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‘The Snowman’ Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

20 hours ago

Jo Nesbø’s 2007 novel “The Snowman” may have been a critically acclaimed best-seller, but Tomas Alfredson’s film adaptation has not impressed critics.

Stars Michael Fassbender and Rebecca Ferguson could not save “The Snowman” from critical collapse. So far, reviews have been highly unfavorable for the film about detective Harry Hole (Fassbender) and recruit Katrine Bratt (Fergsuon) who investigate the return of a serial killer when a potential victim disappears during the first snow of winter. Critics decried the film’s scattered and incomprehensible plot line and bemoaned the lack of direction for its main cast members.

The Snowman” descends upon theaters Oct. 20. Here’s what the critics are saying:

Variety‘s Guy Lodge:

“Like a game of narrative Jenga, every excised element appears to have weakened the whodunnit’s overall structure, toward a climax that may well succeed in catching viewers off-guard, but in large part because of how little sense, both practically »


- Taryn Nobil

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Jose Alvarez’s ‘The Gaze of the Sea’ Vies for the Top Docu Prize at Morelia

10 hours ago

Executive produced by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“The Revenant”), Jose Alvarez’s poignant docu “The Gaze of the Sea” (“Los Ojos del Mar”) turns on a prostitute who makes it her mission to help the families of shipwrecked fishermen lost at sea.

“Gaze” is produced by Julio ChavezmontesPiano, the Mexican lead-producer of Emiliano Rocha Minter’s “We Are the Flesh,” a carnal allegory of modern Mexico and another movie backed by Gonzalez Inarritu, albeit in terms of endorsement and promotion, which Piano released in Mexico on Friday the 13th of October. Alvarez’s shingle Alacran con Alas and Germany’s Sutor Kolonko are co-producers of “Gaze.”

“Alejandro is an old childhood friend and we both worked in radio, too,” said Alvarez. “He has always liked my documentaries; he finds them – inexplicably – more complicated to make than fiction features,” he mused.

After its debut in Morelia’s pix-in-post program Impulso where it won a berth on roving documentary »


- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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Canal Plus, Telecom Italia Launch Joint Venture

56 minutes ago

Canal Plus and Telecom Italia have joined forces to launch a joint venture focusing on acquisitions and production of films and TV series.

The joint venture aims at bolstering the pay TV offer of Telecom Italia across linear and non-linear (Svod, VOD and catch-up) and allow the company to thrive amid a highly competitive landscape.

Under the partnership, the two companies will produce together Italian and international content as well as board co-productions. Telecom Italia and Canal Plus will also co-acquire sports rights, among others.

Telecom Italia will detain 60% of the joint venture, Canal Plus will have 40%.

Canal Plus’s original series as well as the in-house productions of Studiocanal (Canal Plus Group’s film and TV subsidiary) which have a strong international potential will also be part of the offer.

Jacques du Puy, Canal Plus International president, said Italy was a major market.

“We delighted to be developing premium content with Telecom Italia and leverage our expertise »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Animation Is Film Festival Readies Its L.A. Debut

59 minutes ago

Back in the 1990s, Eric Beckman started the New York Intl. Children’s Film Festival, which gradually grew a reputation for screening the types of independent and international animation that too often went missing next to the macrobudget cartoon hegemony of Disney and DreamWorks.

The fest eventually blossomed into an Oscar-qualifying institution. Yet Beckman was often peppered with questions from festgoers: Where can I see this film again? Where can I find it online? Sensing a vacuum, he and partner David Jesteadt hatched their own distribution company, Gkids, which looked to find homes and craft carefully tailored release strategies for idiosyncratic animated features.

Founded in 2008, Gkids has become a serious name in animation remarkably quickly. It’s gone on to secure nine Oscar nominations for the likes of “Chico and Rita,” “My Life as a Zucchini” and “The Secret of Kells,” and it became the U.S. distributor for Japan’s venerable Studio Ghibli.

