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Cannes Film Review: ‘After the War’

5 hours ago

Italy’s “years of lead,” when the leftist Red Brigade and their right-wing counterparts instituted an unprecedented reign of terror, remain a sensitive subject for a nation more likely to nostalgize its troubled past than process it in any constructive way. While not an infrequent subject in Italian cinema (see Mimmo Calopresti’s “The Second Time,” Marco Bellocchio’s “Good Morning, Night”), the way it’s handled in Annarita Zambrano’s smart, affecting debut “After the War” adds a new note to the ongoing discussion, while marking its director as a serious talent to watch. Paralleling the lives of a former terrorist living in exile in France alongside those of the family he hasn’t seen for two decades, the film explores in an intimate manner the personal toll of violent political resistance. Targeted art-house play could follow probable festival success.

In 2002, France ended the “Mitterand podoctrine,” a policy that »


- Jay Weissberg

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Cannes Film Review: ‘The Intruder’

5 hours ago

With excellent Critics’ Week opener “Sicilian Ghost Story” and now Leonardo di Constanzo’s Directors’ Fortnight title “The Intruder,” the Cannes 2017 sidebars have launched a mini-trend of Italian movies that, in very different ways, go some distance toward redressing the imbalance in cinema’s treatment of mafia stories. These are not epic Greek tragedies of dynastic power and greed, but small, intimate tales that resist glamorizing the gangsters and their vicious code, and instead refocus on their victims. In “The Intruder,” a slice of sincere social realism set in a Naples community bedevilled by Camorra activity, there is a further twist of the knife being as so many of the victims are children, the offspring of young, hard-faced mothers and absent, murdered or jailed fathers.

In its central character, it also becomes a portrait of front-line, hard-edged compassion, and of just how very difficult it is to retain your principles »


- Jessica Kiang

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Box Office: ‘Pirates’ On Course for $275 Million Global Launch

8 hours ago

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is sailing its way to an easy domestic box office win this weekend, but it’s international numbers are on course to make an even bigger splash. The fifth film in the Disney franchise is expected to net $275 million globally this Memorial Day weekend after reeling in $110 million already through Friday.

The Johnny Depp vehicle … er … ship only made about $21 million domestically so far — when including Thursday night previews — which means the other $86 million came from abroad. China accounted for most of that money at $21.3 million. India and Vietnam were the only countries where “Pirates” didn’t debut at No. 1.

Related

‘Baywatch’ Producer Shares Plans for Film Sequel With Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron (Exclusive)

A key factor in Disney’s projected digits is the fact that “Dead Men” is opening in a staggering 91 percent of the market at once. In Japan, »


- JD Knapp

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Cannes: Predicting This Year’s Palme d’Or Winner and Other Awards

10 hours ago

It’s crunch time. All 19 competition films in this year’s Cannes Film Festival have been seen and scrutinized, and now jury president Pedro Almodovar — along with Jessica Chastain, Maren Ade, Will Smith, Agnes Jaoui, Park Chan-wook, Paolo Sorrentino, Fan Bingbing and Gabriel Yared — have the next day to argue amongst themselves over which title is most deserving of the Palme d’Or, among other prizes.

Every year, predicting the jury’s favorites is something of a fool’s errand, fraught with inconsistencies and unknowns: Who but the most gifted mind-reader, for example, can imagine how the Fresh Prince might groove to a Naomi Kawase film? Who foresaw last year’s jury shutting out critics’ darling “Toni Erdmann?” But it’s all in the game, so with a strict warning not to place any monetary bets on my say-so alone, here are my best guesses for tomorrow’s awards.

Palme D’Or: “A Gentle Creature, »


- Guy Lodge

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‘A Man of Integrity,’ ‘Wind River,’ ‘Barbara’ Take Un Certain Regard Awards at Cannes

12 hours ago

Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof’s “A Man of Integrity” won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival this evening, beating a diverse international selection of 17 other titles to the honor. The award was presented by this year’s Un Certain Regard jury president Uma Thurman, heading a panel that also included filmmakers Joachim Lafosse and Mohamed Diab, actor Reda Kateb and Karlovy Vary festival director Karel Och.

Other prizewinners included U.S. writer-director Taylor Sheridan’s Sundance-premiered debut feature “Wind River” and actor-filmmaker Mathieu Amalric’s section opener “Barbara.”

More details to come in an update of this report. The full list of Un Certain Regard winners is as follows:

Un Certain Regard Award: “A Man of Integrity,” Mohammad Rasoulof

Best Director: Taylor Sheridan, “Wind River

Jury Prize: Michel Franco, “April’s Daughter

Jury Award for Performance: Jasmine Trinca, “Fortunata

Special Award for Poetry of Cinema: Mathieu Amalric, »


- Guy Lodge

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Box Office: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Tells $75 Million Tale, ‘Baywatch’ Walks the Plank

15 hours ago

Memorial Day weekend marks the opening for two summer blockbusters this year — “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and “Baywatch” — but only one of the nautical-themed narratives is sailing away with a 4-day win. That’s because Disney’s “Pirates” is currently on course for a debut just under $75 million, while Paramount’s “Baywatch” is expected to drown at just $21 million by weekend’s end.

