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London Critics’ Awards: ‘La La Land’ Comes Out On Top, Huppert Doubles Up
The London Film Critics’ Circle tends to spread the wealth between multiple films in any given year, but their affections were even more split than usual Sunday. Through the evening, you might have felt the wind blowing in the direction of “Moonlight,” “Manchester by the Sea” or “Love & Friendship,” all of which took a brace of awards at tonight’s ceremony at the May Fair Hotel in London — or even last year’s Oscar winner “Son of Saul,” a 2016 release in the U.K. that pulled off a surprise director of the year win for first-timer László Nemes.
But in an eleventh-hour coup that echoed its triumph in the NYFCC voting last month, it was hot Oscar favorite “La La Land” that danced off with the film of the year prize, despite winning no other trophies. In what I’m told was one of the tightest vote counts in the Circle’s history, »
- Guy Lodge
Shyamalan's 'Split' Impresses with $40 Million Debut as 'Rogue One' Tops $1 Billion Worldwide
M. Night Shyamalan has delivered a second hit in a row as his latest film, Split, is estimated to have delivered a top five January opening, leading the weekend charge with a three-day opening four times as big as its reported $10 million budget. Meanwhile, Paramount's xXx: The Return of Xander Cage delivered as expected while the Weinstein's The Founder scored a top ten finish. Additionally, Disney's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has become the 28th film to top $1 billion worldwide. With an estimated $40.18 million, Split is currently the fourth largest January opening of all-time, just ahead of 2008's Cloverfield, which debuted with $40 million and went on to gross $80 million domestically. This is also a dramatic improvement over Shyamalan's well-received 2015 thriller The Visit, which opened with $25.4 million and went on to gross over $65 million. Should Split be able to pull off a 2.5x multiplier we'd be looking at Shyamalan's first »
- Brad Brevet <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sundance: Amazon Lands ‘The Big Sick’ in Blockbuster Deal (Exclusive)
The pact comes on the heels of the romantic comedy’s rousing premiere on Friday night. The film is about a Pakistani-American comedian (Kumail Nanjiani) whose relationship with his girlfriend (Zoe Kazan) is nearly derailed over cultural differences and a health crisis. Nanjiani co-wrote the heavily autobiographical script with his wife Emily V. Gordon.
The negotiations for North American rights and other foreign territories stretched into midnight on Saturday. Nanjiani told Variety earlier this week that he wanted the film to get a theatrical release. Unlike Netflix, its rival streaming service, Amazon is a big proponent of the theatrical experience, with all of its films getting at least some kind of theatrical run.
“The Big Sick” sparked interest from a number of distributors, »
- Ramin Setoodeh and Brent Lang
Bleecker Street Nabs ‘Nostalgia’ With Jon Hamm, Ellen Burstyn
Bleecker Street has nabbed North American distribution rights to “Nostalgia,” a drama about the memories that certain artifacts evoke. Mark Pellington (“Arlington Road”) directs the film with a cast that includes Jon Hamm, Ellen Burstyn, Catherine Keener, Bruce Dern, Nick Offerman, Amber Tamblyn, John Ortiz, and James LeGros. Alex Ross Perry (“Listen Up Philip”) wrote the screenplay.
Bleecker Street already has a relationship with Pellington. The indie label is distributing “The Last Word,” a drama with Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried that premieres at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film makes its way to theaters in March. Bleecker Street’s films include “Denial,” “Captain Fantastic,” and “Eye in the Sky.”
Sundance: Amazon Lands ‘The Big Sick’ in Blockbuster Deal (Exclusive)
“Mark has assembled an incredible cast to share this story of family, memories and loss,” said Bleecker Street CEO Andrew Karpen in a statement. “‘Nostalgia’ is one »
- Brent Lang
Sundance: Neon Buys ‘Ingrid Goes West’ (Exclusive)
Neon has bought North American distribution rights to “Ingrid Goes West” out of the Sundance Film Festival, Variety has learned.
To nab the indie comedy-drama it beat out the likes of A24 and Netflix, both of whom were in the hunt. The film is a satire of the social media age, chronicling the exploits of an unstable woman (Aubrey Plaza) with an obsessive streak.
CAA negotiated the deal.
More to come…
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- Brent Lang and Ramin Setoodeh
Vin Diesel’s ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ Leads International Box Office
The action movie, from Paramount Pictures and Revolution Studios, finished first in 32 markets, performing 42 percent above “Kingsmen,” 4 percent above “San Andreas,” and on par with “G.I. Joe Retaliation.”
India generated the top number with $7.3 million including previews, followed by first-place launches in Russia with $5.5 million, France with $3.1 million, and Germany and Mexico with $2.8 million each. Australia generated $2.3 million in second place and Brazilian grosses were $2.2 million for a third-place finish.
