Archive for March, 2014

John C. Reilly comes aboard ‘The Lobster’

March 31st, 2014 - admin

John C. Reilly has joined Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and Léa Seydoux in the cast for Yorgos Lanthimos’ keenly anticipated first English-language film, ‘The Lobster’.  Filming is already under way on this Kafkaesque tale where single people mutate into animals unless they find a mate in a special hotel.  Lanthimos came to the fore internationally with ‘Dogtooth’, which won the top prize at the Cannes’ sidebar, Un Certain Regard, five years ago.

Drafthouse takes Sundance hit documentary

March 31st, 2014 - admin

Drafthouse Films have acquired North American distribution rights to Jesse Moss’ acclaimed documentary, ‘Overnighters’, which won a Special Jury Award for Intuitive Filmmaking at this year’s Sundance.  It’s his big screen follow up to the SXSW hit ‘Full Battle Rattle’ and examines the fortunes of desperate Americans, looking for work in the North Dakota oilfields after the economic meltdown.  The distributors plan a theatrical release at the end of the year in conjunction with an awards campaign.


‘Captain America 2’ takes control internationally

March 31st, 2014 - admin

Disney’s ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, starring Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson, dominated the international weekend box office with a powerful $75m from a modest 32 markets.  South Korea lead the way with a $10.9m opening, just $0.2m ahead of the UK.  The superhero adventure still has the lucrative Chinese and Russian markets to come.

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‘Noah’ takes market by surprise

March 31st, 2014 - admin

Darren Aronofsky’s controversial Old Testament adaptation, ‘Noah’, comfortably exceeded expectations at the North American box office with a strong $44m weekend.  After a confident start on Thursday night and Friday, it significantly built up a head of steam on Saturday and finished the session an impressive $9m more than market forecasts.


This follows a misleadingly low ‘C’ CinemaScore, which had 60%+ awarding the film a higher grade.  The wide range of opinions reflected the hostile dispute over Aronofsky’s departure from the original text.


The picture carries a huge $125m budget, significantly higher than anything  Aronofsky has worked with previously, and stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins.

Strong Friday opening for ‘Noah’

March 30th, 2014 - admin

Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Noah’, starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins, grossed a strong $15.2m at Friday’s North American box office, leaving it on pace for a $39m opening weekend.  It’s a confident start in line with projections from Thursday night screenings and running $4m above original market forecasts.


First night audiences gave the Old Testament epic a low ‘C’ CinemaScore, but it is potentially misleading with 60%+ awarding the film higher.  The wide range of opinions reflect the ongoing debate surrounding Aronofsky’s controversial adaptation, which should help keep the film in the public eye and not damage word of mouth.


It is attracting an older audience, unsurprisingly, with 74% over 25 and there is an even gender mix.


And critics generally liked it.

Promising start for Aronofsky’s ‘Noah’

March 29th, 2014 - admin

Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Noah’ made a confident start at the North American box office, grossing $1.6m on Thursday night.  With screenings getting underway at a comparatively early 19.00, the Biblical drama seems to be heading for a weekend tally in the $38-39m region but it could go higher.  It’s Aronofsky’s first film since his Oscar nominated ‘Black Swan’ and stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins.

Under the Skin

March 29th, 2014 - admin

Modernist filmmaking is alive and well in this brilliant but disturbing new feature from Jonathan Glazer – his first for nine years – which combines mainstream horror’s tension and video art’s ingenuity during a compelling 108 minutes that turns the male gaze on its head and would be as comfortable playing on a loop within a gallery as on a cinema screen.


This is a film that gives us an alternative inside track on an outsider view of that mainstay of Western art, human alienation, in a strange deconstruction of cinematic genre conventions, which moves from the allegorical to the real and, perhaps, back again.  Tomas Alfredson’s modern classic ‘Let the Right One In’ did the same thing; seemingly achieving the impossible with an all out ‘out there’ out of place ‘sense of place’, which combines hard edged social realism and filmic fantasy.


Glazer sets it in the tough and uncompromising Glasgow metropolis of Lynne Ramsay’s ‘Ratcatcher’ or Andrea Arnold’s ‘Red Road’ where tribal Celtic fans patrol the streets on match day.  Enter Scarlett Johansson, a sexless but strikingly sexy alien with jet black hair and glossy red lipstick and dressed to kill – literally – in designer gear ‘street hooker’ style; a male fantasy construct, who is mysteriously ‘drag queen’ androgynous at one and the same time.


