Simon Abkarian - News Poster


German Sales Agents Surf on Title Wave

  • Variety
German Sales Agents Surf on Title Wave
Germany’s leading sales companies have descended on the American Film Market with a wide range of titles that span horror and historical fare to arthouse, animation and family pics.

Supernatural thrillers look to be especially prevalent this year, with such chilling titles as “The Sonata,” “Hanna’s Homecoming” and “Party Hard, Die Young” — all from Arri Media Intl.

Directed by Andrew Desmond and starring Freya Tingley, Simon Abkarian and Rutger Hauer, “The Sonata” follows a young violinist who inadvertently triggers dark forces after discovering a mysterious music score composed by her late father. The film world premiered at Afm.

Esther Bialas’ “Hanna’s Homecoming,” likewise having its market premiere, centers on a teen girl who is shunned in her village because her mother was widely believed to be a witch and responsible for the deaths of several men. The pic premiered in October at the Hof Film Festival.

See full article at Variety »

Freya Tingley plays an Army veteran in Us indie thriller ‘Year of the Detectives’

Freya Tingley in ‘The Sonata.’

Freya Tingley will play the lead in first-time Us director Ali Presley Paras’ mystery-thriller Year of the Detectives, which starts shooting in Los Angeles this month.

The Aussie actor describes her character Nic O’Connell, a recently discharged Army veteran, as “like a grenade with the pin pulled: she’s tomboyish, tough and not afraid of a fight.”

O’Connell jointly inherits her grandfather’s private detective agency in the heart of Chinatown. She must set aside her differences with her co-inheritor (True Grit’s Paul Rae) to solve the mystery of her grandparents’ deaths as bodies pile up.

Chris Johnson wrote the script and the producer is Silversmith Pictures’ Joe Smith. A longtime assistant cameraman, Paras has directed several shorts including Quad, which is available on Hulu as part of the Fun Size Horror anthology.

“I’m pretty well versed in classic films so
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‘Overdrive’ Blu-ray Review

Stars: Scott Eastwood, Ana de Armas, Freddie Thorp, Gaia Weiss, Simon Abkarian | Written by Michael Brandt, Derek Haas | Directed by Antonio Negret

Andrew and Garrett Foster (Scott Eastwood and Freddie Thorp) are not only exceptional drivers but are also known for being the best car thieves in the world. In Marseille, they steal a rare and priceless Bugatti 1937 from the local mafia boss Jacomo Morier (Simon Abkarian). In exchange for their lives Morier decides to use their talents for his own profit and to get back at his arch rival. Whilst seemingly agreeing to work with Morier the brothers have actually devised a much more daring plan…

Gone in Sixty Seconds meets 2 Fast 2 Furious… that’s probably the best way to describe Overdrive, a French production from Taken director Pierre Morel that feels like a Luc Besson take on That supercar franchise (before it became all about The Rock and
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Overdrive movie review: dumb and dubious

MaryAnn’s quick take… More plot holes than plot, this overly convoluted, deeply stupid Fast and Furious wannabe is crammed with clichés and memorable only when it’s laughable. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

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

Kinda like how John Woo always has doves in his movies, and Steven Spielberg always has lens flare, so shall Colombian director Antonio Negret be known for exploding cars flipping through the air. It’s not a particularly unique visual twitch to embrace, this is true, but he’s not a particularly distinctive sort of filmmaker. His latest, Overdrive, is barely distinguishable from his previous film, 2012’s almost hilariously terrible Transit. Sadly, though, Overdrive is quite distinguishable from the movies it would like to be seen as akin to, the very early Fast and Furious movies (like, the first two
See full article at FlickFilosopher »

Fantasia 2017: Overdrive Review: Dir. Antonio Negret (2017)

Overdrive Review: Scott Eastwood proves his Fast and the Furious credentials in high-octane heist movie, Overdrive. Overdrive Review

Overdrive could easily be part of the Fast and the Furious universe. Not only does it star Scott Eastwood, who appeared as Little Nobody in the most recent outing, but it also features a plot straight out of an early Fast film. Here we have half-brothers Andrew (Scott Eastwood) and Garrett (Freddie Thorp) whom are career criminals that make a living stealing and fencing classic cars. However, after attempting to steal a car from the wrong guy whilst in Marseille, the siblings find themselves in the grips of the local crime boss Jacomo Morier (Simon Abkarian). The only way out is to steal a car belonging to one of Morier’s rivals. It’s a near impossible task and the brothers must recruit help if they want to get out of this bad situation.
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Movie Review – Scribe (2016)

Scribe, 2016.

