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Film Review: ‘For Here or to Go?’

1 hour ago

 

The challenges faced by immigrants and the battle over healthcare lend renewed relevance to the premise of “For Here or to Go?” which bears a 2015 copyright date yet directly addresses these and other hot-button issues of the day. Brightly amiable while not particularly urgent, this handsomely made U.S. indie opens regionally March 31. Including both English and Hindi dialogue, the film will speak most effectively to apprehensive immigrants caught between uncertain Stateside status and cultural displacement.

It’s 2008, the recession has just hit, and, in the heart of Silicon Valley earnest young tech worker Vivek Pandit (Ali Fazal) has a problem. After seven years of hard work for a company to which he’s not emotionally invested, he’s about to land a plum position at a healthcare start-up by virtue of innovative software he’s written. Unfortunately, the would-be entrepreneur has neglected his immigration paperwork, and when the company »


- Eddie Cockrell

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CinemaCon: New Line Scares up ‘Annabelle: Creation’ as Sequel Title

1 hour ago

Warner Bros. used CinemaCon as a springboard to reveal the title for its “Annabelle” sequel — “Annabelle: Creation” — while underlining the massive success of its New Line horror brand.

The studio showed a promo Wednesday to show exhibitors the creepy trailers for “Annabelle: Creation,” directed David F. Sanberg and Stephen King’s “It,” directed by Andres Muschietti. The presentation included interviews with the directors along “The Conjuring” director James Wan — all who praised New Line for its willingness to explore horror stories outside the usual parameters of the genre, starting with “The Conjuring” in 2013.

The footage for “Annabelle: Creation” included a horrifying children’s tea party as a petrified, crucifix-holding Miranda Otto looks on as supernatural shaking ensues courtesy of the titular possessed doll. Then comes a loud spine crack from her posssessed daughter. The retitled film is staying on its Aug. 11 release date.

The “It” trailer, which debuted Wednesday, »


- Dave McNary

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CinemaCon: Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ Stuns Theater Owners With Epic War Drama

2 hours ago

Las Vegas — An impassioned Christopher Nolan introduced intense footage from his World War II epic “Dunkirk,” expressing his goal of taking moviegoers back to the massive 1940 evacuation.

“This is a story that needs to carry you through and make you feel you are there,” Nolan told exhibitors at Warner Bros.’ presentation on Wednesday afternoon at CinemaCon, the annual theater owner trade show taking place this week in Sin City.

Nolan shot “Dunkirk” from his own screenplay on a combination of Imax 65mm and 65mm large format film. “I wanted to tell the story in the most visceral way possible,” he added.

Related

‘Aquaman’ Concept Art Makes a Splash at CinemaCon

Dunkirk” will focus on the rescue through a quickly assembled British fleet of more than 800 boats, which saved more than 335,000 soldiers who had been cut off by the German Army. As the rescue was concluding, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill told Parliament, »


- Dave McNary

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‘Aquaman’ Concept Art Makes a Splash at CinemaCon

3 hours ago

Las Vegas — Jason Momoa told theater owners at CinemaCon that he was leaving on Wednesday evening to fly to Australia to begin production on “Aquaman.”

Consequently, the superhero film didn’t have a trailer to show exhibitors. That didn’t stop Momoa and director James Wan from debuting a video rich with production art that promised to take audiences to a dazzling underwater universe.

“I want the audience to experience Atlantis in the way that Aquaman experiences it as well,” said Wan, whose credits include “The Conjuring,” “Insidious,” and “Furious 7.”

The mockups that Wan showed were arresting. They included drawings of an elaborate dogfight pitting warriors riding sharks and octopus-like creatures. There were also deep sea dragons, glittering palaces, and an image of Aquaman, trident in hand, riding a hammerhead shark.

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CinemaCon Buzzmeter: What’s Hot and Cold in Las Vegas

Aquaman is an absolute bada–,” said Wan. »


- Brent Lang

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‘Van Wilder’ Stokes Legal Battle 15 Years After Release

3 hours ago

The producers who brought “Van Wilder” to the screen 15 years ago are now engaged in a legal fight over who owns the distribution rights to the film.

Myriad Pictures filed suit Wednesday in L.A. Superior Court, seeking a declaration that it will take full rights to the film on the 15th anniversary of its release on April 4.

According to the lawsuit, Myriad contends that its partner in the project, Tapestry Films, engaged in secret negotiations with the distributor, Lionsgate, to extend the distribution agreement beyond the 15-year term. Myriad asserts that under the agreement, Tapestry was receiving 80% of the proceeds to just 20% for Myriad, though Myriad put up the financing for the film.

“The participation split is extremely favorable to Tapestry,” the lawsuit argues.

