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Showing posts from March 19, 2017

David Foster Wallace movie: Can it overcome family objections?

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Authorized biopics are rarely the most juicy or revealing films. But what happens in the opposite instance, when‎ the family of your subject actively doesn't want a movie and is willing and eager to share that sentiment with the world?

That's the situation that James Ponsoldt's "The End of the Tour," a look at the late acclaimed writer David Foster Wallace starring Jason Segel, finds itself in. Ponsoldt's movie, based on reporting from magazine writer and novelist David Lipsky, recently finished shooting and is about to enter the editing room. But a statement from Wallace's family‎ makes it clear they aren't happy with any of that.

The estate's objection, the statement said, is that family members were not brought into the process and that Lipsky's material was never intended nor approved for film adaptat

“The David Foster Wallace Literary Trust, David's family, and David's longtime publisher Little, Brown and Company wish to make it clea…

Eastwood starts shooting 'American Sniper' at Santa Clarita ranch

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Clint Eastwood's latest movie, "American Sniper," kicked off with a bang in Los Angeles County this week.

The Warner Bros. film, which stars Bradley Cooper as a Navy SEAL who recounts his military exploits, began 10 days of filming Monday in an Afghan village set at the Blue Cloud Movie Ranch in the Santa Clarita area.

The scenes involved "simulated warfare sequences with full load automatic gunfire, explosions, squibs, bullet hits, smoke, burning debris," according to a county film permit.

The movie is the latest in a flurry of feature films with small to mid-size budgets shooting in L.A. with the benefit of state film tax credits.




ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll

Other state-qualified projects that filmed in L.A. this year have included the Warner Bros. films "Entourage" and "Horrible Bosses 2," helping to fuel a 24% increase in location film shoots in the first quarter of the year, according to a recent report from FilmL.A. Inc., which hand…

William Shakespeare: Five unconventional movie adaptations

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Fran Kranz in Joss Whedon's movie "Much Ado About Nothing." (Elsa William Shakespeare, whose 450th birthday is being celebrated around the world Wednesday, never seems to go out of vogue for movie directors eager to put their own spin on his classic texts.


Most of Shakespeare's plays have been adapted for the big screen multiple times over, ranging from faithful (Laurence Olivier's "Hamlet") to wildly unconventional (Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet"). Because Shakespeare's plays exist in the public domain, adapting them for the movies is an economical way of co-opting some literary prestige.

In the past 20 years or so, the unconventional appears to have outnumbered the faithful. Ian McKellen's "Richard III" took place in a Third Reich-style regime; Julie Taymor set "Titus Andronicus" in a postmodern mashup of ancient Rome and present day; and Kenneth Branagh adapted "Love's Labour's Lost" as an o…

Review: A chilling visit from 'The German Doctor'

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As in many a thriller, the helpful stranger in "The German Doctor" turns out to be a monster. In this case, he's no run-of-the-mill sadist but Josef Mengele, Auschwitz's Angel of Death, and he finds prime subjects for experimentation in an Argentine family.

The drama by Lucía Puenzo, adapting her novel "Wakolda," is a credible imagining of a brief period in Mengele's South American exile. The what-if conceit is intriguing enough not to be undone by increasingly heavy-handed symbolism.

Alex Brendemühl imbues the role of the notorious physician with a creepy rectitude, especially in his obsession with 12-year-old Lilith (exceptional newcomer Florencia Bado). When they first meet, the image of his gloved hand around her doll conveys plenty. Using the name Helmut Gregory, he presents himself as a geneticist to the girl's parents (Natalia Oreiro and Diego Peretti) and installs himself in their lakeside hotel, the better to push his growth-hormone treatment…

Review: Tom Hardy's acting will keep your eyes locked on 'Locke'

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It sounds contrived, and it is. It sounds like a bit of a stunt, and it is that too. It may even sound boring, but that it is not. In fact, whip-smart filmmaking by writer-director Steven Knight and his team combined with Tom Hardy's mesmerizing acting make the micro-budgeted British independent "Locke" more minute-to-minute involving than this year's more costly extravaganzas.

Though a dozen actors are listed in "Locke's" credits, Hardy is the only one who appears on screen in this real-time drama that unfolds inside a moving BMW during the 85 minutes it takes construction foreman Ivan Locke to make a nighttime drive from Birmingham to London.

As played by Hardy (best known as the terrifying Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises"), Locke is not only driving, he is engaged in an almost continuous series of hands-free phone conversations as he desperately attempts to keep the various parts of his well-ordered life from collapsing in a total ruin. This m…

Review: 'The Final Member' gives too much information

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Ever since Walt Disney began turning out feature-length animated films, scholars, theologians and journalists have plumbed the depths of the simple morality tales for deeper religious meanings and messages.


Was Snow White's eating of the poison apple an allusion to the Fall in the Garden of Eden? When the puppet maker Geppetto was swallowed by a whale, was that a veiled reference to Jonah in Hebrew Scriptures? Were Jiminy Cricket's initials in "Pinocchio" a hidden reference to Jesus Christ?


