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Film Review: ‘Below Her Mouth’

44 minutes ago

Casting agents of independent cinema, take note: If Kristen Stewart is too busy or expensive for your project, Swedish newcomer Erika Linder is more than happy to step in. Evoking the new arthouse queen’s balance of sullen and sultry with a fluency that borders on outright imitation, the 26-year-old model’s big-screen debut carries more charge than everything around her in “Below Her Mouth,” a sexually frank but narratively flimsy girl-meets-girl romance that never gets under its gorgeous characters’ amply exposed skin. Rather indifferently charting the expected emotional fallout of the lightning-bolt attraction between brooding roofing contractor Dallas (Linder) and sexually undecided fashion editor Jasmine (Natalie Krill), Canadian helmer April Mullen’s good-looking film only snaps fully to attention in its humid love scenes. It may find a small, appreciative audience in the Lgbt market, the “L” quadrant of which remains critically neglected on screen.

“Even inanimate objects aren’t safe from you, »


- Guy Lodge

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Amy Madigan, Ken Marino and Sky Ferreira Join Scott Free’s ‘Burning Woman’ (Exclusive)

50 minutes ago

Amy Madigan, Pat Healy, Ken Marino, Sky Ferreira, and Macon Blair have joined the cast of Scott Free’s “The Burning Woman” with Jake Scott directing.

The pic currently stars Sienna Miller, Christina Hendricks, Aaron Paul, and Will Sasso. Brad Ingelsby, who wrote “Run All Night” and “Out of the Furnace,” is penning the script.

The film tells the story of a woman whose life is changed when her teenage daughter mysteriously disappears and she is left to raise her young grandson.

Ridley Scott, Kevin Walsh, and Mike Pruss will produce through the Scott Free banner. Scott Free’s Ryan Stowell will executive produce.

Wme reps domestic rights and Bloom reps foreign with a plan to sell markets in Cannes. The film will start shooting this week in Massachusetts.

Madigan is repped by Don Buchwald & Associates and Anonymous Content; Healy is repped by the Gersh Agency, Luber Roklin, and Jackoway »


- Justin Kroll

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Roman Polanski’s Latest Added to Cannes Film Festival

55 minutes ago

The Cannes Film Festival has added Roman Polanski’s “Based on a True Story” (D’Apres Une Histoire Vraie) to the official selection — playing out of competition — along with several other new titles.

Eva Green, Emmanuelle Seigner and Vincent Perez star in Polanski’s French-language film about a writer and her obsessive admirer. Olivier Assayas co-wrote the screenplay with Polanski, based on a novel by Delphine de Vigan. Sony Pictures Classics is U.S. distributor; Lionsgate sells worldwide rights.

Force Majeure” director Ruben Ostlund’s art world satire “The Square,” starring Elizabeth Moss and Dominic West, will play in competition. Sales are handled by Coproduction Office.

Un Certain Regard has added screenings of Santiago Mitre’s “La Cordillera” and Li Ruijun’s “Walking Past the Future.”

New special screenings will include Barbet Schroeder’s new documentary “Le Venerable W.,” the last in his “trilogy of evil” series, and Eric Caravaca »


- Pat Saperstein

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Johnny Depp Surprises Guests Aboard Disneyland’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Ride

58 minutes ago

Johnny Depp surprised Disneyland park-goers Wednesday evening when he dressed up as Captain Jack Sparrow aboard the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride.

Instead of the usual animatronic in Depp’s likeness, visitors were treated to the actual actor reciting lines from the popular film franchise while brandishing his sword at the Anaheim, California, theme park.

This is not the first time Depp has stopped by the ride that inspired 2003’s “Curse of the Black Pearl,” but this is his first appearance during the “Dead Men Tell No Tales” era of his iconic captain’s log.

Some lucky riders were able to capture footage of Depp getting into character on social media.

You know those little Disney Myths like…Johnny Depp will dress up as Jack Sparrow and sit in the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride? Well… pic.twitter.com/oAyIIu1e56

— B. (@BaileyNielson) April 27, 2017

Life is complete! Just saw Johnny Depp »


- JD Knapp

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‘Captain America’ Actor Lex Shrapnel Joins Michael Pena in ‘Extinction’

1 hour ago

Lex Shrapnel has joined Michael Pena and Lizzy Caplan in Universal’s sci-fi thriller “Extinction.”

The story follows a man (Pena) trying to save his family from an alien invasion. “Luke Cage” star Michael Colter also recently joined the cast. It is unknown which character Shrapnel will be playing.

Ben Young will direct. Eric Heisserer — who was most recently nominated for an Oscar for his script on “Arrival” — will write the screenplay with Spenser Cohen and Bradley Caleb Kane.

The pic bows on Jan. 26, 2018.

