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Film Review: ‘Gerald’s Game’

31 minutes ago

The Year of Stephen King continues apace with the arrival of “Gerald’s Game,” one of two Netflix-produced King adaptations (along with “1922”) unveiled last weekend at Austin’s genre-skewing Fantastic Fest. But here’s the rub: It’s entirely possible that this particular adaptation may be best appreciated — or, to paraphrase the late George Michael, viewed without prejudice — by people who have never read King’s 1992 bestseller of the same title.

Writer-director Mike Flanagan (“Ouija: Origin of Evil”) and co-writer Jeff Howard have proficiently streamlined and simplified a novel that, according to the production notes, even Flanagan once considered “unfilmable.” But the end result of their reimagining might very well produce more complaints than usual from disapproving King fans that, really, the book was a lot better.

To be fair, the movie tends to adhere quite effectively to the bare bones of King’s original plot. At a secluded lake house — the kind of place where no »


- Joe Leydon

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Steve Carell’s Range Gets a Showcase With ‘Battle of the Sexes,’ ‘Last Flag Flying’

47 minutes ago

The film awards season is barely a few weeks old and it already has a candidate for Mvp: “Battle of the Sexes” and “Last Flag Flying” star Steve Carell.

When Carell first saddled up to prestige projects 11 years ago in Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’ “Little Miss Sunshine,” you could swim in the number of stories noting the comedian’s shift into “serious” territory. It was pretty much what you’d expect for someone who had gone from sketch comedy and stealing scenes from Jim Carrey in “Bruce Almighty,” to dominating air waves with a broadcast sitcom and fronting a major Judd Apatow release, to headlining a high-profile Sundance selection.

A double-dip for indie cred followed soon after with Peter Hedges’ “Dan in Real Life,” but Carell maintained an unpredictable profile. There were humble dramedies (“Crazy Stupid Love,” “The Way Way Back”) mixed in with glossy studio comedies (“Get Smart,” “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone »


- Kristopher Tapley

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Owen Vaccaro to Star Opposite Cate Blanchett in ‘House With a Clock in Its Walls’ (Exclusive)

51 minutes ago

Owen Vaccaro is set to star Cate Blanchett and Jack Black in Amblin Entertainment’s “The House With a Clock in Its Walls,” an adaptation of the 1973 John Bellairs book illustrated by Edward Gorey.

Twin Peaks” star Kyle MacLachlan also recently joined the cast. Eli Roth is directing with Eric Kripke penning the script.

The novel tells the tale of a recently orphaned 10-year-old boy, played by Vaccaro, who discovers a world of hidden passageways, magic, and danger in his uncle’s old house.

Production begins next month with no release date set at this time.

Mythology Entertainment’s Brad Fischer and James Vanderbilt will produce along with Kripke. Executive producers include William Sherak, Tracey Nyberg and Laeta Kalogridis.

Vaccaro broke out in the Paramount comedy “Daddy’s Home” as Will Ferrell’s stepson and Mark Wahlberg’s biological son and can be seen reprising the role in “Daddy’s Home 2” opening November 10, with Mel Gibson and »


- Justin Kroll

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Chevy Chase, Richard Dreyfuss, Lewis Black to Star in Netflix’s ‘Last Laugh’

59 minutes ago

Chevy Chase, Richard Dreyfuss, Lewis Black, Andie MacDowell, Kate Micucci, and Chris Parnell have boarded the Netflix original comedy “The Last Laugh.”

Written and directed by Greg Pritikin, the Netflix original project is produced by Rob Paris of Paris Film Inc. Shooting began Monday in New Orleans.

The story centers on a talent manager and widower reuniting with a former client, who gave up a promising career as a stand-up comedian and instead settled down to have a family. Once on tour at classic stand-up venues across the U.S., the comedian gets a last taste of the life he could have had with a rollercoaster ride of two men rekindling friendships, careers, and ideas of the past. Chase will play the manager and Dreyfuss will portray the comedian.

Related

‘Netflix Is a Joke’ Ad Unveiled During Emmys

“It’s not surprising a script as poignant and funny as this attracted such award-winning talent,” said »


- Dave McNary

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‘It’ Sequel Sets September 2019 Release Date

1 hour ago

Pennywise the evil clown is due back in theaters in less than two years. New Line and Warner Bros. have set the “It” sequel for release on Sept. 6, 2019.

The studio, which announced the date on Monday, had revealed earlier this month that Gary Dauberman was working on the script.

Related

Box Office: ‘It’ Becomes Highest-Grossing Horror Film of All Time

Andy Muschietti, who directed “It,” is expected to return for the second installment. Producers Barbara Muschietti, Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Seth Grahame-Smith, and David Katzenberg are believed to be back as well.

