Gene Wilder lived out of the spotlight and evaded the media up until the end of his life, making his interviews few and far between.

Wilder, who died on Monday at age 83 from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease, gave his last major interview on June 12, 2013, to Turner Classic Movies. The iconic interview, which took place a day after his 80th birthday, would serve as one of Wilder’s last public appearances. While speaking with host Robert Osborne, Wilder discussed his career and filmography, working with Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor, and why he stopped acting.

 

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Actor Who Played Charlie in ‘Willy Wonka’ on Gene Wilder Death: ‘It’s Like Losing a Parent’

 

“Once in a while, there was a nice, good film, but not very many,” he said. “If something comes along that’s really good and I think I would be good for it, I’d be happy to do it. But not too many came along. I mean, they came along for the first, I don’t know, 15, 18 films, but I didn’t do that many. But then I didn’t want to do the kind of junk I was seeing. I didn’t want to do 3D, for instance. I didn’t want to do ones where it’s just bombing and loud and swearing. So much swearing going on. If someone says ‘Ah, go f— yourself,’ well, if it came from a meaningful place, I’d understand it. But if you go to some movies, can’t they just stop and talk, just talk, instead of swearing? That put me off a lot.”

Wilder also stated that he “doesn’t think [he’s] that funny,” claiming it’s a common misconception many fans have about him. When asked who his favorite comedic actors or filmmakers were, Wilder noted his appreciation for Woody Allen’s comedies.

 

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Gene Wilder: A Master of Timing Who Radiated With Comedic Energy

 

“I don’t love Woody Allen’s [films] all the time, but when they’re good, they’re just sensational. I love them,” stated Wilder. “I mean, just seeing ‘Midnight in Paris,’ how could you do better than that?”

The original Willy Wonka also shared his disdain for Tim Burton’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

“I think it’s an insult,” Wilder went on to say. “Johnny Depp, I think, is a good actor, but I don’t care for that director. He’s a talented man, but I don’t care for him doing stuff like he did.”

Gene Wilder Life and Career in Photos
Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/gene-wilder-last-interview-1201847906/

A disturbingly relevant snapshot of contemporary tensions, Bertrand Bonello’s “Nocturama” observes in minute detail how a small group plans and executes a series of terror attacks in Paris before retreating to a luxurious department store. These aren’t your garden-variety extremists, but a mix of people of different ages and origins, which makes this sure-to-be-controversial treatment all the more provocative. Working from a nerve-racking script written five years ago — long before the wave of attacks that started in France on Jan. 7, 2015, with the Charlie Hebdo shooting — Bonello replies to the news with a magnetic and purely cinematic gesture that may have frightened the Cannes Film Festival selection committee (the touchy film was ready in time for the May edition), but should spark a wide range of reactions when it screens at the Toronto and San Sebastian film festivals, following its domestic opening in France on Aug. 31.

Bonello had originally christened the film “Paris est une fête” (the French title of popular Hemingway memoir “A Moveable Feast”), but changed the name after Hemingway’s book became a symbol of resistance against religious extremism — a nostalgic relic of “the way things were.” By contrast, “Nocturama” designates the area in a zoo where the nocturnal animals live. It is also the name of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ dark and ominous 2003 album, which often sounds like an apocalyptic prophecy. Both allusions perfectly echo this seventh feature by Bonello, also a musician, who composed the heady soundtrack for his film. To extend the musical metaphor, “Nocturama” is divided in two movements with very distinct tempos and an intermission in the middle.

Act One begins in the Paris metro. A crowd of young, good-looking people walk briskly through the underground corridors, all beautifully played by a mix of newcomers and professional actors. After they have taken their seats toward the front of the subway, a series of discreet looks among them reveal that they know each other. Most look tense, but the one who could be the leader, a red-haired, baby-faced young man in his mid-20s (Finnegan Oldfield, “Les Cowboys”), appears incredibly calm.

Their silent perambulation continues in the streets of Paris, but even outdoors, the atmosphere feels oppressive: Clearly, something terrible is happening, stressed by Bonello’s intense electro vibes, though the clues remain sparse as the small group scouts locations, enters official buildings, and drops some shady-looking packages at various sites around Paris. We can surmise that an attack is being prepared, but the film offers no indication of what this very heterogeneous group is fighting for, nor how they ended up together in the first place. What could bring together a bourgeois student (Laure Valentinelli), a bunch of kids from the suburbs (Oldfield, Manal Issa, Hamza Meziani), an unemployed 30-year-old (Vincent Rottiers), and an Arabic teenager (Rabah Nait Oufella)?

Act Two takes place a bit later that night in a large department store (this section was shot in the stunning — and for the moment unoccupied — Art Nouveau building La Samaritaine, previously seen in Leos Carax’s “Holy Motors”). One by one, the radicals slip discreetly into the building and find fitting rooms in which to hide until closing. Only one is missing: Was he scared? Did he give up? Did he die in the operation? (The film invites such questions, but remains sparing in its explanations through the end.)

