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Directors Guild of America Awards Ceremony Lands 2018 Date

34 minutes ago

The Directors Guild of America has set the 70th annual DGA Awards for Feb. 3, 2018, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The guild will announce feature film and first-time feature film nominees on Jan. 11. It will announce the television, commercial, and documentary nominees the day before.

DGA members will be able to vote online between Nov. 29 and Jan. 10 for the feature film nominations and between Dec. 11 and Jan. 8 for TV nominations in five categories.

Related

DGA Awards Winners: Complete List

All voting will continue to take place online. The DGA will also continue to allow feature film screeners to be distributed to members.

Damien Chazelle won the most recent DGA Award and the Academy Award for “La La Land.” The DGA Award is one of the top indicators of Oscar sentiment, with all but seven of all DGA winners since 1948 going on to take the best director Oscar. »


- Dave McNary

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Cannes Film Review: ‘The Florida Project’

52 minutes ago

The Florida Project” is the new movie from director Sean Baker, who staked his claim with “Tangerine” (2015), an indie feature shot entirely with an iPhone camera. It told the story of a transgender prostitute and several other L.A. drama-queen wastrels, and the small miracle of the movie is that it wasn’t just visually accomplished. Despite the ultra-low-rent technology (or, actually, because of it), it was visually astonishing, its images electrified by a mysteriously expressive herky-jerky incandescence. The whole turbulent magic-hour look of “Tangerine” busted out with more life and atmosphere than almost anything an expensive movie camera could buy you.

I was avid with curiosity to see the opening shots of “The Florida Project,” because I wanted to know if Baker would be using the same technique, or maybe something just as innovative. The film opens with an image of two children seated against a rough plaster wall, »


- Owen Gleiberman

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Nick Searcy Joins Taraji P. Henson in Civil Rights Drama ‘Best of Enemies’ (Exclusive)

1 hour ago

Nick Searcy has joined the cast of civil rights drama “The Best of Enemies” opposite Babou Ceesay, Sam Rockwell and Taraji P. Henson.

Production commences in Atlanta later this month under Fred Bernstein’s Astute Films banner with Danny Strong, Tobey Maguire, Matthew Plouffe, Bernstein, Matt Berenson, Robin Bissell, and Dominique Telson producing. Rick Jackson and Jeremiah Samuels are executive producers.

Bissell, an exec producer on “The Hunger Games,” will make his directorial debut from his own script, based on Osha Gray Davidson’s book “The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South.” The story centers on civil rights activist Ann Atwater (Henson) who battled Kkk leader C.P. Ellis (Rockwell) for a decade until 1971, when the two agreed to co-chair a two-week community meeting to deal with a court-ordered school desegregation decree.

Searcy will play the role of the wealthy leader of the White Citizen’s Council, »


- Dave McNary

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Japan Box Office: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Wins Fifth Weekend

1 hour ago

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” the biggest hit of Japan’s Golden Week holiday period, won its fifth successive weekend at the Japanese box office. For the May 20-21 frame the film earned $3.9 million on 307,000 admissions, extending its cumulative total to $80 million.

At number two for the fifth weekend was Toho animation “Detective Conan: Crimson Love Letter” with $1.45 million. With its cumulative total up to $55 million, the film looks likely to take the franchise record from “The Darkest Nightmare,” by next weekend.

Teen romantic drama “Peach Girl” was the highest ranking new release, at number four. A girls comic adaptation starring Kei Inoo of the boy band Hey! Say! Jump, the film made $1.3 million from 301 screens, with Shochiku distributing.

Related storiesKorea Box Office: 'Get Out' Beats 'The Merciless,' 'King Arthur'Japan Box Office: 'Beauty and the Beast' Finishes Fourth Week on TopKorea Box Office: 'Alien' Shoots »


- Mark Schilling

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Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Teams With eOne on International Distribution

1 hour ago

Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures and Entertainment One (eOne) have unveiled a new distribution partnership in a multi-year deal that will begin this summer with Kathryn Bigelow’s “Detroit.”

The film, Annapurna’s inaugural release under their new marketing and distribution arm, will launch in the U.S. on Aug. 4. The partnership covers all media for Annapurna films in five major territories: Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Benelux, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Related

Ben Stiller’s ‘Brad’s Status’ Gets Joint Distribution From Annapurna, Amazon

“Annapurna’s track record of director-driven, award-winning projects continues to raise the bar,” said Steve Bertram, president of Entertainment One’s Global Film Group.

