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Josh Brolin Was Always on the Hot Side & Now Hotshot Side in ONLY THE BRAVE

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent This opener from ONLY THE BRAVE’s official notes says it best: “All men are created equal… then, a few become firefighters.” Josh Brolin stars with Miles Teller to bring the Granite Mountain fire epic to life. Expect this movie to drop Oct. 20, when the summer heat is gone. […]

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Holy Smokes, That Professor Marston Has Some Women Wondering, Wow

By Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Summer is when the blood is up, so this is perfect timing for the convergent efforts of two famous daughters, Megan Ellison and Amy Redford, to bring justice to the humans behind the superhero capes. And it’s directed by a woman, Angela Robinson. What the what, you may say? […]

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DARKEST HOUR Has Gary Oldman as Churchill Looking Like an Awards Contender

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Nothing like a rousing World War II “never surrender” movie to lift the spirits from current political events; thus comes DARKEST HOUR, set for release from Focus Features on Nov. 22, the day US President John F. Kennedy was shot, not a coincidence one guesses. “You can’t reason with […]

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VALERIAN May Just Be The New Visual Drug on July 21, Thanks Luc Besson

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Who imagines surreal lush worlds like French director Luc Besson? This is a man who could plead The Fifth Element in any court of World Cinema, lol. And now, VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS, the much-anticipated Dane DeHaan starrer with runway oddity Cara Delevinge drops July 21 worldwide from EuropaCorp and STXfilms.

M-2 The crew prepares for a scene with star Cara Delevingne (center) of Luc Besson's "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets". Photo credit: Luc Besson Photo courtesy of STX Entertainment Motion Picture Artwork © 2017 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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The crew prepares for a scene with star Cara Delevingne (center) of Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”.
Photo credit: Luc Besson
Photo courtesy of STX Entertainment
Motion Picture Artwork © 2017 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

If you recall how Besson made visual magic out of Scarlett Johansson in LUCY, VALERIAN (based on the graphic-novel series) looks to be on a par with the strange and sensuous mind-candy from Besson’s creative vending machine.ValLogo17

Does this sound like a gush? Intelligent visual forays into the Digital World on screen are far and few between, so Besson has earned accolades in advance. Not to mention music prodigy Rihanna is in it, plus Clive Owen as the head office voice of sanity.

Rihanna stars in Luc Besson's " Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets". Photo credit: Daniel Smith Photo courtesy of STX Entertainment Motion Picture Artwork © 2017 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Rihanna stars in Luc Besson’s ” Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”.
Photo credit: Daniel Smith
Photo courtesy of STX Entertainment
Motion Picture Artwork © 2017 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

After all, it’s the 28th Century in VALERIAN and DeHaan and Delevigne are “special operatives” policing the Human Population, a built-in beyond awesome premise, since “species from all over the universe have converged over centuries to share knowledge.” Even the boilerplate press notes have a thrill to them, as in:

“There is a mystery at the center of Alpha, a dark force which threatens the peaceful existence of the City of a Thousand Planets, and Valerian (DeHaan) and Laureline (Delevingne) must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.”

Nuance-maker Dane DeHaan has come a long way from the bootleg woods with Tom Hardy in LAWLESS. Same for @Caradelevingne who is tailor-made for space, having left PAPER TOWNS.

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EuropaCorp and STXfilms will release VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS in theaters nationwide on July 21.Val1sht17

Rating: PG-13

ValerianMovie.com     

Facebook.com/ValerianMovie

Instagram.com/ValerianMovie

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#Valerian

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Andy Serkis on the set of Twentieth Century Fox's "War for the Planet of the Apes."

Serkis, Serkis, Or How WETA Makes a Monkey Out of Andy For Caesar & Jane Goodall

By Screenmancer Staff

It’s already interesting that the Jane Goodall Institute has partnered with WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES from 20th Century Fox, and that 150 chimpanzees in the Central Republic if Congo will benefit. “I think that the Planet of the Apes series makes people think about the apes and perhaps our relationship to them,” says Dr. Jane Goodall. “And anything that makes us think about our own humanity in relation to the rest of the animal kingdom is important.  So I think the series has helped.” But, what they’ve done to Andy Serkis’ face with WETA Digital is equally fascinating.

Andy Serkis on the set of Twentieth Century Fox's "War for the Planet of the Apes."

Andy Serkis on the set of 20th Century Fox’s “War for the Planet of the Apes.”