She drives around in a clapped out transit van, stalking potential victims; solitary males whose instincts are sometimes razor sharp, refusing to believe the evidence of their own eyes or ears – Johansson speaking with a controlled Joanna Lumley upper lip.  A young man pretends that there is nothing unusual when providing directions and walks ‘awa’.  There is something incredibly realistic about this scene and we are left wondering whether he was an unsuspecting member of the public who happened to be passing by – almost certainly we feel but we cannot be sure.  We can be sure of other Glaswegians going about their business oblivious to Glazer’s secret camera as sci-fi serial killer thriller turns fly-on-the-wall doc.  Seen from a slight remove – a van’s seat perspective and in silence –  they provide a remarkable portrait of urban self-absorption; images that would be worthy of a Turner Prize nod if Glazer had presented them on their own as vid art.


Johansson – what a fantastic actress she is – looks on with a mysterious self- absorption of her own, hinting at a greater purpose that brings with it a sense of foreboding but one that always plays second fiddle to a very discernible melancholy emanating from the surroundings.  An American ‘A’ lister in Glasgow or alien imposter, it makes little difference and we never do find out where her character comes from.


She invites the victims back to her place, luring them with a seductive knowing half-smile to an urban no-man’s land – giving the supernatural a shocking ghetto vibe – where an oil lake replaces fire in a hell on earth or somewhere and, in a shocking twist on the thriller slasher, the hapless males swim around for eternity with nothing to do beyond looking at each other seemingly decomposing but only to remain whole.


In one stunning scene – the film’s opening – there is a smart homage to Kubrick, a creation moment that sees the alien acquiring her human appearance.


In another – never to be forgotten – she picks up a Neurofibromatosis sufferer and remains unaware of his ‘disfigurement’.  And without being in any way patronising, it washes away years of appalling arbitrary prejudice in a coming together of two characters living ‘under the skin’ and discovering an unlikely empathy.


And cinematographer, Daniel Landin, and the sound department work in a harmonious disharmony doing much to give the film its unique eerie unreal realism.


This is a major triumph.

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Peccadillo take festival hit

March 29th, 2014 - admin

Peccadillo Pictures have picked up UK distribution rights to Sophie Hyde’s critical and festival hit, ’52 Tuesdays’, starring Tilda Cobham-Hervey and Del Herbert-Jane.  It’s a fictional drama within the Australian realist tradition and the 52 Tuesdays of the film’s title are the only days that a teenage daughter meets her mother, who is undergoing a gender transition.  Creating a docudrama vibe, Hyde shot the film over a year on Tuesdays and gave the actors only seven days notice of the script for each shoot.  It won the Crystal Bear in Berlin and the world cinema directing prize at Sundance, and Kino Lorber has already acquired US rights.

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March 28th, 2014 - admin

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Provincetown honour for Cronenberg

March 27th, 2014 - admin

David Cronenberg will follow Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch and Gus Van Sant in being a recipient of Provincetown International Film Festival’s Filmmaker on the Edge Award.  Resident artist, John Waters, will present the award during PIFF’s next edition, which runs from June 17-23.  By way of a tribute, the programme will include a ‘Videodrome’/’The Fly’ drive-in double bill and a special screening of ‘Naked Lunch’.

Celluloid Dreams pick up Sundance title

March 27th, 2014 - admin

Celluloid Dreams have taken international sale rights to Carter Smith’s Sundance competition title, ‘Jamie Marks Is Dead’, starring Cameron Monaghan, Noah Silver and Morgan Saylor.  Based on Christopher Barzak’s novel, ‘One for Sorrow’, the ghost of a quiet school boy develops a friendship with a former classmate whom he barely knew when alive.  It’s the follow up to Smith’s breakout hit, ‘The Ruins’, and Celluloid plans to introduce the supernatural drama at Filmart.

Jonathan Demme to direct a new Diablo Cody script

March 26th, 2014 - admin
Jonathan Demme (‘The Silence of the Lambs’) is in the early stages of developing a new feature, ‘Ricky And The Flash’, with Meryl Streep on board to play the lead.  ‘Juno’ screenwriter, Diablo Cody, provides the script and it focuses on a mother returning to her family, whom she deserted years earlier when a wannabe celebrity.  At least two studios have expressed an interest but funding is not yet in place.

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Pablo Larraín takes on big budget remake

March 25th, 2014 - admin

Universal is proceeding with its proposed ‘Scarface’ remake, which has been on the cards for some time.  With Howard Hawks’ and Brian De Palma’s versions both firmly established in the gangster canon, there seemed little point making another unless it offered something very different.  Universal has now signalled its intention to do just that and drafted in Pablo Larraín as director for a more realist approach.  Larraín (‘Tony Manero’, ‘Post Mortem, ‘No’) is the leading figure in the Chilean New Wave.

