Category: Movie Articles
What superhero fatigue? Disney and Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War,” the 13th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has strong-armed its way to becoming the fifth-highest domestic opening ever according to comScore estimates Sunday.
The film grossed a massive $181.8 million this weekend, bumping “Iron Man 3” out of the top five all time debuts. “Civil War” now ranks right below “Marvel’s The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which hold the third and fourth place spots.
It’s nearly double the opening of the previous “Captain America” film, “The Winter Soldier,” which opened to $95 million in April 2014, but that is at least partially attributable to the fact that “Civil War” is basically an Avengers movie in disguise.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, “Civil War” sees an ideological showdown between Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans) and is packed to the brim with Avengers old and new. It’s been very well-received by critics and, now, audiences, who gave the film a promising “A” CinemaScore, which should bode well for the film’s longevity. Audiences were 59 percent male and mostly adults. Teens made up only 11 percent of the audience.
After a $75 million first day, the opening was right in line with expectations, and according to comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian, is well on its way to becoming a $1 billion movie.
“We’ve become so accustomed to these massive numbers, now we’re putting up single day numbers that would be very noteworthy opening weekends on their own,” Dergarabedian said.
“Civil War” cost a hefty $250 million to produce but has already far-surpassed that thanks to a healthy international debut last weekend and a big bump from China this weekend. In sum, the superhero showdown has earned $678.4 million globally to date.
Great reviews and word of mouth will surely distinguish “Civil War” from “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which, by comparison, opened to $166 million in late March but fell sharply over the subsequent weekends. That film has earned $327.3 domestically million to date and this weekend placed 10th with $1 million.
US Two-day Ticket Sales to Sunday from Friday
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
- “Captain America: Civil War,” $181.8 million ($220 million international).
2.”The Jungle Book,” $21.9 million ($24.1 million international).
3.”Mother’s Day,” 9 million ($3 million international).
4.”The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” $3.6 million ($4.2 million international).
5.”Keanu,” $3.1 million.
6.”Barbershop: The Next Cut,” $2.7 million.
7.”Zootopia,” $2.7 million ($5.7 million international).
8.”The Boss,” $1.7 million ($510,000 international).
9.”Ratchet and Clank,” $1.5 million ($500,000 international).
10.”Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” $1 million.
The beaky buddies from the best-selling video game vault themselves onto the big screen with this adaptation, featuring the voices of Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad and Maya Rudolph.
If you imagine the arena of theatrical film releasing as a huge games arcade, then computer-game-to-film adaptation Ratchet and Clank, released in the U.S. by Focus Features, is the weedy kid whose feeble high score is about to be annihilated by a cocky rival: The Angry Birds Movie. This animated feature, directed by Fergal Reilly and Clay Katis, is based on an already hugely successful franchise (if now fading from playground favor), first launched by Finnish game company Rovio in 2009, and which has already spawned a series of cartoon shorts.
The brightly colored, quirkily humorous games, puzzle-oriented but grounded around angles, arcs and brute Newtonian physics, cannily appealed to every quadrant of the demographic map, even moms. So this cinematic origin story has massive fan base to draw on, arguably bigger than those for the upcoming adaptations of the more macho combat games Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed. All Sony has to do to make a substantial summer hit out of this is not mess it up.
Fortunately, for this recently often unlucky company, The Angry Birds Movie is way better than most viewers would expect. That said, expectations are probably pretty low, given the ground-grazing bar set by the majority of game-to-film adaptations. Even for onlookers who’ve never played any of the games the whole concept isn’t even “so last year,” it’s so 2011. Admittedly, the storytelling is not in the league of Pixar or Disney at their best, and with the male-dominated cast it’s a bit embarrassingly retrograde in terms of gender balance, even compared with Ratchet. But the animation punches well above its weight with properly Looney Tunes-standard sight gags, polished, highly expressive character design, and rendering so intensely computed nearly every barbule and rachis on each individual feather is visible.
