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Matt Damon to Star as Con-Man Doctor in ‘Charlatan’ (Exclusive)

1 hour ago

After headlining two movies that debuted on the fall festival circuit — “Suburbicon” and “Downsizing” — Matt Damon has found a new project. He’s set to star as John R. Brinkley, a real-life 20th century doctor who conned his patients into thinking that he had discovered the cure to impotence, in the drama “Charlatan,” Variety has learned.

The movie marks another collaboration for Damon as a producer with Kimberly Steward, who worked together behind-the-camera on the Oscar-winning drama “Manchester by the Sea.” Steward’s company K Period Media, which she launched in 2013 with a mandate to tell edgy stories, will co-produce the movie with Damon’s Pearl Street Films alongside Jennifer Todd.

Related

Venice Film Review: ‘Suburbicon

The independent film is based on a best-selling 2008 non-fiction book, “Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam,” by Pope Brock. The screenplay will be adapted by the writing team of Brian Koppelman and »


- Ramin Setoodeh

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Brazil Choses ‘Bingo – The King of the Mornings’ as its Foreign-Language Academy Award Submission

1 hour ago

Brazil has selected “Bingo – The King of the Mornings,” one of its most awaited debuts of 2017, as its entry for next year’s foreign-language Academy Award.

Produced by Brazilian production powerhouse Gullane, “Bingo – the King of the Mornings'” candidature also marks a victory for Warner Bros. whose Brazilian office co-produced the title, which will be distributed in Latin america by Warner Latin America.

The submission, voted on by a commission of over 200 film specialists, was announced by the Brazilian Film Academy. It appears to have avoided the polemics of last year’s choice when the publicly declared animosity of one member of the candidature jury towards Cannes competition title “Aquarius” caused three filmmakers to refuse to submit their film for consideration.

Long-anticipated, “Bingo – The King of the Mornings” was chosen from among 22 contenders. It marks the first feature as a director of Daniel Rezende, an award-winning editor on Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” José Padilha »


- John Hopewell

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Are You Ready for the Most Exciting Oscar Race in Years?

1 hour ago

The leaves are turning. The Emmys are behind us. The crowds in Venice, Telluride, Colo., and Toronto have dispersed. Oscar season is officially here.

As the industry spins out of the late-summer film festival circuit, which annually grinds the gears of the season to life, this year’s race is shaping up to be one of the most exciting ever observed in the early stages. There are plenty of strong contenders, but no out-and-out frontrunner. There isn’t even an agreed-upon trio of frontrunners, as there was last year when “Manchester by the Sea,” “La La Land” and “Moonlight” burst out of this corridor.

Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” was the first slam-dunk on the scene in July. Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” was the first major festival splash after that, premiering on Aug. 31 within hours of another instant player, Joe Wright’s “Darkest Hour,” though they debuted thousands of miles apart; “Shape” landed in »


- Kristopher Tapley

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Lady Gaga Opens Up About ‘Fear, Body Pain, Anxiety’ in Trailer for Netflix Documentary (Watch)

3 hours ago

Lady Gaga is vulnerable and reflective in the trailer for her Netflix documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two.”

“When producers wanted me to be sexy, I always put some absurd spin on it that made me feel like I was still in control,” she says in the trailer, as images flash of the pop star in wild costumes.

Later in the trailer, she says she lives with “paranoia, fear, body pain, [and] anxiety.”

Related

Toronto Film Review: ‘Gaga: Five Foot Two

The footage shows Gaga being mobbed by fans, appearing to cry in bed, receiving medical attention, and preparing to perform at the Super Bowl. The football game and production and release of her latest album, “Joanne,” are the film’s primary focus. But it also covers her role on “American Horror Story: Roanoke,” relation with her family, and feud with Madonna.

Chris Moukarbel, a visual artist and documentarian, directed the project.

In »


- Seth Kelley

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BidSlate Teams With Premiere Digital on Delivery Platform (Exclusive)

3 hours ago

Year-old global content rights specialist BidSlate has launched a partnership with leading distributor Premiere Digital, Variety has learned exclusively.

The companies are touting the partnership as an alternative method for filmmakers who rely on film markets and sales agents to sell content. The deal was announced Tuesday by Roland Rojas, president and co-founder of BidSlate and Erik Anderson, president and founder of Premiere Digital Services.

The alliance comes less than a month before Mipcom opens in Cannes on Oct. 16, followed by the Oct. 31 launch of the American Film Market in Santa Monica, Calif.

“It’s our mission to provide every vital tool a filmmaker needs for distribution, from seamless online transactions to post production, delivery and distribution,” said Rojas.  “Our new relationship with Premiere Digital gives us the ability to do just that, allowing filmmakers to concentrate on the important business of making films, while BidSlate and our partners handle the rest.”