While we're at it, have the Disney films morphed under the corporate leadership of Michael Eisner from an early reflection of Judeo-Christian religious sensibilities during Disney's life to embrace a wider pantheon of non-Western and pagan beliefs and gods? How do the stories accommodate changing cultural perceptions about race, sexual orientation and gender roles?


There has been no end of fascination with what some have called the Gospel According to Walt, and it's littl…

Digging for the Deeper Meaning in Disney Movies

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Ever since Walt Disney began turning out feature-length animated films, scholars, theologians and journalists have plumbed the depths of the simple morality tales for deeper religious meanings and messages.

Was Snow White's eating of the poison apple an allusion to the Fall in the Garden of Eden? When the puppet maker Geppetto was swallowed by a whale, was that a veiled reference to Jonah in Hebrew Scriptures? Were Jiminy Cricket's initials in "Pinocchio" a hidden reference to Jesus Christ?

While we're at it, have the Disney films morphed under the corporate leadership of Michael Eisner from an early reflection of Judeo-Christian religious sensibilities during Disney's life to embrace a wider pantheon of non-Western and pagan beliefs and gods? How do the stories accommodate changing cultural perceptions about race, sexual orientation and gender roles?

There has been no end of fascination with what some have called the Gospel According to Walt, and it's littl…

Review: 'The Other Woman' devolves and dumbs down its characters

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Director Nick Cassavetes, whose soft touch with romance was behind that classic date movie "The Notebook," is now responsible for the quintessential anti-date movie — "The Other Woman."

There is no question whose side he is on in this little bit of rasty business starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton. My advice to guys? Step away from the vehicle, because "The Other Woman" is out of control and intent on running down a certain kind of male.

Even if you're not the lying, cheating, thieving type — that would be Mark, a slickster played by "Game of Thrones'" Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, juggling wife, mistress, other mistress and some other ill-gotten gains — there is bound to be collateral damage.



The comedy, written by Melissa K. Stack, is essentially a revenge fantasy for any female with unresolved issues over a duplicitous relationship. Actually, it's closer to a dozen revenge fantasies, going back to earlier wish-fulfillers such…

Twelve directors and the movies that made them

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Directorial acclaim never comes easy. When it hits, though, the results can be significant not only for the helmer but for cinema itself. We take a look back at the films that propelled some of today’s most celebrated directors to prominence. Steven Spielberg: The slew of television shows and short films directed by Ohio native Steven Spielberg was just a preview of things to come from a man who has become perhaps the most commercially successful director of all time. His first major directorial effort, "The Sugarland Express" (1974), an adventure comedy featuring Goldie Hawn, amassed enough attention to make Spielberg one to watch. But it was his mega-hit "Jaws" (1975) that garnered him international acclaim. The film cast Roy Scheider in the lead, with Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss costarring. Noted composer John Williams served up the film’s score, which later as judged the sixth greatest score of all time, according to the American Film Institute. "Jaws&…

As 'Sixth Sense' Sizzles, Newcomers Feel a Chill

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Except for the remarkable "The Sixth Sense," the hottest summer on record is finally beginning to show some signs of cooling down. The weekend's three new films all opened on the mild side, with only the Mafia comedy "Mickey Blue Eyes," starring Hugh Grant, demonstrating any sparkle, mainly with older audiences. "Mickey" came in at an estimated $10.4 million in its 2,573-theater debut, placing third.

The other two new releases, the sequel "Universal Soldier: The Return" starring Jean-Claude Van Damme (an unmuscular $4.7 million on 1,639 screens), and the comedy thriller "Teaching Mrs. Tingle" from "Scream" author Kevin Williamson (a disappointing $3.5 million in 1,710 theaters), finished in seventh and 10th places, respectively. With five national releases due next weekend, neither film is likely to survive more than a couple of weeks.

But "The Sixth Sense" is surpassing everyone's expectations and moving into…

Review: Heavy-handed history in WWII drama 'Walking With the Enemy'

A determined historical sweep masks a small-minded bid for easy outrage and heartstrings-pulling in the schematic World War II drama "Walking With the Enemy."

Set in 1944, when the war was essentially over for the Nazis but their reign of terror in occupied territories was still going strong, the movie focuses on the efforts of a young, displaced Hungarian Jew named Elek (Jonas Armstrong) to find his family after escaping from a camp, which turned into a concerted effort to save many Hungarian Jews.

Though "inspired" by the true story of a rabbi's son who used the uniform of a Nazi officer to act out deportations of families that were secretly rescue missions, this film from writer Kenny Golde and director Mark Schmidt slaps a clichéd war-movie dressing over everything so that what should have felt heart-poundingly incredible comes off as heavy-handed, ludicrous and unintentionally queasy. Elek's repeated Nazi ruse starts to seem farcical, while the incessant…

A Man of Action : Will Van Damme Have Schwarzenegger's Kick?