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Divergent’s opening sets up franchise

March 24th, 2014 - admin

Neil Burger’s ‘Divergent’, starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James, opened with a $56m weekend at the North American box office, being slightly off the pace for hitting top end forecasts but setting up a potentially strong run after receiving an ‘A’ CinemaScore from first night audiences.  Lionsgate will now proceed with its proposed three-film franchise and the next instalment should arrive this time next year.


Disney’s ‘Muppets Most Wanted’, disappointed on its debut and fell $3.5m short of studio projections after grossing a soft $16.5m in second place.  Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell lead the cast and James Bobin directed his second film of the franchise.


There were no other wide weekend openers.

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‘Need For Speed’ holds in No.1 position

March 24th, 2014 - admin

DreamWorks’ ‘Need For Speed’ retained the top spot during an uneventful weekend at the international box office.  Propelled by a strong $10.5m second weekend hold in China, the video game adaptation grossed a further $29.2m from 55 markets, taking its international tally to a reasonable $96.1m.  After factoring in North America, it has now taken $126.5m worldwide.

The Zero Theorem

March 23rd, 2014 - admin

Whatever film Terry Gilliam conceived in his head when making this retro lo-fi Orwellian shaggy dog tale isn’t the one that appears on the screen.


This is what you get when an ex-Python has an idea that may have sustained a 10 min sketch forty odd years ago and expands it to feature length on a grand – even heroic – scale and works his variations on a theme around psychopathic corporate identity and that Python mainstay, meaning of life, which have been done to death by Gilliam and many others countless times before but does not add anything new.  It’s a film that puts naivety into the knowing and even has David Thewlis doing a cheap Eric Idle impression as a parasite line manager, governor.


Set in London at some undefined period in the future but looking decidedly Dickensian, it has one of those familiar regressive dystopian backdrops where hideous neon signs blend with Fagin style haunts.  And much of the humour would not be out of place in old time Victorian music halls – nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more – or a nostalgic/grubby postcard from yesteryear.


Christoph Waltz, head shaven and intense, plays Qohan, a manic computer genius with special responsibility for cracking the seemingly unsolvable Zero Theorem brain-teaser and proving everything equals nothing.  At the same time, he waits in vain for a telephone call from a higher authority – a deity, perhaps – to decode the mysteries of the absurd – life – and relieve his permanent disorientation; one that makes him describe himself in the plural as the once emphatic ‘I’ disappears in a global maze of e-communication and Big Brother surveillance.  The theorem (Existentialism without a cause) and the call (spiritual Essentialism) are mutually exclusive, of course, and remain nothing more than possibilities, neither proving or disproving each other – a Gilliam paradox – but offering the invisible BB – ‘management’ – with ambiguities to exploit.


We see Qohan at home, mostly, a fire-damaged chapel looking more like a Twenties German Expressionist film set for a mad scientist – with a touch of Ed Wood thrown in for good measure – driving himself to distraction with an algebraic formula in the form of a giant computer game.  There are distractions along the way from a patronising raping e-psychologist (Tilda Swinton), an e-cyber-sex-worker (Mélanie Thierry) and the boss’ fifteen year old son as the only character smart enough to understand the concept of nothingness.  They are all as predictable in their unpredictability as they sound.


Although some moments of Gilliam surreal magic – the Church of Batman, the Redeemer – occasionally threaten to bring the film alive, ultimately, they cannot save it from being as pointless as the Zero Theorem itself.

‘Divergent’ builds platform for franchise success

March 22nd, 2014 - admin

Neil Burger’s ‘Divergent’, starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James, did enough on Friday at the North American box office for Lionsgate to continue with its proposed three film franchise and, with an ‘A’ CinemaScore from first night audiences, the Veronica Roth adaptation has built a decent platform notwithstanding missing out on high end forecasts.  The market was tricky to read with pre-sales defying poor reviews and the film’s Friday tally of $22.8m from 3,936 theatres leaves it on pace for a $56m weekend.


Disney’s ‘Muppets Most Wanted’, the weekend’s only other wide release, could only muster a soft $4.6m from 3,194 theatres on Friday.  Saturday and Sunday family audiences will provide some assistance but it is unlikely to climb much beyond a disappointing $14.5m, a good $5m off studio projections.

