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'The Imitation Game' wins the 2015 USC Scripter Award
Los Angeles — It maybe hard to believe, but the USC Scripter Award is honoring its 27th recipient this year. The Scripter is the equivalent of an Adapted Screenplay honor for both the screenwriter and the author of the original source material. The last five winners were "Up in the Air," "The Social Network," "The Descendants," "Argo" and "12 Years A Slave." Your 2015 winner? The duo behind "The Imitation Game." Andrew Hodges, author of "Alan Turing: The Enigma," wasn't on hand, but screenwriter Graham Moore was and the Oscar nominee seemed to be caught off guard by the win. "I need to thank the man who made 'The Imitation Game,' my director Morten Tyldum," Moore said in accepting the award. "I would do an impression of his Norwegian accent, but all he'd say was, 'Good job Gra-ham!' Our producers Nora Grossman and Teddy Schwarzman, whose tireless dedication brought this »
- Gregory Ellwood
Sundance: Netflix Picks Up Porn Documentary ‘Hot Girls Wanted’
After failing to make much of a splash in Park City, Netflix has picked up its first Sundance Film Festival release, “Hot Girls Wanted.”
The film shines a light on the porn world and the young women who opt to make a career in the industry. It will premiere exclusively in all territories where Netflix is available in 2015.
“Netflix is the ideal partner for us; not only do they understand this film but they’re the perfect platform to reach the many people who need to see it,” said Jones in a statement.
Netflix didn’t make the big purchase that many expected the company to at Sundance, but it did premiere the documentary “What Happened, Miss Simone?” about singer Nina Simone to strong reviews at the festival.
The deal for “Hot Girls Wanted” was negotiated by UTA Independent Film Group and »
- Brent Lang
Film Review: ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water’
As far as nautical nonsense goes, it’s hard to top the climax of 2004’s “The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie,” in which the fate of our heroes hinged on the density of David Hasselhoff’s leg hair. This year’s follow-up, “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water,” may not quite equal those heights, but by doubling down on the Nickelodeon series’ inherent surreality, it proves just as memorable. Alternately inspired, exhausting, clever, stupid (not to mention stupid-clever), and about as meta as any kidpic this side of “Duck Amuck,” the Paul Tibbitt-directed feature ought to prove equally popular among the franchise’s key grade-schooler and head-shop-owner demographics.
Though the film’s marketing materials make the most of its characters’ expansion into three-dimensional CG, most of the first two acts take the more familiar form of Stephen Hillenburg’s TV toon, interspersed with live-action narration from an irritable pirate (voiced »
- Andrew Barker
Sundance: Broad Green Picking Up Robert Redford's 'A Walk in the Woods'
Broad Green, the new distribution outfit run by Gabriel and Daniel Hammond, has beat out several bidders to pick up the U.S. right to A Walk in the Woods, the Robert Redford-Nick Nolte drama. The deal is said to be in the high-seven figures, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter, with a sizeable P&A commitment. The long in the works movie (it was at one point to have starred Redford and long time screen amigo Paul Newman) premiered Jan. 23 engendering comparisons to Wild and The Bucket List. Read More 'A Walk in the Woods': Sundance Review
- Borys Kit
Me & Earl & the Dying Girl Dazzles at Sundance
For the second year in a row, the Sundance Film Festival has a clear breakout hit, with Me and Earl and the Dying Girl winning both the Grand Jury and Audience Awards for the U.S. Dramatic competition. (Whiplash pulled off the same feat last year.) A funny, touching, and highly inventive tale of a boy-girl high school borne in tragic circumstances, Me and Earl got a standing ovation in the dark while the credits were still rolling at the premiere screening I attended. Fox Searchlight and Indian Paintbrush may not have paid the Sundance-record $12 million that the film was originally rumored to have commanded, but there’s not doubting that director Alfonso Goméz-Rejón (best known for American Horror Story), screenwriter Jesse Andrews (who adapted his own novel), and virtually unknown star Thomas Mann (Project X) have very bright futures ahead of them.Tig Notaro, who’s the subject of a documentary, »
- Jada Yuan
‘In Your Arms,’ ‘Look of Silence’ Top Goteborg Festival
Serious treatments of weighty issues took the main awards at this year’s Goteborg Film Festival, running Jan. 23 to Feb. 2, the first under the leadership of new artistic director Jonas Holmberg. Danish debutant Samanou Acheche Sahlstroma’s euthanasia pic, “In Your Arms,” came away the big winner, nabbing both the generously endowed – approx. $120,000- Best Nordic Film kudo and the Fipresci prize.
