This is a jam-packed weekend of new releases, many hoping to be the perfect counter-programming pick against Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Magnolia is opening Nymphomaniac: Vol II just weeks after releasing Vol. I in theaters. The film is the continuation of the much talked about Lars von Trier two-parter that has fascinated fans of the Danish filmmaker for well over a year. Documentaries are also on tap this weekend, including Errol Morris’ The Unknown Known and Zeitgeist’s The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came To Eden. CBS Films is bowing Afflicted, a title it became involved with early on, while Magnolia will open comedy Alan Partridge. Cannes Camera d’Or winner Ilo Ilo from Singapore is opening in limited release, while Codeblack/Lionsgate will launch Frankie & Alice in over 150 theaters. Other titles not profiled in depth but also among this weekend’s packed list of theatrical openers include Searchlight’s Dom Hemingway, Anchor Bay’s In The Blood and TWC’s On The Other Side Of The Tracks. And A24 will open Jonathan Glazer’s experimental sci-fi Under The Skin starring Scarlett Johansson in limited release.
Nymphomaniac: Vol. II
Director-writer: Lars von Trier
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Willem Dafoe, Shia LaBeouf, Stacy Martin, Jamie Bell, Mia Goth
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Magnolia opened the first part of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac duo theatrically March 21 (it was available via digital/VOD beginning March 6) and is now following up with the second part of the film, which follows the saga of sex addict Joe (she prefers the term ‘nymphomaniac,’ however). Charlotte Gainsbourg is featured more prominently in Vol. II, depicting the older Joe in the final installment of the film, following up Vol. I in which Stacy Martin is seen primarily as the younger Joe (porn stars are used for Joe’s sex scenes). Though both parts are currently available via digital/VOD (Vol. II launched on demand March 20), there will be some theaters that will screen both films for audiences preferring to see both parts back to back. Read More »
Netflix and BBC America each has two scripted series on the list of a record 46 programs to receive Peabody Awards this year. Joining Netflix’s Washington drama House Of Cards and prison comedy Orange Is The New Black is another DC drama, ABC’s soapy Scandal; BBC America’s clone thriller Orphan Black and Broadchurch, which is being remade by Fox as an event series; FX’s The Bridge, which itself is a remake of the Danish-Swedish series; Danish political drama Borgen; acclaimed French zombie drama The Returned; AMC’s Breaking Bad, awarded a second Peabody for its final season; Comedy Central’s hit sketch comedy Key & Peele; CNN’s travel docu-series Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown; as well as Burka Avenger, the Pakistani animated series about a girl superhero; and two documentaries from newcomer Al Jazeera America. Additionally, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, who recently announced he is battling cancer, will receive an individual Peabody Award. Here is the full list of recipients of the 73rd Peabody Awards, bestowed by the University of Georgia’s Grady School of Journalism. They will be presented May 19 at a luncheon ceremony hosted by Ira Glass at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. A special on the Peabodys will air later on Pivot, which recently inked a rights deal through 2016: Read More »
Veteran TV exec Stephen Garrett is leaving the Shine Group later this year. He is currently Chairman of Kudos, one of the UK’s leading indies, which he co-founded two decades ago and which was acquired by Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine in 2007. The company’s recent credits include Broadchurch, The Hour and Vicious. Garrett is also leaving his post as Executive Chairman of Shine Pictures. Under his stewardship, that feature division has made such titles as Eastern Promises, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen and Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day. Upcoming projects, including the Gregory Burke-penned Blowback, will be led by Shine Pictures’ Head of Film Ollie Madden. Together, Shine Pictures and Kudos are currently co-producing feature Spooks: The Greater Good which Garrett is producing with Madden and Kudos CEO Jane Featherstone. Read More »
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: “Folks — I’m still here. The dark forces trying to silence my message of core conservative principles mixed with youth-friendly product placement have been thwarted!” Stephen Colbert raved Monday night, in re the motherlode The Colbert Report hit when a Twitter campaign to cancel the show erupted last week after the network tweeted a line out of context from one of his comedy bits. He devoted his entire telecast to his rebuttal, at the end of which he and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone blew up @ColbertReport — the network’s official Twitter account for the program, from which had come the offending tweet. (The page no longer exists on Twitter.) “The Interweb tried to swallow me whole. But I am proud to say that I got lodged in its throat and it hacked me back up, like a hastily chewed chicken wing,” Colbert told fans who’d tuned in, we’re guessing in large numbers, to see how he would respond to the kerfuffle. (See the video below.)