Annapurna President of Distribution Erik Lomis said, “It was important to us that we have a trusted distribution partner in navigating these key international markets and are very excited to join forces with eOne as we continue to expand the »


- Dave McNary

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Cannes Talk: Mike Goodridge, Protagonist Pictures

1 hour ago

 

Protagonist Pictures, which is in its 10th year, has a stable of auteur thoroughbreds, including two films in this year’s Directors’ Fortnight. Recent festival hits include “Lady Macbeth,” “God’s Own Country” and “American Honey,” with upcoming fare including Clio Barnard’s “Dark River” and Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Cold War.” Mike Goodridge, CEO of the U.K.-based sales outfit, talks to Variety.

What are the highlights of your Cannes slate?

We have two American films in Directors’ Fortnight, one is Chloe Zhao’s “The Rider,” and the other is Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project,” starring Willem Dafoe. They are both really exciting filmmakers.

[“The Florida Project”] is Sean’s sixth film; “Tangerine,” “Prince of Broadway” and “Starlet” are his most famous films, and this is the next step up if you like. It is really exciting that he has joined the Cannes fraternity because “The Florida Project” is a really accomplished piece of work. »


- Leo Barraclough

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Korea Box Office: ‘Get Out’ Beats ‘The Merciless,’ ‘King Arthur’

1 hour ago

Three Wednesday openers took the top spots at the South Korean box office. Horror thriller, “Get Out” was the winner, ahead of Cannes festival title “The Merciless.”

Get out,” released by Upi, earned $7.48 million from 1 million admissions in five days, accounting for 39% of the weekend box office. Cj Entertainment’s “The Merciless” landed in second, after winning the opening day contest. The crime action drama earned $4.33 million over five days. “Merciless” sees a gangster who partners up with a fearless newbie to take over a gang, and is set for a May 24 screening in Cannes.

Warner Bros.’ “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” landed in third, earning $2.45 million in five days.

In fourth, DreamWorks Animation’s holdover, “Boss Baby” earned $1.38 million between Friday and Sunday for a total of $15.3 million after three weekends. “Alien: Covenant” slumped 75% and dropped to fifth. The Fox release earned $1 million for a total of $9.19 million after two weekends. »


- Sonia Kil

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MK2 Films Acquires 20 Films by Late Iranian Master Abbas Kiarostami (Exclusive)

1 hour ago

French mini-major MK2 Films has acquired all rights to late Iranian film master Abbas Kiarostami’s first 20 movies.

Under the agreement – signed with the Institute Kanoon (Institut iranien pour le Développement Intellectuel des Enfants et des Adolescents), MK2 will restore the 20 films of Kiarostami in 4K. Among the acquired titles are “Where is My Friend’s Home,””And Life Goes On” and “The Traveler,” Kiarostami’s first feature film.

“And Life Goes On” complete the trilogy including “Where is My Friend’s House?” and “Through the Olive Trees,” both of which are already acquired by MK2.

Some of the acquired titles include films that mostly unknown, as well as 14 short- and medium-length films, notably his very first film, “The Bread and Alley,” which came out in 1970.

MK2 now owns nearly all of Kiarostami’s films. The French company already detained rights to Kiarostami’s more recent films, notably “Like Someone in Love, »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Cannes Film Review: ‘Claire’s Camera’

1 hour ago

It may be the most crowded and party-fueled event on the global film calendar, but the Cannes Film Festival can be an oddly solitary, contemplative experience for attendees outside the inner circle — a two-week suspension from real life and relationships, in which the world looks at once a little clearer and stranger through rosé-filled glasses. Hong Sangsoo has been to Cannes enough times to know this, and his lovably slender, semi-sweet character study “Claire’s Camera” deftly captures the festival’s warmly disorienting effect on its stragglers — in this case, two bright, lonely women (Isabelle Huppert and Kim Minhee) who fleetingly bond over their respective limbo states, and whose lives may or may not be subtly redirected by the gaze of a Polaroid camera.

That playful allegory for the restorative powers of cinema lends but a tissue’s worth of extra weight to a gossamer charmer — at just over an hour, »


- Guy Lodge

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Universal’s ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ To Open February 2019 as Part of Studio’s ‘Dark Universe’

2 hours ago

Universal has dated “Bride of Frankenstein” for Feb. 14, 2019, with Bill Condon on board to direct.

The pic is the studio’s second entry in its newly announced “Dark Universe,” which kicks off with “The Mummy” — Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella — on June 9.

The studio has also announced a logo for the new initiative (pictured above). A musical theme for “Dark Universe” composed by Danny Elfman and will debut in theaters preceding “The Mummy.”

