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Billy Eichner in Talks to Join Anna Kendrick’s Female Santa Claus Film (Exclusive)

52 minutes ago

Billy Eichner is in negotiations to join Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader in Disney’s female Santa Claus film “Nicole,” sources tell Variety.

Miss Congeniality” scribe Marc Lawrence is directing and writing the script.

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The movie revolves around Santa’s daughter, presumably the titular Nicole, who is forced to take over the family business when her father retires and brother ends up getting cold feet prior to his first big Christmas Eve flight. Eichner’s role is unknown at this time.

Suzanne Todd is producing, while Louie Provost is overseeing the project for Disney. Production is expected to start sometime this fall. The film hits theaters on Nov. 8, 2019.

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Watch ‘Billy on the Street’ Shower Anna Kendrick with Katy Perry Trivia

While this movie is not related to Disney’s “The Santa Clause” trilogy starring Tim Allen, the studio seems to be in the Kris Kringle »


- Justin Kroll

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Martin Scorsese to Teach First-Ever Online Filmmaking Class

1 hour ago

Legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese is launching an internet-based course in making movies — his first foray into e-learning.

The Oscar-winning director will debut the class in early 2018 through online-education startup MasterClass. The class costs $90 for unlimited access to more than 20 video lessons; pre-enrollment is available starting Friday at masterclass.com/ms.

In addition to the videos, Scorsese’s MasterClass course will include a downloadable workbook with lesson recaps and supplemental material. Students enrolled in the class will be able to upload video questions to Scorsese, who will provide feedback to select students.

“I was excited by this project because it gave me a chance to pass down my own inspirations and experiences and practices and evolutions,” Scorsese said in a statement, “not as a blueprint for how to make movies but as a guidepost, an offering to young people attempting to find their own way.”

Over a 50-plus career, the New York City native has produced a legion »


- Todd Spangler

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Ron Perlman Talks About His Early Career, Taking on Makeup-Heavy Roles Like ‘Hellboy’

1 hour ago

Hollywood has long recognized Ron Perlman for being unrecognizable. Some of his most iconic roles — including “Hellboy,” “Quest of Fire” and the late-1980s CBS series “Beauty and the Beast” — required extensive, transformative makeup and prosthetics. The actor is returning to television, a medium he describes as “the one area where the storytelling is really rich, really deep and really human,” to join the Crackle drama “Startup” in the series’ second season, which premieres Sept. 28. Perlman’s initial break in the industry came not from television or film, but in the Tommy Tune-directed stage musical “Sunset,” which led to his first mention in Variety on Oct. 5, 1977.

What was it like auditioning for Tommy Tune?

I was wired early in my career for failure. So anytime anyone liked what I did, much less actually hired me, it was a shock. Tommy Tune was a singular validation that I had never experienced before.

What »


- Rebecca Rubin

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San Sebastian Film Festival Boosts Emerging Talent

1 hour ago

Spain’s San Sebastián Film Festival, among the high-profile movie events in the Spanish-speaking world, is framing a revolution, in both its role as a film festival and the vision of key new films of the young from Colombia, to the U.S. to southernmost Chile rebelling against a powerless, inept or tyrannical establishment and forging their own destinies.

Both moves, plus San Sebastian’s multiple sections focusing entirely or largely on rising talent, look increasingly important as arthouse cinema, aside from festival attendance, appears to have lost much of its young-adult audience.

“In my opinion, film festivals are undergoing deep transformation,” says José Luis Rebordinos, San Sebastian director since 2011.

The biggest events — Cannes, Berlin, Venice — can still play the traditional role of hosting world premieres. Others, however, such as San Sebastián, while showcasing new films, will have to “work other fields” becoming “a year-round event,” he adds.

Already, San Sebastián co-organizes a six-week Ikusmira Berriak residency »


- John Hopewell

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San Sebastián: Alicia Vikander on ‘Submergence,’ Modern Love and Women in Cinema

2 hours ago

In an early flashback in “Submergence,” Wim Wenders’ latest film starring Alicia Vikander and James McAvoy, McAvoy’s James More, a British spy, jogs manfully past Vikander’s Danielle Flinders on a romantic Atlantic beach in France.

