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Watch How Sony Brought Back 'Popeye' in New CG Animation Test

11 hours ago

The beloved spinach-chomping sailor will return in "Hotel Transylvania" director Tartakovsky's in-the-works animated feature. The nifty animation test below offers a sneak peek at how Sony animators are resurrecting Popeye, who was last on the big screen in Robert Altman's admirably daffy live-action effort in 1980. Tartakovsky was inspired by the iconic black-and-white Fleischer shorts for Paramount in the 1930s. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Four Reasons Why Clark Terry Doc 'Keep on Keeping On' Is Oscar Bait

11 hours ago

1. The movie is organic and authentic. This documentary exists because Australian first-time director and jazz drummer Alan Hicks, who had studied with trumpeter Clark Terry and toured with his band for three years, was approached by an Australian documentary channel to shoot a short piece about their friendship.  When funding was pulled at the last minute, Hicks saw a missed opportunity. He and his friend Adam Hart decided that they could do it on their own. "We saved up for a year," says Hicks. "We bought one camera and plane fares and came out and started shooting with Clark."   Hicks first met Clark by chance in New York in 2001. "He was in good health and touring all over the world," he tells me in a phone interview. "He had recovered from colon cancer, took me under his wing, started teaching me, and we became good mates. That's why I was »


- Anne Thompson

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How Kevin Kline Helped Israel Horovitz's 'My Old Lady' Film Debut

11 hours ago

By turns affecting and amusing, and quite often both at once, the film focuses on Mathias (Kevin Kline), a nearing-60 New Yorker who has little to show for his life until now but three failed marriages and the same number of unpublished novels. Mathias thinks his luck could be changing when, after the death of his estranged father, he learns he has inherited a spacious Paris apartment that might be sold for a handsome sum.  But, of course, there’s a catch: Mathilde (Maggie Smith), a 90-something Englishwoman, and Chloé (Kristen Scott Thomas), her tart-tongued daughter, have long resided in the apartment, and they are not of a mind to depart. Much to Mathias’ dismay, the law is on their side: Thanks to a sales agreement signed years ago by his dad and Mathilde (who, Mathias gradually realizes, were more than just participants in a real estate deal),  Mathias can »


- Joe Leydon

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The Top 10 Horror Movies Since 2000

12 hours ago

This October, London Film Fest will uncloak a new 4K restoration of Tobe Hooper's "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," the one that started it all in 1974. Stateside audiences heading to Austin's Fantastic Fest this weekend can catch it at the fest's parallel program MondoCon.  Buzz about the beefed-up version prompted BFI to pick 10 great new horror films that, while probably not as impactful as "Texas Chainsaw" with its shock of the new, will last. Here are their picks: 2001: "Session 9" (Dir. Brad Anderson 2002: "May" (Dir. Lucky McKee) 2005: "The Descent" (Dir. Neil Marshall) 2006: "Bug" (Dir. William Friedkin) 2007: "Inside" (Dirs. Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo) 2009: "Amer" (Dirs. Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani) 2009: "House of the Devil" (Dir. Ti West) 2009: "The Loved Ones" (Dir. Sean Byrne) 2010: "We Are What We Are" (Dir. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Buzzy Tiff Documentary 'Do I Sound Gay?' Will Open Doc NYC

14 hours ago

Featuring Lgbt mascots Margaret Cho, Tim Gunn, Dan Savage and George Takei, among others, "Do I Sound Gay?" explores the link between sexuality and speech, and the all the anxiety and cultural baggage that come with "the gay voice." Produced by Howard Gertler ("Shortbus," Oscar nominee "How to Survive a Plague"), "Do I Sound Gay?" was hailed by Toronto doc guru Thom Powers as "a winning and sympathetic guide who doesn't shy away from confronting taboos and vulnerabilities that often go unexpressed." The November 13 Doc NYC presentation marks the film's Us premiere. The full lineup for this IFC-produced festival, which promises a slate of over 125 films, arrives October 15. Meanwhile, watch the crowdfunding trailer below: »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Watch: 'A Most Violent Year' Teaser, Release Date & Poster Finally Arrive