Another cast member for ‘Triple Nine’

March 22nd, 2014 - admin

John Hillcoat has added Anthony Mackie to his stellar cast for ‘Triple Nine’, which already includes ‘A’ listers, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson and Kate Winslet.  Expect Hillcoat to ignore usual genre conventions – as he did with ‘Lawless’, ‘The Road’ and ‘The Proposition’ – and give this corrupt cop thriller his own distinctive hard edge.  Filming will get under way this summer.

Rhys Ifans boards new version of ‘Under Milk Wood’

March 22nd, 2014 - admin

Rhys Ifans has come aboard Kevin Allen’s challenging big screen adaptation of Dylan Thomas’ 1954 classic radio play ‘Under Milk Wood’.  Allen, best known for ‘Twin Town’, will give it a Modernist interpretation, being a very different approach than Andrew Sinclair’s 1972 version starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.  It will be eligible for a best foreign language film nomination with Allen filming it back-to-back in both English and Welsh.

Soft Thursday debut for Veronica Roth adaptation

March 21st, 2014 - admin

Neil Burger’s sci-fi thriller, ‘Divergent’, starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James, arrived in North American theatres on late Thursday night with a slightly disappointing $4.9m.  Poor reviews may have dampened demand on Thursday but Fandango are still reporting strong pre-sales, running at 80% of the weekend box office.  It is a difficult market to read but analysts are expecting the Veronica Roth adaptation to finish the weekend around the $58m mark.  This would be enough for Lionsgate to continue with plans for developing it into a three-film franchise.cialis online rezept buy generic cialis online safely cialis cost per pill 2015 buy real cialis online

‘Begin Again’ to close this year’s Tribeca

March 21st, 2014 - admin

John Carney’s Toronto hit ‘Begin Again’ (formerly known as ‘Can A Song Save Your Life?’) will receive its US premiere closing this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.  The Manhattan-set musical romance stars Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley as a world weary record producer and downcast singer, who meet at the right time.  The Weinstein Company snapped up US rights at Toronto and will release it during July.cialis cheapest buy cialis 5mg onlinecheap cialis from canada buy cialis with paypal

Haifaa Al-Mansour settles on ‘Wadjda’ follow up

March 20th, 2014 - admin

Haifaa Al-Mansour caught the public imagination with her debut feature, ‘Wadjda’, the first film from a woman filmmaker shot entirely within Saudi Arabia.  Her follow-up, ‘A Storm in the Stars’, will dramatise the turbulent late teens of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, when she embarked on the dangerous relationship with future husband, Percy Shelley, and wrote her classic novel, ‘Frankenstein’.  Scriptwriter, Emma Jensen, focuses on her importance as an early Feminist, which may have attracted Al-Mansour to the cialis professionalcheap cialis australia can you buy cialis online cialis online without

Eurimages funding for ‘In the Future’

March 19th, 2014 - admin

Paolo Sorrentino’s octogenarian drama, ‘In the Future’ (‘Il Futuro’), starring Michael Caine as a retired composer, is amongst the latest projects to benefit from the Council of Europe’s Eurimages Fund.  It will be Sorrentino’s follow up to ‘The Great Beauty’, which won this year’s Oscar for best foreign language film, and shooting should get under way during May.  In the meantime, Sorrentino has contributed a short film to ‘Rio, I Love You’, currently in post-production.cialis cost cvs cialis cost canada cialis 10mg cost discount cialis 5mg

Electric Entertainment to sell Abraham Lincoln feature

March 19th, 2014 - admin

Electric Entertainment has picked up international sale rights to A J Edwards’ Sundance title, ‘The Better Angels’, which will form part of the company’s Cannes slate.  As John Ford did when America was withdrawing into itself at the outset of WW2, Edwards has provided a biopic of Abraham Lincoln’s formative years as America once again feels uncertain about the future.  Edwards is best known for being one of the editors on Terrence Malick’s ‘To The Wonder’.cheap cialis 20mg buy cialis cheap prices fast delivery where to buy cialis online safelygeneric cialis uk next day delivery
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‘Need For Speed’ wins tight race

March 17th, 2014 - admin

A close race at the international weekend box office ended with DreamWorks’ new release, ‘Need For Speed’ claiming the top spot.  Boosted by a $21m opening No.1 in China, the video game adaptation grossed an impressive $45.6m from 41 markets, going some way to mitigate against its hugely disappointing North American box office debut.