Spanning the last trio of primate-themed projects, WETA has perfected morphing their POA actors like Serkis, formerly Golem in LORD OF THE RINGS, into a full-blown simians. Before you start humming a Louis Prima tune about ‘learning to be human too,’ you have to check out the evolutionary process of these CG characters in “Face of Caesar” just released by 20th Century Fox as a visual sidebar to the movie, which opens smack in the middle of Summer Blockbuster Season.

Here’s a quick plot summary from 20th:

“In War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel.  After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.  As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.”

The tagline is “Not all heroes are human,” and it’s going to be harder to differentiate which ones are from the WETA universe as this technology continues its march out of the Uncanny Valley. WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES takes over theaters everywhere July 14. The cast pits Woody Harrelson against the primates mostly, vs Andy Serkis, Steve Zahn, even Judy Greer is in this.

See details below for all the relevant hashtags and social media hoo-ha.

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES 411

Action/Drama

Release: July 14, 2017
Director: Matt Reeves
Written by: Mark Bomback & Matt Reeves
Producers: Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver
Cast: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller, Karin Konoval, Judy Greer & Terry Notary

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES on Interwebs

WEBSITE: http://WarForThePlanet.com
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ApesMovies
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/ApesMovies
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/ApesMovies/

#WarForThePlanet

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Michael Bay Gives His “TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT” a VR Makeover for Fans With ILMxLAB

Curated by Screenmancer Staff

LOS ANGELES, CA (June 29, 2017) – Fans of the Transformers movie franchise will finally know what it’s like to battle a Decepticon up close and personal, as film director Michael Bay takes VR to the next level with “Transformers: The Last Knight” VR Experience, Friday, June 30 for a limited time, free of charge, only in the IMAX VR centres at AMC Kips Bay 15 in New York City and across from The Grove in Los Angeles and in select AMC Theatres lobbies.Trans1sht17“I wanted to do something special for fans, to let them feel what it’s like to be in the middle of intense Transformers action,” commented Mr. Bay. “ILMxLAB was a great partner in delivering this experience, and pushing the envelope of what VR can do.”

The five-minute virtual reality game was produced by Mr. Bay in collaboration with the team from San Francisco-based ILMxLAB, in cooperation with Paramount Pictures, and provides the HTC Headset single-player experience of actually joining the hero Autobots and facing off against the Decepticons in a fast-paced shooter game.  The result is a VR showdown putting fans right into the intense action of the Transformers movie franchise.

“We are thrilled to deliver ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ VR Experience to AMC guests in New York and Southern California,” said Elizabeth Frank, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Programming & Chief Content Officer, AMC Theatres. “The VR experience produced by Michael Bay is a wonderful way for our guests to immerse themselves in the Transformers world, and it is a perfect complement to our IMAX VR at AMC Kips Bay 15 VR Centre.”

TLKHuman“Transformers: The Last Knight” VR Experience will be available beginning Friday, June 30, free of charge, ONLY at the IMAX VR Centre across from The Grove in Los Angeles and at the IMAX VR Centre at AMC Kips Bay 15 in New York City, as well as AMC Theatres locations in New York City at the AMC 34th Street and AMC Lincoln Square 13 and at the AMC Orange 30 in Southern California. This is a limited run, only available in these theaters and these two existing IMAX VR centres.

“We’ve been longtime partners with Paramount and Michael Bay on the Transformers franchise, and look forward to delivering this exciting new experience in IMAX VR,” said Greg Foster, CEO of IMAX Entertainment and Senior Executive Vice President, IMAX Corp.
The “Transformers: The Last Knight” VR Experience is a single-player, fast-paced VR shooter game that teams you with Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Hound to recover a powerful weapon from the Decepticons.TLKBB17

The player must work to protect and securely transport the weapon in order to prevent the destruction of a nearby metropolis. The experience opens with you in immediate peril, pressured by Decepticons attempting to steal back the weapon.  Battling and racing through the countryside and then the outskirts of town, you are ultimately pinned down for a final climactic showdown.

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Renowned director Michael Bay makes first foray into virtual reality platform, offering a battling robot game free to fans through IMAX partnership at select AMC Theatres® locations in NYC and Los Angeles.

WHO THE PLAYERS ARE, THE POWER PLAYERS

Paramount Pictures Corporation

Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a major global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), home to premier global media brands that create compelling television programs, motion pictures, short-form content, apps, games, consumer products, social media experiences, and other entertainment content for audiences in more than 180 countries.

