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Cannes Film Review: ‘Based on a True Story’

40 minutes ago

It’s hard to talk about Roman Polanski’s “Based on a True Story” without revealing the twist, although it’s much harder trying to imagine anyone actually falling for it. A thin psychological two-hander between two writers, both of them women, this over-obvious metaphor for the creative process — never quite thrilling enough to qualify as a thriller, but still unsettling enough to intrigue — inevitably results in the publication of the book within the book upon which the film is based, and in so doing forces Polanski to return to his roots.

That doesn’t mean audiences will get much insight into either the director’s process or his own dark secrets, mind you. Rather, the film recalls the uncertain, almost hallucinatory quality of his early work — movies such as “Cul-de-Sac,” “Repulsion” and “Rosemary’s Baby,” where the very fabric of what we’ve been watching is called into question. »


- Peter Debruge

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Cannes Talk: Producer Uri Singer of Passage Pictures

4 hours ago

 

Producer Uri Singer launched Passage Pictures in 2016, taking its drama ‘Marjorie Primes,” starring Jon Hamm and Lois Smith,  to Sundance earlier this year. That film was picked up by FilmRise, which plan an awards push for Smith. Also in its slate: “I am Rose Fatou,” written by Ted Melfi (“Hidden Figures”), “Tesla,” which teams Singer up again with writer/director Michael Almereyda, and “Rich,” based on the book “King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich,” about the infamous billionaire oil trader who died in 2013.

 

What’s different about Passage Pictures?

I decided I had to sit through movies and watch them and I decided they had to be important to bring to the screen — passion projects that can have a bigger audience, and important stories. Like “Experiementer,” and movies like “Marjorie Prime,” “White Noise,” and Nikola Tesla biopic “Tesla.” That’s a challenge I embrace.

How do you navigate the difficult specialty market? »


- Carole Horst

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Cannes Film Review: ‘Pure Hearts’

6 hours ago

Fresh voices in Italian independent cinema constantly struggle against an overwhelming tide of bigger-budgeted, better-distributed mediocrities, so it’s encouraging to see a film like “Pure Hearts” find a major festival berth, where the attention it receives might just filter through back home. Roberto De Paolis’ debut is a story of two marginalized young people afraid of what’s inside themselves: for Agnese, it’s the fear of sin, for Stefano, it’s the fear of powerlessness. Their unlikely meeting on the periphery of Rome starts a process of self-questioning that leads to both liberation and pain. De Paolis’ nonjudgmental depiction of their two worlds has a raw urgency that should find receptive audiences at festivals worldwide.

Strict but loving single mom Marta (Barbora Bobulova) isn’t the stereotypical fundamentalist parent, and Agnese (Selene Caramazza), 17, has a relatively normal life within the controlled limits of her church-based school and community. »


- Jay Weissberg

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Cannes Talk: Russell Levine, Route One Topper

6 hours ago

Russell Levine, who heads Route One, is heading for the Cannes Film Festival for the third time. Route One is a producer on “Colossal” starring Anne Hathaway, “The Circle,”  starring Tom Hanks, the Jenny Slate Sundance comedy “Landline,” which has sold to Amazon, and recently announced they are producing the Damien Chazelle script “The Claim” and the Fisher Stevens-directed project “Palmer.”

What was your most memorable meal in Cannes?

We had met a French producer during a meal at a bouillabaisse restaurant in Cannes and he asked me and my wife to come with them to a restaurant the next night. So we showed up and they said we were not properly dressed and [they] wound up buying us clothes. So that was by far my most memorable meal in Cannes.

 It is expensive to get to Cannes. What are the best reasons to go to Cannes?

Almost anything can happen. »


- Dave McNary

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Cannes Film Review: ‘I Am Not a Witch’

7 hours ago

Perhaps more beautiful and strange than wholly satisfying, it’s nonetheless easy to see why Rungano Nyoni’s debut film arrives in the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar of Cannes trailing ribbons of new-discovery buzz. A defiantly uncategorizable mix of superstition, satire and social anthropology, it tells the story of a small Zambian girl who is denounced as a witch and exiled to a witch camp, where she is alternately exploited and embraced. Singular as that story might be, what makes “I Am Not a Witch” unique, however, is Nyoni’s abundant, maybe even overabundant directorial confidence. It’s rare and exhilarating that a new filmmaker arrives on the scene so sure of herself and so willing to take bold, counter-intuitive chances.