Related

Arrival’ Screenwriter Eric Heisserer to Produce TV Thriller ‘The Scrawl

Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman of Mandeville, who backed the highly-anticipated live action “Beauty and the Beast,” will produce. Mandeville’s Alexander Young will executive produce, alongside Nathan Kahane and Joe Drake of Good Universe. Anna Halberg will serve as co-producer.

Exec VP of production Erik Baiers and creative executive Mika Pryce will oversee production for Universal. »


- Justin Kroll

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Kevin Hart to Star in ‘Great Outdoors’ Reboot for Universal

1 hour ago

Kevin Hart will star in a reboot of the 1988 John Candy comedy “The Great Outdoors” for Universal.

Michael De Luca will produce through his Michael De Luca Productions with Hart through his Hartbeat Productions banner. Randall Green is penning the script.

The original film, which was written by John Hughes and directed by Howie Deutch, starred Candy and Dan Aykroyd. It revolved around Candy and his family, whose relaxing camping trip in Wisconsin is ruined by his annoying brother-in-law, played by Akroyd, and his family.

The studio is now looking for a director and a co-star for Hart.

Hart was most recently seen opposite Dwayne Johnson in New Line’s “Central Intelligence” and also voiced Snowball the rabbit in Illumination’s animated hit “The Secret Life of Pets.” He can next be seen as the title character in DreamWorks Animation »


- Justin Kroll

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Sony Distribution Chief Rory Bruer Retires After 40 Years at Studio

1 hour ago

Rory Bruer is retiring as head of worldwide distribution at Sony Pictures after four decades at the studio.

Sony does not plan to directly replace him. Bruer, who has deep ties with theater owners, will segue into an advisory role at the studio. Adrian Smith and Steven O’Dell will handle domestic and international distribution, respectively. They will report directly to Josh Greenstein, president of worldwide marketing and distribution.

“Though I knew in my heart that the time was right to begin to pull back, it’s hard to let go of a place that has been a part of my life for so long — so when they asked me to stay on as an advisor, I jumped at the chance,” Bruer wrote in a letter to staff. “Not everybody gets to begin this next chapter on their own terms, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”

Bruer first »


- Brent Lang

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Omari Hardwick, Meagan Good Starring in Romance ‘Love on Election Night’

1 hour ago

Omari Hardwick (“Power”) and Meagan Good (Hulu’s upcoming “Foxy Brown”) have come on board the indie romance drama “A Boy. A Girl. A Dream: Love On Election Night.”

The producer is Datari Turner through his Datari Turner Productions with Qasim Basir (“Destined”) directing from his own script. Production has launched in Los Angeles.

Hardwick is playing a Los Angeles club promoter on the night of the 2016 presidential election. He meets a woman named Free (played by Good) who challenges him to revisit his broken dreams during a series of unfortunate events that happen as the Donald Trump surges ahead over Hilary Clinton in the race for electoral votes to win the White House.

The film also stars Jay Ellis (“Insecure”), Dijon Talton, Wesley Jonathan, and Affion Crockett.

Related

Black Film Critics: 2016 the Best Year Ever for African Americans in Cinema

Hardwick and Good are executive producers along with Tim Weatherspoon, »


- Dave McNary

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Lionsgate Expands Russian Output Deal, Including ‘Robin Hood’

2 hours ago

Lionsgate has expanded its output agreement with Russian distributor Central Partnership for the distribution of Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment films in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The previous agreement covered only Summit titles. The new agreement will encompass both Lionsgate and Summit films, including Otto Bathurst’s “Robin Hood” — the contemporary reboot starring Jamie Foxx and Taron Egerton — and the action thriller “Granite Mountain,” featuring Josh Brolin, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges and Taylor Kitsch. Sony recently took U.S. rights to “Granite Mountain.”

Its other pics include Lionsgate/CBS Films’ “American Assassin” with Michael Keaton and Dylan O’Brien; the supernatural crime thriller “Kin,” starring Jack Reynor, James Franco, and Zoe Kravitz; and “Chaos Walking,” toplined by Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland.

Under the previous deal, Central Partnership had distributed the “Now You See Me” titles, the “Divergent” franchise, “John Wick: Chapter Two,” and “La La Land. »


- Dave McNary

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Disney’s ‘Miracle’ Actor Michael Mantenuto Found Dead at 35

2 hours ago

Michael Mantenuto, an actor and hockey player who starred in Disney’s 2004 film “Miracle,” has died. He was 35.

Mantenuto died on Monday of an apparent suicide, according to TMZ, and was found in his car by police in Des Moines, Wash. TMZ reports that the actor died by shooting himself.

Miracle” tells the story of the U.S. men’s hockey team that won the gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics. The American’s victory over the heavily favored Soviet team was dubbed the “Miracle on Ice.” The U.S. would go on to beat Finland to win gold. Mantenuto played Jack O’Callahan, a member of the U.S. team who injures his knee, but returns to the rink to take on the Soviets ,and makes a key shot that leads to a U.S. goal. Kurt Russell and Patricia Clarkson also star in the movie.