IMAX Corporation

IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you’ve never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX’s network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe. IMAX is headquartered in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles, with offices in London, Dublin, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing. As of March 31, 2017, there were 1,226 IMAX theatres (1,121 commercial multiplexes, 14 commercial destinations and 91 institutions) in 75 countries. On Oct. 8, 2015, shares of IMAX China, a subsidiary of IMAX Corp., began trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange under the stock code “HK.1970.”

IMAX®, IMAX® 3D, IMAX DMR®, Experience It In IMAX®, An IMAX 3D Experience®, The IMAX Experience®, IMAX Is Believing® and IMAX nXos® are trademarks of IMAX Corporation. More information about the Company can be found at www.imax.com. You may also connect with IMAX on Facebook (www.facebook.com/imax), Twitter (www.twitter.com/imax) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/imaxmovies).

AMC Entertainment Inc.

AMC is the largest movie exhibition company in the U.S., in Europe and throughout the world with approximately 1,000 theatres and 11,000 screens across the globe. AMC has propelled innovation in the exhibition industry by: deploying more plush power-recliner seats; delivering enhanced food and beverage choices; generating greater guest engagement through its loyalty program, web site and smart phone apps; offering premium large format experiences and playing a wide variety of content including the latest Hollywood releases and independent programming. AMC operates among the most productive theatres in the United States’ top markets, having the #1 or #2 market share positions in 22 of the 25 largest metropolitan areas of the United States, including the top three markets (NY, LA, Chicago). Through its Odeon subsidiary AMC operates in 14 European countries and is the # 1 theatre chain in Estonia, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain, Sweden and UK & Ireland. amctheatres.com

ILMxLAB

The pioneering spirit that inspired storytellers and technical artists to improvise, innovate, and imagine a galaxy far, far away is built into the DNA of ILMxLAB, the new laboratory for immersive entertainment. Building on groundbreaking R&D work in real-time graphics and virtual production, the combined talents of Lucasfilm, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound are reinventing the way stories are told and experienced, connecting artists with their audiences like never before.

Sounds like a thrill ride for the mind, ps, and the movie opened June 21. Find out about “Transformers: The Last Knight” now.

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Best Spider-Man Ever, Wow, Tom Holland Looks Like It, Seriously

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

We could run down the Marvel list of past Spider-Men: impish Tobey Maguire, troubled Andrew Garfield, and they were great. But why bother, Spidey fans, because Tom Holland owns the new web-slinger entry SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, which opens July 7.

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Hey, is that Jon Favreau in the background? Yes.

Owns it along with his co-stars, that is. Those being Robert Downey, Jr.,  back as his Iron Man/Tony Stark mentor; Michael Keaton as not super-normal, real-world villain Vulture; and Marisa Tomei as a surprisingly bitchin’ Aunt May.  There’s what Robert Downey Jr. calls “the kids,” all the subplot superheros. Plus this has old and new Hollywood folks, such as Tyne Daly, Danny Glover, even Zendaya. For insiders, Amy Pascal, who got burned in the SONY email hack, comes roaring back as her Pascal Pictures pushed this one through to the finish line. Even Pascal gets her superhero cape back.

Producer Kevin Feige sets the scene here on how they thought about the new Spider-Man.

“We introduced Spider-Man in Civil War and you got to see the banter and the fun and contrast between he and the other heroes there,” says Feige. “And now, after the greatest vacation of all time, in which he got to spend this time with these rock stars, he’s got to go back to high school. So, it exacerbates his problem – a problem that I certainly had and I think most people who go to high school have – ‘Is there something more for me out there?’ But Peter knows there is because he just did it. He thinks he’s ready, and of course when you’re fifteen years old you often think you’re ready for something before you really are. That’s the fun of this movie, that’s the relatability of Peter Parker, and that’s why we wanted to do this and reintroduce Spider-Man to audiences through the lens of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

Yeah, okay, but Tom Holland says it in a much more fun way.

Wired for maximum energy, Tom Holland is so kick-ass even in talking about  this movie, like how he heard that he was cast as The One. “Well I didn’t actually hear I was going to be Spider-Man, I read about it on Instragram,” the newly minted web-spinner admits. “I didn’t get ‘the call.’ But no, it was an amazing experience.”

