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‘Dirty Dancing’ at 30: How Baby and Johnny Won Over the Skeptics

48 minutes ago

It’s been 30 years since Baby and Johnny had the time of their life, but “Dirty Dancing” remains as popular as when it opened on Aug. 21, 1987. Actually, it’s even more popular: When the ABC remake aired May 24 this year, fans immediately registered anger and/or disappointment on social media. It was a reminder that the magic of the 1987 version could not be duplicated.

The original “Dirty Dancing” was one of the summer’s biggest surprises. It was filmed on a $6 million budget and earned $213 million at the box office, plus has a long and booming afterlife in video and spinoffs.

Filming of the Vestron movie — written by Eleanor Bergstein and directed by Emile Ardolino — was done on two main locations: Lake Lure in N.C., and the Mountain Lake Lodge in Giles County, Va. Mountain Lake was responsible for many of the exterior shots. The lodge, built in the 1930s, had »


- Tim Gray

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‘Scary Mother’ Wins at Sarajevo Film Festival; Bosnia-Herzegovina Selects Oscar Entry

1 hour ago

The 23rd Sarajevo Film Festival has wrapped with the announcement of Ana Urushadze’s “Scary Mother” as winner of the fest’s top prize, while host country Bosnia-Herzegovina has picked its entry in the race for the foreign-language Academy Award.

Scary Mother” won the Heart of Sarajevo on Wednesday night, the festival’s prize for best feature film which includes a €16,000 ($18,800) award. The Georgian-language movie, which is a co-production between Georgia and Estonia, was written and directed by Urushadze (pictured center).

The drama stars Nata Murvanidze (pictured, far right) as a 50-year-old housewife struggling to choose between her family life and a passion for writing which she has suppressed for years. Deciding to following her passion, she plunges into writing, sacrificing herself mentally and physically. The film, produced by Lasha Khalvashi (holding the Heart of Sarajevo) and Tinatin Kajrislvili (far left), also won the Cineuropa Nagrada partner’s award from the Association of Filmmakers of Bosnia and »


- Robert Mitchell

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Australian Courts Order 59 Piracy Sites to be Blocked

1 hour ago

In major victories for Hollywood and the local film industries, Australian Federal courts have ordered the country’s major telecoms and Internet providers to block access to 59 websites that carry pirated film and TV content. The studios and distributors have been fighting legal battles Down Under for several years.

The decisions came on Friday in two separate rulings. In a case brought by Village Roadshow, the judge ordered telcos including Telstra, Optus and Tpg to block 42 piracy sites. In a case brought by Foxtel, a second judge ordered the blocking of another 17 sites.

In the Village Roadshow case the judge said that copyright violations were “flagrant and reflect a blatant disregard for copyright owners.” Some, he said, offer tutorials on “how to frustrate any legal action.” The ISPs have 15 days to block the 59 sites and 127 domains.

Sites to be blocked include PrimeWire, MegaShare, Eztv, Limetorrents, Project Free TV, Watch Series, KissCartoon, »


- Patrick Frater

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Haugesund: ‘Sound of Noise’ Producer Steps up Ambitions (Exclusive)

2 hours ago

New Swedish production company Silver Films is launching with the English-lingo psycho thriller “Car:y” The feature project will be pitched at New Nordic Films’ Nordic Genre Boost strand in Haugesund, which runs Aug. 22-25, and will epitomize what Silver Films stands for: Audience-driven artistic content.

The new Stockholm-based company is co-founded by writer/director/producer Olivier Guerpillon – whose production credits include the critically-acclaimed “Sound of Noise,” released by Magnolia Pictures in the U.S., and “Broken Hills Blues” – and writer/producer Anna Byvald (“Maggie in Wonderland”).

“In a highly polarized Swedish market where creators of smaller films struggle to stay afloat, it makes sense for two indie producers with similar paths and tastes to join forces,” said the French-Swedish producer who intends to build on his tight relationships with the French and European film industry to create ‘internationally oriented content with a unique point of view’.

He added: “We want to take our expertise to the next »


- Annika Pham

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Sanfic: Fernando Guzzoni Prepares First English-language Feature (Exclusive)

2 hours ago

Chilean filmmaker Fernando Guzzoni, whose critically lauded father-son drama “Jesus” bows Sept. 1 in the U.S. via Breaking Glass, is developing his first English-language pic for Focus Features.

“We’ve been in talks since Toronto [where “Jesus” had its world premiere] where they asked me to present them a project,” said Guzzoni.

Titled “People Still Die of Love,” the romantic drama is a “reflection on the crisis of modern love, where relationships are often fleeting,” but tinged with dark humor, said Guzzoni. He has written a first draft in Spanish, which he’ll later write in English, he said.

Since it has an urban setting, he’s hoping to shoot in New York or Los Angeles, or possibly the U.K.

