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Thanksgiving weekend usually launches a few of the top specialized releases of the year in New York and Los Angeles.
This year boasts two long-shot awards contenders, Weinstein Co’s “Lion” starring Dev Patel and EuropaCorp’s Jessica Chastain vehicle “Miss Sloane.” Both fell short of past high-end initial results, but showed sufficient strength to justify their respective strategies.
“Lion” (Weinstein) – Metacritic: 64; Festivals include: Toronto, Hamptons, AFI 2016
$128,368 in 4 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $32,092
Getting the full Weinstein treatment — prime holiday release date, top New York/Los Angeles initial theaters, major ad support aiming at not only specialized but eventual crossover audiences — this Australia-produced India family reunion story opened to respectable initial numbers. While “Lion” lacks the high-end reviews that buoyed past »
- Tom Brueggemann
There’s an embarrassment of riches in the Best Actress Oscar race this year and that’s often because women are doing it for themselves. It’s basic math: since studios have a rotten track record for delivering juicy parts, smart actresses take a more active role in pursuing them. Their agents know they are willing to go independent in order to expand their range, if not their paychecks.
Jessica Chastain has been crazy in demand ever since 2011, when she was featured in six radically different movies. She starred in Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus” opposite Ralph Fiennes and Vanessa Redgrave, played Brad Pitt’s ethereal wife in Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life,” and scored a Supporting Actress Oscar nomination as a ditzy Southern belle in “The Help.”
Clearly, this is a woman who won’t be put in a box.
- Anne Thompson
Clearly, this is a woman who won’t be put in a box.
- Anne Thompson
Jessica Chastain is one of the best actresses on the planet. So when her mostly riveting film Miss Sloane gets bogged down in repetitive plot points, she's always there to guide you over the hurdles. Directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) from a script by first-timer Jonathan Perera, the movie follows Chastain's Elizabeth Sloane, a woman who knows how to smile while cutting your throat. She's not an assassin – she's a D.C. lobbyist, which may be worse. Sloane has just walked out of her job with bossman George Dupont »
Last weekend was the lowest-grossing pre-Thanksgiving Top Ten since 2007, and exhibitors are again looking to Disney to lead a rebound. “Moana,” its latest in-house animated feature, will easily top three other new wide releases. If it lives up to its potential, it might do well enough to push box office to last year’s totals.
Warner Bros.’ “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” though hitting low-end expectations with a $74 million initial weekend, didn’t rise to the level of past new films from the “Hunger Games,” “Twilight” and “Harry Potter” franchises, all released on the same date. That led to a Top Ten total of $147 million over the weekend, 10 percent below 2015.
“Moana” and the other films debuting Wednesday (“Allied”/Paramount, “Bad Santa 2″/Broad Green, “Rules Don’t Apply”/20th Century Fox) will have to defy history to equal or exceed last year’s three-day total of $168 million — especially »
- Tom Brueggemann
While Hollywood liberals wail and gnash their teeth while smug Republicans gloat over Donald Trump’s victory, Gwyneth Paltrow is one celeb who sees the surprising results of the presidential election as a huge teachable moment for the entire country. Speaking at this weekend’s Airbnb Open conference, the “Shakespeare in Love” star says she see an […] »
- Brent Furdyk
Editor’s Note: This article is presented in partnership with FilmStruck. Developed and managed by Turner Classic Movies (TCM) in collaboration with the Criterion Collection, FilmStruck features the largest streaming library of contemporary and classic arthouse, indie, foreign and cult films as well as extensive bonus content, filmmaker interviews and rare footage. Learn more here.
These are dark times. Dark times for those of you dismayed by recent developments in American politics, and dark times for those of you who aren’t, but still have to reckon with the fact that the sun is going down while you’re still at work (daylight savings is a bi-partisan effort to depress the hell out of you every fall). But movies were meant to be watched in the dark, which makes us all the more grateful that FilmStruck is finally here, offering subscribers a thousand different ways to light up their lives. »
- David Ehrlich
Dramatic Hollywood takedowns of maligned professions—big bad lawyers, banks, politicians—tend to be overdone portrayals that are good for a thrill yet bad as a civics lesson. But in our truth-is-stranger-than-fiction world, one where reality TV and government have merged, all bets are off. In this new universe, the otherwise metastasized film Miss Sloane, focused on vilifying the profession of lobbying, is unavoidably relevant and eerily prescient.
The titular character, played powerfully by the talented Jessica Chastain, is a ruthless lobbyist hired to take on the grandest lobby of them all: the gun industry. Chastain’s Sloane is so manipulative, so conniving, and so bereft of all human morality, that she makes Gordon Gekko look like Mother Theresa.
