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Screen Talk: After the Oscar Dust Settles, We Move On

1 hour ago

Yes, Eric Kohn and I went to the Oscars together, walking the red carpet--extending it as long as possible--and we had pretty good seats, overlooking the stage. There's a palpable giddy excitement shared by everyone there, as even serious types like Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald get their pictures taken with Oscar. Eric and I go over the proceedings, even though we know everyone--after months of intense focus-- forgets about them as soon as they're over. »


- Anne Thompson

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Cinequest at 25, from 'Batkid Begins' to Lady Gaga in Barco Escape

2 hours ago

Lead programmer Michael Rabehl, who has been with the fest since 1995, and his team of five have learned how to please this motley crew with such festival hits as Michael Fassbender western “Slow West” and "Madmen" writer Victor Levin's "5 to 7" as well as movies likely to please the large Asian and Hispanic contingents (“Traces of Sandlewood,” ”For Here or To Go”). But he also likes to push them with 2014 films like the elegant black-and-white Polish Oscar submission “Ida,” which went on to win the Academy Award, and its main rival, Argentinian comedy “Wild Tales,” which I suggested as the movie to play before my acceptance Wednesday of the fest’s Media Legacy Award. Audiences adored them both. This year the festival is screening 90 out of 800 feature and doc submissions and 120 out of 1600 shorts, which will qualify, as did 2014's “The Damkeeper,” for Academy consideration. The fest takes advantage of »


- Anne Thompson

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Watch: SXSW Trailer for 'Uncle John' Ratchets Up Small Town Tensions (Exclusive)

5 hours ago

First-time filmmaker Steven Piet takes his debut drama starring longtime character actor John Ashton to South by Southwest this March. This rural mystery was co-written by Piet and producer Erik Crary, who was also a producer on David Lynch's "Inland Empire." That may indicate the influences at play here. Official synopsis and an artfully tense Toh! exclusive trailer below: Dutch, a small town bully turned born again Christian, has gone missing. John, a loved and well-respected member of the community, is not a suspect, but has everything to do with it. Rumors and theories about Dutch’s fate are main topics of discussion all around town. Dutch’s younger brother, Danny, who shares the family’s bad reputation, has his own theory about the mystery and it centers on John. Meanwhile, John’s nephew, Ben, leads a life replete with snarky jokes and gourmet coffee as a hip Chicago motion graphics designer. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Trailers From Hell on 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day'

6 hours ago

A charmingly retro film recalling the screwball comedies of the 30’s and 40’s, director Bharat Nalluri’s movie covers 24 hours in the life of a bubble-brained singer (played by Amy Adams) and her prim and proper social secretary (played by Frances McDormand). The 2008 film, based on a property that had knocked around Hollywood since 1939 (when it was first offered to Universal), garnered warm critical reviews and was a (very) modest box office success. »


- Trailers From Hell

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Rip Leonard Nimoy, Who Became 'Star Trek''s Iconic Spock and Created the Vulcan Salute (Clips)

6 hours ago

Actor Leonard Nimoy will always be known for creating the mixed race alien and human outsider Spock on "Star Trek"--the three-year TV series launched in 1966 that many Baby Boomers watched in syndication, as well as five feature films. At age 83, Nimoy died February 27 of complications from pulmonary disease, decades after he gave up smoking. But Nimoy's Spock will never be forgotten. He has entered the culture in countless ways, from his split-fingered Vulcan salute, a gesture Nimoy created from arcane Jewish rituals, to his signature Vulcan motto "Live Long and Prosper," which he used as a sign-off on Twitter (Llap). Read: The Washington Post obit.  Yes, I am a Trekkie. Like George Lucas, who was inspired by "Star Trek" when he created "Star Wars," I loved the bromance between William Shatner's volatile Captain Kirk and Spock, his stalwart and logical first mate. Nimoy understood his »


- Anne Thompson

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Watch: Delightfully Weird Trailer for Bill Plympton's Hand-Drawn 'Cheatin''

6 hours ago

Oscar-nominated animation wizard Bill Plympton's drew his latest film "Cheatin'" entirely by hand in pencil sketches colored digitally to watercolor-like effect. Plympton's seventh animated feature, this cartoon film for adults was inspired by the work of noir fiction writer James M. Cain ("Double Indemnity," "The Postman Always Rings Twice"). Jake and Ella meet-cute after a bumper car collision, falling wildly in love until a scheming "other woman" drives a wedge of jealousy into their courtship. Aided by a magician and his mysterious and forbidden "soul machine," Ella exacts revenge by assuming the form of Jake's numerous lovers as they try to recapture what they lost. Considered to be the first person to hand draw a feature film, Plympton has worked with Madonna, Kanye West and Weird Al on music videos and book projects. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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How a Near-Pristine 35mm Print of Orson Welles' 'Chimes at Midnight' Was Found