Once the last customer has left and the doors have locked behind them, the odd group of terrorists emerges from hiding, and the words finally start flying. They congratulate themselves, laugh, sing (Paul Anka’s “My Way,” The Persuaders), and occupy every square meter of this incredible space. Shot like an elaborate playground by DP Léo Hinstin, this luxury store — generously stocked with food, fine wine, and name-brand clothes — suggests a miniature and more peaceful world where everything might be possible (say, to dress up as a rich kid, or as a woman when you’re a boy from the suburbs). And yet, via TV screens in the electronics department, we discover the extent of the damages: the Ministry of the Interior, the HSBC tower in Paris’ La Défense business district, and a statue of Joan of Arc have all been targeted, among other symbols. The young terrorists briefly comment on the attack, but leave their motives a mystery.

Within this unbearable ambiguity lies the director’s ethics: Bonello isn’t a journalist or a sociologist or a politician. He’s a filmmaker who reacts to the social and political climate — in this case, by twice orchestrating a sequence of bodies taking possession of spaces that reject them. At the intersection between the first act (the waiting) and the second (the action), a short scene, which serves as an unreal pause, offers the closest thing to an artistic statement. Oldfield’s character, David, has secretly left their new headquarters to breathe and feel the pulse of the city under attack. Everything is eerily quiet, and there isn’t a soul about. A young woman (Adèle Haenel) suddenly appears on her bicycle. They smoke a cigarette together, and when David asks if she knows what’s going on, she gives him the most enigmatic and disturbing answer: “It had to happen. We knew it would.”

Film Review: 'Nocturama'

Reviewed at Club Marbeuf, Paris, June 9, 2016. (In Toronto, San Sebastian film festivals.) Running time: 130 MIN.  

Production

(France) A Wild Bunch release of a Rectangle Prods. production, in co-production with Wild Bunch, Pandora Film Produktion, Scope Pictures, Arte France Cinema, My New Picture. (International sales: Wild Bunch, Paris.) Producers : Edouard Weil, Alice Girard.

Crew

Director, writer: Bertrand Bonello. Camera (color) : Léo Hinstin. Editor: Fabrice Rouaud.

With

Finnegan Oldfield, Vincent Rottiers, Hamza Meziani, Manal Issa, Martin Guyot, Jamil Mc Craven, Rabah Nait Oufella, Laure Valentinelli, Ilias Le Doré, Robin Goldronn, Luis Rego, Hermine Karagheuz, Adèle Haenel. (French dialogue)
Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/reviews/nocturama-review-bertrand-bonello-1201847826/

Former Disney and Paramount executive Bob Bacon, who oversaw “The SpongeBob Movie,” has been tapped as chief executive officer of China-backed Alpha Animation.

The new division is aimed at development and production of high-quality animated feature content for a worldwide audience, according to Alpha Interactive Entertainment Division CEO Chen De Rong. It’s been established to leverage Alpha Group properties as well as create original fare with the goal of releasing its first feature in 2020 and to produce a film per year thereafter.

“Bob is one of the most respected and accomplished animation executives in the industry, and we are excited for him to helm Alpha Animation as our company continues to expand its foothold in the animation industry,” Chen said. “Animation has always been at the core of our company’s focus, and producing world-class animation is a key step of Alpha’s globalization strategy. We are looking forward to working with some of the most talented people in the business through this new venture.”

Bacon most recently was exec VP of production for Paramount Animation. He also served as a production executive for Disney’s Touchstone Pictures on 2011 animated feature “Gnomeo and Juliet” and worked at Disney on “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “The Lion King” and “Lilo and Stitch.”

Before leaving Disney, he had been promoted to exec VP of Walt Disney Animation Studios, overseeing production, finance and technology and running the day-to-day operations of a crew of over 600 artists, technicians and production staff.

In his new role as CEO at Alpha, Bacon will oversee all aspects of development, production and operations as he leads efforts to build a global animation powerhouse.

“Alpha has impressively grown into a fully-integrated entertainment company over the years with a strong leadership position in the creation, distribution, and consumer products licensing of its properties which are some of the most recognized brands in China, and I’m excited to be a part of further growing the business,” Bacon said.

Alpha Group also recently established a Los Angeles-based live-action feature film development company called Alpha Pictures, which was a co-producer on “The Mermaid” and invested in “The Revenant” and  upcoming releases “Assassin’s Creed” and “Splinter Cell.”

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/spongebob-bob-bacon-china-alpha-animation-1201848247/

The word “dark,” when applied to filmmaking, has become a rather neutral description, because it can mean so many different things. (“Beasts of No Nation” is dark, and so are Todd Solondz movies, as are “Chinatown” and “Deadpool.”) But Derek Cianfrance, the writer-director of “Blue Valentine,” “The Place Beyond the Pines,” and the somber new period romantic weeper “The Light Between Oceans,” is a filmmaker who reaches back to a primordial definition of darkness. His films are dark because they hit a nerve of pain — in his characters, and in the audience, too. In “Blue Valentine,” Cianfrance cut back and forth between a love affair in its giddy early days (when we could already see how troubled the Ryan Gosling character was, though he was also charming and tender) and what emerged out of it, after the couple Gosling and Michele Williams portrayed were married with children and his drunken irresponsibility and violence had begun to ruin their lives.

In “The Light Between Oceans,” adapted from a 2012 novel by M.L. Stedman, Cianfrance tells a very different kind of story — stately and nicely dressed, sightly removed in time, rooted in a quieter rapture. Yet here as well, the bond of love leads to something inexorable in its darkness. At this point, it might seem an overstatement to compare Cianfrance to, say, Ingmar Bergman (he hasn’t achieved anything like that status), but it’s no exaggeration to say that the two are kindred spirits. “The Light Between Oceans” has a great deal of beautiful seacoast imagery (it was shot by Adam Arkapaw), but if you take away the calendar art, it’s totally a Bergmanesque soap opera. Cianfrance, like Bergman, is a filmmaker who likes to tear off the band-aid — slowly at first, then with a decisive rip.

