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Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse, which has gone from one theater to 28 locations since 1997, is unveiling a series of commemorative events to celebrate its 20th anniversary, Variety has learned exclusively.
“There is no better way for us to celebrate two decades of existence than sharing and celebrating movies we love,” said Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO. “That’s what our company is all about, and that’s what Alamo20 is all about.”
The original Alamo Drafthouse was a single-screen theater showing second-run titles that had been converted from an old warehouse. The promise to patrons was “good food, good beer and good film, all at the same place.”
Alamo Drafthouse, Kodak Partner on 35Mm Film Celebration (Exclusive)
The location gained notice quickly with Austin players such as “Dazed and Confused” director Richard Linklater and Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News. Within its first year the venue was playing host to film premieres and hosting »
- Dave McNary
Hilary Swank: Time/ YouTube
Elizabeth Chomko’s feature debut has found a home. The Hollywood Reporter confirms that Bleecker Street snagged the North American rights to “What They Had,” a family drama toplined by Hilary Swank. Blythe Danner, Michael Shannon (“Boardwalk Empire”), Taissa Farmiga (“American Horror Story”), and Robert Forster (“Jackie Brown”) co-star in the film, which recently wrapped in Chicago and La.
Revolving around a family in crisis, “What They Had” sees Bridget (Swank) returning home to Chicago after her brother pressures her to “deal with her mother’s (Danner) Alzheimer’s and her father’s (Forster) reluctance to let go of their life together,” THR summarizes. Chomko penned the script, which won her a 2015 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting.
“I was incredibly moved by Elizabeth’s story of a family working through their collective issues and the heartache of dealing with a loved one affected by Alzheimer’s,” Bleecker Street CEO Andrew Karpen commented. “We know audiences will relate to the characters’ love, compassion, and humor in dealing with each other.”
Chomko added, “Making this film has been a true labor of love for me, my creative team, and the magnificent cast. I could not be more delighted to include Bleecker Street among our family and have this film be part of theirs.”
Bleecker Street is planning a theatrical release for 2018.
Swank is among the project’s executive producers. Her recent credits include “You’re Not You” and “The Homesman.” The two-time Oscar winner — who took home awards for “Million Dollar Baby” and “Boys Don’t Cry” — has previously spoken out about the gender pay gap that persists in the film industry, noting “My male counterpart will get paid 10 times more than me — 10 times. Not double, but 10 times for the same job.” She explained, “Both [women and men] are compelling, interesting, diverse, [and] wonderful in all their own separate ways. And yet there’s an influx of male roles and there’s just not for women.”
Elizabeth Chomko’s Feature Debut Starring Hilary Swank Acquired by Bleecker Street was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
In 1997, a film cynic was born.
Seeing Star Wars ruined should have been a sign that 1997 would be the worst year ever for blockbusters. George Lucas’s Special Editions, intended to “improve” the original trilogy but mostly doing the opposite, started arriving in January. By the time of the release of the new version of Return of the Jedi in March, my anticipation for anything ought to have been demolished. But I couldn’t have imagined that was only the beginning.
Actually, the first steps towards the end of an era were made in the early ’90s. That just wasn’t a great time for big movies compared to the prior decade. Some of my biggest letdowns of all time included Hudson Hawk in 1991 and Death Becomes Her in 1992. Jurassic Park wasn’t good enough for me, having read the book. Independence Day put me to sleep in the theater. Beloved »
- Christopher Campbell
Like it or not, we live in an age of shared universes. Yes, it sounds like yet another Hollywood trend, like 3D or superhero movies, but in my opinion it's anything but. Growing up, I dreamed of a time when a Batman movie could work its way into a Superman movie. However, given the limitations of Hollywood at the time, we simply couldn’t make it work at the time. The closest thing we ever got to something like that was seeing Michael Keaton play Ray Nicolette in Jackie Brown and Out of Sight. Other than that, all we had to rely on was sequels, and even then, the same actors coming back was an unlikely prospect. The fact that we do it now is a huge plus in living in an era like today, even if they aren't all perfect.