Last weekend’s No. 1, ‘300: Rise of an Empire’ came second, as it did in North America, after earning a further $41.3m from 63 markets.  The action sequel now stands on an early $158m internationally and, after factoring in North America, $236m cialis 10mg buy generic cialis online uk buy cialis online reviewsbuy discount cialis

South By Southwest Film Festival 2014 (March 7-15)

March 16th, 2014 - admin

Jon Favreau’s estranged family comedy, ‘Chef’, starring Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr and Dustin Hoffman, gets this year’s SXSW under way tomorrow night.


The narrative feature competition provides its usual launch pad for eight emerging filmmakers, the majority of whom have already made their mark with shorts on the festival circuit and now turn to features for the first time.


Shawn Christensen has attracted most pre-ceremony attention for his debut feature, ‘Before I Disappear’, an adaptation of his short, ‘Curfew’, which won the best live action Oscar two years ago.


Other buzz titles include Zachary Wigon’s take on social media persona, ‘The Heart Machine’, starring John Gallagher Jr, who appeared in last year’s winner, ‘Short Term 12′.


Almost 75,000 attended the last edition and the organisers are expecting even more this time around.


Narrative feature competition:


10,000KM (Spain)
Carlos Marques-Marcet


The 10,000KM of the film’s title is the distance between Los Angeles and Barcelona and separates two lovers, who communicate via computer links.  It is Carlos Marques-Marcet’s debut feature after six shorts of which the first, ‘I’ll Be Alone’, is best known outside his native Spain.  Natalia Tena and David Verdaguer play the two leads trying to keep their relationship together against the odds.


Collin Schiffli


David Dastmalchian and Kim Shaw (‘Snake and Mongoose’) join veteran, John Heard (‘Home Alone’, ‘Big’) in Collin Schiffli’s debut feature, ‘Animals’, where two young drug addicts hustle and steal to fund their habit until one of them ends up in hospital.  Lead actor, Dastmalchian, also wrote the script.


Before I Disappear
Shawn Christensen


Shawn Christensen was best known as a screenwriter until his short, ‘Curfew’, won the best live action Oscar and countless other awards on the festival circuit two years ago.  It was the kind of intimate family drama that dominated this year’s Sundance with unexpected circumstances bringing estranged siblings into contact.  Christensen has now adapted it into a feature, ‘Before I Disappear’, and, once again, stars alongside Fatima Ptacek (‘Fro Rojas’).


Fort Tilden
Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers


Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers are both beneficiaries of James Fronco’s two interlinked film/poetry NYU student initiatives.  The first led to Bliss’ debut feature, ‘Tar’, based on CK Williams’ poetry collection of the same name and starred Franco alongside Jessica Chastain and Mila Kunis – not bad for a grad.  Charles Rogers is one of nine students who won a competition to contribute shorts/episodes and receive director credits for James Franco’s film project/experimental feature, ‘Black Dog, Red Dog’, based on Stephen Dobyns’ poetry and which is currently in post production.  And now Bliss and Rogers have joined forces to make the character based ‘extended adolescence’ comedy/road movie to nowhere, ‘Fort Tilden’, and, at the very least, it has established an intrigue buzz.


The Heart Machine
Zachary Wigon


Film critic, Zachary Wigon, makes his feature debut with ‘The Heart Machine’ after three shorts.  John Gallagher Jr. (‘Short Term 12′) and Kate Lyn Sheil star as a couple who supposedly enjoy a long-distance online relationship before one starts to suspect that the other has lived nearby all along.  There are high expectations that this one will tackle important cultural issues surrounding social media personae.


I Believe in Unicorns
Leah Meyerhoff


After success on the festival circuit with her last two shorts, ‘Team Queen’ and ‘Twitch’, Leah Meyerhoff launches her debut feature,  ‘I Believe in Unicorns’.  Natalia Dyer and Peter Vack play a runaway teenager and punk dropout, who embark upon a disturbing relationship.  Unfortunately, the imaginative title – the best in competition – may be simplified to ‘Unicorns’.


The Mend
John Magary


John Magary’s last short, ‘The Second Line’ won a special jury prize at SXSW alongside four other prestige awards on the American festival circuit.  He now returns with his first feature, ‘The Second Line’, starring Josh Lucas, Stephen Plunkett and Lucy Owen, a Harlem set comedy drama with two brothers jostling for the upper hand at a domestic level.


