1-20 of 83 items from 2017 « Prev | Next »
Stephen King’s mighty “It” is single-handedly reviving box office totals after a bleak late summer. It is rare for the second weekend of a hit film to provide the majority of the gross for the time period, but that’s what Warner Bros. achieved on the horror flick’s second weekend. While not as dominant as it was in its September record initial three days, $60 million represented barely more than a 50 per cent drop. Not bad.
With almost $219 million in the till so far and a strong hold, forget $300 million as an ultimate domestic total — $350 million now looks possible. “It” is already the third-biggest modern-day September release ever after only ten days. It will soar past “Rush Hour” by next weekend, and end up almost certain behind “Crocodile Dundee” (adjusted to current ticket prices, at about $410 million) as best for the month in the era of wide initial releases. »
- Tom Brueggemann
It was a beautiful validation for comic book fans everywhere when the Marvel Cinematic Universe grew so unstoppable that some of the trippiest and hardest-to-adapt characters were finally able to star in their own franchises, with A-list actors to boot. None have been weirder than Doctor Strange. And now, It's hard to imagine anyone other than Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of the Sorcerer Supreme, who Steve Ditko and Stan Lee introduced in the pages of Strange Tales back in the summer of 1963. But things could have turned out a lot different.
As things got cooking for Marvel's Phase 3, there were a slew of big name actors in contention for the magical role of Doctor Stephen Strange. And a few A listers came very close to signing that contract. As Marvel puts it, Benedict Cumberbatch was always the first choice. But we're not so sure about that, as one particular »
News of Todd Haynes making his first documentary should’ve come as something of a curveball, but it was reported that the “Carol” director is planning a non-fiction project about the Velvet Underground, it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. Haynes’ “Velvet Goldmine” is such a knowing, textured, and vividly remembered reflection on the glam rock era that it can be easy to forget that its story merely alludes to the likes of Lou Reed.
But the fascination the Velvet Underground holds for Haynes isn’t the only thing that makes this newly announced documentary feel like such a perfect pairing between subject and storyteller. With the landmark “The Velvet Underground & Nico” LP, Reed and his cohorts effectively forged a new language for countercultural expression, synthesizing the subversive pop stylings of Andy Warhol into a rock movement that had already been neutered of its rebellious beginnings. With films like “Poison” and “Safe, »
- David Ehrlich
Monday-morning quarterbacking is in full effect after Kathryn Bigelow’s “Detroit” opened wide to $7.6 million after a week in limited release. The biggest single target of blame is distributor Annapurna Films’ choice of an August release date for the first film from the distribution arm of Megan Ellison’s high-flying production company (“American Hustle,” “Her,” “The Master”).
Lacking time travel, it’s impossible to predict what the alternative result would have been. But let’s start with the assumption that the team at Annapurna analyzed all options. A case can be made that, faced with a tough film to market, August contained a logic that a fall release did not.
What Made August Appealing?
Late summer brought both opportunity and precedent. Studio distribution operates under a number of preconceptions, with a heavy reliance on history. Key dates belong to the highest-budget releases that need worldwide success and near-simultaneous release. »
- Tom Brueggemann
In an age where special effects reign supreme, there’s one aspect of the filmmaking process that hasn’t gone through a radical transformation — music. Some of the best movies in any given year would be sorely lacking without their memorable scores, and this has remained true well into the first two decades of the 21st century.
Film composers play an integral part in the filmmaking process, and there are a handful whose bodies of work stand out in recent years. Of course, this list of 12 major composers only begins to scratch the surface of the talent out there. There are plenty of other worthy contributors to the medium who didn’t make the cut — Danny Elfman and John Williams, we’re looking at you — but rest assured that this top dozen represent the cream of the crop.
- Gabrielle Kiss
David Ellison’s Skydance Media, which had planned to bolt from Paramount Pictures under its previous regime, has instead signed a new multi-year deal with the studio, according to people familiar with the matter.
