Monday, October 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 1:44 PM
Filed Under: Movies
"An Open Secret" exposes manipulation and abuse hidden in the Hollywood industry. (docnyc.net)

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - DOC NYC, the Gotham documentary festival that launches its fifth edition next month, has lined up a full slate of titles that includes the world premiere of "An Open Secret," Amy Berg's doc about sexual abuse in Hollywood. 

Laura Nix and the Yes Men's prankster-activist doc "The Yes Men are Revolting" (pictured above) will close out the fest, bookending the festival with previously announced opener, David Thorpe's "Do I Sound Gay?," which, like "Yes Men," also had its world preem at Toronto.

Additional debuts on the DOC NYC lineup are "Still Dreaming," Hank Rogerson and Jilann Spitzmiller's look at Shakespeare performances in a retirement home, and "Almost There," Dan Rybicky and Aaron Wickenden film about an outsider artist.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 1:34 PM
Filed Under: Movies
The book cover of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them."

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Though Christopher Nolan is not returning to the "Batman" franchise and Daniel Radcliffe is unlikely to reprise his Harry Potter role, Warner Bros. clearly sees plenty of life left in its most lucrative properties. 

During an earnings meeting on Tuesday, Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara unveiled the studio's slate of tentpole features through 2020, including three "Harry Potter" spinoff pics based on "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," three "Lego Movie" follow-ups and two "Justice League" films directed by Zack Snyder, as well as a slew of related superhero movies.

Below are a list of all the films and their planned releases.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 12:10 PM
Filed Under: Movies
John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in "Pulp Fiction."

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Like a shot of adrenaline to the heart, "Pulp Fiction" changed the movie landscape when it opened on Oct. 14, 1994. Quentin Tarantino's ode to crime and pop-culture was a bold new cinematic vision in a decade that badly needed one. Before "Pulp Fiction," prestige films like "Dances with Wolves" and "A Few Good Men" seemed content to play it safe, while blockbusters like "Jurassic Park" and "The Fugitive" focused squarely on the mainstream. Overnight, the term 'Tarantinoesque' became shorthand for audaciously stylized ultra-violence and genre-bending thrills. On its 20th anniversary, here's why "Pulp Fiction" remains the coolest movie of the '90s.

The Soundtrack: From the rumbling reverb of Dick Dale's surf-rock rendition of "Misirlou" to the soulful crooning of Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" and the strip club sexiness of Kool & the Gang's "Jungle Boogie," the "Pulp Fiction" soundtrack effortlessly mixes musical styles the way the film blends genres. The multi-platinum album reinvigorated surf-rock to the extent that Del-Fi Records released a competing compilation a year later titled "Pulp Surfin'."

Razor-Sharp Dialogue: Eminently quotable and hilariously profane, Tarantino's unmatched ear for dialogue was never sharper than in his Academy Award-winning script, co-written by Roger Avary. Less concerned with advancing a plot than in crafting a mood, every line crackles with the vibrant intensity of a Tesla coil. Conversations are treated like action sequences, and monologues, particularly those delivered by Samuel L. Jackson and Christopher Walken, are dazzling showstoppers. 

POSTED: Monday, October 13, 2014, 10:56 PM
Filed Under: Movies
Robert Downey Jr. attends a Q&A at the official Academy Members Screening of "The Judge" hosted by The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences at the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International on October 7, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim (Getty Images for Academy of Moti)
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Robert Downey Jr. is on the verge of signing on to "Captain America 3," a move that would bring the Civil War storyline from Marvel's comicbooks to the bigscreen and trigger the start of a new phase of movies from Marvel Studios.

The actor is in final negotiations to play billionaire Tony Stark in the third installment, which is slated to begin production in the Spring for a May 6, 2016, release. Downey is already set to suit up as Iron Man for next year's "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "The Avengers 3."

The deal is significant for the Marvel cinematic universe considering the plot will pit Stark against Captain America's alter-ego Steve Rogers, played by Chris Evans, as they feud over the Superhero Registration Act, which forces anyone with superhuman abilities to reveal their identities to the U.S. government and agree to act as a police force for the authorities.