15 hours ago

Chastain and Isaac ("Inside Llewyn Davis") star as the heads of an oil business who get caught up in the New York City criminal underworld during the winter of 1981. Chandor, Oscar-nominated for "Margin Call" and acclaimed for "All Is Lost," directs his own original screenplay. Is it an Academy contender? We won't know until we see the film, which will roll out nationally in January after its December limited opening. Isaac, who ably carried "Inside Llewyn Davis," is still on the rise (he's superb in Patricia Highsmith mystery-thriller "The Two Faces of January.") And with "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" receding and "Miss Julie" not taking off at the Toronto International Film Festival, this may be Chastain's best Oscar shot.  »


- Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio

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Benedict Cumberbatch Cracks Code in New 'Imitation Game' Poster

16 hours ago

It's looking like "The Imitation Game" and star Benedict Cumberbatch are the ones to beat so far in the Oscar race (and here are eight reasons why). Morten Tyldum's powerfully acted espionage drama, which also stars Keira Knightley and Rory Kinnear, covers Turing's days as Enigma codebreaker to the Allies, and as a closeted homosexual prosecuted by the UK government.  Behold the new poster below. (And here's why the film's Tiff win matters to the Oscar race.) »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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BAFTA La Unveils Five Britannia Honorees

17 hours ago

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts' L.A. arm will honor the starry bunch during an October 30 ceremony at the Beverly Hilton, hosted once again by comedian Rob Brydon. The show will then air Sunday, November 2 on BBC America. This historic award season ramp-up event will dole out its five discrete prizes as follows: Robert Downey Jr. will receive the storied Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film, whose prior recipients include Daniel Day Lewis, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, George Lucas, Denzel Washington and Steven Spielberg. In October, Downey Jr. can be seen in his Oscar hopeful "The Judge," a drama he also produced. The Britannia Humanitarian Award goes to Mark Ruffalo for his work with nonprofit Water Defense, which the Emmy-winning "Normal Heart" star cofounded to raise water resource awareness. Emma Watson will receive the Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Focus World Grabs 'Ruth & Alex,' Starring Morgan Freeman & Diane Keaton

17 September 2014 4:46 PM, PDT

Directed by Richard Loncraine from Charlie Peters' script, the film world-premiered earlier this month in Toronto, where critics were mixed but affectionate toward the cast. Keaton and Freeman play a long-married couple who, over one weekend, debate selling their Brooklyn walk-up. Throw in Cynthia Nixon, the family dog and a raft of open-house guests and everything goes comically nutty. "Ruth & Alex" is based on Jill Ciment's book "Heroic Measures." Release date forthcoming. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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'Boyhood' Star Patricia Arquette Will Campaign for Supporting Actress Oscar

17 September 2014 4:26 PM, PDT

Arquette is a respected indie veteran (Tony Scott's "True Romance," David Lynch's "Lost Highway," Martin Scorsese's "Bringing Out the Dead") who has never been nominated for an Oscar (she won an Emmy for "Medium" in 2005) and is overdue. She has more screen time than anyone besides title star Ellar Coltrane, aging over 12 years and enduring a series of often abusive husbands. At a climactic moment as she faces the empty nest, she sighs, "I thought there would be more." In the Gold Derby's poll of Oscar experts (I'm one), Arquette ranked eighth in the lead actress race, while in supporting, she was the frontrunner. The critics and Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild could go another way, as Oscar voters did with Kate Winslet and "The Reader," promoting her to Best Actress after several wins in the supporting category, but it's unlikely. They usually take their cue from the distributor. »


- Anne Thompson

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What Really Happened to 'Serena,' Starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence

17 September 2014 2:23 PM, PDT

Back in 2012, before Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence co-starred in David O. Russell's Oscar-winning "Silver Linings Playbook" and its follow-up "American Hustle," the duo shot period drama "Serena," which was once going to star Angelina Jolie with director Darren Aronofsky.  Oscar-winning Danish auteur Susanne Bier ("A Better World") took the helm for producers Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner's 2929 Productions, and has been delayed trying to finish it. Based on Ron Rash's 2008 novel, the film is set in 1929 North Carolina and follows George and Serena Pemberton, ambitious newlyweds with their hearts set on a timber empire. They become obsessed with success, and their lives take a Shakespearean turn when Serena finds that she can't get pregnant and tries to harm her husband's illegitimate son. Why the delays? "Once it finished shooting we've all been busy," Bier told me in Toronto, which invited "Serena," »