The hero, Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender), is in deep pain before the film even begins. It’s 1918, and he’s an Australian veteran of WWI who served heroically in combat, but the cataclysm of seeing everyone around him die — and the guilt of having survived — has turned him into a buttoned-up shell of a man. Fassbender is an actor who does excellent repressed agony. Even when he’s just sitting still, steely and impassive, there’s a woundedness to his handsomeness; he communicates a sense of inner scars. In the opening scene, he applies to become a lighthouse keeper on the remote, picturesque island of Janus (pronounced “Jane-us”). It’s a job that he lands without fuss, because no one else wants to do it. The place is so gorgeously barren that the last fellow to occupy the position wound up in an insane asylum (a case of cabin fever), but it’s exactly that punishing isolation that Tom is seeking. What he really wants is to retire from the human race.

Fate, however, will not let him. Before he goes off, he meets Isabel (Alicia Vikander), who is young and pretty, warm and wise. She takes a shine to him, because she can see, beneath his quietude, that he’s a good man — and, beneath his stodgy mustache, that he’s also an attractive one. The two don’t have much of a courtship; it’s more like a single extended conversation. But she’s left with a desire to visit him on Janus, even though regulations forbid the lighthouse keeper from having anyone out there along with him. Unless, that is, he is married to her. And so they get married.

Cianfrance is one of the least showy of romantic filmmakers. He looks past the trappings to explore what the bonds of love are really about. In the case of Tom and Isabel, he presents a matched pair of earnest, innocent souls who want and need each other. What could go wrong? Let’s just say that they run into trouble while trying to have a child, which leaves Isabel in a state of rapt despair. One of Cianfrance’s themes — it was deeply embedded in “Blue Valentine” — is his unusually complex reverence for the sacredness of the relationship between mothers and children. It doesn’t take long for Isabel to transition from radiant to ravaged, and Vikander acts out the primitive strength behind that descent. Her desire to have a child is total, consuming.

That’s why, when a baby washes up ashore on a rowboat, along with a dead man who is presumably the baby’s father, an idea forms: They will keep the child as their own. In Isabel’s mind, it was meant to be. When Tom objects, saying that decency — and responsibility — require that the lost infant and her father be reported, he is right and she is wrong. But it’s also the case that he seems rigid and officious, and she is taken over by the desperation of her passion. They are both right — and wrong.

He gives in to her wishes, and Fassbender makes that a tormented decision: a fusion of chivalry and survival, a case of doing the right thing precisely because he understands how wrong it is. Yet the decision appears to take. They raise the child, whom they name Lucy, as their own, and the three of them become a nice family. Until one day when they have to go to the mainland, and Tom discovers, without looking for it, a clue to who their child is (or was). And what he does next is every bit as instinctive — and layered — a decision. He has to give a speech at a lighthouse ceremony, and in his fumbling way (which almost no one in the room notices), he turns that speech into a confession.

“The Light Between Oceans” becomes a kind of parental love triangle. There are Tom and Isabel, and there is the “other” woman: Hannah (Rachel Weisz), who is Lucy’s biological mother. It is an agonizing situation, and the strength of the drama is that Cianfrance, as a filmmaker, is right at home with agony. He doesn’t exploit it; he asks those of us in the audience to feel our way through the muck of it. That said, there’s no denying that the movie, while lavishly shot and acted with impeccable gravity, has the operatic manipulativeness of a deeply solemn chick flick posing as art. Its most traumatizing moment arrives when Lucy, now a toddler, cries out about wanting her “real” mommy (by which she means Isabel, her adoptive mommy). Yet the story would have summoned more power if it had simply honored Lucy’s wish. “The Light Between Oceans” winds up taking one too many self-serious twists and turns. The film earns its darkness, but it might have been even more affecting if it didn’t shrink from the light.

 

Film Review: 'The Light Between Oceans'

Reviewed at Sala Darsena, Venice Film Festival, August 31, 2016. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 133 MIN.

Production

A Walt Disney Studios release of a DreamWorks Pictures, Reliance Entertainment, Participant Media, Heyday Films release. Producers: David Heyman, Jeffrey Clifford. Executive producers: Rosie Alison, Tom Karnowski, Jonathan King, Jeff Skoll.

Crew

Director, screenplay: Derek Cianfrance. Camera (color, widescreen): Adam Arkapaw. Editor: Jim Helton, Ron Patone.

With

Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz, Bryan Brown, Jack Thompson.
Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/the-light-between-oceans-review-venice-michael-fassbender-1201847590/

With Japan’s two most famous fright franchises having squeezed sequels or remakes dry and needing to be spliced together like a human centipede, the result can only be the J-horror to end all J-horrors. Director-writer Koji Shiraishi (“Carved: The Split Mouth Girl”) knows that self-parody is the only way to go with “Sadako vs. Kayoko,” contriving a goofy way to make the vengeful spirits from “Ringu” (a.k.a. The Ring) and “Ju-on: The Grudge” cross paths for a twisty-crawly smack-down. Ingenious marketing has created buzz since the two characters made a side-splitting ceremonial first pitch before a baseball game in Hokkaido. The film boasts long, jerky festival legs and will be a jamboree for audiences when it screens at Toronto’s Midnight Madness section. Shudder, AMC Digital Networks’ streaming service, holds North American rights.