At the outset, the ambitious Sloane condescendingly walks out of her position at a right-wing lobbyist firm after her equally merciless boss, the demonic Sam Waterson, orders her to find a »
- J Don Birnam
Further evidence of the Aaron Sorkinization of American screenwriting, “Miss Sloane” is a talky, tense political thriller, full of verbal sparring and fiery monologues, undone by a really dumb ending. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t smart for most of its running time. Constructed like a magic act by first-time screenwriter Jonathan Perera, with tricks up every sleeve that keep audiences guessing, this twisty peek inside the sausage factory of American politics features characters who talk faster than most people think. Plus, it’s engaging — make that downright electrifying — to watch a female star as strong as Jessica Chastain carry a film about a D.C. lobbyist who risks her reputation for a cause she believes in.
Directed by handsome drama maestro John Madden (“Shakespeare in Love,” “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”) and positioned as a cross between “Michael Clayton” and “All the President’s Men,” the movie features morally bankrupt D. »
- Peter Debruge
Well “Miss Sloane” certainly picked an interesting weekend to make its world premiere. A barnstorming political thriller about a fiercely intelligent woman who breaks men over her knee and brings Washington D.C. to heel, the latest film from “Shakespeare in Love” director John Madden may have been conceived as a story of empowerment, but in the wake of President-Elect Donald J. Trump. it can’t help but feel like a feminist fantasy from a more hopeful time when the glass ceiling seemed ready to shatter into 160 million tiny pieces — a time that I like to call “last Monday.”
But maybe that will change. Maybe tomorrow — after the smoke clears and our anger coalesces into action — this fierce, over the top, and wholly entertaining saga of lobbyists run amok won’t be seen as a nostalgic throwback so much as a cautionary tale about what’s to come.
Read More: »
- David Ehrlich
Director/writer Joss Whedon took part in an "Answer Time" on tumblr this afternoon and answered a large number of fan questions. They ranged from his superhero work to Star Wars but also managed to mix Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the Presidential election. Things started pretty tame, one fan asking Whedon who his favorite superhero was. "Kitty Pryde, now and forever," he said. Niiiiiice. Then if he could be a superhero, who would he be and why? "I’d be iron man because he doesn’t have to work out - shit, he can doze off in that armour, who’s gonna know? Plus he’s got bonkers dollars and is dating Shakespeare in Love so, a lot of win." Then he dove headfirst into a question many have discussed since Avengers: Age of Ultron. The person asked, "why did you have Natasha describe herself as a monster when »
- Jill Pantozzi
What's your favorite sandwich?
Besides the artisinal classic Diego-Maribel-Gael, that is. Mine is the iconic grilled cheese though I also indulge in a little pastrami & swiss on occasion.
On this day in showbiz history...
1954 The first Godzilla movie opens. Many more will follow
1956 The Wizard of Oz gets its first television airing. Annual showings will become a beloved tradition that cements the movie's cultural legacy
1957 Hunky action icon Dolph Lundren born in Stockholm
1964 Awesome »
- NATHANIEL R
2 November 2016 6:30 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
What's an awards season without a heated Oscar rivalry? Slugfests like the 1999 struggle between Harvey Weinstein's Shakespeare in Love forces and Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan team (Harvey was triumphant) often make for more drama offscreen than on. This year there's a new high-stakes contest as Jeff Bezos' Amazon and Reed Hastings' Netflix, already Emmy players, square off in the Oscar ring. Netflix recently has staked out a prominent position in the documentary feature category, securing noms for The Square in 2014, Virunga in 2015 and What Happened, Miss Simone? and Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom
- Gregg Kilday
Independent will screen first footage from the movie at the American Film Market in Santa Monica next week. Collins plays a former Hollywood star who’s on her way to crash her ex-husband’s funeral with a friend, played by Pauline Collins. The film also stars Franco Nero, is directed by Roger Goldby (“The Waiting Room”), and is produced by Sarah Sulick and Azim Bolkiah.
Lyricist Tim Rice, most famous for writing musicals “The Lion King” and “Evita,” is an executive producer and will be writing a song for the film. Music is being composed by Stephen Warbeck, whose credits include “Shakespeare in Love” and “Billy Elliot.”
As previously announced, Universal Pictures will distribute the pic in the U. »
- Leo Barraclough
“Miss Sloane,” an upcoming thriller about a top lobbyist who takes on the gun industry, will have its world premiere at the AFI Fest, Variety has learned.
