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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. It’s based on an article by Boston Phoenix alum Sean Flynn, who wrote “No Exit” for GQ magazine upon which ONLY THE BRAVE is based. Should be a sizzler, as Brolin is not only teamed with hothead Miles Teller from WHIPLASH, but Jeff Bridges is in it too.

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Brolin sounds on a par with his NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN accent as he describes a bear, literally on fire, coming out of the woods as “the most beautiful and terrible thing I’ve ever seen.”
Only quibble might be that a movie with the same name was released in 2009. But no matter, SONY Pictures Entertainment (SPE) looks to have a solid hit with this one, based on casting that includes Jennifer Connelly and Taylor Kitsch rolled into the plot.

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What SONY Says About the Movie:
“Only the Brave, based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, is the heroic story of one unit of local firefighters that through hope, determination, sacrifice, and the drive to protect families, communities, and our country become one of the most elite firefighting teams in the country.  As most of us run from danger, they run toward it – they watch over our lives, our homes, everything we hold dear, as they forge a unique brotherhood that comes into focus with one fateful fire.”

Here’s first look… 

Based upon the GQ Article “No Exit” by Sean Flynn

Directed  By:
Joseph Kosinski

Written by:
Ken Nolan and Eric Warren Singer

Produced by:
Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Michael Menchel
Erik Howsam
Molly Smith
Thad Luckinbill
Trent Luckinbill
Dawn Ostroff
Jeremy Steckler

Executive Producers:
Ellen H. Schwartz

Cast:
Josh Brolin
Miles Teller
Jeff Bridges
James Badge Dale
with Taylor Kitsch
and Jennifer Connelly

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Leslie Zemeckis: The Lady & The Tiger and Her Emojis

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.PosterBHBQ
Actor, writer, documentarian Zemeckis has just come out with a line of burlesque emojis inspired by a project she did on Lili St Cyr, among other performers, but the line from her Showtime documentary BEHIND THE BURLY Q to the digital portable images is hardly a straight one. And there’s a tiger, specifically a lady tiger trainer in between, but hold that thought for now.

Her line of emojiis is called Burlyqji.

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Just in time for World Emoji Day today, #worldemojiday.

“If there are guidelines to creating a killer app or emoji, like everything else I seem to do – I have no idea. Just plunged in and asked questions later,” Zemeckis admits.

“I’m always looking to bring the history of burlesque to the “main stream” and it seemed like a fun, easy way to do it. Everything started with my film Behind the Burly Q, and my continued research, collecting burlesque items and giving talks and lectures on the subject.”

“I have many images of burlesque and oftentimes judge burlesque festivals, so I have access to many images and ideas about current burlesque and ‘old-time’ burlesque.”IMG_4054

Some would argue that the real origins of burlesque go back to Greece with Lysistrata by Aristophanes, the sex-withholding premise whereby the wives of Greek officers schemed to end the Peloponnesian wars by deprivation. Thus a good striptease had its power. Proof of the Hellenic origins could be found in the official word for one who strips: ecdysiast.

Ecdysiast is from the Greek word “ekdusis” meaning to shed, plus a truncated version of enthusiast. Truth be told, H.L Mencken, the great social satirist, made up that term in the 40’s to dress up the art form in respectable verbiage.

The current crop of emojis come on the heels of her latest documentary MABEL, MABEL, TIGER TRAINER, which is Zemeckis’ homage to Mabel Stark (1889 – 1968) who was one of the only, perhaps the first, renown female tiger tamers from the 1920’s. Stark was famous for the line “I want to be killed by my animals,” and with 16 tigers, it was a real possibility.MabelCirc17

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey billed her as “Miss Mabel Stark; Intrepid Lady Trainer Wrestling The Now Friendly And Willing Once Terror of The Jungle.” The parallel between men and tigers is implied.

Ironically, the phrase “the lady or the tiger” from the 1882 Frank Stockton short story of the same name, came to symbolize an unsolvable problem, which could be applied to gender relations between men and women.

MABEL, MABEL TIGER TRAINER is important in remembering a woman whose passion for wild encounters in public in the circus can really be considered a form of burlesque.

The filmmaker, now emoji-maker, says she makes it a point to explore the lives of “pioneers, misunderstood, and stigmatized women.” Many of whom were “hugely popular… but forgotten today.” Thus converge the through-lines from movie projects to emoji.

