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San Sebastián: Antonio Méndez Esparza Talks Race, Class and Understanding in ‘Life and Nothing More’

1 hour ago

Selected by Variety’s chief film critics as one of their 10 best movies at Toronto, “Life and Nothing More” turns on a struggling African-American family in northern Florida, its frustrated single mother (Regina Williams) and teen son Andrew (Andrew Bleechington), written off as a juvenile delinquent. Variety talked to director Antonio Mendez Esparza (“Here and There”) about the Toronto-festival bowing film, which is produced by Pedro Hernández.

Would you see “Life and Nothing More” as a coming of age film about family and its need for reconciliation? 

I’m glad you see the film that way. This film started out as the story of a single mother who works in a Walmart.  Along the way, it transformed. For me, when you stop filming, you stop looking. When you film, your gaze crystalizes, you hunt and capture, you aim to understand, to share, to aim to reveal truths and intimacies.

How did you come to make “Life and »


- John Hopewell

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Film Review: ‘Thirst Street’

4 hours ago

Nathan Silver has an eye for a great face — a beautiful one, marked and matured and made extraordinary by feeling — that you don’t typically see at the center of a movie. Actress Lindsay Burdge has one of those. It’s her fine-lined, progressively devastated visage, often held in close-up that’s both adoring and unforgiving, that carries us through the stressful emotional machinations of “Thirst Street,” Silver’s most excitingly stylized microbudget indie to date. Taking a leaf (or several, in enticing sherbet shades) from Fassbinder and the arch experimentalism of 1970s psychodrama, with a dusting of the same decade’s Eurotica, this compact but internally unruly tragicomedy centers on a grief-stricken young flight attendant driven to obsessive madness by an over-extended one-night stand in Paris — tracking her as intimately and relentlessly as she does her callous male quarry.

Thirst Street” isn’t exactly kind to its protagonist, whose extreme self-debasement for the sake of an »


- Guy Lodge

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Fall 2017 Movie Schedule

5 hours ago

From “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” to “Blade Runner 2049,” a look at the fall movie schedule.

Related stories'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' Again Tops Studios' TV Ad SpendingAre You Ready for the Most Exciting Oscar Race in Years?From the Start of the Film Business, Some of the Most Enduring Images Have Been Captured by Arri Cameras »


- Jacob Bryant

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‘Escape Plan 3’: China’s Max Zhang Joins Sylvester Stallone Sequel

5 hours ago

Sylvester Stallone and Dave Bautista will be joined by China’s Max Zhang in “Escape Plan 3: Devil’s Station.” The film is the third in the “Escape Plan” prison break franchise produced by Emmett Furla Oasis.

The new movie sees Stallone and Bautista’s characters again join forces to break out one of their team members from an inescapable prison. The pic is directed by John Herzfeld (“Death and Life of Bobby Z,” “15 Minutes”) from Miles Chapman and John Herzfeld’s script.

The film is now beginning principal photography. Lionsgate will release the completed picture.

Zhang has a career that started as a stunt double and now sees him stretching across Hollywood and Chinese industries. His various credits include “Crouching Tihger Hidden Dragon,” “The Grandmaster,” and “Ip Man 3.” His upcoming projects also include “Pacific Rim: Uprising,” and another spinoff from the “Ip Man” concept, in which he will again co-star with Bautista.

Jaime King »


- Patrick Frater

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Bernie Casey, ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ Actor and Former NFL Player, Dies at 78

5 hours ago

Bernie Casey, the former NFL star known for his work in the films “Boxcar Bertha” and “Revenge of the Nerds,” died on Tuesday in Los Angeles after a brief illness, Variety has confirmed. He was 78.

Casey made his film debut in the 1969 sequel “Guns of the Magnificent Seven.” He then acted alongside fellow former NFL star Jim Brown in the crime dramas “…tick…tick…tick…” and “Black Gunn.” He played the title role in the 1972 science fiction TV film “Gargoyles,” and then portrayed Tamara Dobson’s love interest in 1973’s “Cleopatra Jones.”

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Casey wrote, directed, produced, and starred in “The Dinner,” a 1997 film centering on three black men who discuss slavery, black self-loathing, and homophobia. That same year, he loosely portrayed a version George Jackson, a member of the Black Panther Party who was killed, in the drama “Brothers.”

In Martin Scorsese’s “Boxcar Bertha,” he »


- Rebecca Rubin

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Box Office: Can ‘Kingsman’ or ‘Lego Ninjago’ Knock ‘It’ From Top Spot?

