Afghan Star (2009) - News Poster

(2009)

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Jane Root’s Nutopia Joins With ‘Pussy Riot: a Punk Prayer’ Producer Roast Beef

The producer of feature documentaries “Pussy Riot: a Punk Prayer” and “Afghan Star” has aligned itself with Nutopia, the factual company run by former BBC and Discovery executive Jane Root.

Roast Beef is run by Mike Lerner and its credits include Oscar nominated films “Hell and Back Again,” Egyptian revolution film “The Square,” as well as “The Russian Woodpecker,” which scooped the Grand Jury Awards at Sundance in 2015.

The partners said that joining forces will creation of a factual producer working across features, TV, shortform and digital projects.

Root was the controller of BBC Two and president of the Discovery Network before creating Nutopia in 2009.

Its best-known project is “America: the Story of Us” for the History channel in the U.S. Its upcoming documentaries include “Civilisations” for the BBC and PBS, and, in association with Darren Aronofsky, “Strange Rock” for the National Geographic Channel.

“After eight years of pioneering the mega-doc, and
See full article at Variety - TV News »

New to Streaming: ‘Hell or High Water,’ ‘Kubo and the Two Strings,’ ‘Dog Eat Dog,’ and More

With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.

Dog Eat Dog (Paul Schrader)

Paul Schrader might want to consider expanding his thematic scope a little. Decade after decade, film after film, regardless of whether he’s been writing scripts for others (Martin Scorsese, first and foremost), or sitting in the director’s chair himself, the erstwhile Calvinist has come back to the theme of redemption with obstinate persistence. His protagonists are almost always men, they’re almost
See full article at The Film Stage »

Brad Pitt vs. Brad Pitt: Why ‘Allied’ Has An Awards Release, But ‘War Machine’ Doesn’t

Why has Netflix quietly moved their much-ballyhooed acquisition of David Michôd’s “War Machine,” a satiric comedy starring Brad Pitt as a general based on Afghan star Stanley McChrystal, back to 2017?

Netflix is making room for another Brad Pitt movie with awards in its sights, they confirmed. Paramount is releasing Bob Zemeckis’s World War II espionage romance “Allied,”starring Pitt and Marion Cotillard, on November 23. Pitt likes this period: he played military men in both Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” and David Ayer’s “Fury.”

Produced by Pitt’s Plan B with Ian Bryce, “War Machine” marks Netflix’s highest-budget movie commitment to date—Ted Sarandos paid a reported premium higher than its $60-million budget because when the online streamer buys all world rights to a property, it’s a flat acquisition. They pay no overages in success.

But clearly, reaching viewers directly through Netflix is the goal for
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Brad Pitt vs. Brad Pitt: Why ‘Allied’ Has An Awards Release, But ‘War Machine’ Doesn’t

  • Indiewire
Why has Netflix quietly moved their much-ballyhooed acquisition of David Michôd’s “War Machine,” a satiric comedy starring Brad Pitt as a general based on Afghan star Stanley McChrystal, back to 2017?

Netflix is making room for another Brad Pitt movie with awards in its sights, they confirmed. Paramount is releasing Bob Zemeckis’s World War II espionage romance “Allied,”starring Pitt and Marion Cotillard, on November 23. Pitt likes this period: he played military men in both Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” and David Ayer’s “Fury.”

Produced by Pitt’s Plan B with Ian Bryce, “War Machine” marks Netflix’s highest-budget movie commitment to date—Ted Sarandos paid a reported premium higher than its $60-million budget because when the online streamer buys all world rights to a property, it’s a flat acquisition. They pay no overages in success.

But clearly, reaching viewers directly through Netflix is the goal for
See full article at Indiewire »

Rock the Kasbah review – dog’s dinner of an Afghan music biz comedy

Even Bill Murray and Barry Levinson cannot rescue this confused rags to rock riches story, inspired by a real-life talent show contestant

One presumes that veteran director Barry Levinson envisaged this Mitch Glazer-scripted comedy about a has-been rock promoter working his shtick in Kabul as Good Morning Afghanistan, although the phrase “Good Night, Vienna” better describes its reception in America, where it tanked spectacularly last year. No wonder: it’s a dog’s dinner of a movie which not even the usually reliable Bill Murray can raise above the level of confused, cliched claptrap. Murray plays Richie Lanz, who comes to Kabul on the promise of rich pickings, and winds up attempting to help Leem Lubany’s Pashtun prodigy Salima defy death threats by singing on national TV.

