20 items from 2016
Philadelphia — The Convention-eve resignation of Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Sunday evening emphasized that this week’s party conclave in Philadelphia may not be the seamless coronation that most Democratic operatives pined for.
Embarrassing emails showed that party leaders had conspired to short-circuit the maverick campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. That led Schultz to announce, within just hours of the news breaking, that she would step down at week’s end, after more than a decade as Democratic Party chair.
Democrats now know they will not escape the kind of tendentious infighting that distracted Republicans last week in Cleveland as they nominated Donald Trump. Even before Schultz’s swift exit, thousands of Sanders supporters were ready to make sure of that. The pro-Sanders camp had planned a week of protests to guarantee that Democratic nominee-in-waiting Hillary Clinton had to at least share the stage with their anti-establishment agenda. »
- James Rainey
Oliver Stone's biopic Snowden, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the Nsa whistleblower, will get its European premiere at the 64th edition of the San Sebastian Festival. The film will screen in the Spanish festival's official selection in an out-of-competition slot. The cast also includes Shailene Woodley (The Descendants, Divergent), Melissa Leo and Nicolas Cage. It will be Stone’s seventh visit to the festival, but the first time one of his films has been included in the official selection. In 1986, he brought Salvador to the event for a screening that marked the first at the big Velodrome, where
- Georg Szalai
Introducing Gay Talese, the author of The Voyeur's Motel (to be adapted for the screen by Krysty Wilson-Cairns, directed by Sam Mendes and produced by Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks) and Morgan Neville, the Oscar-winning director of 20 Feet From Stardom, at Lotos Club, created a Music Of Strangers conversation that lead to Alexander Payne's producer Jim Burke (Downsizing, The Descendants and Election) for A Beautiful Game, the Marx Brothers, Best Of Enemies, Keith Richards: Under the Influence and Joan Didion in Shotgun Freeway: Drives Through Lost L.A.
Darlene Love, Richard Gere and Barbara Kopple hosted the after party where Cristina Pato, Kojiro Umezaki, Colin Jacobsen, Shane Shanahan, Joseph Gramley, Evan Ziporyn, Johnny Gandelsman, Sandeep Das, Abigail Washburn, Logan Coale, »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
15 years ago, a movie starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts would have been automatic box office gold -- a guaranteed $35 million opening weekend. This weekend, however, the pair's "Money Monster" opened in third place, with an estimated $15.0 million, and even that was better than analysts predicted.
Because it came behind "Captain America: Civil War" (which held the top spot for the second week in a row) and Disney's "The Jungle Book," "Money Monster" will probably engender a lot of hand-wringing about how original movies and old-fashioned star power no longer attract audiences like they once did. Even though the film earned a modest $3 million more than expected.
There was similar discussion this time last year, when Clooney's "Tormorrowland" flopped, followed by the failure of Cameron Crowe's "Aloha," despite the presence of Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone. Many observers saw those failures as a death knell for both original screenplays »
- Gary Susman
Fortitude International has released a first look photo from The Bachelors.
The movie stars Oscar winner J.K. Simmons (Whiplash, Terminator Genisys, Juno), Golden Globe and Oscar nominee Julie Delpy (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset), Josh Wiggins (Hellion, Max, Lost In The Sun) and Odeya Rush (Upcoming Hunter’S Prayer, The Giver, Goosebumps)
Hoping for a fresh start, a widower and his 17-year-old son move from a small northern California town to Los Angeles, where a new job, a new school, a wry old friend and two extraordinary women play a transformative role in the reshaping of their lives.
Fortitude is handling international rights to the film in Cannes.
The comedy drama is written and directed by Kurt Voelker (Sweet November, Park) and produced by Matthew Baer (Unbroken, Maggie, City By The Sea), George Parra (Joy, The Descendants, Silver Linings Playbook), and Windowseat Entertainment’s Joe McKelheer (Barely Lethal, The Hammer) and Bill Kiely (Chasing Giants, »
- Michelle McCue
When it comes to movie stars, few actors in Hollywood better encapsulate what you want out of a veteran A-lister than George Clooney. Not only is he an accomplished actor with an Academy Award on his mantle, he’s a highly regarded writer and director, with an Oscar for producing under his belt as well. He’s a jack of all trades, and with a new star vehicle out on Friday in Money Monster (which I actually see tomorrow), I thought it was high time to go over his best performances to date. There’s no shortage of quality on Clooney’s permanent record, so finding his top works so far won’t be hard, on top of being a pleasure. He’s had a great career that’s only about at the midway point, so there’s not only tons to look at, but plenty more to come as well! »
- Joey Magidson
What a way to start off the week! The formidable cast list for Showtime's forthcoming Twin Peaks revival series was revealed this morning, and man, is it a doozy. In addition to boasting such key returning players as Kyle MacLachlan (Dale Cooper), Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer/Maddy Ferguson) and Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne), there are a number of surprising A-listers in the mix including Michael Cera, Trent Reznor, Amanda Seyfried and Naomi Watts. On the downside, a not-insignificant number of cast members from both the original series and the 1992 prequel film Fire Walk with Me are completely absent from the list. Where, for instance, is Lara Flynn Boyle (or Moira Kelly, for that matter)? Michael Ontkean? Piper Laurie? Joan Chen? Anyone from the mill? (Literally, there is no one from the mill.) So while I'm thankful that most of the major players are back in action, I can't help but »
- Chris Eggertsen
Phedon papamichael might not have the name identification of such fellow directors of photography as Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki or Roger Deakins, but his status among his peers is no less elite. He has brought out the best in directors like Alexander Payne, James Mangold and Gore Verbinski. And he has demonstrated a mastery of several genres, from psychological thrillers to dramedies, from biopics to Westerns, from arthouse curios to mega-budget blockbusters.