After taking in $5.5 million in Thursday night previews, the fifth installment of Johnny Depp’s swashbuckling franchise added another $16 million to its domestic gross from 4,276 theaters on Friday, giving it a total of just about $21 million so far. However, the Dwayne Johnson-Zac Efron reboot isn’t expected to make much more than that — even with Saturday and Sunday factored in. “Baywatch” netted $4.5 million from Wednesday and Thursday night previews alone, but only added another $5.5 million from 3,647 locations on Friday. That »


- JD Knapp

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Cannes Critics Prize ‘Bpm,’ ‘Closeness,’ ’Nothing Factory’

16 hours ago

Cannes — Robin Campillo’s “Bpm (Beats Per Minute),” Kantemir Balagov’s “Closeness” and Pedro Pinho’s “The Nothing Factory” won International Critics’ Prizes Saturday afternoon at the Cannes Festival.

Awarded by the International Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci) one day before a international jury headed by Pedro Almodovar announces Cannes Festival’s 2017 Palme d’Or on May 28, the prizes do not always coincide with the official jury’s. “Toni Erdmann” won the Fipresci best competition player award last year, for instance, but nothing from Cannes’ official jury.

Over the last two years, however, Fipresci competition winners have won (“Son of Saul”) or been nominated (“Toni Erdmann”) for a foreign-language Academy Award and often proved standout art films of the year in sales and further award glory at or beyond Cannes.

The International Critics Prize for best film in competition marks further recognition for “Bpm (Beats Per Minute),” Campillo’s first »


- John Hopewell

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Cannes Film Review: ‘Based on a True Story’

19 hours ago

It’s hard to talk about Roman Polanski’s “Based on a True Story” without revealing the twist, although it’s much harder trying to imagine anyone actually falling for it. A thin psychological two-hander between two writers, both of them women, this over-obvious metaphor for the creative process — never quite thrilling enough to qualify as a thriller, but still unsettling enough to intrigue — inevitably results in the publication of the book within the book upon which the film is based, and in so doing forces Polanski to return to his roots.

That doesn’t mean audiences will get much insight into either the director’s process or his own dark secrets, mind you. Rather, the film recalls the uncertain, almost hallucinatory quality of his early work — movies such as “Cul-de-Sac,” “Repulsion” and “Rosemary’s Baby,” where the very fabric of what we’ve been watching is called into question. »


- Peter Debruge

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Cannes: Roman Polanski Says Theaters and Netflix Are Bound to Co-Exist

20 hours ago

Polish-French director Roman Polanski said Saturday that Netflix and other digital services “don’t pose a basic threat” to moviegoing.

“People want to go to the movies not because of better sound, projection, or seats, but because they want to participate in an experience with an audience around. This is as old as humanity — look at Greek theaters and Roman circus or concerts,” Polanski told reporters at the press conference for his latest film, “Based on a True Story,” which world premieres Saturday in Cannes.

“I remember, when Walkman or tape became popular, people said, ‘This is the end of concerts!’ and [today, concerts] draw crowds as big as 100,000 people,” said Polanski, who then joked that “it would be hard to see ‘Borat’ alone. You need to see it in cinema with a laughing audience.”

Related

Tilda Swinton Defends Netflix at Cannes: ‘We Didn’t Come Here for Awards’

Polanski explained that »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Cannes Talk: Producer Uri Singer of Passage Pictures

23 hours ago

 

Producer Uri Singer launched Passage Pictures in 2016, taking its drama ‘Marjorie Primes,” starring Jon Hamm and Lois Smith,  to Sundance earlier this year. That film was picked up by FilmRise, which plan an awards push for Smith. Also in its slate: “I am Rose Fatou,” written by Ted Melfi (“Hidden Figures”), “Tesla,” which teams Singer up again with writer/director Michael Almereyda, and “Rich,” based on the book “King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich,” about the infamous billionaire oil trader who died in 2013.

 

What’s different about Passage Pictures?

I decided I had to sit through movies and watch them and I decided they had to be important to bring to the screen — passion projects that can have a bigger audience, and important stories. Like “Experiementer,” and movies like “Marjorie Prime,” “White Noise,” and Nikola Tesla biopic “Tesla.” That’s a challenge I embrace.