BidSlate »


- Dave McNary

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France Sends Robin Campillo’s ‘Bpm (Beats Per Minute)’ to Foreign-Language Oscar Race

5 hours ago

Robin Campillo’s sprawling AIDS activist drama “Bpm (Beats Per Minute)” has been chosen to represent France in the foreign-language Oscar category.

“Bpm” world premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, where it earned widespread critical acclaim and won the Grand Prize from the jury headed by Pedro Almodovar. Represented in international markets and co-produced by Playtime, “Bpm” was acquired by U.S. distribution company The Orchard at Cannes.

“Bpm” marked Campillo’s first foray into Cannes’ competition and proved one of the best received films of the festival’s 70th edition. A topical film which is both universal and deeply rooted in French society, “Bpm” has been sold worldwide to mainstream distributors and is meant to reach audiences well beyond the Lgbt niche.

Variety’s Guy Lodge called the film a “sprawling, thrilling, finally heart-bursting group portrait of Parisian AIDS activists in the early 1990s…and a rare and invaluable non-American view of the global health crisis »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Toronto Film Review: ‘Razzia’

9 hours ago

If political courage were a measure of artistic merit, Moroccan director Nabil Arouch’s “Razzia,” a kaleidoscopic drama about intolerance and social tumult in Casablanca, would be a formidable achievement. As it stands, Arouch’s decision to keep courting controversy after his last film, “Much Loved,” was banned from Morocco for its depiction of prostitution in Marrakech is laudable in a country where the censors hold sway. Yet the everything-is-connected framework, linking five stories across a 30-year span, plays like a multipronged pitchfork wielded against the establishment, with each character sharpened to a point. The message-first approach drains the film of spontaneity and depth, despite the rousing passion of its director. A prime spot in Tiff’s Platform competition will raise its profile, but “Razzia” may struggle to find a home, inside and outside Morocco.

With repeated references to “Casablanca,” Arouch draws a contrast between the romantic and rebellious spirit of the Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman classic »


- Scott Tobias

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Toronto Film Review: ‘Jane’

10 hours ago

Few living figures outside the realm of religion, politics or entertainment have enjoyed such widespread affection and respect for as long as primatologist Jane Goodall. So it’s somewhat flummoxing to be reminded in Brett Morgen’s new documentary how she was originally treated as a public person: as a “girl scientist” “playing Tarzan” in the jungle, with more ink spilled on her blond hair and long legs than on the breakthrough research that would change how we viewed not only chimpanzees but humanity.

That condescending tenor, sampled in fleeting flashback, is dismissed with a snort by the now 83-year-old subject of “Jane.” Never particularly interested in talking about herself — a matter on which she is characteristically straightforward and plainspoken here — she used the celebrity thrust upon her, then as now, strictly to gain support for her work and causes. Nonetheless, “Jane” provides as much insight as we might hope for (in visual media at least) into »


- Dennis Harvey

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Warner Bros. Signs First-Look Deal With French Company Marvelous Productions (Exclusive)

11 hours ago

Paris – Warner Bros. has signed a first-look deal with Marvelous Productions, the Paris-based outfit launched at Cannes by former top-level execs at Pathé, Romain Le Grand and Vivien Aslanian and producer Marco Pacchioni.

Under the pact, Warner Bros. will have the opportunity to board any French-language project produced or co-produced by Marvelous Productions. The agreement underscores the Hollywood studio’s aim to increase its footprint in local production with strong partners.

“We have a deep respect for the talent and professionalism of the founders of Marvelous Productions, and we are convinced of their ability to deliver quality films that have a wide appeal,” said Iris Knobloch, president of Warner Bros. France.

Over the last few years, Warners Bros. has backed several French movies, most notably Michel Hazanavicius’s Oscar-winning film “The Artist” (pictured).

Le Grand and Aslanian were at the helm of Pathé for 19 years before exiting in 2016. Together, they produced and distributed many franchise-based French comedies »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Laos Selects ‘Dearest Sister’ as First Foreign-Language Oscar Submission

12 hours ago

Horror-thriller, “Dearest Sister” has been selected by Laos as its first submission of a film in the Academy Awards foreign-language category. The film is directed by Mattie Do, regarded as one of Asia’s hottest new film-making talents.

The story follows an in impoverished young woman who moves to the city to take care of a wealthy older cousin. The older woman is losing her sight, but increasingly able to communicate with ghosts who provide them with a helpful set of numbers.

The Oscars submission decision was taken by a newly formed AMPAS Selection Committee, made up of six Laos film professionals. Logistical support was provided by the Luang Prabang Film Festival, a celebration of South East Asian cinema held annually in Luang Prabang, the cultural capital of Laos, (aka Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic).