Related: Press Runs Interference For ‘The Colbert Report’ As #CancelColbert Grows Louder
Tonight’s episode opened with crew members carrying boxes out of the studio, The Colbert Report set shutting down its lights, a pink rose wilting and dying, Iron Eyes Cody shedding a tear in that ’70s Keep America Beautiful anti-litter PSA. Cut to Colbert, dressed in Washington Redskins sweats and cap, waking on a couch next to BD Wong. Wong told him he’d had a nightmare. Colbert wondered why he’s still dreaming he’s on a couch next to BD Wong. “You fell asleep watching Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Wong explained. “Wednesdays at 9, 8 Central, on NBC,” Colbert responded.
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Here’s a rundown of shows that will hit the airwaves for the first time between June 1 and the start of the 2014-15 TV season, along with those returning for new seasons or coming off hiatus. We will update when new dates are announced:
Related: Midseason Premiere Dates For New And Returning Series On Broadcast And Cable (January Through May)
Halt & Catch Fire (AMC, series premiere)
Mistresses (ABC, Season 2 premiere)
Beauty And The Beast (The CW, Season 2B premiere)
Famous In 12 (The CW, series premiere)
Jennifer Falls (TV Land, series premiere)
Orange Is The New Black (Netflix, Season 2 premiere)
Power (Starz, series premiere)
Murder In The First (TNT, series premiere)
Major Crimes (TNT, Season 3 premiere)
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I’ve always found the Tribeca Film Festival’s program to be a bit dull, but one section the fest smartly programs each year is the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival. This year, they open with what to this long suffering Knicks fan sounds like the greatest film of all time. They open April 17 with the gala premiere of the docu When The Garden Was Eden, a film about the Knicks championship teams of the early 70’s, the days of Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Willis Reed, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere, Cazzie Russell, Dick Barnett, and yeah, Phil Jackson. While Jackson is now the polished Zen Master who coached the LA Lakers and Chicago Bulls to 11 titles and expected to come in and overhaul the Knicks roster, you should have seen him back then, long haired and gangly, when it was an adventure watching Jackson race down court trying to make a simple layup. The team battled classic rivals like the hated Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, and, honestly with the exception of Jeremy Lin’s short stint as point guard and the vintage playoff battles led by Patrick Ewing and John Starks, Knicks hoops were never as much fun as when Frazier was the point guard steering the Knicks attack. Pic is directed by Michael Rapaport, who’s currently making a strong impression as a redneck bad guy in the FX series Justified.
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Tuesday’s debut of the much-anticipated video game Titanfall likely will be a pivotal early moment for Microsoft’s newest console, the Xbox One, which has struggled to keep up with Sony’s cheaper PlayStation 4 since both launched in November. Almost four months in, Sony has sold 6 million PS4s, compared to 4 million Xbox Ones. With the Xbox One costing $100 more than the PS4, and with few other distinctive titles, Microsoft is hoping a successful Titanfall launch will keep it in the game.
Related: Microsoft’s Xbox One Breaks Sales Record, Moves 1M Units In 24 Hours
Distributed by Electronic Arts, Titanfall is a rip-roaring online-only take on standard tropes of science fiction and first-person shooters, from creators of the Call of Duty franchise. It initially will be exclusive to the Xbox One, then also be launched for Windows-based PCs and Microsoft’s older Xbox 360 console. It is not scheduled to be available on Sony consoles, an unusual move by a big third-party publisher such as EA that normally wants to make its games as widely available as possible.
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The Tribeca Film Festival continues to roll out its lineup for this year’s 13th edition, which kicks off April 16. Here is the program slates for the Spotlight, Midnight, Special Screenings and Storyscapes sections. The fest’s shorts program will be unveiled Tuesday. Here are today’s films, which include Spotlight spots for Roman Polanksi’s Venus In Fur, the Robin Williams-starrer Boulevard from Dito Montiel, world premieres of films directed by actors Chris Messina and Courteney Cox, and of course the horror comedy Zombeavers:
Related: Tribeca Film Festival Unveils Competition Slate
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It’s a banner year for Oscar newcomers in the uber-competitive acting races. Outside of the veteran-heavy lead actress contest, 13 of the 20 nominees in lead and supporting are receiving either their first or second nominations. Considering how often the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tends to play favorites, it is good to see new blood. As voters enter the final balloting period before the March 2 ceremony, the guilds and other precursor awards have provided two fairly solid lead-category frontrunners—one of whom is a first-time nominee.