POSTED: Sunday, October 12, 2014, 1:09 PM
Filed Under: Movies
"Gone Girl," starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, topped the box office its opening weekend. (20th Century Fox)

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "Gone Girl," "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" and "Dracula Untold" emerged relatively unscathed from a box office pile up this weekend, while Robert Downey Jr.'s "The Judge" got banged around at the multiplexes.

David Fincher's adaptation of Gillian Flynn's marital mystery was tops for the second week in a row, unearthing $26.8 million and bringing its total to $78.3 million. At this rate, it could surpass "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" ($127.5 million domestic) as Fincher's biggest commercial success.

Meanwhile, "Dracula Untold" exceeded pre-release tracking that had the picture opening to $18 million, by sinking its fangs into $23.5 million across 2,887 locations. The story of how Vlad the Impaler developed a taste for blood arrives courtesy of Universal Pictures and cost $70 million to produce.

POSTED: Saturday, October 11, 2014, 11:23 AM

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - The visuals outshine the story in "The Book of Life," a lively animated tale that mixes age-old myths with today's toon tropes. But what lovely visuals they are. The feature debut of smallscreen animator Jorge R. Gutierrez (co-creator of Nickelodeon's "El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera") proves to be perfectly charming in relaying the tale of a lopsided love triangle set against the backdrop of Mexico's Day of the Dead holiday. And yet it hardly matters what the characters are saying (or occasionally singing) when their warmly handcrafted appearance keeps stealing the spotlight. Opening domestically three weeks after Focus/Laika's "The Boxtrolls" and three weeks ahead of Disney's "Big Hero 6," "Book" should have time to carve out its own space in the family entertainment marketplace and could become a significant sleeper worldwide, especially if Latin audiences respond to the pic's universal, yet culturally specific, delights.

As if to ensure every viewer has a window into the story, the central narrative is framed as a legend being told by a motherly museum tour guide (voiced by Christina Applegate) to a group of rebellious school kids on Nov. 2, the Day of the Dead. While that choice initially plays like an unnecessary distancing device, it also reinforces the mythic quality of what we're watching (and eventually gives the young listeners the opportunity to offer a few adorable asides). Plus, it explains why everyone in the tour guide's tale looks like a handmade wooden toy -- a captivating visual conceit.

Ever since they were children, music-loving bullfighter Manolo (Diego Luna) and burly bandit vanquisher Joaquin (Channing Tatum) have been enamored with the same girl: feisty free spirit Maria (Zoe Saldana). So they're equally heartbroken when Maria's unconventional behavior gets her shipped off to Europe by her strict father (Carlos Alazraqui). It's not until her 18th birthday that she returns to the town of San Angel to reignite the rivalry between Manolo and Joaquin, each hoping to be the one to marry their mutual true love.

POSTED: Saturday, October 11, 2014, 11:20 AM

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Despite losing the Friday race to Universal's horror actioner "Dracula Untold," "Gone Girl" is headed for its second consecutive box office win. Fox's thriller looks to draw blood with $26 million this weekend, while "Dracula" is close behind with a $24 million launch. 

Both films topped two big newcomers this Columbus Day weekend: Robert Downey Jr.'s "The Judge," which is headed for a disappointing fifth place, and Steve Carell's "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." 

"Gone Girl," which stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as a highly dysfunctional couple, grossed $8.15 million Stateside on Friday. The pic launched to a stunning $37.5 million last weekend -- the best opening in director David Fincher's career. 

POSTED: Saturday, October 11, 2014, 11:09 AM

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - This week brings something unusual to the 2014 awards race: A trippy, lively contender. 

The New York Film Festival closes Saturday with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Birdman," which opens in theaters next week. It's not exactly a feel-good movie, but it's playful -- toying with the characters, with film conventions and with the audience. 

It's good to see a film that's frisky, as opposed to most 2014 Oscar contenders, which are Serious with a capital S. They are terrific. Even brilliant. But the race for gold this year is shrouded in darkness, with somber themes and subject matter.

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Consider our Movies blog your essential guide to new movies and classics, interviews with filmmakers and stars, news and views on the latest screen trends, reviews and the occasional rant.

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