The new pact will keep Skydance at the studio for four more years. Together the companies will produce new installments in the Mission: Impossible, Top Gun, and World War Z franchises, as well oversee a re-launch of the Terminator series that is rumored to involve James Cameron, the director of the first two films. Paramount and Skydance will partner on “Bermuda Triangle,” a mystery thriller that may be directed by Sam Raimi, and “Gemini Man,” an action-adventure that has drawn interest from Ang Lee and Will Smith.
The move is a boon to Paramount because Skydance is one of the studio’s most important co-financing and co-production partners. It comes at a particularly critical time for Paramount. Its »
- Brent Lang
The Oscar winner’s ripped-from-the-headlines drama, which opens nationwide on Aug. 4, burrows into one of the most painful chapters in American history. It centers on the Detroit riots of 1967, a response to decades of racial oppression and economic marginalization that exploded during a scorching hot summer and enflamed the Motor City. How could Bigelow — a white woman raised just ouside San Franicsco by middle-class parents and educated at Columbia University — understand and illuminate that kind of raw experience? Should she even try?
“I thought, ‘Am I the perfect person to tell this story? No,’” says Bigelow. “However, I’m able to tell this story, and it’s been 50 years since it’s been told.”
Ultimately, Bigelow opted to put her clout as the most famous female filmmaker in the world on the line, and convinced Annapurna, an indie production company with big ambitions to become »
- Brent Lang
In just five years, Megan Ellison‘s Annapurna Pictures has established itself as a producer of quality films. Among its Oscar contenders to date: 2012 – “The Master” and “Zero Dark Thirty”; 2013 – “American Hustle” and “Her”; 2014- “Foxcatcher”; 2015 – “Joy”; and 2016 – “20th Century Woman.” This year, it is both producing and […] »
- Paul Sheehan
“Dunkirk” is just one week away from opening in theaters nationwide, and it marks a big step in the career of Christopher Nolan. The director has experimented with using 70mm film for select scenes in his movies dating back to “The Prestige,” but the WWII drama is the first time he used 70mm film for the entire picture. That’s right: 100% of “Dunkirk” was filmed using 70mm film cameras, and 75% was shot using IMAX cameras.
Read More: 15 Essential Movies Shot On 70mm Film, From ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ to ‘Dunkirk’
Nolan has been at the forefront when it comes to advocating about film preservation. He’s constantly talking about the immersive quality of 70mm film and how that texture is lost when you shoot on digital. Nolan’s efforts to revive 70mm have been supported in recent years by Quentin Tarantino (“The Hateful Eight”), Paul Thomas Anderson (“The Master”), Zach »
- Zack Sharf
What makes a Paul Thomas Anderson shot feel so unique? That’s the question at the center of a new video essay from StudioBinder that analyzes the director’s most iconic images and teaches aspiring filmmakers how they can approach shot-buiding from a similar perspective.
Anderson has made eight features in his two decades as a director, including the upcoming fashion drama with Daniel Day-Lewis, and when looking at his filmography in chronological order one can easily see the evolution of his style and personal filmmaking voice. His early days were marked by his greatest influences — Jonathan Demme and his intimate closeups, Martin Scorsese and his tracking shots — and Anderson’s style has become defined by the way he has taken these touchstones and made them his own.
Ead More: Why Paul Thomas Anderson Didn’t Hire a Cinematographer For His New Movie
Working with cinematographers Robert Elswit and Mihai Mălaimare Jr. »
- Zack Sharf
Annapurna has tapped Twentieth Century Fox to oversee its home entertainment releases. The indie distributor has made a name for itself by backing acclaimed directors such as Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Paul Thomas Anderson (“The Master”), and Spike Jonze (“Her”). Annapurna is now moving into distributing and marketing its own movies.
The deal with Fox is described as a multi-year pact. Fox will oversee the U.S. home entertainment rights for all Annapurna releases across physical, digital, and other platforms. The deal will kick off with “Detroit,” a drama about the 1967 murders in the Algiers Motel, which debuts in theaters on Aug. 4. A home entertainment debut has yet to be announced.
How Too Many Aging Franchises Wrecked the Summer Box Office
“We are very excited to partner with Twentieth Century Fox Film to extend the reach of our »
- Brent Lang
“Dunkirk” will appear in 125 70MM theaters, Warner Bros. Pictures said Wednesday. That’s the widest release in the format in 25 years, a testament to director Christopher Nolan’s clout and belief in the superiority of these screenings.