Kate Hudson plays a toe-curlingly generic hooker with a heart of gold, Scott Caan and Danny McBride are salesmen for weight-loss firm Herbalife turned wacky gun-runners,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Rock The Kasbah review; “Bill Murray, not so funny”

Rock The Kasbah review: This sluggish comedy/ drama falls way short of the mark of what we’d expect from the likes of Bill Murray. Rock The Kasbah review

Rock The Kasbah review by Paul Heath. Dumped in the release schedules in the U.K. post-Oscars and pre-blockbusters is Rock The Kasbah, a film that was received very poorly in the U.S. late last year.

Bill Murray plays the role of a down on his luck, faded music manager Richie Lanz, a Los Angeles resident who is not only on the lookout for the next big thing, but also the next big small thing that he can quickly extract some cash from to pay his bills, something that is clearly demonstrated in the film’s opening scenes. A string of rushed events see Lanz head to Afghanistan with his best act, a lounge singer played by the brilliant Zooey Deschanel.
See full article at The Hollywood News »

UK trailer for Rock the Kasbah starring Bill Murray

Ahead of its UK release this Friday, a new trailer has arrived online for director Barry Levinson’s upcoming comedy Rock the Kasbah which sees Bill Murray lead a cast that includes Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Danny McBride and Bruce Willis. Check it out below after the official synopsis…

A has-been rock manager from Van Nuys, California stumbles upon a once-in-a-lifetime voice in a remote Afghan cave in Rock the Kasbah, a dramatic comedy inspired by stranger-than-fiction, real-life events and directed by Oscar winner Barry Levinson. Richie Lanz (Bill Murray), dumped and stranded in war-torn Kabul by his last remaining client (Zooey Deschanel), discovers Salima Khan (Leem Lubany), a Pashtun teenager with a beautiful voice and the courageous dream of becoming the first woman to compete on national television in Afghanistan’s version of “American Idol.” Richie partners with a savvy hooker (Kate Hudson), a pair of hard-partying war profiteers
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Rock the Kasbah movie review: whitemansplaining, the movie

Behold Bill Murray as the white savior barreling into a foreign land and teaching the ignorant natives how to be better people. Obnoxious and tone deaf. I’m “biast” (pro): love Bill Murray

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Bill Murray is Richie Lanz, a sleazy Los Angeles music manager. He’s the kind of guy who takes money from a wannabe singer with no talent and no chance of even the most measly sort of success but who is also naive enough to believe that it’s normal to pay him upfront. And he’s clearly been stringing along his assistant, Ronnie (Zooey Deschanel: Your Highness, Yes Man), who has been working for him in the expectation that she will get a boost to her own singing career. So when he takes her to Kabul — yes, in Afghanistan — to perform for U.
See full article at FlickFilosopher »

New clip from Rock the Kasbah starring Bill Murray

Coinciding with its Us release, a new clip has arrived online from Rock the Kasbah starring Bill Murray. Check it out below after the official synopsis…

See Also: Watch the trailer for Rock the Kasbah

A has-been rock manager from Van Nuys, California stumbles upon a once-in-a-lifetime voice in a remote Afghan cave in Rock the Kasbah, a dramatic comedy inspired by stranger-than-fiction, real-life events and directed by Oscar winner Barry Levinson. Richie Lanz (Bill Murray), dumped and stranded in war-torn Kabul by his last remaining client (Zooey Deschanel), discovers Salima Khan (Leem Lubany), a Pashtun teenager with a beautiful voice and the courageous dream of becoming the first woman to compete on national television in Afghanistan’s version of “American Idol.” Richie partners with a savvy hooker (Kate Hudson), a pair of hard-partying war profiteers (Danny McBride and Scott Caan) and a hair-trigger mercenary (Bruce Willis) and, braving dangerous cultural prejudices,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Win Rock The Kasbah Run-Of-Engagement Passes In St. Louis

Rock The Kasbah, starring Bill Murray, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Bruce Willis, Danny McBride, Scott Caan, and Taylor Kinney, opens in theaters Today!

Wamg is giving away Five (5) Run-Of-Engagement passes to see the film in the St. Louis area – and we’ll throw in t-shirts for the winners!

A has-been rock manager from Van Nuys, California stumbles upon a once-in-a-lifetime voice in a remote Afghan cave in Rock The Kasbah, a dramatic comedy inspired by stranger-than-fiction, real-life events and directed by Oscar winner Barry Levinson.