Denmark’s Joshua Oppenheimer scored the best Nordic docu nod with “The Look of Silence” (pictured), the follow-up to his Oscar-nominated “The Act of Killing,” which continues recounting the genocide of suspected communists in Indonesia in the 1960s. The Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award went to “The Lesson,” a spare, stripped- to-essentials drama about a provincial Bulgarian schoolteacher driven to extremes by debt, from helmer-writer Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov.
Even the audience choice kudos honored narratives that were bleaker in tone. Estonian helmer Martti Helde’s “In The Crosswind, »
- Alissa Simon
‘Sleepless Night’ Remake Scores Jamie Foxx and Michelle Monaghan
The Sleepless Night remake just got a jolt of much-needed energy. Open Road has just picked up the action-thriller and attached Jamie Foxx and Michelle Monaghan to star. Baran bo Odar will direct from a script by Andrea Berloff. The original French film by Frédéric Jardin was a big hit with critics, if not the box […]
- Angie Han
Brad Pitt May Team With Angelina Jolie To Fight Poachers In His Next Movie
Brad Pitt fought the undead in 2013's World War Z then more recently German soldiers in his epic World War II action-drama Fury. Now with piles of dead zombies and Nazis behind him, he may be ready to team-up with wife Angelina Jolie to battle animal poachers. The word on the street is that Pitt is in negotiations to embody the character of Richard Leakey in Jolie's fourth directorial effort Africa. According to The Wrap, the biopic will follow the highly-respected archaeologist, Leakey, who became famous for his devoted commitment to defending elephants from Kenyan poachers in the late 1980s. The script for Africa was penned by the very talented Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). The poaching film will also reteam Jolie with her Unbroken cinematographer Roger Deakins, who's made a name for himself through his collaborations with the Coen Brothers (True Grit, No Country »
Box Office: ‘American Sniper’ Sets Super Bowl Weekend Record With $31.8 Million
“American Sniper” is nearing the $250 million mark after picking up $31.8 million to set a new Super Bowl weekend record.
If it continues on this torrid clip, Clint Eastwood’s biopic of Navy Seal Chris Kyle could challenge “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″ as the highest-grossing 2014 release and will pass “The Matrix Reloaded” to become the second-biggest R-rated release in history. It has earned $248.9 million — an unbelievable result for an adult drama about such hard-hitting topics as war and its psychological effects.
“These are superhero movie numbers,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “People are hearing about this movie, talking about it and I imagine it’s leading them to see it multiple times to get to these type of numbers. »
- Brent Lang
‘Sniper Takes Out ‘Hannah Montana’ With $31.85M Super Bowl Record – Sunday Am First Update
Final Update, Sunday 9:45 Am: After 8Am post. “I wish there was a universe where American Sniper wasn’t in it!” cried one distribution exec this morning after their movie came up short this weekend. “I actually like this universe we’re living in!” beamed Warner Bros.’ distribution Evp Jeff Goldstein over the third wide weekend of impressive results for Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper. The Village Roadshow co-production made another B.O. touchdown as the highest grossing film ever over Super Bowl weekend with $31.85M. Traditionally the Big Game frame is a challenging one for movies, however most titles make most of their dough during Friday and Saturday. The Warner Bros./Village Roadshow film is expected to eclipse Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best Of Both Worlds Concert‘s first weekend of $31.12M, the previous title to mint the most over Super Bowl Fss. The cume for American Sniper »
- Anthony D'Alessandro
Box Office: 'American Sniper' Sets Super Bowl Weekend Record
