17 items from 2015
'Downfall' movie: Bruno Ganz as Adolf Hitler 'Downfall' movie: Overlong and overwrought World War II drama lifted by several memorable performances Oliver Hirschbiegel's German box office hit Downfall / Der Untergang is a generally engrossing psychological-historical drama whose emotional charge is diluted by excessive length, an overabundance of characters, and a tendency to emphasize the more obvious aspects of the narrative. Several key performances – including Bruno Ganz's now iconic Adolf Hitler – help to lift Downfall above the level of myriad other World War II movies. Nazi Germany literally goes under In Downfall, which by the end of 2004 had been seen by more than 4.5 million German moviegoers, Nazi Germany is about to lose the war. In his underground bunker, Adolf Hitler (Bruno Ganz) grows increasingly out of touch with reality as he sees his dream of Deutschland über alles go kaput. Some of those under his command are equally incapable of thinking coherently. »
- Andre Soares
Exclusive: Six-parter produced by Rainmark Films readied for spring 2016.
The corporation and UK indie Rainmark Films, the indie led by Game Of Thrones producer Frank Doelger and former BBC Films executive Tracey Scoffield, are aiming to shoot the as-yet-untitled six-part series in spring 2016.
McQueen, the Oscar-winning director of 12 Years A Slave, will direct and co-write the drama, alongside writers including Debbie Tucker Green, who won a Bafta TV award in 2012 for Channel 4 single Random.
The series will chronicle the lives of a group of friends and their families living in west London between the 1960s and the present day. It has been in development since January 2014.
- email@example.com (Andreas Wiseman)
Rainmark Films, the indie led by Game Of Thrones producer Frank Doelger and former BBC Films executive Tracey Scoffield, has lifted the lid on its multimillion-pound ITV Encore drama The Frankenstein Chronicles.
The London-based production company came close to making the series for Channel 4, but the broadcaster backed out of the project and it became ITV Encore’s first original commission last year.
“This project was in development with C4 for two years but they cancelled it. Fortunately for us, ITV was just about to launch Encore,” said Rainmark managing director Scoffield.
“We sent it to them - not knowing whether it would fit - and they felt like it would sit well.”
The Frankenstein Chronicles is currently in production in Northern Ireland, where it has received funding from Northern Ireland Screen, and Endemol Shine International will be selling the six-part series at MipTV in Cannes next month.
Sean Bean leads the cast in his first »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Andreas Wiseman)
With the 2015 Oscars coming up this weekend, we go back ten years to see if the 2005 awards still hold up today...
It was during an interview with Mark Kermode that I asked him how long someone really needs to gestate on a film, and come up with a proper review. "About ten years", he said. I get his point. Each awards season, it's about, at best, what feels like the best film right then. Not the one that settles over a period of time, or shows you new things each time you watch it. But the one that you watched once, and affected you once. It's the only way, anyway, I can think of why A Beautiful Mind won a Best Picture Oscar.
This weekend, then, is the Academy Awards once more. And I thought it'd be worth rewinding ten years, to see whether the Academy's choices on February 27th »
If only he had 13 more minutes, the world would be an entirely different place. The new film from German director Oliver Hirschbiegel (Das Experiment, Downfall, The Invasion), titled 13 Minutes, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival this week. It's a solid thriller that tells the true story of carpenter Georg Elser, a resistance fighter who designed a bomb and attempted to kill Hitler in 1939, but was unsuccessful by only 13 minutes. It feels very much like Germany's response to The Imitation Game, highlighting an individual who tried to impact WWII for the better and wasn't recognized by his country for many years. It's also everything that Valkyrie should've been, but wasn't, and explores Georg's life leading up to and after the bombing. I'm not sure why so many critics are out to hate this film, but it's certainly not bad by any means (contrary to what some might be claiming). It's not perfect either, »
- Alex Billington
Sony Pictures Classics acquired North and Latin American distribution rights to Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Nazi-era drama 13 Minutes early on at the Berlin Film Festival. The story of Georg Elser, who tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1939, has its official screening out of competition today and was met with high praise from the press corps this morning. This is a return to familiar territory for the Oscar-nominated Downfall director after 2013’s savaged English-language biopic Diana.
