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Venice Film Review: ‘Messi’

42 minutes ago

Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi is one of the most talked about, and least talkative, human beings on the planet. So perhaps it’s appropriate that Alex de la Iglesia’s “Messi” features plenty of the former and only secondhand scraps of the latter. Part “This Is Your Life”-style symposium and part traditional documentary — with all-too-brief match clips and far-too-long dramatic re-enactments scattered throughout — the film will likely be a hot property across European and Latin American territories, though

Most of “Messi” takes place within a fairly common setting seen throughout Europe and South America: a restaurant full of people arguing about soccer. The difference here, however, is that every table is occupied by figures from Messi’s life. At one table sit Messi’s former grade-school teachers, at another his childhood friends. Old youth-squad teammates from Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys reminisce not far from Messi’s current Fc Barcelona compatriots, »


- Andrew Barker

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Marisa Tomei Comedy ‘Loitering with Intent’ Gets U.S. Distribution

1 hour ago

The Orchard has acquired U.S. rights to Marisa Tomei’s “Loitering With Intent,” four months after the comedy premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The film, written by and co-starring Michael Godere and Ivan Martin, focuses on the trials and tribulations of two down-and-out actors in New York who retreat to the country to write a screenplay that will salvage their downward-spiraling careers. The solitude they seek is interrupted by their host’s (Tomei) romantic involvements.

“The heart of this film is about friendship,” Tomei said. “Michael and Ivan created great characters and a great atmosphere to work in. We had a ball bringing this world to life.”

“Loitering” also stars Sam Rockwell, Natasha Lyonne, Isabelle McNally and Brian Geraghty also starred. New York-based filmmaker Adam Rapp directed.

Tomei is producing along with Lars Knudsen, Jay Van Hoy, Godere, Martin, Tory Lenosky, Alex Sagalchik, Gabriel Cowan, John Suits, and Keith Kjarval. »


- Dave McNary

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Venice Film Review: ‘The Look of Silence’

2 hours ago

So singular a high-wire achievement is “The Act of Killing,” Joshua Oppenheimer’s blistering 2012 documentary about the Indonesian communist purge of the 1960s, that following it up so shortly with a second film on the subject might seem complacent on paper. There are as few safe moves as there are false notes, however, in “The Look of Silence,” an altogether stunning companion piece that shifts its emphasis from the perpetrators of the atrocity to their victims, all the while maintaining its predecessor’s ornate moral complexities, keen sociological shading and occasional, devastating jabs of humor. U.S. rights have again been snapped up by Drafthouse Films; it’s hard to imagine any distributor that successfully took a chance on Oppenheimer last time around passing on this equally formidable work, which will be accumulating festival berths and trophies well into 2015.

Evidently conceived as an accompanying project all along, “The Look of »


- Guy Lodge

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Charlie Hunnam to Play King Arthur for Guy Ritchie

2 hours ago

Charlie Hunnam is director Guy Ritchie’s choice to play King Arthur in the  Warner Bros.-Village Roadshow medieval tentpole.

Elizabeth Olsen is the frontrunner for the female lead. Idris Elba is attached to play a Merlin-esque figure who trains and mentors Arthur.

Hunnam, who stars in “Sons of Anarchy,” read for the part recently along with Henry Cavill and Jai Courtney.

Joby Harold wrote the the script and is producing with Akiva Goldsman and Tory Tunnell. Plot details are under wraps with the film set to open on July 22, 2016.

Disney released “King Arthur” in 2004 starring Clive Owen and Keira Knightley. Warners had been developing an “Arthur and Lancelot” project with David Dobkin directing and Kit Harington starring, but the project never made it into production.

Hunnam is repped by CAA and Brillstein.

The Deadline.com site first reported the news about Hunnam.

 

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- Dave McNary and Justin Kroll

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‘Hunger Games: Mockingjay’ Posters Introduce the Rebels

4 hours ago

The promotional campaign for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″ is in full swing ahead of the film’s Nov. 21 release, and Lionsgate has released six “Rebel Warriors” posters, showcasing some of District 13’s rebels in the fight against President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and the Capitol.

Characters featured in the new posters include Liam Hemsworth’s Gale, Katniss’ (Jennifer Lawrence) best friend and one third of the franchise’s love triangle; Boggs (Mahershala Ali) who serves as Katniss’ protector in her new role as the uprising’s “Mockingjay”; Cressida (“Game of Thrones” star Natalie Dormer), a propaganda filmmaker who works with Katniss to undermine the Capitol; her assistant, Messalla (Evan Ross); and brothers Castor (Wes Chatham) and Pollux (Elden Henson), Cressida’s cameramen.

