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Berlin Fest Adds Special Screenings Of Jason Reitman’s ‘Young Adult,’ Keanu Reeves’ ‘Side By Side’

The upcoming Berlin Film Festival has added titles to its Berlinale Special 2012 program including Jason Reitman’s Young Adult and Barnaby Southcombe’s I, Anna. Restored versions of classics like Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1943 The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp will also screen. According to the festival, discussions will be held following some Special screenings including Werner Herzog’s documentary series Death Row and Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut In The Land Of Blood And Honey, which were previously announced as Special titles. A talk will also be held after the screening of the Keanu Reeves-produced documentary Side By Side that includes interviews with Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, the Wachowskis and Lars von Trier among others. In a European premiere, Mark Cousins will show his 900-minute-long documentary The Story Of Film: An Odyssey. Berlin runs Feb 9-19. A full list of the just-added titles follows:

Berlinale Special Gala screenings at the Friedrichstadt-Palast:
Young Adult
USA
By Jason Reitman
With Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson, Elisabeth Reaser
German premiere

Berlinale Special screenings at the Kino International:
Glück (Bliss)
Germany
By Doris Dörrie
With Alba Rohrwacher, Vinzenz Kiefer, Matthias Brandt, Oliver Nägele
World premiere
Read More »

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VIDEO: New ‘Young Adult’ TV Spot

By | Tuesday December 20, 2011 @ 5:49pm PST
Pete Hammond

EXCLUSIVE: After going out last weekend on its modestly wide break to nearly 1000 screens where it grossed $3.4 million and cracked the box office Top 10, Paramount’s Young Adult is shifting its emphasis in TV spots airing starting on Thursday. It’s the same thing Paramount did last year when it transitioned the campaign for The Fighter from its consumer emphasis to one that was “Oscar-centric.” With Academy ballots going to members early next week, the distributor wants to emphasize the awards-worthiness of the film directed by four-time Oscar nominee Jason Reitman, written by Oscar winner Diablo Cody (Juno) and starring Oscar winner Charlize Theron (Monster). Although the spots are not full of the usual “sell” for films of this type, Paramount is obviously hoping Academy members will be sold on the merits of this dark comedy, which has already earned Theron nominations for Golden Globes and a Critics Choice Movie Award –  the group that also nominated Cody’s script and supporting actor Patton Oswalt. Here’s the new ad:

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HAMMOND: Red Hot Best Actress Oscar Race Heats Up Even More As Meryl Streep’s ‘Iron Lady’ Screened

Pete Hammond

One of the last pieces of this year’s increasingly hot Best Actress race puzzle fell into place this week as The Weinstein Company unveiled Meryl Streep’s The Iron Lady at an exclusive media screening Tuesday night at the Warner Bros Screening Room in New York and Thursday morning for a handful of journalists at the 10-seat Weinstein Co. screening room at their new offices in Beverly Hills. Deadline was represented on both coasts. If there was any question about Streep’s viability as a major Oscar contender again this year, her performance as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher will erase all doubts. Again she is extraordinary, absolutely capturing the essence of Thatcher in every way, but is particularly powerful in those scenes depicting her enveloping dementia. She shows a poignant side, not really known about this woman who rose to the top of an exclusive men’s club and triumphed for nearly 12 years in the top job in her country. Jim Broadbent as her husband Dennis also has his moments but the film, expertly directed by Mamma Mia’s Phyllida Lloyd, belongs to Meryl. Even in England where Thatcher is sooooo well known and dissected, both early reviews in The Guardian and Daily Telegraph are singing her praises.

Her unbelievable 17th Oscar nomination is assured and perhaps the only thing standing between her and a third Oscar is well, Streep herself. The problem is … Read More »

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HAMMOND: ‘Bridesmaids’, ‘Artist’, ‘Paris’ Try To Buck Oscar’s Prejudice Against Comedy; HFPA Says ‘The Help’ Is Not Funny

Pete Hammond

Dying is easy, comedy is hard. Someone said that, right?

Judging by the paltry number of “pure” comedies that have won Best Picture Oscars in the past, apparently the Academy doesn’t think it’s hard at all. But could this actually be the year comedy will once again get its due in the Best Picture race? Will we ever see another genuine laugher taken seriously? “It’s crazy when you see what these great comedy people do,” says Bridesmaids producer Judd Apatow. His film was a huge surprise summer hit and has one of the highest critics ratings on Rotten Tomatoes with 90% fresh reviews. That’s a lot better than many dramatic contenders that pundits take more seriously as true Oscar pictures. Broad, hit-’em-in-the-gut comedy is almost always dismissed.