He suggests lunch. And that is about the last time in their courtship and seduction that he, a prototype man of action, really makes the moves. It’s Danny who keeps him waiting for lunch, because of her work, moves their table conversation from professional to personal, squeals “chicken!” when she has opened her hotel bedroom door and he doesn’t react, pulls him gracefully into her bedroom; and leads in their foreplay.

That, Vikander said presenting the film at San Sebastian with Wenders, was however par for the course for modern love. “Maybe for a young generation that is reality in the sense that it can be both ways. It’s about personality not gender.”

At »


- John Hopewell and Jamie Lang

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Box Office: ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ Picks Up $3.4 Million on Thursday Night

4 hours ago

Kingsman: The Golden Circle” kicked off to $3.4 million from Thursday evening previews.

The R-rated action film is expected to top the box office and keep the September movie-going resurgence chugging along. It is on pace to earn more than $40 million over the course of its debut weekend.

Twentieth Century Fox, the studio behind the picture, said it compared favorably with other September bows for action films — “The Equalizer” picked up $1.4 million in previews, while “The Magnificent Seven” nabbed $1.7 million. The first “Kingsman” grossed $1.4 million on its way toward a $128.3 million domestic haul. Marv backed the picture with Fox.

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Halle Berry Chugs a Huge Glass of Whiskey and More Things You Missed at the ‘Kingsman 2’ Comic-Con Panel

Kingsman: The Golden Circle” brings back original stars Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, and Mark Strong, and recruits franchise newcomers Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, and Elton John. Matthew Vaughn once again directs the picture. The »


- Brent Lang

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Box Office: ‘It’ Becomes Highest-Grossing Horror Film of All Time

4 hours ago

It,” the blockbuster adaptation of Stephen King’s novel about a child-eating clown, has pushed past “The Exorcist” to become the highest-grossing horror film on a domestic basis.

The crown comes with some caveats. “The Exorcist” is still the top-grossing horror film on an international basis, having netted $441.3 million globally to “It’s” $404.3 million. The horror classic also made its money in 1973, so this record doesn’t take inflation into account.

Related

Box Office: Can ‘Kingsman’ or ‘Lego Ninjago’ Knock ‘It’ From Top Spot?

It’s still a stunning result for the King adaptation, and a reason to celebrate at Warner Bros. and New Line, the studios responsible for bringing Pennywise to the big screen. “It” has earned $236.3 million stateside. In contrast, “The Exorcist” has grossed $232.9 million domestically. In addition to terrorizing ’70s theatergoers, “The Exorcist” got two director’s cut re-releases.

“It” is directed by Andres Muschietti (“Mama”) and stars Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise, along »


- Brent Lang

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Toronto Film Review: ‘Omertà’

6 hours ago

Hansal Mehta’s latest feature dramatizes the life of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a notorious real-life terrorist long behind bars — which hasn’t stopped him from being involved in various attacks, purportedly including 9/11. The compelling “Omertà,” whose title is an Italian term for a criminal code of honor that encompasses absolute non-cooperation with legal authorities, cobbles together speculation with what is known about the many-alias’d Saeed, a 43-year-old British national of Pakistani heritage who has been at the forefront of fundamentalist Islamic terror for nearly a quarter-century.

At the end of this slickly mounted film, there’s no lack of questions still dangling nor hoped-for insights that fail to arrive. Nonetheless, while you’re watching it, Mehta’s freely imagined biopic provides a fascinating Rorschach of a figure who is, unfortunately, truly a man for our times.