Directors such as Nolan, Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino swear by 70MM, the industry term for a wide high-resolution film gauge that was once used to project epic films such as “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Ben-Hur.” They believe it creates crisper, more painterly images. However, theater chains have moved away from film projection, in favor of cheaper, digital forms of exhibition. It takes a filmmaker with enormous influence to compel them to take old equipment out of mothballs and hire staff that can work the older projectors.
- Brent Lang
For his follow-up to 2014’s Inherent Vice, the currently untitled film (under the production name of Phantom Thread) by Paul Thomas Anderson involves him taking on a particularly significant production role for the first time: director of photography. After we broke the news when production kicked off, Indiewire has now officially confirmed that Anderson, who has utilized Robert Elswit’s skill on all of his previous films save for The Master (which had Mihai Mălaimare Jr. filling in), decided to assume cinematography duties after Elswit was unavailable due to schedule conflicts.
Fortunately, the film, which focuses on what appears to be Daniel Day-Lewis’s final performance as an in-demand dressmaker in the 1950s London fashion scene, seems to be in good hands, as various sources in production have described Anderson as especially adept and knowledgeable with regards to film stock and camera lenses. Whether this maverick auteur’s efforts will »
- The Film Stage
For almost his entire career, Paul Thomas Anderson has aligned himself with the great Robert Elswit. The acclaimed cinematographer has shot every Anderson picture to date, with the exception of “The Master” which was lensed by Mihai Malaimare Jr., and the documentary “Junun,” which was essentially assembled from footage from a variety of consumer-grade digital cameras. Clearly, Anderson has been paying attention and taking notes, because for his upcoming, tentatively titled “Phantom Thread” he shouldered one more responsibility in addition to writing and directing the picture.
Continue reading Paul Thomas Anderson Is Also The Cinematographer On ‘Phantom Thread’ at The Playlist. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
When Focus Features announced in February that production began in the U.K. on Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film, one notable role wasn’t on the production’s creative roster: director of photography. It’s not unusual for Anderson’s movies to be shrouded in secrecy, with crew members required to sign non-disclosure agreements, but in this case the answer hid in plain sight: Anderson worked as his own Dp.
Read More: Paul Thomas Anderson’s Best Scenes, Ranked
What will be Daniel Day-Lewis’ last movie was known as “Phantom Thread” during production, but that will not be the title when the film hits theaters Christmas Day, IndieWire has learned. Written and directed by Anderson, the movie set in 1950s London stars Day-Lewis as a dressmaker commissioned by royalty and high society.
Anderson toyed with the idea of working as both director and Dp on one of his movies for years, »
- Graham Winfrey
Amy Adams is adding yet another award to her stacked résumé. The five-time Oscar nominee and two-time Golden Globe winner will be honored at the Giffoni Film Festival, an annual fest in the south of Italy dedicated to children and teens. The Hollywood Reporter writes that the “Arrival” star will receive the Experience Award. Adams grew up in the U.S., but she was born in Italy.
According to THR, the “Enchanted” actress will “hold a master class with the festival’s young guests to discuss her career.” The fest is scheduled to take place July 14–22, and Adams will receive her honor July 15.
Adams has received Oscar nominations for her performances in “American Hustle,” “The Master,” “The Fighter,” “Doubt,” and “Junebug.” Her recent credits include neo-noir “Nocturnal Animals” and box office and critical hit “Arrival.” “She’s not heroic in the traditional sense,” Adams said of Dr. Louise Banks, her “Arrival” character. “I love that she gets to rely on her intellect and instinct as opposed to brawn and bravery.” Dr. Banks uses her education, problem-solving skills, and personal experiences to address the potential threat of an alien takeover in the sci-fi film.
You can catch Adams next in “Sharp Objects,” Marti Noxon’s adaptation of “Gone Girl” author Gillian Flynn’s 2006 novel of the same name. She’ll topline and executive produce the HBO series. The drama follows a Chicago-based reporter who was recently treated at a psych hospital for self-harm. She reluctantly returns to her tiny hometown, Wind Gap, Missouri, to cover the murder of two preteen girls.