Apatow told me he was really surprised when Bridesmaids started to become part of the awards conversation this year but now believes they have a shot, at least in some categories — although not daring to dream of Best Picture yet. “We’re very hopeful about Melissa McCarthy in supporting. (Co-writer and star) Kristen Wiig  should get recognition  too. It’s very hard to do what she does,” Apatow said, adding that he thought Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover (which Apatow did not produce) should have been recognized a couple of years ago for the “perfect supporting part” but was obviously overlooked.

Further proving disrespect for comedy in the Acad, Apatow himself was dissed even to become an Academy member until finally getting the invite in 2008. Considering the Academy’s usual reluctance to reward the genre, Wiig is shocked they are even in the hunt, but Bridesmaids is the only movie Universal is significantly campaigning this year. “It’s nuts,” she said. “Recently we were looking at our original draft and thinking the fact people are even talking about it in this way is very strange. But I think ultimately it’s about the story and characters. You have to care about them or you’re not going to care about the movie whether it is comedy or drama.”

Bridesmaids is also hoping for recognition as a Best Picture Comedy or Musical nominee in the Golden Globes, where it actually does have a realistic chance of making the cut (The Hangover actually won). Many have called for the Academy to institute separate categories to honor comedy, like the Globes have always done, but it has never flown.

It is not hard to see why.

Often there’s a very gray line between what constitutes a comedy in the first place.  The Hollywood Foreign Press lets studios determine which categories they want to be in but has final say. In other words, if a studio tries to squeeze J. Edgar into comedy because there is less competition, forget it. This year, there has been lots of discussion among distributors about what constitutes a comedy. Fox Searchlight initially debated whether to enter its George Clooney starrer The Descendants in the Comedy or Musical category because there are definite laughs, but the dramatic elements ruled the day and it is submitted as a drama. Same with Sony’s Moneyball, which had some TV ads with quotes calling it “hilarious.” In the end, it wasn’t that hilarious — it’s in drama.

On the other hand, DreamWorks officially submitted The Help in comedy or musical even though it has some very heavy dramatic moments. On Monday, an HFPA committee rejected it in comedy and determined it would compete as a drama, where it will go head-to-head with Disney/DreamWorks’ other big hopeful, War Horse (assuming both get nominated, as seems likely). It’s not surprising: At a recent event I attended, a lot of HFPA members were voicing concerns about having to judge The Help as a comedy. The film was indeed initially sold by Disney and DreamWorks with an emphasis on its lighter elements, and past Globe winners in the category such as Driving Miss Daisy were similar in tone. Still, that would have meant Viola Davis would compete in the Best Actress-Comedy or Musical category, and no matter how you slice it, her character — a civil rights-era maid — just wasn’t that funny. Other entries that remain in the category that border comedy and drama are Focus Features’ Beginners and Summit’s 50/50, both dealing with main characters with cancer; Paramount’s Young Adult; and The Weinstein Company’s My Week With Marilyn. But the placement seems logical, and their chances against stiff competition in the drama categories would be considerably lessened. Last year, Focus entered the dramedy The Kids Are All Right in the comedy categories and bagged Globes for both the picture and Annette Bening. Read More »

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HAMMOND: AFI Closes The Long Fall Fest Oscar Circuit; Who’s On Top, Who Flopped?

Pete Hammond

With last night’s conclusion of the annual AFI Fest in Hollywood, the curtain finally fell on the 2011 fall film festival season. So the question remains, has an Oscar frontrunner emerged after two months on this circuit? AFI previously was held in the spring but smartly repositioned itself to November several years ago. The significant side benefit of that is the fest has a shot at having an impact on awards season — not to mention AFI gets the pick of the litter in terms of prolific contenders. That strategy has worked again this year: the world premiere of Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar was the opening-night film and the closing-night selection was Steven Spielberg’s CGI animation contender The Adventures of Tintin, which made its North American premiere last night at AFI. Neither of these directors is necessarily known for putting his films widely on the fest circuit, but you can’t deny that hitting the fests can be a good strategy.

The last four Best Picture winners — No Country For Old Men, Slumdog Millionaire, The Hurt Locker, The King’s Speech — were all major festival players, finding their footing on the circuit then sailing smoothly into Oscar’s heart. This year, likely best pic possibilities that began at one fest or another include The Artist, Moneyball, The Descendants, The Ides Of March, Midnight In Paris and now J. Edgar. But there is an even larger number than usual of those skipping the circuit and trying other strategies to get the Academy’s attention. That list includes The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, War Horse, Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, Young Adult, The Help, The Iron Lady and In The Land Of Blood And Honey.