According to Myriad, Tapestry sought to extend the agreement in order to maintain the favorable split. However, Myriad insists that the full distribution rights should »


- Gene Maddaus

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Democrats Launch Petition to Try to Save FCC’s Privacy Rules for Internet Providers

4 hours ago

President Donald Trump is expected to sign a measure that would roll back consumer protections on the privacy of their data, but Democrats are making a last-ditch appeal to urge him to veto the legislation.

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Mass.) launched a petition on Whitehouse.gov on Wednesday, a day after the House passed a resolution, in a 215-205 vote, that restricts the FCC from imposing the new privacy restrictions. The Senate passed the resolution last week.

“This bill has been rushed through both the House and Senate at breakneck speed with one clear goal — to get it signed into law before the American people know about it,” Doyle said in a statement.

Last year, under then-Chairman Tom Wheeler, the FCC passed new privacy rules that required internet providers to obtain subscribers’ consent before sharing data on such activity as browsing history and app usage. Broadband providers opposed the rules, »


- Ted Johnson

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Film Review: ‘Leap!’

4 hours ago

If your blush-pink daydreams of tutus, pirouettes and adoring spotlights were darkly dashed by the shattered psychological mindwarp of “Black Swan,” take heart: “Leap!” is here to generously restore them. An unabashed wish-fulfilment fantasy that sweetly checks off every conceivable follow-your-heart cliché, this elegantly animated French-Canadian production isn’t inventing any new narrative choreography with its slender tale of Félicie, a plucky, impoverished Brittany orphan who heads to Paris to realize her ambition of joining the ballet. But even if it never quite takes the risks implied by its exclamatory title — adopted for its upcoming U.S. release — “Leap!” follows the established steps with general grace and good humor. Sure to please children of a gentle, fanciful persuasion, Eric Summer and Eric Warin’s film may pleasantly surprise their minders with the painterly CG beauty of its Gallic backdrops; for all our heroine’s efforts, the City of Lights remains »


- Guy Lodge

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Christopher Nolan Rejects Early VOD Minutes After WB Exec Talks It Up at CinemaCon

4 hours ago

Las Vegas — Warner Bros. addressed the elephant in the room during its presentation to theater owners at CinemaCon, which made for an uneasy few minutes on Wednesday afternoon.

Moments after worldwide marketing and distribution president Sue Kroll made a pitch for shortening the amount of time between a film’s theatrical debut and its premiere on home entertainment platforms, director Christopher Nolan all but shunned the idea.

“The only platform I’m interested in talking about is theatrical exhibition,” Nolan quipped.

The Oscar-nominated filmmaker was there to introduce footage from “Dunkirk,” his upcoming World War II epic, which he said would be available on IMAX, 70mm, and 35mm screens at cineplexes.

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Kroll, who worked with Nolan on all three “Dark Knight” movies, had stressed just moments prior that any changes must be made in concert with the exhibition community. »


- Brent Lang

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Charlize Theron Reveals Arduous Workout Regimen for ‘Atomic Blonde’ at CinemaCon

5 hours ago

Charlize Theron dazzled exhibitors twice at CinemaCon on Wednesday: in the spy thriller “Atomic Blonde,” and as the villainess in “The Fate of the Furious.”

Footage from “Atomic Blonde” received two showings at the annual gathering of theater owners — first at Universal’s morning presentation and then again a few hours later as the conclusion to the Focus Features presentation. Focus is the specialty division of Universal.

Theron stars in and produces “Atomic Blonde,” formerly called “The Coldest City,” and set in Berlin in 1989 on the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. She plays a spy from MI6 sent to take down an espionage ring.

Related

‘Fate of the Furious’ Surprise Screening Revs Up Exhibitors at CinemaCon

The 10 minutes of footage showed Theron taking down six different spies at close range in an apartment building staircase, with an array of judo throws, punches, stabbings, and shootings. After the footage concluded, »


- Dave McNary

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Film Review: ‘The Levelling’

7 hours ago

From the unglamorous mud of its contemporary English farmland setting to the lyrical interludes as nocturnal animals swim in murky waters and woodland creatures quiver in damp hedgerows, Hope Dickson Leach’s feature directorial debut is startlingly assured. “The Levelling” is an intimate story, waterlogged with guilt, grief and blame, but it explores this dark spectrum with such unsentimental honesty that its tiny moments of uplift, when its repressed characters form tentative connections despite themselves, are magnified and moving. Unlike so many first-timers, Dickson Leach, who also wrote the script, never allows her reach to exceed her grasp: she sets boundary markers around the edges of her territory and doesn’t stray beyond them. Instead she gets her hands dirty, bedding down into these difficult, truculent characters and plunging us deep into the chilly loam of her mournful, atmospheric story.

