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Studio Ghibli's 'When Marnie Was There' Sets Us Voice Cast, Release Date

25 minutes ago

Gkids, the distributor behind 2015 Oscar-nominated "Song of the Sea" and Ghibli's own "Tale of the Princess Kaguya," will release "When Marnie Was There" on May 22 in New York and Los Angeles before a nationwide rollout. Hailee Steinfeld, John C. Reilly, Vanessa Williams, Geena Davis, Kathy Bates, Ellen Burstyn, Catherine O’Hara, Kiernan Shipka, Grey Griffin, Ava Acres and Raini Roodriguez will round out the English-language voice cast for this story of a 12-year-old orphan's friendship with a ghost. The revered Japanese animation house has started to pull back from production in the wake of is-he-or-isn't-he-retired figurehead Hayao Miyazaki's turn toward manga-making, and this may well be Ghibli's last film (for awhile at least). Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and based on a children's novel by Joan G. Robinson, "Marnie" was a summer 2014 box office hit in Japan. Expect an Oscar push from Gkids, which opened »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Neil Patrick Harris Says His "Soul" Couldn't Take Another Oscars

46 minutes ago

Neil Patrick Harris did the best he could given the poorly written emcee material of this year's 87th Academy Awards. The showman nobly took one for the team, from song-and-dancing his way through an opening act straight out of the Tonys to going onstage in his birthday suit. (The cameras failed to catch him patting down his butt and nipples as he walked offstage.) But in a recent Huffington Post interview, Harris subtly nixed our hopes (or fears) that he would return as Oscar host. "I don’t know that my family nor my soul could take it... It’s a beast. It was fun to check off the list, but for the amount of time spent and the understandable opinionated response, I don’t know that it's a delightful balance to do every year or even again." That sounds like a polite way of saying he didn't much enjoy it. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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'The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' Falls Short of the Winsome Original

1 hour ago

"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" wasn’t just a surprise hit of 2012, it was a welcome one, in being a rare film about elderly people that had as much fun and sauciness as it did pathos. Its gentle mix of drama and comedy was delivered by a formidable array of British thespians, some remarkably in their 70s, using their life experience in a much more engaging manner than, say, the veterans of "The Expendables." So one certainly can’t begrudge a sequel, "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," even one that begins to creak a little beneath its conceit. It’s again directed by John Madden and written by Ol Parker, now moving beyond the original source of Deborah Moggach’s novel. The original cast returns as the retired Brits discovering an Indian summer, fittingly in India, courtesy of a young entrepreneurial hotelier with a vision to “outsource old age »


- Demetrios Matheou

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Netflix vs. HBO: In the Battle of Programming Giants, Who's Ahead?

2 hours ago

After an exceedingly busy news week, it's beginning to feel like the pioneering streaming service and the stalwart premium cable channel are playing their own "Game of Thrones." Both have distinct advantages and disadvantages, especially when it comes to programming, where Netflix and HBO are in more direct competition than ever before. Let's break down this heavyweight bout category by category: Original Programming: HBO Netflix is coming on strong, with "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" (March 6) and "Bloodline" (March 20) soon to join popular titles such as "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black." But after the disastrous "Marco Polo," it's clear that the streaming service has yet to tap into the zeitgeist with a series as opulent, soapy, and surprising as HBO's mega-hit "Game of Thrones." Toss in provocative comedies ("Girls," "Togetherness," "Looking," "Veep"), »


- Matt Brennan

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Watch: In Vice's 'American Obsessions,' Two Friends Remake 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' Shot for Shot

4 hours ago

In 1982, best friends Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos, then 12 years old, set out to remake Steven Spielberg's action/adventure classic, "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Seven years later, after an odyssey that tested their relationship as well as their filmmaking acumen, the result was a remarkable shot-for-shot replica—except for the airplane fight sequence in the North African desert. Vice's new series "American Obsessions," which unearths stories of the strange cultural phenomena that capture the public imagination, debuts with an 11-minute short about Zala and Strompolos' homemade passion project, including the campaign, thirty years after "Raiders" first appeared in theaters, to shoot the airplane scene. Vice, the irreverent news organization famously taken down a notch by late New York Times media columnist David Carr, is not always quite so brave in its reporting as founder and frequent correspondent Shane Smith seems to think: his "Vice Special »


- Matt Brennan

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Why Fizzling 'Chappie' Buzz Might Curb Hopes for Blomkamp's 'Alien' Revamp

