Altitude Film Distribution has acquired U.K. and Ireland rights to Simon Dixon’s “Tiger Raid,” following its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival last month. Bankside Films is handling international rights.Bankside describes the film, which will receive its U.K. premiere next month at the Edinburgh Film Festival, as a “tense and visceral thriller.” It tells the story of Joe and Paddy, members of a private security crew working in the Middle East.“They have been assigned to kidnap the daughter of a powerful man as part of a major robbery -- a Tiger Raid,” Bankside says. “Joe, the older of the two, carries a brutal and unrepentant view of the world, defined by fear and adoration of their invisible but omnipresent boss. Paddy is younger and recklessly ambitious, hungry to progress through the ranks of the crew.“Neither man trusts the other as they tell half-truths and stories of previous victories in a battle to determine who controls this increasingly volatile situation. As the raid progresses, deeply hidden truths about both men’s pasts are revealed, fracturing their already fragile relationship and forcing them to face up to who they really are in order to survive its violent and shocking conclusion.”The movie is a Dixon Baxi Evans production, directed by Simon Dixon and produced by Gareth Coulam Evans with the participation of the Irish Film Board in association with Samson Films. Adapted from the stage play “Radio Luxembourg” by Mick Donnellan, the film was written by Donnellan, Dixon and Coulam Evans. Martina Niland and David Collins co-produce for Samson Films in Ireland.Brian Gleeson (“Assassin’s Creed,” “Snow White and the Huntsman”), Damien Molony (“Kill Your Friends”) and Sofia Boutella (“Kingsman: Secret Service,” “Star Trek Beyond”) star in leading roles.The deal was negotiated by Altitude Film Distribution’s Ellie Gibbons, with Bankside representing the filmmakers."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/global/altitude-acquires-u-k-ireland-rights-to-thriller-tiger-raid-1201785499/
     Melissa McCarthy will star in Fox Searchlight's adaptation of Lee Israel's memoir Can You Ever Forgive Me? with The Diary of a Teenage Girl director Marielle Heller attached to helm.Thedark comedy will begin shooting early next year. Heller will direct from a script by Nicole Holofcener.Producers are Anne Carey and Amy Nauiokas of Archer Gray, partnered with Israel's friend and longtime confidant David Yarnell. Jawal Nga executive produces.McCarthy will portray Israel, who made her living in the 1970s and '80s writing profiles of stars such as Katharine Hepburn and Tallulah Bankhead, cosmetics executive Estee Lauder, and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. When she was no longer able to get published because she has fallen out of step with current tastes, she turned to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack, and began selling letters that she had forged from deceased writers and actors.When the forgeries started to raise suspicion, she turned to stealing the actual lettersfrom library archives and soldthem. In 1993, Israel pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport stolen property and served six months under house arrest. She died in 2014.Julianne Moore was initially set to star in the film,butexited last year due to creative differences. At that point, Holofcener had been attachedto direct, but she is no longer available.Archer Gray worked with Heller on The Diary of a Teenage Girl. Matthew Greenfield, Searchlight's new co-head of production (with David Greenbaum) is shepherding the project.McCarthy starred in The Boss and will be seen next in Ghostbusters. Heller has directed episodes of Casual and Transparent.McCarthy is repped by CAA and Heller is repped by UTA."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/melissa-mccarthy-lee-israel-can-you-ever-forgive-me-1201785408/
     Amber Heard's lawyers said Tuesday that the actress has now filed a claim with Los Angeles police to investigate domestic violence allegations against estranged husband Johnny Depp.Heard's lawyers said The Danish Girl stardidn't initially tell police about the abuse in order to protect Depp's career, but has since been forced by his team to give a police statement.Amber did not provide [an initial] statement to the LAPD in an attempt to protect her privacy and Johnny's career, Heard's attorney Samantha F. Spector and her co-counsel Joseph P. Koenig said in a statement. Johnny's team has forced Amber to give a statement to the LAPD to set the record straight as to the true facts, as she cannot continue to leave herself open to the vicious false and malicious allegations