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17 articles


Roger Deakins on Shooting Hollywood From the Inside Out in 'Hail, Caesar!' (Video)

10 hours ago

Recycling genres, troubleshooting studio politics and making scandals disappear might have been too much of a cross to bear for Josh Brolin's Eddie Mannix in "Hail, Caesar!" But for cinematographer Roger Deakins, it was a fun return to the cockeyed caravan of working with Joel and Ethan Coen. "The thing was not to go too far with the films-within-the-films because it wouldn't flow as a unified piece," said Deakins, who, of course, shot on film once again. "And it helped that most of the time you're seeing the films on a screen in a dailies room or during a sequence at a movie premiere." "Hail, Caesar!" embraces the gray zone of Hollywood reality and artifice in typical Coen brothers fashion. And the early '50s studio shenanigans are almost film noir compared to the tired movies they're making at the MGM-like Capitol Pictures. There's the "Quo Vadis" vibe of »


- Bill Desowitz

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Watch: Tilda Swinton and Matthias Schoenaerts Make 'A Bigger Splash' in Sexy New Trailer

11 hours ago

Director Luca Guadagnino's latest Mediterranean collaboration with Tilda Swinton after "I Am Love" will open stateside in limited release on May 13, 2016.  The film is set on the volcanic island of Pantelleria, where rock legend Marianne Lane (Swinton) is languishing with partner Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts) when an old flame and record producer (Ralph Fiennes) interrupts their holiday. He arrives with his daughter (Dakota Johnson) — with plenty of nostalgia and unfinished business in tow. The film played well in Venice before touring the European fest circuit. Read our original review here. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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How French Oscar Nominee 'Mustang' Finds the "Orgasmic" Joy of "Emotional Justice"

11 hours ago

Turkish born, French-raised writer/director Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s “Mustang,” named after the wild horse, is a confident debut focused on female oppression and liberation. The story is Turkish and set in Turkey, yet it carries out unapologetically feminist motives with universal resonance—no surprise from a filmmaker with the kind of multinational upbringing Ergüven had, in France, Turkey, and the U.S. In Turkey, she is considered an outsider. But her rare perspective has tapped universal responses around the world.  The French Academy controversially selected the French-financed award-winner to contend for the Oscar over a strong roster of festival hits including Jacques Audiard’s Palme d’Or-winning "Dheepan" and Xavier Giannoli's "Marguerite." Yet, an assured female point of view is always a welcome addition to the Oscar race. "Mustang" is playing well for Academy members and is considered a Best Foreign film »


- Tomris Laffly

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How They Dressed the Oscar-Nominated 'Carol' and 'Cinderella' (Video)

12 hours ago

"Carol" and "Cinderella" offer a fascinating study in contrast for costume designer Sandy Powell. While the wardrobes for Oscar-nominated Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara convey the conservative vibe at the dawn of the Eisenhower era in 1952, Lily James' strong-willed fairy tale fave dons an unconventional blue gown for the royal ball and gets extra sparkle in her slipper. "There was a real restraint to the look of ['Carol'] but then that also really echoes the period and the repression," Powell explained. "In terms of the costumes, there's an element of that too. Nothing is ever extreme or extravagant and I use that restraint for the sophistication and elegance for Cate's character, Carol." Like any decade, it's a transitional period, still dominated by late '40s fashions (strong-shouldered silhouette and full skirts). But after researching fashion magazines, Powell came up with the proper style for Carol: a softer, more streamlined look. »


- Bill Desowitz

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A Letter to Michael B. Jordan

15 hours ago

Dear Michael B. Jordan, You don’t need another critic to tell you what a phenomenal screen actor you are, quietly projecting humanity and humor. In "Fruitvale Station" and "Creed" you show how every man contains multitudes. Even in feather-light piffle like "That Awkward Moment," you find the gravity of your character. You don’t need another admirer to pile on that “you were robbed” by an Academy that failed to cite your performance as Oscar Grant in "Fruitvale Station" and Adonis Creed in "Creed." In part it’s an #OscarsSoWhite thing. And in part it’s something else entirely. This other factor puts you in the excellent company of Paul Newman, Al Pacino, Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker. The statuette is not always an Academy Award for best performance. Sometimes it’s recognition of one that was overlooked. Other times, it’s a tribute to an entire career, and »