- Anne Thompson

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Fantastic Fest Preview: 10 Must-See Films

17 September 2014 1:46 PM, PDT

While the rest of the Fall fests busily unleash their big Oscar contenders, Fantastic Fest offers a rejuvenating week of counter-programming, turning Austin, Texas into a breeding ground for independent genre film. Founded by Alamo Drafthouse's Tim League, Fantastic Fest celebrates its 15th birthday this year with 80 films in eight days, with a surfeit of world and North American premieres. The festival kicks off Thursday, September 18 with the Us premiere of Kevin Smith's turn to horror "Tusk," which met applause in Toronto earlier this month. And Fantastic Fest will close, red carpet and all, with Dan Gilroy's wildly acclaimed "Nightcrawler," starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a nocturnal La journo, another film out of Tiff. Comb the festival schedule and you'll find hidden gems that have been quietly making their way along the festival circuit, and films that will be seen for the first time. Writer/director Jennifer Kent's Sundance gothic creeper "The. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Watch: Robert Downey Jr. Passion Project 'The Judge' Gets New Trailer

17 September 2014 12:01 PM, PDT

In the serious drama far from his usual franchise fare, Downey Jr. plays a big-shot NY lawyer who has to defend his own father, who's been accused of murdering his mother. Co-executive produced by Downey Jr. and directed by David Dobkin, "The Judge" fell flat with critics upon its Toronto world premiere despite the leading man's strong dramatic performance. But in terms of social media, it was the buzziest film of the fest. (Our Tiff review is here.) Warner Bros. releases the film theatrically on October 10 and in a sign of the times had Downey Jr. debut this second trailer, below, on his Twitter and Facebook. Venerable costars include Oscar contender Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D'Onofrio and Leighton Meester. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Watch Tiff Talk: 'Good Kill' Team Ethan Hawke & Andrew Niccol Explore Drone Warfare

17 September 2014 11:35 AM, PDT

Kiwi native Andrew Niccol, who launched his Hollywood career by writing "The Truman Show," is one of those maverick indies who writes the movies that interest him, from "Gattaca" and "Lord of War" to "In Time." And Ethan Hawke is eager to collaborate with the filmmaker, even when the global marketplace is resistant to thoughtful original movies like "Good Kill." Returning for his third go-round with Niccol, in this film Hawke stars as a former Top Gun who is benched in a Las Vegas military base trailer piloting drone aircraft. He goes home to his wife (January Jones) every night, but dropping bombs in Yemen and Afghanistan from 7,000 miles away is not his idea of how to fight a war--especially when the CIA gets involved. The movie, produced by Voltage Pictures ("The Hurt Locker"), played Venice and Toronto and is seeking a North American buyer; here are some early reviews. »


- Anne Thompson

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Joshua Oppenheimer Scores MacArthur Grant

17 September 2014 11:03 AM, PDT

The director of 2014 Venice prize winner "The Look of Silence" and the Oscar-nominated "The Act of Killing" can now add the MacArthur Fellowship to his long list of accolades.  Here's some official language: Joshua Oppenheimer is a documentary filmmaker illuminating the social, psychological, and emotional dimensions of controversial subjects in works that redefine the dynamic between filmmaker and subject, film and audience. Through a unique mode of filmmaking that mixes the real and the invented, he is challenging the modern aesthetic of contemporary documentary cinema in both intimacy of focus and visual construct. While the harrowing "Act of Killing" told the story of the Indonesian genocide from the perspective of the killers, "The Look of Silence" sees the tragedy from the victims' point-of-view. The universally loved documentary played Toronto, Telluride and Venice -- where it won four awards including the Special Jury prize -- »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Sundance Picks 10 Writers for First-Ever Episodic Story Lab

16 September 2014 12:17 PM, PDT

Needless to say, episodic storytelling reigns supreme in 2014. Sundance, as announced earlier, has opened up its storied Labs program to include the first-ever Episodic Story Lab.  Now Sundance has named the 10 writers who will participate in the Lab. Every applicant for the program was required to submit a spec pilot and series overview. The writers are: Desiree Akhavan ("Switch Hitter"); Peter Biegen ("Small Change"); Nate Crocker ("Scar Tissue"); Katori Hall ("The Dial"); Barry Jenkins ("Radical"); Nick Keetch ("Borderline"); Lisa Kron ("The Schaeffers"); Crystal Liu ("The White Sheep"); Heather Marion ("Bury Me") and Matt Young ("Still"). Under Michelle Satter, Founding DIrector of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program, writers will work closely with seasoned »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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It's Not Getting Better for Women in Hollywood, But There Is a Silver Lining