In the film’s elegant Vivaldi-scored opening, a tourist bus disgorges its passengers, including a large woman who is one of the only white people we’ll see. They file »


- Jessica Kiang

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Edgar Wright, Dwayne Johnson, Rian Johnson, Marc Webb, Lin-Manuel Miranda Plot Simon & Garfunkel Movie Universe

10 hours ago

Sprawling cinematic universes have done boffo box-office business. “Star Wars,” Marvel comics, DC superheroes, and classic monster tales have all been mined for movie multiplex magic — with awesome auds turning out serious coin for congloms. Now another under-exploited IP may be ready for the silver screen — the song catalog of Simon & Garfunkel.

What began as an apparent joke on Twitter by “Baby Driver” helmer Edgar Wright has turned into an apparent joke on Twitter by Edgar Wright and a bunch of other people. On Friday, Wright tweeted, tagging fellow filmmaker Marc Webb, “I have ‘Baby Driver’ out in June & @MarcW has ‘The Only Living Boy In New York’ in August. Where is the ‘So Long Frank Lloyd Wright’ movie?”

Amazing. The Simon And Garfunkel Song Title Cinematic Universe is growing; The Rock confirms he will star in 'I Am A Rock'. pic.twitter.com/rmTC0v6yOd

John Nugent (@mr »


- Daniel Holloway

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Disney Parks Chairman Hints at More Marvel Attractions to Come

12 hours ago

Guardians of the Galaxy” Mission Breakout! may be the first of many Marvel-themed attractions to find a home at Disney’s California Adventures.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Bob Chapek made the announcement during the opening of the attraction — which replaces the old Tower of Terror ride — Thursday night. In place of a haunted elevator, guests will join Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) as he tries to liberate the Guardians from the clutches of The Collector (Benicio Del Toro) on the vertical thrill ride.

“This is a momentous occasion, but it’s just the beginning of what will become a bigger superhero presence at Disney California Adventures,” Chapek said opening night. “And with the strong partnership at Walt Disney Imagineering, we’re very excited with what’s to come.”

Related

Guardians of the Galaxy 3’ Will Be the ‘Final in This Iteration,’ James Gunn Says

While its unclear exactly what’s next, »


- Lawrence Yee

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‘Paddington 2’ Lands January Release in U.S. From Weinstein Company

12 hours ago

The Weinstein Company has set family comedy sequel “Paddington 2” for a Jan. 12 release in the United States.

Paddington 2” stars Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Madeleine Harris, and Brendan Gleeson. Ben Whishaw, and Imelda Staunton, who provide the voices of Paddington and Aunt Lucy, also reprise their roles.

The original “Paddington” opened in late 2014 and grossed nearly $270 million worldwide, including $76.2 million in the U.S. and $59.5 million in the U.K. The much-loved talking bear, who comes from Peru and loves marmalade, is based on a series of children’s books by Michael Bond that launched in 1958.

Related

Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson Join Cast of ‘Paddington 2

The sequel follows the bear, who’s happily settled with the Brown family and is a popular member of the local community, as he takes on a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect »


- Dave McNary

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Cannes Film Review: ‘Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts’

12 hours ago

At the age of 36, Indonesian director-writer Mouly Surya has made the first Satay Western, and a flamingly feminist one at that. Following a widow on an empowering course to seek justice for robbery and rape, “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts” is a revenge fantasy rooted in Indonesia’s gender conditions, complex regional culture and the stark beauty of its landscapes. At once tightly controlled and simmering with righteous fury, it’s gorgeously lensed, atmospherically scored and moves inexorably toward a gratifying payoff. A co-production between Indonesia, France, Malaysia and Thailand, this savvy blend of genre and art-house sensibilities will kill it at festivals, but needs adventurous distributors to put it into theatres where it can be viewed in its widescreen beauty.

Surya’s debut “Fiksi” and sophomore feature “What They Don’t Talk About When They Talk About Love” have centered on outlier female characters (a lonely stalker and »


- Maggie Lee

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Cannes Film Review: ‘You Were Never Really Here’

13 hours ago

Some filmmakers rust during periods of inactivity; Lynne Ramsay arches and tenses, lying in wait like an attack dog. And attack she does, though not in all the expected ways, in her astonishing fourth feature “You Were Never Really Here,” a stark, sinewy, slashed-to-the-bone hitman thriller far more concerned with the man than the hit. Working from a pulp-fiction source that another director might have fashioned into a “Taken” knockoff, Ramsay instead strips the classically botched job at the story’s core down to its barest, bloodiest necessities, lingering far more lavishly on the unspoken emotions rippling across leading man Joaquin Phoenix’s face, and the internal lacerations of trauma and abuse they cumulatively reveal.

With the minimalism of the material providing the cleanest of canvases for the matchless technique of director and star alike, “You Were Never Really Here” isn’t the genre crossover effort Ramsay’s admirers may have feared, »


- Guy Lodge

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Lionsgate Stock Jumps 8.65% in Wake of Strong Earnings Report

14 hours ago

Stock of Lionsgate has surged 8.65%, buoyed by a stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings report.

