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'A Monster Calls' Felicity Jones to Star in Juan Antonio Bayona's Children's Fantasy Adaptation

56 minutes ago

Brit "It" woman Felicity Jones ("Breathe In," "The Invisible Woman") has landed a starring role in Spanish helmer Juan Antonio Bayona's adaptation of the children's fantasy novel "A Monster Calls." Per Deadline, Jones will play the character of Mum, and the production is reportedly courting Liam Neeson to play the part of "the Monster." So what's the set-up of the tale by author Patrick Ness (who is also penning the script)? A young boy retreats into a fantastical world of monsters and other creatures as a way of coping with the illness of his mother and bullying classmates. The film, which is eyeing a fall 2016 release, is a co-production between River Road, Lionsgate, Participant and Focus Features. Next up on Jones' slate is "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," James Marsh's "Theory of Everything," and "True Story," opposite James Franco and Jonah Hill. Bayona, who directed 2012's tsunami-drama "The Impossible" and 2007 horror title "The Orphanage, »


- Beth Hanna

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Watch: Wondrous Trailer for Artist Takashi Murakami's Weird Feature Film Debut 'Jellyfish Eyes'

57 minutes ago

Known for his ocular aesthetic and pop-art-inspired wall installations, Japanese mixed-media artist Takashi Murakami brought his feature filmmaking debut "Jellyfish Eyes" to the Film Independent at Lacma film series last Spring. Watch the eye-popping, insane first trailer for the film, which kicks off a museum rollout on May 1, here.Like his contemporary visual art, Murakami's colorful film juxtaposes cute-and-cuddly with the grotesque. Blending CGI and live-action, "Jellyfish Eyes" follows a young boy who moves to a small city in the Japanese countryside. But Masashi soon discovers that inside the apartment he shares with his mother lives a tiny monster, and that beneath this strange city is a sordid bedrock of conspiracies, cults and evil experiments. Allegedly, this ambitious film was ten years in the making. And based on the trailer below, which debuted on Vanity Fair, Murakami's yeoman efforts show. Screening info is here. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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In Must-See 'Locke,' Tom Hardy Is Under Pressure

1 hour ago

UK writer-turned-director Steven Knight ("Dirty Pretty Things," "Eastern Promises") introduced a screening of "Locke" (April 25) at his agency CAA Monday night. On the one hand, "Locke" is a daring film experiment (similar to Mike Figgis' triptych "Time Code"), as Knight wanted to film one performance in normal time from start to finish. Using three multiple cameras, inside and outside a BMW driving through the night on the M6, Knight and actor Tom Hardy ran through an intense sequence of bluetooth phone calls 16 times over 12 days. No other actor appears on screen--the voice actors, including Olivia Colman and Ruth Wilson, were sitting in a conference room as the calls rolled into Hardy's car. On the other, "Locke" is a tense, well-written and edited drama carried by Hardy's riveting, naturalistic performance. You can see that Hardy is really driving. As the movie unfolds, you start to figure out why the very stressed Ivan Locke, »


- Anne Thompson

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Will Cannes-Bound 'Jimmy's Hall' Be Ken Loach's Last Film? (Trailer)

1 hour ago

Whenever Ken Loach has a new film in the works, you can bet your bottom dollar it will premiere at Cannes. The Brit director and master of kitchen sink realism has been a Cannes Competition mainstay since "Black Jack" won the fest's coveted Fipresci Prize in 1979. His latest film, "Jimmy's Hall," will make its way to the Croisette next month. But will it be his last? (Trailer below.) In 2012, his admirable if saccharine crime comedy "The Angels' Share" snapped up the Jury Prize, and in 2006 he won the Palme d'Or for the Irish historical drama "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," starring Cillian Murphy. Penned by longtime collaborator Paul Laverty, "Jimmy's Hall" will of course be competing for the Palme, and it marks Loach's return to the period piece: it's a portrait of Irish communist and activist James Gralton (played by Barry Ward) who became a Us citizen in 1909 after »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Review Roundup: Neil Patrick Harris Is "Beyond Fabulous" on Broadway in 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' (Videos)