A compelling portrait of the resistance fighter, 13 Minutes is not the first time Elser’s story has come to the screen, but is a rarity. Klaus Maria Brandauer starred in and directed Seven Minutes in 1989 which focused more on the building of Elser’s poorly-timed bomb. The failed deed was put in motion during a speech given by Hitler for the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. The bomb Elser had placed behind the lectern detonated »
- Nancy Tartaglione
Before making yet another film about the Third Reich, it would be wise for filmmakers to ask why. Is it to “never forget,” or is it because there always seems to be funding available for a Nazi pic? Oliver Hirschbiegel’s cinematic return to the era, “13 Minutes,” resurrects the story of Georg Elser, Hitler’s would-be assassin in 1939, yet as with countless films set in the period, the absence of subtlety combined with predictable dollops of sentimentalism once again trivialize events in the name of making them understandable. Unsurprisingly, international sales have been brisk, and Sony Classics’ early Berlinale pickup indicates confidence in the possibilities for a full-scale U.S. rollout.
Why is it taking so long for people to question whether a constant stream of trite movies on major subjects is really the best way to commemorate a tragedy? The answer, unfortunately, is that simplistic movies make the unfathomable comprehensible, »
- Jay Weissberg
After the Oscar-nominated Downfall, about Adolf Hitler's final days, and his new drama 13 Minutes, the story of would-be Hitler assassin Georg Elser, director Oliver Hirschbiegel is planning a third film on the Nazi era. “I want to complete my trilogy of the history of National Socialism,” the director told THR. “Downfall showed the end, 13 Minutes showed the beginning. The last film will look at the victims, either during Hitler or afterwards, to show the impact of the Nazis.” He didn't immediately provide further details on the third film and when he might start on
- Scott Roxborough
Sony Pictures Classics has grabbed North American and Latin American rights to "13 Minutes" from Beta Cinema and director Oliver Hirschbiegel. Starring Christian Fridel and Burghart Klaußner of "The White Ribbon," and co-starring Katharina Schüttler and Johann von Bülow, the film follows a carpenter "who could have changed world history and saved millions of human lives. If only he had had 13 more minutes. With 13 more minutes, the bomb he had personally assembled would have torn apart Adolf Hitler and his henchmen. But this was not to be, and on 8 November 1939, Hitler left the scene of the attempted assassination earlier than expected - leaving Elser to fail catastrophically," per the press release. Hirschbiegel is best known for his Academy Award-nominated "Downfall," the 2004 German-language, WWII-era drama about the last days of Hitler. "13 Minutes" is produced by Lucky Bird Pictures in »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Hirschbiegel’s “Downfall” was nominated for a foreign language film Oscar in 2005.
“I am overjoyed and very, very proud that Sony Pictures Classics, for me the crown jewel of foreign language and indie film distributors, will bring ’13 Minutes’ to the American audiences who I am sure will come to love this exceptionally free spirited and brave man Georg Elser,” said Hirschbiegel in a statement.
“60 years after the end of WWII there continues to be extraordinary stories from that period and ’13 Minutes’ is one of those stories. Oliver Hirschbiegel is a gifted storyteller, whose film we are proud to bring to the public, alongside Dirk, »
- Variety Staff
Sony Pictures Classics has acquired North American and Latin American rights to Hitler assassination drama 13 Minutes from Beta Cinema. Directed by Academy Award-nominated Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall), it is playing out of competition at the Berlin Film Festival. The deal with Spc was underway before Berlin got underway, according to insiders. Read more Berlin: 'The Last King' Sells to Germany, Austria, Switzerland The movie is about would-be assassin Georg Elser. "With 13 more minutes, the bomb he had personally assembled would have torn apart Adolf Hitler and his henchmen," a plot description says. "But this was not
- Georg Szalai
The halls are starting to hum softly here in Berlin as the European Film Market swings into gear. The first deals were announced yesterday before the event officially opened, with The Weinstein Co notably boarding Im Global’s The Man Who Made It Snow. This morning, FilmNation unveiled a series of offshore output deals for titles from Open Road, which will kick off with the Jamie Foxx/Michelle Monaghan-starrer Sleepless Nights.