Stuck somewhere in the middle is Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, which tried to catch the wave at the New York Film Festival by showcasing a “work in progress.” The results of the gambit ultimately were mixed opinions toward the film — at least in that form. Then, when the film was completed, Paramount skipped the opportunity to show it at AFI and decided to go in another direction (at the same time the fest was going on across town) by unveiling it almost simultaneously to L.A.-based critics, bloggers and members of the Academy. Reaction was upbeat and the film, which opens November 23, is now being talked about as a Best Picture contender, something that didn’t happen after its New York screening. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Jason Reitman’s ‘Young Adult’

By | Thursday October 6, 2011 @ 7:21pm PDT

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New York Film Festival Unveils Surprise Oscar Contender Monday

Mike Fleming

So far, there is no consensus Oscar frontrunner like there was at this time last year, and many of the biggest Oscar hopefuls haven’t yet been seen. We’ll have a good sense of one of them early next week. The New York Film Festival plans to show a work in progress film by a “legendary” filmmaker this Monday. It has to be one of several Oscar-bait films that weren’t completed in time to be shown at the festivals. So it’s either Clint Eastwood’s J Edgar, Steven Spielberg’s War Horse or The Adventures of Tintin, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, Jason Reitman’s Young Adult, or David Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The festival will begin selling tickets by Friday, so we’ll know soon. I’m told this is the first time that the festival has done this kind of thing, and that the unfinished film will be screened Columbus Day at 7 PM at Avery Fisher Hall.

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Paramount Schedules Jason Reitman’s ‘Young Adult’ For December Bow

Paramount said today that it will bow Jason Reitman’s Young Adult in limited release on Dec. 9, 2011 and take it wide on Dec. 16. The pic, which reunites the Juno team of Reitman and scribe Diablo Cody, stars Charlize Theron as a ghostwriter of young-adult novels who dips into some adolescent behavior in an effort to reclaim her identity. Patrick Wilson, Patton Oswalt and Elizabeth Reaser also star. Paramount acquired worldwide rights from Mandate in October.

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Paramount Gets Custody Of ‘Young Adult’

Mike Fleming

Paramount Pictures acquired world rights to Mandate Pictures’ Young Adult, the pic that reteams Juno scribe Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman. Deadline broke the story about the film and that they had landed Charlize Theron to play the lead role, a ghostwriter of young adult novels who dips into some adolescent behavior. Patrick Wilson and Patton Oswalt have also joined the cast, per the studio’s announcement. The movie begins production in New York this month.

While the release mostly repeats material Deadline already covered, here’s a new wrinkle I can report: Elizabeth Reaser, who plays Esme Cullen in the Twilight Saga films, has sunk her teeth into a significant role in Reitman’s film. She plays the wife of the man (Wilson) that Theron’s character is trying to steal away. Reaser is also starring in the indie Homework with Emma Roberts and Michael Angarano.

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Paramount Wins ‘Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick’

By | Tuesday August 10, 2010 @ 3:28pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In what turned out to be the second spirited book rights auction in the last few days, Paramount Pictures has acquired screen rights to Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick, a Joe Schreiber novel that sold last Friday to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as a young adult title in a two-book deal. I’m told Paramount Pictures made an aggressive bid that has Roy Lee as producer and will potentially involve Gossip Girl creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage through their new Par-based Fake Empire banner. I’ve heard the auction came down to Par and Fox, which bid for producer John Davis. It’s unclear how the Schwartz/Savage alignment will play out, but they have the youth cred that is a strong match for material crosses John Hughes coming-of-age terrain with Grosse Pointe Blank. The numbers were in the mid-to-high six figure range before the deal closed.

The protagonist is a high school kid whose parents take in an Eastern European exchange student. Though she seems homely and ordinary at first, he realizes he misjudged her. After they leave the prom at her suggestion to go clubbing in New York City, she reveals herself to be a beautiful assassin after 5 targets.  He is pressed to help and has to figure out if her motives are righteous. The movie rights were handled by Don Laventhall of the Harold Ober Agency. Laventhall would not comment. Irene Yeung will be an exec producer.

This is a big break for the author, whose past novels and spec scripts … Read More »

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‘Juno’ Reteam Puts Charlize Theron At Center of Jason Reitman-Diablo Cody Pic

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The Juno team of director Jason Reitman, screenwriter Diablo Cody, Mandate Pictures and the production company Mr. Mudd are teaming again on Young Adult with Charlize Theron starring. The film’s being produced by Cody, Mason Novick, Lianne Halfon and Russell Smith of John Malkovich’s Mr. Mudd banner. Mandate’s Nathan Kahane and Malkovich are exec producers. I’m told that Reitman has brought in Indian Paintbrush’s Steven Rales to possibly co-finance with Mandate and he will be an exec producer as well. Several studios are interested in making the picture, but it hasn’t crystallized yet. The plan is to get the film into production in New York on November 10 if all works out, with Reitman directing. Cody won an Oscar for her Juno script and Reitman was also nominated. Read More »

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