Mantenuto’s Hollywood career was limited apart from “Miracle.” He did, however appear in the 2006 TV movie “Dirtbags” and 2008’s “Surfer, Dude.”

After his acting career, Mantenuto joined the military. In a news release announcing Mantenuto’s death, Col. Guillaume Beaurpere wrote, “Those of you that knew Mike will remember him for his passionate love for his family and his commitment to the health of the force.”

»


- Seth Kelley

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Documentary ‘Spettacolo’ Lands at Grasshopper Film for U.S. Release (Exclusive)

3 hours ago

Grasshopper Film has bought the U.S. distribution rights to the documentary “Spettacolo,” a month after its world premiere at the SXSW film festival.

Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen, who teamed on the acclaimed 2010 documentary “Marwencol,” directed and produced “Spettacolo.” The movie centers on Monticchiello, a tiny hill town in Tuscany which has turned the lives of its residents into a play about itself for the past 50 years. Grasshopper plans to open the film theatrically this fall, followed by a VOD and home video release.

The film examines Monticchiello’s annual tradition, which has attracted worldwide attention, at a time when its population is aging and the younger generation is more interested in Facebook than farming. It interweaves episodes from its past with its modern-day process, as the villagers turn a series of blows into a new play about the end of their world.

Dennis Harvey wrote in his SXSW review for Variety, »


- Dave McNary

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‘The Circle’ Director Remembers Working With ‘Endlessly Generous’ Bill Paxton

5 hours ago

The Circle” director James Ponsoldt remembered the late actor Bill Paxton as “endlessly generous” during the film’s Tribeca premiere on Wednesday. The Dave Eggers adaptation was Paxton’s final film project before his death in February at age 61.

“Bill was amazing,” Ponsoldt said. “He was one of my favorite actors for the longest time, going back to when I was a kid.”

The director, known for “The Spectacular Now” and “The End of the Tour,” added, “He was even better than what I could have hoped for. He was endlessly generous, obsessed with the details his character, and generous with the actors that he worked with. He himself was a filmmaker so he understood the job that everyone had, and respected everyone. He’s the type of guy who would text you in the middle of the night to tell you there was a great old noir movie on Turner Classic Movies. »


- Seth Kelley

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Asian VoD Platform Hooq Expands Local Film, Series Production

6 hours ago

Hooq, the Asian streaming video platform backed by two Hollywood studios, is expanding a drive into local content production. Among its newest titles is “Marlina The Murderer in Four Acts,” which will play next month in the Directors Fortnight section of the Cannes film festival.

“Marlina” is directed by Mouly Surya,a musician and film maker who is considered one f the hottest talents from Indonesia. The film stars Marsha Timothy and Dea Pan and is a co-production with Cinesurya, Kaninga Pictures, Sashaand Co Production, Astro Shaw, and Purin Pictures.

Hooq, which has the backing of Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros. as well as Singaporean telco, Singtel, launched two years ago. Based in Singapore, it currently operates in five countries, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and India.

Its first local production “On The Job,” is directed by acclaimed Filipino director Erik Matti. Co-produced with Reality Entertainment, its pilot episode »


- Patrick Frater

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Indian Actor and Politician Vinod Khanna Dies at 70

7 hours ago

Iconic Indian actor and politician Vinod Khanna died Thursday in Mumbai. He was 70.

The Mumbai premiere of much-awaited blockbuster “Baahubali: The Conclusion” was canceled as a mark of respect for Khanna, who died of advanced bladder carcinoma.

Khanna began his career in 1968 playing an antagonist in “Man Ka Meet.” He was a popular screen villain, notably in “Mera Gaon Mera Desh,” until he became a leading man with “Hum Tum Aur Who.” He soon became one of India’s most bankable stars, with such films as “Achanak,” “Imtihan” and “Haath Ki Safai.” He was considered to be in the same league as such Hindi film superstars as Amitabh Bachchan, with whom he acted together in “Zameer” and “Muqaddar Ka Sikandar” (1978).

In 1982, when he was at the height of his fame, Khanna left the film industry for five years to follow the spiritual leader Osho. He made a comeback in 1987 with hits “Insaaf” and “Satyameva Jayate. »


- Naman Ramachandran

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Tribeca Film Review: Tom Hanks and Emma Watson in ‘The Circle’

12 hours ago

The Circle” is a swankly sinister little mind teaser of a thriller. It’s a nightmare vision of what digital culture is turning all of us into, with all of our help. The movie, adapted from Dave Eggers’ 2013 novel and directed by James Ponsoldt (“The End of the Tour”), is about a corporation called The Circle that stores massive amounts of data — financial, medical, social, personal — about each of the account holders who belong to it. The company, based in the Bay Area, knows everything there is to know about you — but it’s all for your own convenience! You could call “The Circle” a dystopian thriller, yet it’s not the usual boilerplate sci-fi about grimly abstract oppressors lording it over everyone else. The movie is smarter and creepier than that; it’s a cautionary tale for the age of social-media witch hunts and compulsive oversharing. The fascist digital »


- Owen Gleiberman

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PVR Deal to Expand IMAX Position in India

14 hours ago

PVR Cinemas, India’s largest multiplex theater operator, is to install an additional five IMAX theaters. The new, giant screens will go into complexes in Delhi and other cities.