that have infected the media.With her statement Amber hopes to give the LAPD the opportunity to conduct an accurate and complete investigation into the events of that evening and before, the statement says. If that occurs, and the truth is revealed, there is no doubt that Amber's claims will be substantiated beyond any doubt, and hopefully Johnny will get the help that he so desperately needs.An LAPD spokesperson told Variety on Tuesday that the department could not disclose information about domestic violence claims and that it was still investigating the case.Heard was granted a temporary restraining order late last week after she accused the Edward Scissorhands thespof domestic violence. She saidthe actor threw a cellphone at her, hitting her cheek and eye, while he was high and drunk during a fight onMay 21.Heard entered Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday morning with a bruise around her right eye, which she said was a result of the altercation.Law enforcement officials saidlast week that investigators found no evidence of an assault the previousweekend, when the police responded to a domestic dispute on May 21 in downtown L.A.Heard told investigators that night thatshe did not want to file a criminal report.In reality, Amber acted no differently than many victims of domestic violence, who think first of the harm that might come to the abuser, rather than the abuse they have already suffered, Spector and Koenig said. Amber can no longer endure the relentless attacks and outright lies launched against her character in the Court of Public Opinion since the tragic events of May 21.The statement mirrors Heard's sworn declaration in which she said she endured excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse during the entirety of their relationship.Amber has suffered through years of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of Johnny, the attorneys' statement continues. In domestic violence cases, it is not unusual for the perpetrator's playbook to include miscasting the victim as the villain.Amber is the victim. Amber is a hero, the statement goes on to say after Depp's lawyer, Laura Wasser, said Heard was motivated by financial gains.We took the high road. Unfortunately, Johnny's team immediately went to the press and began viciously attacking Amber's character. Amber is simply a victim of domestic violence, and none of her actions are motivated by money. Amber is a brave and financially independent woman who is showing the courage of her convictions by doing the right thing against Johnny's relentless army of lawyers and surrogates, Spector and Koenig added."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/amber-heard-johnny-depp-domestic-violence-lapd-1201785583/
     Former Glee starMark Salling has been dropped from the film Gods and Secrets after being indictedon Friday for possessing child pornography.Director Adi Shankar released a statementon Tuesday saying that the project would be moving forward without Salling. The actor was set to play avillain in the action pic starring Kellan Lutz, Denise Richards and Jane Seymour.Co-directed by Stewart Yost and penned by Shawn DeLoache from a story by Shankar, the movie explores the ramifications of a world filled with superheroesAccording to TMZ, Shankar is personally paying for Salling's scenes to be re-shot, and donating a percentage of profits from the project to a children's charity.Here's Shankar's full statement:The innocence of our planet’s children is something that must be protected at all costs. As entertainers, our role is to be the “conscience of humanity,” striving to make the world better for future generations. Sadly, we live in a country where statistically at least 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, 80,000 children are reportedly sexually abused every year, and at least 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18. According toavailabledata, every two minutes, an American is sexually assaulted.Even more troubling, exponentially more cases go unreported as in most situations, authority figures are ill equipped to help.The aforementioned statistics are nauseating, reminiscent of a third world country, and until very recently, kept out of the limelight. Child abuse is a cultural cancer whose tentacles penetrate far deeper than a single celebrity caught with illicit images on his computer, just as date rape is a is a far more prominent issue than the repeated transgressions of one mediocre entertainer from the 1970’s. Child abuse is a democratic disease existing across socioeconomic lines affecting every walk of life. It affects all of us, and more importantly, its existence needs to cece to exist. Period.Adi Shankar’s Gods and Secretswill be moving forward without Mark Salling. He has been cut from the mini-series, I will personally be paying for the reshoots, and I hope that Mark finds inner peace. Furthermore, a percentage of profits from the project will go to a charity for abused children. Hopefully some good will come of all of this and I pray that when the dust has settled, the hyper-connectivity of the information age that has brought to light the transgressions of several public figures, will also force us to look within our society to identify and eliminate the root cause of the rape culture we exist in."