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'300: Rise of an Empire’ Roars to $17 Million First Day at Box Office
The “300:Rise of an Empire” roared to a $17. 7 million first day Friday, and is heading for an opening weekend at the box office that could hit $45 million. Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ R-rated sword-and-sandals saga will knock the Liam Neeson thriller “Non-Stop” out of the spot and easily beat the weekend's other wide opener, DreamWorks Animation's “Mr. Peabody and Sherman.” The family movie based on the 1960 cartoon debuted with $8 million Friday and should hit $30 million for the three days, which is at the high end of projections. “Peabody” received an “A CinemaScore” from first-night audiences, »
- Todd Cunningham
China Box Office: Decision to Convert 'RoboCop' to 3D Pays Off
A decision to screen Sony and MGM's rebooted RoboCop in 3D in China has paid off handsomely in the world’s second biggest film market, where an enduring affection for enhanced format movies can often translate into significantly higher box office. RoboCop’s cume after six days of release (March 5) was $27.62 million (169.2 million yuan). This is particularly strong for end of February/early March, which is traditionally a weak period at the box office after the Chinese New Year blitz and with most kids back at school. Story: The Many, Many Post-Movie Lives of RoboCop The movie
- Clifford Coonan
‘Chef’s’ Jon Favreau: ‘I Shoot Food the Way Michael Bay Shoots Women in Bikinis’
Austin – From the moment he stepped onstage at the Paramount Theater, Jon Favreau was looking to entertain. “Chef,” the film he wrote, starred in, co-produced and directed, opened the 2014 South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival Friday night, with all but a standing ovation.
“I shoot food the way Michael Bay shoots women in bikinis,” Favreau told Variety at the after-party, held at Mohawk, several blocks from the theater. Prior to the screening, Favreau (pictured) and the cast dined at Franklin’s barbeque, a famous Austin barbeque joint, which makes a cameo in the film, as does musician Gary Clark Jr., who was deep into his second hour of a live performance.
The movie takes place in Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans and Austin, follows a chef (Favreau) as he quits his job and travels cross country in a food truck with his son (Emjay Anthony) and his sous chef (John Leguizamo).
After the screening, »
- Alexandra Cheney
SXSW: Fest opens with world premiere of Jon Favreau's 'Chef'
The SXSW Film Festival kicked off last night in Austin with the world premiere of Jon Favreau’s Chef, an easygoing charmer about a man rekindling his bonds with both his craft and young son. The movie, which Favreau wrote, directed, and stars in, marked what was clearly a personally reinvigorating return to his indie roots. Inspired by foodie gems like Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, Big Night, and Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, Favreau has made a shaggy dog story about a creatively frustrated chef who opens a food truck after losing his restaurant job. He hits the road with his sous chef (John Leguizamo, »
- Karen Valby
Jeff Bridges: Still ‘The Dude’ in San Luis Obispo
“Man, this is so cool!”
That was Jeff Bridges’ reaction Saturday night to receiving the King Vidor award for excellence in filmmaking at the 20th San Luis International Film Festival. “It’s wonderful to be acknowledged for my work like this,” he added.
James Cromwell presented the award before a capacity crowd at the Fremont Theater with the actors then swapping stories for 30 minutes, followed by a Q-and-a and a screening of Bridges’ signature film, 1998′s “The Big Lebowski.”
Bridges appeared to genuinely enjoy the event, offering a variety of unaffected and unrehearsed answers.
“When ‘The Big Lebowski’ comes on TV, it’s like ‘The Godfather’ – I’m hooked,” he told the audience. “I always think that I’ll stop after John Turturro licks the bowling ball…. The movie is like candy; it’s so well made.”
