16 items from 2015
All week long our writers will debate: Which was the greatest film year of the past half century. Check here for a complete list of our essays. How to decide in the grand scheme of things which film year stands above all others? History gives us no clear methodology to unravel this thorny but extremely important question. Is it the year with the highest average score of movies? So a year that averages out to a B + might be the winner over a field strewn with B’s, despite a few A +’s. Or do a few masterpieces lift up a year so far that whatever else happened beyond those three or four films is of no consequence? Both measures are worthy, and the winner by either of those would certainly be a year not to be sneezed at. But I contend the only true measure of a year’s »
- Richard Rushfield
The production and sales outfit, which has offices in Paris and L.A., is set to host a screening of Finnish hospital drama “The Replacements” at the confab. Set in the near future, the series centers on a nurse who falls in love with a man without knowing that he’s a clone created by her father to save her from a terminal blood disease. Produced by Matti Halonen and Miikko Oikkonen’s Fisher King, the 12-episode series has already been picked up Finnish broadcaster Nelonen.
Modeled on the U.S.’ fully integrated studios, Breton created Federation Entertainment in partnership with experienced execs and creatives, notably Alex Berger, a former Canal Plus senior exec, and French helmer-writer Eric Rochant, who are behind “The Bureau, »
- Elsa Keslassy
Netflix announced Monday that it will release “Special Correspondents,” a new film from British comedian Ricky Gervais. Gervais wrote and directed the film, in addition to starring in it alongside Eric Bana (“Munich”). Bana plays a struggling New York-based radio journalist, whose arrogance and decadent lifestyle has hindered his career. With his job on the line, he fakes front line war reports from the comfort of his hideout above a Spanish restaurant in the heart of Manhattan. The film is a co-production between Bron Studios and Unanimous Entertainment. Ricky Gervais, Unanimous’ Chris Coen, Bron’s Aaron L. Gilbert, Manuel Munz and Larry Sanitsky will produce. »
- Joe Otterson
Paul Risker chats with Hostages star Ayelet Zurer…
In 2013 Ayelet Zurer was nominated for the Best Actress in a Drama Series category at the Israeli Television Academy Awards for both Shtisel and Bnei Aruba. The latter is more familiarly known to UK audiences as Hostages, which aired in BBC Four’s Saturday 9pm foreign drama prime time slot. It was for her performance as Dr. Yael Danon in Bnei Aruba/Hostages, a character only introduced to UK audiences in recent weeks that Zurer was awarded her second success at the Israeli Television Academy Awards; following on from her Best Actress award for BeTipul in 2005.
When Flickering Myth spoke with Zurer recently ahead of the series finale of Hostages and its UK home entertainment release she offered: “The more I grow up and mature into what I am supposed to be in this world I guess I understand that my interest »
- Gary Collinson
Nicolas Cage, Rhys Ifans and Joely Richardson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) have all joined a cast led by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley. Melissa Leo, Tom Wilkinson, Zachary Quinto, Scott Eastwood, Timothy Olyphant, Ben Schnetzer and Jaymes Butler also star. Cage will play a former U.S. intelligence official, while no details have been revealed about Ifans and Richardson’s roles.
Gordon-Levitt, of course, is taking on the role of Edward Snowden, the American-born whistleblower who exposed numerous global surveillance programs run by the Nsa and the Five Eyes before fleeing the United States in hopes of being granted sanctuary in Russia. Woodley plays his girlfriend Lindsey Mills; Leo portrays journalist and filmmaker Laura Poitras »
- Isaac Feldberg
Based on the George Jonas’ novel Vengeance, Steven Spielberg’s 2005 drama Munich centers on a covert hit squad that was commissioned by the Israeli government to assassinate the 11 individuals suspected of planning the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.
Leading the group is Avner Kaufmann (Eric Bana), a Mossad agent named handpicked by Israel Minister Golda Meir (Lynn Cohen) to lead the team. The diverse group includes a driven South African mercenary named Steve (Daniel Craig); Robert (Mathieu Kassovitz), a Belgian toy maker who also makes bombs, an expert forger named Hans (Hanns Zischler) and Carl (Ciaran Hinds), the person responsible for making sure the targets are clean and collateral damage will not become an issue. Despite the denial of their existence by the Israeli government, Avner occasionally reports to a hard line official named Ephraim (Geoffrey Rush).
For a while, the mission is a success as one by one, the targets are found and taken out. »
Film scores are pretty ephemeral to a large chunk of the movie-going populace, where music isn’t noticeable unless a triumphant fanfare or sweeping ballad draws enough attention to itself. So if scoring is already the film industry’s unappreciated middle child, how silly is a list about ones that haven’t been released yet? Very silly. Oftentimes, composers don’t even sign with a project until well into production, so speculating on the best film music of 2015, like any year, forces one to work with what’s known. Sound on Sight will offer more in-depth analysis on the most buzzed about music as the year rolls on but for now, here are the ten movie scores I’m most excited to hear in 2015.