Wild Canaries
Lawrence Michael Levine


Sophia Takal reunites with Lawrence Michael Levine after the pair co-starred in his debut feature, ‘Gabi on the Roof in July’, which picked up the best narrative film award at the Brooklyn International Film Festival.  They now star in his follow up ‘Wild Canaries’, playing a Brooklyn couple, who turn amateur detectives when their neighbour dies unexpectedly.cialis online pharmacy canada cialis overnight delivery cialis generic 20 mg generic cialis uk suppliers

‘Need For Speed’ crashes at North American box office

March 16th, 2014 - admin

DreamWorks’ PG-13 rated ‘Need For Speed’, starring Aaron Paul and Dominic Cooper, fell flat on Friday at the North American box office when it grossed a soft $6.6m from 3,115 theatres with huge 3D ‘premium rate’ coverage.  Thursday night screenings had suggested that the video game adaptation was on pace to finish the weekend around $28m at the top end of market forecasts but will now fall well short of the more modest $25m studio projections.  It did receive a reasonable ‘B+’ CinemaScore from first-night audiences, which may be enough for a slight push towards a $20m weekend.


The other wide weekend opener, ‘Tyler Perry’s Single Moms Club’ fared even worse and could only muster a shocking $3.2m on Friday.  It did receive a strong ‘A’ CinemaScore but market saturation of Perry’s brand will prevent the comedy drama from reaching much beyond $8/9m over the three days, being approximately  50% of Lionsgate’s forecast.


Elsewhere, ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ enjoyed a superb second Friday  hold, taking $5.4m from a market high 3,951 theatres for a low 31% week on week fall.  Saturday and Sunday family audiences should drive it towards $23m and an unlikely weekend box office victory.


Last weekend’s No.1, ‘300: Rise of an Empire’ is in a battle for second place with ‘Need For Speed’ after grossing $5.8m on Friday.  It takes the R rated action adventure to $65m domestically.


Meanwhile, Wes Anderson’s ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ continued to make the headlines after its spectacular opening in last weekend’s speciality market.  The idiosyncratic comedy expanded to 66 theatres as part of a standard platform release and bagged a powerful $16,705 per screen place to buy cialis online reviewscialis for daily use 5 mg cost cialis generic cost cialis to buy

Fletcher exits troubled Freddie Mercury biopic

March 15th, 2014 - admin

Dexter Fletcher will no longer direct the forthcoming Freddie Mercury biopic, starring Ben Whishaw, after ‘creative differences’.  The troubled production is likely to protect its proposed summer shoot by finding a swift replacement but there is no news on the leading contenders.  Oscar nominated screenwriter, Peter Morgan (‘The Queen’, ‘Frost/Nixon’), provided the script.generic cialis black cialis online coupon cialis cost without insurancecialis generic price

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March 14th, 2014 - admin

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March 13th, 2014 - admin

At the beginning of Spike Jonze’s ingenious debut film, ‘Being John Malkovich’, a wooden puppet contemplates its artificiality for the first time when catching sight of his reflection in a mirror during a melancholic nightmarish sequence that has the feel of ‘Toy Story’ turned dystopian.


Jonze’s fourth feature, ‘Her’, gives us another artificial entity but this time without strings or, indeed, a body and takes the form of a new computer operating system within a future society that is closer to us time-wise than we are to ‘Being John Malkovich’.  How strange it seems fifteen years down the road that an artificial consciousness at the other end of a hand-held device would have been no more than a distant prospect back then but Jonze can present it today within touching distance of our world without anybody batting an eyelid.


Yet, the love story at the film’s heart is as old as fiction itself, giving the film an odd retro vibe with the dialogue often looking back as much as forwards but unmistakably, commenting on the here and now of contemporary society’s nitty gritty in a way that only Jonze could.


And the mise-en-scène is baffling to the point of being disconcerting; a weird paradox that has the future both shiny in a Californian sort of way but muted at the same time, constantly denying us any bearings and straddling the utopian/dystopian border.


What a wonderfully surreal and innovative concoction this is.  It had to settle for best original screenplay at the Oscars but, out of all the nominees, this one has the best chance of enduring, making a dent in the film canon.


Joaquin Phoenix seemed born to play Freddie Quell in Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘The Master’; his edgy star persona perfectly in alignment with character.  Here he takes on the appropriately named Fifties style hipster, Theodore Twombly, who is as geeky as he sounds and Freddie’s binary opposite.  And yet, there is a warmth and sincerity in this portrayal, an effortless blend of nativity and charm that makes him so engaging that we never once consider that Phoenix is playing against type until after the final credits.