Film Review: ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’
“Xander Cage” will open in Korea on Feb. 9 and in China on Feb. 10. The film has an $85 million budget with backing from Chinese companies Huahua Media and Shanghai Film Group, which limits Paramount’s exposure to about 50 percent. Paramount and the two companies announced a three-year $1 billion co-financing deal on Thursday. »
- Dave McNary
Veronica Mars Boss Rob Thomas Shares 'Six-Episode' Revival Update
Over the summer, leading lady Kristen Bell confirmed our initial scoop that she and series creator Rob Thomas are eyeing a limited-series format vs. a fan-funded feature film this time around, telling me at Comic-Con, “We are definitely striving to do it again… And this time around we’re not going to ask the audience to pony up for anything.”
At the Television Critics Association winter press tour last week, Thomas — who was promoting iZombie Season 3 — revealed that the »
Sundance Cancels Three Screenings Over Power Outage
It’s already been an eventful couple of days at the Sundance Film Festival.
The festival suffered a power outage at the Redstone theater on Sunday, causing screenings of “Mars Generation,” “Dolores,” and the buzzy “Landline” to be canceled, according to a Sundance Twitter account.
Update: Power outage at Redstone. Mars Generation + Landline + Dolores screenings cancelled, attempting to reschedule. More info to come.
— Sundance Fest Now (@sundancefestnow) January 22, 2017
The power outage comes one day after a cyberattack forced the closure of Sundance’s box office. The hack occurred shortly after Chelsea Handler led a Women’s March in Park City, Utah, to protest the election of Donald Trump.
More to come…
Related storiesWith 'Split,' Horror and M. Night Shyamalan Remain Box Office DrawsLondon Critics' Awards: 'La La Land' Comes Out on Top, Isabelle Huppert Doubles UpSundance Film Review: Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara in 'A Ghost Story »
- Alex Stedman
'Split': M. Night Shyamalan Explains an Ending Years in the Making
[Warning: This story contains spoilers for the ending of Split.]
Just to reiterate the above warning (because seeing Split spoiler-free is such a fun experience), spoilers below:
After Kevin Wendle Crumb (James McAvoy) makes his escape, the film moves to a bar, where a news broadcast recounts some of the events of the film. A man with multiple personalities kidnapped three young women and held them captive »
- Aaron Couch
The Dark Side of Star Lord You Never Knew Existed
Star Lord has quickly rise to being one of Marvel’s most important heroes thanks to his role in Guardians of the Galaxy. However, only just a few years ago, barely anyone even knew who he was. Not even comic book fans realized that he was in essence more of a jerk than the Han Solo like hero he’s portrayed as in the Marvel cinematic universe. According to Looper: Before their hit movie came out in 2014, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy were obscure comic characters known only to hardcore fans. Now, Groot, Drax, and Rocket Raccoon are household names. But
The Dark Side of Star Lord You Never Knew Existed »
- Nat Berman
Sundance Film Review: ‘Berlin Syndrome’
Australian director Cate Shortland’s films trade in a kind of threatening beauty. Their surfaces are too immaculate, too exquisite, not to be masking messier, queasier ideas and impulses beneath: The reckless, harshly punished sexuality of a teenage girl in “Somersault,” or a youth’s dawning realization of her Nazi brainwashing in “Lore.” In “Berlin Syndrome,” Shortland’s equally, intensely elegant third feature, the ugly subversion of seductive exteriors is built into the film’s very narrative, as a heady, sexy holiday hook-up turns overnight into an abusive abduction — cuing a nightmarish game of sexual control and captivity, in which toxic masculinity calls the shots. Adapted from Melanie Joosten’s 2011 novel, this arresting, slightly over-extended conversation piece marks Shortland’s first foray into genre storytelling — though the film’s aloof tone and angular gender politics keep it in the arthouse domain.
That said, with sales already having proven brisk — a U. »
- Guy Lodge
Sundance: The Orchard Buys ‘The Hero’ With Sam Elliott
The Orchard has acquired all North American distribution rights “The Hero,” a drama about a fading Western star that offers up a showy role for Sam Elliott. It reunites the actor with director Brett Haley; the pair previously teamed up for “I’ll See You in My Dreams.”
Their latest collaboration premiered Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival to mixed reviews. Variety’s Peter Debruge praised Elliott’s work, but faulted Haley and his co-writer Mark Basch for having “…mistaken what the Aarp calls ‘movies for grownups’ for a kind of mushy feel-good pablum, throwing together a handful of familiar clichés in the hope that Elliott’s charm will carry the day.”