Directed by Thomas Kruithof.

Starring Francois Cluzet, Denis Polyades, Sami Bouajila, Simon Abkarian and Alba Rohrwacher.


A burn-out leaves Duval (Francois Cluzet) recovering from alcoholism and unemployable. Seemingly out of the blue, he receives a job offer, transcribing recorded telephone conversations. He has no choice but to take it but quickly discovers that it has wider implications that will directly affect his own life.

Thomas Kruithof has chosen some hard acts to follow for his feature debut. In Scribe, he resurrects memories of classics like The Conversation and The Lives Of Others, with their deliberately overheard conversations and built-in paranoia. He risks simply going over old ground. What he delivers is stylish, gripping and sparse.

A lean, if not minimalist, film in so many ways, Scribe confines itself to just a scant 90 minutes, but Kruithof gets a lot out of a little. As Duval, the man at the centre of it all,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Scribe Review

  • HeyUGuys
Author: Daniel Goodwin

Writer/director Thomas Kruithof’s French, forceful debut feature recalls classic conspiracy thrillers such as The Parallax View, All The Presidents Men and Marathon Man, while standing matchless amongst its predecessors due to inherent timeless qualities; stark realism, bleak cinematography and an ability to efficiently subvert/meld several sub-genre styles and components. Mostly resembling Coppola’s The Conversation due to the nature of protagonist Duval (comfortably alone, introvert), similar to Gene Hackman’s Harry Caul, along with his comparable occupation and the central story of a Government surveyor/transcriber in over his head. Scribe also incorporates traits from 90s political thrillers with conspiratorial sub-plots about corrupt officials with ulterior motives. Meanwhile the subtle suggestion of grittier, higher octane latter Bond and Bourne films slightly informs its style, augmented by a lo/sci-fi edge and embellished by the score.

François Cluzet plays Duval, a recovering alcoholic, ex-office clerk,
See full article at HeyUGuys »

The Cut | Review

Third Cut is the Deepest: Akin’s Barren Examination of Armenian Genocide

Turkish-German director Fatih Akin concludes his decade in the making ‘Love, Death, and the Devil’ trilogy with The Cut, a film documenting the devastation of the 1915 Armenian genocide. It is the second film to reach theatrical release in 2015 dealing with the century old tragedy, following the aptly titled 1915 directed by Garin Hovannisian and Alec Mouhibian (both films notably star French-Armenian actor Simon Abkarian), and does convey a certain sense of nobly epic proportions in regards to the detrimental scope of an event robbed of the same historical urgency as several genocides since. But the nature of these horrors are lost in Akin’s overly refined handling of the material, whittled down to one father’s ceaseless journey to reclaim the kin war has separated him from. Those unlikely to appreciate a certain sense of honorable intention in Akin
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The Cut Movie Review

  • ShockYa
The Cut Movie Review
The Cut Strand Releasing Reviewed by: Harvey Karten for Shockya. Databased on Rotten Tomatoes. Grade: B Director: Fatih Akin Written by: Fatih Akin, Mardik Martin Cast: Tahar Rahim, Simon Abkarian, Makram Khoury, Hindi Zahra, Kevork Malikyan, Moritz Bleibtreu Screened at: Critics’ link, NYC, 9/5/15 Opens: September 18, 2015 Nowadays when so many children in America seem eager to get as far away from their parents as they can, the Hamburg-born, Turkish director Fatih Akin, who wrote “The Cut” as well, presents us with a more sanguine idea. In this slow-moving film, two young women would like nothing better to run into their father, missing for years when he was pulled [ Read More ]

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Watch: First Trailer for Fatih Akin's Epic One Man Journey 'The Cut'

