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The early awards season landscape is filling out as selections have been made for the Venice and Toronto film festivals, leaving clues for Telluride in their wake (where seven of the last eight best picture winners have screened).
Venice (Aug. 31-Sept. 10) kicked things off with an interesting opening night choice: Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land.” Recent films that have nabbed the slot include Oscar heavyweights like “Gravity” and “Birdman.”
Selections for the festival’s competition lineup were laid out this morning, including Derek Cianfrance’s “The Light Between Oceans,” Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals,” Terrence Malick’s “Voyage of Time” and Denis Villeneuve’s “Arrival.”
Earlier in the week, Toronto (Sept. 8-18) announced its first wave of galas and special presentations for the 41st annual event. By parsing language that mostly serves to undercut Telluride (Sept. 2-5) — which keeps its lineup a secret until attendees arrive, and has been »
- Kristopher Tapley
It’s been ten years since Mel Gibson directed his last feature, the epic film “Apocalypto,” but now Gibson returns behind the camera with a WWII drama about the first conscientious objector to ever win the Medal of Honor. The film follows Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield), a Seventh Day Adventist whose religious beliefs prevented him from picking up a weapon. He goes through training, taking the brunt of abuse from his fellow soldiers who believes he’s a coward, but eventually lands on the front lines without a weapon in hand. Doss ended up saving 75 of his comrades during the Battle of Okinawa and was eventually awarded the Medal of Honor by President Truman for his bravery. The film also stars Vince Vaughn (“Swingers”), Sam Worthington (“Avatar”), Luke Bracey (“G.I. Joe: Retaliation”), Hugo Weaving (“The Lord of the Rings”), Ryan Corr (“Where The Wild Things Ar”), and more. »
- Vikram Murthi
Aaron Sorkin’s screenwriting MasterClass is now available, and Indiewire has the exclusive clip to prove it. In it, the Oscar winner discusses the importance of rules, which he says are “what make art not finger-painting.” Watch the full video below.
Read More: Watch: Werner Herzog Rips Three Act Structure Screenwriting, Calls It ‘Brainless’
Sorkin’s course will include more than 25 video lessons as well as a 30-page workbook and interactive assignments. (One can only assume that this includes an entire lecture devoted to the walk-and-talk, but we haven’t been able to confirm as of press time.) “There’s a great tradition of writers from one generation giving a hand to the next group coming up — a tradition I got a lot of benefit from,” Sorkin said in a statement when his class was first announced. “I think new screenwriters will come away from the MasterClass with a new sense of confidence. »
- Michael Nordine
San Diego — “It’s just unabashed,” Justin Timberlake says about the Comic-Con experience. He’s there this week for his second-ever trip to the geek confab, after touring the festivities incognito as Ernie from “Sesame Street” when he was there to promote the film “In Time” five years ago. “Where else can you find Gandalf and a Stormtrooper having a beer? They go hard here.”
This time he’s among the consumer masses to pitch DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls,” releasing Nov. 4. A cheery musical wrought with colorful, tactile-like craftsmanship, the film manifests a mythology behind the ubiquitous creature dolls originally created by Danish woodcutter Thomas Dam: The trolls live a deliriously happy existence, singing on cue, taking breaks throughout the day to hug. They are hunted, meanwhile, by a monstrous race called the Bergin, who get their own happy highs by eating the trolls.
The 35-year-old Timberlake voices Branch, a »
- Kristopher Tapley
And it’s only the summer.(Charley Gallay/Getty Images)
Ava DuVernay is having the best week ever. In fact, she’s having a pretty awesome year, which is much deserved for the Oscar nominated director and super awesome Power Woman. On Tuesday, her documentary The 13th was announced as the opening night film for the 53rd Annual New York Film Festival in September, making her the first African American director and first documentarian to accomplish such a feat. On Wednesday, we caught a glimpse of the first trailer for Queen Sugar, which DuVernay created and directed alongside Executive Producer and fellow Power Woman Oprah Winfrey. Through these projects and others in the pipeline, Ava DuVernay has proven she has her finger on the pulse of entertainment and culture, and is thus basically owning 2016.
- Paola Mardo
Go figure. I was recently wondering when we would start hearing about which big titles were playing in the main slots at the New York Film Festival. Then, yesterday morning we get word that the Opening Night spot at Nyff has been filled. That coveted position was announced to have been taken by Ava DuVernay and a surprise documentary of hers called The 13th. This will be the first documentary to play in this position, in the 54th incarnation of the fest. As the first Nyff opener to be a non fiction title, history has been made. Consider me very intrigued by this one. This has definitely shaken up how I expected Nyff to go, but that’s never a bad thing. DuVernay obviously broke through in a big way a few years back with Selma, and this seems like one that could only make her a higher profile and more diversely talented filmmaker. »
- Joey Magidson
The Film Society of Lincoln Center announces Ava DuVernay’s documentary The 13th as the Opening Night selection of the 54th New York Film Festival (September 30 – October 16), making its world premiere at Alice Tully Hall. The 13th is the first-ever nonfiction work to open the festival, and will debut on Netflix and open in a limited theatrical run on October 7.