Given that there’s such a paucity of narrative in the original games and the shorts are nearly dialogue-free and all about slapstick anyway, the screenplay by Jon Vitti (Alvin and the Chipmunks), based on a story credited to John Cohen, Mikael Hed and David Maisel, hasn’t got much material with which to build up characters from the start. (Mind you, The Lego Movie probably had even less to work with.) Vitti’s script sets out to answer the core existential question many might have asked themselves: Why are these birds so angry? Why don’t they fly? And what’s with the green pigs?
We never do find out exactly why they’re all flightless birds, but it turns out that life on Bird Island is by and large fairly content, peaceful, and good-natured. So much so that naturally testy-tempered cardinal Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) is made to feel like a social outcast among the happy-clappy residents and is ordered by the court to attend anger-management classes run by Matilda (Maya Rudolph), an indeterminate species with pretty mauve-colored plumage but her own barely suppressed issues.
Red’s fellow students include Chuck (Josh Gad), a hyperactive yellow canary, and Bomb (Danny McBride), a usually placid blackbird who has a long fuse (literally) but little control of when he explodes. Finally, there’s massive, monosyllabic bruiser Terrence, who is voiced by Sean Penn (a bizarre accidental irony given that he just won an apology and settlement toward the charity of his choice from Lee Daniels for accusing him of unproven domestic violence).
One day, a ship covered in gears and tracks and sporting a massive wrecking ball pulls into the harbor. It is captained by Leonard (Bill Hader), a green pig whose beard-but-no-mustache hipster facial hair immediately marks him as dubious. Only Red is suspicious when Leonard and his crew mates, whose numbers swell at an alarming rate, start dispensing free food and catapults to help them fly and sure enough it turns out one should always beware of pigs bearing gifts. The visitors steal that which is most precious to the birds, and Red ends up leading an attack on their citadel using the very catapult the swine left behind.
Given the need to keep things simple for younger viewers, the filmmakers were probably compelled to ensure the plot traces a simple trajectory, a smooth parabola that guarantees what comes up must come down. But despite the predictable parameters, there’s room for some wry, adult-aimed humor that adds zest: allusions to films like The Shining and classic Tex Avery gags, meta references to photo-bombing and spoilers, and best of all, gags that play on the avian nature of the characters. For instance, at one point Red rallies the troops by reminding them how they’re descended from dinosaurs. Elsewhere, a mommy bird prepares her chicks’ lunches the way any bird-brained matriarch would: by regurgitating into paper bags.
If the screenplay verges a little too much on the homiletic, with messages about family and accepting who you are, in terms of storyboard-storytelling (a specialty of co-director Reilly) the quality of visual imagination is very high. Befitting of the nature of the original games, spatial relationships are exceedingly clear, and the intricate, Rube Goldberg-like structures the film’s world builds up make sense mechanically right up to the moment they get blown to smithereens.
At one point, early on in the film, the anger-management students are encouraged to draw in order to vent their frustrations, and Red drafts a series of storyboards showing Leonard skewered and pummeled and broken. “I call this one ‘Catharsis,’” he says revealing the gory last picture. If that’s the way it works for animators, the team who made this deliciously violent, cartoony work must be the most chilled-out crew in the business.
Black Widow never has it easy. Onscreen, Natasha Romanov has an agonizing backstory and is working like hell to do enough good to erase the red from her moral ledger, redeeming a history of bad deeds that we are only allowed to imagine with acts of heroism that defy belief.
Offscreen, much of what Scarlett Johansson’s character does is scrutinized through the lens of gender politics. As one of the few female protagonists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (until recently), some view her not just as an individual character but as a representative for all womankind. That’s heavy lifting even for a superhero.
Amid accusations that her story arc in Avengers: Age of Ultron was stereotyped and offensive — because, like Tony Stark, she expressed a desire to step back from saving the world (and maybe find someone in it to love, and love her back) — Black Widow became a lightning rod.