- Carrie Rickey

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Bona Fide Acquires Movie Rights to Knausgaard New York Times Series 'My Saga' for Alexander Payne (Exclusive)

9 February 2016 3:45 PM, PST

Bona Fide Productions' Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa ("Little Miss Sunshine," "The Leftovers") have acquired movie rights to popular Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard's "My Saga," two lengthy—and hilarious— 2015 New York Times Magazine travel articles tracing the Vikings' historic trek through the Northern U.S.. Like the writer's global bestselling six-volume autobiographical novel series "My Struggle" (which has no film or TV adaptation in place so far), these Nyt pieces are brutally honest, revealing not only the author himself but the foreign landscape he is cannily observing. No one comes away unscathed, including disorganized Knausgaard (who failed to renew his driver's license and could not rent a car) and his more competent cohort, Magnum photographer Peter van Agtmael. Who better than Alexander Payne ("Sideways") to take on yet another filmic road trip? Berger and Yerxa, who produced Payne Oscar contenders »


- Anne Thompson

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Watch: 9 Oscar-Nominated Screenwriters on How They Got Their Start, Their Writing Process, and Much More

9 February 2016 2:13 PM, PST

Representing eight of the 10 films nominated for Original and Adapted Screenplay at this year's Oscars, there's a very good chance that at least one of the nine screenwriters on the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's "It Starts with the Script" panel will be on stage at the Dolby Theatre later this month.  This is always my favorite panel of the year, where we get to hear from the year’s most lauded and gifted screenwriters. This year's was the biggest group ever: Writer-directors Pete Docter ("Inside Out") and Charlie Kaufman ("Anomalisa") are both nominated for Best Animated Feature. Novelist-turned-screenwriter Alex Garland ("28 Days Later," "Sunshine") made his directing debut on sci-fi breakout "Ex Machina," starring Domhnall GleesonAlicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac. Irish-born novelist Emma Donaghue decided to adapt her bestseller "Room" and then find a director; »


- Anne Thompson

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SXSW Reveals More Titles for 2016, Including Midnighters and Fest Favorites

9 February 2016 12:00 PM, PST

The South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival (March 11 to 19, 2016) has completed its lineup with the Midnighters, Festival Favorites, Shorts Programs and Special Events for its 23rd year in Austin, Texas. As already announced, Austin fave Richard Linklater will open SXSW with “Everybody Wants Some.” In total, 139 features and 114 shorts will play the fest. Jury Awards will be revealed during the SXSW Film Awards on Tuesday, March 15 at the Paramount Theatre. Other awards announced will include Narrative Feature Competition and Documentary Feature Competition, Design Awards and Special Award winners. All feature film categories, except Special Events, will be eligible for Audience Awards, announced online on Saturday, March 20. SXSW Adds World Premieres from Alumni Mike Birbiglia and Ti West to 2016 Lineup Previously announced highlights include the world premieres of Netflix original film "Pee-wee's Big Holiday," produced by Judd Apatow and star Paul Reubens, »


- TOH!

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Watch: Michael Moore on Entertaining Audiences and 'Where to Invade Next'

9 February 2016 10:25 AM, PST

At Moore's behest, the film's new, still-unnamed distributor, founded by exiting TWC-Radius partners Tom Quinn and Jason Janego and thriving Alamo Drafthouse exhibitor and arthouse distributor Tim League, pushed the film's wider release to the heart of the presidential primary season. (Though shortlisted, the film did not make the final Oscar five after qualifying engagements in New York and L.A. in December.) Now, the filmmaker's hugely entertaining agitprop doc "Where to Invade Next," his first in five years, will be preceded by a 50-state bus tour, with Moore in the role of campaigning politician—in this case, by echoing the film's cheeky, provocative case for the U.S. to adopt various European social programs.  Read More: "Oscar Documentary Shortlist of 15 Revealed" "We hope to remind Americans they have the inalienable right to laugh, especially in an election year," the distributors said upon picking up the film, shortly before it. »