The enterprise is relaunching Universal’s iconic characters into modern cinema. While “The Mummy” and “Bride of Frankenstein” are the only two films in the initiative to be dated, the studio is currently developing “The Invisible Man” with Johnny Depp set to star, and a “Frankenstein” film with Javier Bardem on board to play the classic monster. “Van Helsing” and “Creature From the Black Lagoon” films are also planned. »


- Justin Kroll

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Cannes Film Review: ‘Oh Lucy!’

2 hours ago

Try to picture a Japanese remake of “Hello, My Name Is Doris,” shot through with an undertow of quiet desperation that wouldn’t be out of place in a Cristian Mungiu film, and you’re halfway toward grasping the strange appeal of director Atsuko Hirayanagi’s feature debut, “Oh Lucy!” Like a chocolate trifle with an arsenic core, this quirky portrait of a lonely Tokyo woman who follows her English teacher to California offers a skewed take on American indie tropes, effectively gesturing toward broad comic appeal while offering peeks at a profound darkness just beneath. Expanded from her award-winning short of the same title, “Oh Lucy!” betrays some rough edges in the transition, but Hirayanagi’s idiosyncratic touch marks her as a talent worth tracking.

Set in some of the least picturesque corners of Tokyo, “Oh Lucy!” is a character study about a character rarely seen on film: a quietly miserable, »


- Andrew Barker

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Todd Haynes on ‘Wonderstruck’: ‘It is a Kids’ Movie’

2 hours ago

Wonderstruck,” in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, is director Todd Haynes’ seventh feature film, his fourth with Julianne Moore, and his first for Amazon Studios, which backed it along with Roadside Attractions. The film is “weird, wild, and not like anything I can think of,” he tells Variety. It also turns out it’s a kids’ movie.

You’ve talked in Cannes about making something kids would love. Was that always the idea?

It is a kids’ movie, and that’s something I could never have conceived myself from scratch. I think [illustrated novel and screenplay writer] Brian Selznick has some strange line in to the idiosyncrasies of kids that shows them utter respect and is true.

In process of making this movie, by working with kids, working with deaf kids, showing cuts of the film to kids as we were making it, they taught me everything I needed to know about making this film. »


- Stewart Clarke

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‘Spider-Man’ Star Tom Holland to Play Young Nathan Drake in ‘Uncharted’ Movie Adaptation

3 hours ago

Spider-Man: Homecoming’s” Tom Holland will star in Sony’s adaptation of the popular video game “Uncharted.”

Shawn Levy came on board in October to direct “Uncharted,” based on the PlayStation video game series following the adventures of treasure hunter Nathan Drake. Holland will play a younger version of Drake. The film follows Drake’s first encounter with the professional rogue Sullivan.

The movie will be a co-production between Arad and Atlas Entertainment Production, and will be produced by Charles Roven, Alex Gartner, and Ari and Avi Arad.

Related

Tom Holland on ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming,’ Spinoffs and Planning for Bathroom Breaks

The video game series was developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment America.

Holland first portrayed Peter Parker in Disney-Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” a year ago. Jon Watts directed “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which opens July 7, about Parker’s high school days.

Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man »


- Dave McNary

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Sony Sets ‘Angry Birds 2’ Movie for Landing in September, 2019

3 hours ago

Sony Pictures has set a Sept. 20, 2019, release date for “The Angry Birds Movie 2” — coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the hit videogame.

The studio announced Monday that it was re-teaming with Finland-based Rovio Entertainment Ltd. for the animated sequel. “Angry Birds” grossed a solid $350 million worldwide, including $107 million domestically. The film, directed by Fergal Reilly and Clay Kaytis, was set on an island populated entirely by happy, flightless birds – except for Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis), speedy Chuck (Josh Gad), and Bomb (Danny McBride).

Rovio announced last August that it had launched development of a sequel but gave no details as to whether Sony would be involved again.

The Angry Birds Movie 2” will be directed by Thurop Van Orman, whose credits include “The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack” and “Adventure Time.” Van Orman recently worked at Disney and Sony Pictures Animation.

The film will be co-directed by John Rice (“King of the Hill, »


- Dave McNary

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‘Star Wars’ Movies Push Overall Licensed Merchandise Sales to $262 Billion

3 hours ago

With “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” providing major boosts, global retail sales of licensed merchandise rose 4.4% to $262.9 billion last year, according to the Licensing Industry Merchandisers Assn.