Richie Lanz (Bill Murray), dumped and stranded in war-torn Kabul by his last remaining client (Zooey Deschanel), discovers Salima Khan (Leem Lubany), a Pashtun teenager with a beautiful voice and the courageous dream of becoming the first woman to compete on national television in Afghanistan’s version of “American Idol.”

Richie partners with a savvy hooker (Kate Hudson), a pair of hard-partying war profiteers
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

[Review] Rock the Kasbah

What a difference a year makes. The loveable Bill Murray gave one of his most touching and bittersweet performances last fall in St. Vincent. This year, Murray stars as Richie Lanz, an unlikable music manager searching Afghanistan for a pop idol in Rock The Kasbah. Well, actually that sales description is partly misleading. The film as a whole is much worse than that, digging into perhaps the least interesting part of a more interesting story.

Lanz is an unlikely entry into this world, and Murray, as amenable as he is, can’t seem to flesh out this guy, a down-on-his-luck womanizer whose business includes telling no-talents they’ve got what it takes to be a star if only they’ll write him a check to cover his representation fee. The actor’s done the nasty-old-man-with-a-heart-of-gold thing well before, but this film’s problem is that its heart is not in the right place.
See full article at The Film Stage »

Rock the Kasbah Is Flat and Off the Beat

  • Vulture
Rock the Kasbah Is Flat and Off the Beat
In the weirdly dreadful Bill Murray–goes-to-Afghanistan comedy Rock the Kasbah, Murray plays a broke, sleazy music-tour manager who somehow enables an oppressed Pashtun woman in a hijab to get on an American Idol–style TV show (Afghan Star, which actually exists) and strike a blow for female self-expression. Why is Murray’s character, Richie Lanz, in Pashtun country? He hears that he can make a boatload of money providing entertainment for the troops, so he drags his whiny new protégé ,Ronnie (Zooey Deschanel in tight leopard-skin pants), onto a plane and enters a roiling society, split down the middle between gung-ho hedonism and murderous fundamentalism.When Ronnie is liberated by a sympathetic mercenary (a cameo by Bruce Willis, who doesn’t have to smirk to seem smirky — it’s in his DNA), Richie is left high and dry (literally — he’s in the high desert). But then he hears
See full article at Vulture »

Rock The Kasbah – The Review

“Long live rock and roll!” Turns out that this is really true. I mean the Rolling Stones are still filling up arenas well past the usual retirement age, as does Paul McCarthy (excuse me, Sir Paul!). Well, some of those rockers do slow down a bit and ease into more pop ballads and standards. We saw that earlier this year with Al Pacino as Danny Collins. Is the same true for their managers and agents? Hey, Christopher Plummer took on that role with Al. This new film’s focus on one such aging music agent, a fellow who will never let go of the beat, the melody. And what actor still embodies rock star cool? How about Mr. Bill Murray. Tossing him into the music scene should guarantee big laughs, but how about stranding him in the volatile Middle East for a fish out of water twist? With the bullets
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Rock the Kasbah | Review

  • ioncinema
Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World: Levinson’s Afghan Exploration Prizes Diversion

After a unique pit stop in found footage horror with 2012’s The Bay and an underrated Philip Roth adaptation in 2014 with The Humbling, Barry Levinson returns to his particular predilection for boundary pushing, politically topical subject matters in Rock the Kasbah. It’s a very loosely based version of the true account of Setara Hussainzada, a woman who sang on national television in Afghanistan’s version of “American Idol,” known as “Afghan Star,” even though it’s illegal for women to sing.

More along the lines of Levinson’s Man of the Year (2006) than Wag the Dog (1997), as scripted by Mitch Glazer (his first excursion since 2010’s appalling Passion Play), the title seems as woefully out-of-touch as it is unwarranted. Oddly unsympathetic, even as it depicts a subversive act of rebellion within a ruthlessly patriarchal and misogynistic culture,
See full article at ioncinema »

Bullets, Sand and Bill Murray: Inside 'Rock the Kasbah'

Bullets, Sand and Bill Murray: Inside 'Rock the Kasbah'
Being friends with Bill Murray has had some drawbacks for Mitch Glazer. Since the former SNL Mvp, poetry aficionado and part-time party crasher doesn't have an agent or a manager, total strangers call Glazer up to see if he will convince the man to be in their movies. And it also means that Murray calls him up whenever Road House is on TV, to deliver a play-by-play commentary on the scene where Patrick Swayze has sex with Kelly Lynch (Glazer's wife). But it also means that the writer-director gets to
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Review: Bill Murray takes a ridiculous tour of the Middle East in 'Rock The Kasbah'