Shiraishi, a B-horror-making machine, has a knack for deadpan spoofs, as seen in “Shirome” — a clever mockumentary that nails the infantile tone of celebrity reality TV and idol bands, and “Paranormal Phenomenon,” a send-up of “Paranormal Activity” and the whole found-footage genre. Both “Ringu” and “Ju-on” have spawned so many sequels and knockoffs that the premise no longer shocks, and Shiraishi has the sense of humor to trigger laughter from the familiar, such as Sadako and Kayako’s contorted gaits, influenced by kabuki and butoh.

The problem with reviving Sadako in the digital age is that videos are now a rarer species than ghouls (let alone Pokemon monsters). But the film has found a solution by having college student Yuri (Mizuki Yamamoto) buy a VHS player from a second-hand shop to help classmate Natsumi (Aimi Satsukawa) transfer her parents’ wedding video onto DVD. The girls find a videotape inside the player, with clumps of hair poking out. Still, Natsumi watches the video and gets the obligatory ringtone of doom, telling her she’s got two days to live.

Sadako and Kayoko participate in a bizarre first-pitch ceremony at the ballgame: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Co6zFxXw5-Q

Yuri consults her anthropology professor Morishige (Masahiro Komoto), who has written a book on urban legends. His elated reaction reveals he’s been (literally) dying to meet Sadako. He eagerly asks Natsumi to pass him the video, then enlists the help of a weird Shinto priestess, Horyu. The resulting exorcism is pure farce, with Horyu soliciting donations for the temple even in the throes of a possession, while Morishage gushes with fanboy excitement. Shiraishi also gets comic mileage from Sadako’s Rapunzel-like hair, which turns up just about everywhere in gross-out scenarios.

The shenanigans are intercut with an adjacent, blander plot that involves high-school student Suzuka (Tina Tamashiro, “Chasuke’s Journey”), who moves into a nondescript neighborhood with her parents. The house next door, whose gates are sealed by yellow duct tape, and which bears the sign “Entry Forbidden,” piques her curiosity. She learns that it was the infamous home of Takeo Saeki, who murdered his wife Kayoko (Rina Endo) and son Toshio (Rintaro Shibamoto). She becomes troubled by strange vibes, especially after a boy who’s forced by school bullies to enter the house as a dare, goes missing. The haunted house sucks intruders into every available storage space, which isn’t near as funny as it sounds, and doesn’t lampoon the “Ju-on” template very well. Toshio, the ghost boy with heavy mascara, prances around, but his apparition is neither as creepy nor, in this film, as gag-worthy as Sadako.

The parallel tales remain unrelated until a linking device finally arrives in the form of Kyozo (Masanobu Ando), an onmyoji (shaman), and his pint-sized sidekick — blind psychic Tamao (Maiko Kikuchi). Summoned by Horyu at the eleventh hour, the duo sense the house calling to Suzuka, and a plan is devised to cancel out all the protagonists’ curses in one fell swoop. How Shiraishi contrives to bring the two grumpy fiends under one roof certainly takes some warped imagination, and the resulting rumble is supremely silly yet undeniably fun.

The cast carries off the cheeky tone, and never takes itself seriously. Usually, J-horror is inundated with idols mugging fear with whiny voices and gormless stares, but Yamamoto, Satsukawa and Tamashiro display self-control and even a bit of welcome meanness. Ando, one-time soulful teen star of “Kids Return” (1996), hams it up big time. Endo’s Kayoko, who never makes a full appearance until the end, does so with grotesque aplomb.

Tech credits are adequate in an average budget. Playing along with the retro feel, the visual effects remain low key till the finale, which boasts glossy-looking CGI.

Film Review: 'Sadako vs. Kayoko'

Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May. 13, 2016. (Also at Toronto Film Festival, Midnight Madness) Running time: 99 MIN. Original title: "Sadako vs. Kayoko."

Production

(Japan) A Kadokawa Pictures release of a Kadokawa, NBCUniversal Entertainment production. (International sales: Kadokawa Pictures, Tokyo.) Producers: Reiko Imayasu, Toshinori Yamaguchi, Mikihiko Hirata. Executive producers: Shinichiro Inoue, Jim Takagi. Co-producer: Go Kobayashi.

Crew

Director, writter: Koji Shiraishi, based on the characters by Takashi Shimizu, Koji Suzuki. Camera (color, HD): Hidetoshi Shinomiya. Editor, Takeshi Wada.

With

Mizuki Yamamoto, Tina Tamashiro, Aimi Satsukawa, Masahiro Komoto, Masanobu Ando, Rina Endo, Elly Nanami, Maiko Kikuchi, Rintaro Shibamoto,  (Japanese dialogue)
Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/asia/sadako-vs-kayoko-review-1201846247/

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is one of the most highly anticipated films of the year, on the heels of last year’s blockbuster “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Merchandising is an integral part of the “Star Wars” universe, and some of the new “Rogue One” toys were just unveiled via a superfan-created stop-motion film.