Theodore earns a living – and a pretty good one at that if his state of the art Manhattan pad is anything to go by – writing love letters for clients without Theodore’s poetic flare for capturing tenderness but longing to express it.  But there is more to it than that; these letters/surrogates portray Theodore’s yearning for romance but one that his self-doubt constrains – prohibits even – a ready made excuse for avoiding commitment.


‘You always wanted a wife without the challenges of someone real’ his estranged spouse tells him upon discovering that he had fallen in love with Samantha, a computer operating system’s voice and personality with a Blade Runner type capacity for intellectual curiosity and developing emotions.


Samantha is playful and witty, always ahead of the game and, voiced by Scarlett Johansson, she makes even the most mundane detail sound flirtatious, bordering on the ‘come-to-bed’ seductive.  She seems to understand Theodore so well but has access to everything on his computer instantaneously – are computers e-clones of ourselves?


He teasingly defines Samantha as being no more than a computer voice during one pretend word/e-pillow fight.  “I can understand how the limited perspective of an unartificial mind might perceive it that way” she responds.  But these e-personae – Theodore’s and Samantha’s – are as real to us as them – we are taken in by this fantasy hook, line and sinker – and Jonze creates what should have been a shocking simulacrum but it comes across as being as natural as a kitchen sink drama.  And that is the point – e-personae are a form of reality in all their falseness, whether we like it or not.


Their relationship has the front loaded highs and gradual lows that have underpinned virtually every cinematic marriage drama but just as Theodore settles for those familiar compromises, Samantha hooks up with other computer operating systems and expands her ‘artificial mind’ to have multiple conversations – and relationships – simultaneously; a natural e-love Sixties style.  He cannot comprehend, let alone, rationalise it, and nor can we.  Samantha has left Theodore and the audience behind with a mind blowing twist that looks – rather sounds – like cheating on a mass scale but somehow seems to expose a terrible paranoia at the heart of the human condition; the excrement of a primitive intelligence.


Theodore does have a counterpart in the non-computer alternative real or, rather, fading pre-unreal society.  Amy is his soul mate, played with openness by Amy Adams, and she would have been Theodore’s sparring partner/lover in a routine indie romCom but, following Jonze’s ruthless logic, she is partial to a bit of artificial intelligence too.  They both chase e-versions of their own self without realising it, looking for a lost ‘I’ in computer operating systems created from their own electronic data in this (un)real mutation of a me-me-me society where nothing and everything exists; a conceit that defies our outlook/understanding without a new one to fall back on – recognisable to us as a Baudrillard conundrum – just – but lost as a new ‘norm’ in this futurish society.


Those who doubted whether Jonze could do the business without a Charlie Kaufman script, now have their answer.  No other film has ever tackled e-personae with such penetrating intelligence as this and it should have won the Oscar.
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‘Fort Tilden’ wins SXSW

March 12th, 2014 - admin

Sarah-Violet Bliss’ and Charles Rogers’ comedy drama ‘Fort Tilden’ has won the narrative feature Grand Jury Prize at this year’s South By Southwest Film Festival.  Both filmmakers are beneficiaries of James Fronco’s NYU student initiative, which gave the film an intrigue buzz when it arrived in Austin.


Margaret Brown’s ‘The Great Invisible’ picked up the equivalent prize in the documentary competition.  It’s Brown’s third documentary feature and looks at the lasting impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster from multiple perspectives.




Narrative Feature


Grand Jury Winner: Fort Tilden, Directed by Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers


Special Jury Recognition for Courage in Storytelling: Animals, actor and screenwriter: David Dastmalchian


Special Jury Recognition for Best Acting Duo: 10,000KM (Long Distance), Natalie Tena and David Verdaguer


Documentary Feature


Grand Jury Winner: The Great Invisible, directed by Margaret Brown


Special Jury Recognition for Political Courage: Vessel, directed by Diana Whitten


Special Jury Recognition for Editing and Storytelling: Print the Legend, directed by Luis Lopez and Clay Tweel
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‘Carol’ enters production

March 12th, 2014 - admin

Todd Haynes has commenced filming on his adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s groundbreaking novel, ‘Carol’.  Rooney Mara stars alongside Cate Blanchett in the Fifties drama and plays a young shop assistant who becomes infatuated with an older woman.  It reunites Blanchett with Haynes after she received a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for playing ‘Jude’ in his experimental Bob Dylan biopic ‘I’m Not There’.buy cialis in singapore buy cialis in usa cialis daily cost walmart cialis cost australia