Different weekend, same story as American Sniper tops the Super Bowl weekend box office, giving the film its third #1 in a row, adding another $31.85 million to its coffers, with a domestic total currently at $248.9 million. The $31.85 million finish is a Super Bowl weekend record, besting previous top earner Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour, which took in $31.1 million back in 2008. Thing is, should the Sniper estimates be off by more than $800,000 then this might not be a record at all. When it comes to new releases, the best they could offer was Project Almanac coming in with $8.5 million and a "B" CinemaScore. Paramount won't be too upset over the result considering the film cost only $12 million to produce, but this definitely isn't the next Paranormal Activity-esque, low budget blockbuster. Maybe people have finally given up on the found footage thingc Next is the Kevin Costner »
- Brad Brevet
What I Watched, What You Watched #282
It's Super Bowl Sunday so I don't think I need to say anymore about what I'll be watching today, but as far as this week goes there are not real surprises as I've already reviewed everything I saw this week. The week began with a screening of Black Sea (read the review here) on Monday, then on Wednesday I watched Project Almanac (read the review here) and Black or White (read the review here). Then, when their appeared to be nothing to write about on Friday I sat down and listened to the Nightcrawler Blu-ray audio commentary while taking that movie in for a third time (read that write-up here). amz asin="B00G71HP4K" size="small"I did want to mention on other thing that I think a lot of you might be interested in. I started reading "Of All the Gin Joints: Stumbling through Hollywood History" and am loving it. »
- Brad Brevet
The Biggest Challenges the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers Faced
Before the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, we sent out a questionnaire to filmmakers with films in competition asking them a variety of questions about their projects, including what their biggest challenge was in completing that project. Overwhelmingly, the most common difficulty was tight scheduling and not having enough shooting days. Some filmmakers cited external safety concerns (being shot at by snipers, filming in meth labs in the middle of the night and high altitude mountain conditions). A few problems were a lot simpler to explain, though no easier to solve: a lack of financing, recreating 1950s Brooklyn while shooting in Montreal, getting Jack Black's schedule to match up with the rest of the cast and crew and working with six teenage boys. Read More: Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers Here are the filmmakers' responses (slightly edited, in some cases, for length): Eli Roth ("Knock Knock"): "Time. It was a tough shoot. »
- Anya Jaremko-Greenwold
'The Grand Budapest Hotel,' 'Birdman' and 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Win Art Directors Guild Awards
"The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Birdman" and "Guardians of the Galaxy" took home prizes at The Art Directors Guild's Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards, in eleven categories of film, television, commercials and music videos. Full list of winner s here. "Interstellar" star Anne Hathaway presented The Guild's Cinematic Imagery Award to her director, Christopher Nolan. George Clooney presented Production Designer Jim Bissell with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Lifetime Achievement Awards also went to Senior Illustrator Camille Abbott, Senior Set Designer John P. Bruce, and Scenic Artist Will Ferrell. Production Designers John Gabriel Beckman, Charles Lisanby and Walter H. Tyler were inducted into the Adg Hall of Fame. On hand to buttress their Oscar campaigns were "The Theory of Everything" nominees Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. Here is the full list of Adg winners: Winners For »
- Anne Thompson
In Your Arms wins top Goteborg award
Danish director Samanou Acheche Sahlstrøm took home the Gothenburg Film Festival’s Dragon Award for Best Nordic Film for drama In Your Arms.
The coveted award comes with the world’s biggest festival cash prize of 1 million Sek ($120,000).
At the gala event on Saturday evening, Copenhagen-based Sahlstrom also won the Fipresci award for his film about a nurse who travels with a terminally ill man to a euthanasia clinic in Switzerland.
The jury said of Sahlstrom’s film: “The award goes to a film, that with honest sensitivity, brings up the questions: when is life worth living? When is life not worth living?
“Told in a pure language, with poetic moments, and with an acting that is vibrating of human authenticity. It is a film that ends with death - but also with life, love and hope.”