The film debuted Tuesday on the Star Wars YouTube Channel. As part of a competition in collaboration with creative network Tongal, a team was assembled to write, direct and produce original, fan-made stop-motion shorts starring toys from the new line to kick off a global user-generated contest that asks fans to share their own “Rogue Stories.”

Check out the first entry below.

 

Among the toys featured: LEGO, Funko Bobble-Head and Hasbro versions of the Empire Stormtroopers, as well as figures of leads Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna).

At one point, Jyn Erso asks the Lego figures, “Aren’t you guys a little short to be a Stormtrooper?” Fans will remember that Princess Leia famously posed that question in “Star Wars: A New Hope.”

 

Related

‘Rogue One’ New Trailer Reveals Major Plot Points

 

Beginning September 30, fans are invited to create and share their own Go Rogue videos. Teens and adults can submit their entries via the Star Wars site, while a separate contest will be held for kids on Disney’s website. Winners will fly to Lucasfilm in San Francisco to watch their winning shorts and of course, “Rogue One.”

Additional stop-motion shorts like the one above created by Tongal will roll out through the month of September as part of a four part series. While in the live-action film, the Rebels are trying to secure plans for the Empire’s Death Star, the “Rogue One” toys in the shorts will be tracking down the building instructions for the LEGO Star Wards Death Star.

The live-action version hits theaters on December 16.

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/star-wars-rogue-one-toys-go-rogue-fan-contest-1201848230/

The American Film Institute has set the world premiere of Warren Beatty’s Howard Hughes dramedy “Rules Don’t Apply” as AFI Fest’s opening night film on Nov. 10 at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

Beatty produced and directed from his own script and stars in the film for New Regency and Fox, which is releasing “Rules Don’t Apply” on Nov. 23. The cast includes Alec Baldwin, Annette Bening, Candice Bergen, Steve Coogan, Ed Harris, Haley Bennett, Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, Lily Collins, Alden Ehrenreich, Taissa Farmiga, Megan Hilty, Oliver Platt and Martin Sheen.

“Warren Beatty has charmed and challenged moviegoers from his first moment on screen, and his talents as an actor, director, writer and producer have always transcended trends,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI president and CEO. “AFI is honored to present the world premiere of his newest gift to America’s cultural legacy.”

The film — the first that Beatty has directed since 1998’s “Bulworth” — is a romantic comedy-drama set in 1958 Hollywood with Beatty portraying Hughes. Collins portrays an actress and Ehrenreich plays a driver with both working for Hughes — who forbids romance between his employees.

“Romantic entanglements, the youthful pursuit of success and an outlandish billionaire are brought to life by a remarkable ensemble cast,” said Jacqueline Lyanga, director of AFI Fest. “On Opening Night, the TCL Chinese Theatre, the quintessential temple of cinema in Hollywood, will shine a light on ‘Rules Don’t Apply.'”

Beatty’s movie is the first title unveiled for the 30th edition of AFI Fest, which lasts eight days until Nov. 17. Galas and other events will be held at the Chinese, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre and the Hollywood Roosevelt.

Besides Beatty, producers include Arnon Milchan, Brett Ratner, James Packer, Steve Bing, Ron Burkle, Frank Giustra, Steve Mnuchin, Sybil Robson Orr, Terry Semel, Jeffrey Soros, William D. Johnson, Christopher Woodrow, Molly Conners, Sarah E. Johnson and Jonathan McCoy.

Beatty has been nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won best director for “Reds.” He won Academy’s Irving Thalberg Award in 1999 and the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2008.

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/warren-beatty-howard-hughes-movie-rules-dont-apply-to-open-afi-fest-1201847020/

Paris-based Memento Films International is unveiling the international trailer of Iranian auteur Asghar Farhadi’s double Cannes prize-winning “The Salesman.”

Rolling off its world premiere in competition in Cannes, where it won best actor (for Shahab Hosseini) and director, “The Salesman” has been lauded by critics and has sold nearly worldwide.

While in Cannes, Memento sold the anticipated drama to Amazon and Cohen Media Group for North America. Other deals were signed for Canada (Elevation), Australia and New Zealannd (Hi Gloss Entertainment), Argentina (Alfa Films), Brazil (Providence Filmes) and Mexico (Cinema Nueva Era), China (Edko, iQIYI), Thailand (Sahamongkol), Japan (Doma Inc), Hong Kong (Golden Scene), South Korea (Challan) and Israel (Lev Cinema). European deals were inked with Spain (Golem), Italy (Lucky Red), Benelux (Cinéart), Scandinavia and Iceland (Scanbox), among other sales.

Described by Variety’s Owen Gleiberman as a “finely cut gem of neorealist suspense,” “The Salesman” turns on a young couple, Emad and Rana, who are forced out of their apartment and move into a new flat in Tehran center, where they face an incident that will change their lives.

“The Salesman” marks Farhadi’s follow-up to Berenice Bejo starrer “The Past” and the Oscar-winning “A Separation.”

Memento co-produced “The Salesman” and will release it in France in Nov.9.

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/memento-unveils-international-trailer-of-asghar-farhadis-the-salesman-exclusive-1201847684/

Karen Gillan has landed the female lead in Sony’s “Jumanji” sequel opposite Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black. Jake Kasdan is on board to direct the adaptation of the 1981 children’s book.

Nick Jonas is also on board to star. The film hits theaters on July 28, 2017.