Chronicling the history of racial inequality in the United States, The 13th examines how our country has produced the highest rate of incarceration in the world, with the majority of those imprisoned being African-American. The title of DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing film refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution—“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States . . . ” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass incarceration and »
- Kellvin Chavez
Set for an October release from Netflix, “The 13th” investigates the high rate of incarceration in the U.S., particularly of African Americans. DuVernay, whose directing credits include “Selma” and “Middle of Nowhere,” traces a historical throughline from “The Birth of a Nation” up through Black Lives Matter, incorporating archival footage and interviews with figures including Angela Davis (pictured above), Cory Booker and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
The selection of the 2016 opener lends an air of topical urgency to this year’s Nyff, with the subject of the documentary chiming with current events that have pushed tensions between police and the African-American community to a high. It also gives DuVernay’s film a high-profile slot in a tightly curated festival with strong awards-season cache. »
- Gordon Cox
If the languid summer tentpole season has you down, fear not, as the promising fall slate is around the corner and today brings the first news of what we’ll see at the 2016 New York Film Festival. For the first time ever, a non-fiction film will open The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s festival: Ava DuVernay‘s The 13th. Her timely follow-up to Selma chronicles the history of racial inequality in the United States and will arrive on Netflix and in limited theaters shortly after its premiere at Nyff, on October 7.
“It is a true honor for me and my collaborators to premiere The 13th as the opening night selection of the New York Film Festival,” Ava DuVernay says. “This film was made as an answer to my own questions about how and why we have become the most incarcerated nation in the world, how and why we regard »
- Jordan Raup
Casting is once again beginning to heat up on the set of Garth Davis’ Mary Magdalene biopic, with Deadline reporting today that Chiwetel Ejiofor, star of 12 Years a Slave and The Martian, has opened talks to nab the role of Peter the Apostle.
A fisherman and key member of Jesus’ band of disciples, Peter famously denied Christ three times during his arrest and subsequent crucifixion. Soon thereafter, it’s believed that Peter was himself crucified at the hands of Emperor Nero Augustus Caesar, requesting for his cross to be turned upside down because he no longer considered himself worthy to be associated with Jesus Christ.
Though negotiations are still ongoing, it has all the makings of a meaty role for Ejiofor, who has turned in one intense, scene-stealing role after another in recent years.
- Michael Briers
Prolific filmmaker Woody Allen has set the preliminary cast for his new, as-yet-untitled movie.
Much like Cafe Society before it, details relating to Allen’s next creative venture remain thin on the ground, though now that the principal stars are a lock, we expect the notoriously secretive director to reveal the movie’s setting and a potential plot in the coming weeks.
Whatever the case, today’s casting tidbit heralds the first collaboration between Timberlake and Woody Allen, and in recent years the former has broadened his creative spectrum beyond the music industry with convincing turns in both The Social Network and Inside Llewyn Davis. Could Allen’s latest continue that red-hot streak? Time will tell.
Behind the scenes, Amazon is reportedly »
- Michael Briers
We live in a world where there are trailers for trailers. While it’s still essential to a film’s marketing, trailers are no longer mere primers for upcoming movies; they’ve become standalone events.
Sometimes, however, they’re better than the real thing. When a big movie is boiled down to its essence, trailers can provide the thrill of a blockbuster without the bloat. Slices of advertising can promise a moviegoing experience that can’t compete with the reality.
Below, we’ve charted a brief history of the American trailer over the past two decades. (A quick note: we’ve limited ourselves to one per director, so if you don’t see undisputed gems like “The Social Network” or “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” know that we haven’t forgotten them.)
Simple shadows. Telling words. Awed expressions. These practical effects, concise verbiage, and stock shots were »
- Steve Greene, Liz Shannon Miller, Kyle Kizu, Ben Travers, Kate Halliwell, Chris O'Falt, Zack Sharf, Russell Goldman and Kate Erbland
Whether it’s The Social Network or Nicholas Stoller’s brace of Neighbors movies, Hollywood films have incorporated the concept of frat hazing into stories before, but few have doubled down on the fabled rite of passage quite like Goat, Andrew Neel’s fraternity drama that is set for release later this year.
It’s all in the name of brotherhood, though, and today leading star Nick Jonas introduces the movie’s very first trailer via MTV. Boasting a script penned by David Gordon Green, Goat revolves around two decidedly different brothers who pledge their loyalty to the same fraternity.