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/mark-salling-child-porn-gods-and-secrets-1201785759/
     Pedro Almodovar's Julieta, which recently world premiered in competition at Cannes, will open the 33rd Jerusalem Film Festival. We are happy to open this year's festival with a film by one of the world's most beloved and acclaimed filmmakers in recent decades, Pedro Almodóvar. Julieta is a cinematic celebration – a colorful, exciting, fun and thought-provoking film, said Noa Regev, topper of Jerusalem Cinematheque and exec director of Jerusalem fest. The aesthetic experience offered by the film will no doubt be even greater when shown on the giant screen at the Sultan's Pool. Like most of Almodóvar's works, it is focused on female protagonist and deals with women's power.Based on a trio of short stories by Pulitzer-winning Canadian author Alice Munro, Julieta stars Emma Suárez and Adriana Ugarte in the title role, at different ages. Rossy de Palma also toplines. Pic will be released by Lev Cinemas in Israel on July 8, a day after its festival opening. Jerusalem fest, which previously opened with Almodovar's All About my Mother and Talk to Her, will kick off with Julieta in commemoration of two inspirational female figures of Israeli Cinema who are no longer with us – Lia van Leer, founder of the festival, and filmmaker Ronit Elkabetz, said Regev,  who works with artistic director Elad Samorzik. Jerusalem fest will indeed host a tribute to Elkabetz, the actress and filmmaker who died of cancer in April and has been mourned by the Israeli and international film communities. The tribute to Elkabetz will include the special screening of her feature debut To Take a Wife, in which she also stars. To Take a Wife was the first film of a trilogy penned and directed by Elkabetz and her brother, Shlomi Elkabetz. The trilogy was completed by Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, a Cannes' Directors' Fortnight player that marked Ronit Elkabetz's last film. On top of earning critical acclaim, Gett shed light of women who are faced with unfair, archaic divorce laws in Israel and prompted a heated debate at home and beyond. The festival will also bow an international competition lineup which will be fully announced in the next few days. So far, Rúnar Rúnarsson's Icelandic coming-of-age drama Sparrows and Danish helmer Tobias Lindholm's Oscar-nominated A War have been selected to compete as part of the new international section that's being backed by New Jersey-based Wilf Family Foundation."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/global/jerusalem-film-festival-sets-tribute-to-ronit-elkabetz-opening-with-pedro-almodovars-julieta-1201785679/
     “The Wolf from Royal Vineyard Street,” the final feature of Czech filmmaker Jan Nemec, who died in March at the age of 79, will have its world premiere as part of the Official Selection competition at this year’s Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival. The film is one of 12 international features announced on Tuesday that will vie for the Crystal Globe during the fest, which runs July 1-9. Nemec’s film is an adaptation of the celebrated director’s own quasi-autobiographical short stories, resulting in what the fest describes as “a dejected comedy, an unsentimental reminiscence and a nonchalant settling of scores in punk regalia. Both the movie and its maker defy categorization.”Also in the running is Italian director Roberto Ando’s “The Confessions,” a suspense drama about a charismatic monk (Toni Servillo) who shows up at a meeting of G8 finance ministers on the Baltic coast, where a financier is subsequently murdered.Hungarian helmer Szabolcs Hajdu offers an intimate study of two families thrown together by circumstance in “It’s Not the Time of My Life.”Germany’s Sven Taddicken’s “Original Bliss” adapts Scottish author A. L. Kennedy’s novel of the same name about an unhappy married woman whose life is changed when she meets a charismatic psychologist, while Canadian helmer Jesse Klein tells the story of a bullied