It starts with an ending. Clover (“Game of Thrones” actor »


- Jessica Kiang

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‘Fate of the Furious’ Surprise Screening Revs Up Exhibitors at CinemaCon

7 hours ago

A previously unannounced CinemaCon screening of Universal’s “Fate of the Furious” left exhibitors feeling that the franchise has plenty of gas left in the tank — less than three weeks prior to the April 14 launch.

“There was so much action, which is great, more than even the last,” one said on departing the Wednesday morning screening at Caesars Palace. “It’s going to do very good business.”

The seven preceding “Fast and Furious” films have generated $3.9 billion in worldwide box office with the most recent, “Furious 7,” taking in a stunning $1.5 billion worldwide. The franchise has joined “Jurassic Park” as Universal’s most successful.

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CinemaCon Buzzmeter: What’s Hot and Cold in Las Vegas

Vin Diesel, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Kurt Russell, franchise newcomer Charlize Theron, and director F. Gary Gray were on hand to present the film, the eighth in the franchise and first to not star Paul Walker, »


- Dave McNary

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Box Office: Can ‘Boss Baby,’ ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Top ‘Beauty and the Beast’?

8 hours ago

Beauty and the Beast” shows no signs of slowing down.

The Disney smash has earned more than $700 million in its first three weeks of release, and it could top the domestic box office chart yet again with roughly $40 million. Whether “Beauty and the Beast” three-peats as the weekend winner depends on how many people turn out for “Boss Baby” or “The Ghost in the Shell,” two new wide releases scheduled to hit theaters.

Despite appealing to the same family audience as “Beauty and the Beast,” “Boss Baby” looks to be in the stronger position. The animated feature about a young boy struggling to adjust to life with his attention-grabbing baby brother is on track to debut to $30 million when it opens across 3,773 locations.

Related

Vin Diesel Chokes Up While Paying Tribute to Paul Walker at CinemaCon

DreamWorks Animation produced the picture, which is being distributed by Fox. The studio didn’t offer up a budget. »


- Brent Lang

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Poll: Which Summer Superhero Movie Are You Most Excited for?

9 hours ago

Summer popcorn movie season is fast approaching, and with that comes the inevitable: Superhero movies.

Both DC and Marvel have big films in the pipeline, ready to make their debuts in the summer months. Disney and Marvel will kick things off with a bang on May 5 with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” the follow-up to the 2014 hit. James Gunn returns to direct, with stars including Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana also returning.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ New Trailer Offers First Look at Kurt Russell’s Character

The following month, on June 2, DC will bring Princess Diana of Themyscira to the big screen with “Wonder Woman.” Gal Gadot, who made her debut as the superhero in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” stars in the highly anticipated movie directed by Patty Jenkins.

Also on June 2, but with a very different tone, 20th Century Fox will debut “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, »


- Variety Staff

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Vin Diesel Chokes Up While Paying Tribute to Paul Walker at CinemaCon

10 hours ago

Vin Diesel choked up while paying tribute to the late Paul Walker at CinemaCon on Wednesday.

He said that he decided to go forward with “The Fast and the Furious” franchise to make good on a promise Walker made that there would be an eighth chapter in the long-running series. That film, “The Fate of the Furious,” opens next month. Universal later surprised the audience by debuting the full movie.

“It was Paul Walker who promised eight,” Diesel said. “It played over and over again in my brain.”

Walker died in an automobile crash in 2013.

Related

‘Fate of the Furious’: ‘The Game Has Changed’ in New Trailer

“Part of Paul’s legacy lives through every frame that we shoot,” Diesel said. Diesel, who has called Walker his best friend, said the actor continues to live through the characters.

“You are reminded of this angel that was so integral to »


- Brent Lang

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Channing Tatum’s Production Banner and Tencent Pictures Team on ‘Zombie Brother’ (Exclusive)

10 hours ago

Tencent Pictures, the fast-expanding film and television arm of China’s internet and social media giant Tencent, has joined forces with Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin’s Free Association to produce a film adaptation of the comic “Zombie Brother.”

Tencent and Free Association have tapped Matt Lieberman to pen the script, with “Kung Fury” helmer David Sandberg attached to direct.

The project is an adaptation of the top title on Tencent’s digital comics platform and has already been adapted in China as a hit animated series and stage play, with Tencent and Free Association planning to develop it for the international market.

“‘Zombie Brother’ is one of the first products of Tencent’s trans-media pipeline, utilizing animation and comics, gaming, literature and live-entertainment platforms. The material has already attracted an incredible loyal fan base in China, and we are delighted to be working alongside Free Association in bringing this »


- Justin Kroll

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Tom Cruise’s Zero-Gravity Stunt in ‘The Mummy’ Took 64 Takes

11 hours ago

Tom Cruise is committed.