- Anne Thompson

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Foreign Oscar Nominee Tobias Lindholm Invites Sympathy for a War Criminal in 'A War'

9 February 2016 10:03 AM, PST

Danish director and classically trained screenwriter Tobias Lindholm is up for the 2016 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for his third directorial feature "A War." This meticulously constructed armed conflict procedural jumps into the morally ambivalent battle lines between Denmark and Afghanistan, where commander Claus M. Pedersen (Pilou Asbæk) is stationed with his company. The film deftly juggles tough scenes of battle in the Middle East with the lives of his wife and children back in Denmark, where they're eking out a grievous living while making sense of life without him. The tone shifts dramatically to high-stakes court drama after Claus makes a split-second decision that results in the death of a dozen Afghan children, putting his military status and family life at risk when he's brought back to Denmark on war crime charges. Read More: 9 Foreign Language Oscar Contenders — Snubs and Surprises Lindholm's detail-obsessed direction brings to mind »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Jacques Audiard Wants Magic, Not Realism, in His César Nominee 'Dheepan'

9 February 2016 9:19 AM, PST

Jacques Audiard's Tamil emigre drama "Dheepan," winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, thrusts us into the lives of Sri Lankan refugees who are posing as a family in the suburbs of Paris. It's there that the title character (Jesuthasan Antonythasan), Yalini (Klieaswari Srinivasan) and a nine-year-old orphan (Claudine Vinasithamby) discover that the violence they tried to outrun still hits close to home. For whatever reason, critical reaction was muted when the film stormed Cannes, despite taking the top prize from the Coen Brothers-led jury. Audiard ricochets (I say deftly) between B-genres, from western to melodrama, which he packs into a parable of globalization that builds to an ultra-violent conclusion. He's channeling Sam Peckinpah's "Straw Dogs," and working with rookie actors including Atonythasan, who emerged late in the game as Audiard explained in our Los Angeles interview, below. Up for nine Cesars, "Dheepan" opens from. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Inside the Oscar Nominees Lunch

8 February 2016 6:02 PM, PST

The Academy Nominees lunch is always a convivial way for Oscar nominees to relax (while they work a room full of voters) and congratulate each other at tables full of fellow nominees, and pose for the annual group photo, 20 days ahead of the Academy Awards. 150 gathered this year at the Beverly Hilton; notably absent were working pros Cate Blanchett, Michael Fassbender and Tom HardyBrie Larson has to fly back to Australia for "King Kong" before returning for the Oscars. She's been logging a lot of airline miles, she said.  The Oscars producers Reginald Hudlin and David Hill announced a new "bottom of frame" thank you scroll and permanent record for winners. When they mentioned winners forgetting to thank their directors, Sylvester Stallone raised his hand. He gave young "Room" star Jacob Tremblay a boxing lesson for the photographers. Larson told me she couldn't have given her performance without Tremblay »


- Anne Thompson

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Watch: 'Gremlins' Director Joe Dante Reflects on 'The Private Lives of Adam and Eve'

8 February 2016 2:19 PM, PST

Albert Zugsmith’s 1960 film about a motley band of misfits transported back to the Garden of Eden plays like a sexploitation farce written by Rod Serling. The movie never lives up to the salacious possibilities of its title but with its wacky casting coups (including Mickey Rooney as the devil and Mamie Van Doren as Eve!), who can complain? Boasting a B-movie dream cast including Tuesday Weld and Mel Torme, it was written by Robert Hill, the scribe behind Zugsmith’s similarly gonzo "Confessions of an Opium Eater." »


- Trailers From Hell

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How John Ridley and Company Create the Emotional Resonance of 'American Crime'