Previous promos for the penultimate installment in the blockbuster franchise have featured ominous propaganda posters and chilling missives from President Snow, urging the citizens of Panem »


- Variety Staff

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Bryan Singer’s Accuser Drops Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

4 hours ago

The sexual abuse suit against Bryan Singer has been dropped by accuser Michael Egan, four months after the “X-Men: Days of Future Past” director was accused of abusing Egan when he was a minor in the late 1990s.

A federal judge in Hawaii, where the case was filed, granted Egan’s motion for motion for voluntary dismissal Wednesday.

Egan had previously dropped his sexual abuse lawsuits against former Disney executive David Neuman and former TV exec Garth Ancier. He had been representing himself in his filing of a motion to dismiss the claim against Singer.

Egan was left without counsel after his attorney, Jeff Herman, announced on July 29 that he was seeking to withdraw from the case, saying that relations with his client had “deteriorated.” Mark Gallagher, retained to represent Egan in Hawaii also asked to be removed from the case.

On Aug. 6, a federal judge granted their requests to withdraw. »


- Dave McNary

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‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′ Swings to Top of Video Charts

4 hours ago

Sony Pictures’ “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” swung to an easy No. 1 debut on all three national home video charts for the week ending Aug. 24.

The sequel – which earned $202.9 million in U.S. theaters – bumped Lionsgate’s “Divergent” to the No. 2 spot on all three charts, where it had been No. 1 for the last two weeks.

According to Nielsen data, “Divergent” in its third week in stores sold just 15.3% as many copies as “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” On Nielsen VideoScan’s Blu-ray Disc sales chart, the margin between the two was even higher, with the high-definition version of “Divergent” selling just 9.1% as many copies as the Blu-ray Disc of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”

A two-pack of both “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and the first installment in the Marvel superhero reboot, 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man,” available exclusively at Walmart, debuted at No. 3 on VideoScan’s Blu-ray Disc chart and No. 12 on the First Alert sales chart, »


- Thomas K. Arnold

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Variety Picks 10 Actors to Watch for 2014

4 hours ago

Variety has announced its annual list of 10 Actors to Watch, an honor the publication has been bestowing since 1998.

Past honorees include many future Oscar-winners and nominees such as Adrien Brody, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Patricia Clarkson, Samantha Morton, Lupita Nyong’o, Viola Davis, Michael Shannon, Melissa Leo.

This year’s honorees will be featured in the Oct. 7 issue of Variety and for the third year, several of the honorees will participate in Variety Ten to Watch activities at the Hamptons Film Festival, which runs Oct. 9-13.

This year’s 10 Actors to Watch are:

Kaitlyn Dever, who appeared in “Short Term 12” and will be seen in Jason Reitman’s upcoming “Men, Women and Children.”

Eve Hewson, now appearing in the Steven Soderbergh series “The Knick” and soon to be seen in Steven Spielberg’s untitled cold war thriller.

Dakota Johnson, star of the upcoming “50 Shades of Grey” and “Black Mass, »


- Jenelle Riley

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Faye Dunaway To Open France’s Lumiere Fest

4 hours ago

Following in the footsteps of Jean-Paul Belmondo, Faye Dunaway will open France’s 6th Lumiere- Grand Lyon Festival, attending for an opening evening gala screening of Arthur Penn’s 1967 modern classic “Bonnie and Clyde,” where she stars with Warren Beatty and Gene Hackman.

Taking place Oct. 13, the opening gala will take place at Lyon’s massive Halle Tony Garnier, with a restored Warner Bros. copy of “Bonnie and Clyde,” and much of the crème of the French film industry and around 5,000 spectators in attendance.

In a brief statement Wednesday, Dunaway said she was very touched by the invitation to a festival for film-lovers. Run by the Lumiere Institute’s Bertrand Tavernier and Thierry Fremaux, the Lumiere Festival, which only screens restorations, revivals and re-issues, noted Dunaway’s “immense contribution” to the emergence of U.S. independent cinema in the 1960s and ‘70s, citing a swathe of titles that Dunaway went »


- John Hopewell

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Interview: ‘Birdman’ Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu on His First Comedy

5 hours ago

Recently taking stock of his career, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu began to wonder if he might have gotten stuck in a creative rut of his own making.