Though it’s not likely to be a frenzy, and with currency concerns in the market internationally, Berlin should see more action in the coming days. Distributors are looking for product for 2016 and beyond, and some memorable buys have emerged here in recent years. In 2014, The Weinstein Company made a record-setting $7M deal for The Imitation Game which has now made about $140M worldwide and has an armful of Oscar nominations to boot.
Much of the pre-buy buzz »
- Nancy Tartaglione
Don’t know where to start with the jumbo-sized Berlin festival lineup? Join “The Club,” as the latest film from Oscar-nominated “No’s” director Pablo Larrain is called. The good news is that this year’s program offers plenty of enticing titles, clustered around a few intriguing trends.
A Platform for Hollywood
Last year, Berlin set “The Grand Budapest Hotel” off on the right foot. The film went on to become the highest-grossing film of Wes Anderson’s career. Universal has even bigger expectations for “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which plans to seduce its first crowds in Berlin. On the more demure side, Disney will unwrap its live-action, Kenneth Branagh-made “Cinderella,” while “Twilight” director Bill Condon offers a low-key, late-life look at suddenly ubiquitous Sherlock with “Mr. Holmes.”
Films We Expected to See in Park City
There are a handful of titles that skipped U.S. fests to premiere in Berlin. »
- Peter Debruge
The 65th Berlin International Film Festival (Feb 5-15) has unveiled its full Competition line-up.
Some 21 of the 23 titles will be world premieres, and 19 features from across Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia will compete for Golden and Silver Bears.
New additions include Wim Wenders’ Every Thing Will Be Fine, which will play out of competition. The film, shot in 3D, stars James Franco as a writer who accidentally hits and kills a child while out driving. Co-stars include Charlotte Gainsbourg and Rachel McAdams.
As previously announced, Wenders will be awarded an Honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement and will have ten of his films screened as part of the Homage strand.
Also playing out of competition will be the world premiere of Elser (13 Minutes) from Oliver Hirschbiegel, the German »
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
After scoring the world premiere of Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” 2015’s most Oscar-nominated film bar “Birdman,” The Berlin Film Festival suddenly seems to have more clout and sway than usual. The festival already has a tremendous line-up that includes anticipated new films by Terrence Malick, Werner Herzog, Anton Corbijn, Jafar Panahi and more. Berlin announced the completion of their line-up today and there’s definitely a few more cherries to top it all off. As expected (he’s being feted by the festival), Wim Wenders’ 3D drama, “Every Thing Will Be Fine,” starring James Franco, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Rachel McAdams, will be part of the final line-up, but will play out of competition. Other key additions include two new unexpected films by Chilean auteurs, a documentary by Patricio Guzman titled “The Pearl Button” and a new surprise drama from Pablo Larraín (director of “No” starring Gael Garcia Bernal »
- Edward Davis
With under three weeks to go, the Berlin Film Festival has completed its competition roster, adding new titles from Pablo Larraín, Wim Wenders and Oliver Hirschbiegel. In total, 19 of the 23 films in the program will be vying for Golden and Silver Bears. Twenty-one of the titles are world premieres including new addition El Club from Larraín whose 2012 No scored an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. World premiering out of competition is Wenders’ drama Everything Will Be Fine with James Franco, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Rachel McAdams and Marie-Josée Croze. The veteran helmer nabbed his third Best Documentary Feature Oscar nomination last week with The Salt Of The Earth. He’s also the subject of an homage at this year’s Berlin fest, and will be presented with an Honorary Golden Bear for his lifetime achievement.
Also in an out-of-competition world premiere is Downfall and Diana director Hirschbiegel’s Elser (13 Minutes »
- Nancy Tartaglione
Wenders’ 3D film “Every Thing Will Be Fine” stars James Franco, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Rachel McAdams. Franco plays Tomas, a writer who accidentally causes the death of a child and spends the next 12 years examining the effect of the tragedy on his life and that of Kate, the child’s mother.
As previously announced, the festival is to present Wenders with an honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement, and will screen 10 of his movies as part of an homage. Wenders directed seminal pics like “Paris, Texas” and “Wings of Desire,” and has been nominated three times for an Oscar, most recently for “The Salt of the Earth.”
Larrain’s “The Club,” which was shot off the radar, turns on four disgraced priests, who »
- Leo Barraclough
17 items from 2015
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