  • Hitfix
Review: Bill Murray takes a ridiculous tour of the Middle East in 'Rock The Kasbah'
Oh, Bill. I recently wrote a piece about how Bill Murray has transcended being a mere living legend and has become a urban myth, and I stand behind every word of that. Unfortunately, Bill often makes choices involving films that make it very hard to support the films themselves, and "Rock The Kasbah" is a perfect example of that. Mitch Glazer is one of those people who appear to be able to get Bill Murray to actually pick up the phone, and he's a credited co-writer on "Scrooged," a film that features one of my favorite Bill Murray performances. Unfortunately, he's also responsible for writing and directing "Passion Play," one of the worst things Murray has ever been part of, and so walking into "Rock The Kasbah," I had my fingers crossed that Glazer would be able to tap the side of his friend that has made him such an
See full article at Hitfix »

‘Rock the Kasbah’ is bafflingly bad

  • SoundOnSight
Rock the Kasbah

Written by Mitch Glazer

Directed by Barry Levinson

USA, 2015

That noise you hear is the sound of Elaine May celebrating. She’s no longer the architect of Hollywood’s most ill-conceived Middle East comedy. That’s an exaggeration, of course, as Rock the Kasbah never reaches the goofy heights (or depths) of May’s notorious bomb, Ishtar. Still, it’s hard to imagine what legendary director Barry Levinson and uber-cool demigod Bill Murray were thinking. From the off-kilter script to the uneven performances, this movie is bafflingly bad. Even Murray seems adrift in what, presumably, started as a vehicle for his particular genius. Rock the Kasbah is 2015’s biggest head scratcher.

Perhaps through sheer will alone, Barry Levinson (Diner, Rain Man, Wag the Dog) still manages to keep Rock the Kasbah a fascinating failure. What begins as a raunchy, quasi-satirical road picture ends as a queasy tribute to “disgraced” Afghan Star contestant,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Film Review: ‘Rock the Kasbah’

Film Review: ‘Rock the Kasbah’
Mere weeks after the horrific bombing of an Afghan hospital and President Obama’s announcement of extended U.S. military presence in the region, this weekend might not prove to have been an ideal moment to release a film that treats the slow-motion tragedy of Afghanistan’s recent history as an exotic backdrop for broad fish-out-of-water comedy. Then again, there will probably never be a good time to release a project as fundamentally misjudged and disjointed as “Rock the Kasbah.” Extremely loosely inspired by the true story of Setara Hussainzada, an Afghan woman who braved death threats after appearing on the country’s version of “American Idol,” this Bill Murray starrer utterly fails to connect as an “Ishtar”-esque Muslim-world farce, a cynical skewering of American foreign policy, or a cuddly, inspirational ode to the unifying power of music — and to the film’s dubious credit, it does attempt all three.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Rock The Kasbah Review

A Bill Murray – which is to say, a performer of particular stripes that enjoys almost unanimous affection from moviegoers – is a rare and precious thing. As much a performance artist these days as he is an actor, Murray himself has settled into being the communal whacky uncle on our mom’s side (dad’s is where you’ll find Tom Hanks). Murray is a piece of modern Americana, as close to a folk hero as Hollywood has ever produced, and it’s by his grace that many poorer projects find their silver lining. But like any legend, that reverence can be exploited to justify undertakings of odious construction and intent, which Murray’s latest film, Rock the Kasbah, most certainly is.

That this movie likely wouldn’t exist without Murray’s involvement makes it tempting to point an accusing finger squarely at him, but we’re all to blame here.
See full article at We Got This Covered »

Bill Murray Joins the Band at ‘Rock the Kasbah’ Party

Bill Murray Joins the Band at ‘Rock the Kasbah’ Party
Wherever Bill Murray goes, there he is. Murray isn’t just one of the most acclaimed actors alive; he’s also a notorious free-spirit, one seemingly allergic to ever being bored.

So when Murray decided to join the cover band playing at Monday’s after-party for the New York premiere of “Rock the Kasbah” for a spirited rendition of the Young Rascals’ “Good Lovin,” it was both one of those moments everyone who attended will talk about it forever, and just another day in the life of Murray.

Later, Bruce Willis, Murray’s co-star in Kasbah, joined the band, Chevy Chevis Entertainment, for a run through of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary,” while partygoers, including Zooey Deschanel, Sofia Coppola, Fred Durst and Open Road’s Tom Ortenberg looked on as they were served crab cakes and tomato soup at Good Units in the basement of the Hudson Hotel.

Jennifer Lopez,
See full article at Variety - Film News »
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