Cromwell recalled that he had met the actor as an infant and spent »
- Dave McNary
The theatrical life of Derek Jarman
Derek Jarman is remembered as an innovative film-maker and artist but his stage work is key to his career – even his own residence was a performance
Derek Jarman wandered into theatre, as he did into much of his creative life. The stage design department at the Slade School of Art in 1963 was casually structured, and, for the era, an uncloseted zone of gaiety. He'd previously slapped a distemper brush on scenes for Lorca's Blood Wedding and other plays put on by fellow students at King's College, London. He had not seen much theatre, as movies – even concerts – came cheaper; the first production that really excited him was Peter Brook's short and gory staging of Antonin Artaud's Spurt of Blood in the RSC's 1964 Theatre of Cruelty season.
- Veronica Horwell
The Grand Budapest Hotel review – Wes Anderson's tightly wound confection | Mark Kermode
This artfully precise comedy is full of rapier-sharp wit, and Ralph Fiennes's timing is note-perfect
The cinema of Wes Anderson is nothing if not mechanical. Watching his movies is less like marvelling at the silent workings of a Swiss watch than goggling at the innards of a grandfather clock, cogs and pulleys proudly displayed. Theatrical framing devices are everywhere, from book bindings to doll's houses to miniature stages and fluctuating screen ratios, with chapter headings a recurrent feature. As for the performances, one imagines that if Anderson were ever to include a "gag reel" of outtakes from his movies, it would include shots of an actor raising an eyebrow a millimetre too high, or placing a teacup an inch to the left of its allotted space upon a table.
Such choreographed precision and overwrought »
- Mark Kermode
Veronica Mars review: A dark thriller with a marshmallow centre
The task of resurrecting any beloved franchise brings with it a certain degree of responsibility to the fans. The closest counterpart to the Veronica Mars movie, which resurrects Kristen Bell's sharp-tongued teenage sleuth from the small screen, is Joss Whedon's 2006 sci-fi Serenity, the long-awaited theatrical sequel to his short-lived space western series Firefly.
But where Whedon owed Firefly fans (aka the Browncoats) a figurative debt for their ongoing support, Mars creator Rob Thomas owes his fans (aka the Marshmallows) in a much more specific and literal sense – the film is funded entirely by them via a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign. So what's most impressive about Veronica Mars is that for all this history, it plays as much more than fan service.
Picking up nine »
SXSW: Zac Efron, Seth Rogen’s Neighbors’ Cracks Up Premiere Crowd
Austin — To premiere at SXSW, Universal’s “Neighbors” decided to forgo the end credits, a final mix, and the aspect ratio correction, but the sold-out crowd at the Paramount Theater didn’t seem to mind. The Seth Rogen-produced raunchy comedy starring Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco and an often-shirtless Rogen debuted to an audience content to heartily laugh.
While the weather outside was both frightful and wet, inside Rogen half joked that the only person out of the near dozen onstage that attended college was producer James Weaver, who also doubled as the sole member of a fraternity.
The film follows the Radnor family (Rogen and Byrne), who, after having their first child experience the unfortunate circumstance of having a fraternity move in next door (its president is played by Efron). In an attempt to both give their daughter a peaceful environment and yet prove to themselves that »
- Alexandra Cheney
SXSW Film Review: ‘Neighbors’
Lewder, weirder, louder, leaner, meaner and more winningly stupid than anything its director Nicholas Stoller and star Seth Rogen have ever been involved with before, frat comedy “Neighbors” boasts an almost oppressive volume of outrageous gags, and provided that audiences don’t mind the lack of anything resembling a coherent story arc, its commercial potential ought to be enormous. Presented as a work-in-progress at SXSW (though aside from missing credits and a few continuity quirks, it appears largely finished), “Neighbors” is an unchecked riot that should go a long way toward selling antagonist Zac Efron as a credible adult actor, though as with anything involving the Greek system, a bit more moderation from the start might have prevented a few headaches afterward.
Rogen and Rose Byrne star as Mac and Kelly, a young married couple whose infant daughter has prompted a move into the suburbs. Aside from the disruption to »
- Andrew Barker
Iceland on film: a road trip around the 'Hollywood of the north'
• Iceland's film locations – in pictures
The sun has yet to rise but the morning light is already illuminating the reasons why Iceland is renowned for its landscape. I'm standing on a helipad in the south-eastern town of Höfn: with its harbour behind me, I can see snow-covered mountains separated by four icy tongues, each part of the enormous Vatnajökull glacier.