Some accused writer-director Joss Whedon of sexism for a storyline that involved Widow developing romantic feelings for Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner in the comic-book version of the Beauty and the Beast folktale. Others were outraged that Widow expressed regret over the juvenile assassin program that forced her to be sterilized. Still others took offense at that complaint, saying the desire to have a family doesn’t mean a woman can’t have a career (beating the hell out of evildoers, or otherwise).
NPR’s pop culture critic Linda Holmes astutely noted that even if you swapped out Widow’s story in Ultron with the arcs of any of her male co-Avengers, each would still “raise questions of whether the story was influenced by gender stereotypes.” If she was Iron Man, she’d be the problem-causer. If she was Captain America, she’d be the uptight one. If she was Hulk, she’d have out-of-control emotions. And so on …
Add to that the scarcity of Black Widow toys, which caused universal uproar, even from Ruffalo, who tweeted about the need for Marvel merchandising to do a better job of inviting young girls to play in this universe, and Natasha Romanov starts to emerge not just as a warrior but a battlefield.
Which brings us to Captain America: Civil War. Where does Natasha’s fifth appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe find her?
This time, she’s on the side of order, aligning — at least for a while — with Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man in trying to get Captain America to honor the global Sokovia Accords that force “enhanced individuals” to operate under government control.
In one scene EW watched being filmed this summer, she and Tony Stark have a quiet moment after being given an ultimatum to bring down the rogue Cap — or else the U.S. government will do it in permanent fashion.
Stark rubs at the center of his chest, where his ARC reactor was once embedded. “You know the problem with a fully functional heart…? It’s stressful,” he tells Natasha.
Scarlett Johansson Interview
During a break in filming, we caught up with Johansson, and asked what she thinks of the tug-of-war over her character.
During a break in filming, we caught up with Johansson, and asked what she thinks of the tug-of-war over her character.
Where is Natasha’s head these days? In what state do we find her after the events of Age of Ultron?
Scarlett Johansson: My gosh, this is like a therapy session! When we last saw her I think the stakes were astronomical. And she basically had to make this choice between [duty] and what she probably deserves. I think up until this point, she has put the hours in and is ready for…
To be, or not to be, an Avenger?
[Laughs] You know, I don’t think she’s ever aspired to become an Avenger. That’s not really a choice that she made. It’s kind of like the events in her life led her to that point and when we see her [in Civil War], she’s finally capable of making a choice for herself. Which is kind of a milestone in someone’s life when they’ve not really participated in the decisions that were made for them. She’s finally at a place where she’s going, “Okay, I actually kind of know what I want. And I think I kind of deserve it.”
But she’s still in the fight. So is that what she wants?
Unfortunately the events that took place … she has this kind of greater calling and this huge pull towards doing what’s right for the greater good. And she chooses that, and it’s a really heroic thing that she does, I think.
Widow appeared to be leading the team of new Avengers we saw at the end of Ultron, gathered at their headquarters.
Yeah, I don’t know if she’s leading this team but she’s certainly, she’s — I think Natasha’s a very strategic thinker and that’s her strongpoint. Her superpowers, if you want to call them that, are her experience, her ability to make usually the right decision in a quick moment, in a tight minute. And she’s not personally invested. I mean, that’s what she tells herself anyway. And so that keeps her head kind of level and clear.
She seems to be leaning strongly toward Iron Man’s side of things.
I think when you find her in Civil War, she’s looking to strategize her position, putting herself in a place where she is able to let the powers that be fight it out or whatever amongst themselves. She’s always a little bit on the perimeter so she can have a better perspective of what’s really going on.
Collider recently spoke with Captain America: Civil War directors Anthony and Joe Russo and they chatted about doing a standalone Black Widow film. They both endorse it, with Anthony saying, “It’s a no-brainer, right?” and Joe adding, “I don’t think [it’ll take] much. I think it’s just a function of where on the slate it goes. She’s a badass.”
Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow first arrived in theaters in Iron Man 2 and since then has become a mainstay of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yet, despite other Avengers stars like Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and even Ant-Man getting time to shine, it appears Black Widow will get a decade of Marvel movies under her belt without ever getting her own spotlight. And she’s helped save the world, like, four times.