Now, Beckman »


- Andrew Barker

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Film Review: ‘Geostorm’

1 hour ago

When it comes to the issue of global warming, the world divides into two camps: those who believe in science, and those who adopt an actively skeptical position toward other human beings’ ability to interpret and in any way impact what nature has in store. An inanely spectacular disaster movie — though perhaps “spectacularly inane” would be more apt — from the producer of “Godzilla” and “Independence Day,” Dean Devlin’s “Geostorm” attempts to have it both ways, treating a gang of scientists who’ve “solved” the problem of global warming as its heroes while exploiting how little its target audience knows about the subject to supply an extreme-weather clip reel with contributions of variable quality from a dozen different visual effects houses.

If you’ve ever wanted to see a tidal wave sweep over the horizon of a waterless desert or eggs frying on a superheated city street, “Geostorm” is the movie for you! And if you »


- Peter Debruge

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Naomi Watts to Star in Psychological Thriller ‘The Wolf Hour’

2 hours ago

Naomi Watts will star in the psychological thriller “The Wolf Hour.”

Watts will portray a woman who was once a celebrated counter-culture figure who now lives alone in her South Bronx apartment, having all but cut herself off from the outside world during the notorious “Summer of Sam” in 1977. As she retreats further into isolation, an unseen tormentor begins exploiting her weaknesses. Watts will also executive produce.

The Wolf Hour” is directed by Alistair Banks Griffin and is supported by the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program. Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Bailey Conway Anglewicz from Automatik will produce the film along with Bradley Pilz, who will fully finance and produce under his newly formed Bradley Pilz Productions.

Production is set to start in New York City later this year. HanWay Films will oversee international sales and distribution and will commence sales at the American Film Market, which opens Nov. 1 in Santa Monica, Calif. CAA is »


- Dave McNary

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‘Loving Vincent’ Breaks Out in Italy

3 hours ago

Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman’s “Loving Vincent,” a Vincent van Gogh biopic using the painter’s hallmark impasto style, has broken out in Italy to a standout near $1.3 million on a three-day “event” run.

In its latest festival berth, “Loving Vincent” closes the 54th Antalya Intl. Film Festival on Oct. 27.

Bowing on Oct. 16, a Monday, as part of a Nexo Digital season of  Great Art to Cinemas movies, the world’s first fully oil painted feature film, which was distributed by Adler Entertainment, punched 120,000 admissions over its initial three-day run this week.

Figure is more than double the daily box office of “Blade Runner 2049,” Cinema Management Group, the film’s sales agent said in a statement. Nexo Digital called the box office “the most-watched film event ever in Italy.”

In further early openings, “Loving Vincent” was first released in the U.S. on Sept, 22, handled by Good Deed Entertainment, running up nearly »


- John Hopewell

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‘Spinal Tap’ Actors File Amended Complaint, Seek Ability to Reclaim Copyrights

3 hours ago

Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner, the four co-creators of the band at the center of the 1984 “mockumentary” film “This is Spinal Tap,” have filed amendments to their ongoing lawsuit filed against Vivendi’s Universal Music Group and Studiocanal for alleged underpayment of music royalties in the film, including adding Umg as a defendant and seeking the right to reclaim their copyrights to the film, its songs and characters.

In October 2016, Shearer’s Century of Progress Productions sued Vivendi’s Universal Music Group and Studiocanal for $125 million for the alleged underpayment of music royalties. The lawsuit said Vivendi reported only $98 in total income from soundtrack music sales between 1989 and 2006, and just $81 in worldwide merchandising income. Guest, and companies belonging to Reiner and McKean, were later added to the complaint.

Vivendi argued that three of the co-creators’ companies, which sought up to $400 million in damages, did not have the legal right to sue. In September »


- Jem Aswad

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Academy Museum Gets Funding From Netflix, Charles Roven, Bloomberg Philanthropies

3 hours ago

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has received contributions from Netflix, Bloomberg Philanthropies, producer Charles Roven, and Tom Spiegel — bringing the delayed project to nearly 80% of its $388 million funding goal.