Leslie Zemeckis signs her email follow-ups with “Sent from somewhere on the run … Usually in stilettos.” She began collecting memorabilia from burlesque at a time when it was unexplored, and turned it into a way to help fund the dancers and performers who’d once worn the items – kind of full-circle, giving back and preserving the tradition at the same timeLeslieZ17

But she’s also good-humored about the whole subject, a far cry from current scant-dressers in the pop culture world who seem to take themselves way too seriously. Zemeckis is supportive of the new generation, however. “We all evolve, and are trying to do our best to discover our authentic selves,” she adds.

Perhaps the tongue-in-cheek nod to human sexuality that is burlesque via her emojis is what’s missing from the dreadfully sincere sexploitation of reality show personalities these days. No matter, all you have to do is paste an emoji on the message, reminding people there’s an empowering wink in there somewhere. All for ninety-nine cents, no less.

(Alan Alda, in this clip, grew up in Burlesque with his father on stage.)

Official Word on Burlyqji

Exclusive emojis made for lovers of burlesque, pinup and old Hollywood. From the director of the Showtime documentary “Behind the Burly Q” and the book of the same name, and her follow up bestselling book “Goddess of Love Incarnate” about Lili St. Cyr, Leslie Zemeckis has created a line of glamorous, fun and sassy emojis for those with an appreciation of pop culture and beautiful women.

Find the emojis here on iTunes, and learn more about Leslie Zemeckis on her website.

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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.

Gary Oldman stars as Winston Churchill in director Joe Wright's DARKEST HOUR, a Focus Features release.

Gary Oldman stars as Winston Churchill in director Joe Wright’s DARKEST HOUR, a Focus Features release.

“You can’t reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth,” bellows Gary Oldman as a very convincing and Oscar buzzy Winston Churchill. And he is backed up by formidable talent Kristin Scott Thomas as his wife, making DARKEST HOUR a film that looks to be an awards-slayer.
Watching Oscar nominee Goldman in the form of English bulldog Churchill is oddly thrilling, as he seems to be calling on every past iteration of all the layered characters he has ever played. GaryWH1shtThere’s Dracula angst from Oldman’s other star turn in heavy pancake make-up, a bit of the gangster toughie he played in LAWLESS, and a dose of stoicism from his turn in TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY.
You’ll also recognize faces in the supporting cast from “Game of Thrones” and the ever-watchable Lily James, with Ben Mendelsohn doing his best. Written by THEORY OF EVERYTHING screenwriter Anthony McCarten, it’s a smart script and perfect timing for a world weary of petty fights on the political stage today. This was a fight for the soul of Western civilization.
ATONEMENT director Joe Wright is on point in every scene here. And the official description details the high-water marks this film reaches.
“A thrilling and inspiring true story begins on the eve of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman) must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.”

SNEAK PEEK – DARKEST HOUR (Focus Features)

Focus will roll out DARKEST HOUR in select cities on Nov. 22, 2017.

Director: Joe Wright (“Atonement,” “Hanna,” “Pride & Prejudice,” “Anna Karenina”)
Writer: Anthony McCarten (“The Theory of Everything”)
Cast: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, Ronald Pickup, and Ben Mendelsohn.

@DarkestHour

Official Site I Facebook I Twitter I Instagram

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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.

RECAP

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

ValerianMovie.Tumblr.com

#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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Men Running in Movies & Who Tops A-List of Screen Sprinters?

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 “natives.” Recall the beach scene in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise where he breaks full tilt chased by cannibals, who used to think he was their King.JDRunM17

We’re not going as far back as Master Runner of the Silent Era, Charlie Chaplin, or the speedy hi jinx of The Marx Bros. And no, we’re not talking “The Loneliness of the Long-Distant Runner” (1962) type movies either, that focus solely on the footwork. Which also knocks out “Chariot’s of Fire” (1982) and “Marathon Man” (1976) as running-themed genres.

Neither are we exactly talking men running after women, as in Richard Gere in “Pretty Woman” or Hugh Grant, also after Julia Roberts, in “Notting Hill.” Because those are expected hit-the-pavement moments. We’re talking adrenaline bursts, which is a hallmark of the Man’s Movie. Think of Rocky Balboa, and the all-out man-blast against Apollo Creed in Rocky II. RockyAplo17It’s friendly, but someone will have to die, or at least be critically injured later. Sly Stallone runs in nearly every movie, for personal reasons in the first Rocky to professional reasons and then to save his life.