8 February 2016 1:07 PM, PST

In the most recent episode of "American Crime" (ABC), forty minutes of frank, uncomfortable closeups capped by a virtuosic, one-shot dance sequence, high school student Taylor Blaine (Connor Jessup) encounters a classmate, Luke (Taylor John Smith), in the restroom. With a long, intense stare reflected in the mirror, the moment is at first threatening, then alluring, as the characters nearly — but not quite — kiss. Later, in his bedroom, Taylor conjures up the meeting in his mind, and a frame dropped from the initial exchange reappears on screen, a potent expression of this season's nuanced, empathic understanding of sex and sexuality. It's but one of several formal coups that have made creator John Ridley's limited series, now in its second season, the best drama currently on television. Read More: "The Impressive Evolution of 'American Crime'"  "We call these 'emotional cutaways,'" says editor Liza D. Espinas. "You »


- Matt Brennan

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Watch: Surreal, Macabre 'The Lobster' Has a Darkly Comic New Trailer (Review & Roundup)

8 February 2016 10:20 AM, PST

Yorgos Lanthimos' first English-language effort, "The Lobster" (Alchemy, March 11), is entirely in tune with the film most of us have seen, the wittily high-concept taboo-buster "Dogtooth," which was nominated for an Oscar. Working again with his co-screenwriter on his last three films, Efthimis Filippou, Lanthimos felt ready to expand his horizons beyond what was available to him in Greece, having moved to England four years ago. Watch: Rachel Weisz and Golden Globe Nominee Jane Fonda Talk Paolo Sorrentino's 'Youth' (Exclusive Video) His multi-country cast ranges from Irishman Colin Farrell, Brits Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, and Olivia Coleman, Frenchwoman Lea Seydoux, American John C. Reilly, and Greek Angeliki Papoulia, who described the film as "funny, violent and sweet" at last year's Cannes, where "The Lobster" debuted to positive notices and won the Jury Prize. Added Reilly, "It's very subversive and funny and honest about »


- Anne Thompson

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Poll: Which Movie Advertised During the Super Bowl Are You Most Excited to See?

8 February 2016 9:35 AM, PST

Fox went for four Super Bowl spots: R-rated Marvel movie "Deadpool" (February 12); Sundance crowd-pleaser "Eddie the Eagle" (February 26); Marvel's "X-Men Apocalypse" (May 27), starring Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Olivia Munn; and "Independence Day: Resurgence" (June 24), starring Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman and an attack of CG aliens. Read More: "'Deadpool' Review & Roundup: Ryan Reynolds Finds a Franchise Worthy of His Talents" Disney showcased live-action "The Jungle Book" (April 15), directed by Jon Favreau, complete with animated talking bear Baloo (Bill Murray); Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War" (May); and "Alice Through the Looking Glass" (May), with voice work from the late Alan Rickman as the Blue Caterpillar. Paramount promoted J.J. Abrams' latest production, "10 Cloverfield Lane" (March 11) and Michael »


- Matt Brennan

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Watch: Super Bowl Movie Spots and Star-Studded Ads (Updated)

7 February 2016 4:10 PM, PST

Hollywood isn't shying away from the steep cost of Super Bowl ads this year — up to $5 million for a 30-second spot, per CBS president, CEO, and now board chair Les Moonves — as Disney, Fox, and Universal attempt to reach the biggest TV audience of the year. Last year's Super Bowl attracted an average of 114.4 million viewers, or more than six times that of TV's current top-rated scripted series, "NCIS" (17.5 million).  Read More: "Sumner Redstone Has Finally Resigned from CBS Corp. and Viacom, Replaced by CBS Chief Les Moonves and Viacom's Philippe Dauman" In the ad for "Eddie the Eagle" (20th Century Fox, Feb. 26), the "secret" Sundance title starring Taron Egerton as intrepid British ski jumper Michael "Eddie" Edwards, NFL stars Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, and Kurt Warner praise the inspirational, true-life sports drama, comparing it to "Hoosiers," "Rudy," and "Remember the Titans." The »


- Anne Thompson and Matt Brennan

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