7 hours ago

Distribpix Inc.'s Steven Morowitz and filmmaker Joel Bender have uncovered an "almost pristine" 35mm print of Orson Welles' "Falstaff, Chimes at Midnight," starring Welles himself as the titular knight, a bawdy, boozing flaneur lifted from Shakespeare's "Henry IV" plays and "Henry V." Long unavailable on home video formats due to legal tussles, "Chimes at Midnight" was found tucked among tens of thousands of pounds of film elements owned by Morowitz, who evidently had been sitting on the print for 20-plus years. "One thing is for sure and that is that the world wants a gorgeous and definitive release of Falstaff," he co-wrote on his blog with Bender. DCPs have floated around various retrospectives, and Bay Area cinephiles have caught a 16mm print of the film at the Pacific Film Archive. The uncut print takes up seven reels, which they took to a film lab for digital processing. But no restoration has been. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Get to Know the Real Nicolas Winding Refn, Warts and All, in His Wife's New Doc

8 hours ago

Liv Corfixen chronicles the making of her husband's critically skewered 2013 "Drive" followup "Only God Forgives," an under-appreciated film that I suspect and hope (perhaps in vain) will blossom over time. If you haven't seen "Only God Forgives," it's like if David Lynch took quaaludes and directed a spaghetti Western in Thailand. A sort of extended making-of doc, "My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn" is a fascinating portrait of the artist and his anxieties, closing in on Refn's masochistic need to deliver greatness by reproducing the international success of "Drive," his 2011 Cannes smash that won him Best Director and $75 million at the box office. "I've spent three years making this film and I don't know what it's about," Refn opines in one of the opening sections in which Corfixen gives us a glimpse at their shared world, with their two adorable blond children along for the ride in Bangkok, where "Only God. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Watch: Meet Nell Shipman, Female Silent Film Pioneer Who Fled Hollywood for Idaho

9 hours ago

It was 1920 when Nell Shipman, a silent film starlet and screenwriter from Canada who broke into Hollywood as a teenager, packed up her 10 year-old son, director-lover and 70 abused animal actors and left Tinseltown for the Idaho wilds. Boise-based filmmaker Karen Day's doc "Nell Shipman: Girl from God's Country" unfolds this intriguing tale of a woman, lost to history, who worked outside the studio system -- while making waves on the inside. A bit about Nell from the filmmakers: During Shipman’s time in the remotely beautiful but harsh wilderness of Priest Lake in northern Idaho, she wrote, directed and starred in 25 silent films, sharing billing with her bears, wolves and sled dogs.  She embodied the first action-adventure heroine performing her own death-defying stunts while shooting on-location films like "Back to God's Country," "The Girl from God's Country" and "The Grubstake."  Financing for these independent films »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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'Maps to the Stars' Writer Bruce Wagner on Raising Hell with David Cronenberg

10 hours ago

David Cronenberg's scabrous new nightmare "Maps to the Stars" is a pitch-black ghost story writhing in the filth of writer Bruce Wagner's Hollywood rock-bottom, a demimonde of deluded pill-swilling actresses, schizophrenic burn victims, incest families and drug-addicted child stars. In other words, home sweet home for the Canadian director of films like "Crash," "Dead Ringers," "Naked Lunch," "A History of Violence" and "Videodrome." His first film ever to be shot in the United States—at least in part—"Maps to the Stars" landed in Cronenberg's lap a decade ago when his friend Wagner gave it to him without any intention of a film being made. Finally, in 2015, it's here in all its messy, horrifying, grand guignol glory. Author of nine books between 1991 and 2014, Wagner grew up on the fringes of Hollywood, working at bookstores, as a limo driver for celebrities from Orson Welles to Larry Flynt and as an. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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First Look: Eddie Redmayne as Transgender Lili Elbe in 'The Danish Girl'