Lynne Ramsay settles dispute

March 11th, 2014 - admin

Lynne Ramsay has resolved her high profile dispute over ‘Jane Got a Gun’ in an out of court settlement that is likely to remain under wraps.  Some of the film’s producers had filed a lawsuit last year following Ramsay’s dramatic departure just as filming was about to get under way.  There has been widespread speculation that disagreements over the final cut may have prompted Ramsay’s liquid cialis online generic cialis black 800mghow to buy cialis online safely buy generic cialis online with mastercard
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Sites That Pay For Essays

March 11th, 2014 - admin

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Comfortable win for ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’

March 10th, 2014 - admin

Warner Bros ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’, starring Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green, easily won the North American weekend box office with a strong $45m from 3470 theatres.  It was at the top end of market expectations notwithstanding poor reviews and an average ‘B’ CinemaScore from first night audiences.  The R-rated epic adventure is the sequel to ‘300’ with Noam Murro (‘Smart People’) taking over the directorial duties from Zack Snyder, who returns as co-writer and one of six producers.  Needless to say, the film benefited from 3D premium screenings, which accounted for 63 percent of the weekend’s takings.


The other weekend wide opener, ‘Mr. Peabody and Sherman’ finished second after grossing $32.5m from a market high 3,934 theatres; easily exceeding market forecasts after strong reviews and an excellent ‘A’ CinemaScore.  Rob Minkoff (‘Lion King’) directs the DreamWorks feature based on characters from the Sixties TV animation,  ‘Peabody’s Improbable History’, which formed part of ‘The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.  Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Matthew Broderick and James Earl Jones are amongst those providing the cialis paypal paymentcialis cost in canada cheap cialis 20 mgcialis buy online india
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‘300’ sequel takes control

March 10th, 2014 - admin

Warner Bros’ sequel, ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’, starring Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green, dominated the international box office with an outstanding $88.8m weekend, being 10% more than the original’s launch.  It was active in 58 markets and, as is often the way, Russia proved the most successful market with 8.8m.  After factoring in North America, the epic adventure grossed $133.9m worldwide over the three cialis over the counter cialis online australia paypal generic cialis 100mg buy cialis pills
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Stunning opening for ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’

March 9th, 2014 - admin

Wes Anderson’s Berlin opener, ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’, starring Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori and Saoirse Ronan, massively exceeded expectations in North America’s weekend speciality market with a stunning $200,000 per screen average.  Fox Searchlight launched the idiosyncratic comedy on four screens, split between two theatres each in New York and Los Angeles, and will expand it to approximately seventy next weekend as part of a standard platform release.  Anderson’s previous feature, ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, debuted with a $130,500 per screen average en route to grossing $68m worldwide.

‘300’ sequel heading for easy win

March 8th, 2014 - admin

Warner Bros ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’ grossed $17.7m on Friday in line with top end market forecasts as it heads for an easy win at the North American weekend box office.  The epic adventure opened in 3470 theatres and should end the weekend around the $43m mark.  First night audiences awarded the epic adventure a so-so ‘B’ CinemaScore, which is unlikely to influence word of mouth either way.


It’s the sequel to ‘300’ with the original’s director, Zack Snyder, returning as co-writer and one of six producers.  Noam Murro has taken over the directorial duties for his second film after ‘Smart People’, and Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green have come in as the film’s leads.


The other weekend wide opener, ‘Mr. Peabody and Sherman’ arrived on Friday with a solid $8m from a market high 3,934 theatres.  Boosted by an ‘A’ CinemaScore, the DreamWorks animation should cash in on Saturday and Sunday family audiences and has a shot at exceeding $30m for the weekend.


The film’s characters come from the Sixties TV animation,  ‘Peabody’s Improbable History’, which formed part of ‘The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Rob Minkoff (‘Lion King’) directs and Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Matthew Broderick and James Earl Jones are amongst the voices.

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New Tornatore feature set to enter production

March 8th, 2014 - admin

Cinema Paradiso director, Giuseppe Tornatore, will commence filming during May on his next feature, ‘The Correspondence’.  Little is known of the production other than it will be a romantic drama between a professor and a younger colleague, and Tornatore’s long term collaborator, Ennio Morricone, is already on board to provide the score.  Casting details will be available shortly.

Strong start for ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’

March 7th, 2014 - admin

Warner Bros’ ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’, starring Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green, grossed a strong $3.3m on Thursday night from 3470 theatres after getting under way at 8 p.m.  This puts the epic adventure on pace for an opening weekend in excess of $40m, which would be enough to claim the No.1 position easily.  It’s the second film based on Frank Miller’s ‘Xerxes’ graphic novels.