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Once in a Lifetime 'The Hateful Eight' Live Read with "Tarantino superstars!"

3 hours ago

Some three weeks back over chili cheese fries, Quentin Tarantino suggested to his buddy, interviewer Elvis Mitchell, that he might want to do a live read of his first-draft screenplay of "The Hateful Eight." Director Jason Reitman has been staging Hollywood classics at Film Independent at Lacma for the past three years, including Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" and "Reservoir Dogs." Needless to say, Mitchell and his team made it happen.  "I'm wondering why I thought this was a good idea three weeks ago," admitted a nervous Tarantino as he doffed his black cowboy hat to a crowd of revved-up fans and Hollywood hipsters downtown at the refurbished United Artists Theatre at the Ace Hotel. "We've been rehearsing this for the last three days." He also warned that nobody else will ever see the final chapter of this typically verbose five-part western, which plays like a twisted post-Civil War sequel to "Django Unchained. »


- Anne Thompson

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Friday Box Office: Sequels Beat New Entries, Faith-Based 'Heaven' Is Strong, 'Transcendence' Starts off Weak

18 hours ago

Easter Weekend, with its Friday school holiday, is usually an appealing date for new releases, and the studios came through with four debuts. Despite that, two holdover films, both sequels, came in #1 and #2 yesterday, with "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (Buena Vista) and "Rio 2" (20th Century Fox), at $9.6 and $9.2 respectively, leading the way. Thanks to the holiday boost, the day's total came to around $46 million, a big jump from the same Friday last year. However, Good Friday in 2013 was several weeks earlier, and that day grossed a much higher $56 million. The falloff comes in large part because three of this week's four new wide films performed at mixed to unimpressive results. The one exception is Sony's "Heaven Is for Real," which grossed nearly $7.9 million yesterday after grossing $7 million in its first two days. This is an example of a high end faith-based film (studio-initiated, with veterans Joe Roth as »


- Tom Brueggemann

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Best of the Week: Pfister and Depp Interviews, Jon Hamm Career Watch, Women Screenwriters and More

19 hours ago

The top stories of the week from Toh! Awards: Highs and Lows of the Meaningless 2014 MTV Movie AwardsBox Office:Arthouse Audit: "Only Lovers Left Alive" Tops Trio of New Big-Name OpeningsBox Office Top Ten: "Captain America" Stays Strong to Beat "Rio 2"Friday Box Office: Sequels Beat New Entries, Faith-Based 'Heaven' Is Strong, 'Transcendence' Starts off WeakFeatures:Career Watch: As "Mad Men" Enters Its Final Season, Can Jon Hamm Rebrand Himself as a Movie Star?Memo to Women Screenwriters: Man Up!Festivals:As Tribeca Kicks Off, "A Brony Tale" Leads Some Must-See DocsCannes Lineup: Veteran Auteurs, Newcomers and Awards Hopefuls; Who Missed the Cut?Fledgling Director Gillian Greene's "Murder of a Cat" Is One to Watch at TribecaWim Wenders Sets Sail for Cannes, But Where Is "Every Thing Will Be Fine"?Interviews:"Hank and Asha": How Two Newlyweds Shot a Long-Distance Romance on Their HoneymoonKevin Spacey Q&A: "House of Cards" Wouldn't Exist Without Richard III, »


- TOH!

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Who Should Play Garbo and Dietrich?

18 April 2014 6:11 PM, PDT

So it looks like indie-minded producer Megan Ellison of Annapurna Pictures, who backed upcoming Cannes entry "Foxcatcher" as well as such Oscar contenders as "The Master," "American Hustle" and "Her," is now developing her first TV series to be sold to the networks.  Set during Hollywood's Golden Age, the drama focuses on Nordic beauties Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, who were known for their androgynous mystery. “The Swedish Sphinx” and “The Blonde Venus” could be both glamorous and alluring--and get away with wearing pants. Thus, much like one-time roommates Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, rumors swirled surrounded them.  Based at MGM, Greta Garbo ("Grand Hotel," "Ninotchka," "Queen Christina") never starred in a movie with Paramount's reigning diva Dietrich ("Shanghai Express," "Morocco," "Catherine the Great"), and the two so-called studio rivals claimed to have never met. (Back in Europe, they reportedly each enjoyed an affair with elegant aristocrat Mercedes de »