Some studios have had some major growing pains in »
- Joseph Medina
Doing for Hong Kong screen veteran Kara Wai roughly what Tarantino did for Pam Grier in “Jackie Brown” (albeit with a lot less talking), Malaysian writer-director Ho Yuhang’s “Mrs K” is a stylish action movie whose light touch persuades us to accept still-lethal potential of a nearly 60-year-old heroine. Equal parts “Taken”-style thriller and old-school marital-arts/triad-meller homage, it’s expertly crafted good fun that should appeal to genre fans across many borders.
Wai (Aka Kara Hui and Wai Ying Hung) was still a teenager when she found fame via a slew of Shaw Brothers kung-fu epics starting in 1976. Since then she’s gone on to play a wide range of roles on the big and small screens, including an award-winning turn as an alcoholic divorcée in Ho’s own 2009 “At the End of Daybreak.” As the titular figure here, she gets to straddle both a dignified latter-day »
- Dennis Harvey
More than a sub-genre; a way of life.
Filmmakers have worked within recognizable genres for nearly as long as they’ve told stories. Initially film appropriated genres from literature and theatre, but as the new medium found its footing in Hollywood’s Classical Era of the 40s and 50s, a distinctly cinematic set of generic conventions were codified. Since that time, genres have come in and out favor, but most new films have still defined themselves either in accordance with or opposition to the Classical Hollywood models. Even innovative filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard and David Lynch have self-consciously manipulated the language of genre, treating it like another tool in the director’s toolkit. But films are living things, and there are as many ways to draw the lines of categorization as there are films. Reevaluating movies of the past according to new and different models is one of the best ways to keep the medium from ossifying »
- Jake Orthwein
Christian movies: Starring Nicolas Cage, the widely panned 2014 apocalyptic thriller 'Left Behind' was a box office bomb – unlike (relatively) recent popular 'faith movies' such as 'Heaven Is for Real,' 'Son of God' and 'War Room.' A thought on the New Christian American Cinema: Tired of the blatant propaganda found in 'mainstream' Christian movies Two films that might be called “Christian movies” opened last week, and I decided that I wouldn't watch them, write about them, or review them – at least directly. I'm not even going to mention their titles here because I don't promote propaganda films, and that's what this recent advent of Christian movies has become: propaganda. After all, since nearly all American cinema is Christian cinema, the New Christian American Cinema is in fact pure propaganda – not cinema. Worse yet, it bores me. So, here's the thing about what we've come to call »
- Tim Cogshell
Showtime has released a new trailer for the upcoming drama I’m Dying Up Here. The Jim Carrey-produced series is based on the celebrated 1970’s Los Angeles stand-up comedy scene and features cast that includes Melissa Leo, Ari Graynor, Michael Angarano, Clark Duke, Andrew Santino, Erik Griffin, Rj Cyler, Al Madrigal, and Jake Lacy; watch it below after the official synopsis…
The new one-hour Showtime drama series I’M Dying Up Here explores L.A.’s famed ‘70s stand-up comedy scene where the careers of legends such as David Letterman, Jay Leno and Richard Pryor were launched. The series delves into the inspired, damaged and complicated psyches of those who stand alone in front of an audience “dying” for fame, fortune and, with any luck, a shot on Johnny Carson. This fictional group of competitive but close-knit comedians is mentored by “Goldie” (Leo), a brassy comedy club owner who »
- Amie Cranswick
Looking back on this still-young century makes clear that 2007 was a major time for cinematic happenings — and, on the basis of this retrospective, one we’re not quite through with ten years on. One’s mind might quickly flash to a few big titles that will be represented, but it is the plurality of both festival and theatrical premieres that truly surprises: late works from old masters, debuts from filmmakers who’ve since become some of our most-respected artists, and mid-career turning points that didn’t necessarily announce themselves as such at the time. Join us as an assembled team, many of whom were coming of age that year, takes on their favorites.