In Tales From the Script, X-Men writer David Hayter said he was working on a Black Widow movie, set into motion during a successful run of female action flicks like Kill Bill, Tomb Raider, and Resident Evil.
But when the studios followed this trend with a run of awful films, including Aeon Flux, they decided to pull the plug on a Black Widow film. Imagine if they stopped making male action hero films just because of Green Lantern or X-Men Origins: Wolverine?
Besides, Scarlett Johansson is a big moneymaker. Other than Samuel L. Jackson, she has by the far the best box-office totals of any other Avengers star. And she has already proven that she can headline an action film by herself — Lucy opened on the same day in 2014 as Dwayne Johnson’s Hercules and earned $15 million more, despite being R-rated. Moviegoers have proven they are happy to see a good action movie with a female lead — Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Sicario, and Spy are just a few recent examples. And The Hunger Games franchise has made more than $2 billion.
Putting aside the business of moviemaking, there are artistic reasons to make a Black Widow film, not least of all: She’s an interesting character. There are various origin stories, but basically she was trained to be an assassin and is a villainous character before she finds redemption through the Avengers — a story that would be a nice addition to Marvel’s slate.
We’re going to have to wait until 2018 to get a movie with a female hero in the title, and even then the Wasp is sharing it with Ant-Man. It won’t be until 2019 that we get our first true female lead, Captain Marvel. Yet a character we all know and like played by a huge movie star who has already stated interest in giving it a go, only gets to be a supporting character.
There is a wild gender imbalance in comic book movies, and while one Black Widow movie won’t solve this problem, it’s a step in the right direction.
“We have a character — the Black Panther — that they’re going to do as movie. I think he’ll be very popular.”
That was what Stan Lee told me a year ago when talking about his roster of classic comic-book characters being adapted to the big screen. This week, Black Panther makes a spectacular entrance into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War.
Played by Chadwick Boseman (42, Get On Up), Black Panther is the formidable alter ego of T’Challa, prince of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. He is a compassionate diplomat with a righteous streak who inherits the mantle of the Panther from his father, King T’Chaka, and becomes a key ally of Iron Man in the confrontation between Avengers factions.
While Panther might be new to casual fans, the character is considered an iconic figure in comics history, who’s in the midst of a renaissance as he marks his 50th anniversary. With the hero playing such a key role in Civil War and with his own stand-alone film looming in February 2018, it’s worth taking a brief look at T’Challa’s curriculum vitae with insight from those who know him best.
Created by Lee and illustrator Jack Kirby, Black Panther was the first mainstream black superhero, debuting before Falcon or Luke “Power Man” Cage. “I had some super characters before [that were black], but the Black Panther was the first one we devoted an entire book to,” Lee recalled. “He first appeared in Fantastic Four and then he became an Avenger. Then we gave him his own book.”
Billed, in typical Lee understatement, as the “surprise sensation of the century,” T’Challa made his Marvel premiere in issue 52 of Fantastic Four in July 1966. He immediately established himself as one of the great intellects in Marvel-dom, matching wits with fellow brain Mr. Fantastic by putting the superhero quartet through a series of tests before deeming them worthy.
The Panther would eventually split his time between his homeland of Wakanda and his work alongside the Avengers. At one point, Black Panther became Black Leopard to avoid confusion with the nascent political party, which launched five months after the Panther appeared on the scene. (The Black Panthers’ name was completely coincidental and not based on the character.) But the new moniker didn’t stick because, according to Lee, fans and writers preferred “Panther.”
Those early comic books teased out the hero’s origin. The hidden country of Wakanda is ruled by T’Chaka and is the sole source of the prized metal Vibranium, the super-stuff Captain America’s shield is made out of. The sinister Ulysses Klaw murders the king in an attempt to score the precious element, but is driven off by the teenaged T’Challa.