6 hours ago

This is, without a doubt, an unusually strong September at the box office.

The thanks go mostly to “It,” which charged out of the starting gate for Warner Bros. and New Line as a record-breaking hit two weekends ago with $123 million domestic. Last weekend it easily stayed on top of the North American charts with $60 million. But now, Pennywise the clown has tough competition from two new releases — Fox’s “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” and “The Lego Ninjago Movie” from Warner Bros.

The sequel to “Kingsman: The Secret Service” looks like the leader of the pack. It’s tracking with a wide-ish margin in the $40 millions from more than 4,000 locations. That would be an improvement on the original, which had a domestic opening of $36.2 million. Foreign grosses boosted the first “Kingsman” to become a global hit, and it finished its run with $414.4 million worldwide. So B.O. observers should look abroad for the second go-around as well »


- Seth Kelley

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Mark Wahlberg to Star in Paramount’s ‘Instant Family’

9 hours ago

Mark Wahlberg is set to star in the Paramount comedy “Instant Family,” sources confirm to Variety.

Daddy’s Home” helmer Sean Anders is helming.

Anders and Brian Burns, the writing duo behind the “Daddy’s Home” series, wrote “Instant Family” and will produce alongside Wahlberg and Steve Levinson. Paramount is fast-tracking the project and aims to start shooting next year.

The film is about a couple who decide to start a family and adopt through the foster-care system, only to find themselves raising three wild kids who have no interest in being parented. »


- Justin Kroll

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Film Review: ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’

9 hours ago

There was no such thing as a “Pooh” until A.A. Milne made it so, although walking, talking teddy bear Winnie’s companion, Christopher Robin, wasn’t just some character the English novelist invented, but a boy based on Milne’s own son, who grew up to resent how the success of “Winnie-the-Pooh” wrecked his childhood. That’s just one of the behind-the-scenes revelations the predictably handsome, predictably stuffy literary biopic “Goodbye Christopher Robin” has in store for those who adore Milne’s novels — consistently voted among the most popular kidlit creations of all time — but who haven’t necessarily heard how they came to be.

Milne wouldn’t be the first teller of children’s stories to be something of a brute when it came to dealing with the little nippers in person (“Alice” creator Charles Dodgson also comes to mind), although the movie doesn’t feel unreasonably tough in the way it holds Milne accountable for »


- Peter Debruge

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Director of Mel Gibson Movie ‘Professor and the Madman’ Seeks to Seize and Destroy Producer’s Cut

9 hours ago

The director of the Mel Gibson film “The Professor and the Madman” filed for a restraining order on Wednesday, seeking to force producer Voltage Pictures to turn over its cut of the movie so that it can be destroyed.

Farhad Safinia, the director and writer of the film about the Oxford English Dictionary, is accusing Voltage of violating his copyright to the screenplay. He claims he never signed away his right to the project, and never had a formal contract to direct the movie.

In an application to the court, Safinia posted his entire 126-page screenplay as an attachment.

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Mel Gibson Sues Voltage Pictures Over Final Cut of ‘Professor and the Madman’

Safinia alleges that Voltage refused to shoot sufficient scenes at Oxford University, and ultimately took the pic away from him. He says the Voltage cut of the film does not reflect his wishes.

“Defendants took the existing footage and pieced it together themselves without »


- Gene Maddaus

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‘Beyond the Sun,’ in Which Pope Francis Plays Himself, Gets Vatican Premiere

10 hours ago

Vatican City – “Beyond the Sun,” a simple but effective English-language children’s adventure film in which Pope Francis plays himself, premiered Wednesday at the Vatican, signaling a clear attempt by the pontiff and his communications advisors to use movies as a medium to spread the Catholic message to the young.

The pic, in which Francis appears for roughly six minutes, marks the first time that a pope has appeared in a motion picture.

Shot in Patagonia and Vatican City, “Beyond the Sun” is about five kids who run away from home after catechism class and take to the woods to look for Jesus in a hilltop sanctuary. The multi-ethnic cast features child actors Aiden Cumming-Teicher, Cory Gruter-Andrew, Emma Duke, Kyle Breitkopf, and Sebastiάn Alexander Chou.

Co-directed by Graciela Rodriguez (pictured), an Argentine psychiatrist whose rapport with Francis goes back a long way, and Charlie Mainardi, who has shot commercials for Coca Cola, the »


- Nick Vivarelli

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Gal Gadot in Talks to Join Bradley Cooper in Thriller ‘Deeper’

11 hours ago

Gal Gadot is in early talks to join Bradley Cooper in the MGM thriller “Deeper.”