school boy who runs off with a young stranger in “We’re Still Together.”Spanish directors Isaki Lacuesta and Isa Campo’s “The Next Skin” follows a teenager who went missing as a child and was presumed dead but returns home after eight years. In Catalin Mitulescu’s Romanian drama “By the Rails,” a man returns home after  spending a year working abroad only to find his wife has changed, while in Jan Hrebejk’s Czech-Slovak “The Teacher,” set in 1983 Czechoslovakia, parents learn that a kind teacher has been allegedly using her students to manipulate their parents.From Russia, Ivan I. Tverdovsky’s “Zoology” centers on a lonely middle-aged admin employee at a zoo whose life is turned upside down when she discovers she has grown a tail.Also screening in competition are: “My Father’s Wings,” by Kivanc Sezer (Turkey); “Waves,” by Grzegorz Zariczny (Poland); and “Nightlife,” by director Damjan Kozole (Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina)."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/global/karlovy-vary-film-festival-crystal-globe-1201785492/
     MADRID -- Mediaset España’s Ghislain Barrois, one of Spain’s leading film-TV executives, has taken on new responsibilities at the No. 1 Spanish TV network with his appointment as head of the newly created division of film, sales, rights acquisitions and distribution. He remains CEO of Telecinco Cinema.Barrois was already a key executive in Spain for studios and independents alike, thanks to his positions at both Telecinco Cinema, the Spanish film production arm of Mediaset España, and as head of acquisitions, buying U.S. and other foreign TV series and sports rights.Under Barrois, Telecinco Cinema has co-produced the highest-grossing Spanish film ever in Spain, 2014’s “Spanish Affair,” which earned $77.5 million at local cinemas, as well as a string of international hits, led by Juan Antonio Bayona’s “The Impossible,” which punched a global theatrical gross of $180.3 million, an exceptional figure for an independent movie.As head of acquisitions at Mediaset España, Spain’s biggest free-to-air broadcast network, Barrois has overseen its structuring of studio output deals, the latest with Disney, and acquisition of sports rights such as those to June’s upcoming UEFA Euro 2016 soccer tourney. Programs air across Mediaset España's six-channel bouquet in Spain, which had a combined 30.6% market share in April, led by Telecinco, Spain’s most-watched channel.Barrois now adds oversight of all operations regarding rights sales - both domestic and international - as well as the distribution of formats and in-house IPs of Mediaset España. This takes in the overseas expansion of Mediaset España international channel CincoMas, online and phone-in audience contests, book and music publishing and other forms of licensing and merchandising, and the sales of Mediaset España content in international and domestic markets, across multiple platforms.The new responsibilities reflect a priority focus by Publiespaña, Mediaset España’s in-house advertising agency, on TV ad sales, moving content sales, which it previously handled, to join acquisitions under the same corporate roof.Barrois’ new oversight may indeed be felt most in TV content sales abroad, especially in Spanish-speaking markets and territories which dub foreign shows. Earlier in May, Mediaset España announced the sale of undercover cop drama “El Principe,” its highest-rating TV show, to Univision for the U.S. Hispanic market. Mediaset España has also acquired six-part French procedural, “Witnesses” for broadcast on ME’s Cuatro, its second most-viewed channel.“This new organization is built around Mediaset España’smost valued asset: content, Barrois said, adding that the overall goal isto make our programs available to the widest audienceboth in Spain and internationally.”"        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/global/ghislain-barrois-mediaset-espana1201785471-1201785471/
     India’s multi-Oscar-winning musician and composer A.R. Rahman has been named as grand prize winner of the prestigious Fukuoka Prize.The Fukuoka Prize was established in 1990 to honor the outstanding work of individuals and organizations to preserve and promote the unique and diverse cultures of Asia. Previous winners include Muhammad Yunus, from Bangladesh, who went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Mo Yan, from China, subsequent winner of the Nobel Literature Prize and another Indian music giant Ravi Shankar.Prolific and multi-talented, Rahman has music credits for major Indian films including “Raavan,” “Yuvraaj,” “Rockstar” and “Rang de Basanti,” as well as Western and Hollywood titles including “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” “127 Hours” and “Slumdog Millionaire.”Fukuoka Prize organizers said: “By his world-famous music, Mr. A. R. Rahman has opened up a new arena for film music, and has become a driving-force of this field to gain it a new recognition… (he has a) bold fusion of traditional South Asian, classical Western and popular contemporary American hip-hop and other music.”Winners of this year’s other prizes are Dr. Ambeth R. Ocampo (Philippines/History) for the academic prize and Yasmeen Lari (Pakistan/Architecture), winner of the Arts and Culture Prize.Laureates will receive their awards in Fukuoka, Japan in September."