Plot details are being kept under wraps.

Gillan will reprise her role as Nebula in “Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2” and costar opposite Ethan Hawke in “In A Valley Of Violence.” She is best known for playing “Doctor Who” companion Amelia Pond. Gillan is repped by UTA, Troika in the UK and attorney Darren Trattner.

The 1995 “Jumanji” movie starred Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, David Alan Grier, Bonnie Hunt, Jonathan Hyde, and Bebe Neuwirth. The story centered on a 12-year-old boy who becomes trapped in a board game in 1969 only to be released 26 years later.

Sony has been trying for years to get a sequel or reboot off the ground given the lasting fandom around the original pic. Johnson’s sudden interest came after hearing the pitch this past spring that the wheels moving toward a sequel finally getting off the ground.

“The number one component that’s been my driving force has been the opportunity to introduce Jumanji to a whole new generation,” Johnson said over email to Variety. “But in that spirit we want to create a continuing story that feels fresh, cool and global. Create something that’s hopefully four quadrant in today’s market for the fans.”

Johnson has been very clear in recent months that this film will try it’s best to honor the memory of Williams and is been quite clear in over the past couple weeks that this would be a continuation and not a reboot of the classic pic.

“We added more characters to our story,” Johnson said. “Now there’s five heroes who all bring their own “strengths and weaknesses” to the game. Of course we have our main antagonist and his bad guys and a fun “neutral” character as well. One of the best elements from the original and one that we can build on is the animals of “Jumanji.” That was a such a dangerously fun element of the original movie and of course we had to carry on that tradition. (and Chris Van Allsburg original “Jumanji” novel visually depicted the animals is such a cool way). Also our continuation story (20yrs later) allows us to recognize and pay homage to Robin Williams’ legacy in “Jumanji”. The character of Alan Parish will be immortalized in our movie. That’s what a sequel allows us to do, as well as explore a whole new “Jumanji” universe.

This will also mark a reteam for Johnson and Hart who recently starred in the hit action comedy “Central Intelligence” and the two seemed to have fun busting each other chops from the start of production to the end of the press tour. Asked who might be causing the most trouble during this shoot Johnson said, “Well let’s see we can easily rename this movie “The 3 cray cray a**holes, a cool talented rockstar and a wonderfully brilliant, beautiful and bad a** girl” so who do you think is gonna cause the most trouble on set?”

Matt Tolmach and William Teitler are producing, while Ted Field, Mike Weber, Johnson, Dany Garcia and Van Allsburg are executive producing. Principal photography is expected to start this fall in Honolulu. The sequel’s script was written by Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner, based on a draft by the original writers, Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers.

Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.

The Highest Paid Actors on 2016
Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/karen-gillan-joins-jumanji-sequel-doctor-who-star-1201847860/

Peter Ostrum had never set foot on a film set when he was cast as Charlie Buckett in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” It fell to Gene Wilder to show him the ropes.

“He was the pro and I was a rookie,” said Ostrum, who left the acting business and became a veterinarian.

Wilder died Monday at the age of 83 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Ostrum said he had not seen Wilder since the film ended production, but he still took the news hard.

“It’s  kind of like losing a parent,” said Ostrum. “You know it’s going to happen, but it’s still a shock. He was not in good health at the end and it was not unexpected by any means, but when it happens it hits you like, ‘Gene is gone and there will never be anyone like him again.'”

“He was a gentle man, but he was also a gentleman,” he added. “He treated people with respect and dignity.”

 

Related

Gene Wilder: A Master of Timing Who Radiated With Comedic Energy

 

Released in 1971, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” adapted Roald Dahl’s children’s book about a group of kids who win a contest to tour a mysterious candy factory. It’s a movie that has aged into greatness. Though he was nominated for two Oscars and worked on classics such as “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein,” Wilder’s work as the idiosyncratic candy maker remains his most beloved role. It’s ironic because Ostrum notes that the movie wasn’t a hit when it was released and the reviews were lukewarm. Audiences only discovered it on home entertainment platforms.

“My gut feeling is that Willy Wonka wasn’t his favorite role,” said Ostrum. “But that’s the role now that people across the generations remember him for.”

Wilder was retiring and private on the film’s Munich set, but he was also accessible. Ostrum grew to appreciate the actor’s willingness to do the unexpected. That ability to take risks was on display in two key scenes. When Wonka introduces Charlie and the other winners  to a tour of his factory, he hobbles to the gate supported by a cane,only to abandon it and fall into a graceful somersault. None of the actors knew that Wilder was planning that kind of athletic entrance.

Nor were they prepped on Wonka’s memorably trippy speech to his guests as they take a boat trip down the chocolate river. In that scene, the stuff of childhood movie nightmares, the candymaker begins chanting verse with great intensity as the ship hurtles through the water. His menacing delivery took his co-stars by surprise.

“He was so quirky,” said Ostrum. “You never knew what to expect from Gene. He never let on how he was going to read a line or convey an expression. That’s why the film works, because he made Wonka so unpredictable.”

Ostrum said that when he first met Wilder the actor had seen dailies of his young co-star running around the streets of Munich delivering papers. He joked that he was tired of seeing him run around. As shooting progressed the two formed a bond. “They would break for lunch and Gene and I would always buy a chocolate bar and share it on the way back to the set,” remembered Ostrum.