- Anne Thompson

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Pick Hit: Raunchy R-Rated Comedy 'Neighbors,' Starring Rogen, Byrne & Efron, that Even Critics Love (Red Band Trailer)

18 April 2014 2:17 PM, PDT

Universal Pictures smartly debuted "Neighbors," the raunchy, R-rated comedy starring Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne and Zac Efron as the titular domestic warmongers, at SXSW 2014, where it picked up great word-of-mouth from festival-goers and critics alike. (Red Band trailer and Rogen on Conan O'Brien below.) These two male leads couldn't be further apart, in both looks and appeal. But therein lies the humor of Nicholas Stoller's directorial followup to 2008's smash hit "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" --since then he's been the screenwriter sauce behind the two recent "Muppets" movies, "The Five-Year Engagement," "Get Him to the Greek" and "Yes Man." Stoller is the real deal. This well-constructed contemporary comedy reveals Rogen and "Bridesmaids" star Rose Byrne at their whip-smart best as hip young parents who are reveling in their new baby (the most adorable movie baby ever) until new neighbors move in next door. It's the nightmare from hell: a raucous fraternity house dominated by. »


- Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio

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Exclusive: Five Chris Marker Classics and an Agnes Varda Miniseries Will Stream This Summer

18 April 2014 1:45 PM, PDT

Attention cinephiles: SundanceNOW Doc Club has a juicy slate of streaming titles coming up. This May, the online VOD service will present a fantastic array of films from experimental director Chris Marker. Then in June, SundanceNOW will also host the exclusive Us premiere of French auteur Agnes Varda's TV miniseries "Agnes Varda From Here to There." Handpicked by renowned Tiff documentary programmer Thom Powers, here's the streaming lineup for May's "Chris Marker and His Legacy" series, which includes several enticing online debuts:"Sixth Side of the Pentagon" (1967)"Chris Marker’s Bestiary" (1994) -- Online Debut"One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich" (1999) -- Online Debut"Remembrance of Things to Come" (2001)"The Case of the Grinning Cat" (2004) SundanceNOW will also stream a selection of films inspired by Marker's work: "To Chris Marker, An Unsent Letter" (2013) by director Emiko Omori, Jem Cohen's wonderful "Museum Hours" (2012) »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Watch: Trailer for 'Scandal' Star Tony Goldwyn's New Legal Drama 'The Divide'

18 April 2014 1:40 PM, PDT

Tony Goldwyn -- aka Potus from "Scandal" -- has a new show in the works now that the most recent season of the guilty-pleasure series starring Kerry Washington has wrapped. But he won't be acting. He's writing and producing.  The new project is called "The Divide," and Goldwyn collaborated with Richard Lagravenese ("Behind the Candelabra"). It centers on an Innocence Initiative caseworker (Marin Ireland of "Homeland") who's fighting to halt the nearing execution of a Death Row inmate (Chris Bauer), wrongly accused of the murder of a family. Goldwyn has focused on the Innocence Project for years now; he directed 2010's "Conviction," starring Hilary Swank as a woman who puts herself through law school to come to the defense of her imprisoned brother. Here's the trailer for "The Divide": »


- Beth Hanna

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First Look: Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard Are the Picture of Evil in 'Macbeth'