Guzzoni is closing co-production deals for his third feature, “Blanca,” with Argentina’s Ivan Granovsky and Marion Klotz of Autocroma boarding the project. He’s also in talks with potential co-producers from France, Germany, Mexico and the U.S. »


- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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San Sebastian: Glenn Close-starrer ‘The Wife’ Selected as Closing Night Film

3 hours ago

Madrid — Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce-starrer “The Wife” will close the 65th San Sebastian Festival on Sept. 30, where the film’s European premiere will see the festival end with an upscale tale of a woman’s belated empowerment, a showcase for Close and Pryce’ mano a mano acting talents and, in industrial terms, a blue-chip U.S.-U.K.-Scandinavia production.

Close, a six-time Oscar nominee, will present the film at San Sebastián, along with Pryce, its Swedish director Björn Runge (“Happy End”) and co-star Annie Stark (“Albert Nobbs”).

Produced by Anonymous Content, Meta Film,Tempo Productions, Spark Film and Television, and Silver Reel, “The Wife” turns on Joan Castleman (Close) who is married to a Nobel Prize-winning American novelist (Pryce), the kind of man who thinks he owns the world and his wife.

On the eve of the Nobel Prize award ceremony, Close, who has “spent 40 years ignoring her own literary talents to fan the »


- John Hopewell

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Film Review: ‘Shot Caller’

3 hours ago

While American audiences wait for the Hollywood remake of Jacques Audiard’s gritty 2010 French thriller “A Prophet,” Ric Roman Waugh swoops in with a comparably gritty prison epic of his own: Debuting on DirecTV two weeks before hitting theaters, “Shot Caller” dramatizes how a hardcore stint behind bars transforms an otherwise docile citizen — in this case, a white-collar wheeler-dealer (Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) convicted of a DUI manslaughter charge and tossed in with the violent offenders — into a ruthless crime boss.

The character’s arc proves considerably more complex than that description suggests, as Waugh forgoes cheap action-movie gimmicks, offering up instead a haunting psychological portrait of an intelligent man forced to completely reinvent himself before he can even dream of seeking redemption for his previous sins. “Shot Caller” marks the third time that writer-director Waugh (who previously helmed “Felon” and “Snitch”) has taken audiences into this intimidating underworld, and the tough, no-punches-pulled »


- Peter Debruge

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Dealing With the Past: Sarajevo Film Festival Addresses Balkan Wars

4 hours ago

Two decades after the bloody Balkan wars, reconciliation in the region can still be hard to come by. The Sarajevo Film Festival is trying to do its part with Dealing with the Past, a program launched last year that comprises a festival sidebar of films dealing with the wars and their aftermath and an industry section called the True Stories Market.

The market seeks to connect filmmakers with organizations that are documenting and researching the conflict with the aim of bringing dramatic fact-based stories to light and to wider audiences through documentaries, feature films, and television productions.

This year’s True Stories Market presented nine stories, including “Profile of a Mercenary – Making Money Off the War or Crimes,” by the Sarajevo-based Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (Birn). The story focuses on a former convict who had served time for robbery and attempted murder before going on to serve as a mercenary, first »


- Ed Meza

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Film Review: ‘California Typewriter’

6 hours ago

Vinyl made a comeback, and so did slow food and long beards. So why not the typewriter? Actually, there’s a good reason why not: If you’re composing on a typewriter — a letter, say — and you change your mind about a word or a sentence you’ve just written, then you have to white it out or x it out. It’s an added task, and the result will likely be a tad smudgy. On the typewriter, every single keystroke is a tiny punch of commitment. (The seamless clickety-clack of a computer keyboard, with its instant erasability…not so much.) But according to “California Typewriter,” a lively and appealing analog-nostalgia documentary, it’s that very physicality that makes the typewriter a machine of the past that deserves to have a place in the future. As the movie sees it, the typewriter isn’t just for saying things. It’s for saying them and meaning them.

Directed »


- Owen Gleiberman

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‘King Arthur’ Rules DVD, Blu-ray Disc Sales Charts

7 hours ago

Two new releases took the two top spots on the national home video sales charts for the week that ended Aug. 12, led by Warner’s “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” the latest retelling of the saga of the mythical British king.

“Arthur” debuted at No. 1 on both the Npd VideoScan overall disc sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart. The film made less than $40 million in U.S. theaters and was panned by critics, with the reviewer for the Chicago Tribune calling it a “grim and stupid thing.” Nearly 40 films have been made about about King Arthur, the earliest one in 1904.