Related: SAG Awards: American Hustle Gets A Big Boost
With wins at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Movie Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Dallas Buyers Club’s Matthew McConaughey has leapt to the front of the pack in the incredibly tight best actor race, which has see-sawed all season. But storm warning ahead, Matthew: The all-important British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards are still to come on Sunday, and you didn’t even snag a nomination there, leaving an opening for your chief rivals: The Wolf Of Wall Street’s Leonardo DiCaprio, a four-time acting nominee looking for his first win; 12 Years A Slave’s Chiwetel Ejiofor (who is British and a first-time Oscar nominee); and Nebraska’s Bruce Dern, enjoying his second nom. American Hustle’s Christian Bale, who won a supporting Oscar in 2011 for The Fighter, rounds out the category.
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The weekend is offering a bounty of Specialty newcomers, though most will likely see out their releases in a niche capacity. Tribeca Film is bowing Bryan Poyser’s Love & Air Sex, combining a contest with a not quite real simulation to accompany its roll out. SenArt and Paladin are teaming for a unique release for Kids For Cash in Pennsylvania, while fellow doc Afternoon Of A Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq will go a more traditional route. Well Go USA is doubling up with Cavemen and The Attorney, though there should be very little audience overlap, while Dada will open The Pretty One in limited release. Also opening this weekend is Drafthouse Films’ Field In England. The specialty distributor will open the film in select cities theatrically as well as on VOD/digital platforms.
Love & Air Sex
Director-writer: Bryan Poyser
Writers: David DeGrow Shotwell, Steven Walters
Cast: Ashley Bell, Zach Cregger, Sara Paxton, Michael Stahl-David, Addison Timlin, Marshall Allman, Justin Arnold
Distributor: Tribeca Film
Director-co-writer Bryan Poyser debuted his latest film in his hometown, Austin, at last year’s SXSW Film Festival. The comedy centers on Stan who attempts to alleviate his broken heart by flying to Austin for the weekend, hoping to “accidentally” run into his ex-girlfriend Cathy. When he arrives, he finds his best friends Jeff and Kara in the middle of their own vicious breakup. “It’s a script that came to me through Preferred Content and optioned through a couple of writers,” said Poyser. Read More »
Lifetime has given a series order to Un-Real, its hourlong pilot starring Shiri Appleby and co-written/executive produced by Marti Noxon. I hear another Lifetime pilot, dystopian-future drama The Lottery, is in negotiations for a series pickup. Meanwhile, the network’s third traditional pilot, HR, is not going forward, with the project starring Alicia Silverstone currently being shopped to other networks. (Lifetime also has movie/backdoor pilot Deliverance Creek, which is yet to air.)
Lifetime has picked up 10 episodes of Un-Real, which will be produced by A+E Studios, making it the first scripted series fully owned by the recently launched in-house production arm of Lifetime parent A+E Networks. The dark comedy, inspired by Sarah Gertrude Shapiro’s award-winning independent short Sequin Raze, was written by Shapiro and Noxon and gives a behind-the-scenes look at the chaos surrounding the production of a dating competition program. “Un-Real is unlike anything that exists on television today,” Lifetime GM Rob Sharenow said. “It’s premium and original on every level, and we’re thrilled that Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro’s unique series will be Lifetime’s first program produced by A+E Studios.” Un-Real centers on Rachel (Appleby), a young staffer whose sole job is to manipulate her relationships with and … Read More »
Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has died. He was 46. According to NYPD, Hoffman was discovered Sunday morning in his Manhattan home after suffering an apparent drug overdose. Police were called to the scene around 11:30 AM by Hoffman’s friend who found the actor non-responsive in the bathroom of the apartment this morning, according to NYPD, which said that a hypodermic needle and two glassine envelopes containing what appeared to be heroin were found in the fourth-floor apartment. Police would not confirm the name of the friend who found Hoffman. An autopsy will be performed and results could take some time for toxicology reports to become available.
Related: PHOTOS: Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014)
The industry well knows Hoffman’s films credits, but his real role in life was as father of three young children with costume designer Mimi O’Donnell: Cooper, 11, Tallulah who is seven and Willa who is six years old. O’Donnell and he met in 1999 when Hoffman directed the play In Arabia We’d All Be Kings. His family just issued the following statement: “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone. This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving. Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers.”