"A love that can't be stopped." The first official Us trailer has debuted for Fatih Akin's epic new film The Cut. Starring the very talented Tahir Rahim, seen in A Prophet, The Eagle and The Past, set in 1915 a man survives the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire, but loses his family, speech and faith. One night he learns that his twin daughters may be alive, and goes on a quest to find them leading him all the way to America. This looks quite magnificent, despite mixed reviews. I love the shot of him watching the Chaplin movie and getting emotional and inspired by that. The cast includes Simon Abkarian, Makram Khoury, Hindi Zahra & Kevork Malikyan. You might not want to miss this one. I'm looking forward to seeing it. Here's the official Us trailer (+ poster) for Fatih Akin's The Cut, first found via The Film Stage: The Cut
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Exclusive 1915 Film Clip Honors Victims of Armenian Genocide

  • ShockYa
In honor of the ravaged 1.5 million victims of the forgotten Armenian Genocide, which marks its 100th anniversary today, Shockya has an exclusive clip from the new drama ’1915.’ The new video from the movie, titled ‘You Will Lose Everything,’ explores the tragedy that has been denied for an entire century. The film’s all-too-important message was brought to the screen by an Armenian cast and crew, including being written, directed and produced by firs-time filmakers, Garin Hovannisian and Alec Mouhibian. The movie stars Simon Abkarian, Angela Sarafyan, Sam Page, Nikolai Kinski, Debra Christofferson and Jim Piddock. ’1915′ is now available on VOD and in theaters from it distributors, Bloodvine Media, [ Read More ]

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The Water Diviner accused of ignoring genocide

Two first-time Us filmmakers have accused The Water Diviner of ignoring the alleged slaughter of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks a century ago.

The Australian drama directed by Russell Crowe is the .highest profile piece of propaganda ever produced in the service of genocide denial,. Garin Hovannisian and Alec Mouhibian say in an open letter to Warner Bros., the film.s Us distributor.

Hovannisian, an Armenian-American, and Mouhibian, a Los Angeles-based writer, co-directed 1915 The Movie, a psychological thriller which follows a director (Simon Abkarian) who stages a play at the Los Angeles Theatre to honour the victims of the Armenian tragedy.

As protesters surround the theatre and a series of strange accidents spread panic among his actors, the ghosts of the past reappear.

Published last week in The Wrap, their letter refers to the Us release date of The Water Diviner, April 24.

They write, .The problem is
See full article at »

Gett: The Trial Of Viviane Amsalem – The Review

The legal dissolution of a marriage has been dramatic fodder for serious films throughout the years, including Kramer Vs Kramer and The Sum Of Us. Oh, and even a few comedies like The War Of The Roses (but it’s very, very dark). Husband and wife are treated equally in the court (when the lawyers aren’t able to work things out) as the judge and jurors decide how the union will end. But what about other countries, other cultures? What occurs when one spouse apparently has all the power in the proceedings? Such is the conflict in this new film set in Israel, where a trio of rabbis decide one woman’s fate. And since there’s no claims of adultery or physical abuse, the divorce decree can only happen if the husband will consent. That’s the main obstacle and conflict in Gett: The Trial Of Viviane Amsalem.
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Exclusive: Trailer For Psychological Thriller '1915' Which Sheds Light On The Armenian Genocide

“2015 marks not only the hundredth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, but also the close of an entire century of forgotten genocides,” says "1915" co-director Garin Hovannisian in a statement. “‘1915’ is about denial —how we try to escape history, how history continues to haunt us. It is also about the need to face the ghosts of our own pasts.” Perhaps with his upcoming psychoglical thriller, Hovannisian hopes to shed light on a under-discussed corner of history. Co-directed by Alec Mouhibian and starring Simon Abkarian and Angela Sarafyan, the film centers on a mysterious director who is staging a play at the Los Angeles Theatre to honor the victims of the Armenian genocide. But his work sparks protests, strange accidents begin to spread, and it appears that the director’s dangerous mission can't escape the ghosts of the past. Check out the exclusive trailer for the film below, which teases many dramatic elements at play.
See full article at The Playlist »

Film Review: Fascinating, Infuriating Injustice in ‘Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem’

Chicago – The title event of “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem” is a prison sentence with no predictable day of release. The prisoner is Viviane (a fascinating Ronit Elkabetz), a soft-spoken middle-aged woman well beyond the point of a content unhappiness. She is trapped to a farce, as the divorce laws of Israel demand that a husband agree to the divorce before it can be finalized, with three rabbis and a lawyer each to discuss the event.