“I’d worked my ass off getting this job. And when all that hard work paid off and I could finally say I was Spider-Man, it was a pretty crazy experience.” SpideySPH17Plus he loves it when people bitch on the internet about the new onscreen reboot of Marvel’s “crown jewel” and “most successful comic book in the world,” according to Marvel Studio’s internal production notes, the hallowed “Spider-Man” created Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

Holland scoffs a little at the doubters, in a good way.

“I love reading on the internet people complaining that there is so much in the trailers because you haven’t seen anything yet, there is so much more to come, the big twists and turns. My whole family watched it the other day, and my family are not ‘superhero fans,’ and they loved it. They loved it. They are my toughest critics and it was amazing to see them enjoy it, which is fun.”

Not to mention working with Robert Downey, Jr, again after almost flying off a building when they met up in the last big bang box office movie, Civil War. Let’s just say, Tom really digs working with the Suave Marvel Franchise Statesman.

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Incredible illustrations as Concept Art.

“When Robert showed up on set, he was so excited to be there,” Downey’s film protege shares. “He saw the concept art, some of the footage and he thought it looked great. To me it was the perfect indicator that we’ve got something special here.”

A veteran of Hollywood and real life, being a franchise frontier is kind of second nature to Downey now. He talks about Peter Parker in such a cool way. “He is not part of the Military Industrial Complex” like Tony Stark is, Downey points out, adding Tom Holland plays it really new, for a re-sprung franchise. “Lest we forget,” Tony Stark’s counterpart says, “[Iron Man] pulled Peter Parker into life and death situations shortly after meeting him just a year or so ago.” But “he develops this belief in Mr. Parker.”

About the other teen superheroes, Downey is equally impressed. “You know what, speaking of homecoming, these kids are pretty damn good,” and then he switches gears to the reconfigured Aunt May character, played by Marisa Tomei.

“I’ve known Marisa for a long time, she’s just perfect,” he adds. “What a fresh start this franchise is getting.”

When thinking about New Spider-Man, Marisa starts laughing, “I feel like a newcomer next to him, because [Tom Holland] was born a pro. He is so capable. [Tom] is adept at everything he does.”SpiderTube17

Then she really takes a moment to say “it’s a gift to act in a ‘franchise’ film, to know you have a job coming. And to be part of something that is so beloved. That the fans really cherish and are really excited about. There’s a fever to it, to be part of something that is so anticipated.”

But is it too big, or too anticipated, you may wonder?

“It’s big, big movie —  with independent spirit at heart. The movie is as much about ‘finding your place in the world,’ as much as it is a giant superhero movie.”

As far as Aunt May Upgraded, “I wanted to try to keep some of the — not just the function, to look after [Peter], to be curious and deduced things and make a strong home for him — I wanted to make her [mine].”

This Aunt May “works, she has a publishing company. She has a past… [But], she’s trying to make these pies. I wanted her to make these apple pies like the original Aunt May, and the original granny glasses, and the apron and the bun in her hair. It helps transition into this new iteration.”

Plus if it’s Marisa (CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE), you get that this will be the first sexy Aunt May, just saying.

“I felt like I was in summer camp when I was working with them [Tom and the younger superhero cast members]. It was like ‘okay, not only are you not your age, but i’m not my age, we’re all 13 right now’ — I loved being with them.”

So you’re getting the idea how off-the-hook special this movie is, even with a kind of human villain, Michael Keaton. He’s a Hollywood insider who’s been around forever, but Keaton as “Vulture” plays a new flavor of heavy here.

Birdman’s Oscar nominee tries to break it down to the essence of his Spider-Man bad guy with “there is, you know, an underlying intelligence to it. It isn’t that simple. He has resentment.”

Vulture “may have been vulnerable.” He started out ethically okay, maybe but “my character [failed] doing things on the up-and-up, maybe — but he is put in a position to say, ‘I’m going to look after my family.’ I also like that he had a crew. I like these guys. These are all working class people. They all have legitimate gripes.”

When asked about the scope of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Keaton nails it for most of us. “These movies are always just so huge, how they put it together it beyond me. You can tell, the director, he really saw it.” Then he stops short, summing up the little details that apparently make this movie The One for diehard Marvel franchise fans.

Michael Keaton wants to talk The Suit.

“The suit was so intricate and artfully made — I don’t think those people (Costumers) get enough credit. You know, special wrenches to put the boots in a certain (position), I was knocked out by that.” Which leads into a whole discussion about Cosplay, but never mind.SpideyNow1

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING  is right around the corner as this summer’s huge blockbuster entry and swings into the box office July 7, so get ready for it. See the official site here, with all the relevant hashtags and hoo-hah for such a massive fan movie.