The heir passes a series of tests to become the new Black Panther, wearing the signature black costume with the ritual toothed necklace and gaining possession of a special herb that enhances his already preternatural cat-like abilities. Under T’Challa’s rule, Wakanda flourishes and becomes an advanced technological society.
Wednesday 27 April was Administrative Professionals’ Day, formerly National Secretaries Day – an annual celebration begun in the US in 1952. A heavily gendered date, it is traditionally an opportunity for florists and chocolatiers. But this year, a movie grabbed a slice of the pie. That movie was Ghostbusters, the forthcoming reboot of the beloved supernatural comedy that sees Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon don the jumpsuits once worn by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson.
In Ivan Reitman’s 1984 original, the secretary was Janine: goggle glasses, pixie cut, questionable telephone manner (“Waddya want?”). In Paul Feig’s version, it’s Kevin: a ditzy blond hired for his hunkiness not his shorthand. The clips released to coincide with Administrative Professionals’ Day – Kevin baffled by the phone, botching the tea run, eagerly drafting inappropriate logos (think busty ghosts) – brilliantly showcase the gender flip that is one of the movie’s key USPs.
The step-change can still leave you giddy. Twelve months ago, Chris Hemsworth, the actor who plays Kevin, was in every multiplex as Thor, he of the unreconstructed chivalry and massive mallet. Off screen, we were still in the early days of the gender inequality debate – sparked the previous winter by the revelation that Jennifer Lawrence was paid less than her American Hustle co-stars, and stoked by Patricia Arquette, who called for pay parity in her Oscar acceptance speech.
The debate faded a little as other industry inequalities took the spotlight, but it still smoulders on, , and reignited recently by Daniel Radcliffe and Scarlett Johansson. “The thing I can’t help but think,” said Radcliffe, “is what guy is sitting in a studio somewhere thinking, ‘Let’s fuck the girls out of some money?’” New studies revealed only one in five European films is directed by a woman – and all movies being made by two major Hollywood studios (Sony and Paramount) over the next two years will be directed by men.
Yet the schedules tell a different story: although most women may still be getting a rough deal backstage, at the cinema, female films are front-and-centre. Not just that. These are female-led films that don’t just feature women mopping up after one another’s heartbreaks, but exploring their own careers and, crucially, their friendships with each other.
So we have the return of Bolly bezzies Edwina and Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie; Tina Fey and Margot Robbie bonding beneath the bombs in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot; Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny cackling happily in Love & Friendship, Greta Gerwig snuggling with one-time love-rival Julianne Moore in Maggie’s Plan; Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell swapping horror stories in Bad Moms, and Bell (again) enjoying a slow-burn buddy-up with Melissa McCarthy (again) in The Boss.
That final film opened in the US a month ago. Despite tepid reviews, it still proved victorious over Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice at the box office. Tina Fey can get a farce set in a contemporary warzone greenlit. McCarthy has star wattage enough to put even superheroes in the shade.
The mother of these major summer movies is, of course, Ghostbusters. Anticipation for that reached fever pitch months ago, around the release of its first trailer, which has now been seen more than 60m times. This is a movie on which much rides. Its success would be a game-changer. Its failure would turn back the clock on much of the progress made so far.
So who ya gonna call to find out how this kind of responsibility feels? Down the line from Los Angeles, Feig doesn’t sound too fussed. He has been here before, after all: with box office-crushing Bridesmaids (2011) – still the best-performing Judd Apatow movie (he produced it) – and then at two-yearly intervals with The Heat (2013), the first truly funny female buddy cop movie, and Spy (2015), in which McCarthy out-ballsed James Bond.
Yes, Feig says, “managing and meeting and exceeding expectations” is a challenge. “But I would hope we weren’t being made the test case for whether women can star in tentpoles or not. That kind of litmus test just wouldn’t be fair to women. If a movie starring a man comes out and bombs, people just think the movie didn’t work. They don’t say: “‘Oh, well, OK! No more men in movies!’”
