9 items from 2017
Here’s a most unusual entry in a genre that’s now becoming a cinema staple: the origin story. Now that term may be most associated with comic books, and many of the superhero blockbusters are just that, the story of how he, she, or they came to get their powers, whip up a costume, and so on (the recent Doctor Strange is an excellent example). Ah, but this is a true tale, almost an autobiography. There have been many “bio-origins”, from Young Mr. Lincoln to Southside With You (hmm.. both about future presidents). Yes, there’s the individual’s journey, but this flick is also about a product. The Social Network concerned Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of that website, and Steve Jobs was as much about the man as it was about the personal computer. This new movie focuses on Ray Kroc and chronicles the evolution of the fast food restaurant industry, »
- Jim Batts
Sundance 2016 will always be remembered for the record-breaking $17.5 million sale of Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” to Fox Searchlight, on the heels of the #oscarsowhite backlash — and for the massive marketing fallout that followed in light of Parker’s rape-trial acquittal. With a domestic gross under $16 million, it led to one of the bigger failures among Sundance sales relative to expense.
Netflix outbid Searchlight for “The Birth of a Nation,” but the producers favored the theatrical route (including that company’s proven awards expertise and commercial success) and accepted less money. One wonders if it had been a high-profile Netflix film if the post-Sundance controversy about Nate Parker’s college days would have had the same impact or effect. It will be curious to see if any producer this year is as quick to turn down a high offer from Netflix or similar non-theatrical buyer.
Those memories could temper bidding wars, »
- Tom Brueggemann
A year ago at Sundance, #OscarsSoWhite and related outrage over a lack of diversity in Hollywood fueled an industrywide push of films with people of color, igniting a record $17.5 million bidding war for “The Birth of a Nation” and, later on, helping propel “Moonlight” and other films toward year-end Oscar campaigns.
This year, widespread anger over the presidential election and a celeb-packed Park City offshoot of the Women’s March on Washington raise the question: Will other issues that newly disenfranchised audiences care about boost interest in any of the slew of politically charged films at Sundance, helping to sow the seeds for another “Fahrenheit 9/11”?
There’s certainly money to be made from political films that cater to audiences who feel outraged, as shown by right-wing docs that have galvanized audiences angered by President Obama. 2016’s top-grossing doc by a wide margin was Dinesh D’Souza’s “Hillary’s America, »
- Gregg Goldstein
Devon Terrell as Barry Obama: The future U.S. president as a Columbia University student in the early 1980s. Barry the Optimist (See previous post: “'Barry' Obama & Me: Finding Common Ground with the Future U.S. President.”) Like Obama, I'm inclined to attempt to bring you around on the subject, to find common ground, because like both Barry and Barack, I too am an optimist. But then again, unlike Barry or Barack, I'm pretty sure it ultimately won't work. In truth, my optimism has waned over the years. For Barry, that optimism, backed up by a fearlessness regarding his own physical safety (partially driven by nicotine, as Barry smoked a lot), is what the film Barry is all about. My waning optimism notwithstanding, this too is something we have in common. (Although I never smoked. Well, not cigarettes.) According to Barry, it was in the fall of 1981 that optimism was »
- Tim Cogshell
Grammy nominated and multi-platinum selling artist Ariana Grande and 10-time Grammy, Oscar-winning and multi-platinum selling singer/songwriter/ musician John Legend are set to perform the Oscar and Grammy-winning duet "Beauty and the Beast" as the title track for Disney's upcoming soundtrack to the live-action film adaptation Beauty and the Beast. The song will also be featured in the film.
The enchanting ballad, originally performed by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson featuring eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken's beautiful melody and two-time Oscar-winner Howard Ashman's unforgettable lyrics, received an Academy Award, Golden Globe and Grammy Award, among other accolades, upon its release in 1991.
The new rendition of the classic song is produced by Grammy-winning veteran Ron Fair, whose music career spans 37 years as a major-label record company leader and accomplished producer, arranger, recording engineer and musical director. Fair was brought in to produce by Disney's president of Music & Soundtracks, Mitchell Leib, »
New Indie High on my list of “Great 2016 Movies You May Well Have Missed” is the sparkling Southside with You (Lionsgate/Miramax), a film that’s right up there in my book with Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy when it comes to great walking-and-talking romances. While the film’s hook – Barack Obama and Michelle Robertson go on a first date – is no doubt what helped it get made, this is by no means a movie that relies solely upon its gimmick. Ultimately, it’s the story of two sexy, intelligent people getting to know one another, dancing around each other a bit, and eventually realizing that they’re made for each other. Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers give effervescent performances as Michelle and Barack, touching...
- Alonso Duralde
Rotten Tomatoes, the online aggregator of professional movie and TV reviews, announced today the annual Golden Tomato Award winners for the best-reviewed movies and television shows of 2016. The winners are determined using the film or TV shows’ Tomatometer scores as of December 31, 2016, and the number of professional reviews published for any given work. The Disney animated film “Zootopia” was the best reviewed wide-release film of the year while Taika Waititi’s “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” was the best reviewed limited release film of the year.
Read More: Why Are ‘Zootopia’ Fans So Angry About Critics Ruining the Movie’s Perfect Rotten Tomatoes Score?
“We’re always excited to share the best-reviewed movies and TV shows of the year, and this year’s Golden Tomatoes are going to some spectacular work,” said Rotten Tomatoes Editor-in-Chief Matt Atchity. “The critics raved about ‘Zootopia,’ ‘La La Land,’ ‘Moonlight,’ ‘Atlanta’ and ‘Oj: Made in America, »
- Vikram Murthi
Neck-chomping culebras will make house calls this February when Entertainment One unleashes the third season of El Rey Network's From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series on Blu-ray and DVD, and we have a look at the cover art and sizable list of bonus features for the ravenous release.
Press Release: From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series - Season Three
Street Date: February 7, 2017
Blu-ray/DVD Srp: $49.99/$38.99
The Loaded 3-Disc Set Features All 10 Unedited Episodes and Exclusive Extras from the Recently-Wrapped Third Season of the Action-Packed, Horror-Filled Series Starring D.J. Cotrona, Zane Holtz, Eiza González and Guest Stars Including Ana de la Reguara and Tom Savini
This February, home audiences will be whisked deep into the vortex of a culebra underworld on the verge exploding in From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series - Season Three. Across 10 new horror-packed episodes, Miramax and El Rey's fan-favorite, supernatural crime saga returns on loaded blu-ray and DVD, »
- Derek Anderson
A total of 145 scores were recently announced as being eligible for this year’s Academy Award, with everything from perceived frontrunner “La La Land” (Justin Hurwitz) and “Jackie” (Mica Levi) to outliers like “Sausage Party” and “Elle.” The final five will be nominated on January 24. In the meantime, avail yourself of this Spotify playlist featuring selections from 110 of the eligible scores — as well as the full list of every eligible score.
The Abolitionists,” Tim Jones, composer
“Armenia, My Love, »
- Michael Nordine
9 items from 2017
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