18 April 2014 1:20 PM, PDT

Though we won't be seeing Australian director Justin Kurzel's "Macbeth" until 2015, a few still enticing new stills from the film have landed.  This adaptation of Shakespeare's deliciously dark masterpiece of evil stars Michael Fassbender as the titular power-mongering general and Marion Cotillard as the scheming, hand-wringing Lady Macbeth. Justin Kurzel confidently made his directorial debut in 2011 with the powerful "Snowtown," which centered on the grizzly true story of a spate of cult murders in a dreary Australian suburb. With that film in mind, "Macbeth" feels like a natural progression, and another grim portrait of power gone horribly awry. "Macbeth" has been adapted time and again, most notably by director Roman Polanski in 1971 just after Sharon Tate's murder. But if it's anything like "Snowtown," Kurzel's new revamp, from a script by Jacob Koskoff and Todd Louiso, ought to be a visceral and disturbing experience. Count us excited for this one. »

- Ryan Lattanzio

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'Blue Is the Warmest Color' Director Eyes His Next Film: 'The Wound'

18 April 2014 1:13 PM, PDT

After being at the center of last year's highly reviewed and highly contentious Palme d'Or winner "Blue Is the Warmest Color," French director Abdellatif Kechiche has set sights on his follow-up film: "The Wound." Adapted from the novel "La Blessure" by Francois Begaudeau (the author of the source material for 2008's Cannes winner "The Class"), the film will follow a fifteen-year-old French boy during a 1986 summer in Tunisia.  The film is eyeing an August start date. No word yet on casting. But those who do sign on will go into the project knowing all about Kechiche's intense method of working -- "Blue" stars Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos weren't afraid to speak up last year about the exhausting hours and endless takes (not to mention inordinately lengthy sex-scene filming) they underwent while on his set. Our Toh! interview with the two actresses is here. Haven't seen "Blue Is the Warmest Color"? It's streaming on Netflix. »


- Beth Hanna

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First Look: Ryan Gosling's Trippy Cannes-Bound Directorial Debut 'Lost River'

18 April 2014 11:28 AM, PDT

Cannes certainly knows how to roll out the red carpet for Hollywood stars, so it came as no surprise yesterday when Ryan Gosling's directorial debut "Lost River" landed a slot in the fest's edgy Un Certain Regard sidebar. Originally titled "How to Catch a Monster," this dark and surreal film boasts an all-star indie cast including Christina Hendricks, Saoirse Ronan, Eva Mendes and Ben Mendelsohn. Though plot details are scant, we know that Hendricks plays a single mother who falls into some sort of dark underworld while her son (played by Iain De Caestecker of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D") happens upon an underwater utopia. Judging from the film's first images (below), "Lost River," which Warner Bros. will distribute later this year, has echoes of a twisted Lynchian fairyland. One image, apparently of Hendricks, immediately brings to mind Lynch's Hollywood-set nightmare "Inland Empire." The Un Certain »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Watch: Trailer for Jim Mickle's Southern-Fried Revenge Thriller 'Cold In July,' Starring Michael C. Hall

18 April 2014 10:52 AM, PDT

Writer/director Jim Mickle rocked the indie genre film world last year with his domestic horror film "We Are What We Are," and now he has done it again with his throwback thriller "Cold in July," starring Michael C. Hall. Watch the official trailer below. It's 1989 and in the balmy, unforgiving land of Texas, Richard Dane (Hall) becomes a small town hero after shooting a petty burglar. But his so-called act of heroism yields some dark and dangerous consequences when the burglar's father (played by Sam Shepard), who has a haunted past of his own, rolls into town with an appetite for revenge. Mickle and scribe Nick Damici -- who also cowrote "We Are What We Are," about the mundane life of a family of cannibals -- adapted the film from Joe R. Lansdale's grizzly 1989 mystery novel. Based on this tense trailer alone, Mickle's seems to be harking back »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Watch: Stylish First Trailer for Clint Eastwood's Musical 'Jersey Boys,' Why Go Out in Summer?