The association issued the report Monday, a day ahead of the launch of the three-day Licensing Expo at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

The report did not break out any specific contribution from Disney’s first two “Star Wars” movies, but Marty Brochstein, senior VP of industry relations and information for Lima, said that the tie-ins from the tentpoles movie played a crucial role in boosting the overall numbers.

“You had the first full year of  ‘The Force Awakens,’ which Disney presented with an appealing combination of new and classic items,” Brochstein told Variety. “The ‘Rogue One’ merchandise appealed to a slightly older demographic and did very well.”

Disney made a major »


- Dave McNary

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Film Review: Brad Pitt in ‘War Machine’

4 hours ago

Everyone has a different idea of what’s funny, but it’s hard to imagine anyone being amused by “War Machine,” a colossally miscalculated satire about a U.S. general who thought he could “win” the war in Afghanistan at precisely the moment President Obama announced he would be pulling troops out of the country. A costly flop from Netflix’s newish “Originals” division, “War Machine” stars a cockeyed Brad Pitt — who spends the entire film with his left brow cartoonishly arched and his right eye squinched half-shut — in the sort of role that really ought to have gone to John Goodman, or some comparably gifted character actor.

But bless their hearts, the execs at Netflix still believe in stars, which is sort of a radical notion in an era when the old-school studios have consistently hyped visual effects ahead of the interchangeably handsome hunks selected to play Spartan warriors, »


- Peter Debruge

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Film Review: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’

6 hours ago

When Disney first announced plans to build a feature film out of its venerable Pirates of the Caribbean ride, there was little reason to expect anything more than a grab for quick cash and a few Disneyland cross-promotional opportunities. To just about everyone’s surprise, Gore Verbinski’s 2003 “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” was an inspired piece of old-school popcorn entertainment; more clever, more fun, and fundamentally riskier than it had any right to be.

Now, 14 years and four films later, the “Pirates” franchise has finally delivered exactly what cynics had expected all along. Containing only the faintest traces of the spark that turned this once unpromising idea into a nearly four billion-dollar enterprise, Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is a mercenary, visually unappealing exercise in brand maintenance. The franchise has lost a bit of »


- Andrew Barker

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Nicole Kidman on Her Diverse Cannes Roles: ‘I’m Totally Up for Taking Risks’

7 hours ago

Nicole Kidman said the fact she has four projects at the Cannes Film Festival is coincidence rather than design, and that she is on a mission to support new, risky film and TV.

“To have four projects here, that’s a confluence of events, not something I was aware would happen,” she said. “At this stage in my life I want to stay very bold and open, and try things and support filmmakers that I believe in.”

The Australian star was honoring her Cannes commitments Monday, for “The Killing Of A Sacred Deer.” She is also in town for “How To Talk To Girls At Parties,” “Beguiled,” and Jane Campion’s TV series “Top Of The Lake: China Girl.”

“I want to support people who are trying different things, or have a very unique filmmaking style, or who are first-time filmmakers who can’t get things made,” Kidman said. »


- Stewart Clarke

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Ted Sarandos Says Netflix Returning to Cannes Is ‘Less Attractive’ Under New Rule

7 hours ago

Returning to Cannes is “less attractive” for Netflix if its films must play out of competition under a new rule requiring all competition titles to have a theatrical release, Ted Sarandos said early Monday.

Netflix made a splash on the Croisette this year with two movies in the official competition, Bong Joon-Ho’s “Okja” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories.” But outrage from French exhibitors and others over the selection prompted the festival to issue its new restriction on competition eligibility, effective next year.

Speaking to Variety at Netflix’s late-night bash in Cannes, Sarandos at first said “no” when asked whether the streaming giant would be willing to come back with its films relegated to out-of-competition. But he added quickly: “Well, I shouldn’t say that. It would be less attractive, for sure, because it would affect [Netflix’s] festival strategy around the world.”

Sarandos, the company’s chief content officer, »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Cannes Film Review: ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’

8 hours ago

In Nara Park, Japan, spotted deer were long believed to possess divine properties. To cause the death of one, even by accident, was a capital offense. Halfway across the world, in ancient Greece, King Agamemnon learned this the hard way, invoking the wrath of the gods for killing one of Artemis’ beloved deer, for which he was obliged to sacrifice his own daughter, Iphigenia. The obvious lesson: Don’t kill deer. But what if the deed is already done? That’s the premise of “Dogtooth” director Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest ruthless allegory, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” which has nothing at all to do with wildlife, holy or otherwise — although it does feature two key scenes in which a hunting rifle plays a critical role.

The title is a metaphor, as is the film’s central dramatic predicament (Lanthimos goes out of his way to make sure we understand that, »


- Peter Debruge

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