Despite having a good experience making the movie, Ostrum never acted in another film. But he credits Wilder and Jack Albertson, the veteran character actor who played Charlie’s grandfather, with helping him hone his craft.

“To have made one film and to be associated with Jack and Gene, I feel like I really found the golden ticket,” he said.

 

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/gene-wilder-willy-wonka-peter-ostrum-1201847688/

The exoticism of Bhutan and the spiritual philosophy of Buddhism combine with an eerie invented ritual by which masked anonymity allows participants to inhabit a limbo world of all present and no past or future in lama/director Khyentse Norbu’s visually rich though narratively challenging “Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait.” How successful the film is in folding Buddhist ideas into an imaginative reflection on the liberating yet unstable notion of collective identity concealment depends entirely on the viewer’s awareness of certain Eastern spiritual concepts, and uninitiated audiences looking for foreign color will experience a hefty degree of head-scratching among the intermittent pleasures. While never less than intriguing, “Hema Hema,” like Norbu’s previous “Vara: A Blessing,” is unlikely to break out of the festival circuit.

Since working as technical advisor on “Little Buddha,” Norbu has grown into a fully-fledged director (this is his fifth feature), with international visibility assisted by his association with Jeremy Thomas, once again acting as executive producer notwithstanding the majority Bhutanese production. Seeking to incorporate contemporary society’s mores with Buddhist beliefs, his films play with ideas of transgression and reinvention, informed by the spiritual philosophy of inhabiting intermediary spaces poised between death and rebirth. Familiarity with such concepts certainly help to greater appreciate the underlying notion behind “Hema Hema,” which is mostly set in a commune-like forest clearing where participants don masks and revel in the collective freedom of effaced identities.

A man, credited as “Expressionless” (Tshering Dorji) makes his way to a secret forest where, every twelve years, people are gathered by the elderly Agay (Thinley Dorji) for 15 days of anonymity. Amidst revelry and dances, this masked rag-tag community is strictly enjoined from removing their masks; they shed their past and are without names, exulting in the freedom of being unknown.

One need only think of Carnival practices to realize that such a concept isn’t entirely foreign to Western society — putting on a mask in public allows for barriers to be dropped and instinct to reign. But such freedom comes at a cost, and human foibles can fester as lust and jealousy build in the heated atmosphere. Expressionless develops a powerful desire for “Red Wrathful” (Sadon Lhamo), and he breaks the rules of both the commune and society.

Most people outside of Bhutanese culture will likely assume much of the film is based on native rituals, imagining they’re watching a stylized anthropological evocation of local traditions. The truth is otherwise: apart from a couple of dances and a few masks, nearly everything in “Hema Hema” is invention. In fact, alongside Buddhist spirituality, Norbu claims influence from chat rooms, whose constructed anonymity, not to say deliberate misrepresentation, was an inspiration for the idea of a masked community indulging in freedom while unsuccessfully attempting to regulate transgression. Ensuring that audiences don’t think the film is set in some mythic past, he bookends the main story with images from a hip nightclub, where a cocktail waitress (Zhou Xun) appears to contemplate her place in this world.

“Hema Hema” translates as “long, long ago” or alternatively “Once upon a time,” thereby playing with audience perception of time and space: It seems that Norbu means to evoke a timeless limbo, that liminal area between death and rebirth (hence the title’s English-language addition, “Sing Me a Song While I Wait.”). Yet while the film is visually appealing, it holds viewers at a distance by its sheer opaqueness. The performers (nearly all nonprofessional) have a difficult time conveying expression when their faces are almost always covered in head-enveloping masks, and the invented exoticism adds a hefty layer of obfuscation.

Fortunately, it’s easy to appreciate the beauty of the forested locale, shot in Bhutan’s south east, at times dappled with sunlight and at others, darkly menacing; the contrast between these outdoor spaces and the cold, ultra-designed nightclub couldn’t be greater. Colorful masks add to the eye’s pleasure even while creating a deliberately frustrating barrier.

Film Review: 'Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait'

Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (Open Doors), Aug. 10, 2016. (Also in Toronto — Platform.) Running time: 96 MIN. (Original title: “Hema Hema”)

Production

(Bhutan) A Tsong Tsong Ma Prods. production, in association with Dewathang Talkie Ltd. (International sales: Hanway Films, London.) Producers: Pawo Choyning Dorji, Sarah Chen. Executive producer: Jeremy Thomas.

Crew

Director, writer: Khyentse Norbu. Camera (color, widescreen): Jigme Tenzing. Editors: Tian Zhuangzhuang, Li Gen.

With

Tshering Dorji, Sadon Lhamo, Thinley Dorji, Zhou Xun. (Dzongkha dialogue)
Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/reviews/hema-hema-sing-me-a-song-while-i-wait-review-1201847570/

Richard Linklater has found his next project and set an all-star ensemble to lead the film.

Linklater will direct and write a long-in-the-works adaptation of the novel “Last Flag Flying,” with Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell, and Laurence Fishburne in talks to star. The movie is a sequel of sorts to the 1973 film “The Last Detail” starring Jack Nicholson and directed by Hal Ashby.