10 hours ago

Oscar winner Redmayne is filming what already sounds like a tailor-made Oscar role in "Les Mis" and "The King's Speech" director Tom Hooper's "The Danish Girl" slated for 2016. Redmayne plays 1900s trans pioneer Einar Wegener, an artist who in the 1930s became Lili Elbe after receiving one of the first known gender-reassignment surgeries. With the Hooper namesake and an international cast including Belgian babe Matthias Schoenaerts and American actress Amber Heard, "Danish Girl" could be Redmayne's next awards vehicle. Based on the 2001 novel by David Ebershoff, the Lucinda Coxon-sripted drama follows the love story between Elbe and wife Gerda Gottlieb. Anne Harrison and Gail Mutrux developed the project and are producing via their Harrison Productions and Pretty Pictures. Working Title’s Working Title partners Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan will produce with Hooper. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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How Kathryn Bigelow & Eric Red Gamed the System to Launch Their Careers

11 hours ago

Kathryn Bigelow and Eric Red not only delivered an exceptional screenplay to their agents, but along with it, equipped us with a real world plan of attack. This made "Near Dark" an exceptional setup. I was head of Gersh’s Literary department, itching to sherpa my clients up Everest. Kathryn and Eric’s tactical scenario offered the kind of dynamic activism agents live for. We didn’t have a big meeting or even work out details over a fancy meal. Kathryn and Eric’s determination to overcome conventional industry-wide resistance to anyone outside the insider directing pool was palpable. When I signed Kathryn, I could see she was someone who was determined to not only even the odds against her achieving her goal – but not by kneejerk jumping at a single opportunity. Instead she was prepared to exercise discerning conduct aimed to promote a long and productive career. She was »


- Nancy Nigrosh

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Rosamund Pike Dives into 'The Deep Blue Good-by' with Christian Bale

26 February 2015 11:43 AM, PST

Oscar-nominated "Gone Girl" star Rosamund Pike is in talks to headline Fox's "The Deep Blue Good-by" opposite Christian Bale. Directed by James Mangold ("3:10 to Yuma," "Walk the Line," "The Wolverine"), this is based on John D. MacDonald's 1964 novel, the first in a series of 21 books that follow "savage consultant" Travis McGee (Bale), a bachelor who recovers other people's property for money and gets mixed up with women and criminals along the way. (Variety reports here.) The script is penned by cult crime writer Dennis Lehane ("Gone Baby Gone," "Shutter Island"), with Scott Frank chiseling away at a recent draft. No details yet on who exactly Pike will play, but she will be the female lead here. Pike will shoot "The Deep Blue Good-by" before heading into the plane crash survival drama "The Mountain Between Us" (also co-penned by Scott Frank) opposite Charlie Hunnam. She also has a »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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New 'Spectre' Vlog Hints at What's Ahead for Bond

26 February 2015 11:31 AM, PST

Director Sam Mendes chimes in on why he came back for a "Skyfall" sequel in a new vlog, explaining that "Spectre" is the second part of a story that continues to link James Bond's childhood to his profession. It's personal, which is always a priority for Daniel Craig, but now Bond possesses a certain wisdom to deal with danger beyond his talent as an assassin. Good thing, too, since he encounters Blofeld and his eponymous terrorist organization for the first time. In fact, Mendes says it's significant that Bond is now more seasoned than his new MI6 colleagues: M (Ralph Fiennes), Moneypenny (Naomi Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw). Reading between the lines, though, we can infer that there's a personal connection with Christoph Waltz's Franz Oberhauser, since Hans Oberhauser was Bond’s ski instructor and father figure in Ian Fleming’s "Octopussy" short story.  Meanwhile, Empire has a first »


- Bill Desowitz

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2015 Outfest Fusion Lineup Boasts Restored 'Paris Is Burning,' TV's 'Empire' and More

26 February 2015 10:32 AM, PST

Celebrating its 12th year, Outfest Fusion is the only multicultural Lgbt film festival of its kind, running March 13-14 at the venerable Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Indie-pioneering writer, director and producer Rose Troche ("Go Fish," "The Safety of Objects" and Showtime's "The L Word") will receive the 2015 Fusion Achievement Award, presented by stars of "The L Word," prior to the short films gala on Saturday, March 14. On Friday the 13th, an upcoming episode of "Empire" will screen alongside a Q&A with the smash hit Fox series' producers. The event shares the evening with the Los Angeles premiere of the new digitally restored print Jennie Livingston's seminal 1990 Lgbt doc "Paris Is Burning" centered on New York City drag ball culture. The film comes courtesy of the Sundance Institute, the UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project and Miramax. This year’s Outfest Fusion line-up »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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13 Ways to Keep Smart Movie Fans Happy