How do you navigate the difficult specialty market? »


- Carole Horst

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Cannes Film Review: ‘Pure Hearts’

26 May 2017 10:24 PM, PDT

Fresh voices in Italian independent cinema constantly struggle against an overwhelming tide of bigger-budgeted, better-distributed mediocrities, so it’s encouraging to see a film like “Pure Hearts” find a major festival berth, where the attention it receives might just filter through back home. Roberto De Paolis’ debut is a story of two marginalized young people afraid of what’s inside themselves: for Agnese, it’s the fear of sin, for Stefano, it’s the fear of powerlessness. Their unlikely meeting on the periphery of Rome starts a process of self-questioning that leads to both liberation and pain. De Paolis’ nonjudgmental depiction of their two worlds has a raw urgency that should find receptive audiences at festivals worldwide.

Strict but loving single mom Marta (Barbora Bobulova) isn’t the stereotypical fundamentalist parent, and Agnese (Selene Caramazza), 17, has a relatively normal life within the controlled limits of her church-based school and community. »


- Jay Weissberg

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Cannes Talk: Russell Levine, Route One Topper

26 May 2017 10:00 PM, PDT

Russell Levine, who heads Route One, is heading for the Cannes Film Festival for the third time. Route One is a producer on “Colossal” starring Anne Hathaway, “The Circle,”  starring Tom Hanks, the Jenny Slate Sundance comedy “Landline,” which has sold to Amazon, and recently announced they are producing the Damien Chazelle script “The Claim” and the Fisher Stevens-directed project “Palmer.”

What was your most memorable meal in Cannes?

We had met a French producer during a meal at a bouillabaisse restaurant in Cannes and he asked me and my wife to come with them to a restaurant the next night. So we showed up and they said we were not properly dressed and [they] wound up buying us clothes. So that was by far my most memorable meal in Cannes.

 It is expensive to get to Cannes. What are the best reasons to go to Cannes?

Almost anything can happen. »


- Dave McNary

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Cannes Film Review: ‘I Am Not a Witch’

26 May 2017 9:27 PM, PDT

Perhaps more beautiful and strange than wholly satisfying, it’s nonetheless easy to see why Rungano Nyoni’s debut film arrives in the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar of Cannes trailing ribbons of new-discovery buzz. A defiantly uncategorizable mix of superstition, satire and social anthropology, it tells the story of a small Zambian girl who is denounced as a witch and exiled to a witch camp, where she is alternately exploited and embraced. Singular as that story might be, what makes “I Am Not a Witch” unique, however, is Nyoni’s abundant, maybe even overabundant directorial confidence. It’s rare and exhilarating that a new filmmaker arrives on the scene so sure of herself and so willing to take bold, counter-intuitive chances.

In the film’s elegant Vivaldi-scored opening, a tourist bus disgorges its passengers, including a large woman who is one of the only white people we’ll see. They file »


- Jessica Kiang

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Edgar Wright, Dwayne Johnson, Rian Johnson, Marc Webb, Lin-Manuel Miranda Plot Simon & Garfunkel Movie Universe

26 May 2017 6:33 PM, PDT

Sprawling cinematic universes have done boffo box-office business. “Star Wars,” Marvel comics, DC superheroes, and classic monster tales have all been mined for movie multiplex magic — with awesome auds turning out serious coin for congloms. Now another under-exploited IP may be ready for the silver screen — the song catalog of Simon & Garfunkel.

What began as an apparent joke on Twitter by “Baby Driver” helmer Edgar Wright has turned into an apparent joke on Twitter by Edgar Wright and a bunch of other people. On Friday, Wright tweeted, tagging fellow filmmaker Marc Webb, “I have ‘Baby Driver’ out in June & @MarcW has ‘The Only Living Boy In New York’ in August. Where is the ‘So Long Frank Lloyd Wright’ movie?”

Amazing. The Simon And Garfunkel Song Title Cinematic Universe is growing; The Rock confirms he will star in 'I Am A Rock'. pic.twitter.com/rmTC0v6yOd

John Nugent (@mr »


- Daniel Holloway

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Disney Parks Chairman Hints at More Marvel Attractions to Come

26 May 2017 4:53 PM, PDT

Guardians of the Galaxy” Mission Breakout! may be the first of many Marvel-themed attractions to find a home at Disney’s California Adventures.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Bob Chapek made the announcement during the opening of the attraction — which replaces the old Tower of Terror ride — Thursday night. In place of a haunted elevator, guests will join Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) as he tries to liberate the Guardians from the clutches of The Collector (Benicio Del Toro) on the vertical thrill ride.

“This is a momentous occasion, but it’s just the beginning of what will become a bigger superhero presence at Disney California Adventures,” Chapek said opening night. “And with the strong partnership at Walt Disney Imagineering, we’re very excited with what’s to come.”

Related

Guardians of the Galaxy 3’ Will Be the ‘Final in This Iteration,’ James Gunn Says

While its unclear exactly what’s next, »


- Lawrence Yee

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‘Paddington 2’ Lands January Release in U.S. From Weinstein Company

26 May 2017 4:33 PM, PDT

The Weinstein Company has set family comedy sequel “Paddington 2” for a Jan. 12 release in the United States.