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/asia/a-r-rahman-wins-fukuoka-prize-1201785389/
     TOKYO – Disney’s “Zootopia” was on top of the Japanese box office for the fourth consecutive weekend. The film earned $3.95 million on 324,000 admissions for the May 28-29 frame, bringing its cumulative total to $48 million on 4.12 million admissions.Ranking highest among new entries to the top ten was Ryuichi Hiroki’s “Wolf Girl and Black Prince,” a teen romantic drama based on a popular girls’ comic about a socially insecure girl who begs a handsome schoolmate to fake a relationship to impress her friends – and he agrees on the condition that she become his ‘dog.’Released on 285 screens with Warner distributing, the film recorded $2.1 million on 193,000 admissions and is expected to finish near the $20 million mark.“The Huntsman: Winter's War” opened in third place with Toho-Towa distributing on 587 screens. It took $1.04 million on 88,000 admissions. The film may struggle to reach the $10 million milestone, compared to the $15 million made by 2012 predecessor “Snow White and the Huntsman.”"        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/asia/japan-box-office-zootopia-wins-fourth-weekend-1201785391/
     Roman Polanski is facing a fresh attempt to extradite him to the U.S. in connection with his 1977 conviction for child sexual abuse. Poland’s government has decided to appeal a court’s decision in October to deny a U.S. extradition request. Prosecutors had previously said they would not challenge the court's ruling. Zbigniew Ziobro, Poland's justice minister and prosecutor general, said on Tuesday, “I’ve decided to file to the supreme court an appeal over the ruling ... in which the ... court decided not to extradite Mr. Polanski to the U.S. in a situation when he’s accused of and wanted for ... a rape of a child,” the Polish state news agency PAP reported.Polanski, who holds dual French-Polish citizenship, has an apartment in Krakow, Southern Poland, but spends most of his time in France.Polanski has said he would like to shoot a film about the Dreyfus Affair in Poland, but only if he did not face the threat of extradition. The lead producer on the project is France’s Robert Benmussa, who said the budget would be €35 million ($37.1 million). The film, which is based on Robert Harris’ novel “An Officer and a Spy,” would be an international co-production made in English with English and American actors, Benmussa said."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/global/roman-polanski-extradite-u-s-1201785415/
     Debuting in Cannes just two weeks before its subject was sentenced in Senegal for horrific crimes perpetrated during his 11 years as president, “Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy” doesn’t dwell on the former dictator’s court hearing (except briefly at the end) but instead focuses on the victims, concentrating on the man’s crimes rather than his grandstanding. It’s a doubly wise strategy for this concise, clearly told and deeply effectivedocumentary from “Grigris” director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, which can be released or broadcast in the immediate wake of the landmark occasion, this being the first time an African despot had been tried by an African court — which in itself is damning testimony to the stymied reach of justice on the continent.Haroun’s narration at the start briefly puts into context Habré’s impact on the world stage, when the future president was involved in a hostage taking in 1974. Unfortunately, Habré’s heinous behavior then, and later when in power from 1982, was given a free ride by the CIA, which became the dictator’s chief backer and trained his much-feared secret police force, the Documentation and Security Directorate (DDS). Haroun himself went into exile in 1982, but many others were not so lucky, and some sources estimate that 40,000 people died in Habré’s prisons.Among those who survived incarceration was Clément Abaïfouta, chairman of the Association of the Victims