Hoffman, who audiences will most recently remember for his turn … Read More »
PBS‘ Britcom Vicious is retro in form, contemporary in subject matter and could not have been made on a U.S. network owing to the age of its actors, the creator and stars said today at TCA. Vicious stars Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as Freddie and Stuart, a gay couple who have been together for nearly 5 decades. The comedy, which already has aired its first season in the UK on ITV, would not have been done in the U.S. at this time, because both stars are in their 70s, all parties discussing the show at the Winter TV Press Tour agreed. This came the morning after NBC announced it was developing a sort of Golden Girls update — because, NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt said, it’s something he’s not seeing on the primetime TV landscape. While TV critics marveled at the show getting made at all — and PBS’ courage in broadcasting it, starting in July — McKellen, appearing via satellite, insisted it’s still much easier for actors in their 70s to get work than for actresses. Jacobi, also via satellite, said the public is clamoring for programming about older characters, without elaborating. He did say how good it is to be in his 70s and still be asked to perform (he also stars in the British series Last Tango In Halifax, also airing on PBS, which earlier today made official its second-season pickup). Read More »
PBS has announced the premiere date of the Britcom Vicious, starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as a gay couple who have been together nearly half a century. The six-part series, which PBS acquired from Shine International in October, will air on Sundays and premiere July 6 at 10:30 PM. Meanwhile, Jacobi’s drama Last Tango In Halifax has been ordered for a second season, returning June 29, PBS chief Paula Kerger announced this morning at TCA. Also unveiled: Ken Burns is working on a a documentary series about country music — though it won’t air until 2018, Kerger said this morning. Country Music will follow its evolution of over the course of the 20th century as it “eventually emerged to become America’s music,” PBS claimed in its announcement.
And, PBS will never, ever air Downton Abbey seasons closer to its UK run, Kerger indicated — hopefully putting a stake in that debate for press tours ever after. Kerger cited this month’s Season 4 debut audience – 10.2 million viewers, which was a 22% jump compared to the Season 3 opener (7.9 million), which itself had been a leap from the series Season 2 launch crowd of 4.2 mil. Downton is PBS’ highest rated drama ever. ”It’s become a bit of tradition after the holidays to come together to watch Downton,” Kerger said happily. “The audience build over the years…argues to keep the January time frame,” she said. And, of course, a fall launch coinciding with the UK’s Downton season would put it in the teeth of the commercial broadcast network’s fall-season rollout, which, she noted, TV critics in the room had criticized PBS for doing in the past. Not to mention that the series’ UK broadcaster determines its debut date not terribly long before it actually happens — no weeks and weeks of promotions, as is the norm in the U.S. PBS cannot upstage the show in the UK. Read More »
Anthony D’Alessandro is an AwardsLine contributor.
In the 1970s, Columbia Pictures then-president Peter Guber was given a script for a film starring Woody Allen. “I called my boss David Begelman and said, ‘There has to be a mistake,’ ” Guber recalls. “There’s not a laugh in it!” The film was The Front (1977), and it was a stark departure from Allen’s comedy writing and standup days, preceding Annie Hall by a year. In the film, directed by Martin Ritt, Allen stars as a New York deli clerk who ghost writes for blacklisted scribes. The poster featured Allen throwing up his hands in a “What me, worry?” pose with the tag line, “America’s Most Unlikely Hero.”
“After seven minutes, the preview audience wasn’t laughing anymore,” Guber recalls. “The film didn’t associate with Woody Allen’s brand of comedy. The audience had an expectation going into the theater.” Critics were divided over The Front, and the film’s box office didn’t hit the $20 million to $30 million take of Allen’s other films, considered big by ’70s standards.
Fast-forward several years, when Bill Murray followed up his role in the 1984 blockbuster Ghostbusters with a dramatic turn in The Razor’s Edge, based on W. Somerset Maugham’s novel about a World War I vet who goes off the grid to India. The film was slaughtered at the box office and also by critics, such as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Roger Ebert, who blamed Murray for the movie’s dullness. Read More »
That is how I would describe the consummate PR pro, Julian Myers, who passed away Saturday morning at the age of 95. I tweeted out news of his death Saturday afternoon saying he would be missed. It’s the end of an era to be sure. As long as I have been in, and around this business Myers has been there – a friendly , encouraging face at just about every major showbiz event. He lived for this stuff and could always be counted on to send along a letter highlighting an article in which I might have been mentioned, or offering an outstretched hand whenever I would see him. This man was the dean of Hollywood publicists who still toil in their profession. Hell, he wasn’t a publicist, he was a press agent. Even in his 90′s, very few others had a more unabashed and total enthusiasm for the business as it once was than Myers, while evolving with the times effortlessly.