Class A shares gained $2.21 to close at $27.76 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange. It was the highest close since Jan. 28.

After the market closed Thursday, Lionsgate reported better-than-expected earnings of $62 million, or 30 cents a share, for its fourth quarter ended March 31 — topping Wall Street forecasts of 22 cents a share and far above year-ago earnings of $10.9 million. Revenues also came in above expectations at $1.26 billion, while analysts had been forecasting $1.19 billion.

Related

Lionsgate Sets ‘Tyler Perry’s Boo 2: A Madea Halloween’ for October

It’s the second earnings report for the studio since its Dec. 8 acquisition of Starz for $4.4 billion. That transaction generated $89 million in restructuring and other costs primarily associated with the acquisition and subsequent integration of Starz.

Lionsgate’s movie operations have been buoyed by its comedy-drama “La La Land,” which won six Academy »


- Dave McNary

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Box Office: ‘Pirates’ Sailing to $75 Million, ‘Baywatch’ Can’t Make Memorial Day Waves

16 hours ago

Johnny Depp’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” will hook in $75 million during the four-day Memorial Day holiday, early estimates showed on Friday.

Should the number hold, “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” which will be playing at 4,276 North America locations, would wind up slightly below recent expectations of about $80 million. The pricey tentpole, with a $230 million budget, was heading for a $26 million opening day on Friday — including $5.5 million from Thursday night previews, when comScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak showed 44% of moviegoers rated the film “excellent” with another 37% labelling it “very good.”

Dwayne Johnson’s “Baywatch,” meanwhile, is struggling to make waves, coming in at the low end of projections. The film generated an estimated $4.5 million on Thursday, which includes $1.25 million from Wednesday night previews. Paramount’s R-rated action-comedy, which is opening in 3,647 North American locations, was expected to make between $32 million and $40 million during the five-day  period, »


- Dave McNary

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Cannes: Insas Student Valentina Maurel’s ‘Paul Is Here’ Wins Cannes Cinefondation

16 hours ago

Cannes — “Paul Is Here,” from Costa Rica’s Valentina Maurel, a student at Belgium’s Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle et des Techniques de Diffusion (Insas), snagged the First Jury Prize Friday at Cannes Cinefondation on Friday.

Crucially, the First Jury Prize guarantees Maurel presentation of her first feature at the Cannes Festival – a large leg-up when it comes to getting that film made.

The prize was awarded by a jury headed by Romanian 2007 Cannes Palme d’Or winner Cristian Mungiu (“4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days”). Also on the jury: French actress Clotilde Hesme (“Chocolat”), Greek director Athina Rachel Tsangari (“Chevalier”), “Moonlight’s” Barry Jenkins and pioneering Singaporean helmer Eric Khoo (“In the Room”).

“A study of a relationship in crisis, which has complications, which I hope will touch spectators,” Maurel said. her short turns on a girl whose life is turned upside down by the return of Paul. an old flame, »


- John Hopewell

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HanWay Films’ Gabrielle Stewart on What Independent Distributors Look for in Acquiring Films

16 hours ago

London-based sales and finance house HanWay Films, which was set up almost 20 years ago by Oscar-winning producer Jeremy Thomas, and is aligned with Thomas’ production company Recorded Picture Company, is in Cannes with four films in the festival’s official selection, led by Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” and John Cameron Mitchell’s “How to Talk to Girls at Parties.” Variety spoke to HanWay’s managing director, Gabrielle Stewart.

What sets HanWay apart from other film companies, and defines it?

It’s a big company that is privately owned, and has never, in all its history, gone through a year without profit. Its taste has very much been defined by the fact it is headed up by a very successful filmmaker, Jeremy Thomas, and it has always been known as a filmmaker-friendly company. We have always followed certain filmmakers’ work and been bold in our choices.

Hanway »


- Leo Barraclough

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Why This Year’s Cannes Lineup May Be Too Edgy for Oscar

17 hours ago

For me, tweeting praise for a film at Cannes tends to elicit a two-tiered response from excited movie fans far away from the Croisette. First, quite understandably, come the general exclamations of euphoria and relief that a beloved director or star hasn’t dropped the ball. For days, my mentions will be full of vicarious celebration and can’t-wait-to-see-this buzz from devotees of Sofia Coppola (on wicked form with “The Beguiled”) and Robert Pattinson (hitting a career peak in “Good Time”), which is as it should be. At the same time, however, the good news is met with a more complicated query, usually worded along these lines: “Glad to hear it’s great! Oscar chances?”