For a plane crash sequence in “The Mummy,” the actor’s upcoming monster movie, Cruise did 64 takes in zero gravity. The sequence took two days to shoot and four high-altitude flights, the filmmakers said during a trailer presentation on Wednesday at CinemaCon.

“There was a lot of barfing,” said Alex Kurtzman, the film’s writer and director.

Related

Watch the First Full Trailer for ‘The Mummy’ Reboot Starring Tom Cruise

Cruise was offered the option to do the scene on a sound stage, but he insisted on filming the sequence in zero gravity, believing it was important that audiences got the most realistic experience possible.

“He did not barf,” said co-star Annabelle Wallis at the Universal Pictures presentation, who said much of the 64-person crew became sick to their stomachs. Wallis also held down her lunch, but credited Cruise with being a gentleman.

“I was happy »


- Brent Lang

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CinemaCon Buzzmeter: What’s Hot and Cold in Las Vegas

11 hours ago

Hollywood’s biggest studios are gathered in Las Vegas to preview their upcoming films for theater owners and the press. Are there any sure bets? Here’s the latest buzz from CinemaCon, which runs through Thursday:

Cinemacon Buzzmeter What’S Hot And Cold At This Year’S Exhibitor Confab In Vegas:

Blade Runner: 2049” Visually stunning, with a few sly nods to Ridley Scott’s 1982 original and a super creepy Jared Leto. Sign us up. (Sony/WB)

Downsizing” Sure to go down as Alexander Payne’s most bizarre film. Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig as a couple who decide to shrink themselves in order to live the good life. The 10 minutes that screened were out there, but hilarious and compelling. (Paramount)

Baywatch” A gag where Zac Efron’s dim bulb life guard examines a dead man’s genitals is worth the price of admission. (Paramount)

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle »


- Variety Staff

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Film Review: ‘Cézanne et moi’

11 hours ago

The Impressionist painters were to the French Academy what punk rockers were to the conservative pop-music establishment — wild, unruly artists who refused to conform to the standards of what passed for good taste — and yet, to watch a movie like “Cézanne et moi” is to be treated to one of those frou-frou French costume dramas in which Pathé specializes: an impeccably tasteful night at the art house for those who fail to see the contradiction in appropriating this once-scandalous chapter in art history as fodder for mousepads and screensavers.

The cinematic equivalent of calendar art, “Cézanne et moi” oh-so-politely recaps the lifelong relationship between Paul Cézanne (played by thoroughly nonthreatening French actor Guillaume Gallienne) and Émile Zola (the even blander Guillaume Canet, husband of Marianne Cotillard), as the two once-rowdy friends meet as children and grow to see their respective life paths diverge. While Zola “sells out” and becomes a celebrated novelist, »


- Peter Debruge

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Older Moviegoers Have Box Office Clout, AARP Study Shows

12 hours ago

U.S. moviegoers who are at least 50 years old comprise more than 30% of all admissions, a new survey by the Aarp shows.

The Helen Mirren-Ryan Reynolds drama “Women in Gold” was a particular favorite among older moviegoers, who comprised 82% of its audience.

Similarly, the over-50 audience comprised 57% of the moviegoers who attended the Tom Hanks’ “Miracle on the Hudson” drama “Sully,” which generated $125 million domestically.

The study — dubbed “The 50-plus Moviegoer, An Industry Segment That Should Not Be Ignored” — was conducted late last year of about 500,000 moviegoers by marketing data analytics firm Movio on behalf of Aarp. The conclusions were released Wednesday during CinemaCon.

Heather Nawrocki, director of Aarp Movies for Grownups, touted the study as providing concrete evidence of the power of older moviegoers. “The 50-plus audience segment has disposable income, more leisure time and high loyalty to specific actors making this segment extremely valuable,” she added. »


- Dave McNary

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Watch the Terrifying First Trailer for Stephen King’s ‘It’

12 hours ago

The trailer for the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s literary classic “It” is sure to give you coulrophobia.

Warner Bros. released the terrifying first footage of the film on Wednesday — a day after the creepy poster reveal. If the broken projector scene or closing gutter shot doesn’t make you afraid of clowns, nothing will.

Related

Nicholas Hamilton on Filming Stephen King’s ‘It’ Remake

The New Line pic, from “Mama” director Andy Muschietti, stars “Hemlock Grove” actor Bill Skarsgard as the evil clown Pennywise. “Stranger Things” breakout Finn Wolfhard, “Midnight Special’s” Jaeden Lieberher, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, and Jeremy Ray Taylor play some of the terrorized children.

Tim Curry portrayed the iconic clown in the 1990 miniseries. Like Curry, Skarsgard’s demon carries around a red balloon, as the trailer promises “You’ll float, too.”

The teaser opens on a rainy day as Pennywise lures »


- Maane Khatchatourian

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