“It was like I was on a ladder, and I was getting a little too comfortable,” says the 51-year-old filmmaker as he holds out two clenched fists, miming the grip on that ladder. “I was just doing my work. It was a habit. I was stuck, half out of fear and half out of safety. And I said to myself, ‘I’m going to let go of the ladder.’ ”

See Also: Michael Keaton Bursts Into Oscar Race with ‘Birdman

For Inarritu, letting go meant taking a stab at his first full-fledged comedy, albeit one with a strong undercurrent of existential despair. In the director’s self-reflexive “Birdman,” Michael Keaton stars as an actor once famous for playing a superhero, now trying to save his »


- Scott Foundas

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Chiwetel Ejiofor’s ‘Triple Nine’ Release Set for September 2015

5 hours ago

Open Road Films will release John Hillcoat’s police thriller “Triple Nine” on Sept. 11, 2015.

Chiwetel Ejiofor stars alongside Casey AffleckAnthony MackieWoody HarrelsonAaron PaulKate WinsletGal GadotNorman ReedusTeresa Palmer and Clifton Collins, Jr.

Anonymous Content, Sierra/Affinity and Worldview Entertainment are financing and producing.

Matt Cook wrote the script, in which a crew of dirty cops is blackmailed by the Russian mob to execute a virtually impossible heist and the only way to pull it off is to manufacture a 999 — police code for “officer down.”

Triple Nine” is the first film to land on the date.

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- Dave McNary

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‘Saw’ to Get Theatrical Re-Release on Halloween for 10th Anniversary

5 hours ago

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, “Saw” will be released again in theaters for one week only beginning October 31, Lionsgate announced Wednesday.

The 2004 independent horror film starring Cary Elwes and Danny Glover earned over $100 million in its initial box office run and spawned six sequels, forming a film franchise that earned a Guinness Book of World Records distinction as the most successful horror film franchise in history.

“The launch of ‘Saw’ was a signature event in Lionsgate’s history, establishing our first franchise and paving the way for our growth into a global studio,” said Jason Constantine, Lionsgate president of acquisitions & co-productions. “We are excited for our fans to revisit the twisted magic that first blew their minds on Halloween 2004.”

The film’s helmer James Wan and scribe Leigh Whannell went on to create the “Insidious” horror film franchise, and Wan is directing the upcoming “Fast & Furious 7.” Originally released October »


- Kevin Noonan

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Stephen Lee, Character Actor in ‘Burlesque,’ ‘The Negotiator,’ Dies at 58

5 hours ago

Stephen Lee, a talented character actor who spent more than three decades in the business, died of a heart attack on August 14. He was 58.

Some of his more notable credits include the films “Burlesque” (2010), with Cher and Christina Aguilera; “The Negotiator” (1998), with Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey; and, much earlier, 1983’s “WarGames” with Matthew Broderick.

Lee also did a great deal of TV work, with credits dating back to “Hart to Hart” in 1981 and “The Dukes of Hazzard” and “Who’s the Boss?” in 1984.

The actor’s more recent TV credits include “NCIS,” “Numbers,” “Bones” and “Ghost Whisperer,” and he worked last in 2010.

On the way he appeared on such TV shows as “thirtysomething,” soap “Santa Barbara,” “Family Ties,” “Night Court,” “Roseanne,” “Quantum Leap,” “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Grace Under Fire,” “Babylon 5,” “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Seinfeld.”

Other films in which he appeared »


- Carmel Dagan

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Jeremy Irvine Thriller ‘World Made Straight’ Gets U.S. Distribution

7 hours ago

Millennium Entertainment has acquired all domestic rights for the coming-of-age thriller “The World Made Straight,” starring Jeremy Irvine.

Millenium will release the film theatrically in the U.S. in February.

It’s the first deal for the company since its Aug. 19 announcement that its catalog and distribution platform has been sold to management team and private investment firm Virgo Investment Group.

The World Made Straight” also stars Minka Kelly, Noah Wyle, Adelaide Clemens and Haley Joel Osment. David Burris (“Survivor”) directed from Shane Danielsen’s script, based on the novel by Ron Rash.

Myriad Pictures is handling world sales on the film.

Set in a rural community heavy with a dark past and dangerous present, the movie follows a rebellious young man as he struggles to decide between the troubled path he is on and the chance at a new life.

The soundtrack includes tracks by Glen Hansard, Ellie Goulding and Steve Earle. »


- Dave McNary

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David Fincher to be Featured in BAFTA’s ‘A Life in Pictures’

7 hours ago

David Fincher will be the latest guest at BAFTA’s “A Life in Pictures” interview series, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced Wednesday. The conversation with Fincher will take place at BAFTA’s headquarters in London on Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. local time.

The director will a career that has included “Se7en,” “Fight Club,” “Zodiac,” and “The Social Network,” as well his latest movie, “Gone Girl,” which will be released on Oct. 3.