Grindhouse was intended to be the ultimate homage to the kinda cool, kinda sexy, kinda divine (but not too divine as to make you realize you’re still dealing with trash), kinda exploitation cinema on which Quentin Tarantino »
- The Film Stage
Infinity Ward is just about done with putting the finishing touches on the next map pack for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Continuum is out in just a couple of weeks, bringing with it the usual selection of four competitive multiplayer maps and a further addition to the shooter’s co-op Zombies mode. Once again, one of the four multiplayer maps included is a reimagining of a war zone from past Call of Duty titles, and this time it’s the Rust map from Modern Warfare 2 that’s being given a new lick of paint.
As far as brand-new battlegrounds are concerned: Turista, a plush spa resort that’s bizarrely housed within the giant skeleton of an ancient creature, is one such example, which boasts tight interiors perfect for close-quarters combat as well as a three-lane design that enables those that prefer to sit back and pick their opponents off »
- Joe Pring
Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has long trafficked in features that exalt — and often twist — the concept of the “strong female character,” from “Jackie Brown” to the “Kill Bill” franchise, “Django Unchained” to “Inglourious Basterds,” and the subject of his stance on feminism has shaped countless discussions about his work.
After the release of his “The Hateful Eight,” which featured Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character getting absolutely wrecked at the hands of a number of men, Tarantino’s treatment of his female characters again became prodigious fodder for the cultural zeitgeist. It’s that topic that is explored in a nifty new video essay, one that comes complete with some surprising answers and insights.
Read More: Quentin Tarantino’s 7 Best Scenes As a Director
- Kate Erbland
Quentin Tarantino’s films are famous for their non-linear narratives, for how they jump around in time like a skipping DVD, sometimes even willing their ways into alternate histories. And yet, despite all of their twisty plotting, his movies are increasingly defined by — and remembered for — self-contained scenes that stretch to the breaking point and seem to become iconic even as you’re first watching them. From the ingeniously knotted “Pulp Fiction” to the bifurcated “Death Proof”; from the sprawling “Kill Bill” (which is divided into 10 discrete chapters), to the snowbound “The Hateful Eight” (which limits itself to two locations and finds Tarantino challenging himself to hold a single note of suspense for hours at a time), these epic stories are shaped around chatty, taut, and indelible sequences that simmer with the potential for sudden acts of violence.
In honor of the filmmaker’s 54th birthday (and with a humble »
- David Ehrlich
Everything Harry Dean Stanton has done in his career, and his life, has brought him to his moment of triumph in “Lucky,” an unassumingly wonderful little film about nothing in particular and everything that’s important. Scripters Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja wrote their screenplay (a scenario that is arrestingly allusive and rigorously precise, in the manner of an exceptionally well-crafted short story) with Stanton in mind as the title character, and they embellished their handiwork with Stanton-specific biographical detail. Long-time admirers of the iconic character actor would likely embrace this indie dramedy if it were nothing more than a hand-tooled star vehicle for a living legend. But “Lucky” is something a good deal more substantial than the cinematic equivalent of a lifetime achievement award. It’s also a stealthily affecting and unpretentiously thoughtful meditation on community and mortality, and existential dread and transcendence, in the form of a richly »
- Joe Leydon
Earlier this year, audiences had a chance to feast their eyes on the latest M. Night Shyamalan film Split. Despite a questionable past decade of filmmaking from the Sixth Sense director, the movie managed to be a confirmation of his return to form. The movie came following a trend of solid horror/thrillers in the past year, and is evidence that cool, fun, creative original ideas can still thrive in a world full of big budget franchises.