The film is a co-production between Lao Art Media (Laos), France’s Screen Division and Estonia’s Oree Films.

Do, »


- Patrick Frater

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John August Tops Voting in Writers Guild West Election, Incumbents Dominate

14 hours ago

Writers Guild of America West members have given screenwriter John August the most votes for a two-year board seat and re-elected incumbents Andrea Berloff, Luvh Rakhe, Meredith Stiehm, and Zak Penn.

Nicole Yorkin, Angelina Burnett, and Michele Mulroney were also elected to board seats and incumbent secretary-treasurer Aaron Mendelsohn easily won re-election.

Results were released Monday night. David A. Goodman officially became the new WGA West president after running unopposed, succeeding Howard Rodman, who opted not to seek re-election. Goodman had been selected by the guild’s nominating committee as a candidate to succeed Rodman and was unopposed, as another unnamed candidate selected by the nominating committee declined to run.

Related

Writers Guild of America West: ‘President Trump Disgraces Our Nation’

Marjorie David, a WGA West board member, was elected vice president after having been nominated by the committee to succeed Goodman. Another unnamed candidate declined to run against her.

The ninth finisher, »


- Dave McNary

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Netflix Hip-Hop Movie ‘The After Party,’ Starring Kyle, Wiz Khalifa, French Montana, Begins Production

15 hours ago

Def Pictures has teamed with Live Nation Productions, WorldStar Hip Hop, and Hunting Lane Films for the Netflix comedy “The After Party.” Principal photography has begun on the coming-of-age film, which is written and directed by Ian Edelman (“How to Make It in America”). It is Live Nation’s first scripted production.

The movie has a music business theme, following two buddies looking to land a record deal before one heads to college and the other to the military. The story takes place during “one wild night,” but will shoot for six weeks in New York, including on location at The Meadows Music and Arts Festival at Citi Field in Queens, and a live concert at the Gramercy Theater.

The film stars Kyle Harvey (better known as the artist Kyle), Teyana Taylor, Jordan RockWiz KhalifaFrench Montana, Blair Underwood, Harrison Holzer (“Better Living Through Chemistry,” “Sex Tape”), and Shelley Hennig (“Teen Wolf”), and will feature a »


- Shirley Halperin

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Film Review: ‘Under the Tree’

16 hours ago

It has the escalating, claustrophobic structure of the darkest farce, but humor doesn’t pile up in “Under the Tree” so much as it bleeds out. In the course of Icelandic writer-director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson’s memorably mordant third feature, savage black comedy passes almost imperceptibly into stunned, visceral tragedy — like a laugh turning in the throat and coming out as a choke. Charting an initially familiar battle of across-the-fence attrition between bad neighbors in polite surroundings, Sigurdsson gradually takes petty bourgeois tensions to alien, gasp-worthy extremes; what the film occasionally lacks in human finesse, it makes up for in sheer anything-goes resolve. The bleakness of its blackness might not portend a major crossover hit, but on the strength of both its universality and its singular Scandi irony, “Under the Tree” should spread its branches into international arthouses.

Columbia graduate Sigurdsson’s 2011 debut feature “Either Way” wasn’t widely released beyond the festival circuit, but »


- Guy Lodge

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Elisabeth Moss to Star in Simon Curtis’ Women Rights Drama ‘Call Jane’

18 hours ago

Hot on the heels of her Emmy win for best actress in a drama series for her role in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Elisabeth Moss has found her first feature follow-up to the hit series with the indie “Call Jane.”

“My Week With Marilyn” director Simon Curtis will helm the film.

Related

Elisabeth Moss Drops Two F-Bombs After Winning First Emmy

The screenplay, based on the true story of a 1960s movement called the Jane Collective, was written by Hayley Schore and Roshan Sethi. Robbie Brenner is producing the indie along with Jeff Kwatinetz and Kevin McKeon of The Firm.

The movie — set in 1960s Chicago — focuses on an underground network of suburban women who secretly provided safe abortions for women before the landmark decision Roe v. Wade.

Moss will play the title character, a married woman who becomes pregnant unexpectedly and turns to the group of women for help.

Moss »


- Justin Kroll

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Judi Dench in Talks to Join Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Artemis Fowl’ Movie Adaptation (Exclusive)

19 hours ago

Judi Dench is in early talks to join Disney’s “Artemis Fowl” movie adaptation from director Kenneth Branagh.

Written by Eoin Colfer, the children’s books follow the brilliant and cunning 12-year-old eponymous criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl II, whose plot to extort gold from the secret Fairy People puts him directly in the crosshairs of some of the most dangerous creatures on earth. Over the course of the book series, Fowl becomes an antihero rather than a full-fledged villain, often working together with the fairies to stop a slew of treacherous megalomaniacs.