The film will screen on Friday, Nov. 11 at 8:30 p.m. “Miss Sloane” joins a lineup that includes “La La Land,” “Jackie,” and the world premieres of “The Comedian” with Robert De Niro and Warren Beatty’s “Rules Don’t Apply.”
A spokeswoman for AFI Fest declined to comment and a spokeswoman for EuropaCorp could not be reached.
“Miss Sloane” could land Jessica Chastain her third Oscar nomination for her performance in the title role as an icy and determined Beltway player. She has previously been nominated for “The Help” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” Chastain’s odds could have improved after Paramount revealed that Viola Davis will campaign in the best supporting actress category. The lead actress race is tight, with Natalie Portman »
- Brent Lang
Once considered to be an Oscar frontrunner and a prime example of the perseverance that can push independent film to new heights, Nate Parker’s directorial debut “The Birth of a Nation” has instead spent the last few months plagued by controversy and scandal, as Parker’s involvement in a 1999 rape case came to light mere weeks before the film hit theaters. (It has underperformed at the box office.) Parker’s role in the incident — and his subsequent reaction to the media attention heaped on the case — has overshadowed the film, which Fox Searchlight had been pinning awards hopes on since the distributor purchased it at Sundance in January.
Parker is hardly the only member of the “Birth” team impacted by the fallout, and when IndieWire recently spoke to executive producer and early champion Edward Zwick, the filmmaker was honest about how the experience has affected a team that came »
- Kate Erbland
At times, Gwyneth Paltrow has been accused of not being relatable enough, but her new spread in Harper's Bazaar is proof that the star puts her underwear on one leg at a time just like we do . . . and then she goes grocery shopping in it, of course. The 44-year-old actress posed for some gorgeous, grocery store-themed photos for the magazine's November Daring Issue, and they make it seem like Gwyneth hasn't aged a bit from her Shakespeare in Love days. Despite the youthful glow she exudes while rocking barely-there looks in shades of black, the Goop owner fully embraces her age. "If you haven't taken all of life's incredible knocks and disappointments and used them to become a fully integrated, self-expressing person by the time you're 40, then what can I tell you?" she said during the accompanying interview with Full Frontal host Samantha Bee. In addition to reflecting on her age, »
- Quinn Keaney
As big a star as Ben Affleck is, I’m sure he gets the credit that he deserves. Not only is he an A-list Hollywood talent, he’s an acclaimed and award winning filmmaker. Affleck is part of superhero blockbusters, prestige fare, and everything in between. Throw in his charity work and you have a dynamic star. For a while, he was seen as a bit of a punching bag, but another Oscar and some very solid choices later, that decidedly is no longer the case. He’s rightfully taken his place as one of the industry’s biggest names. I just don’t think he’s always seen in that light, which is a shame. Affleck is a two time Academy Award winner, taking home an Oscar early in his career for co-writing Good Will Hunting with Matt Damon, then winning one a few years ago for producing his latest directional outing Argo. »
- Joey Magidson
It’s well known at this point that Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” was bought for a record-setting $17.5 million at Sundance this year, just as it’s well known that the writer/director/star — and by extension the film itself — is now mired in controversy. Less well known until now is how “The Birth of a Nation” was financed in the first place. The Hollywood Reporter broke down the $10 million that went into the project earlier this year, noting that Parker put $100,000 of his own money into it.
Read More: Nate Parker Says He Was ‘Vindicated’ in 1999 Rape Trial, Won’t Apologize
A dozen or so other sources backed him. Parker, Jason Michael Berman of Mandalay Pictures and Kevin Turen are responsible for tracking down approximately 60 percent of the film’s funding, with most of the rest coming from Aaron L. Gilbert of Bron Studios. Filmmaker Edward Zwick »
- Michael Nordine
The period drama sees Judi Dench return to the role of British monarch Queen Victoria opposite Bollywood actor Ali Fazalas playing Abdul Karim. Dench first played the long-serving 19th-century queen on the big screen in 1997’s “Mrs. Brown.”
“Victoria and Abdul” tells the true story of the queen’s unexpected friendship, in the later years of her reign, with a young Indian clerk who had traveled to Britain to participate in the queen’s 1887 Golden Jubilee celebrations. Written by Lee Hall (“Billy Elliot”), the film is based on Shrabani Basu’s novel “Victoria and Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant.”
Dench received the first of her seven Oscar nominations for “Mrs Brown.” (She won a supporting-actress Oscar the following year playing another queen, »
- Robert Mitchell
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