of the Crimes of the Hissein Habré Regime and Haroun’s alter ego in the documentary as he interviews victims of the dictatorship. The documentary generally presents these people frontally, giving them a gravitas, as well as a sense of individualized dignity, as they show horrific scars disfiguring their bodies and talk about the tortures they underwent. Men and women movingly recount their nightmares in prison, and Haroun is careful not to present too many voices, thereby ensuring the stories avoid becoming a numbing litany.Only once does the director bring victim and torturer together, with Abaïfouta between them. The meeting outside is neither reconciliation nor catharsis, and it’s disturbing to watch the thin, stooped man known as Mahamat the Cameroonian deny any responsibility, using the “I was taking orders” line so convenient for the henchmen of tyrants. The man he tortured, much taller and almost regal, refuses to accept the excuse, and when Mahamat offers a very half-hearted apology (probably spoken for the camera), neither victim nor viewer will let him off so easily.After 23 years in comfortable exile in Senegal, Habré was finally arrested, and the trial began in July 2015. Of course, the former dictator refused to recognize the legitimacy of the court, and his personal website, full of expected lies and outrage, still boasts a disturbingly high Google ranking. For the people of Chad, bringing him to justice is a major step forward; hopefully it will also send a powerful message to other African despots. The film’s classic, unadorned visuals contribute to a sense of the ineluctability of truth, furthered by straightforward editing guaranteeing that each story becomes a powerful testimony."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/reviews/hissein-habre-a-chadian-tragedy-review-cannes-1201785221/
     It may be filmed in the Academy ratio, but Steve Oram's low-budget feature debut Aaaaaaaah! could hardly be considered a nod to classic Hollywood. Rather, the 4:3 frame indicates something more primal, evoking the so-called video nasties (a wave of mostly cheap horror films banned on VHS in the U.K. in the 1980s, following a wave of moral panic over the perceived degeneration in values these films would cause when made available for home viewing). Aaaaaaaah! is set in exactly the kind of world Mary Whitehouse feared, and functions as a kind of loving Swiftian satire on the more brutish aspects of modern life. Though it's at once too subtle and too extreme to attract a broad audience, those who get something out of gross-out humor, silent film and British comedy will treasure Aaaaaaaah! as a rare cult gem.Aaaaaaaah! opens as Smith (Oram, who wrote, directed, produced, starred and edited the film) and Keith (Tom Meeten) pause on a journey through an English wood. Keith grooms Smith a little, then a strange little ceremony mourning the passing of Smith's presumed mate is enacted. Her photograph is urinated on before, ritual duly observed, the pair pass on to conquer new territory, somewhere in a vast suburban sprawl on the horizon. An intense score (from King Crimson ProjeKcts with contributions by Dave Westlake) lets the audience know, not for the last time, that there is trouble ahead.Although most characters in the film are dressed roughly how we expect humans to dress, everybody behaves like human/simian hybrids. A la French cult classic Themroc, not one word of any recognizable language is spoken through the modest 79-minute runtime and there are no subtitles. The fact that viewers can nevertheless comprehend probably 95% of what is said from a mixture of context, body language and facial expression proves the uncomfortable point that Oram is making about our proximity to the rest of the primates.Matthew Wicks' camera thoroughly colludes in this idea, borrowing a visual grammar established by nature documentaries to shoot the extremely game cast (including singer Toyah Willcox) in the same way a David Attenborough show might present the great apes in their natural habitat. Closeups at moments of high tension within the social pecking order are particularly successful, as Oram and Julian Barratt's gift for uninhibited non-verbal performance translates especially well onscreen.Media within the world of Aaaaaaaah! is also subjected to a mischievous form of reductio ad absurdum, whereby the basic tropes of recognizable forms of popular entertainment are amplified until they are revealed in their true ridiculous light. A cooking program, for example, is hosted by a presenter whose bare breasts hang outside of her top as she cooks, the logical extreme of the seductive mode of culinary tuition purveyed by sexy