If cinematographers like to think of themselves as chameleons, Papamichael prides himself on an oeuvre in which no two movies look alike.
“It’s not really applying a style, it’s really adjusting to the story,” says Variety’s latest Billion Dollar Cinematographer. “Not just that, it’s really saving all those decisions — (involving) the performances and locations and actors — until you have all the elements unfold in front of you the moment you’re about to do it. »
- Steve Chagollan
Wiig is taking the place of Reese Witherspoon, who withdrew recently due to scheduling conflicts.
“Downsizing” centers on an Omaha man who joins the throngs of people undergoing a new process that reduces people to a tiny fraction of their size before moving to one of the many communities of small people that are sprouting up around the world.
Payne is co-writing the script with Jim Taylor. The duo won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for “Sideways” and collaborated on the scripts for “Citizen Ruth,” “Election,” “Jurassic Park III,” “About Schmidt” and “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.”
Payne’s directing credits include “Citizen Ruth, »
- Dave McNary
For my money, there are few up and coming actresses in Hollywood more exciting to watch than Shailene Woodley. In a relatively short period of time, Woodley has managed to work her way up the A-list, becoming someone whose mere presence in a film is something to be excited about. She’s been snubbed for Academy Award attention at least three times now, for The Descendants, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Spectacular Now, though her time is coming soon enough, perhaps even this year for her supporting work in the biopic Snowden. She’s also been able to anchor a big blockbuster franchise, taking the lead in the Divergent films, which continue this week with The Divergent Series: Allegiant. One thing is for sure, she’s one of the best that the industry has to offer… Here now are Woodley’s best performances to date: 5. Divergent 4. The Descendants »
- Joey Magidson
Titus Welliver's righteous Lapd homicide cop Harry Bosch begins the second season of Amazon's Bosch on suspension for a stunt he pulled when last we saw him. Shaving off the beard he grew during his time away from the job, he playfully considers sticking with some mutton-chop sideburns and/or a mustache, before finally chopping it all off to the great relief of his daughter Maddie. This is at once a wink to the various epic stages of Welliver's facial hair on Deadwood and a nod to the fact that, in Michael Connelly's best-selling series of Harry Bosch novels, his hero sports a thick policeman's 'stache. Welliver began the series clean-shaven, in part because he didn't have time to grow anything after he was cast. But the shaving scene is a way for the Bosch creative team to make clear that, even as they continue to incorporate plot »
- Alan Sepinwall
Founded in the 1930s as a ski resort by railroad magnate W. Averell Harriman, Sun Valley, Idaho, swiftly grew to become a winter playground for the rich and famous. It was pushed to prominence by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Gary Cooper and Marilyn Monroe, oft photographed dining at the area’s famed steakhouses or frolicking in its powdery snow.
Decades later, the Sun Valley Film Festival, kicking off its fifth year March 2, pays homage to its town’s storied beginnings, with a Wild West feel that combines with
a low-key, shabby-chic Hollywood crowd to create a fecund artistic haven for filmmakers, writers and assorted cineastes.
“It’s like a little Hollywood ski Shangri-la,” says Svff executive director Teddy Grennan of the fest, which attracts a mix of small-town locals and second-home owners from Los Angeles who’ve come to escape the daily grind. “I think that’s one of »
- Malina Saval
The sequel to the epic Julie Andrews road show picture wasn't a hit, but it tells a good story of its own. Charlton Heston is okay but the central character is a Chinese immigrant played by Tina Chen. Against all odds, the peasant matriarch survives plagues and leprosy to found a family dynasty for the new Hawaii. The Hawaiians Blu-ray Twilight Time Limited Edition 1970 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 134 min. / Ship Date February 9, 2016 / available through Twilight Time Movies / 29.95 Starring Charlton Heston, Tina Chen, Geraldine Chaplin, Mako, John Phillip Law, Alec McCowen, Miko Mayama, Virginia Ann Lee, Chris Robinson, Naomi Stevens, Keye Luke, Khigh Dhiegh, Mary Munday, Harry Townes, Lyle Bettger, James Hong, James Gregory, Harry Holcombe, Victor Sen Yung Cinematography Lucien Ballard, Philip Lathrop Film Editor Byron Brandt, Ralph Winters Original Music Henry Mancini Written by James R. Webb from the novel by James A. Michener Produced by Walter Mirisch Directed by »
- Glenn Erickson
Berger and Yerxa have acquired movie rights to Knausgaard’s New York Times Magazine articles, published last year, tracing the Vikings’ possible journeys from Newfoundland to Minnesota. Scandinavian producers Madeleine Ekman and Lizette Jonic at Zentropa Sweden are also producing.