Paddington 2” stars Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Madeleine Harris, and Brendan Gleeson. Ben Whishaw, and Imelda Staunton, who provide the voices of Paddington and Aunt Lucy, also reprise their roles.

The original “Paddington” opened in late 2014 and grossed nearly $270 million worldwide, including $76.2 million in the U.S. and $59.5 million in the U.K. The much-loved talking bear, who comes from Peru and loves marmalade, is based on a series of children’s books by Michael Bond that launched in 1958.

Related

Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson Join Cast of ‘Paddington 2

The sequel follows the bear, who’s happily settled with the Brown family and is a popular member of the local community, as he takes on a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect »


- Dave McNary

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Cannes Film Review: ‘Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts’

26 May 2017 4:22 PM, PDT

At the age of 36, Indonesian director-writer Mouly Surya has made the first Satay Western, and a flamingly feminist one at that. Following a widow on an empowering course to seek justice for robbery and rape, “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts” is a revenge fantasy rooted in Indonesia’s gender conditions, complex regional culture and the stark beauty of its landscapes. At once tightly controlled and simmering with righteous fury, it’s gorgeously lensed, atmospherically scored and moves inexorably toward a gratifying payoff. A co-production between Indonesia, France, Malaysia and Thailand, this savvy blend of genre and art-house sensibilities will kill it at festivals, but needs adventurous distributors to put it into theatres where it can be viewed in its widescreen beauty.

Surya’s debut “Fiksi” and sophomore feature “What They Don’t Talk About When They Talk About Love” have centered on outlier female characters (a lonely stalker and »


- Maggie Lee

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Cannes Film Review: ‘You Were Never Really Here’

26 May 2017 3:33 PM, PDT

Some filmmakers rust during periods of inactivity; Lynne Ramsay arches and tenses, lying in wait like an attack dog. And attack she does, though not in all the expected ways, in her astonishing fourth feature “You Were Never Really Here,” a stark, sinewy, slashed-to-the-bone hitman thriller far more concerned with the man than the hit. Working from a pulp-fiction source that another director might have fashioned into a “Taken” knockoff, Ramsay instead strips the classically botched job at the story’s core down to its barest, bloodiest necessities, lingering far more lavishly on the unspoken emotions rippling across leading man Joaquin Phoenix’s face, and the internal lacerations of trauma and abuse they cumulatively reveal.

With the minimalism of the material providing the cleanest of canvases for the matchless technique of director and star alike, “You Were Never Really Here” isn’t the genre crossover effort Ramsay’s admirers may have feared, »


- Guy Lodge

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Lionsgate Stock Jumps 8.65% in Wake of Strong Earnings Report

26 May 2017 2:01 PM, PDT

Stock of Lionsgate has surged 8.65%, buoyed by a stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings report.

Class A shares gained $2.21 to close at $27.76 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange. It was the highest close since Jan. 28.

After the market closed Thursday, Lionsgate reported better-than-expected earnings of $62 million, or 30 cents a share, for its fourth quarter ended March 31 — topping Wall Street forecasts of 22 cents a share and far above year-ago earnings of $10.9 million. Revenues also came in above expectations at $1.26 billion, while analysts had been forecasting $1.19 billion.

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Lionsgate Sets ‘Tyler Perry’s Boo 2: A Madea Halloween’ for October

It’s the second earnings report for the studio since its Dec. 8 acquisition of Starz for $4.4 billion. That transaction generated $89 million in restructuring and other costs primarily associated with the acquisition and subsequent integration of Starz.

Lionsgate’s movie operations have been buoyed by its comedy-drama “La La Land,” which won six Academy »


- Dave McNary

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Box Office: ‘Pirates’ Sailing to $75 Million, ‘Baywatch’ Can’t Make Memorial Day Waves

26 May 2017 12:41 PM, PDT

Johnny Depp’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” will hook in $75 million during the four-day Memorial Day holiday, early estimates showed on Friday.

Should the number hold, “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” which will be playing at 4,276 North America locations, would wind up slightly below recent expectations of about $80 million. The pricey tentpole, with a $230 million budget, was heading for a $26 million opening day on Friday — including $5.5 million from Thursday night previews, when comScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak showed 44% of moviegoers rated the film “excellent” with another 37% labelling it “very good.”

Dwayne Johnson’s “Baywatch,” meanwhile, is struggling to make waves, coming in at the low end of projections. The film generated an estimated $4.5 million on Thursday, which includes $1.25 million from Wednesday night previews. Paramount’s R-rated action-comedy, which is opening in 3,647 North American locations, was expected to make between $32 million and $40 million during the five-day  period, »


- Dave McNary

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