But the fact that the film business does still react like this stems, he thinks, from its creation of a mythology to support the status quo. “Which is: men won’t go to see these movies starring women. Hollywood’s always looking for a way to get out of a risky situation and if people are still considering movies starring women to be risky – well, that’s very unfair to the women.”
When he was starting out, Feig says, he would pitch a project with a female lead, only to be told it wasn’t an option because: “Men won’t go see that movie, and in foreign markets movies with women don’t do so well.” The only way to refute this, he says, was to prove them wrong. “It’s one thing to say there should be more great roles for women, but if you don’t create them it’s all lip-service. You gotta put your money where your mouth is and actually do it. Everybody in positions of power – especially men but women too – has gotta step up.”
The venom behind some of the reaction to the new Ghostbusters casting could be seen to confirm a sense that some men simply aren’t interested in stories about the opposite sex. Last year, Feig called some of the comments “vile, misogynistic shit”; today, he questions the relevance of that backlash. The bigger problem, he thinks, lies with the internet – “which puts a small minority of voices into a sort of bullhorn” – and the media, which amplify this negativity. “It makes me sad that informs every article now. There’s always some comment about how people are down on it. Well, somebody is down on everything. It’s very easy once you’re predisposed to be pissed about something to watch it and find fault.”
Plus, people are conditioned by what they see on screen. There is a duty to broaden that scope and try to persuade people out of such prejudice. “Hollywood has created a situation in which women come off as bad or subservient or unlikable or boring because those are the roles written for them. What character looks great telling the hero that he shouldn’t be saving the world, that he should be spending more time with his family? Nobody!
Related Link: View the full Production Notes for Ghostbuster 2016
Minimum wage, minimum cammitment.
TEMPS is an indie romantic comedy that follows Jefferson, a loveable ski-bum temp worker, whose singular joy comes from an annual excursion to the slopes with fellow vagabond Curtis. But when Jefferson falls for fellow temp worker, Stephanie, an ambitious go-getter, he is forced to re-evaluate his priorities.
Jefferson (Grant Rosenmeyer) is a lovable ski-bum temp worker whose singular joy comes from an annual excursion to the slopes with fellow vagabond / best friend, Curtis (Reid Ewing). When Jefferson falls for fellow temp worker, Stephanie (Lindsey Shaw), an ambitious go-getter, he is forced to re-evaluate his minimum wage, minimum commitment lifestyle.
Eden Sher (The Middle) plays Stephanie’s witty best friend while Chris Bauer (True Blood) plays Jefferson’s slacker dad in this funny, heartfelt, workplace-romance from award winning director Ryan Sage (A Big Love Story), writer Tim Bennett-Huxtable and producer Jason Duplissea.
Film Review: Temps
If nothing else, Ryan Sage’s romantic comedy Temps illustrates how dating standards have changed over the years. In the past, things had gotten serious when people had sex, or decided to live together. Now the most important barometer is updating your “relationship status” on Facebook.
Unfortunately, despite such timely insights and the appealing performances of its two leads, Temps lives up to its name by disappearing from your memory moments after viewing. It depicts in all-too-familiar style the romance between temp workers Jefferson (Grant Rosenmeyer) and Stephanie (Lindsey Shaw), who, as one character in the film puts it, are “running the bases backwards” — in other words, getting to know each other and doing traditional “couple” things after already having had sex.
And as the pic make clear, they do have sex, and lots of it, with their infatuation depicted in a series of soft-core lovemaking scenes that, if nothing else, effectively convey the unbridled physical passion that often accompanies a new relationship. The performers go through their frequently athletic paces, often with comic gusto, making the segments refreshingly fun as compared to the coyness of so many rom-com sexual encounters.
But, as is often true of sex, the couplings eventually prove repetitive, and the story that surrounds them doesn’t add up to much. Jefferson is revealed as the sort of standard immature male commitment-phobe who freaks out when Stephanie makes the aforementioned change to her Facebook profile. Cue the inevitable relationship problems, which lead to the inevitable break-up, which lead to his inevitable breakdown (he acts out at the office and gets himself fired), which lead to his inevitable efforts to win her back to … well, you get the idea.