Alan Silvestri’s last great score was for a TV show, and his last great film score was for one of the more forgettable Marvel entries. »
- David Klein
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
Stumbling across that list of best-edited films yesterday had me assuming that there might be other nuggets like that out there, and sure enough, there is American Cinematographer's poll of the American Society of Cinematographers membership for the best-shot films ever, which I do recall hearing about at the time. But they did things a little differently. Basically, in 1998, cinematographers were asked for their top picks in two eras: films from 1894-1949 (or the dawn of cinema through the classic era), and then 1950-1997, for a top 50 in each case. Then they followed up 10 years later with another poll focused on the films between 1998 and 2008. Unlike the editors' list, though, ties run absolutely rampant here and allow for way more than 50 films in each era to be cited. I'd love to see what these lists would look like combined, however. I imagine "Citizen Kane," which was on top of the 1894-1949 list, »
- Kristopher Tapley
Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors, Mission: Impossible III) is set to take the lead in spy thriller Damascus Cover, producers said Monday. Production starts this week in Morocco. Rhys Meyers was announced alongside fellow castmembers Olivia Thirlby (Juno, No Strings Attached), John Hurt (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Alien), Igal Naor (Green Zone, Munich) and Navid Negahban (Homeland). The film is being produced by U.K.-based Big Book Media, while Carnaby International will launch global sales in Berlin. Read more Roland Emmerich Gay-Rights Drama 'Stonewall' Gets International Sales Firm Directed by Daniel Berk, whose previous outing as director was
- Alex Ritman
While "Unbroken" failed to take off as an awards season machine, Angelina Jolie remains undefeated. She's already got the drama, "By The Sea," with her husband Brad Pitt, in the can, and now it looks like they'll be reteaming. The latter has joined Jolie's previously announced project, "Africa." Penned by Eric Roth ("Ali," "Munich," "The Good Shepherd"), the film is a biopic about Kenyan Richard Leakey, who came from a line of archaeologists, but turned his attentions to paleontology and most famously to anti-poaching efforts. Roger Deakins will lens the Jolie-directed movie and production aims to start this summer. [The Wrap] Matthew McConaughey is "Born To Run." The actor will star in an adaptation of Christopher McDougall's book, scripted by Matthew Michael Carnahan, about "how an award-winning journalist and often-injured runner headed for Mexico’s isolated, deadly Copper Canyons to »
- Kevin Jagernauth
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)
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
The first poster and trailer for the upcoming Wild West movie Western Religion has arrived online, and we have them both for you below, as well as a selection of exclusive images. Check them out here…
Western Religion is set in 1879. Gunfighters from the far reaches of the globe have descended on the mining town of Religion, Arizona to compete in a legendary poker tournament in which their very souls are on the line.
“Having done a run and gun road movie, I wanted to dive into something bigger, something with historic appeal. We brought in Western historian Pete Sherayko to create a town that reflects the tent city aesthetic from the ground up. Due to the government switch, the town was built as the film was being shot; much like these towns went up overnight in that era. The classic case of art imitating life,” said director James O’Brien. »
- Gary Collinson
Donning the cape and tights to play a big screen superhero was often seen as career suicide for actors. This idea is mined to brilliant effect in Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman, with a former comic book star looking to relaunch his career with an ambitious Broadway play.
Adding extra spice to Birdman is the casting of Michael Keaton, himself a former Batman whose post-tights career has been somewhat hit and miss. This film, however, is a stunning reminder of just how good an actor Keaton is and proof that careers don't end when on-screen superpowers fade away.
Digital Spy takes a look at 20 ex-superhero stars to see how they fared after leaving an iconic comic book role behind.
20. Billy Zane
Most of the movie biopics that figure prominently in awards season had their share of twists and turns, but none more than American Sniper, the film about Navy Seal Chris Kyle that Clint Eastwood directed for Warner Bros. Jason Hall, the writer since the film’s inception, explains how Sniper overcame more setbacks and tragedy than most films.
Deadline: You were an aspiring actor not that long ago. How did you become the sole writer of American Sniper?
Hall: I tried to be an actor, did TV parts in shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, played the bad guy or the MacGuffin bad guy with the half-baked mustache. I’d read these terrible movie scripts and couldn’t get auditions for them. I thought maybe I could write a terrible script for myself, but they wouldn’t even let me audition when I did that. My first script, I remember »
- Mike Fleming Jr
16 items from 2015
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