26 February 2015 10:09 AM, PST

I gave the (long) speech below to a room full of specialty exhibitors, distributors and festival programmers at the Art House Convergence, which was held in January in Midway, Utah right before the Sundance Film Festival. Thanks for those kind words, and for having me here, even if I’m Not in the art house business. I’m in the smart blog business, though. And I come from an art house family. So we’re both coming from the same place: we’re trying to figure out how to reach and grow a smart audience —which is getting harder to do all the time. And we all want to share the movies we love. My film education started back in the early 60s on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, when my busy single father used movies as a babysitter, dropping my younger brother and me in the well-patrolled children’s sections of the Riverside, »

- Anne Thompson

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Richard Linklater Lines Up Yet Another New Project

26 February 2015 10:08 AM, PST

It's hard to keep track of the ream of projects the Oscar-snubbed Linklater is courting on a given day. For one, he's executive-producing a TV sitcom restart of his 2003 "School of Rock" slated for Nickelodeon later this year. Also, the Independent Spirit Winner — a no-show at the ceremony, where Ethan Hawke accepted the prize — is wrapping "That's What I'm Talking About," a sort of "Dazed and Confused" sequel about the lives of baseball players on and off the field. And he's thinking seriously about a "Boyhood" sequel, albeit not one that would take place across 12 years. The Hollywood Reporter now says that Linklater is circling "Where'd You Go Bernadette" for Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures. Based on Maria Semple's 2012 bestseller that unfolds via epistolary missives — emails, letters, legal documents, psychiatric visits and more — the book follows the story of an agoraphobic architect who mysteriously disappears before a »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Fox's 'Empire' Plays Like Gangbusters in 7th Week

26 February 2015 9:26 AM, PST

The hip hop drama starring big turned small screen actors Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, and created by indie filmmaker Lee Daniels with Danny Strong, added nearly one million viewers Wednesday to reach the 14-million mark. Its meteoric rise is because of the increasing uptick in the key 18-49 demo, where it bested even ABC's long-running "Modern Family." According to Variety, the Fox series "has now grown seven consecutive weeks in total viewership since its Jan. 7 premiere: 9.90 million (Jan. 7), 10.32 million (Jan. 14), 11.07 million (Jan. 21), 11.35 million (Jan. 28), 11.47 million (Feb. 4), 11.96 million (Feb. 18), 13.02 million (Feb. 18) and now a preliminary 13.8 million." Last week, it was just behind "The Walking Dead" as the week's top broadcast series, trampling over CBS' wildly popular Emmy fave "The Big Bang Theory." The series also made the cover of Entertainment Weekly today. Check out the story here. Read »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Listen: 'The Hunting Ground' Puts a Human Face on Campus Rape (Podcast)

26 February 2015 6:00 AM, PST

Thursday night, Tina Tchen, Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, hosted a screening for White House staff, students and Senators Gillibrand and McCaskill, and U.S. Representative Maloney of Dick and Ziering's latest documentary, "The Hunting Ground." The duo worked together on 2012 Oscar nominee "The Invisible War," with Ziering conducting many of the harrowing interviews under Dick's direction. Dick has made a name for himself by writing and directing documentaries that challenge powerful institutions, from the Catholic Church (Oscar-nominated "Twist of Faith") to the MPAA Ratings Board ("This Film Is Not Yet Rated"). Most filmmakers hope that their movies will be seen, talked about, make money, earn awards, and maybe have some influence on the culture at large. With "The Invisible War," Dick and Ziering set their sights on reforming the U.S. Military. »


- Anne Thompson

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Another Producer Joins the Growing Sony Family

25 February 2015 2:27 PM, PST

Things are looking up at Sony. Two producers with great taste, ex-Sony chief Amy Pascal and ex-Warners boss Jeff Robinov, will make big-budget movies for their respective labels, while ex-Fox head Tom Rothman, who also knows a good movie when he sees one, will run the movie studio. For the moment, Sony's in-house production label Columbia is being run by Doug Belgrad, with ex-Sony lot producer Michael De Luca working with Hannah Minghella as co-presidents of production. Expect both Pascal and De Luca to work with powerful New York producer and literary tastemonger Scott Rudin, who will no longer be working on "Cleopatra" with Angelina Jolie, but is pursuing a reboot of the "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" franchise without free-spending David Fincher. Rumors are running rampant about casting, but I hear a deal is imminent. Rooney Mara was tight with Fincher, but she must have a contract. Now De »


- Anne Thompson

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