Not to be outdone by Stallone, Harrison Ford kicked ass on foot, not only as a space racer in “Star Wars” — running on the tarmac and into hyperspace. But Ford’s real running glory is as Indian Jones, franchise fronter, who escapes the iconic rolling huge stone ball, among other fleet-of-foot feats of derring-do. FordRun17Contemporary Michael Douglas did a bit of fancy footwork in “Romancing the Stone,” disqualified on romantic grounds unfortunately, but there’s footage of him in most of his films breaking out in full speed courtesy of his training from the old “Streets of San Francisco” days. (Note: cop movies are instantly disqualified as running after the bad guy is a job requirement.)

Even Daniel Day-Lewis, of the recent alleged retirement from acting, spanked the woods with his super sexy foot work as unshorn cause fighter in “Last of the Mohicans” (1982). DLLRunM17Which brings us to Kevin Costner, if he wasn’t running enough in “Field of Dreams,” which is disqualified as a romantic movie on Love of Baseball grounds, he sure as hell ran for his life in “Dances with Wolves,” though a lot of it was on horseback, granted. But Costner comes roaring back as a running coach in “McFarland USA,” where he teaches a bunch of kids to run on the screen as a way to find their way in life — so it’s not really a running movie, so much as a Why Men Run movie.CostnerRun17

Old Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks himself, is a showcase of Man Running Moments, a literal narrative thread throughout the chocolate-box themed movie.

The new generation of actors, like the out-of-shape “Superbad” era dudes even did their marginally skilled part in the man’s movement. Think of Jonah Hill running with Russell Brand in “Get Him to The Greek.”

But in 2012, Bradley Cooper reinvented the Men Run for Personal Reasons in Movies trope in “Silver Linings Playbook.” He made running from Jennifer Lawrence’s Tiffany character all about the testosterone.BCoopRun17 Since this is not technically a pure love story, because the man is mostly in love with himself, Silver Linings gets a pass even with that heart-crunching romantic big bang BO ending.

So, who do we have so far? Yes, Brad Pitt also runs in his movies, but he’s such a mellow guy, he is almost disqualified on stoner grounds, and relegated to a shelf. But, along comes Pitt’s “War Machine,” and damn skippy if he doesn’t run like a weirdo.BPittRun17

We’re leaving out Brad Pitt doppleganger Robert Redford from the much-hightailing on foot “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid” with Paul Newman, also Steve McQueen, Dustin “Marathon Man” Hoffman, and other 70’s icons, as we are really starting with the 80’s.

Why the 80’s?

Because despite all those A-Listers above, it’s an 80’s movie star who holds the top spot for Men Running in Movies.

And the winner is…Tom Cruise.

If you watch nearly every Tom Cruise vehicle: TC always breaks into a sprint. (Caveat: “Born on the Fourth of July,” for obvious reasons.)Cruise3run17

Freakish “Minority Report,” is where the stocky A-Lister runs for his life. Not like “Days of Thunder” where he ran into Nicole Kidman, lol, which is disqualified for romantic reasons in the running.

“Vanilla Sky” works and you can view his ankle-jamming sequence on YouTube.

In“Tropic Thunder,” not so much as Cruise has body padding and a bald pate with artificially fat hands even. But “The Last Samurai” is perfect because even his hair is running long in this exhausting horseback and on-foot sword epic.

The First Billion Dollar movie star, true stat, doesn’t even have to break a sweat on foot in “Interview with a Vampire” because he is mostly undead and airborne.

“Far and Away” is sadly DQ’d for romantic reasons, again with Kidman, but there’s some awesome underclass drudge running in that one.

“Rain Man” has him fleet-of-foot again, but not like the awesome white-collar deviant sprinting in “Eyes Wide Shut,” which is not disqualified for romantic reasons because it’s really Stanley Kubrick’s clinical essay on human sexuality in secret societies.

“Jerry Maguire” is almost disqualified for romantic reasons with Renee Zellwegger, but let’s face it, Cameron Crowe was really writing about lead Jerry, so Tom cracking a 100-meter dash now and again in that one is all about Cruise control, a self-love story.TCWowRun17

Which leads us to the bell-ringer that pushes Top Gun’s Maverick over the top of the egg here for Most Running Man in the Movies — the Mission Impossible franchise. No, we’re not saying Daniel Craig doesn’t have the Most Kick-Ass Man Running Movie, as James Bond in the “Casino Royale” opener, but TC bests him on quantity.