He started off as nearly a charter member of USC’s Film School in 1937 and then worked in Columbia’s story department, but things really got cooking for him when he landed the job in the Fox publicity department in 1949. That was about the same time as when the career of Fox’s most famous star, Marilyn Monroe, also took off. Julian would often tell me about those days when he would have to go try to get the famously difficult actress out of bed and on to … Read More »
The Library of Congress has unveiled its annual list of 25 films that will join the National Film Registry. The movies are culled from the period 1919-2002 and include classics like Rita Hayworth-starrer Gilda; sci-fi pic Forbidden Planet; western The Magnificent Seven; war drama Judgment At Nuremberg; Mary Poppins (fitting in a year where Saving Mr Banks, the story of that film’s genesis, is playing in movie theaters); astronaut epic The Right Stuff; Michael Moore’s Roger & Me; and Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Each of the 25 films will be preserved as cinematic treasures for generations to come. “The National Film Registry stands among the finest summations of more than a century of extraordinary American cinema,” said Librarian of Congress, James H Billington. “This key component of American cultural history, however, is endangered, so we must protect the nation’s matchless film heritage and cinematic creativity.” There are also some silent films on the list including Daughter Of Dawn, featuring an all-Native-American cast; 1919′s A Virtuous Vamp, starring Constance Talmadge; and 1926′s Ella Cinders. Earlier this month, the Library of Congress released a survey that found that 70% of American silent movies have been lost. In all, this year’s additions bring the number of films in the registry to 625. The complete 2013 list is below:
Bless Their Little Hearts (1984)
Part of the vibrant New Wave of independent African-American filmmakers to emerge in the 1970s and 1980s, Billy Woodberry became a key figure in the movement known as the L.A. Renaissance. Woodberry crafted his UCLA thesis film, “Bless Their Little Hearts,” which was theatrically released in 1984. The film features a script and cinematography by Charles Burnett. This spare, emotionally resonant portrait of family life during times of struggle blends grinding, daily-life sadness with scenes of deft humor. Jim Ridley of the “Village Voice” aptly summed up the film’s understated-but- real virtues: “Its poetry lies in the exaltation of ordinary detail.”
Brandy in the Wilderness (1969)
This introspective “contrived diary” film by Stanton Kaye features vignettes from the relationship of a real-life couple, in this case the director and his girlfriend. An evocative 1960s time capsule—reminiscent of Jim McBride’s “David Holzman’s Diary”—this simulated autobiography, as in many experimental films, often blurs the lines between reality and illusion, moving in non-linear arcs through the ever-evolving and unpredictable interactions of relationships, time and place. As Paul Schrader notes, “it is probably quite impossible (and useless) to make a distinction between the point at which the film reflects their lives, and the point at which their lives reflect the film.” “Brandy in the Wilderness” remains a little-known yet key work of American indie filmmaking.
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EXCLUSIVE: Upstart producer/financier Story Mining & Supply Co has teamed with Scott Free to acquire rights to the V.E. Schwab novel Vicious. SM&SC’s Jeffrey Sharp and production president Evan Hayes will produce with Ridley Scott and Michael Schaefer, along with Allison Gillogly. She brought in the book, which was published in September by Tor Books. The acquisition was made through the development fund of SM&SC, which was formed this fall by Sharp and writer-director-financier Jim Kohlberg. Kohlberg and Sharp are behind Starz’s Outlander and The Yellow Birds, scripted and directed by David Lowery.
Vicious is about two ambitious pre-med students who discover that under the right conditions, a person can develop extraordinary supernatural abilities. Once they move from theoretical to experimental, things go horribly wrong. Their friendship becomes corrupted by terrible power on both sides, setting the stage for an epic rivalry fueled by ambition, jealousy and revenge — a toxic mix when fueled by superpowers. CAA repped the book with Waxman Leavell Literary’s Holly Root.
Daniel Bernhardt (The Matrix Reloaded) has been added to the cast of revenge action thriller John Wick. Directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, the film stars Keanu Reeves as the title character, a former hitman. After a thug named Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen), and his friends steal John’s car and in the process kill the dog given to him by his late wife, he tracks the thieves to New York. But Tarasov’s father Viggo (Michael Nyqvist), a wealthy and vicious Russian crime boss, puts a large bounty on John’s head, which Marcus (Willem Dafoe), an old “friend” of Wick’s, is determined to collect. Bernhardt, currently seen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, plays Kirill, a formal Russian military commander who is Viggo’s henchman.
Dan Fogler and Steve-O have joined the cast of RKO’s Barely Lethal. The Kyle Newman-directed action comedy produced by Brett Ratner stars Hailee Steinfeld as a 16-year old international assassin who fakes her own death in pursuit of a “normal” adolescence. Fogler plays Mr. Drumm, a popular high school teacher who takes a special interest in his students’ lives. His credits include Fanboys, Hannibal and voice roles in Free Birds, Kung Fu Panda and Mars Needs Moms. Fogler next will be seen in the Anne Hathaway drama Don Peyote, which he also co-wrote and co-directed. Jackass veteran … Read More »