2 hours ago

Reviews are in for the latest Broadway revival of John Cameron Mitchell's glitz-and-glam rock musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," starring gay icon Neil Patrick Harris as the title character, an East German singer scorned by a botched sex-change operation. Critics are over-the-moon for the Harris, who's "beyond fabulous," and the loud-and-proud direction of Michael Mayer, who helmed the Tony-award-winning Broadway premiere of the smash musical "Spring Awakening." "Hedwig," now in full swing this Spring, began as an off-Broadway oddity in 1998 before writer/director John Cameron Mitchell -- recently seen on HBO's "Girls" -- gave the film a second life in his 2001 queer cult film adaptation. Now, "Hedwig" is back onstage, and with a bang thanks to Neil Patrick Harris, one of several Hollywood actors to walk the Broadway boards this year. (Watch clips and behind-the-scenes footage below.) Here's what the critics are saying so far: The New York »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Jessica Chastain Will Go 'Blonde' for Andrew Dominik as Marilyn Monroe: What's Next?

3 hours ago

Two-time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain has a most busy year coming up. This fall, we'll see her in Christopher Nolan's ambitious sci-fi "Interstellar" (November 7) and, hopefully on the festival circuit at least, in director Liv Ullman's Strindberg adaptation "Miss Julie." Also in post-production is director Jc Chandor's "A Most Violent Year," a gritty urban thriller set in the '80s and starring Chastain, Oscar Isaac and Albert Brooks, from A24. What's more? "Killing Them Softly" director Andrew Dominik has found his Marilyn Monroe. Chastain will play her in Dominik's "Blonde," adapted from Joyce Carol Oates' tome about Monroe's first life as Norma Jeane Baker. Brad Pitt's Plan B will produce, and Dominik has adapted the screenplay himself. The script is said to be locked, but the film is still without a start date. Currently, Chastain is in the midst of filming auteur Guillermo del Toro's domestic horror film "Crimson Peak, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Exclusive Trailer: 'Ivory Tower' Blows the Lid Off High Cost of College Education

3 hours ago

In CNN Films' "Ivory Tower," director Andrew Rossi questions the purpose of higher education in an era when record-high college tuition doesn't necessarily yield results for graduates struggling to get on their feet. Check out the film's new trailer, exclusive to Toh!, below. Filmmaker Andrew Rossi reveals the moment in history when the United States, long regarded as the epicenter of higher education, embraced a business model promoting property expansion over quality learning. Through interviews with Andrew Delbanco, Anya Kamenetz, and Internet education pioneer Daphne Koller, cofounder of the revolutionary online platform Coursera, 'Ivory Tower' exposes the instability of traditional college education as it searches the country for alternative forms of cost-effective learning, ranging from concepts of self-governance taught at Deep Springs College in Big Pine, California, to the unofficial hacker houses of northern California.An entry in Sundance's Us Documentary »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Watch: John Turturro Spans Career, 'Fading Gigolo' and More in Hour-Long Conversation at 92nd Street Y

3 hours ago

Triple-threat John Turturro wrote, directed and stars alongside Woody Allen in the new comedy "Fading Gigolo," now the second best limited opening of 2014 so far. Following a screening of the film in New York at the 92nd Street Y, Turturro sat down with critic Annette Insdorf for an hour-long conversation about the film and his career.  Watch below, and read our review of the film here. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Amazon Prime Makes Exclusive Multi-Year Deal to Stream HBO Classic Series

3 hours ago

Amazon and Netflix are in an intense race for premium content. Now Amazon.com Inc. has nabbed HBO.  People have speculated about when and how HBO would make its wealth of programming available to consumers on a wider basis separate from its bundled arrangement with the cable companies. They charge consumers high prices for loads of monthly programming that is not premium in addition to high-priced Premium Channels such as HBO and Showtime. This is the first step. Of course, Amazon and HBO are starting out with older content that is no longer fresh.  For the first time, canceled classic HBO series including "The Sopranos," "Rome," "Six Feet Under," "The Wire," "Deadwood," "Big Love," "Eastbound & Down," "Family Tree," "Enlightened," "Treme," and "Oz" plus mini-series "Band of Brothers" and "John Adams" will be available to Amazon Prime subscribers via Amazon's content licensing agreement with HBO. Prime »


- Anne Thompson

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Rip Michael Glawogger, Radical Director Who Died a Workingman's Death at Age 54