The museum project has been beset by cost overruns and remains more than $78 million shy of its revised budget. The Academy Museum was originally slated to open this year; it’s now set to open its doors sometime in 2019.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn’t disclose the amounts of the new donations, but the total was less than $23 million. Last month, Haim and Cheryl Saban gave $50 million to the Academy Museum, the biggest contribution to date. With the gift, the Academy renamed the May Company building, which will house the main part of the museum, the Saban Building.

The museum, at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, is designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano. It will feature »


- Todd Spangler

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Lumière Festival: Henri-Georges Clouzot, an Appreciation

4 hours ago

Nobody is innocent. Nobody is guileless. Nobody is good. Welcome to the seamy, sardonic cinema of French director Henri-Georges Clouzot, whose retrospective at the Lumière 2017 Grand Lyon Film Festival lends a malevolent dark sparkle to a festival named after light. Part of the Cannes-launched “Year of Clouzot,” the selection comprises all 11 of his directorial features, as well as screenwriting credits, his first short and several documentaries, including “Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno” which not only explores his unfinished folly “L’Enfer,” but gives great insight into the mercurial, meticulously misanthropic director.

“The awful thing about life is that everyone has their reasons,” goes the famous quote from “Rules of the Game” by Clouzot’s diametric opposite, Jean Renoir. Yet it’s a worldview that these antithetical titans of mid-century French cinema share. All Clouzot’s faithless wives and foolish husbands, all his pious priests and prim school-teachers, from the working stiff to the prideful professional to the grasping »


- Jessica Kiang

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‘Take My Nose…Please!’ Comedy Documentary Lands at the Orchard

5 hours ago

Parvenu Ventures LLC has granted digital rights for North America for its comedy documentary film “Take My Nose… Please!” to the Orchard.

The film is directed by the 89-year-old first-time filmmaker Joan Kron, former contributing editor at large of Allure Magazine for 25 years and former fashion reporter of the Wall Street Journal. It explores the pressure on women to be attractive through the lens of comedy, and features Jackie Hoffman, Judy Gold, Julie Halston, Lisa Lampanelli, and Giulia Rozzi.

The Orchard will distribute the documentary in the United States and Canada on all digital and on-demand platforms beginning on Jan. 9, which is Kron’s 90th birthday. The film is currently finishing its Oscar-qualifying theatrical run in theaters in Los Angeles and New York.

The film won the audience award at the Miami Film Festival and at the Berkshire International Film Festival.

“I am excited to be working with The Orchard to bring this film to a larger »


- Dave McNary

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Lumière’s International Classic Film Market Focuses on Heritage Films in Greece, Hungary, Latvia

5 hours ago

Lyon, France — Lyon’s International Classic Film Market brought into focus the opportunities and challenges of heritage film in Greece, Hungary and Latvia on Wednesday, presenting stark differences in the three territories.

Greece’s heritage film sector, while a niche market, can be vibrant if handled correctly, according to Spyros Damianakis, managing director of Athen-based boutique distributor Neo Films.

“There is a market in Greece for classical films and this year we decided to jump in,” Damianakis said.

Neo Films, whose current contemporary releases include Gabe Klinger’s “Porto,” starring the late Anton Yelchin, and Joshua Z Weinstein’s “Menashe,” released the 1954 Marlon Brando-starrer “On the Waterfront” and Luc Besson’s 1988 “The Big Blue” this summer – the key season in Greece for classic films, which draw crowds to open-air cinemas.

Cinema-going habits change drastically from summer to winter, Laetitia Kulyk, audiovisual attaché at Greece’s Institut Français, explained. Multiplexes focusing on mainstream blockbusters dominate the winter »


- Ed Meza

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China’s Sarft Head Calls Korean Film, TV Blockade an ‘Emotional Issue’

5 hours ago

Zhang Hongsen, head of China’s powerful media regulator, says that the country’s blockade against South Korean films and TV shows is an “emotional issue.”