Stephen King’s 1986 novel focuses on a group of friends in a fictional Maine community that battles the small town’s demon as kids, and then again as adults. The blockbuster movie, which opened Sept. 8, centers on the children, while the upcoming film will follow them into adulthood

Since its debut earlier this month, “It” has shattered numerous records, earning »


- Dave McNary

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Lumumba Mosquera to Leave Sony, Join Paramount as Evp, Business Affairs (Exclusive)

2 hours ago

Paramount has hired Lumumba Mosquera away from Sony to become executive vice president, business affairs with primary responsibility for Paramount Players, the newly created film division headed by Brian Robbins.

Mosquera will report to Steve Plum, senior executive vice president and head of motion picture business and legal affairs. He joined Sony in 2009 from Ventanazul, the film production company created by Salma Hayek. At Sony, Mosquera negotiated rights, talent, and other deals on behalf of the studio. Mosquera has previously worked with Paramount COO Andrew Gumpert at Sony and at Miramax.

Before Sony, Mosquera worked as vice president for business and legal affairs at the Weinstein Company and Dimension/Miramax films.

Related

Wyck Godfrey Tapped for Top Executive Role at Paramount Pictures (Exclusive)

Paramount Players is a new division within the studio that will focus on making theatrical releases that draw on existing Viacom brands like MTV and Nickelodeon. The films are aimed at serving youth and »


- Ricardo Lopez

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Chile Offers 30% Cash Rebates to Int’l Films, TV and Digital Location Shoots

2 hours ago

Chile has kicked off a 30% cash rebate incentive to attract more international productions to its shores. In order to qualify, foreign producers of feature films, TV series or digital platform series are required to ink a co-production pact with a local producer and spend a minimum of $2 million in the country. The incentive will not exceed 30% of qualified expenses, with a cap of $3 million.

For Cristian Diaz, investments chief of Chile’s Strategic Creative Program (Corfo), “the development generated by audiovisual investments goes beyond the economic activity associated with the investment itself.” “Countries like New Zealand, or cities like New York, to name just two, are strong examples of the impact on the tourist development of those territories,” he noted.

Chilean film commissioner Joyce Zylberberg pointed out that the influx of foreign productions would bring a good measure of knowhow and expertise to Chile’s local audiovisual industry, which remains small despite the multiple accolades its films »


- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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Shirley MacLaine Joins Anna Kendrick in Female Santa Claus Movie ‘Nicole’ (Exclusive)

2 hours ago

Shirley MacLaine has signed on to join Anna Kendrick in Disney’s female Santa Claus film “Nicole,” sources tell Variety.

Bill Hader and Billy Eichner are also on board. “Miss Congeniality” scribe Marc Lawrence is directing and writing the script.

The movie revolves around Santa’s daughter, presumably the titular Nicole, who is forced to take over the family business when her father retires and brother ends up getting cold feet prior to his first big Christmas Eve flight. MacLaine will play Elf Polly who was Nicole’s nanny and helped raise her all of her life.

Suzanne Todd is producing, while Louie Provost is overseeing the project for Disney. Production is expected to start sometime this fall. The film hits theaters on Nov. 8, 2019.

While this movie is not related to Disney’s “The Santa Clause” trilogy starring Tim Allen, the studio seems to be in the Kris Kringle business, as »


- Justin Kroll

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San Sebastián: Brillante Mendoza Produces Daniel Palacio Debut ‘Underground’

2 hours ago

San Sebastian — Brillante Mendoza, Cannes’ 2009 best director for “Kinatay,” will be premiering a new film at this year’s San Sebastian Film Festival –  only this time he will be acting as executive producer. The Philippines most respected filmmaker, Mendoza and his company Center Stage Productions, are backing first-time feature director Daniel R. Palacio’s drama, “Underground.”

In the Philippines, cemeteries are built above-ground, where the graves are stacked on top of each other which form walls that create a labyrinth-like effect. Within those grim walls, the countries homeless often co-habit alongside their deceased counterparts inside unvisited mausoleums. It is in just such a setting that Palacio first was inspired to write the script for “Underground.”

The film starts as a family drama, then quickly turns into a heist movie, all the while making religious and political commentary. The film focuses on a family of three, father Bangis, Mother Barbie and sickly daughter Ningning, who »


- Jamie Lang

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San Sebastián: Director Ira Opper Discusses Savage Cinema Title ‘Secrets of Desert Point’

3 hours ago

San Sebastian — You would be hard pressed to find a more respectful regard towards action-sports films than the San Sebastian’s Savage Cinema program. Each year, the industry’s biggest game changers make their way to the shores of the Bay of Biscay and screen for cinephiles and industry professionals alike. This year, surf-history will be on display when surf filmmaking legend Ira Opper ’s ethnographic documentary, “Secrets of Desert Point” receives itsEuropean premiere on Wednesday.