4 hours ago

Austrian filmmaker Michael Glawogger, who worked under-the-radar and pushed himself to the brink as a documentary and feature filmmaker, has passed away at age 54 in Africa. He died from Malaria while working on his latest film. Glawogger's final finished feature was "Whores' Glory" in 2011, a stylish and gritty documentary triptych on prostitutes from Mexico, Thailand and Bangladesh. But he also worked on "Cathedrals of Culture," a 3D architecture doc, alongside Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders. Throughout his prolific career, Glawogger sought to capture the rhythms of lives both ordinary and extreme in far away places, most notably in his 2005 masterpiece "Workingman's Death," about manual laborers in far-flung corners of the Earth, and 1998's cross-cultural portrait "Megacities." All of his documentaries look closely at globalization and its resonance, but they are also incredibly cinematic. Gorgeously lensed -- and typically on celluloid, which he preferred to digital -- his »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Tarantino vs. Gawker: 'Hateful Eight' Lawsuit Dismissed

4 hours ago

Los Angeles court Judge John F. Walter has dismissed Quentin Tarantino's lawsuit vs. Gawker. The writer-director ("Django Unchained") was angry that the website posted a link to his leaked post-Civil War western "The Hateful Eight" script and took legal action in January against Gawker, which has posted various unflattering stories about Tarantino over the years. Tarantino had given the script to about six people and after the leak, said he would no longer make the film.  In the suit Tarantino asserted that Gawker had "crossed the journalistic line" and committed copyright infringement by publishing his script without permission. Gawker responded that it linked to the script in the process of reporting that Tarantino was upset about the leak, which constitutes "fair use." The Wrap quoted court documents from Judge Walter's dismissal:  "[N]owhere in these paragraphs or anywhere else in the Complaint does Plaintiff allege a single act of direct. »


- Anne Thompson

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'Foxcatcher' Gets Award Season November Release

4 hours ago

Sony Pictures Classics will release Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher" on November 14, a full year after it was scheduled to open at the AFI Film Festival 2013. Michael Barker and Tom Bernard pulled the film from that festival; it's now heading to screen in competition at Cannes. It's a big deal to be anointed a full-fledged auteur your first time playing at Cannes, which tends to throw newcomers ("The Cruise," "Capote" and "Moneyball" did not play the festival) into Un Certain Regard or the Quinzaine (Directors Fortnight).  The anticipated awards contender, backed by billionaire Larry Ellison scion Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures, is co-financed by Sony. Miller worked with Sony motion picture chairman Amy Pascal on the Oscar-nominated "Moneyball."  E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman (Miller's "Capote" adapted a true story long-in-development by Miller. John du Pont, a multimillionaire and paranoid schizophrenic, built a wrestling training facility named »


- Anne Thompson

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Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Soviet Hockey Doc 'Red Army' Ahead of Cannes Premiere (Trailer)

4 hours ago

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all North American, Eastern European and Asian rights to director Gabe Polsky's new documentary "Red Army" ahead of its premiere in the Cannes Film Festival Special Screening section. Here's the synopsis: Red Army is about the Soviet Union and the most successful dynasty in sports history: the Red Army hockey team.  Filmmaker Gabe Polsky tells an extraordinary human story from the perspective of its captain Slava Fetisov, the friendships, the betrayals, and the personal dramas, which led to his transformation from national hero to political enemy. The film examines how sport mirrors social and cultural movements and parallels the rise and fall of the Red Army team with the Soviet Union. Red Army is an inspiring story about a man who stood up to a powerful system and paved the way for change for generations of Russians.The film was Executive Produced by Jerry Weintraub, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Trailers from Hell Wears 'Coonskin'

5 hours ago

Today on Trailers from Hell, Larry Karaszewski tackles Ralph Bakshi's controversial 1975 "Coonskin," an animated satire on race relations. Ralph Bakshi's nervy satire on race relations courted controversy from all sides, beginning with its in-your-face title (which Bakshi himself objected to) and its incendiary use of African-American stereotypes to score its satirical points. The 1975 film, a mix of live action and animation, referenced a wide range of black-cultural hot buttons including "Song of the South" and blaxploitation fare. The production of the movie was fractious enough (Bakshi was locked out of the studio at one point) but the actual release of the film was when the fireworks, including picketing and a few smoke bombs in select theater lobbies, really started. In the decades since, cooler heads have prevailed and Coonskin counts artists as disparate as Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino among its fans. »


- Trailers From Hell

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

22 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

22 April 2014 12:50 PM, PDT

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)

22 April 2014 12:11 PM, PDT

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

22 April 2014 11:58 AM, PDT

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

22 April 2014 11:08 AM, PDT

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

22 April 2014 10:55 AM, PDT

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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