JUST IN CASE YOU FORGOT THE SMALL PRINT

Columbia Pictures presents a Marvel Studios / Pascal Pictures production, Spider-Man™: Homecoming.  Starring Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. Directed by Jon Watts.  Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley and Jon Watts & Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers. Screen Story by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley.  Based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.  Produced by Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal.  Executive Producers are Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Jeremy Latcham, Stan Lee, Avi Arad, and Matt Tolmach. Mitch Bell, Eric Hauserman Carroll, and Rachel O’Connor serve as Co-Producers. Director of Photography is Salvatore Totino ASC, AIC. Production Designer is Oliver Scholl. Editors are Dan Lebental ACE and Debbie Berman.  Visual Effects Supervisor is Janek Sirrs.  Costume Designer is Louise Frogley. Music by Michael Giacchino. Music Supervision by Dave Jordan.

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Finding DOLORES: Dolores Huerta Finally Gets The Big Screen, An American Activist

Curated by Screenmancer Staff

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www.doloreshuerta.org

LOS ANGELES, CA – PBS Distribution announced today that theatrical dates have been set for DOLORES, which they acquired with Independent Lens out of the Sundance Film Festival in January. The film will open theatrically on the Friday of Labor Day weekend (September 1, 2017) in New York City exclusively at IFC Center.

It will open in Los Angeles on Friday, September 8th at the Nuart Theatre, and then expand to other markets nationwide.

The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival this year and continues to be a favorite on the festival circuit, garnering Audience Awards at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Montclair Film Festival, Houston Latino Film Festival and the Denver Women + Film Festival, as well as receiving the Golden Space Needle Best Documentary Award from the Seattle International Film Festival.  It has also been an official selection at AFI Docs, Hot Docs, and over twenty other film festivals.

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Photo by NHBachs

WHO IS DOLORES HUERTA?

Dolores Huerta is among the most important, yet least known, activists in American history. An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez, her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized.

Dolores tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Chavez, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century—and she continues the fight to this day, at 87.

With intimate and unprecedented access to this intensely private mother and ardent champion of human rights, the film reveals the raw, personal stakes involved in committing one’s life to social change.

The film is directed by Peter Bratt (LA MISSION) and Executive Produced by humanitarian and Grammy Award-winning musician Carlos Santana.DoloresH17

About PBS Distribution

PBS Distribution is the leading media distributor for the public television community, both domestically and internationally, extending the reach of programs beyond broadcast while generating revenue for the public television system and production partners. PBS Distribution offers its customers a diverse range of programming, including Ken Burns’s films, documentaries from award-winning series such as NOVA, FRONTLINE, AMERICAN MASTERS, NATURE and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, and dramas from MASTERPIECE, as well as films from independent producers and popular children’s programs. As a multi-channel distributor, PBS Distribution offers consumers high-quality content in multiple formats including DVD, Blu-ray, digital download and digital streaming. PBS Distribution reaches expanded audiences through PBS International, a leading source for factual content for broadcast, cable and satellite services outside of North America, and a theatrical initiative, which specializes in theatrical, festival and non-theatrical distribution.

DISCOVERY DOLORES HUERTA

You can find out more about her at this link, and the documentary at this PBS-affiliated website. Dolores Huerta makes us all remember that ‘civic engagement’ is an empowering phrase and our civic duty.

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DARK TOWER Casts Wild Shadow with Baddie McConaughey & Pistol-Packing Idris Elba

by Screenmancer Staff It doesn’t entirely ruin the mystique around Stephen King’s eight-novel series “The Dark Tower” to know that the name of the main character, played by Idris Elba in the upcoming Columbia Pictures release of the same name, is from a Robert Browning poem. In fact it kind of arts it up. Browning’s […]

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Get Ready To Be Entranced: Sofia Coppola’s THE BEGUILED Grips

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

There was a time when Sofia Coppola could be at an awards show and overlooked as a famous daughter; not anymore, not for years now since LOST IN TRANSLATION. But in her new film, THE BEGUILED, which is a retool of a 1971 Clint Eastwood starrer, she really comes of age as a visionary writer/director. Even in what is considered a remake of a movie based on a novel by Thomas Cullinan, it has a distinctive feel that’s all hers. The film opens Friday, June 23 in New York and Los Angeles, with wider release on June 30.KidanBGniceWith an all-star cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning, you get a sense of why this movie won Best Director at the 2017 Cannes International Film Festival.