21 hours ago

Neill Blomkamp returns to his realistic cyberpunk-ugly stomping grounds in "Chappie." Stylistically of a piece with his earlier modern-times parables "District 9" and "Elysium," the sci-fi geek's third feature turns on a sentient robot fighting for what-else-but future humanity amid an industrially ravaged dystopia. Opening this Friday, the film's early trade reviews augur bad news for the director whose last film "Elysium," though a commercial success, missed the mark in feathering apocalyptic sci-fi with a heavy-handed missive about the one-percent. "Blomkamp's third feature exhausts its meager ideas and the viewer well before the end of its two-hour running time," writes Variety's Justin Chang, one of many critics who trumpeted Blomkamp's debut "District 9." Read More: "I F*cked It Up": Neill Blomkamp Says He Wants To Go Back To "Elysium" And "Do It Correctly" Ahead of »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Eddie Redmayne's 'The Danish Girl' Inks Awards Season Release Date

22 hours ago

The new Focus Features is not flagging in its commitment to serious-minded, awards-friendly arthouse fare. CEO Peter Schlessel has just set a November 27, 2015 release for date Working Title's "The Danish Girl" starring Eddie Redmayne as 20th century trans pioneer Lili Elbe. Universal Pictures International will handle the overseas release. Directed by Tom Hooper, who won an Oscar for "The King's Speech" and first worked with Eddie Redmayne on Universal and Working Title's Academy Award-winning "Les Miserables," the film follows the love story of Einar and Gerda Wegener (played by Alicia Vikander, who stars in the very-long-awaited SXSW buzz title "Ex Machina") whose marriage is upended by Einar's journey to become Lili Elbe, one of the world's first known transgender women. Read More: Oscar Predictions 2016 With the Hooper namesake and Redmayne's recent Best Actor win for "The Theory of Everything"—also a November release from »


- Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio

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Miramax Reawakens with Ian McKellen as 'Mr. Holmes' (Trailer)

4 March 2015 10:37 AM, PST

Remember Miramax? That was Harvey and Bob Weinstein's storied company named after their parents. Disney made the brothers leave it behind when they started The Weinstein Co. Since Qatar Holding purchased Miramax in 2010 (with the investor group led by Miramax Chairman Thomas J. Barrack, Jr.’s Colony Capital) Miramax has largely been a library and more recently a television and co-production play. Well, Hollywood veteran Zanne Devine, Miramax's Executive Vice President, Production and Development, is waking up the little studio, partnering with indie distributor Roadside Attractions on Bill Condon’s “Mr. Holmes,” starring Ian McKellen and Laura Linney, which is opening in Summer 2015. (Trailer below.) Read More: "Sherlock" Will Film in 2015 His version of the story begins in 1947 when an aging Holmes (McKellen) returns from Japan, where he was seeking a restorative plant and witnessed the devastation of »


- Anne Thompson

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Steven Spielberg's Cold War Thriller Has a Title, 'Bridge of Spies,' and the Director Has a Full Slate

4 March 2015 8:05 AM, PST

In an interview with The Daily Pennsylvanian, producer Marc Platt nonchalantly revealed the title of Steven Spielberg's upcoming Cold War thriller, which stars Tom Hanks as an American lawyer recruited by the CIA to secure the release of a pilot in the Soviet Union: "Bridge of Spies," the term coined in the media to describe Berlin's Glienicke Bridge, site of several Cold War prisoner exchanges. Set for an October 16 release, in the midst of awards season, the film is but the first in a series of projects with Spielberg in the director's chair, three years removed from "Lincoln." Spielberg is attached to direct Jennifer Lawrence in "It's What I Do," based on the memoir by Pulitizer prize-winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario, and the rumor mill is at full speed since Deadline reported in late January that Disney—which purchased the rights to the famed franchise from paramount in 2013—is "eyeing »


- Matt Brennan

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Watch: 'Downton' Dowager Maggie Smith in Utterly Charming Trailer for 'The Lady in the Van'

4 March 2015 7:14 AM, PST

Even at 80 years old, the beloved, deliciously deadpan Maggie Smith can't help but make news. Smith's publicist now says the actress' comments to The Sunday Times, which many took to signal the looming end of the Dowager Countess of Grantham, were misinterpreted—but the furor over the possibility of Smith leaving the upstairs/downstairs smash proves she's as buzzworthy as any tabloid star. Or perhaps she's just a canny promoter, thrust back into the headlines as her latest film, "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," prepares to open in the United States this Friday (watch the trailer below). With a solid opening weekend in Britain already under its belt, the film is expected to meet or exceed the original's lucrative worldwide gross of $136 million, and Smith has already drawn raves for her sharp, surprisingly moving performance as the curmudgeonly Muriel Donnelly. (She's the best thing in the movie, per our own Anne Thompson. »


- Matt Brennan

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From 'Boyhood' to 'Boy Next Door,' the 2015 MTV Movie Awards Noms Are All Over the Map