Tim Bennett-Huxtable’s screenplay uses such characters for comic relief as Curtis (Reid Ewing) Jefferson’s wacky roommate who dreams of being a dancer, and Lorelai (Alexa Giuffre), his obnoxiously needy co-worker at the sex shop where he begins working after losing his job. There’s also an attempt at drama in the form of Jefferson’s contentious relationship with his slacker father (Chris Bauer), who’s content to do nothing and live on a friend’s boat.
Most of the humor is of the predictable or ribald variety, such as when Stephanie begs off providing oral services because she has “lockjaw.” More problematically, her character is developed less than Jefferson’s, with the resulting imbalance proving detrimental to the film. It’s particularly noticeable since Shaw emerges as a funny, sexy comedienne whose character is far more appealing than her male counterpart, who sizes up potential mates by their opinion on Godzilla versus King Kong.
Directed by: Ryan Sage
Starring: Grant Rosenmeyer, Lindsey Shaw, Reid Ewing, Eden Sher, Chris Bauer, Alexa Giuffre, Corinne Chooey, Celia Finkelstein
Screenplay by: Timothy A. Bennett
Production Design by: Kerri Parker
Cinematography by: Stephen Sheridan
Film Editing by: Ryan Sage
Music by: John DeBorde
MPAA Rating: None.
Release Date: April 8, 2016
Nadine de Barros and her team will kick off sales in Cannes on the idiosyncratic road movie. Fortitude International is financing Layover and will represent international rights on the Croisette.
Penelope Cruz will also produce the story from writer-director Toni Kalem’s adaptation from the novel by Lisa Zeidner about a successful travelling saleswoman on the verge of a nervous breakdown who goes on the lam and finds her way back to herself.
Animus Films’ Jim Young and Serena Films’ Tatiana Kelly also produce. Fortitude International’s de Barros and Robert Barnum serve as executive producers.
“Toni Kalem’s beautifully layered adaptation of Lisa Zeidner’s acclaimed book is a provocative blend of humour and heartbreak,” said Kelly. “With the addition of the incomparable Penelope Cruz to our team, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase such strong female talent both in front of and behind the camera.”
“We are looking forward to working with the outstanding Penelope Cruz on this film both on screen and behind the scenes,” said de Barros. “Toni is the perfect match to direct this project and bring a strong woman’s perspective to this personal and enthralling story of escape and self-discovery.”
Fortitude has comedy Drunk Parents starring Alec Baldwin, Salma Hayek and Joe Manganiello in post, as well as The Brits Are Coming with Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Stephen Fry, Sofia Vergara, Parker Posey and Alice Eve; and Marjorie Prime starring Jon Hamm, Lois Smith, Geena Davis and Tim Robbins.
Vincent-N-Roxxy starring Emile Hirsch and Zoe Kravitz premiered at Tribeca recently. The Bachelors with J.K Simmons and Julie Delpy and The Tribes Of Palos Verdes starring Jennifer Garner are also in post.
In pre-production is the Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan comedy An Ideal Home, The Clapper with Ed Helms and Amanda Seyfried, Tom’s Dad with Will Ferrell set to star, and sci-fi Android with Olga Kurylenko.
Every time you torrent, God kills a cinema.
A new home cinema proposal has Hollywood’s greatest directors at war with each other. Would you pay £35 to watch an Easter blockbuster at home with your family and friends?
How’s this for an idea? Instead of hiring babysitters, trekking to a multiplex, and buying a pair of tickets for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on the Friday night it opens, you could watch it at home. Or you could watch Zootropolis at home (it’s a thousand times better, by the way) and nod sagely through it about your correct decision. Or you could watch them both. Legally.
To enable this, you would need to be in possession of a set-top box (proposed cost: $150, or £105) and would pay a fee ($50, or £35) to hire each film for a 48-hour period. Get the neighbours or your best friends round. Order in pizza. Not worry about who has to drive.
