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Robyn Hitchcock Remembers Jonathan Demme: ‘He Was the Anti-Video-Generation Director’

1 hour ago

Director Jonathan Demme, who died on Wednesday at age 73, may go down as the most rock-friendly major director of all time. His most famous association was with Talking Heads, thanks to the boon to both their careers that was “Stop Making Sense.” But he also enjoyed long friendships and/or working relationships with everyone from Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young to cult bands like The Feelies. And arguably the most peculiar documentary in a filmography full of peculiar documentaries is “Storefront Hitchcock,” a concert film that had the amiably surreal British singer/songwriter Robyn Hitchcock playing an acoustic gig with his back to a shop window, competing for the viewer’s attention with mostly unaware passersby.

Demme never stopped dragging his favorite people into his movies, so Hitchcock subsequently showed up in “The Manchurian Candidate” and “Rachel Getting Married,” on top of being asked to contribute songs for other films. »


- Chris Willman

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Tribeca Film Festival: ‘Keep the Change,’ ‘Bobbi Jene’ Win Top Awards

1 hour ago

Rachel Israel’s romantic comedy “Keep the Change” and Elvira Lind’s documentary “Bobbi Jene” were among the top award winners in the juried competitions at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, with “Keep the Change” taking the prize for U.S. narrative feature and “Bobbi Jene” snagging the documentary honor. Elina Psykous’ fairy-tale-infused family drama “Son of Sofia” scored the trophy for international narrative feature.

Related

Tribeca Film Festival 2017 Screenings and Parties (Photos)

Bobbi Jene,” about an American dancer’s move back to the U.S. after spending a decade as a star in an Israeli dance company, received awards for both cinematography (Lind) and editing (Adam Nielson) as well as the top doc title. “Keep the Change,” about a budding romance between a high-functioning autistic man and the woman he meets in a support group, took the award for new narrative director (Israel). Alessandro Nivola (“One Percent More Humid”) and »


- Gordon Cox

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Writer and ‘Philbert’ Actor Trustin Howard Dies

1 hour ago

Writer and actor Trustin Howard, also known as Slick Slavin, died on April 20 after complications from a fall.

Born to poverty-stricken teenage parents in the slums of Chicago, Howard helped support his family from the age of 9 by performing on stage. By 15 years old, Howard’s career took off when he regularly performed at the Chicago Theatre, where he was introduced to the scene by his stage name Slick Slavin. He went on to perform at a variety of well-known nightclubs and theaters around the world, where he sang, played instruments, and did impersonations.

After serving in the Army, Howard returned to pursue a career as an actor, starring in films such as “Philbert,” “Speed Crazy,” and “King Creole” alongside Elvis Presley.

Howard later made the transition from acting to writing, eventually becoming head writer of the talk show “The Joey Bishop Show.” He went on to write and produce several television specials, »


- Sarah Ahern

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Bollywood Star Vinod Khanna Dies at 70

4 hours ago

Bollywood star Vinod Khanna, who starred in such hits as 1970s “Amar Akbar Anthony,” “Achanak” and “Muqaddar ka Sikander,” died Thursday morning at Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital in Girgaon, Mumbai, India. He was 70 and had been suffering from bladder cancer. A viral image of an emaciated Khanna scandalized many in India.

Khanna, whose sons are also Bollywood stars, had a long and illustrious career in which he acted in several blockbusters with other matinee idols of the 1970s such as Amitabh Bachchan (“Amar Akbar Anthony”) and Rajesh Khanna (“Sachaa Jhoota”).

In his later years Khanna became a member of Parliament with the Bharatiya Janata Party representing Gurdaspur, Punjab.

Born Oct. 6, 1946, in Peshawar, before India was partitioned, Khanna made his way to Bombay and in 1968 got a role as a villain in “Man ka meet,” remake of a Tamil film. He played villains or secondary characters till he broke through in 1973’s “Achanak, »


- Shalini Dore

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Film Review: ‘Sweet Virginia’

4 hours ago

Right out of the gate, the China brothers’ noir-hearted sensibility was being compared to that of fellow film siblings Joel and Ethan Coen, as critics hailed the Australian writer-director duo’s debut “Crawl” as a modern-day “Blood Simple.” On the surface, their 2012 Black List-selected screenplay for “Sweet Virginia” dives further down that rabbit hole, featuring as it does a wife who hires a guy to bump off her own husband (a gender-flipped twist on the basic “Fargo” plot) and a hit man who’s as cold-blooded as “No Country for Old Men” killer Anton Chigurh.

