Steven Rea, Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
Argentina’s White Elephant, starring its country’s beloved Ricardo Darin, and directed by Pablo Trapero, traces the relationship between a shantytown priest nearing the end of his career and a young Belgian clergyman (Jérémie Renier, from In Bruges), whose non-traditional methods put him in the midst of a raging drug war.
Deemed the “film of the year” by Beatriz Urraca and Gary M. Kramer, editors of the new Directory of World Cinema : Argentina (Intellect Books) , the 2012 release gets its Philadelphia premiere Friday, Sept. 12, at International House. Both Urraca and Kramer will be on hand to introduce the film and lead a post-screening discussion.
In their essay at the begining of the extensive Director of World Cinema: Argentina book -- which also includes contributions from critics Matt Prigge and Carrie Rickey -- editors Urraca and Kramer compare White Elephant to Slumdog Millionaire and City of God for its unflinching look at the urban underclass, its sweeping realism and force.
Brittany Murphy's father has blasted executives at America's Lifetime network for moving forward with a new movie about his late daughter's life and casting an actress who looks nothing like her.
Angelo Bertolotti admits he is "disgusted and outraged" by the unauthorized biopic, The Brittany Murphy Story, calling the project "trashy" and accusing TV bosses of "defiling the memory of my beautiful, talented daughter".
He rages, "Frankly, I am amazed at their audacity of calling it 'a true story' without conducting any research or consulting with any members of the family. The Brittany Murphy Story is an affront to everything my daughter was in real life. It's hideous, unauthorized and completely untrue."
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Ross Katz ("Adult Beginners") has come on board to direct the movie adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' novel "The Choice."
Sparks is producing with Theresa Park and Peter Safran. Production companies Nicholas Sparks Productions and The Safran Company ("The Conjuring") are producing and financing the film.
Lionsgate acquired the North American and U.K. distribution rights in June. The project is set to begin shooting in October in Wilmington, N.C.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "Before I Go To Sleep" is a risky title for a genre exercise intended to keep viewers bolt upright in their seats, handing mirthful critics a ready-made punchline at the first sign of lethargy. The good news is that Rowan Joffe's adaptation of S.J. Watson's 2011 publishing phenom is far from a snooze; the bad news is that it's the film's escalating, po-faced ludicrousness that holds our attention. Starring a typically hard-working Nicole Kidman as a short-term amnesiac unsure whether she's being played by her husband, her shrink or both, With David Fincher's similarly targeted "Gone Girl" already siphoning its buzz, this dopey diversion will need the novel's fans to turn out en masse to avoid being forgotten by morning.
A planned Halloween release Stateside -- weeks after the film's Sept. 5 release in Blighty and elsewhere -- might lead auds to expect an out-and-out frightfest, but for the bulk of its running time, "Before I Go To Sleep" is more of a psychological puzzle picture, reserving the would-be white-knuckle stuff for its final few reels. If it still fails to stir up too many screams, that could be because the narrative's complex network of holes is so apparent by that point that any real sense of peril is hard to sustain -- despite the quivery efforts of Kidman, an actress who has long done hunted fragility better than just about anyone in the business. Having already impersonated Grace Kelly in one bad film this year, she has a second bite at the cherry here: Her vulnerable, terminally addled but resourceful heroine Christine Lucas is essentially a terrorized Hitchcock blonde in more sensible shoes.
There's a Cary Grant substitute, too, in Colin Firth's stiffly affectionate, not entirely forthcoming husband figure Ben, on whose dulcet tones it falls to provide much of the initial exposition. Christine, it turns out, has suffered from anterograde amnesia -- that condition, long beloved of screenwriters, that prevents the formation of new memories -- ever since nearly losing her life in a horrific attack several years prior. Every day, she wakes to become freshly acquainted with Ben and the moneyed, minimalist house they share in outer suburban London; whatever new information she gleans during the day is wiped clean by morning, as her memory resets to a 20-year-old state.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - LONDON -- The Weinstein Company has taken all non-theatrical rights in the U.S. to Red Arrow Intl.'s "Roald Dahl's Esio Trot," which stars Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench.
Dearbhla Walsh ("Little Dorrit") directed the 90-minute film, which was commissioned by the BBC and produced by Hilary Bevan Jones ("The Girl in the Cafe") at Red Arrow's Endor Prods.
Richard Curtis ("Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Love Actually") and Paul Mayhew-Archer ("The Vicar of Dibley") adapted Roald Dahl's story, which centers on Mr. Hoppy (Hoffman) and his ingenious plot to win the heart of his neighbor, Mrs. Silver (Dench), involving a cryptic riddle and more than a hundred tortoises.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Hey hobo man, hey Dapper Dan: Target is partnering with the costume designer of the upcoming "Annie" remake on an apparel line.
Renee Ehrlich Kalfus has created a 25-piece limited-edition collection of girl's apparel and accessories line that hits stores and Target.com starting Nov. 16. The mix-and-match collection includes patchwork, embroidery, pins, buttons, tulle and, of course, Annie's iconic red dress and heart-shaped locket. The collection also includes a DIY kit to inspire creativity in budding fashionistas. Keeping an eye on customers' bottom dollars, each item is priced at less than $30.
"Target is excited to bring guests a piece of the 'Annie' movie magic, just in time for the holiday season," said Stacia Andersen, senior vice president of apparel and accessories for Target. "The collection's mix-and-match theme inspires girls to express themselves by creating a look all their own, at prices moms and dads will appreciate."
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Lotus Entertainment has tapped Ed Gass-Donnelly, director of "The Last Exorcism Part II," to write and direct the sci-fi thriller "Pivot."
The story centers on a scientist inventing a device to pivot between parallel universes to save his wife's life -- but to be with her, he'll have to kill the parallel version of himself.
Lotus' Jim Seibel and Bill Johnson will produce the film, with D.J. Gugenheim and Ara Keshishian of Lotus exec producing alongside Gass-Donnelly.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Fans of Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy" are getting their wish fulfilled: a dancing Groot toy.
The charming character, who is seen wiggling to Michael Jackson in the film will be turned into a collectible figure by Funko through its Pop! vinyl toy line.
Marvel and Funko announced the bobble-head figure on Friday via their social media accounts, with Marvel saying "It's real! The first official Dancing Groot toy, from the amazing folks at Funko."