Debuting at No. 2 on the overall disc sales chart only was “Snatched,” which opened theatrically the same weekend (May 12-14) as “Arthur” and finished second, with $19.5 million, to $15.4 million for third-ranked “Arthur.” The comedy, from 20th Century Fox, stars »


- Thomas K. Arnold

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Chinese Investor Launches Puji Films, Backs Peter Guber’s Mandalay Endurance

10 hours ago

Shanghai-based investment firm Puji Capital has launched a movie investment subsidiary, Puji Films, whose first move is to back former Columbia boss Peter Guber’s new Mandalay Endurance Media Ventures.

Memv is a joint enterprise between Mandalay Entertainment, Endurance Media and sports owner Jeff Vinik. Puji describes Memv as a production, financing, and international distribution platform with a focus on producing and distributing star-driven action, thriller, and comedy films. It is headed by Guber and Steve Richards (“The Matrix: Reloaded,” “The Book of Eli”) and backed by major shareholders including Vinik, Mandalay Entertainment COO Paul Schaeffer, and Peter Strauss, former Lionsgate chairman.

Puji Capital was previously involved as an investor in aXiomatic, an eSports venture headed by Guber and Ted Leonsis, and as a backer of Dalian Wanda’s abortive attempt to buy Dick Clark Productions. Puji Films is headed by Lily Zhao.

“We are at an interesting inflection with China’s film industry,” Zhao »


- Patrick Frater

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Esai Morales Threatens Federal Election Complaint Against SAG-aftra President Gabrielle Carteris

11 hours ago

With a week to go in a heated SAG-aftra election, Esai Morales has warned that his faction may file a federal election fraud complaint against union president Gabrielle Carteris.

Morales is running for president as head of the Membership First faction, which issued a statement Thursday a few days after accusations by Carteris and her allies that Morales has been negligent in his role as first VP of the union’s Los Angeles local by not attending 33 of 35 board meetings. The faction responded by alleging that Carteris has been duplicitous in her behavior by resigning her local seat two years ago — and threatened to make a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Labor if she does so again.

“Unite For Strength is challenging Esai’s attendance record,” Membership First said in a statement. “Both Esai and Gabrielle ran in 2015 for the Los Angeles local board. Both won seats. Esai »


- Dave McNary

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Eric Zumbrunnen, Editor of ‘Being John Malkovich, Dies at 53

11 hours ago

Film editor Eric Zumbrunnen, who won an Ace Award for his work on “Being John Malkovich,” has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 53.

Zumbrunnen graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in journalism, and began his career editing music videos for the likes of Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, Beck, and Bjork, which is also where his fruitful relationship with Jonze began. From there, he expanded into commercial editing for clients like Nike, Xbox, and Apple, as well was editing several documentary shorts and other short films, often for Jonze, eventually graduating into feature film editing alongside Jonze with “Being John Malkovich” in 1999.

Zumbrunnen’s work also included the Jonze’s 2009 film “Where the Wild Things Are,” Disney’s “John Carter” in 2012, and Jonze’s acclaimed film “Her,” which won the writer-director an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

His most recent collaboration with Jonze was a 3-minute short film and perfume advertisement for »


- Erin Nyren

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Film Review: ‘Sidemen: Long Road to Glory’

12 hours ago

By turns festive and elegiac, and sometimes both at the same time, Scott D. Rosenbaum’s “Sidemen: Long Road to Glory” celebrates three blues greats — pianist Pinetop Perkins, guitarist Hubert Sumlin and drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith — who made their mark performing with the likes of Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, and significantly influenced generations of rock and blues artists. The eloquence of the documentary’s title becomes clear as its double meaning gradually comes into focus in the overarching narrative constructed by Rosenbaum and co-scripter Jasin Cadic: Their three subjects spent much of their lives overshadowed and underappreciated before receiving their due recognition. And all three “went to glory” within eight months of each other in 2011.

Lest that sound too melancholy, it should quickly be added that “Sidemen” is an exceptionally entertaining and captivating tribute to the men and their music — and that there’s more than enough of said music here to please blues »


- Joe Leydon

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Michael B. Jordan Eyed to Play Mobster in ‘A Bittersweet Life’

12 hours ago

Michael B. Jordan is circling Fox’s remake of the South Korean action-thriller “A Bittersweet Life.”

If Jordan’s deal closes, he will portray a mobster in the movie. “Kung Fu Panda” helmer Jennifer Yuh Nelson will direct.

Producers are 21 Laps’ Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, and Dan Cohen, along with Korea’s Cj Entertainment, which made the original film. Jason Young will oversee the movie for Fox.

In the 2005 film, Lee Byung-hun played a loyal enforcer for a crime boss, who assigned him to kill his young mistress if she turned out to be having an affair with another man.

Jordan is starring with Michael Shannon in “Fahrenheit 451” for HBO. He will be seen next in Disney-Marvel’s superhero movie “Black Panther,” in which he re-teamed with “Creed” director Ryan Coogler.