Darryl Ponicsan’s “Last Flag Flying,” published in 2005, is the follow-up to his 1970 novel, which was turned into the movie starring Nicholson, Randy Quaid, and Otis Young. Set during the Iraq War, the more recent book sees the return of the classic characters Billy Bad-Ass, Mule, and the hapless Meadows. The former Navy petty officers (played by Nicholson and Young in the original film) come to the aid of the ex-con (then portrayed by Quaid) trying to bring home the body of his son, who was killed in Iraq.

Amazon is circling the project as a financier and distributor.

Linklater has been trying to get the film off the ground since 2006, at one time hoping to cast the surviving original stars of “The Last Detail” in the second installment. His most recent movie, “Everybody Wants Some!” premiered earlier this year. He is repped by CAA.

Carell was most recently seen in “The Big Short.” He is repped by WME.

Cranston is coming off his Oscar-nominated performance in “Trumbo” and was also recently nominated for an Emmy in “All the Way,” in which he played President Lyndon B. Johnson. He is repped by UTA.

Fishburne, who is repped by Paradigm, can be seen next in Sony’s “Passengers.”

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/bryan-cranston-steve-carell-laurence-fishburne-richard-linklater-movie-1201843157/

Travis Fimmel, Kate Bosworth, William Fichtner and Forest Whitaker are starring in the heist movie “Finding Steve McQueen” with Mark Steven Johnson directing.

John Finn, Rhys Coiro and Louis Lombardi have come aboard in supporting roles. Shooting will start next month in Atlanta.

“Finding Steve McQueen” is based on the true story of the 1972 bank heist by a gang of close-knit thieves from Youngstown, Ohio, trying to steal $30 million in illegal contributions and blackmail money from President Richard Nixon’s secret fund. Keith Sharon and Ken Hixon wrote the screenplay.

 

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The film is being produced by Anthony Mastromauro of Identity Films, Silvio Muraglia of Paradox Studios,  Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi of Ambi Group and Alexandra Klim. Mikael Wiren will executive produce.

Ambi Distribution, the worldwide sales arm of the Ambi Group, is handling global sales and will be introducing the project to buyers during the Toronto Film Festival. Principal photography is slated to begin next month in Atlanta.

Iervolino said, “Aligning a cast of this caliber with a fearless director like Mark has us all excited to see this story come to life. This is an explosive, character-driven film, smartly told in a way that will keep audiences guessing throughout. We’re eager to bring this amazing group together and start shooting in just a few weeks.”

Fimmel is the lead in the History Channel’s series “Vikings” and starred in “Warcraft.”

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/festivals/travis-fimmel-kate-bosworth-cast-finding-steve-mcqueen-1201847982/

Yet another awards season dawns in the wake of best picture glory for yet another scrappy Michael Keaton indie. Are you ready?

Six months after “Spotlight” squeezed past films like “The Big Short” and “The Revenant” in the final stretch of a competitive year, the next few months honestly don’t seem quite so exciting. But that’s often the case from afar. “It’s going to be a weak year” is a common refrain, and before you know it, people are feverishly speculating on how close the Producers Guild vote was.

So the 2016-2017 awards season has its own journey to take, and there are films set to unspool over the next four months that give the season its own unique profile. Check out 20 that I’ve personally earmarked below.

(Note: A number of movies releasing in the fall have already been vetted at previous festivals, from the bold and now controversial “The Birth of a Nation,” to the gut-wrenching “Manchester by the Sea,” to the quietly moving “Loving.” They won’t be included in this round-up, but they’ll no doubt have an impact on the landscape as well.)

20 Most Anticipated New Films of the 2016-17 Oscar Season
Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/in-contention/most-anticipated-oscar-season-movies-2016-2017-1201845122/

Breaking Glass Pictures has snagged North American rights to LGBT Spanish-language drama “Esteros,” the feature debut of Argentina’s Papu Curotto.

An expansion of Curotto’s 2015 short “Matias and Jeronimo,” “Esteros” follows two male childhood friends who reconnect as adults, and struggle with long-repressed feelings for each other.

Drama preemed at the Toronto Inside Out LGBT Film Festival on May 27, followed by a centerpiece screening at the Los Angeles Outfest in July, the MiFo LGBT film fest and others.

Aside from releasing a range of indie pics in a variety of genres and languages, Breaking Glass has released such Spanish-language pics as Dominican Republic-set lesbian drama “Sand Dollars” and Uruguayan absurdist comedy “The Apostate,” both acquired from Miami-based FiGa Films. It has also released Spanish comedy “My Big Night” by Alex de la Iglesia.

“We’ve been licensing Spanish-language films since we launched in 2009, and seen how well they’ve done theatrically,” said Breaking Glass CEO Rich Wolff, who points to South Florida as the most receptive to Spanish-language auteur pics, given the confluence of Latinos from across the Latin American region.

“It’s a very sophisticated market with high disposable income,” said Wolff, who acquired the pic from Phillipe Tasca of Outplay Films. “Breaking Glass has shown great dedication and professionalism, and we are very proud of our new partnership with them,” said Tasca.

Distribution plans include a limited theatrical release in key markets during the fourth quarter followed by a Nov. 29 DVD and VOD release. “Esteros” will be available on iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play, Vudu and On Demand through local cable & satellite providers.

“We’re not in the habit of holding on to a film for too long because of our concerns about piracy,” said Breaking Glass co-president Richard Ross. “It’s an absolutely beautiful film; both heartbreaking and uplifting,” he said.

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/global/breaking-glass-north-america-argentine-esteros-1201848027/
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