And yet, going deep is what makes “Sweet Virginia” great — heck, more than great. As translated to screen by director Jamie M. Dagg (whose sure hand and smart changes elevate things considerably), Benjamin and Paul China’s script yields one of the gnarliest and most unsettling movies we’re likely to get this year. Set »


- Peter Debruge

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AFL-CIO Strongly Supports Writers Guild in Negotiations With Strike Looming

4 hours ago

With a possible writers strike coming May 2, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations has strongly backed the Writers Guild of America.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued the statement Thursday while negotiators were meeting behind closed doors for a third straight day. He cited WGA estimates that the major entertainment conglomerates made $51 billion in profits last year.

Related

Writers Guild Talks Going Down to the Wire as Hollywood Wonders Why

“The AFL-CIO stands in solidarity with the members of Writers Guild of America, East, and Writers Guild of America, West, as they negotiate an industrywide collective bargaining agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, a trade group consisting of the major film and television companies,” Trumka said. “The members of the Writers Guilds deserve a fair return on their work at an incredibly profitable time for their industry.”

“The top six companies made $51 billion in profits in 2016,” he added. »


- Dave McNary

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This Week’s Hollywood Red Carpets and Parties (Photos)

5 hours ago

This week’s Hollywood red carpets and parties include the premiere of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and We Day California.

Related storiesHulu's 'The Handmaid's Tale' Will 'Spark a Lot of Debate,' Exec Producer Says'The Handmaid's Tale': How the Creative Team Turned a Classic Novel Into a Modern-Day ThrillerOur Staff Picks: TV Shows to Watch the Week of April 24, 2017 »


- Jacob Bryant

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Weinstein Company, MPAA Come to Agreement on ‘3 Generations’ PG-13 Rating

5 hours ago

Updated: The Weinstein Company and the MPAA have come to an agreement on the rating for upcoming trans film “3 Generations,” settling on a PG-13 rating.

The news comes after the film, starring Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning, and Susan Sarandon, was originally slapped with an R-rating, which was challenged by TWC with support from GLAAD. According to a release from the studio, it made some cuts to the film as a compromise to ensure the PG-13 rating.

“‘3 Generations’ is a film that all families should be able to see,” said GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement. “When audiences around the world meet transgender teen Ray and see the love that his family shows him, it will not only send a powerful message to Lgbtq youth, but to families of all types. The MPAA made the right decision and once again The Weinstein Company dared to tell culture-changing »


- Alex Stedman

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Film Review: ‘Below Her Mouth’

6 hours ago

Casting agents of independent cinema, take note: If Kristen Stewart is too busy or expensive for your project, Swedish newcomer Erika Linder is more than happy to step in. Evoking the new arthouse queen’s balance of sullen and sultry with a fluency that borders on outright imitation, the 26-year-old model’s big-screen debut carries more charge than everything around her in “Below Her Mouth,” a sexually frank but narratively flimsy girl-meets-girl romance that never gets under its gorgeous characters’ amply exposed skin. Rather indifferently charting the expected emotional fallout of the lightning-bolt attraction between brooding roofing contractor Dallas (Linder) and sexually undecided fashion editor Jasmine (Natalie Krill), Canadian helmer April Mullen’s good-looking film only snaps fully to attention in its humid love scenes. It may find a small, appreciative audience in the Lgbt market, the “L” quadrant of which remains critically neglected on screen.

“Even inanimate objects aren’t safe from you, »


- Guy Lodge

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Amy Madigan, Ken Marino and Sky Ferreira Join Scott Free’s ‘Burning Woman’ (Exclusive)

6 hours ago

Amy Madigan, Pat Healy, Ken Marino, Sky Ferreira, and Macon Blair have joined the cast of Scott Free’s “The Burning Woman” with Jake Scott directing.

The pic currently stars Sienna Miller, Christina Hendricks, Aaron Paul, and Will Sasso. Brad Ingelsby, who wrote “Run All Night” and “Out of the Furnace,” is penning the script.

The film tells the story of a woman whose life is changed when her teenage daughter mysteriously disappears and she is left to raise her young grandson.

Ridley Scott, Kevin Walsh, and Mike Pruss will produce through the Scott Free banner. Scott Free’s Ryan Stowell will executive produce.

Wme reps domestic rights and Bloom reps foreign with a plan to sell markets in Cannes. The film will start shooting this week in Massachusetts.

Madigan is repped by Don Buchwald & Associates and Anonymous Content; Healy is repped by the Gersh Agency, Luber Roklin, and Jackoway »


- Justin Kroll

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Roman Polanski’s Latest Movie Added to Cannes Film Festival

6 hours ago

The Cannes Film Festival has added Roman Polanski’s “Based on a True Story” (D’Apres Une Histoire Vraie) to the official selection — playing out of competition — along with several other new titles.