As I wrote in my festival preview, Cannes is a festival of mixed fortunes for awards-season geeks: Though it occasionally mints a future titan like “The Artist” or “No Country for Old Men,” its programming »


- Guy Lodge

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‘Twin Peaks’: David Lynch Talks About Reviving the Iconic Series

17 hours ago

He dressed like a G-man.

When he arrived for his interview with Variety, David Lynch wore a black suit, a white shirt, a black tie, and wingtips. His hair was styled the same way as always, but what had once been jet black was now mostly white. The only pop of color on Lynch was incongruous; it emerged when he sat down for the interview. As he gestured while talking, a yellow plastic watch peeked out from the sleeve of his white shirt. It was the only item that didn’t make him look like his “Twin Peaks” character, FBI official Gordon Cole.

Lynch was as affable an interviewee as I’ve ever come across, but his answers were concise: His art may rely on the creation of a mysterious atmosphere, but in talking about his return to the world of “Twin Peaks,” he couldn’t have been more unequivocal and direct. »


- Maureen Ryan

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Cannes: Chloe Zhao’s ‘The Rider’ Tops Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight

18 hours ago

Cannes — Chloe Zhao’s “The Rider,” Sony Pictures Classics’ second pick-up at this year’s Cannes Festival, won the Art Cinema Award, the top prize at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight.

In further plaudits, all given by the section’s sponsors, Jonas Carpignano’s neo-realist migrant drama “A Ciambra,” executive-produced by Martin Scorsese, won the Europa Cinemas Label Award, open to all European titles in Directors’ Fortnight.

Granted by France’s Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers, the Sacd Award for best French film in Directors’ Fortnight was shared by two titles from leading Gallic auteurs: Philippe Garrel’s “Lover for a Day” and Claire Denis’ “Let the Sunshine In.”

Directed by Zhao, a Chinese-American, and capturing a fast-disappearing part of Americana, “The Rider” charts the frustrated dreams of a South Dakota rodeo rider, played by real-life cowboy Brady Jandreau. “The Rider” also marks a return to Directors’ Fortnight for China’s »


- John Hopewell

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Lionsgate Sets ‘Tyler Perry’s Boo 2: A Madea Halloween’ for October

18 hours ago

Lionsgate is launching the comedy sequel “Tyler Perry’s Boo 2: A Madea Halloween” on Oct. 20.

Perry brought his signature Madea character back to life last year in his ninth “Madea” movie — “Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween.” Perry credited the story’s origin to Chris Rock’s inclusion of a fictitious Madea Halloween movie in his 2014 film “Top Five.”

“This really was Chris Rock’s idea from ‘Top Five,’” he said last year at the premiere. “I gave permission, then went to Lionsgate and said, ‘I can do this.’”

Related

Own Greenlights Fifth Tyler Perry Series, Orders More Episodes of Perry Dramas

Perry is directing from his own script. Cassi Davis and Patrice Lovely will also star.

“Boo! A Madea Halloween” was a solid performer for Lionsgate with $73 million in domestic grosses. Lionsgate dated the sequel Friday and released the following logline: “Madea, Bam, and Hattie venture to »


- Dave McNary

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Cannes: China’s Weying Extends Reach Into Content, Asian Neighbors

18 hours ago

China’s Weying Technology may be the clearest cut example to date of a movie company that is driven by data.

The three-year-old company is China’s leading online agency for movie ticketing. But these days all the talk from its executives is about film production and distribution.

At the Cannes Film Festival, Weying is busily trying to establish its name as a distribution brand and has positioned itself as a sponsor of the Vis A Vis conference and presentation series about Chinese cinema.

Previously, it backed China-themed seminars during the American Film Market in November.

While such seminars are helping the rest of the world understand more about the fast-evolving Chinese, Weying’s own strategy is becoming clearer.

The company was hatched in 2014, and established by a core team of executives including Teddy Gu, and Yang Dan, each with several years of industry experience in production, distribution and marketing. »


- Patrick Frater

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Box Office: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Sets Sail With $40 Million Worldwide

19 hours ago

Johnny Depp’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” set sail with $40 million worldwide during its first two days in theaters, with first-place openings in every market.

The $40 million figure does not include Friday’s earnings from China, where Disney is estimating a first-day total of $20 million.

The sequel grossed $5.5 million from Thursday night previews in the U.S., expanding to 4,276 locations on Friday. “Dead Men Tell No Tales” also generated the best 2017 first-day earnings in Germany, Austria, France, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Related

Box Office: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Plunders $5.5 Million on Thursday Night

It opened Thursday in Germany with a 60% market share on its Ascension Day holiday. “Pirates” saw a 59% market share in the U.K. The film earned $4 million on its opening day in Russia, the fifth-highest first day for any movie. The pic earned $3.6 million in Germany and $900,000 in the U. »


- Dave McNary

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