Viviane’s desire to start a new life away from her current husband Elisha (Simon Abkarian) becomes a hell on earth as he proves an unmovable object, a warden with no empathy who refuses to show up for many of the hearings (he doesn’t really have to unless it gets really bad, according to law). It takes him about a year and a half to finally appear first time, and even
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Interview: Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz on 'Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem'

Jose here. In Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, Israeli goddess Ronit Elkabetz returns to play a part she’s lived with for more than a decade. In 2004, Ronit and her brother Shlomi teamed up as writers and co-directors of a film trilogy that would concentrate on the experiences of a woman as seen through the roles society imposed on her. In the first installment, To Take a Wife, Viviane must deal with being trapped in a loveless marriage to her husband Elisha (Simon Abkarian), in 7 Days, Viviane must sit Shiva and come to terms with the fact that she is obligated to mourn despite not feeling pain. In Gett, which opened this weekend on the heels of its Golden Globe Foreign Film nomination (Oscar passed it by), Viviane is trying to gain her freedom from Elisha, but finds that practically impossible given that her husband hasn’t committed
See full article at FilmExperience »

Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem | Review

Horse & Carriage: The Elkabetzs’ Kafkaesque Interpretation of So-Called Sacred Institution

The third film in a trilogy examining the relationship between a husband and wife comes full circle with Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, a viciously astute examination of Israel’s divorce procedures. Brother and sister directing duo Roni and Schlomi Elkabetz began their enterprise back in 2004 with To Take a Wife, which continued with 7 Days in 2007, though it isn’t necessary to have seen either of these features to appreciate what they’re doing here with this deliciously crafted drama that’s as infuriating as it is highly engrossing. If on paper it sounds like a tedious slog of a subject matter, put aside those assumptions because the Elkabetzs’ have made an invigorating, emotionally charged powder keg, a film that simultaneously harpoons the misogynistic practices of the rabbinical courts just as it gives powerful agency to its highly determined female protagonist.
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Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalam Movie Review

  • ShockYa
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalam Movie Review
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem Music Box Films Reviewed for Shockya by Harvey Karten. Data-based on Rotten Tomatoes. Grade: A- Director: Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz Screenwriter: Sivan Lavy Cast: Ronit Elkabetz, Simon Abkarian, Menashe Noy, Sasson Gaba, Eli Gornstein Screened at: Review 2, NYC, 1/6/15 Opens: February 13, 2015 In the Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, and Joseph Stein’s musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevye, the principal character, notes that “without tradition, we’re as shaky as a fiddler on the roof.” Point well taken. Certain rituals and traditions cement families and bind citizens more closely to their countries. Think of the traditional fireworks on the Fourth of July, the birds [ Read More ]

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‘McFarland USA’ To Close Santa Barbara Film Festival: Full Lineup

‘McFarland USA’ To Close Santa Barbara Film Festival: Full Lineup
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has unveiled its 2015 line-up which includes films representing 54 countries, 23 world premieres and 53 U.S. premieres. The U.S. premiere of Niki Caro’s McFarland USA will close out the 30th fest. Based on the 1987 true story and starring Kevin Costner and Maria Bello, the film follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California’s farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. The unlikely band of runners overcomes the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well.

The festival runs from January 27-February 7.

Below is the list of World and U.S. Premiere films followed by the list of titles by sidebar categories.

World Premieres

A Better You, USA

Directed by Matt Walsh

Cast: Brian Huskey,
See full article at Deadline Movie News »

'McFarland, USA' will close out 30th annual Santa Barbara Film Festival

  • Hitfix
'McFarland, USA' will close out 30th annual Santa Barbara Film Festival
A self-acknowledged "showcase for Academy Award frontrunners," the Santa Barbara International Film Festival is often overlooked for the actual films that earn it festival status. An amalgamation of international discoveries and ’merica’s circuit highlights, the Sbiff curates a week of best-of-the-best to pair with their star-praising. The 2015 edition offers another expansive selection, bookended by two films that aren’t on any radars just yet. Sbiff will open with "Desert Dancer," producer Richard Raymond’s directorial debut. Starring Reece Ritchie and Frieda Pinto, the drama follows a group of friends who wave off the harsh political climate of Iran’s 2009 presidential election in favor of forming a dance team, picking up moves from Michael Jackson, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev thanks to the magic of YouTube. The festival will close with "McFarland, USA," starring Kevin Costner and Maria Bello. Telling the 1987 true story of a Latino high school’s underdog cross-country team,
See full article at Hitfix »
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