hot Pursuit" and HBO sequel "Entourage" to the sequel to "Magic Mike," "Xxl," and the Wachowskis' sci-fi epic "Jupiter Ascending." Recent hits include Dwayne Johnson actioner “San Andreas” and comedy “Get Hard," while George Miller's “Mad Max: Fury Road” was a too-expensive success d'estime beloved by critics that may show legs at Oscar time. Sequel "Vacation" is expected to perform this weekend.  In fact, it's international distribution head Veronika Kwan Vandenberg who will assume Fellman’s job (now »


- Anne Thompson

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Why 'Phoenix' Finally Makes Christian Petzold a New Arthouse Auteur

29 July 2015 2:06 PM, PDT

If "Phoenix" can harness the steam off its first weekend in New York, where the postwar drama earned nearly $30,000 at two theaters, it could become a runaway arthouse hit a la last year's Polish-language "Ida." In the Us, German cinema is carried by its more broadly known, art-household names such as Michael Haneke (who is Austrian), Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders, who often co-produce with other countries and rarely work in their native tongue anymore. Christian Petzold, after two decades of work, stands to be the country's latest candidate for an art film figurehead as "Phoenix" expands this weekend in Los Angeles. Petzold's longtime muse Nina Hoss changed his tune as a director, yielding a collaboration on six features together—and all about women. His 2012 wartime melo "Barbara," starring Hoss as a hardened doctor transplanted from East Germany to a provincial country hospital in the 1980s, sent critics in raptures. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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DGA Honors Ron Howard, Tyler Perry, Thelma Schoonmaker and More

29 July 2015 11:39 AM, PDT

Director/producer Ron Howard, Teamsters Local 817 President Thomas J. O’Donnell, director Tyler Perry, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and film editor/Scorsese collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker will be honored at the 2015 DGA Honors, to be held at the Directors Guild of America Theater in New York City on Thursday, October 15, 2015. The red-carpet event fetes individuals and institutions that have made distinguished contributions to American culture through film and television, while recognizing the diversity required to produce entertainment. Past DGA Honors recipients have included Nora Ephron, Robert Altman, Jonathan Demme, Milos Forman, Curtis Hanson, Spike Lee, Mike Nichols, Arthur Penn, Sydney Pollack, and Martin Scorsese. Read More: How Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker Restored the Luster of Michael Powell and 'The Tales of Hoffmann' »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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