A few lights glow yellow-orange in windows but the main colours are sky blue, a sliver of pink around the clouds and the dark-brown mass of mountains yet to reveal their rugged detail. I'm not waiting for a helicopter; this just seemed like a good place to take in the view … sort of. The wind speed is more than 40mph – that's an »
- Robert Hull
SXSW: Yes, Zac Efron Really Is The Funniest Person In Neighbors
Do you know who is Really funny in Nicholas Stoller.s Neighbors? Like, "steal the show" funny? Zac Efron. I can hear you bitching and moaning already. Save it. Efron uses every tool in his box to keep up with (and often ahead of) a fast-and-filthy talking Seth Rogen as Neighbors works up a disgustingly funny lather. The raunchy rival comedy held a work-in-progress screening at the Paramount Theater during South By Southwest, and while the MPAA might ask for a few cuts (there are a Lot of dick jokes), the version we saw will light theaters on fire when Neighbors opens this summer. Stoller brought Forgetting Sarah Marshall to this fest back in 2008, and called that screening "the best" of his career. This one might top it. The Paramount crowd roared as Rogen and Rose Byrne stepped into the roles of new parents Mac and Kelly Radnor, suburbanites worried »
'Veronica Mars' Premieres at SXSW Nearly One Year After Kickstarter Campaign
Even rain couldn't put a damper on the premiere of "Veronica Mars" earlier today at SXSW -- nearly one year after the Kickstarter campaign resurrected the TV series and seven years after the show went off the air. Introducing the film, director and co-writer Rob Thomas thanked Warner Bros., the cast of the film and the Kickstarter backers. A very wise move considering the backlash Zach Braff faced after his Kickstarter-funded "Wish I Was Here" premiered at Sundance and he neglected to thank his backers. "I really want to thank the people at Warner Bros. Just so you know, the easiest answer for a big corporation is no, and Warner Bros. said yes. Warner Bros. let us try this experiment, and we're so grateful. I can't tell you how well they have treated us for being such a small movie. They have treated us like a really important project," said Thomas. »
- Paula Bernstein
SXSW Review: ‘Neighbors’ Starring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron & Rose Byrne
The last time Universal screened one of their big summer comedies at South by Southwest, it turned out to be "Bridesmaids"—a movie that not only proved to be a massive financial success (and a breakthrough for its cowriter/star Kristin Wiig) but a critical one as well, even earning an Academy Award nomination for its screenplay. So a fair amount of anticipation greeted tonight's "work-in-progress" (although look, it seems totally finished) screening of the new Seth Rogen/Zac Efron comedy "Neighbors." And while "Neighbors" doesn't come close to capturing "Bridesmaids'" emotional honesty, it could have a chance of one-upping that film in the box office. Simply put, "Neighbors" is one of the funniest, most visually inventive studio comedies in recent memory. When "Neighbors" opens, Rogen and his adorable wife, played by "Bridesmaids"-star Rose Byrne, have just moved into a lovely suburban home with their new baby. Clearly, »
- Drew Taylor
SXSW: Marshmallows unite at 'Veronica Mars'
Seven years and a famous Kickstarter campaign in the making, Veronica Mars finally made its grand jump from small to big screen on Saturday afternoon at the SXSW festival. Rob Thomas’ movie, brisk and fun and full of throwback love to the cult series, opens with Kristen Bell’s Veronica leaving a thriving life in New York City when her forever flame Logan (Jason Dohring, fine as ever) is suspected of murder. Her trip home to Neptune coincides with her high school’s 10-year reunion, an event she’d penciled in years ago to studiously avoid. For fans of the »
- Karen Valby
SXSW: 5 Amazing Stories We Learned At The Veronica Mars World Premiere
Marshmallows! You don.t need me to tell you that Veronica Mars held its World Premiere at the South By Southwest film festival in Austin. And the movie reunion of the beloved (but defunct) television cast played like gangbusters. But there will be time for that later. Veronica Mars opens in theaters with a series of fan events on March 14, expanding wider the following week. I attended the World Premiere in Austin on Saturday, and stayed afterwards for the Q-and-a, which feature series creator Rob Thomas and cast members Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Enrico Colantoni, Krysten Ritter, Ryan Hansen, Percy Daggs and Chris Lowell. We filtered through the fun facts and came up with five interesting nuggets of information from the Mars cast. Listen above! Not enough? Fire up the opening scene from Rob Thomas. upcoming feature film. It.s a great crash course on the magic of Mars, and »