“A Life in Pictures” is a long-running series that features prominent figures in films. Past conversations include Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett and Helen Mirren.

Tickets for the Fincher conversation will go on sale on Friday and can be purchased at bafta.org/what-on/.

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- Kevin Noonan

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Venice: Genocide Documentary ‘Look of Silence’ Gets U.S. Distribution

7 hours ago

Drafthouse Films and Participant Media have acquired U.S. rights to Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary "The Look of Silence" prior to its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

The film is a companion piece to Oppenheimer’s "The Act of Killing," which received a nomination at the latest Academy Awards.

“The Look of Silence” is executive produced by Errol Morris, Werner Herzog and Andre Singer and produced by Signe Byrge Sorensen. It explores Indonesian genocide and its legacy from the victim’s point of view, following one man on his search for the truth as he confronts his brother’s killers.

“The Look of Silence” will also have a North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and a New York premiere at the New York Film Festival. It will be released theatrically in the U.S. in the summer of 2015.

Morris called the film “one of the »


- Dave McNary

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‘Birdman’ Kicks Off Venice Film Festival

7 hours ago

Venice – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s bold "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" sent the 71st Venice Film Festival flying high with journos almost unanimously raving about the pic following the packed morning press screening before stars Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Amy Ryan, and Andrea Riseborough pranced down the Lido red carpet on a balmy evening amid cheering fans and frenzied paparazzi.

The film, a Fox Searchlight/New Regency presentation, produced by Inarritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan and James W. Skotchdopole, will be released by Fox in North America on October 17 and will go out internationally in early 2015.

At the post-screening presser Inarritu said that after making purely dramatic films, such as “21 Grams” and “Babel,” he wanted to “go away from my confort zone and jump into something that I really wanted, but that I never thought would happen: which is to laugh on the set.”

“I’m »


- Nick Vivarelli

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Max Minghella and Callum Keith Rennie Join ‘Into the Forest’ (Exclusive)

8 hours ago

Max Minghella and Callum Keith Rennie have joined Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood in “Into the Forest,” Patricia Rozema’s thriller adapted from the novel by Jean Hegland.

The film, currently in production in Vancouver, follows two sisters who must rely on one another as society crumbles around them and their forest home.

Rhombus Media, Bron Studios and Creative Wealth Media Finance are producing, as is Page.

Minghella has appeared in “The Social Network” as well as “The Ides of March.” He will next be seen in Alexandre Aja’s “Horns” alongside Daniel Radcliffe. Rennie has worked in television, appearing in “24,” “The Killing” and “Californication.” His forthcoming films include “50 Shades of Grey” and “Warcraft.”

The film is set to wrap filming on Aug. 28 and select scenes are set to be screened at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival.

Check out the first still from production below:

[This post has been updated.]

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- Alexandra Cheney

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David Frankel to Direct ‘Departure’ for Good Universe

9 hours ago

David Frankel is set to direct the sci-fi romance “Departure” for Good Universe.

Billy Ray penned the script with Ray and Jim Whitaker producing. Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane will executive produce alongside John Middleton and Roy Lee.

The story follows a brilliant man in 1973 Miami who is investigating how a 727 suddenly vanished into thin air and then reappeared in the exact same spot 10 minutes later. As mysterious occurrences continue to transpire with increasing frequency in the skies, the investigation becomes personal when the love of his life is on one of the planes affected.

Spencer Wong will oversee the project for Good Universe and Adam Borba for Whitaker Entertainment.

Frankel last directed “One Chance” with James Corbin. He is repped by Wme and Anonymous Content.

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- Justin Kroll

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Oscars: Germany Selects Dominik Graf’s ‘Beloved Sisters’ as Academy Award Entry

9 hours ago

London — Munich helmer Dominik Graf’s “Beloved Sisters” has been selected as Germany’s Oscar candidate in the foreign-language film category.

The late 18th-century set drama centers on the writer Friedrich Schiller, who falls in love with two aristocratic sisters. The pic, which stars Hannah Herzsprung, Florian Stetter and Henriette Confurius, world premiered in Berlin’s competition section.

World sales are handled by Global Screen. The film will be distributed in the U.S. by Music Box Films, which is planning a December release.

The film was produced by Bavaria Filmverleih- und Produktion in co-production with Wdr, Wega Film, Senator Film Produktion and Kiddinx Filmproduction.

The deadline for submitting foreign-language candidates is Oct. 1. The nominations will be announced Jan. 15 and the awards will be held Feb. 22.

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- Leo Barraclough

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