18 April 2014 10:18 AM, PDT

The first trailer for director Clint Eastwood's hotly anticipated "Jersey Boys," adapted from the celebrated musical about iconic '60s rock group The Four Seasons, has landed.  Like the smash jukebox musical written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice -- who also wrote the film's screenplay, alongside cowriter John Logan -- Eastwood's film revolves around the rise and fall of the band led by Frankie Valli, whose entanglements in the mafia and rough-and-tumble days on the streets of New Jersey came to define, and complicate, their image. After a long casting process, stage actor John Lloyd Young finally got to reprise his role as Valli, who he also played when the musical opened on Broadway in 2005. Christopher Walken costars. This is 83-year-old Eastwood's first film as a director since 2011's divisive biopic "J. Edgar"; it's produced by Graham King's Gk Films. And it's director Eastwood's first musical (he »


- Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio

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Wally Pfister Talks Analog vs. Digital in 'Transcendence'

18 April 2014 10:15 AM, PDT

Wally Pfister not only adores film but also vinyl. That's because they both embody "the breath of life," analog beauty that's at the heart of "Transcendence." Indeed, the Oscar-winning cinematographer ("Inception") and Christopher Nolan's former right hand man couldn't have found a more personal statement for his directorial debut than a cautionary tale about uploading human consciousness into a super computer (the same conceit, incidentally, used in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"). It's the dark side of "Her," and what could be a more terrifying threat to humanity? And that Pfister has teased the least flamboyant and most restrained performance out of Johnny Depp is further proof of his powers of persuasion. Then again, they are perfectly in sync when it comes to the film's organic embrace and back to nature rallying cry. So obviously there's no denying where Pfister stands in the analog vs. digital debate. "The technology discussion is very relevant, »


- Bill Desowitz

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Trailers from Hell on 'Pitch Black' Starring Vin Diesel

18 April 2014 9:47 AM, PDT

Today on Trailers from Hell, Jesus Trevino takes on the 2000 science fiction thriller "Pitch Black," starring Vin Diesel. Director David Twohy's modestly budgeted science-fiction thriller was a surprise hit in 2000. Starring Vin Diesel as the space-age anti-hero Richard Riddick, the film grossed over 53 million leading to a 2004 sequel, "The Chronicles of Riddick." Twohy (screenwriter for 1998's "The Fugitive" and Tfh guru Mick Garris' "Critters 2") revisited the character three more times in "Dark Fury", "Riddick: Blindsided" and 2013's "Riddick." »


- Trailers From Hell

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Wim Wenders Sets Sail for Cannes, But Where Is 'Every Thing Will Be Fine'?

18 April 2014 9:28 AM, PDT

Among the many surprises in the yummy Cannes Film Festival lineup is the absence of German auteur Wim Wenders' eagerly awaited 3D redemption drama "Every Thing Will Be Fine," once thought to be a Main Competition candidate. But we will see "The Salt of the Earth," a documentary Wenders codirected by Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, screening in the Un Certain Regard sidebar, which makes room for edgier fare. Plus, the Cannes vet and two-time Fipresci prize winner's Palme d'Or-anointed classic "Paris, Texas" (1984) will also screen in the Classics section. It could be that "Every Thing Will Be Fine" will take the alternative, late-summer route to Venice, especially given that one of his upcoming projects is a 3D tribute to Venetian architecture. Or, even later, it could head to Telluride, where Wenders likes to hang with buddy Werner Herzog, or even his home town festival Berlin next February, where his first foray into 3D documentary, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Lionsgate and Summit Finally Merge Marketing Operations

17 April 2014 2:26 PM, PDT

Inevitably, the long-planned merger of Lionsgate and Summit's marketing operations is finally coming to pass. It's remarkable, actually, how much the Summit label has endured since Lionsgate acquired Summit and its co-chiefs, Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger, who run the Lionsgate motion picture group and brought in Erik Feig to run production. They also kept going a parallel Summit marketing division headed by studio veteran Nancy Kirkpatrick, who worked with Friedman at Warner Bros. and Paramount, to handle that label's films, including the hugely successful final "Twilight" film and would-be franchises "Ender's Game," which disappointed, and $85-million "Divergent," which did modestly ($127 million domestic) but already has three sequels in the pipeline. With marketing costs factored in, that's not a great number.  Sometimes it serves corporate executives well to sacrifice a marketing exec when a venture disappoints. With $50 million in the foreign till so far, a $177 »