chefs like the U.K.'s Nigella Lawson. Aaaaaaaah! shares cinematic DNA with Mike Judge's Idiocracy, which imagined the hit movie Ass winning eight Academy Awards.There's something both terrifying and satisfying about seeing human contrivances and customs rendered so completely transparent in their endless artifice and essentially arbitrary nature. In other more cautiously intellectual modes of cinema, it could all end up coming off as unbearably pretentious, but there's an earthiness here that cannot be ignored. Taking the same approach as Jonathan Swift in his legendary A Modest Proposal, Oram leavens his satire with liberal helpings of gross-out that threaten to mask the critical intent. Arms are ripped off, genitals bitten through, kitchen floors defecated onto, urine sprinkled liberally and sleeping faces tea-bagged at will. This isn't a polite send-up, and is all the better for it.As will be clear from the preceding descriptions, Aaaaaaaah! is far from a multiplex proposition and indeed has a very specific audience in mind: those with an appetite for somewhat abstract and otherworldly art-house satire combined with midnight movie scatological humor and gore. In other words, if your DVD collection makes room for the work of both Luis Buñuel and Troma Entertainment, you'll want to track it down (while its title offers obvious alphabetical advantages when it comes to VOD listings). Genre fests and home entertainment are this strange beast's natural habitat."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/reviews/aaaaaaaah-review-steve-oram-1201783607/
     Although in English it sounds like a type of sore, Le Cancre in French means the dunce; either way, it's an unfortunate title for this most unfortunate feature from the 86-year-old veteran French independent filmmaker Paul Vecchiali, who stars as a wealthy dying man looking back on his life — and particularly on the many women he's loved. Tedious, self-regarding and often quite amateurishly staged, Le Cancre might have earned its Cannes berth out of respect for its director (whose Please Give Generously played Directors' Fortnight in 2004). That's a valid sentiment, but not one that is going to help the movie travel.The film gets going with a home invasion in which Rodolphe (Vecchiali) finds himself threatened by a man in a ski mask. This turns out to be his son Laurent (Pascal Cervo), who in a lame reveal is shown to be merely demonstrating why his father is unfit to live on his own. Laurent promptly moves in with him, and the rest of the movie spans from 2007 to the near-present as Rodolphe visits or is visited by the great women in his life, who mostly still regard him fondly and inspire him to reminisce about his former romantic prowess, which perhaps remains undulled. (Women still like you, and you know it, Laurent tells him at one point.)The walk-ons, many played by famous faces, include Valentine (Françoise Lebrun, The Mother and the Whore), who plans to join a convent, and Sarah (Édith Scob, Eyes Without a Face), who is actually in one. She is the sister of a former lover of Rodolphe's who committed suicide, an act that he insists was not his fault. Elsewhere, Mathieu Amalric (probably not yet old enough for this part) appears as the father of a young man rejected by Laurent, whose love life is contrasted with Rodolphe's. In an unexpected musical number, Rodolphe's niece (Catherine Estrade) and her daughter (Alberta Commaret) sing to the man of the hour: Why all these women if you loved only one? It may be part of the point that Rodolphe, an acknowledged cad, can't see any of these women as more than mirrors for his own ego, but the apparent sexism leaves a bitter taste regardless.In a scene that adds some texture to the overarching sentimentality, Noël Simsolo turns up as a son Rodolphe didn't acknowledge. And finally, we meet Marguerite (Catherine Deneuve), Rodolphe's first love and Laurent's aunt, whom the protagonist has spent the bulk of the movie idealizing. Despite prominent billing, Deneuve appears in only one scene, shot in a single take, and a subsequent superimposition.Vecchiali is known for making features outside of polish-friendly settings, but Le Cancre has some of clunkiest mixing and cheapest-sounding music this side of The Room. (Like Laurence Olivier's Hamlet, Rodolophe sometimes alternates between speaking aloud and in voiceover.) Accordionized riffs on La Bohème contribute to the atmosphere of unmerited gravitas."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/reviews/le-cancre-review-cannes-1201777679/