Scrambling chronology, Mehta and co-scenarist Mukul Dev lead off with an incident sure to grab Western viewers’ attention: In »


- Dennis Harvey

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Toronto Film Review: ‘Soldiers. Story From Ferentari’

7 hours ago

A seduction scene in which two very average-looking men well past the blush of youth do a lot of cuddling — not an activity you see a lot of at the movies — is but one sign that “Soldiers. Story From Ferentari” will not hew to gay-romance conventions. Documentarian Ivana Mladenovic’s first narrative feature is a likably ramshackle, seemingly semi-improvised “free adaptation” of co-scenarist/star Adrian Schiop’s semi-autobiographical novel about his experiences in Bucharest’s Roma slum. Looking for social entree for academic research, he instead found himself a pariah due to his open affair with his ex-con Roma “guide.”

A quirky semi-fiction with lots of colorful detail, “Soldiers” nonetheless could sorely use some — well, any — narrative drive. Gay fests and New Director spotlights will be willing to overlook the general meandering. But another editorial pass or two might be required to tempt more commercial channels.

Adi (Schiop) has just been dumped by his girlfriend of three »


- Dennis Harvey

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‘Loveless,’ ‘The Line,’ ‘Under the Tree’ Picked as Foreign-Language Oscar Candidates

8 hours ago

Iceland, Russia and Slovakia have selected Gunnar Sigurdsson’s “Under the Tree,” Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Loveless” and Peter Bebjak’s “The Line,” respectively, for the foreign-language Oscar race.

Loveless” (pictured) world-premiered in competition at Cannes, where it earned critical acclaim and won the jury prize. It’s the third film directed by Zvyagintsev that has been chosen to represent Russia in the foreign-language Oscars race, following “The Return” and “Leviathan.” Co-written by Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negin, “Loveless” centers on a couple going through a vicious divorce when their 12-year-old son disappears.

Sony Pictures Classics acquired North and Latin American rights to “Loveless” at Cannes. Spc previously released “Leviathan,” which won best screenplay at Cannes in 2014, best foreign-language film at the Golden Globes, and an Oscar nomination.

“Under the Tree,” which world-premiered at Venice and played at Toronto, is a dark comedy set in a quiet Icelandic suburb. The film follows a man who is forced to move »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Toronto Film Review: ‘Scaffolding’

8 hours ago

A remedial student struggles with his matriculation exams, Add, anger management issues and the expectations of his working-class father, even as his literature teacher opens his narrow worldview to other possibilities, in gripping, realist drama “Scaffolding.” Like his TV drama “Unseen” (2016), Israeli writer-director Matan Yair’s feature debut draws on his experience as a high school history and literature teacher for pupils rejected from normal academic classrooms. Quite unlike anything else in current Israeli cinema, the film focuses on Israel’s underclass — kids from blue collar, Sephardic families, beset with behavioral and attitude problems who should count themselves lucky if they can join a family business. Additional fest action should segue into niche arthouse play.

Belligerent and inappropriate, Asher (Asher Lax) has trouble reading as well as with his ability to control his impulses. His tough, shrewd father Milo (Yaacov Cohen, excellent) already has him working in the family scaffolding business, understanding »


- Alissa Simon

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Toronto Film Review: ‘The Other Side of Everything’

8 hours ago

After exploring, in festival favorite “Cinema Komunisto” (2010), how the leaders of Yugoslavia used movies to create a national identity, Belgrade-born documentary maker Mila Turajlić mixes the personal and the political to engrossing effect in “The Other Side of Everything,” a combination family memoir and subjective look at the history of Serbia in the late 20th and early 21st  centuries. Turajlić’s guide to the country’s governance after the death of Tito up to the present day is her mother, Srbijanka Turajlić, a renowned pro-democracy activist and former Belgrade University professor. After further fest action, “Everything” will find a natural home in broadcast, where its home-movie vibe will suit the small screen.

For the filmmaker, divided spaces provide a way to understand the country’s politics; she uses the apartment in which both she and her mother grew up to illustrate this conceit. During the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, her »


- Alissa Simon

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India Sends ‘Newton’ to the Oscars

9 hours ago

Amit Masurkar’s sophomore feature “Newton” is India’s entry to the 90th Academy Awards in the foreign-language category. The decision was announced by the Film Federation of India, which considered a shortlist of 26 titles.