Zhang, deputy director of the State Administration of Press Publication Radio Film and Television (Sapprft), was speaking on Friday in Beijing on the sidelines of the Communist Party’s once-in-five-years National Party Congress.

China has boycotted many South Korean goods and services since July 2016, when the Korean government agreed to allow the deployment of the American Thaad missile defense system. The South Korean government argues that the system is needed to protect itself from a nuclear-armed and belligerent North Korea. China says the system’s radar can be used for spying.

Zhang gave no indication of when the blockade would end and said that it depends on people’s feelings and emotions.

“Cultural exchanges are not ordinary trade in goods or commodities. They bear on the friendship of peoples and their »


- Patrick Frater

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Morelia: Locarno Industry Academy Ready for Third Mexican Installment

8 hours ago

Morelia — This year’s Locarno Festival, one of the oldest in the world having been founded the same year as Cannes, hosted one of its news initiatives, its fourth annual Industry Academy at its own festival. The initiative may be recent in its inception, but in reach it has grown rapidly having just this year bowed for the first time at Chile’s Valdivia while it is set to run Oct. 25-29 at São Paulo’s Mostra.

Sandwiched between the two, the Industry Academy will drop anchor in Morelia, Mexico for its third installment at the festival.

Running Oct. 21-25, the Locarno Industry Academy International Morelia-Imcine is open to young professionals from sales, distribution and festival coordination, and is an opportunity to network and learn from long-time professionals in similar fields. Tutors are brought in from international and domestic markets to educate, and be educated by, the young attendees.

There are nearly 20 specialized events for the participants »


- Jamie Lang

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Morelia: Five Projects Vie for Prizes at Pix-in-Post Program Impulso Morelia

8 hours ago

Morelia, Mexico  — Whether by mere coincidence or not, the Morelia Int’l Film Fest’s pix-in-post program Impulso Morelia (Oct. 23 – 25) features three feature-length projects that delve into issues of the indigenous communities of Mexico.

Among them is fiction feature “La Negrada” by Jorge Pérez Solano, which plays almost like a docu, and is the first local film to focus on Mexico’s Afro-Mexican population.

Docu “Ayotzinapa, the Turtle’s Pace” (“Ayotzinapa, el Paso de la Tortuga”) by Enrique García Meza, produced by Bertha Navarro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”), deals with the infamous disappearance of some 40 students while on their way to a political meeting, many of whom were from indigenous rural communities.

Xavi Sala’s debut feature “Guie’dani’s Navel” (“El Ombligo de Guie’dani”) centers on the struggles of a strong-willed indigenous girl and her mother who work for an upper-class family in Mexico City.

Another feature debut, Andrés Kaiser’s “Feral” revolves around a priest »


- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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Film Review: ‘The Fortress’

9 hours ago

It would be unfair, but not altogether inaccurate, to say audiences will undergo an ordeal only slightly less punishing that the one suffered by the folks on screen as they watch Hwang Dong-Hyuk’s “The Fortress,” a vividly detailed but exceedingly ponderous historical epic about the 17th-century invasion of Korea by an army of China’s Qing Empire. As King Ingo of the Joseon Dynasty and his loyal subjects remain ensconced in a mountaintop fortress while besieged by Qing forces, a combination of freezing temperatures, starvation and rash miscalculations by prideful military leaders systematically increase the body count. By contrast, viewers only have to worry about being seriously brain-fogged, if not bored to death, as the often confusing narrative sluggishly progresses.