16 September 2014 10:35 AM, PDT

While the analysis draws disappointing conclusions about women both onscreen and behind-the-camera, there is a silver lining. Three key highlights: -Women comprised 27% of creators, executive producers, producers, directors, writers, editors and directors of photography in 2013-2014. That's one-percent down from 2012-2013. -At 42%, there were less female characters with speaking roles in the last year -- down one percent from 2012-2013. -The good news? Women may be faring better behind the scenes--and they're certainly making a difference. On programs with at least one female creator, 47% of the characters were women; on those without female creators, women accounted or 39% of the characters.   This Fall, expect more female-driven TV series: ABC's "How to Get Away with Murder" starring Viola Davis and exec-produced by Shonda Rhimes, and Jill Solloway's wonderful "Transparent" on Amazon, among them. It's also worth noting that women fared well at this »


- TOH!

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New York Film Fest Slates Laura Poitras' Edward Snowden Doc 'Citizenfour'

16 September 2014 10:10 AM, PDT

The world premiere of "Citizenfour" plays Nyff October 10, ahead of the film's theatrical release from RADiUS, in association with Participant Media and HBO Documentary Films, on October 24. Oscar-nominated for her 2006 Iraq occupation doc "My Country, My Country," Poitras will also participate in a free HBO Directors Dialogues panel at Nyff on October 11. Nyff Director Kent Jones calls "Citizenfour" "a real-life suspense story" and "a chilling exposé." Here's the synopsis: In January 2013, filmmaker Laura Poitras was several years into the making of a film about abuses of national security in post-9/11 America when she started receiving encrypted e-mails from someone identifying himself as “citizen four,” who was ready to blow the whistle on the massive covert surveillance programs run by the Nsa and other intelligence agencies.  In June 2013, she and reporter Glenn Greenwald flew to Hong Kong for the first of »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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'Nymphomaniac' Among 50 Films Vying for European Film Awards

16 September 2014 10:09 AM, PDT

The drumbeat of wins builds momentum for any film, from Cannes and the fall festivals to each country's submission for the Oscars--which are often influenced by perceived strength from outside critics and juries. The European Film Awards move from capital to capital--this year the 27th European Film Academy awards will be presented on December 13 in Riga, Latvia, where the Efa announced that 50 films representing 31 countries are eligible for 2014 nominations. Twenty countries with the most Efa Members have voted one national film directly into the selection list. Then a selection committee of Efa Board Members and invited experts --Mark Adams (UK), Marit Kapla (Sweden), Stefan Kitanov (Bulgaria), Paz Lázaro (Spain), Christophe Leparc (France) and Elma Tataragic (Bosnia & Herzegovina) filled out the list of eligible films. Then more than 3,000 members of the European Film Academy will vote for nominations in the following categories: European Film, Director, Actor, Actress »


- Anne Thompson

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'Nymphomaniac' Among Fifty Films Vying for European Film Awards

16 September 2014 10:09 AM, PDT

The drumbeat of wins builds momentum for any film, from Cannes and the fall festivals to each country's submission for the Oscars--which are often influenced by perceived strength from outside critics and juries. The European Film Awards move from capital to capital--this year the 27th European Film Academy awards will be presented on December 13 in Riga, Latvia, where the Efa announced that 50 films representing 31 countries are eligible for 2014 nominations. Twenty countries with the most Efa Members have voted one national film directly into the selection list. Then a selection committee of Efa Board Members and invited experts --Mark Adams (UK), Marit Kapla (Sweden), Stefan Kitanov (Bulgaria), Paz Lázaro (Spain), Christophe Leparc (France) and Elma Tataragic (Bosnia & Herzegovina) filled out the list of eligible films. Then more than 3,000 members of the European Film Academy will vote for nominations in the following categories: European Film, Director, Actor, Actress »


- Anne Thompson

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