Berger told Variety that he discovered Knausgaard’s article while on a flight to Scandinavia for a conference of independent producers and was able to start making the rights and producing deals during the trip. He also said that Payne’s ability to deliver road-trip comedies — “Nebraska,” “Sideways” and “About Schmidt” — convinced him that the director would be a good match.
“I think Alexander »
- Dave McNary
J.C. Chandor ("A Most Violent Year," "All Is Lost") has become attached to direct the action thriller "The Robber," a remake of the German-Austrian film and Martin Prinz's novella "Der Rauber," for FilmNation Entertainment.
The true story tale follows an elite marathon runner who uses major races as a cover to perpetrate bank heists. Chase Palmer is adapting the screenplay while Neal Dodson, Anna Gerb and Chandor producing
The story follows counterterrorism agent Mitch Rapp who is recruited by the CIA after his girlfriend is killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Stephen Schiff ("The Americans") has been hired to adapt the script.
- Garth Franklin
Oscar-winning The Descendants writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rash to make Dead Mall for Fox. You might know them best from hit TV shows like “Community” and “Married,” respectively, so it’s easy to forget that Jim Rash and Nat Faxon are also the Academy Award-winning co-writers of 2011’s The Descendants and co-directors of 2013’s critically-acclaimed The…
- Max Evry
Across Community and Married along with their award-winning work on The Descendants, Jim Rash and Nat Faxon have built up quite the catalog of projects over the past two-to-three years. It’s a streak that hasn’t gone without recognition either, with Deadline reporting that the creative duo are now poised to take point for Fox’s all-new slasher movie, Dead Mall.
Billed as an atypical coming-of-age story, Rash and Faxon’s pitch revolves around the titular, abandoned mall that’s fallen into disrepair following a steep drop-off in the number shoppers venturing into its cavernous halls. Now teetering on the edge of ruin, a group of bumbling 40-somethings decide to throw caution and common sense to the wind and explore its dark and uninviting corridors.
Indeed, the core concept balancing the comedy with the horror in Dead Mall is that this group, sleepwalking through life in something of a collective mid-life crisis, »
- Michael Briers
Exclusive: Fox has acquired Dead Mall, a pitch that will be written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, the duo that shared the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay with Alexander Payne for The Descendants and wrote and directed the Sundance sensation The Way Way Back. Several studios bid on it. The pitch is a comedy-horror movie set in a dead mall. The title comes from a growing national phenomenon, these second tier malls that are scattered about the country, skeletal… »
Oscar-winning filmmaker Alexander Payne ("Sideways," "The Descendants") will receive a presentation credit on Antonio Pietrangeli's newly restored 1965 standout "I Knew Her Well" ("lo la conoscevo bene"), opening February 5 at New York's Film Forum thanks to Janus Films and the Criterion Collection. (Their recent re-release of another restored masterwork from that year, Orson Welles' "Chimes at Midnight," proved to be something of a smash.) The distributors have planned a national release of "I Knew Her Well" to follow; check out the exclusive (and awfully seductive) new poster below. Read More: "Orson Welles' 'Chimes at Midnight' Returns to Cinemas For the First Time in Decades This New Year's Day." Pietrangeli's final completed film—he died in an accident on the set of "Come, quando, perché" in 1968, at the age of 49—"I Knew Her Well" follows Adriana (Stefania »
- Matt Brennan
I have a confession to make: I have never watched the Golden Globes — or rather, until last night, I had never been witness to that bizarre spectacle where movie stars get plastered while receiving awards from the chummy cabal of foreign journos who help promote their films year round. But this year, while visiting Los Angeles for the month, I was intrigued to attend a couple of the afterparties at the Beverly Hilton and felt it was only right to watch the show first.
Friends have always insisted that the Globes are more fun than the Oscars. For one, there’s the open bar (this year, returning host Ricky Gervais made his roast-like remarks with a beer glass on hand all night). Better still, there’s the fact that the Globes don’t mean anything — or at least, nothing more than the quasi-consensus of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., a »
- Peter Debruge
20 items from 2016
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