“White God” helmer Kornel Mundruczo is also attached to the project. Max Landis, who penned the script, will produce with David Goyer and Addictive Pictures. If a deal closes, production is expected to start in the first quarter of 2018.

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Gal Gadot Comforts Young ‘Wonder Woman’ Fan at Comic-Con 2017

The film follows a former astronaut (to be played by Cooper) hired to take a submersible to the deepest part of the ocean. Supernatural events transpire as the vehicle gets closer to its destination.

Following the news that “Wonder Woman” helmer Patty Jenkins closed a deal to direct “Wonder Woman 2,” sources wondered if Gadot would film another movie prior to commencing production on the superhero sequel. The tentpole has become one of the biggest domestic box office hits of the year, grossing more then $411 million in the U.S. »


- Justin Kroll

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Matt Damon to Receive Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award

11 hours ago

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles announced on Wednesday that Matt Damon will be the recipient of the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film at this year’s ceremony.

Matt Damon is undoubtedly one of the most talented and respected actors working in film today,” said BAFTA Los Angeles chairman Kieran Breen. “Having made a remarkable impact at a young age with ‘Good Will Hunting,’ he has developed a phenomenal career — combining both big-budget studio movies and acclaimed independent films. As a favorite of some of the top contemporary directors in our industry, it seems particularly fitting that we are honoring his career with an award bearing the name of the legendary Stanley Kubrick.”

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Matt Damon to Star as Con-Man Doctor in ‘Charlatan’ (Exclusive)

The Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award is given to individuals “upon whose work is stamped the indelible mark of authorship and commitment, and »


- Matt Fernandez

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‘It’ Star Jaeden Lieberher on Deleted Scene, Sequel Plans and Perfecting His Stutter

12 hours ago

After a eerily quiet summer at the box office, “It,” the adaptation of Stephen King’s chilling novel directed by Andy Muschietti, floated in to shatter records for the largest September debut, as well as the biggest opening weekend by a horror film.

Though Bill Skarsgard stars as the titular and terrifying manifestation of It, the thriller ultimately tells the story of seven young children — affectionately dubbed the Losers’ Club — who band together to protect their town of Derry, Maine from being terrorized by the demonic dancing clown known as Pennywise.

Jaeden Lieberher, the 14-year-old who plays the Losers’ Club leader Bill Denbrough, spoke with Variety about the horror movie’s universal appeal, his favorite scenes, and how he perfected his character’s stutter.

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Film Review: Stephen King’s ‘It’

Congratulations on the success of the film. Did you expect this reaction? 

I don’t know. I knew there was already fan base of the TV »


- Rebecca Rubin

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Wild Bunch Boss Vincent Maraval Causes Stir With Tweets Aimed at AIDS Drama ‘BPM’

12 hours ago

Wild Bunch boss and co-founder Vincent Maraval has sparked a backlash after firing off tweets perceived as homophobic upon learning that Robin Campillo’s AIDS drama “BPM ( Beats per Minute)” was chosen to represent France in the foreign-language Oscar category. Maraval had backed Michel Hazanavicius’s “Redoutable,” which had been shortlisted by France’s Oscar committee and is being sold by Wild Bunch.

A prominent but divisive figure in the French industry, Maraval has cultivated a reputation for brashness for more than a decade through splashy declarations in the press and personal clashes with French officials and institutions such as UniFrance. Reacting to an article published in “So Film” – a magazine co-owned by Wild Bunch – on the selection of “Bpm” on Tuesday, Maraval tweeted (with several spelling mistakes) that he had “the uncomfortable sensation of being f—–.”

He followed that up with another tweet saying that Campillo’s gay-themed film “turned me over,” an »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Linda Hamilton to Return to ‘Terminator’ Franchise

13 hours ago

Linda Hamilton will return as Sarah O’Connor in the next installment of the “Terminator” franchise.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is also on board to reprise the role of the cyborg he made famous more then 30 years ago. The sequel will be produced by Skydance and series creator James Cameron. The upcoming film will mark the first time that O’Connor, Schwarzenegger, and Cameron will be working together on the franchise since the 1991 smash “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.”

Paramount Pictures is distributing, with 20th Century Fox handling it internationally. “Deadpool” director Tim Miller will helm the movie. »


- Justin Kroll

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Todd Haynes’ ‘Wonderstruck’ Gets Magical New Trailer (Watch)

13 hours ago

A new trailer for Todd Haynes’ “Wonderstruck,” tells “a story about what makes us different about about having the courage to find the place where we belong.”