- email@example.com (Andreas Wiseman)
Film Review: ‘The Loft’
After being bumped from previous release dates and passed off from one distributor (Universal) to another (Open Road), Erik Van Looy’s “The Loft” finally opened on North American screens Jan. 30, just in time to be mostly ignored by its presumptive target demographic — i.e., young male moviegoers — during Super Bowl weekend. Even so, this outrageously over-plotted, borderline-campy erotic thriller might attract a slightly larger audience in ancillary platforms, if only because the unwary might misinterpret a synopsis of its plot — five buddies find an inconvenient corpse in the condo they use for their adulterous assignations — as a promise of fantasy fulfillment and dark comedy.
As it turns out, however, “The Loft” is not intentionally funny at all. Rather, it is a feverishly melodramatic mashup of “The Apartment” – try to imagine what might have happened had Jack Lemmon not foiled Shirley MacLaine’s suicide attempt – and “Murder on the Orient Express, »
- Joe Leydon
5 must-watch February cinema releases: 50 Shades of Grey, Selma
February is front-loaded with must-watch movies with four of our five selections for the month all opening on the same day. And what a diverse mix it is - Fifty Shades of Grey sits alongside Selma and Shaun the Sheep, while there's also an eagerly-awaited Wachowskis offering and the much-discussed comedy that almost brought down Sony Pictures.
Digital Spy rounds up the five films you have to see this February...
Release date: February 6
Why you should see it: The Wachowskis' output post-The Matrix might be largely hit and miss, but whenever the siblings have something new on offer it's always worth seeking out on the biggest screen possible. Jupiter Ascending, an epic space opera starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, promises to deliver a sci-fi blockbuster that's been touted as a mix of Star Wars and The Matrix.
Release date: February 6
Why you should see it: »
Sundance Film Review: ‘3 1/2 Minutes’
“3 1/2 Minutes” rivetingly chronicles the murder trial of Michael Dunn, who fired gunshots into a car of four black teenagers in Jacksonville, Fla., killing one, during an altercation over their playing rap music loudly. The tragedy struck many as another encapsulation of double standards in the American popular consciousness (not to mention the police and justice systems), wherein African-Americans are automatically considered more “threatening” and their deaths more justified regardless of their actions (or lack of weaponry). Marc Silver’s docu wisely lets that complex issue play out in the viewer’s mind without debating it onscreen; this vivid case, in which cameras had full courtroom access, requires no outside commentary for its larger social relevance to be glaringly clear. The Sundance prizewinner is a natural for appropriate broadcast slots, with modest theatrical exposure also possible.
The day after Thanksgiving in 2012, four middle-class high schoolers stopped at a convenience store — in a “safe” neighborhood, »
- Dennis Harvey
Sundance Film Review: ‘The Russian Woodpecker’
A well-deserved Sundance grand jury prizewinner in the World Cinema documentary category, “The Russian Woodpecker” is a complex film about Chernobyl that is also surprisingly, richly enjoyable. Chad Gracia’s first feature juggles Ukrainian/Russian/Soviet history, a portrait of an eccentric artist, political current-events reportage, and a shocking yet increasingly plausible conspiracy about the catastrophic 1986 nuclear-reactor meltdown. The result should break into niche theatrical distribution in numerous territories, with broadcast and rental pickups likely to be plentiful as well.
There will surely never be a documentary about nuclear disaster with a protagonist more endearing than Fedor Alexandrovich, a shaggy young multimedia artist descended from generations of Ukrainian creatives. With his simultaneous wide-eyed fervor and distracted air, not to mention an ever-mutating mound of wild hair, he seems like Dostoyevsky’s holy-fool “Idiot” come to contemporary life — and as frequently onscreen colleague Artem Ryzhykov (also the film’s cinematographer) points out, »
- Dennis Harvey
Shear magic: Shaun the Sheep’s woolly rivals
As Aardman Animations’ Shaun prepares for his own film, we round up the flock of ovine stars who have made their mark in the human world
Since his cameo role in Wallace & Gromit’s A Close Shave two decades ago, Aardman Animations’ plucky plasticine hero Shaun the Sheep has become a genuine fleecy phenomenon. His Cbbc series has been exported worldwide and a film spin-off gambols friskily on to cinema screens this Friday (tagline: “Catch them if ewe can”). To mark the ovine occasion, we round up and rate the star’s famous fleecy rivals…
Continue reading »
- Michael Hogan
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