“The Hero” follows Elliott’s Lee Hayden, an actor whose glory days are behind him. A pothead and an occasional voiceover actor, he decides to try to make amends »
- Brent Lang
The Orchard Acquires Domestic Rights to ‘The Hero’
The Orchard announced tonight that the company has acquired all North American distribution rights to Brett Haley’s drama “The Hero” starring Sam Elliott. The film, which premiered Saturday in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, also stars Laura Prepon, Nick Offerman, Krysten Ritter and Katharine Ross. Written by Haley and Mark Basch, the film was produced by Houston King, Sam Bisbee and Erik Rommesmo. Also Read: Focus Features to Acquire 'Thoroughbred' The production companies are Northern Lights Films, Park Pictures and Houston King Productions. The Orchard plans a wide release for the film this fall. »
- Umberto Gonzalez
‘Kate Can’t Swim’: Film Review | Slamdance 2017
Alongside his substantial acting career (Mad Max: Fury Road, the X-Men franchise), Josh Helman branches out to directing with Kate Can’t Swim, a closely observed relationship drama that foregrounds some distinctly forthright sexual dynamics. Essentially a belated coming-of-age story about best friends separated by conflicting life choices, Helman’s feature may struggle to differentiate itself from a host of other low-budget productions, although those similarities also place it sufficiently within the indie-film comfort zone to justify further festival pick-ups and perhaps VOD play.
Pushing 30, Brooklynite Kate (Celeste Arias) remains awkwardly adrift, despite the support of loving long-term boyfriend Pete (Grayson »
- Justin Lowe
What Does the Young Pope Really Want? (Commentary)
(There are spoilers ahead for HBO’s “The Young Pope” through its Jan. 22 episode.) We’re several episodes into “The Young Pope,” and you’ll be forgiven for being confused about just what the hell is going on inside the head of Pope Pius Xiii (Jude Law). He is still, to both the characters on the show and the audience, an enigma. He’s acting very strangely, both in how he’s treated the other residents of the Vatican and the rest of the faithful. And his motivations are far from clear. But the third episode did shed a little »
- Phil Owen
Jacki Weaver On Sex Scene With Jason Schwartzman in ‘The Polka King’: ‘It Was Fabulous!’ (Watch)
If you think sex scenes may be awkward, you’re wrong. Just ask Jacki Weaver.
“It was fabulous! It was fantastic,” the Oscar-nominated actress told Variety about the sex scene she shares with Jason Schwartzman in the indie film “The Polka King,” which debuts Sunday night at the Sundance Film Festival.
Speaking at the Variety Studio at Sundance, Weaver, 69, opened up about the scene she shares with her Schwartzman, 36 — a movie moment that’s creating buzz around the annual festival in Park City, Utah.
- Elizabeth Wagmeister
‘Casting JonBenet’ Sundance Review: Fascinating Documentary Isn’t About JonBenet Ramsay, It’s About Us
It’s a documentary about a famous murder, and the director interviewed dozens of people who are seen onscreen discussing the case and everything that surrounded it. So you know the kind of movie that “Casting JonBenet” is going to be, right? Wrong. The film, which had its world premiere in Sundance on Sunday, is miles from a conventional doc. Those people that director Kitty Green interviewed are not experts or participants in the events of December 1996, when six-year-old JonBenet Ramsay was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her parents’ Colorado home. They didn’t know the Ramsays and. »
- Steve Pond
'Wilson': Film Review | Sundance 2017
The universe of graphic artist and screenwriter Daniel Clowes, with its curmudgeons, misfits, ranting neurotics and dyspeptic visionaries, is a tricky place to inhabit. Terry Zwigoff nailed it best with the cool detachment of Ghost World but then missed the mark almost completely with Art School Confidential, which veered into self-conscious misanthropy and snide skewering of easy targets. Director Craig Johnson, following up on his dark but disarming The Skeleton Twins, gets only a fraction closer in the patchy Wilson, which boasts some funny vignettes but fails in the crucial test of making us care much about the title character.
- David Rooney
Tom Brady’s Big A– Sideline Coat Draws Hilarious Comparisons
Kellyanne Conway isn’t the only one getting called out for her cold weather attire. Tom Brady wore a ridiculously large sideline coat at the Patriots’ chilly Afc championship game against the Steelers on Sunday and people on Twitter had a ball. One user compared the bulky look to a shot of Marge Simpson in a similarly big jacket, while another likened Brady to a refrigerator and yet another observer took the opportunity to spoof Brady’s much talked about “Deflategate,” simply calling his outwear “#inflategate.” Also Read: Tom Brady Has a New 'Zack Morris' Hairstyle, Twitter Has »
- Meriah Doty
‘Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World’: Film Review | Sundance 2017
As Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana’s astoundingly rich and resonant music documentary makes abundantly clear, American popular music – and the history of rock and roll itself – wouldn’t be the same without the contributions of Native American performers. Although these Indian musicians’ heritage is often an integral component of their artistic expression, it may not always be obvious to their fans.
As the film engagingly lifts the veil on Native Americans’ role in several generations of pop music, it traces their involvement from the Delta blues and jazz eras up to present-day hip hop. Brimming with revealing first-person interviews, »
- Justin Lowe
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