But it’s the infamous initiation process that puts their relationship to the sword – one that makes all others seem like a doddle by comparison. Jonas headlines the flick as one half of the sibling pairing, while Ben Schnetzer, who looks to have been hit with the short straw judging by today’s snippet, »
- Michael Briers
The film, written and directed by Allen, is a drama set in New York City in the late 1950s. Allen is producing with Letty Aronson, Erika Aronson and Edward Walson. The pic marks Allen’s 48th feature and begins shooting in New York this fall.
Allen’s “Cafe Society,” which opened the Cannes Film Festival, will be released by Lionsgate and Amazon in the U.S. on July 15. The romantic drama stars Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Blake Lively, Steve Carell, Parker Posey, Corey Stoll, Jeannie Berlin and Ken Stott.
Allen is in post-production on his first-ever television show — an untitled six-episode series he wrote and directed for Amazon starring himself, Miley Cyrus and Elaine May. It will premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video later this year.
Timberlake has won nine Grammys as a singer. »
- Dave McNary
“The Gates,” published in 2011, centers on an 11-year-old protagonist and his dachshund who are trick-or-treating a full three days before Halloween. They encounter the gates to Hell, thanks to a break in the space-time continuum.
De Luca’s credits include “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and he will also producing the second and third installments of the Universal franchise. He has produced three best picture nominees in “Moneyball,” “The Social Network” and “Captain Phillips.” He will produce through his Michael De Luca Productions. De Luca Productions exec Lucy Kitada will be an executive producer. »
- Dave McNary
If you’re going to study screenwriting, there’s probably worse people to learn from than Aaron Sorkin. The Academy Award-winning writer behind The Social Network, Steve Jobs, A Few Good Men, the far too short-lived Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and the first four seasons of The West Wing is making himself available to aspiring screenwriters all across the world. If you […]
- Jack Giroux
The master magicians known as the Four Horsemen return for their most daring and astounding caper ever, elevating the limits of stage illusion to new heights in hopes of clearing their names and exposing the ruthlessness of a dangerous tech magnate. 'Now You See Me 2', starring Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers), Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games), Dave Franco (Neighbours) and Daniel Radcliffe (the Harry Potter franchise) arrives on 4th July and we have 3 great merchandise packs up for grabs. Each pack comes with a branded t-shirt, playing cards, pen and portable phone charger.. Contest Ends on Monday, July 11, 2016 »
He writes, he acts – but the star of The Social Network isn’t comfortable with the fame that followed. How will he handle a gang of fans in a London park?
From across the park, a low-pitched, adolescent chant starts up: “Jess-ee! Jesse-Eisen-berg!”
“Ooh, no,” Jesse Eisenberg says, dipping his head. The 32-year-old actor, a New Yorker most of his life, is living in London at the moment while he appears in a West End show. On a thickly warm afternoon, we wander into a park in east London that seems ideally deserted until a local school clears out for the day, sending a dozen teenagers our way. Quickly they recognise Eisenberg, from the spring blockbuster Batman v Superman, in which he played the villain Lex Luthor, as well as 2010’s The Social Network, in which he put in an Oscar-nominated performance as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. They heckle with glee: “Jess-ee! »
- Tom Lamont
It looks like Aaron Sorkin has learned how to stop worrying and love the internet. This summer, one can learn to never start dialogue with ‘damnit’ in a new masterclass from the writer, whose penned everything from The Social Network, Steve Jobs, The Newsroom, and The West Wing. He also covers more serious topics like realizing character arcs through dialogue, the importance of the but/except/then structure, the worst screenwriting crime, and hearing dialogue as music.
Following in the footsteps of Werner Herzog, pre-enrollment for the course is now available for $90, which grants early access to over 5 hours of material, launching later this summer. “There’s a great tradition of writers from one generation giving a hand to the next group coming up—a tradition I got a lot of benefit from. I think new screenwriters will come away from the MasterClass with a new sense of confidence,” Sorkin says. »
- Mike Mazzanti
MasterClass is expanding its film curriculum. After last month’s news that Werner Herzog will be teaching an online filmmaking course, it’s been announced that Aaron Sorkin will be doing similarly. The writer, producer and occasional actor is set to teach a screenwriting class for the online education platform, with the below trailer making it official. “It’s not just that dialogue sounds like music to me,” he says in the video, “it actually is music.”
Read More: Werner Herzog To Teach Online Filmmaking Class This Summer
Sorkin’s course will include more than 25 video lessons as well as a 30-page workbook and interactive assignments. (Presumably this includes an entire lecture devoted exclusively to the walk-and-talk.) “There’s a great tradition of writers from one generation giving a hand to the next group coming up — a tradition I got a lot of benefit from. I think new screenwriters will »
- Michael Nordine
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