The new clip travels through two different eras — 1927 and 1977 — and follows two deaf children who secretly wish their lives were different. In the earlier time period, Rose (Millicent Simmonds) begins a quest to find her idol, actress Lillian Mayhew (Julianne Moore). Fifty years later, Ben (Oakes Fegley) searches for his father in New York.

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In addition to Moore, Fegley, and Simmonds, the film also features Michelle Williams and Jaden Michael. “Wonderstruck” is adapted from a novel of the same name by Brian Selznick.

In his Cannes Film Festival review, Variety’s Owen Glieberman praised Haynes’ direction, writing, “For a while it plays like two movies in one, and Haynes is so on his game in staging each of them that the »


- Rebecca Rubin

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eOne Expands to Germany, Preps ‘Entebbe’ Release

14 hours ago

Entertainment One has brought on Benjamina Mirnik-Voges to open a German office and expand its film operations in the country. She joins from Universum Film where, as head of film, she acquired movies including “Hateful 8” and “Lion.”

At eOne she takes the newly created role of managing director, Germany, film, and will open a new Munich outpost for the independent studio. She will run the group’s theatrical business in the country. Christian Fritzsche will continue to lead the licensing of films in the German-speaking market, and will relocate from London to Munich.

Hijacking drama “Entebbe,” from Participant Media and Working Title Films, will be the first film eOne releases in Germany, under Mirnik-Voges’ leadership.

“The addition of Germany will be a major boost to our distribution profile on a pan-European basis and will support our creative partnerships worldwide,” said Alex Hamilton, eOne’s Emea fillm boss, to whom Mirnik-Voges will report.

“Over »


- Stewart Clarke

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Judi Dench to Receive Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Kirk Douglas Award

14 hours ago

On Wednesday, the Santa Barbara International Film Fest announced that Dame Judi Dench will receive the 12th annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film. The award will be presented on Nov. 30 at a black-tie gala dinner at the Bacara Resort and Spa.

The Kirk Douglas Award was first given in 2006 and has been used to honor an individual who is considered to be a “lifelong contributor to cinema through their work in front of the camera, behind, or both.” Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Forest Whitaker, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Harris, and John Travolta have all previously received the award.

Dench is best known for her numerous appearances as M in the James Bond franchise, as well as her roles in “Shakespeare in Love” and “Philomena.”

“I am especially delighted to learn that Dame Judi Dench will accept the award that bears my name. She »


- Matt Fernandez

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Jake Lamotta, Real-Life ‘Raging Bull’ Boxer, Dies at 95

15 hours ago

Jake Lamotta, the boxing champion whose memoir inspired Martin Scorsese’s 1980 film “Raging Bull,” is dead. He was 95.

Lamotta’s daughter, Christi, confirmed the news in a Facebook post. “Rest in peace pop,” she captioned a photo of her late father. Lamotta’s wife told TMZ the late boxer “died in a nursing home due to complications from pneumonia.”

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Lamotta was born in the Bronx in the early ’20s to Italian immigrant parents. He became a professional boxer at 19, and fought most of his career as a middleweight. His career was highlighted by a rivalry with Sugar Ray Robinson, which led to a six-fight series, of which Lamotta won only one. He did, however, win the world middleweight title in 1949, defeating Marcel Cerdan. Over the course of his career as a boxer, Lamotta earned the nickname “The Raging Bull” for his rough and aggressive fighting style.

After »


- Seth Kelley

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Denmark Selects ‘You Disappear’ as Foreign-Language Oscar Entry

16 hours ago

Rolling off its international premiere at Toronto Film Festival, Peter Schønau Fog’s drama “You Disappear” has been chosen to represent Denmark in the Foreign Language Oscar category.

Based on Christian Jungersen’s bestselling novel and penned by Fog, “You Disappear” centers on a woman who is married to a successful headmaster suffering from a brain tumor. The film is a “story about the challenges we face as neuroscience forces us to rethink what we are as human beings,” said TrustNordisk.

“You Disappear” was selected over Henrik Ruben Genz’ “Word of God” and Fenar Ahmad’s “Darkland.”

“You Disappear” was well received at Toronto. Several reviews pointed out the strong performances of Trine Dyrholm and Nikolaj Lie Kaas as the two lead actors. Mikkel Boe Følsgaard and the late Michael Nyqvist complete the cast.

The film, which marks Fog’s follow up to “The Art of Crying,” was produced by Louise Vesth at Zentropa, with »


- Elsa Keslassy

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