SXSW Review: 'Veronica Mars' Starring Kristen Bell
The mere existence of a "Veronica Mars" movie seems downright miraculous in and of itself. This was a beloved but barely viewed cult television series that aired on the now-defunct Upn for three unceremonious seasons before being banished to the illusory land of "canceled before its time." Years after it was axed, it was resurrected via the magic of internet-based crowd funding (which is kind of bizarre, especially considering one of its producers is Joel Silver, a man responsible for "The Matrix" trilogy and "Non-Stop"). This is a movie that the fans desperately wanted, so much so that they paid for it themselves. So it is something of a relief to report that the movie version of the series, while not without its flaws, fundamentally maintains the heart and intrigue of the television series, but in a miniaturized, less nuanced form. The question is whether or not anyone who isn't »
- Drew Taylor
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Review: Neil deGrasse Tyson Tours The Universe
A revival of Carl Sagan's seminal work Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which was a massive hit on PBS in the 1980s, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey goes on a visually masterful trek through space at the hands of popular astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and his "ship of imagination." The 13-episode series, which will be running on a myriad of Fox networks, is the first time a documentary has aired in primetime in a very long time, thanks to a big push from executive producer Seth MacFarlane. Hit the jump for whether it deserves its high-profile slot. One of the most focused-upon aspects of Cosmos is not its enthusiastic, friendly and well-respected (not to mention uber smart) host Neil DeGrasse Tyson, but MacFarlane. MacFarlane is a man of extremes, much of which was on display when he hosted the Oscars. He can be brutally funny, then willfully obtuse (take, as exhibit A and B, »
- Allison Keene
Producer Mark Canton Talks 300: Rise Of An Empire, the Sex Scene, Power, The Last Witch Hunter with Vin Diesel, an Immortals Sequel, and More
Now playing in theaters is director Noam Murro’s 300: Rise of an Empire. In the sequel to Zack Snyder’s 300, Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god, Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Artemisia (Eva Green), the vengeful commander of the Persian navy. The film also stars Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, David Wenham, Igal Nao, Callan Mulvey, Jack O’Connell, and Andrew Tiernan. I’ve seen the film twice now and am happy to report the sequel kicks ass. The fight scenes are extremely well done, the 3D actually adds to the story, and Eva Green’s performance is worth the price of admission. It also might have the best sex scene of 2014, and it’s only February. While many might have wondered if we needed »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
Recap of the Guardians Of The Galaxy Q&A with Chris Pratt, James Gunn, and Marvel’s Kevin Feige
Earlier tonight, director James Gunn and star Chris Pratt joined Marvel's Kevin Feige in a half-hour Q&A on all things Guardians of the Galaxy. While you didn't miss any new footage or surprise guests, the trio was surprisingly open in their answers to questions from both fans and AMC's John Campea who moderated the event. Gunn described the film as being in "The Marvel flavor, but [having] a lot of old-school space opera about it." He also shared a story about how Pratt almost missed on the audition for Star-Lord completely. The charismatic Pratt shared an anecdote of his own, and Feige teased a possible Easter egg in the films for fans of the comics. Hit the jump for the highlights. Gunn, Pratt, and Feige all stressed the fun and originality of Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as the core of the story being all about the characters' relationships and, »
- Dave Trumbore
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