Eva Green, Emmanuelle Seigner, and Vincent Perez star in Polanski’s French-language psychological thriller about a writer and her obsessive admirer. Olivier Assayas co-wrote the screenplay with Polanski, based on a novel by Delphine de Vigan. Sony Pictures Classics is the U.S. distributor, while Lionsgate is selling worldwide rights.

Related

Cannes Lineup: Sofia Coppola, Todd Haynes and Noah Baumbach in Competition

Polanski was forced to resign as president of the Cesar Awards in January after protests from feminist organizations over his longstanding rape case, so another round of protests could be in store.

Force Majeure” director Ruben Ostlund’s art-world satire “The Square,” starring Elizabeth Moss and Dominic West, will play in competition. Sales are handled by Coproduction Office. »


- Pat Saperstein

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Johnny Depp Surprises Guests Aboard Disneyland’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Ride

6 hours ago

Johnny Depp surprised Disneyland park-goers Wednesday evening when he dressed up as Captain Jack Sparrow aboard the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride.

Instead of the usual animatronic in Depp’s likeness, visitors were treated to the actual actor reciting lines from the popular film franchise while brandishing his sword at the Anaheim, California, theme park.

This is not the first time Depp has stopped by the ride that inspired 2003’s “Curse of the Black Pearl,” but this is his first appearance during the “Dead Men Tell No Tales” era of his iconic captain’s log.

Some lucky riders were able to capture footage of Depp getting into character on social media.

You know those little Disney Myths like…Johnny Depp will dress up as Jack Sparrow and sit in the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride? Well… pic.twitter.com/oAyIIu1e56

— B. (@BaileyNielson) April 27, 2017

Life is complete! Just saw Johnny Depp »


- JD Knapp

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‘Captain America’ Actor Lex Shrapnel Joins Michael Pena in ‘Extinction’

6 hours ago

Lex Shrapnel has joined Michael Pena and Lizzy Caplan in Universal’s sci-fi thriller “Extinction.”

The story follows a man (Pena) trying to save his family from an alien invasion. “Luke Cage” star Michael Colter also recently joined the cast. It is unknown which character Shrapnel will be playing.

Ben Young will direct. Eric Heisserer — who was most recently nominated for an Oscar for his script on “Arrival” — will write the screenplay with Spenser Cohen and Bradley Caleb Kane.

The pic bows on Jan. 26, 2018.

Related

Arrival’ Screenwriter Eric Heisserer to Produce TV Thriller ‘The Scrawl

Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman of Mandeville, who backed the highly-anticipated live action “Beauty and the Beast,” will produce. Mandeville’s Alexander Young will executive produce, alongside Nathan Kahane and Joe Drake of Good Universe. Anna Halberg will serve as co-producer.

Exec VP of production Erik Baiers and creative executive Mika Pryce will oversee production for Universal. »


- Justin Kroll

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Kevin Hart to Star in ‘Great Outdoors’ Reboot for Universal

6 hours ago

Kevin Hart will star in a reboot of the 1988 John Candy comedy “The Great Outdoors” for Universal.

Michael De Luca will produce through his Michael De Luca Productions with Hart through his Hartbeat Productions banner. Randall Green is penning the script.

The original film, which was written by John Hughes and directed by Howie Deutch, starred Candy and Dan Aykroyd. It revolved around Candy and his family, whose relaxing camping trip in Wisconsin is ruined by his annoying brother-in-law, played by Akroyd, and his family.

The studio is now looking for a director and a co-star for Hart.

Hart was most recently seen opposite Dwayne Johnson in New Line’s “Central Intelligence” and also voiced Snowball the rabbit in Illumination’s animated hit “The Secret Life of Pets.” He can next be seen as the title character in DreamWorks Animation »


- Justin Kroll

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Sony Distribution Chief Rory Bruer Retires After 40 Years at Studio

7 hours ago

Rory Bruer is retiring as head of worldwide distribution at Sony Pictures after four decades at the studio.

Sony does not plan to directly replace him. Bruer, who has deep ties with theater owners, will segue into an advisory role at the studio. Adrian Smith and Steven O’Dell will handle domestic and international distribution, respectively. They will report directly to Josh Greenstein, president of worldwide marketing and distribution.

“Though I knew in my heart that the time was right to begin to pull back, it’s hard to let go of a place that has been a part of my life for so long — so when they asked me to stay on as an advisor, I jumped at the chance,” Bruer wrote in a letter to staff. “Not everybody gets to begin this next chapter on their own terms, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”

Bruer first »


- Brent Lang

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Omari Hardwick, Meagan Good to Star in Romance ‘Love on Election Night’

7 hours ago

Omari Hardwick (“Power”) and Meagan Good (Hulu’s upcoming “Foxy Brown”) have come on board the indie romance drama “A Boy. A Girl. A Dream: Love On Election Night.”