     Johnny Depp's daughter, Lily-Rose Depp, is defending her father in the wake of abuse allegations.My dad is the sweetest most loving person I know, Lily-Rose Depp wrote on Instagramover the weekend. He's been nothing but a wonderful father to my little brother and I, and everyone who knows him would say the same.The post included a picture of Lily-Rose Depp as a toddler being held up by her famous father.The Pirates of the Caribbean star is embroiled in a divorce from Amber Heard that has been playing out in the media. Heard alleges that Depp physically abused her and told aLos Angeles County Court last Friday that she feared for her safety. Photos of the actress' bruised face, which she said came after analtercation with Depp, were first published on TMZ and were quickly circulated by other outlets.Lily-Rose Depp does not directly address the allegations in her Instagram post, but she did share a screen grab of a People magazine article that notes that a Los Angeles Police investigation of a May 21 incidentfound no evidence of domestic assault.Depp is also facing professional challenges. The actor's most recent film, Alice Through the Looking Glass, bombed at the box office over Memorial Day weekend. The fantasy adventure opened to a meagre $34.2 million over the four-day holiday -- a poor start for a film that cost $170 million to produce.Lily-Rose Depp is the actor's 17-year-old daughter withFrench singerVanessa Paradis. She is an actress and model and can be seen in the upcoming French drama Planetarium opposite Natalie Portman.https://www.instagram.com/p/BGAcJJtBaHA"        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/johnny-depp-lily-rose-depp-1201785357/
     PARIS -- Vivendi is on track to win its hostile bid to take over the French mobile game company Gameloft, the sister-banner of Assassin’s Creed maker Ubisoft.Vivendi has indeed garnered the support of the majority of Gameloft's shareholders, namely Amber Capital and CIC, after making a bid at 8 Euros per share on Friday. It had previously made an unsolicited offer at 6 Euros per share which was unanimously rejected by Gameloft's board on Feb. 29, and later upped its offer to 7.20 Euros per share, valuing Gameloft at around 610 million Euros.The French regulatory authorities will unveil the official outcome of the bid by Friday -- analysts and insiders believe Vivendi now owns at least 50% of Gameloft, the maker of Dungeon Hunter, among other popular mobile games.With an expected 50% of Gameloft's voting rights, Vivendi would have the option of plugging out the founding fathers of the company, Yves Guillemot and his five brothers, who have been fiercely opposed to the takeover, judging the bid insufficient, unsolicited and lacking industrial rational. The Guillemot clan, which owns 18.99% of Gameloft with 27.26% of its voting rights, battled, in vain, to find other bidders in Canada and in the U.K. to counter Vivendi's takeover.While analysts had previously hinted that Vivendi's interest in Gameloft was part of a broader strategy to acquire the Guillemot's crown jewel, Ubisoft -- the video game company behind franchises such as Splinter Cell -- Vivendi's boss Vincent Bolloré declared in late March that he didn't intend on bidding for Ubisoft. That declaration means that Vivendi would not be permitted to make a bid for Ubisoft for six months; so not until about mid-September.Thomas Alzuyeta, financial analyst at Gilbert Dupont, said Vivendi's aim with Ubisoft was primarily to gain access to its board. Ubisoft will have its annual shareholders' meeting in September and I predict Vivendi will not win the vote to be represented in this board. Unless he makes a bid to take over Ubisoft, Vivendi will face great resistance from other shareholders to be granted a seat on its board; people are wary of Bolloré's drastic methods that include wiping out top management as he did with Telecom Italia and Canal Plus, said Alzuyeta.In terms of strategy, Gameloft also seems a more viable investment than Ubisoft which would cost Vivendi about 4 billion Euros -- the bulk of its war chest -- to acquire.Meanwhile, Vivendi could spur some synergies with Gameloft due to its expertise in the advertising field, notably via Havas, according to analysts. Vivendi and Havas know very well the international advertisers, and that would be a huge asset for Gameloft since its mobile games hold a tremendous potential in terms of advertising, pointed out Alzuyeta. Gameloft indeed reaches as many as 147 million people per month – or 19 million people per day — but it only generates 5 million Euros from advertising out of 252 million Euros in annual revenue."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/global/vivendi-gameloft-ubisoft-acquisition-1201785274/
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