The film is a composition of interviews, highlight reels and a classic “dirtbag” story that would almost certainly never happen today. Most of the footage was recorded by William and Bill Heick from the mid ’70s through the start of the ’80s. The film documents a bygone era in surfing when the sport was a counter culture movement and relegated largely to the fringes of polite society.

William Heick was a classic photographer who trained at the California School of Fine »


- Jamie Lang

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Kaya Scodelario, Josh Hutcherson to Star in Action-Romance ‘Die in a Gunfight’

3 hours ago

Kaya Scodelario, Josh Hutcherson, Olivia Munn, and Helen Hunt are starring in the action-romance “Die in a Gunfight” as an update on William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

The Mark Gordon Company is producing the film, with photography set to begin next month in Boston. Collin Schiffli will direct the film. His 2014 movie “Animals” won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival.

Producers are Tom Butterfield, Mark Gordon and Allyson Seeger of Sunday Night. Sara Smith of Mark Gordon Company will be an executive producer.

Scodelario and Hutcherson will play the star-crossed lovers who share an eagerness to break from the confines of their lives that fuels their passion for each other and leads to an all-out struggle for their love against a backdrop of corporate espionage, revenge, and a long-standing feud between their families. Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari, who teamed on Marvel’s upcoming “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” wrote the screenplay. »


- Dave McNary

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Tahra Grant Promoted to Replace Jean Guerin as Sony Svp, Media Relations

4 hours ago

Sony Pictures on Monday announced two changes in its corporate communications office, announcing that Jean Guerin, senior vice president, media relations for Sony’s motion picture group will leave the studio at the end of October and be replaced by Tahra Grant.

Grant, who will report to Bob Lawson, joined Sony more than a year ago from Rubenstein, the New York-based communications agency where she served as a vice president in the entertainment division. There she handled communications for clients that included the Tribeca Film Festival, the Metropolitan Opera, and the Orchard.

Since joining Sony, the film division has been Grant’s main area of focus. “As such, she is well-positioned to ensure a smooth transition, without interruption to our day-to-day activities, and to lead our corporate communications efforts in the film group moving forward,” Lawson wrote in the staffing announcement. Guerin, he said, “has been a terrific colleague and partner throughout some of the studio’s »


- Ricardo Lopez

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‘Clifford the Big Red Dog’ Movie Fetches New Director

4 hours ago

Walt Becker will direct Paramount Pictures’ live-action/CG hybrid movie adaptation of “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”

The studio began developing the project last year when it hired Justin Malen to pen the screenplay about the 25-foot-tall dog. Ellen Rapoport is re-writing the script.

Silvertongue FilmsDeborah Forte will produce the film, based on Scholastic’s book series by Norman Bridwell. Jared Mass is overseeing the project for Paramount.

The first book centered on a young girl who received a red puppy for her birthday that grew to be 25 feet tall. It was published by Scholastic in 1963, leading to more than 60 titles and 127 million copies in print. Clifford is Scholastic’s official mascot.

Scholastic produced the “Clifford the Big Red Dog” TV series, which which originally aired on PBS Kids from 2000 to 2003. The “Clifford the Big Red Dog” movie had been in development at Universal for several years with the studio announcing in 2014 that it would be »


- Dave McNary

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Alicia Vikander’s ‘Tomb Raider’ Fights to Top of Social Media Charts

6 hours ago

Alicia Vikander’s “Tomb Raider” easily topped social media buzz last week with 54,000 new conversations in the wake of the movie’s first trailer, according to media-measurement firm comScore and its PreAct service.

Warner Bros. released a teaser and poster on Sept. 18, followed by the action-packed trailer the next day, and a featurette on Sept. 20. The trailer made Croft’s mission clear: “Close the tomb once and for all.”

Roar Uthaug directed the movie based on a script by Geneva Robertson-Dworet. Daniel Wu and Dominic West also star. The film is adapted from a popular video game. Angelina Jolie played the character in two movies — 2001’s “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” and the sequel, “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.” The reboot opens on March 16.

Related

Alicia Vikander Is Lara Croft in First Trailer for ‘Tomb Raider’ (Watch)

Disney-Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok” generated nearly 40,000 new conversations last week as the studio released an Imax poster on »


- Dave McNary

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Dylan O’Brien Returns to ‘Maze Runner’ Franchise in First ‘Death Cure’ Trailer (Watch)

7 hours ago

Salvation is the dominant theme in the action-packed trailer for “Maze Runner: The Death Cure.”

In the trailer, Dylan O’Brien’s character (Thomas) and his allies attempt to break into the Last City via train.

“You can’t save everyone,” he’s told by one of his friends.

“I can try,” he replies.

Later in the trailer, O’Brien has a confrontation with Patricia Clarkson’s cold-blooded Ava Paige character, who also tells him that he can either save his friends or he can save everyone.