This is the concept of Screening Room, a new start-up rental proposal backed by Napster’s co-founder, Sean Parker. Hollywood is rapidly taking sides on it. Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, JJ Abrams and Martin Scorsese are already shareholders, while Christopher Nolan and James Cameron have positioned themselves firmly in the “anti” camp.
You can expect the arguments for and against to rumble on for some time. The scheme’s fans, like Jackson, argue that it will “expand the audience for a movie”, rather than shifting it from cinema to living room. Parents of young children, for instance, who would never customarily manage the trip out, would find themselves in a position to watch new releases. Jackson sees a “critical point of difference” with earlier attempts to collapse the window between theatrical and home viewing debuts.
“It does not play off studio against theatre owner,” he says of Screening Room. “Instead it respects both and is structured to support the long-term health of both exhibitors and distributors – resulting in greater sustainability for the wider film industry itself.”
The anti brigade are wary of a paradigm shift, though, away from what Avatar producer Jon Landau calls “the in-theater communal experience”. Cinema owners obviously fear a reduction in the all-important selling of popcorn and soft drinks – the markup on these, often an exorbitant 85%, makes a critical difference to their overall profit margins, since studios can receive as much as 90-95% of the gross tickets sales in the first week.
Cinemas are already fighting to hold on to their footfall, with the proliferation of home viewing platforms, blockbuster TV series, and the narrowing of the window between theatrical release and rental. Isn’t this yet another reason to stay at home? Theatre owners such as Art House Convergence (AHC), a speciality cinema organisation comprising 600 different businesses, certainly think so. They issued a stern open letter about the potential economic impact of Parker’s proposal.
“[The] loss of revenue through box office decline and piracy will result in a loss of jobs, both entry level and long-term, from part time concessions and ticket-takers to full time projectionists and programmers, and will negatively impact local establishments in the restaurant industry and other nearby businesses,” the letter said. The UK’s Cinema Association has also weighed in, calling it “a massive risk”.
Parker and his co-backer, the music executive Prem Akkaraju, have nonetheless been canny about recruiting support, partly by proposing to cut in cinema chains on as much as $20 out of the $50 for each rental, and sweetening the deal for cash-strapped consumers with free cinema tickets thrown in.
This would offset what may sound like a steep rental cost, but some analysts actually view the price point as too low, pointing out that it would be possible for 10 teenage girls to hold a sleepover screening of Frozen 2 at a cost of just $5 each: good value as far as families are concerned, but “cannibalisation” in industry parlance.
Previously, the only device which studios would permit to download (rather than streaming) first-run films was a monster of a thing called PRIMA, an ultra-high-end service you had to get installed in a closet, which cost a pretty $35,000 (£24,750) and required individual rental fees of $500 (£350) – making it singularly unlikely to threaten the mass-market dollars the cinema industry depends on.
Lili Elbe defied convention and pushed the boundaries of medical science to become the first transgendered woman. But at what cost?
Einar Wegener would kill himself in the spring. He had chosen a date – May 1, 1930 – after a year spent in torment. The cause of his suffering was quite simple: he was sure he was a woman, born into the wrong body. Or perhaps it was more complicated: sometimes Wegener, whose life is soon to be portrayed on film by the Oscar-winning British actor Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl, felt he was two people in the same body, each fighting for supremacy.
One was a Danish landscape painter, a steadfast man who, in his own words, “could withstand storms”. He was married to a woman whose strength and talent matched, or perhaps even surpassed, his own: Gerda Wegener, a successful Art Deco illustrator who produced portraits of fashionable women for magazines such as Vogue and La Vie Parisienne.
The other shared none of these qualities. Lili Elbe was, as she set down in letters and notes for an autobiography, a “thoughtless, flighty, very superficially-minded woman”, prone to fits of weeping and barely able to speak in front of powerful men. But despite her womanly defects, by February 1930 she was becoming too powerful for Wegener to resist. “I am finished,” he wrote at the time. “Lili has known this for a long time. That’s how matters stand. And consequently she rebels more vigorously every day.”