4 March 2015 6:03 AM, PST

Yes, Richard Linklater's 12-year labor of love and the critically reviled, unintentionally funny Jennifer Lopez vehicle are both among the nominees for the 2015 MTV Movie Awards, the former for Movie of the Year and Breakthrough Performance (Ellar Coltrane), the latter for "Best Scared-As-Shit Performance." Indeed, as always, the nominees skew young, beautiful, and memorably underdressed—Zac Efron ("Neighbors") is vying for his second consecutive award for "Best Shirtless Performance," after all, though it seems a shame he won't have to compete against Lopez's "The Boy Next Door" co-star Ryan Guzman. He was robbed, I tell you! Robbed! Other highlights include a nod to Scarlett Johansson for her performance in Luc Besson's ludicrously fun "Lucy," Movie of the Year nominations for "Gone Girl," "Whiplash," and "Selma" (take that, Oscars!), and a general affection for some of last year's finest studio »


- Matt Brennan

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Updated: Why Netflix Shelled Out for Cary Fukunaga's 'Beasts of No Nation,' Shunned by Exhibitors

3 March 2015 4:16 PM, PST

Update: The ink hasn't even dried on Netflix's latest deal and already four major theater chains have boycotted the day-and-date release of "Beasts of No Nation." AMC, Regal, Carmike and Cinemark have stated that they will not show the film without a 90-day window between its theatrical and streaming premieres. According to Variety, Tim League's indie chain Alamo Drafthouse will, however, be screening the film when it opens simultaneously in theaters and on Netflix later this year. The Texas-based exhibitor fared well screening "Snowpiercer," which had a very short window, last Summer. The four exhibitors that have boycotted the film so far are the same chains that shunned the "Crouching Tiger" sequel when in late 2014 Netflix announced its imminent day-and-date release. Earlier: Netflix has stirred the pot once again with its latest feature film release, Cary Fukunaga's African-set "Beasts of No Nation," by not exactly catering to »


- Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio

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Zephyr Benson on Scorsese-Inspired 'Straight Outta Tompkins': "I Probably Have Taken Every Drug That Exists"

3 March 2015 1:51 PM, PST

Following in your famous father’s footsteps while pursuing your own showbiz dreams can prove to be a daunting career path. Just imagine if Dad were as beloved as Robby Benson, a teen heartthrob in the ‘70s in such films as the basketball drama “One on One” and the skating romance “Ice Castles.” He would move on to more mature roles in the ‘80s such as “Harry & Son” opposite Paul Newman and leave an enduring mark on animation history as the voice of the Beast in 1991’s “Beauty and the Beast.” And then there is Mom, Karla DeVito, no slouch, either. The actress/singer, once dubbed “The Sweetheart of Rock and Roll” by David Letterman, sang backup for Meat Loaf on his Bat Out of Hell tour and starred on Broadway in “The Pirates of Penzance.“ It makes sense, then, that their progeny and quadruple threat Zephyr Benson, who turns »


- Susan Wloszczyna

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Miranda July Will Debut New Work at San Francisco Film Fest

3 March 2015 1:09 PM, PST

Miranda July sadly hasn't directed a feature since 2011's "The Future." But the talented multi-hyphenate will launch her latest interactive performance piece in a special two-night run during the San Francisco International Film Festival. This theater experiment first premiered on the east coast last year. "New Society," set to premiere April 28 at the Brava Theater Center, investigates how groups form, change and disintegrate and will, according to the San Francisco Film Society, test the limits of what is possible in two hours with a roomful of strangers. July won Sfiff's New Director prize for her 2005 Sundance debut "Me and You and Everyone We Know," a creepy, beautiful and button-smashing comedy that also entwined strangers of disparate ages in uncomfortable scenarios. In her just-published first novel "The First Bad Man" and tender 2005 short story collection "No One Belongs Here More Than You," July observes similar themes of »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Tribeca 2015 Skews Young, Female with First Wave of Lineup

3 March 2015 12:23 PM, PST

The 2015 Tribeca Film Festival (April 15-26) today unveiled the World Narrative and Documentary Competition film selections, along with the films selected for the Viewpoints section recognizing fresh voices in international and American independent cinema. In total, 51 films have been announced so far from the festival's slate of 97 features. 119 directors will present features, with 40 directorial debuts and 30 films directed by women, marking the highest percentage in the festival's history. "We're finding even though there are so many different films from less common countries, such as Albania and Costa Rica, there's a universality that reflects the global culture we're living in," said Genna Terranova. "We have a lot of very young filmmakers in the program. We remember that when Damien Chazelle showed his first film 'Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench' several years ago, he was just out of Harvard, practically 20. People are making movies at a young age which is. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Eugène Green's 'La Sapienza' Sees the Architecture of All Things (Trailer)