Fox released the new trailer Monday, four months ahead of its Jan. 26 release. The film has been pushed back a year due to the need for O’Brien to recover from his March, 2016 injuries after an on-set car accident.

The movie — the third in the Maze Runner trilogy — is directed by Wes Ball. O’Brien’s character is on a mission to find a cure to the “Flare,” a »


- Dave McNary

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‘The Princess Bride’ Turns 30: Rob Reiner, Robin Wright, Billy Crystal Dish About Making the Cult Classic

9 hours ago

It’s no secret “The Princess Bride” was not a box office success when it opened in 1987. And it’s also no secret that thanks to home video, cable, DVD, and now Blu-ray, the charmingly funny fractured fairy tale directed by Rob Reiner and adapted by William Goldman from his 1973 novel, has become part of the cultural landscape.

Stars Chris Sarandon, Cary Elwes, and Wallace Shawn once did a Q&A after a screening for an audience of 5,000 people. Rabid fans approached the stars reciting their lines — especially Mandy Patinkin’s “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die,” and Shawn’s “Inconceivable.” Even Ted Cruz reenacted the hilarious scene featuring Billy Crystal as Miracle Max and Carol Kane as his wife Valerie during the 2016 presidential campaign.

But did you know the film once saved a woman’s life?

“Honestly, I’m not making this up,” said Reiner. »


- Susan King

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‘The Princess Bride’ 30th Anniversary: Cast Then and Now

9 hours ago

With “The Princess Bride” turning 30, we look back at the cast of the film then and now.

Related stories'The Princess Bride' Turns 30: Rob Reiner, Robin Wright, Billy Crystal Dish About Making the Cult Classic'The Birds,' 'The Lion King,' 'Thelma & Louise' Join National Film RegistryAndre The Giant Biopic in the Works (Exclusive) »


- Jacob Bryant

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Korea Box Office: ‘I Can Speak’ Leads Weekend

9 hours ago

Local comedy, “I Can Speak” debuted on top of the South Korean box office after a Thursday release. The indie picture earned $5.18 million from 727,000 admissions over four days, and accounted for 46% of the weekend box office.

Produced by Myung Films, the Kim Hyun-seok film sees the story of an elderly woman who befriends a junior civil servant as she files complaints with the local government.

Showbox’s “Memoir of a Murderer” slipped to second. It earned $1.6 million from 215,00 admissions between Friday and Sunday for $17.7 million after three weekends on release.

Sony’s “Baby Driver” dropped to third, earning $1.16 million for a total of $5.21 million after two weekends. Despite a drop of 53%, “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” jumped to fourth from the previous week’s fifth, as “American Made” suffered a steeper 81% drop. “Bodyguard” earned $429,000 for a total of $11.7 million after four weekends on release. “American Made” earned $301,000 for a cumulative of $2.71 million after two weekends.

“The »


- Sonia Kil

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Warner, Azure Partner for India Remake of ‘Infernal Affairs’

10 hours ago

Fledgling Mumbai-based production outfit Azure Entertainment and Warner Bros. India have announced a collaboration to jointly invest in and produce an Indian remake of classic Hong Kong crime thriller “Infernal Affairs.” The director and cast are yet to be finalized.

The 2002 original was directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak and was the first part of a trilogy. Martin Scorsese remade it as “The Departed” in 2006.

The project is the first of a two-picture deal to develop, produce and distribute titles from the Warner Bros. library for the Indian market.

Azure was set up by Sunir Kheterpal, who previously had stints with Adlabs-Reliance Entertainment and the Hinduja Group. It produced the Hindi-language remake of Korean film “The Man From Nowhere,” titled “Rocky Handsome.”

The company’s remake development slate includes deals with Rodar y Rodar for Spanish film “The Body,” Atresmedia for Spanish film “The Invisible Guest,” with Gaumont for French titles “Gang Story” and “Point Blank” and »


- Naman Ramachandran

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San Sebastián: Arnold Wants to Save The World Again, This Time for Real with Cousteau Doc ‘Wonders of the Sea 3D’

10 hours ago

San Sebastian – As the “Terminator” theme music played, assembled press scurried to the front of a packed hall to get photos of one of Europe’s greatest cinematic exports. Clean shaven with a smile a mile wide, Arnold Schwarzenegger, accompanied by the cast and crew of his most recent project, “Wonders of the Sea 3D,” took questions about their underwater documentary Monday afternoon.

If it ever seemed unlikely that a bodybuilder with a thick Austrian accent could become the most famous action star in the world, or that he would then become governor of the state of California, it must seem only slightly less so that he would be asked to be narrator on one of the biggest documentaries to screen at this year’s San Sebastián Film Festival.

It would be folly to insinuate that “Wonders of the Sea 3D,” the latest Cousteau documentary to come from the royal family of the aquatic kingdom, Schwarzenegger »


- Jamie Lang

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