Of course, the ultimate dose of irony here is that with the success of original ideas comes the inevitability of sequelization. However, for those who are fans of M. Night Shyamalan, and who had a chance to see the film in theaters, we know this isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this case. Now, enthusiasm for Shyamalan’s work is at an all-time high, and audiences are thrilled to see a continuation of this mythology. »
- Joseph Medina
With an illustrious career and over 150 acting credits, Samuel L. Jackson is no stranger to performing. Yet, on Wednesday night’s episode of “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” Jackson had the pressure of the host’s “Role Call” segment. Together, Jackson and Corden reenacted over two dozen of Jackson’s most iconic films… all in 10 minutes.
In white jersey T-shirts and black blazers, Corden asked Jackson, “Do you think we would be able to recreate some of those films right here, right now?”
Switching wigs and swapping ties and jackets at super speed, Jackson and Corden began with the 1994 film “Pulp Fiction” and ended with “Soul Men.” They were also sure to plug Jackson’s upcoming film “Kong: Skull Island,” which »
- Dani Levy
One of the regular features on The Late Late Show With James Corden is called Role Call, where the host will recreate a number of iconic scenes with his guest that evening. Earlier this week, the iconic Samuel L. Jackson appeared on the show, and being the good sport that he is, agreed to take part in that night's Role Call, where the actor revisited his beloved Jules Winnfield character from Quentin Tarantino's indie classic Pulp Fiction. Throughout this 11-minute video, the star revisited a number of his most indelible performances, with the help of some props, wigs and fake backdrops.
The 11-minute video was posted on The Late Late Show's YouTube page, which begins with Jules Winnfield's iconic Biblical speech, and has James Corden playing the role of John Travolta's Vincent Vega. They then quickly transition to another early scene in the film where Vincent Vega »
James Corden and Samuel L. Jackson reenacted Jackson's extensive filmography on The Late Late Show on Wednesday. While Corden played everything from Yoda, a shark, a T-Rex to a snake, Jackson delivered countless iconic lines from his career.
The actors opened with Pulp Fiction. First, Corden stood in an ill-fitting wig while Jackson quoted scripture. Then, the backdrop behind the two men transformed and Corden played John Travolta's character, Vincent Vega, instructing Jackson how to ask for a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris.
Cartoonish violence was the main »
There’s no question what’s in Samuel L. Jackson’s wallet once you realize that the ubiquitous film star has been in practically every movie.
On Wednesday, Jackson — who is currently promoting Kong: Skull Island — partook in The Late Late Show With James Corden‘s signature “Role Call” segment, which enlists A-list talent to revisit their filmography via green-screen-enhanced reenactments all shot in one take.
In total, Jackson and Corden “recreated” scenes (or, in the case of his work as Nick Fury in the Marvel films, »
Samuel L. Jackson has played a lot of iconic characters. With more than 100 film credits to his name, Jackson reenacted just a small fraction of his most memorable scenes of all time when he appeared on CBS' The Late Late Show Wednesday. With a little help from host James Corden, Jackson ran through his oeuvre, reviving characters from Goodfellas, Jackie Brown, Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Negotiator, Shaft and many more. Jackson began by (mis)quoting Ezekiel 25:17, just as his character Jules Winnfield did in 1994's Pulp Fiction. "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and »
Pure Flix has released a new trailer for The Case for Christ, a religious drama telling the true story of Lee Strobel, an award-winning investigative journalist and avowed atheist, who applied his well-honed journalistic and legal skills to disprove the newfound Christian faith of his wife, only to result in unexpected and life-altering results.
In 1980, Lee Strobel’s award-winning investigative reporting earned him a promotion to legal editor at the Chicago Tribune. Things at home weren’t going nearly as well. His wife Leslie’s newfound faith in Christ compels Lee to utilize his journalistic and legal training to disprove the claims of Christianity—pitting his resolute atheism against her growing faith. Based on Strobel’s bestselling book of the same name, The Case For Christ is a dramatic and heartfelt telling of their compelling journey. Coming to theaters in 2017, this moving story is for everyone who has ever pondered the existence of God… »
- Gary Collinson
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