Every single big-tent-pole Tom Cruise movie, all the MI movies, “Jack Reacher,” “Collateral,” even “Magnolia” show him picking up speed. Especially “War of the Worlds” where he is both apocalyptic and stylish, and running.

Having broken into a full gallop onscreen in nearly every Cruise picture 35 years since “Risky Business” saw him slide across the floor and onto American multiplexes, Tom Cruise is our number one pick for The Men Running in Movies Top Dog. And we’re sure he can handle the truth about what all this running is about. It’s a man thing.TCVsky17

Hey, this is how female critics cover the Industry, ps, that’s why no one ever did a list like this before, in case you’re wondering. Fight or flight, watch your next movie with an eye to which man breaks into a sprint, it’s a fun stat to keep track of, as running will never go out of style in male-driven big-budget Hollywood releases.

RUNNER-UP?

Daniel Craig in “Casino Royale” which could be considered a cop movie, but he is so debonaire as 007, his opening run in that movie deserves a nod.

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See you in the audience soon, and Happy Summer Blockbuster Season.

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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. MattDTwide17In fact it kind of arts it up. Browning’s poem is dark and weird, very King-friendly. But putting aside “Chlide Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” the Browning poem, the movie adapt THE DARK TOWER, which opens August 4, looks to be a bone-broth of genres boiled down to something even its fiendish-leaning author will enjoy.

Written between 1978 and 1982 as a handful of short stories to start, “The Dark Tower” books took on a life of their own around the stark black-and-white plot of good vs evil. However, since this is from the mind of Maine’s maniac who brought us “The Shining,” “Christine,” even “Cujo,” not everything is as black and white as it appears.

King talked about it a little in a video interview on Colllider, basically saying “It starts sort of in medias res, in the middle of the story instead of at the beginning, which may upset some fans a little bit. But they will have to get behind it, because it is the story.”

SONY’s official description for the movie goes something like this:

“There are other worlds than these. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, the ambitious and expansive story from one of the world’s most celebrated authors, makes its launch to the big screen. The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter, also known as the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.”

Roland (Idris Elba) in Columbia Pictures' THE DARK TOWER.

Roland (Idris Elba) in Columbia Pictures’ THE DARK TOWER.

Always devilishly optimistic about the future of mankind, King’s own writing from the Dark Tower series speaks for itself. “So will the world end, I think, a victim of love rather than hate. For love’s ever been the more destructive weapon, sure.” Furthermore, quoting the book series, “Battles that last five minutes spawn legends that live a thousand years.”

And, mic drop, “Because talent won’t be quiet, doesn’t know how to be quiet,” the character says. “Whether it’s a talent for safe-cracking, thought-reading, or dividing ten-digit numbers in your head, it screams to be used. It never shuts up. It’ll wake you in the middle of your tiredest night, screaming, ‘Use me, use me, use me! I’m tired of just sitting here! Use me, fuckhead, use me!”

Let’s face it, only char-hearted Stephen King can use a word like “fuckhead” and make it somehow meaningful. THE DARK TOWER from SONY’s Columbia Pictures is set to fly August 4, and promises to make a mark this summer.DTposter17

More to the point, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better screenwriter in Hollywood than Akiva Goldsman (A BEAUTIFUL MIND), who wrote the screenplay here with Jeff Pinker (an ampersand attribution) and Anders Thomas Jensen & Nikolaj Arcel. DARK TOWER is directed by Nikolaj Arcel, based on the novels by Stephen King, and produced by Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard and Erica Huggins.

Visit the books here http://stephenking.com/darktower/ and the movie at http://www.thedarktower-movie.com, then remember King is really picky about how his books are adapted, and he’s happy with this one remarkably, probably because Ron Howard at Imagine is such a nice guy.

Cast: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Claudia Kim, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee, and Jackie Earle Haley.

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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

Official Site I Facebook I Twitter I Instagram

#TheBeguiled #VengefulBitches

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Hey, FROM HOLLYWOOD TO ROSE Is an Insider Film Fan Anthem, Take That THR

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.3 shot

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.

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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.)From_Hollywood_to_Rose_Postcard_V2

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.

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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.

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