Nelson, who directed “Kung Fu Panda 2” and co-directed “Kung Fu Panda 3,” is making her live-action directorial debut with “Darkest Minds” — a potential franchise starter »


- Dave McNary

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This Week’s Hollywood Red Carpets and Parties (Photos)

13 hours ago

This week’s Hollywood red carpets and parties include “The Tick” premiere, “Hamilton’s” L.A. opening night, and more.

Related storiesTV Review: 'The Tick' on Amazon'Hamilton' in Los Angeles: Lin-Manuel Miranda Tells Star-Studded Opening Night Crowd 'My Heart Is Full''The Tick' Cast Discusses Themes of Compassion, How Show Could Help Heal a Divided America »

- Jacob Bryant

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David Tennant, Guy Pearce Join Saoirse Ronan’s ‘Mary, Queen of Scots’

14 hours ago

David Tennant and Guy Pearce have joined the cast of Working Title’s “Mary, Queen of Scots,” which has begun filming in England and Scotland.

Saoirse Ronan is starring in the title role opposite Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I. Josie Rourke is making her feature directorial debut on the movie, directing from a script by Beau Willimon. The project is based on John Guy’s biography “My Heart Is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots.”

Focus Features holds worldwide rights and will release “Mary, Queen of Scots” in the U.S. Universal Pictures International will distribute the film internationally.

Producers are Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, and Debra Hayward. The trio all received best picture Academy Award nominations for “Les Misérables.”

Previously announced cast includes Jack Lowden (“Dunkirk”), Joe Alwyn, Martin Compston, and Brendan Coyle (“Downton Abbey”).

The story is set during the 16th Century when Mary Stuart became Queen of »


- Dave McNary

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Film Review: Tom Cruise in ‘American Made’

14 hours ago

There’s a lot going on in “American Made,” a hectic, hyperactive true-life tall tale that jumbles Colombian drug-smuggling, CIA arms-trading, Midwestern fortune-making and a whole lot of very fancy flying. Yet the most salient image in the whole coked-up kaleidoscope is a simple one: Tom Cruise’s sunglasses. There may be significant stretches in Doug Liman’s film where the star, as Twa pilot turned all-sides-of-the-law hustler Barry Seal, isn’t wearing wire-rimmed aviator shades, yet somehow it feels as if they’re always there. An accessory that Cruise made wholly his own in “Top Gun,” they connote as much rakish bravado and slightly impenetrable machismo now as they did then — 1986, coincidentally the year that the action in “American Made,” which spans eight fast years of Carter-to-Reagan-era governmental skulduggery, comes to a startling head.

A sweat-slicked, exhausting but glibly entertaining escapade on its own terms, “American Made” is more interesting as a showcase for »


- Guy Lodge

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Fox International Productions Boards Gustavo Hernandez’s ‘You Shall Not Sleep’ (Exclusive)

14 hours ago

Fox International Productions (Fip) is partnering with Pablo E. Bossi (“Nine Queens”) to produce “You Shall Not Sleep,” (“No Dormirás”) the latest film from “Casa Muda’s” Gustavo Hernandez, which 20th Century Fox will distribute in the U.S., Latin America and German-speaking territories.

The Fox distribution deal was struck by FilmSharks Intl. which has acquired international territory sales rights to “You Shall Not Sleep” and will introduce it to buyers at the Toronto Festival. Variety has had first access to an international trailer and initial teaser artwork.

One of the most awaited of Latin American horror movies since Hernandez and his producing partner Ignacio Garcia Cucucovich first announced it to Variety at 2015’s Ventana Sur, “You Shall Not Sleep” is produced by Bossi, whose credits include Ricardo Darin’s “Chinese Takeaway” and “Black Snow,” Maria Luisa Gutierrez, producer of Santiago Segura’s “Torrente” saga, Argentina’s Juan Pablo Buscarini (“Gamemaker 3D) and  Cucucovich (“Casa Muda”), Hernandez »


- John Hopewell

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‘Shot Caller’ Director on Getting His Movie to Theaters: ‘This Was One Massive F—ing Boulder’

15 hours ago

Ric Roman Waugh is no stranger to the examining the American criminal justice system.

The stunt-man-turned-director’s latest prison film, “Shot Caller,” shows how even the best of men can be corrupted by the current correctional system. Following “Felon” and “Snitch” Waugh finishes off what he has deemed his ‘Prison Trilogy’ with “Shot Caller” — a thriller that is part ’90s action movie, part character study.

Waugh spoke to Variety about inspirations for the film, his journey to get it made, and why the movie’s star, “Game of Thrones” actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, was right for the part.

This completes your trilogy that included “Felon” and “Snitch.” How did the films come about?

I was writing a lot of movies and was very fortunate to work for a lot of major producers. I wanted to deviate away from the big, expensive action movies and direct stuff I was passionate about. I went to a really close friend, [film producer] Tucker Tooley »


- Justin Kroll

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