Starring Rajkummar Rao and Anjali Patil, the film is about a rookie government clerk, determined to conduct fair elections in the conflict-ridden jungles of Chhattisgarh, against formidable odds.

The Hindi-language film released today in India to much acclaim, giving it the necessary commercial run to qualify in the category.

The film has been on the global festival circuit, winning awards. It won the Cicae award at Berlin film festival earlier this year and the jury prize at the Hong Kong International Film Festival. It also scored nominations at the Buenos Aires, Edinburgh, Istanbul, Jerusalem and the TriBeCa film festivals.

Newton” is an Eros International and Aanand L Rai presentation of a Drishyam Production in association with Colour Yellow Productions.

India »


- Naman Ramachandran

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Toronto Film Review: ‘The Seen and Unseen’

10 hours ago

Steeped in theatrics, fantasy and psychology, “The Seen and Unseen” is haunting in its evocation of the supernatural communion between twin siblings, as Indonesian writer-director Kamila Andini interprets the minds of children facing pain and loss through the timeless language of Baliness arts and spirituality. With its drifting rhythm and peculiar aesthetics, this tale of young characters was made with adult audiences in mind and should be a choice item for highbrow festivals.

Andini’s much-lauded debut “The Mirror Never Lies” also centered on a teenage girl coming to terms with death. After her father’s death, the young protagonist of that film sought answers in nature and in her imagination, before puberty forced her to seek guidance from outsiders. Andini’s second feature goes in the opposite direction, retreating into the child’s private world to bask in its secrets. The effect is hypnotic as the film unfolds in measured and highly stylized movements, but »


- Maggie Lee

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Film Review: ‘Shot’

10 hours ago

Jeremy Kagan’s gun-control drama “Shot” opens with a bullet piercing a man’s back. There’s a problem. The bang should be louder. So sound mixer Mark (Noah Wyle) hits rewind, and as the squib rushes back inside the actor’s cowboy costume, he cranks up the bass. That’s how ammo blasts, thinks Mark. But in a few hours, a stray shot will teach him that real-life gunfire is nothing like the movies. (For one, the pop! sounds more hollow.)

Kagan’s intimate, split-screen study of the after effects of violence tracks both the victim and the shooter, a guilt-ridden teen named Miguel (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.). The kid’s story is too clichéd to let “Shot” sell itself as emotional realism, but 2nd Amendment advocates arming themselves against a Hollywood screed will be relieved that the film avoids political activism to focus on trauma and recovery.

The split-screen starts when Miguel, a »


- Amy Nicholson

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Film Review: ‘Last Rampage: The Escape of Gary Tison’

11 hours ago

There’s something incontestably impressive about the no-frills efficiency of “Last Rampage: The Escape of Gary Tison,” a sturdily constructed and scrupulously well-cast slice of meat-and-potatoes filmmaking that calls to mind above-average made-for-cable movies of the 1990s. Based on the 1988 book of the same name by James W. Clarke, this engrossing true-crime drama is potently propelled by Robert Patrick’s full-tilt performance as Gary Tison, a purposefully ingratiating sociopath who reveals his true monstrousness to his naïve sons only after they help him escape from Arizona State Prison, and enhanced by solid contributions from supporting players Bruce Davison, Heather Graham and, briefly, the late John Heard. Director Dwight Little (“Free Willy,” “Rapid Fire”), another seasoned pro, seals the deal by keeping the narrative brisk and suspenseful, even while he covers familiar territory.

After starting out with a miscalculated flashforward that gives the game away a tad too early, Little smoothly doubles back to July 30, 1978, to show »


- Joe Leydon

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San Sebastian: Latido Films, Colombia’s 64-a Films Strike Sales Alliance (Exclusive)

12 hours ago

San Sebastian — Madrid-based Latido Films and Colombia’s 64-a Films have pacted for Latido to take world sales rights on two anticipated films from top Colombian director Carlos Moreno (“Dog Eat Dog,” “All Your Dead Ones”).