Amy Adams to Be Honored at Giffoni Film Fest was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the most revered American filmmakers of the last 20 years in part because he’s so unclassifiable. Working in a range of genres while tackling subjects that skew from anger management to American capitalism, religion and porn, Anderson has built a filmography distinguished by its unpredictability — and the sheer originality he brings to each new effort. Beyond the stories that distinguish his movies are the many ways in which they immerse viewers in fully defined worlds.
Every Anderson movie is an absorbing experience loaded with strange, funny, and shocking moments, all of which speak to the agenda of an artist keen on pushing the medium beyond its most familiar forms.
There may be no better way to survey the range of achievements in Anderson’s work than to »
- Eric Kohn, Kate Erbland, Jude Dry, Graham Winfrey and Zack Sharf
'120 Beats per Minute' trailer: Robin Campillo's AIDS movie features plenty of drama and a clear sociopolitical message. AIDS drama makes Pedro Almodóvar cry – but will Academy members tear up? (See previous post re: Cannes-Oscar connection.) In case France submits it to the 2018 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, screenwriter-director Robin Campillo's AIDS drama 120 Beats per Minute / 120 battements par minute, about the Paris Act Up chapter in the early 1990s, could quite possibly land a nomination. The Grand Prix (Cannes' second prize), international film critics' Fipresci prize, and Queer Palm winner offers a couple of key ingredients that, despite its gay sex scenes, should please a not insignificant segment of the Academy membership: emotionalism and a clear sociopolitical message. When discussing the film after the presentation of the Palme d'Or, Pedro Almodóvar (and, reportedly, jury member Jessica Chastain) broke into tears. Some believed, in fact, that 120 Beats per Minute »
- Steph Mont.
There have been a lot of lists about the best films of the 21st century. IndieWire has been digging through the last two decades one genre at a time; meanwhile, the New York Times’ top movie critics provided their own takes. J. Hoberman, the longtime Village Voice film critic who now works as a freelancer, decided to join the fray. Here’s his take, also available at his site, and republished here with permission.
People have been asking me, so I thought I might as well join (or crash) the party initiated by the New York Times and put in my two cents regarding the 25 Best Films of the 21st Century (so far). I don’t see “everything” anymore and I haven’t been to Cannes since 2011.
There is some overlap but this is not the same as the proposed 21-film syllabus of 21st Century cinema included in my book “Film After Film.” Those were all in their way pedagogical choices. Begging the question of what “best” means, these are all movies that I really like, that I’m happy to see multiple times, that are strongly of their moment and that I think will stand the test of time.
My single “best” film-object is followed by a list of 11 filmmakers and one academic production company (in order of “best-ness”) responsible for two or more “best films,” these followed by another eight individual movies (again in order) and finally four more tentatively advanced films (these alphabetical). I’m sure I’m forgetting some but that’s the nature of the beast.
Jean-Luc Godard: “In Praise of Love” & “Goodbye to Language”
Sensory Ethnology Lab: “Leviathan,” “Manakamana,” & “People’s Park”
“The Strange Case of Angelica” — Manoel de Oliviera
“Corpus Callosum” — Michael Snow
“West of the Tracks” — Wang Bing
“Carlos” — Olivier Assayas
“Che” — Steven Soderbergh
“Ten” — Abbas Kariostami
“Russian Ark” — Aleksandr Sokurov
“The World” — Jia Zhangke
“Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” — Nuri Bilge Ceylan
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- J. Hoberman
Whether you think remaking Dario Argento’s Italian horror classic “Suspiria” is good idea or not, there’s no denying just how enticing the new version looks on paper. Not only is Luca Guadagnino behind the camera, and not only does the ensemble cast include his “A Bigger Splash” stars Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson, but the movie has also recruited Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke to compose his first original movie score.
Thew news of Yorke’s involvement broke last month, and it was especially exciting given how much success his bandmate Johnny Greenwood has had when it comes to movie scores. Greenwood has been behind the original scores for “There Will Be Blood,” “The Master,” “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and more, and there’s no reason Yorke shouldn’t be able to »
- Zack Sharf
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