The agreement will eventually bring to 10 the total controlled by PVR. There are currently 11 IMAX screens in operation in India with a further 15 contracted to open.

PVR currently operates a cinema circuit of 579 screens at 126 properties in 50 cities with four IMAX screens in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Noida.

“We’ve been trying to develop the Indian market for 15 years, and now finally have the momentum to build out our brand nationwide and release Bollywood films,” said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond.

S.S. Rajamouli’s big-budget fantasy film “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion,” produced by Arka Mediaworks, will be released in IMAX format from tomorrow in India, North America and selected international territories.

Related storiesIndian Actor and Politician Vinod Khanna Dies at 70Disney Content »


- Patrick Frater

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Veteran Executive Geneva Wasserman Joins the Whitener Company

17 hours ago

The Whitener Company has tapped industry veteran Geneva Wasserman as its president, Variety has learned exclusively.

Wasserman will be based in Los Angeles. She will also be a partner in the company alongside Brett Thomason and Gordon Whitener and oversee all operations including development, acquisition, production, and marketing for the studio. Wasserman will be in charge of executing an aggressive growth strategy for the production arm.

Whitener Entertainment Group’s first feature film, “Dog Years,” starring Burt Reynolds and Ariel Winter, is premiering as a featured selection at the Tribeca Film Festival this week. Reynolds portrays an aging movie star invited to a low-rent film festival. Whitener is a producer on the film, directed by Adam Rifkin.

Wasserman has served in numerous executive and legal roles focused on content development, licensing, technology, and business affairs while working with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Starz Animation, Arc Animation, the Hub, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, »


- Dave McNary

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Bonnie Aarons to Return as the Demon Sister in ‘The Nun’

17 hours ago

New Line has hired Bonnie Aarons to reprise her role as the demonic sister for the horror-thriller “The Nun,” its spinoff of “The Conjuring 2.”

Demian Bichir and Taissa Farmiga are starring, with shooting starting in May in Romania. Corin Hardy is directing. Bechir will portray a priest and Farmiga will play the titular nun.

The studio began developing “The Nun” last June, shortly after “The Conjuring 2” opened. Producers are James Wan, who directed the two “Conjuring” movies and produced the sequel, and Peter Safran, who produced both movies.

Related

Taissa Farmiga to Play Titular Role in Horror Movie ‘The Nun

The current script for “The Nun,” written by Gary Dauberman and Wan, centers on Bichir’s character traveling to Rome to investigate the killing of a nun.

The demon nun, a manifestation of the evil spirit Valak, came to life in “The Conjuring 2” from a painting by »


- Dave McNary

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Writers Guild Talks Going Down to the Wire as Hollywood Wonders Why

17 hours ago

Indications are strong that industry negotiators will need be working down to the wire during the next five days to avoid a writers strike.

Sources tell Variety that there have been mixed results from the past two days of contract negotiations Tuesday and Wednesday. There were no public comments from either side at the headquarters of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers as both camps are observing a media blackout.

On Tuesday, sources said the AMPTP made some adjustments to the previous offer extended to the WGA on April 13. The studio side was awaiting a detailed response from WGA on Wednesday. One person noted that on Tuesday WGA negotiators came into the room toting papers with “96.3%” printed out in large type — a reference to the record percentage of eligible guild members who supported the strike authorization vote.

Sources characterized the mood in the room at AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks, »


- Dave McNary and Cynthia Littleton

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David Fincher Close to Deal to Direct ‘World War Z 2’ (Exclusive)

17 hours ago

After previously taking the film off its calendar, Paramount Pictures looks to be moving forward with a “World War Z” sequel, with David Fincher directing and Brad Pitt back to star, thanks to the studio’s new chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos, according to knowledgeable sources.

While Gianopulos has not officially official greenlit the movie yet, he is expected to do so in coming weeks. This will likely be among the studio chief’s first greenlit movies. Sources say that production would probably begin in the first quarter of 2018.

A spokesperson for the studio has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Variety first reported last summer that Pitt had been courting Fincher to direct the pic and that the director was intrigued by the idea. The plans had to be put on hold while Pitt dealt with his divorce from Angelina Jolie, and were put into question once the studio, »


- Justin Kroll

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