The producer is Datari Turner through his Datari Turner Productions with Qasim Basir (“Destined”) directing from his own script. Production has launched in Los Angeles.

Hardwick is playing a Los Angeles club promoter on the night of the 2016 presidential election. He meets a woman named Free (played by Good) who challenges him to revisit his broken dreams during a series of unfortunate events that happen as the Donald Trump surges ahead over Hilary Clinton in the race for electoral votes to win the White House.

The film also stars Jay Ellis (“Insecure”), Dijon Talton, Wesley Jonathan, and Affion Crockett.

Related

Black Film Critics: 2016 the Best Year Ever for African Americans in Cinema

Hardwick and Good are executive producers along with Tim Weatherspoon, »


- Dave McNary

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Lionsgate Expands Russian Output Deal, Including ‘Robin Hood’

7 hours ago

Lionsgate has expanded its output agreement with Russian distributor Central Partnership for the distribution of Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment films in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The previous agreement covered only Summit titles. The new agreement will encompass both Lionsgate and Summit films, including Otto Bathurst’s “Robin Hood” — the contemporary reboot starring Jamie Foxx and Taron Egerton — and the action thriller “Granite Mountain,” featuring Josh Brolin, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges and Taylor Kitsch. Sony recently took U.S. rights to “Granite Mountain.”

Its other pics include Lionsgate/CBS Films’ “American Assassin” with Michael Keaton and Dylan O’Brien; the supernatural crime thriller “Kin,” starring Jack Reynor, James Franco, and Zoe Kravitz; and “Chaos Walking,” toplined by Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland.

Under the previous deal, Central Partnership had distributed the “Now You See Me” titles, the “Divergent” franchise, “John Wick: Chapter Two,” and “La La Land. »


- Dave McNary

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Disney’s ‘Miracle’ Actor Michael Mantenuto Found Dead at 35

8 hours ago

Michael Mantenuto, an actor and hockey player who starred in Disney’s 2004 film “Miracle,” has died. He was 35.

Mantenuto died on Monday of an apparent suicide, according to TMZ, and was found in his car by police in Des Moines, Wash. TMZ reports that the actor died by shooting himself.

Miracle” tells the story of the U.S. men’s hockey team that won the gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics. The American’s victory over the heavily favored Soviet team was dubbed the “Miracle on Ice.” The U.S. would go on to beat Finland to win gold. Mantenuto played Jack O’Callahan, a member of the U.S. team who injures his knee, but returns to the rink to take on the Soviets ,and makes a key shot that leads to a U.S. goal. Kurt Russell and Patricia Clarkson also star in the movie.

Mantenuto’s Hollywood career was limited apart from “Miracle.” He did, however appear in the 2006 TV movie “Dirtbags” and 2008’s “Surfer, Dude.”

After his acting career, Mantenuto joined the military. In a news release announcing Mantenuto’s death, Col. Guillaume Beaurpere wrote, “Those of you that knew Mike will remember him for his passionate love for his family and his commitment to the health of the force.”

»


- Seth Kelley

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Documentary ‘Spettacolo’ Lands at Grasshopper Film for U.S. Release (Exclusive)

9 hours ago

Grasshopper Film has bought the U.S. distribution rights to the documentary “Spettacolo,” a month after its world premiere at the SXSW film festival.

Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen, who teamed on the acclaimed 2010 documentary “Marwencol,” directed and produced “Spettacolo.” The movie centers on Monticchiello, a tiny hill town in Tuscany which has turned the lives of its residents into a play about itself for the past 50 years. Grasshopper plans to open the film theatrically this fall, followed by a VOD and home video release.

The film examines Monticchiello’s annual tradition, which has attracted worldwide attention, at a time when its population is aging and the younger generation is more interested in Facebook than farming. It interweaves episodes from its past with its modern-day process, as the villagers turn a series of blows into a new play about the end of their world.

Dennis Harvey wrote in his SXSW review for Variety, »


- Dave McNary

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‘The Circle’ Director Remembers Working With ‘Endlessly Generous’ Bill Paxton

10 hours ago

The Circle” director James Ponsoldt remembered the late actor Bill Paxton as “endlessly generous” during the film’s Tribeca premiere on Wednesday. The Dave Eggers adaptation was Paxton’s final film project before his death in February at age 61.

“Bill was amazing,” Ponsoldt said. “He was one of my favorite actors for the longest time, going back to when I was a kid.”

The director, known for “The Spectacular Now” and “The End of the Tour,” added, “He was even better than what I could have hoped for. He was endlessly generous, obsessed with the details his character, and generous with the actors that he worked with. He himself was a filmmaker so he understood the job that everyone had, and respected everyone. He’s the type of guy who would text you in the middle of the night to tell you there was a great old noir movie on Turner Classic Movies. »


- Seth Kelley

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