- Anne Thompson

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Fledgling Director Gillian Greene's 'Murder of a Cat' Is One to Watch at Tribeca

17 April 2014 1:31 PM, PDT

Gillian Greene's TV star father had an adage about career arcs that was applicable to any actor: "Who's Lorne Greene?" "Get me Lorne Greene!" "Get me the next Lorne Greene!" "Who's the next Lorne Greene?" At the moment, the next Gillian Greene is Gillian Greene, whose first feature, "Murder of a Cat" premieres next week at the Tribeca Film Festival. The off-beat comedy stars Fran Kranz (Joss Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing" and "The Cabin in the Woods") as a manchild with a proto-Bieber haircut, various delusions, and who lives at home with his mother (Blythe Danner). Just coincidentally, all of Greene's children, ages 7 to 20, live with their mother. "Yeah, people are surprised I have so many kids, but I started kind of young," said the fledgling director, whose father was a star of the longtime NBC western "Bonanza" and, later, the original "Battlestar Galactica" TV series. She met her husband, »


- John Anderson

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This Weekend in Theaters, Johnny Depp Transcends and John Turturro Is 'Fading'

17 April 2014 1:03 PM, PDT

Though "Transcendence" is the box office hopeful this weekend, a number of offbeat indies and festival favorites also hit theaters, from director/star John Turturro's "Fading Gigolo" to the visually splendid Nepalese doc "Manakamana," and more. Critics have not been too kind to cinematographer-turned-director Wally Pfister's "Transcendence," starring Johnny Depp as a scientist whose efforts to create the ultimate artificial intelligence machine land him square in the middle of an ideological war. But some of us at Toh! like the film, an auspicious directorial debut that's not only a smart sci-fi cautionary tale for our time, but also proof that Depp can effectively dial down the eccentricity with chilling restraint. In his latest, “Fading Gigolo,” John Turturro exercises what amounts to the urban auteur’s droit de seigneur, casting himself as a member of New York's studliest, directing himself into a three-way with Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara, »


- TOH!

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Kevin Spacey Q & A: 'House of Cards' Wouldn't Exist Without Richard III, Focus of Self-Released Tribeca Doc (Video)

17 April 2014 12:56 PM, PDT

It's easy to assume that a documentary financed and self-released by Kevin Spacey will be a vanity project. Especially Monday's Tribeca Film Festival world premiere "Now in the Wings on a World Stage," which follows the head of the Old Vic around the world as he stars in 200 performances of Sam Mendes' Bridge Project production of Shakespeare's "Richard III."   But the documentary, which Spacey and rookie director Jeremy Whelehan (his former associate producer on "Beyond the Sea" and Old Vic assistant director) have been tinkering with for two years, is worth waiting for. Sure, Spacey comes off well as the tireless star boss who takes his company on a scenic yacht trip off the coast of Australia during their Sydney tour. Would he have done that if he wasn't filming for posterity? Well, it makes for a great scene.  The doc takes a behind-the-scenes look at how a unique company of 20 actors, »


- Anne Thompson

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Watch: It's All Hitting the Fan in New Trailer for 'Orange Is the New Black' Season Two

17 April 2014 11:04 AM, PDT

For those of you who were big fans of Netflix's rollicking women-behind-bars dramedy "Orange Is the New Black," a new full-length trailer is here for the second season, which arrives with all episodes on June 6. As the trailer song cries, the ladies in orange (or beige) are going "into the jungle," i.e. the tension is heating up and boiling over, though it's hard to say from this spot exactly what that entails. Whatever. Piper (Taylor Schilling), Tastee (Danielle Brooks), Crazy Eyes (Uzo Aduba), Red (Kate Mulgrew), Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) and more are back  -- even Piper's turbulent ex, Alex (Laura Prepon), who will reportedly only be in a couple episodes this time around -- and apparently raging against the prison machine, while making the best of things Oitnb-style. We'll be watching it. »


- Beth Hanna

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