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Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Judi Dench Among Stars Boarding ‘Murder on the Orient Express

Irish playwright Conor McPherson is on board to pen the script. Disney recently dated the film for Aug. 9, 2019.

Harvey Weinstein and Branagh are attached to produce. Judy Hofflund will exec produce. Seth Spector is overseeing the film for The Weinstein Company, and Tendo Nagenda and Chaz Salembier are overseeing it »


- Justin Kroll

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Film Review: ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’

20 hours ago

As if the original “Kingsman” weren’t cartoony enough, with its blade-legged lady assassin and gratuitous exploding-heads finale, the sequel has gone and pushed the franchise’s cheeky brand of absurdity even farther. The goofiness begins with the resurrection of two important characters, whose unequivocal deaths we witnessed in the first movie. First, there’s Charlie, a rival secret-service recruit played by Edward Holcroft, who lost his head in that notorious fireworks montage, now back with a bionic arm and a new boss (more on that in a minute). And then there’s Colin Firth’s character, impeccably dressed spy-master Harry Hart, who took a point-blank bullet to the eye — and here lives to tell about it.

Firth was the second-best thing about the 2015 scally-spy movie, a super-stylized surprise hit from “Kick-Ass” director Matthew Vaughn that racked up a cool $414 million worldwide, and Harry Hart’s death was a loss. But »


- Peter Debruge

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‘I, Tonya’ to Close 2017 Hamptons Film Festival

20 hours ago

I, Tonya,” Craig Gillespie’s film following Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding’s fall from grace, will have its U.S. premiere as the closing night screening of the 2017 Hamptons International Film Festival.

The 25th anniversary festival will also host a special event for Jordan Peele’s breakout “Get Out,” to explore scenes from the film and open conversations about its theme. Peele and his fellow “Get Out” producers Jason Blum and Sean McKittrick, along with stars Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams, will be in attendance.

The full slate of the festival includes Joe Wright’s “Darkest Hour” starring Gary Oldman; Reginald Hudlin’s “Marshall” starring Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown, and Kate Hudson; Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” starring Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Dustin Hoffman, and Emma Thompson; and Todd Haynes’ “Wonderstruck” starring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams.

Related

Itzhak Perlman Documentary to Open Hamptons Film Festival

The World Cinema »


- Rebecca Rubin

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10 Best Movies of the 2017 Toronto Film Festival

21 hours ago

Picking the 10 best films from a festival as big as Toronto — with more than 200 features unveiled to North American audiences for the first time — means zeroing in on the absolute best of the best, and though this year’s edition left Variety critics Owen Gleiberman and Peter Debruge without the kind of breakthrough discoveries that have made past editions so exciting (remember, last year yielded “Moonlight,” “La La Land,” and “Arrival,” to name just three), there’s no question that some of 2017’s best work was unveiled over the past 10 days in Toronto.

Related storiesAre You Ready for the Most Exciting Oscar Race in Years?'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' Wins Toronto Film Festival Audience AwardToronto Film Review: 'The Lodgers' »


- Peter Debruge and Owen Gleiberman

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Clive Davis Documentary ‘The Soundtrack of Our Lives’ Premieres on Apple Music Oct. 3 (Watch Trailer)

23 hours ago

The documentary “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival back in April, will debut exclusively on Apple Music on October 3, with a limited theatrical release in select cities starting on September 27.

The film, which was directed by Chris Perkel, examines Davis’ life and career in great detail. Davis, now 85, began his career as an attorney and was hired by Columbia Records, a client of the firm for which he worked, in 1960. He rose through the ranks and was appointed president of the label in 1967, and shortly afterward experienced an epiphany at the Monterey Pop Festival (the 50th anniversary of which is coming up in June), coming away with not just a vision of the burgeoning rock revolution, but also a contract for Janis Joplin. »


- Variety Staff

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Variety’s 10 Documakers to Watch

18 September 2017 10:00 AM, PDT

Now marking its third year, Variety’s annual 10 Documakers to Watch list has already seen two of its previous honorees go on to win Oscars, while another two have won Emmys. As much as we’d love to take credit for our foresight, the fact of the matter is that the nonfiction world has become a fount of exciting and remarkable new voices, and this year presented us with so many worthy names that selecting a list of 10 was a steep challenge — but these filmmakers stood out for their boldness, uniqueness, and promise.

For the first time this year, five of Variety’s Documaker honorees will be present for a panel at Independent Filmmaker Project’s Ifp Week, with Variety’s Senior Film and Media Editor Brent Lang moderating a discussion, “Making Documentaries in the Current Political Landscape,” on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at Ifp Week in New York.

“Film Week in general is an amazing co-production market for »


- Variety Staff

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