The move comes as Latido, one of the most prominent sales companies in the Spanish-speaking world, heads into San Sebastián with buzzed-up Toronto world premiere “Killing Jesus,” which plays in New Directors.

The partnership sees Latido taking world sales rights outside producer territories on Carlos Moreno’s “Lobos Perdidos” (Lost Wolves) and “Lavaperros” (Dogwashers), both produced by 64-a Films, one of Colombia’s top production companies headed by Diego Ramírez. Both are scheduled to shoot in 2018, extending and completing Moreno’s trilogy begun by “Perro Come Perro” (“Dog Eat Dog”).

A 2008 Sundance-selected movie produced by Ramirez, “Dog Eat Dog” brought down the flag on a new Colombian cinema which often explored the legacy of the country’s devastating civil conflict, as »


- John Hopewell

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Alfa Pictures Nabs Spanish Rights to Diego Lerman’s San Sebastian Player ‘A Sort of Family’

12 hours ago

David Alfarás’ Barcelona-based distributor Alfa Pictures has taken Spanish theatrical, Tvod and video rights to Argentine Diego Lerman’s road-movie “Una especie de familia” (“A Sort of Family”).

Sold by Vicente CanalesFilm Factory Entertainment, the film vies for the Golden Shell Award playing in main competition at the 65th San Sebastian Film Festival edition, which kicks off Friday, Sept. 22.

Alfa Pictures plans to open the film theatrically early December in Spain, on about 30 screens. Dubbed as a touching, adult women-oriented drama, “A Sort of Family” toplines Goya-winning actress Bárbara Lennie, the star of Carlos Vermut’s 2014 San Sebastian Golden Shell winner “Magical Girl.”

In the film, Lennie plays Malena, a successful Buenos Aires doctor who receives a call, telling her to leave immediately for the north of the country because the baby she aims to adopt is about to be born.

After the child’s biological parents suddenly demand more money, Malena »


- Emiliano De Pablos

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One-Woman Band Rima Das on Making ‘Village Rockstars’

13 hours ago

San Sebastian — Championed by Toronto’s Cameron Bailey, playing to rotund applause at the festival’s Discovery section, then clinching a rave review from Variety, which called it “a charming Indian answer to ‘Sing Street,’” with a heartfelt theme of female empowerment and self-actualization,” “Village Rockstars’” own production story stands in real life parallel to the story in the film.

In fiction, Dhunu, a feisty 10-year-old girl living in Chhaygaon, near Guwahati in north-east India’s Assam, attends a mini-boy band concert and determines to own her own guitar. And nothing will stop her. In reality, director Rima Das decided to follow-up her debut, “The Man With Binoculars,” with the tale of kids from her own village forming a rockbound. Nothing stopped her either. Variety e-chatted to Das about a two-women production, made on a shoestring, which now plays San Sebastian’s New Directors competition. It hits the festival as one of the section’s forerunners.

Your »


- John Hopewell

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Inaugural Pingyao Festival in China Makes Last-Minute Date Switch

13 hours ago

The Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival, a new event pioneered by Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke and renowned festival programmer Marco Mueller, has shifted the dates of its inaugural edition.

The festival will now be held from Oct. 28 to Nov. 4 in the historic northern Chinese town of Pingyao, where a 1,500-seat open air venue is being constructed. The Pyiff was previously announced as taking place Oct. 19-26. No explanation was offered for the date switch.

Jia said the Pyiff would bring more possibilities to the creative community and be a stimulus for the Chinese film industry. He unveiled a new logo for the festival and announced that Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing would be the festival ambassador.

“Pyiff aims to be an innovative and beneficial balancing act that will introduce international filmmakers and film genres to young Chinese audiences and new Chinese films and filmmakers to the world,” said Mueller, the »


- Patrick Frater

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