Top-billed South Korean superstar Lee Byung-hun (familiar to North American audiences for his appearances in the “Magnificent Seven” remake and the “G.I. Joe” film franchise) underplays to a fault as Choi Myung-gil, the taciturn »


- Joe Leydon

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Film Review: ‘Never Here’

9 hours ago

Though it drifts off into the ozone at the end, for most of its running time, “Never Here” is a low-key but effective psychological thriller which flirts with that looming issue of the social-media age: privacy, and the invasion thereof. But that theme is only a semi-developed starting point for a narrative that starts like a muted version of “The Eyes of Laura Mars” (i.e. an artist is seemingly stalked by a non-fan of her transgressive work) before gradually turning into a muted “Repulsion,” in which one suspects the real “perp” is the protagonist’s disintegrating sanity.

Starring Mireille Enos in an impressive lead turn, and notable for providing the late Sam Shepard a substantial final role, this first narrative feature for editor and Brit stage thesp turned writer-director Camille Thoman is accomplished enough to suggest it won’t be her last. However, the careful, confident handling doesn’t entirely make up for the fact that »


- Dennis Harvey

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Busan: Hong Sang-soo Film Trio Set for U.S. Release

10 hours ago

Specialty distributor, The Cinema Guild has acquired U.S. rights to a trio of films by South Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo. It acquired “The Day After,” “Claire’s Camera,” and “On the Beach at Night Alone,” which were represented by Finecut at the recent Busan Film Festival and other markets.

Cinema Guild aims to release them theatrically, with “Beach” going out on Nov. 17. “The Day After” had its North American premiere in Toronto and its U.S premiere at the New York Film Festival. The films have been widely licensed in other territories.

Also selling to the U.S. was “The Poet and the Boy,” which recently received its international premiere in Toronto and will next week play at the Tokyo festival. Rights were acquired by Altered Innocence. Written and directed by Kim Yang-hee, “Poet” stars indie actor-director Yang Ik-june (“Breathless”) and veteran actress Jeon Hye-jin (“The Merciless”).

Finecut, Korea’s leading indie sales house, also did business »


- Sonia Kil

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Film Victoria Hires Caroline Pitcher as CEO

10 hours ago

Film Victoria, the Australian regional screen agency, has appointed Caroline Pitcher as its new CEO. She replaces Jenni Tosi who has resigned.

Pitcher was national Gm, film & television post production at Deluxe, from 2013-2016, and prior to that she was director, marketing & enterprise solutions at Omnilab Media. She has been a member of the Film Victoria board since 2012, and previously worked for the agency as Gm of the Melbourne Film Office between 2003 and 2007. Pitcher also served as a member of the Ausfilm International Board from 2009-2016 and as president of the Screen Services Association of Victoria from 2010-2012.

“(Pitcher) has made a strong contribution to the industry over more than a decade and to the Film Victoria board over the past five years. She has an intimate knowledge of the organization and the challenges and opportunities ahead for Victoria’s screen industry,” said Ian Robertson, Film Victoria board president.

“The Victorian screen industry is performing well. An »


- Patrick Frater

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Lumière Festival: Celluloid Angels to Give Anna Karina Directorial Debut ‘Vivre Ensemble’ 4K Restoration

12 hours ago

Lyon — Hundreds of cinema restoration professionals meet in Lyon each year, as well as filmmakers, actors, and superfans, to admire and discuss cinematic gems, which might otherwise become victims of time and technology.

At this year’s festival Jean-Luc Godard’s iconic muse, Anna Karina, gave a master class and introduced the restoration of her 1973 directorial debut “Vivre Ensemble.” Also in town were the film’s original co-producers, the legendary Société Nouvelle de Cinématographie (Snc), a company with more than 80 years of production history in France. The film is in the process of a 4k update from the original Super 16mm negatives, with the restoration being handled by crowdfunding platform Celluloid Angels.

The film is set in the St Germain neighborhood of Paris’ Latin Quarter and the spirit of the late ’60s and pre-oil crisis ’70s sets the backdrop for the film’s love story. It was selected for the 1973 Cannes Film Festival Critics’ Week line-up.

“[link »


- Jamie Lang

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