3 March 2015 9:57 AM, PST

Eugène Green, whose blithely intoxicating “La Sapienza” played the New York Film Festival, knew at age 11 that he wanted to leave New York --- Brooklyn, specifically. But he waited till he was 20. Over the last 30-odd years, he has been back only sporadically, with this film or that, having lost a bit of his English but none of his affinity for European culture and the sense of artistic history that makes “La Sapienza” so alien to standard moviegoer expectations, yet so blissfully enigmatic. “I had the impression when I as young that the world around me wasn’t real and that reality was in books and literature,” Green said at a screening of “La Sapienza” – which is usually translated as “wisdom” or “knowledge”” but which Green said actually means “the knowledge that leads to wisdom.” He acknowledged with a smile that, yes, you have to keep explaining it. Which is »


- John Anderson

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Career Watch: For Jennifer Lawrence, If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

3 March 2015 8:10 AM, PST

With "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part II" slated for Nov. 20 release, the end of Jennifer Lawrence's blockbuster franchise is near. Indeed, it's been an unmatched breakout run for the actress: since 2011, Lawrence has racked up three Academy Award nominations ("Winter's Bone," "Silver Linings Playbook," for which she won Best Actress, and "American Hustle") and starred in a $1 billion-plus quadrilogy. How do you follow that up? For Lawrence, the answer seems to be, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Her forthcoming projects reflect the same deft balance of box office spectacles—including a reprise of her role as Mystique in 2016's "X-Men: Apocalypse," directed by Bryan Singer—and mid-budget prestige pictures from proven directors, including David O. Russell and now Steven Spielberg. (Due credit to "Winter's Bone" director Debra Granik for launching Lawrence's career, not to mention providing her finest role to »


- Matt Brennan

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On ABC's 'American Crime,' the Series to Launch a Thousand Think Pieces

3 March 2015 6:55 AM, PST

Barb Hanlon, whose son Matt turns up dead in the opening minutes of "American Crime," is the woman to launch a thousand think pieces. As played by the magnificent Felicity Huffman, she snarls and snipes her way through grief, eliciting our sympathies while testing our patience. She raised two boys alone after her husband, Russ (Timothy Hutton), walked out, and yet her rage has metamorphosed into frank, discomfiting racism. Her targets are, in her words, "some illegal" and "a black" accused of murdering her son, and a legal system she wrongly perceives to be weighted in their favor. "Hate crimes can't happen to white people," she says caustically, and your reaction to ABC's challenging, self-satisfied new drama may depend on whether you consider "American Crime" an effective critique of Barb's unexamined privilege. Created by Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley ("12 Years a Slave"), "American Crime," title »


- Matt Brennan

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How ''71' Broke Out Rookie Yann Demange and Led Him to a "Scorsese Homage"

2 March 2015 11:16 AM, PST

That's why Yann Demange has been eagerly sought out. For the last year, since ''71' broke out at Berlin 2014 (going on to play some 33 festivals including Telluride, Toronto, New York, London and Sundance), Demange has been a critical darling (best director winner at the British Independent Film Awards and BAFTA-nominated), wined and dined on the festival circuit and in Hollywood, where he has been hanging his hat for the moment. That's what you do. You go to meeting after meeting looking for the next best project. The danger, oft-repeated, is that agents and managers and sweet-talkers lure the unsuspecting rube into development limbo--or misguided studio projects--until the heat is gone and that catapulting career moment is past. Ask David Michod, Stephen Frears, or Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who unfortunately followed up his Oscar-winning "The Lives of Others" with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie boondoggle "The Tourist."  Some wondered if Demange. »


- Anne Thompson

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‘Broadchurch’ Returns, a Disappointing Shell of Its Former Self (Trailer)

2 March 2015 11:16 AM, PST

The morning after screening the first four episodes of the sophomore season of “Broadchurch,” I noted my initial impressions on Twitter, an assessment of which I am only more convinced after a few days of reflection. “Review: ‘Broadchurch,’ Season Two,” I wrote. “Kill it. Kill it with fire.” Having spent the five months since I reviewed the extraordinary first season praising the small-town mystery to everyone who would listen, a bit of hyperbole seems only fair: shunning the unassuming precision of its debut for high dudgeon and overwrought dramatics, the crime drama, which returns to BBC America Wednesday, is now but a shell of its former self. Read: “‘Gracepoint’ vs. ‘Broadchurch,’ or the Problem with Remakes” The new season courts the danger of high expectations from the opening minutes, setting the table for the trial of accused child molester and murderer Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle) with a superb, fleet-footed sequence »


- Matt Brennan

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