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. […]
by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent It’s fitting that Leslie Zemeckis is in Italy when we decide to do an interview, because the word burlesque is derived from Italian roots in “burla,” meaning mockery, to poke fun yet shine a spotlight on sexuality. Actor, writer, documentarian Zemeckis has just come out with a line of […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
EuropaCorp and STXfilms will release VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS in theaters nationwide on July 21.
# # #
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.
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
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
# # #
by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent You could say it’s a sweaty little secret, but in ninety-nine percent of all enduring Hollywood blockbuster smash hits, inevitably some man will break into a sprint to save his life. Consider Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow as a running man, from himself and various Admirals, Captains, Dead Men, and […]
Curated by Screenmancer Staff
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.
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.
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.
# # #
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 […]
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.With 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).
“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.”
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.”
“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.
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
93 Minutes I Rated R
# # #
by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent
Who doesn’t love The Hollywood Reporter, a trade paper of record since 1930 at the dawn of American Cinema? So what do you do when THR lukewarmly reviews a film that is a fantastically written exploration of the interplay between fans and films, between human superpowers and caped crusaders? You write a counter-review, and here it is: this is about co-director Liz Graham and Matt Jacobs’ freshly screened FROM HOLLYWOOD TO ROSE. It’s playing on a weeklong run at Laemmle Music Hall that began last Friday, June 16, so you still have time to catch it.
Starring Eve Annenberg (writer-director of Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish) in a tacky bridal gown on an LA Metro Bus odyssey after a near-miss at matrimony, her veiled crusader of personal discovery teams up with Bradley J. Herman, Maxx Maulion, stage actress Nija Okoro, local standup Isadora O’Boto, MMA champion Krzysztof Soszynski (Logan), Linda Bisesti and Chia Chen. It’s not exactly The Justice League, but they all have pop cultural references that thread together the multicultural experience that is Los Angeles. And it works wonders for Wedding Woman.
Just to cheat the system for you, and give film fans fair access to the movie, here are actual press notes on the film, with a synopsis so you get a gist of where this film is headed.
“In the city of Angels, everyone is on a quest. A disheveled, middle-aged woman in a bridal gown boards a Metro bus on Hollywood Blvd in the middle of the night. As the bus heads further west, she meets an assortment of eccentrics and social outcasts who make her question where she’s been and where she’s going. Each person she meets is at their own personal crossroads, who in turn shape the course of her bizarre journey.”
Ironically, coming from the film’s publicity folks, this is lacking in hyperbole and the extra “tulle dimension” that FROM HOLLYWOOD TO ROSE offers diehard film buffs. ‘Tangerine Meets Canterbury Tales Set in Glitterati LaLaLand,’ is a more fitting tagline, but they got the quest part right.
Here’s something very insider fanboy and fangirl already: if you Google the title it will return results for the trip from Hollywood to Rose Avenue in Venice, which is awesome in itself. Not to mention the iconic Ballerina Clown is shown for its weirdly unpredictable staying power as a local icon despite the place going from Muscle Beach to Silicon Beach these days, with nosebleed rents and attitudes you used to only see on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, ps. So the movie also shines a spot on a place that once was cool and is now so overpriced you want to pitch a tent in protest.
Taking on the Marvel Universe, Willow, Blade Runner, Bruce Lee, even that reptilians-live-inside-the-hollow-earth yadda, FROM HOLLYWOOD TO ROSE does a mind-meld for film fans that is of epic proportions. It taps into the inner stat and Easter Egg zone in those movie people who show up at Comic-Cons in full regalia, know what cosplay is, and collect lobby cards.
Plus there’s a gummy bear fight with the near-miss sister-in-law and crazy people we see on the street every day take on a mythic significance as the canaries in this coal mine we are all currently living in. Let’s face it, the remake of Blade Runner with Ryan Gosling has most of us a little nervous, but hopeful that the 1982 Blade Runner is celebrated even more for its cult replicant allegories to our plastic surgery dystopian now.
Embedded in this so-called Woman-in-a-Wedding-Dress saga is a full display of the power of great movies to make great memories and bring out the best in people. (No, I’m not kidding. Ever wonder why movies are America’s number one lifestyle export? Because they are magical when done correctly.)
You’ve got exceptional writing here from Matt Jacobs and a standout threading of stories from the debut team of Liz Graham and Jacobs. There is not one moment of dead air, and the film treats people’s obsessions and adoration of pop culture rabbit holes with reverence.
FROM HOLLYWOOD TO ROSE points out that we all wear costumes is real life, not just in DC Comics, as a Bus Driver disrobes and frees himself. It also pokes hard at the emotional reactions to a simple white gown, a piece of clothing so imbued with primal subtext, it can literally freak people out. Not to mention the “fish lamp,” which is just as powerful as any Orb or Seeing Stone in how it moves the plot along.
The themes touched on here are the kind of uniting cross-generational, cross-cultural conversations that the Meaningful Movies inspire. Yes, including how important Batman is to some kids growing up, or Lord of the Rings to others, even seemingly hokey 80’s quest movies — all those adventure tales that somehow add you into the picture just by watching.
So embedded in this so-called Woman-in-a-Wedding-Dress tale about “a group of interconnected eccentric strangers over the course of one long night on the LA Metro system,” is a full display of the power of great movies to make great memories and bring out the best in people. With all due respect to The Hollywood Reporter, you’ll love this film because it’s about us, in front of the screen, fitting our lives into a darkened room with a bunch of crazy strangers waiting for us outside in real life.
Liz Graham’s and Matt Jacobs’ From Hollywood to Rose premiered at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, where it took the prize for Best Comedy Film and went on to screen at the Manhattan Film Festival, winning Best Comedic Screenplay. From Hollywood to Rose opened in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Music Hall last Friday, June 16th for a weeklong run.
Get tickets and info here for The Laemmle in Los Angeles.
# # #