Picture a Southern all-girls boarding school during the battle-weary Civil War era, and a wounded enemy soldier appears. John McBurney (Colin Farrell) adds testosterone to a very delicate and well-mannered yet highly complex microcosm of women led by a formidable Headmistress named Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman).

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“This is my dream cast,” Sofia Coppola admits. “When I was writing it, I was picturing Nicole as Miss Martha. She always surprises me. Watching her, I’ve never seen anyone like that, she does so many different things at once.” She adds that the whole cast is on a par with Kidman.

You want to use a word like confection for the ethereal feel, but that description doesn’t do justice to the depth of rich multi-layered images that float on the screen like Spanish moss.

“This is very much a Sofia film,” Colin Farrell explains. “It’s very much aesthetically beautiful. She wrote every word of this. Her way feels maybe more right than some [as far as directing], there’s an immense lack of tension on the set, very playful. She’s incredibly easygoing and generous to her core it seems.”ColinDunstBG

Farrell is underscoring the fact that a remake can often feel like a re-do of someone else’s vision.

But if you look at the 1971 version, two minutes into the film, Eastwood is literally hitting on a twelve year old, with “not too young for kisses.” And even though the fabulous Geraldine Page stars as his Miss Martha, there’s a creepy feel to their interplay, down the line. So that’s essentially the breaking point for the 2017 Beguiled. It takes a left turn at the way the heightened sexual tension is framed.

“I didn’t know the movie and I watched it, and it really stayed in my mind. I watched it. It was so weird, and I thought ‘how would I do my version?’” I thought it would be interesting to do the same story but from the female characters’ point of view.”

Elle Fanning, who plays Alicia, describes her character as kind of an empowered seductress, but still innocent in a real way. “Anything Sofia does I think is incredible, it was also like, ‘yeah.’ Because it was all these girls and women — and Colin of course— they hold the power.”ColinElleBG

“The original film had been made from a guy’s point of view, so I went back to the book. Because I just liked the premise,” Coppola adds. “It’s such a crazy, extreme premise about power between men and women in such an extreme situation. The idea of looking at wartime from the point of view of the women left behind.”

“You try to make it personal. Try to relate to the characters because it’s such a different time. And yet I loved that it had elements that were familiar to me, this feminine beautiful world. A beautiful feminine world with violence and very gothic.”

“My tendency is to be on the subtle side. Colin was teasing me: ‘Oh, this is an action movie to you, there’s guns… there’s blood.’ It’s been fun to have this mix of beautiful dresses and a little gore. We had smoke machines everyday, and candlelight… a really ethereal look that is specific to this story.”

“Colin is a good sport about being our sex object in the movie, but he has to be dangerous and threatening, and romantic in the movie.” Farrell plays a mercenary soldier paid $300 off the boat from Ireland to fight as a Yankee, so he’s neither North nor South, but emblematic of the unspoken ever-present struggle for control between the sexes.

When the crushing attractions flare up between Farrell’s character and the many flavors of female in this strange closed world hunkered down  under siege of musket fire in a distance, Beguiled really poses some interesting questions about how women express their sexuality. Yet there’s a brutality to their mannered world that Farrell’s soldier-on-the-mend only begins to realize when it’s too late.

Not that every movie needs a memorable line, but when his John McBurney yells out “You Vengeful Bitches,” in a thick Irish accent, it’s an instant classic. Probably because Nicole Kidman’s Miss Martha is so poised and possibly inherently evil at the same time, in a nice way.NicBGbad17

Kirsten Dunst, who plays wronged love interest Edwina, sums up Sofia Coppola’s deft directing hand best, as “she doesn’t second guess herself. I’ve known her for so long, I’m working with my friend, you can’t really beat that.”

Since he is outnumbered in this eerie thriller, Colin Farrell gets the last word. “I’m surrounded by extraordinary talent. Watching these extraordinary women do extraordinary work. There’s an amazing sense of camaraderie. It’s been a joy.”

Don’t miss what the women have in store for their wounded houseguest, it’s a very rewarding fight to the finish.

Focus Features awards-buzzworthy film THE BEGUILED rolls out in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, June 23, with wider release on June 30.

Directed by Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation,” “Somewhere”)
Written by Sofia Coppola, based on the novel by Thomas Cullinan and the screenplay by Albert Maltz and Grimes Grice
Starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, Emma Howard.

Watch This Making-of With Director & Cast

 

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93 Minutes I Rated R

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