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In a year that has seen would-be action heroes Jeff Speakman and Brian Bosworth make well-orchestrated attempts to muscle their way into the action-adventure movie arena, Columbia Pictures is clearly betting that Jean-Claude Van Damme could be the next Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal--or even Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"Double Impact," the $15-million action film in which Van Damme plays dual roles, opened well Aug. 9 and has grossed $15.3 million and the 30-year-old Belgian karate champion and kickboxer is already shooting his next film, "Universal Soldier," a Carolco project and the first film in a rumored eight-picture deal with Columbia Pictures and Carolco.

Although no one at Columbia will confirm the exact details of the Van Damme deal, Michael Nathanson, Columbia's head of production, says the company has a commitment with Van Damme that "the next three or four or five pictures are going to be directly financed and produced by us." Two more will be produ…

Buffy The Vampire Slayer And Angel Are Getting Kicked off

Many times I've wrestled with whether to dive into a new film or series offered by Netflix, only to once again dive into an old standby I know won't let me down. In times of doubt, Sarah Michelle Gellar and the Buffy The Vampire Slayer gang ease my mind when I'm too scared to commit to a series, and now those days are coming to an end. Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel are both getting the boot from Netflix.



The bad news is you only have 10 more days to binge Buffy The Vampire Slayer before it's gone from Netflix. Come April 1st, the show will disappear and you'll feel forced into purchasing high-priced collector's box sets if you ever want to dive into the world of Sunnydale and its weirdness. The good news is that if you start now, skip the intro music (which I rarely do because it's awesome), and end credits you can watch the entire series in 6 days time. As far as Angel is concerned you'd need about 4 days and 14 hours which would put you just short…

Netflix New Releases: Movies And TV Shows Coming To Netflix Streaming In April

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While April showers are supposed to bring May flowers, this year they'll bring a little something extra to you folks with a Netflix subscription. In particular, the titles we're about to list below will be on their way to your instant streaming queues, should you choose to partake in them. And with a good mix of the new with the old, there's certainly a lot of options to choose from.
Here's what's heading to Netflix Instant in April. However, please keep in mind, titles and dates are, as always, subject to change. In addition, if you are looking for the list of March 2017 releases, we have you covered.
Week of April 1stA Weekend with the Family (2016) -- April 1
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) -- April 1
Across the Universe (2007) -- April 1
An American Tail (1986) -- April 1
An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991) -- April 1
An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster (1999) -- April 1
Boy Bye (2016) -- April 1
Born To Be Free (2016) -- April 1
Co…

The Most Expensive Game Of Thrones Death Scene, According To The Showrunners

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The first six seasons of Game of Thrones were basically an ongoing bloodbath as characters large and small were killed off on a regular basis. While not all of the deaths have been particularly memorable, some have been so brutal and bloody that they're burned into the memories of fans everywhere. There's one death that was burned into the memories of showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, but for a very different reason. Apparently, one demise was more expensive than all the others. As it turns out, the priciest kill in Game of Thrones history was Arya Stark's murder of Ser Meryn Trant.



The showrunners shared the most expensive death during a recent appearance at the 2017 SXSW Festival (via Radio Times), and I'm guessing that I'm not the only Thrones fan surprised by the reveal. Sure, Arya's murder of Meryn Trant was gruesome, but it didn't exactly feature anybody being burnt to a crisp by dragons or beheaded or killed via caved-in skull. Arya simply go…

Game Of Thrones Season 7: What We Know So Far

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Game of Thrones has been one of the most popular shows on HBO for a long time. While the series might be in the twilight of its life at this point, audience interest has shown no signs of slowing down. The hit show has already been renewed for Season 7 and there's a remarkable amount of information we already know about the upcoming season, which is why we've compiled this informative guide looking into everything we know so far about Season 7 of Game of Thrones. Take a look at all of the fun information we know regarding Season 7, below. Looking for all the details regarding Season 6 of Game of Thrones? No problem, head here. In addition, Game Of Thrones: The Complete Sixth Season is now available on Digital. When Will Game Of Thrones Season 7 Air? As noted prior, Game of Thrones has already been renewed for Season 7 by HBO, which means we will definitely be getting new episodes of the long-running drama in 2017. What we don't know is exactly when the next season …

Is Legends Of Tomorrow For Real With That Big Betrayal?

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Warning: spoilers ahead for Legends of Tomorrow. Don't read any further if you haven't seen "Fellowship of the Spear."
Don't call them heroes; they're Legends. We're given that exact advice week after week whenever we watch Legends of Tomorrow, and tonight proved that we should finally start taking that advice. These guys really aren't heroes. Just when the team thought everything would go their way, everything turned to crap. The Spear of Destiny has officially fallen into the hands of the Legion of Doom, and Mick Rory decided to switch sides upon seeing his newly resurrected buddy, Leonard Snart. It's a major betrayal, and a huge setback for the team, but has Mick really switched sides?
On tonight's episode of Legends of Tomorrow (you read that in a Super Friends-esque narrator's voice, right?) the Legends made their way to the battlefields of WWI. As is typically expected from a show like this, things took an incredibly bizarre t…