Wednesday, June 3, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, February 4, 2015, 3:08 PM
“The World Is As Big or As Small As You Make It” follows children living in North Philadelphia who are involved in a local program called Do Remember Me. (Vimeo)

You may recognize the names Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady for their work on such documentaries as “Jesus Camp” and “Detropia.” For their most recently released work, a short documentary chronicling American kids using technology to connect with adolescents in other countries, the filmmaking duo came to Philadelphia.

“The World Is As Big or As Small As You Make It” began as a 140-character essay entry and was created with money from a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Sundance Institute. It follows children living in North Philadelphia (one young woman mentions a playground at 12th and Susquehanna streets) who are involved in a local program called Do Remember Me.

Sannii Crespina-Flores, who runs Do Remember Me, takes resources a lot of children already have — iPhones, iPads and the like — and helps children use them to explore the outside world. The kids video chat with others in Paris, Kazakhstan, Tanzania and other countries and learn about other cultures while exploring their similarities. One student in Paris shows some boys in North Philly his beat-boxing skills. In return, a group of Philadelphia dancers show the Parisian kids a routine. At one point, a boy from Philadelphia whispers, “Do y’all have any girlfriends?” to a group of Parisian students. During that same exchange, the cross-country communicators connect on Instagram. 

POSTED: Wednesday, February 4, 2015, 9:02 AM
Actress Felicity Jones arrives to AARP The Magazine's 14th Annual Movies For Grownups Awards Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 2, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Disney and Lucasfilm have tapped Oscar-nominated actress Felicity Jones to star in the "Star Wars" standalone movie from director Gareth Edwards. 

Jones was one of several actresses to have met for the role, along with Rooney Mara and Tatiana Maslany.

Edwards ("Godzilla") is directing the 3D feature, with Chris Weitz penning the script. Weitz replaced Gary Whitta, who wrote the first version of the screenplay.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 4, 2015, 8:52 AM
Disney.

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Consumers still haven't grown cold on "Frozen." 

The movie, which became the highest-grossing animated film after its release in November 2013, continues to play for Disney, this time in the retail aisle. 

Merchandise tied to the toon was a significant seller for Disney, especially its Disney Stores, during the holidays, with the company's consumer products division reporting a 22% boost in revenue and profits by 46% during the Mouse House's first quarter of fiscal 2015, which ended Dec. 27.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 4, 2015, 8:49 AM
Actor Edgar Ramirez attends the Friars Foundation Gala honoring Robert De Niro and Carlos Slim at The Waldorf=Astoria on October 7, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Warner Bros. has moved its reboot of "Point Break" back nearly five months from July 31 to Christmas -- essentially swapping dates with Tom Cruise's "Mission: Impossible 5."

The action-thriller, starring Edgar Ramirez (pictured above) and Luke Bracey, is directed by Ericson Core from Kurt Wimmer's screenplay. Ramirez plays the part portrayed by Patrick Swayze in the 1991 original, while Bracey plays Johnny Utah, originally acted by Keanu Reeves. 

Warner Bros. made the move a week after Paramount decided to move "Mission: Impossible 5" forward from Christmas to July 31. 

POSTED: Tuesday, February 3, 2015, 11:22 PM
Filed Under: Movies
Actor and Producer Bradley Cooper arrives at the 'American Sniper' New York Premiere at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on December 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Terry Gross from NPR’s program, “Fresh Air,” sat down with Bradley Cooper recently and discussed not only his role as Chris Kyle in “American Sniper,” but how he’s responded to the criticism surrounding the film.

Right off the bat, Gross asks Cooper if he was expecting this film to become a “cultural lightning rod.”

“Absolutely not. No, I did not at all think anyone could foresee something like that,” Cooper acknowledged.


POSTED: Tuesday, February 3, 2015, 3:42 PM
Filed Under: Movies
Charlie Hunnam attends the Calvin Klein Collection show during the Milan Menswear Fashion Week Fall Winter 2015/2016 on January 18, 2015 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Charlie Hunnam will star in James Gray's "Lost City of Z" opposite Sienna Miller and Robert Pattinson. The project has just locked down financing from MICA Entertainment.

Sierra/Affinity will continue international sales at the Berlin Film Festival this week. CAA represents domestic rights.

Production is expected to start this summer. The project is based on David Grann's 2009 book of the same name.

POSTED: Monday, February 2, 2015, 9:54 AM
Director Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon of 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' and David Courier attend the Awards Night Party during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival at the Basin Recreation Field House on January 31, 2015 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Clayton Chase/Getty Images for Sundance)

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl," Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's visually inventive comedy-drama about the friendship between a misfit teenager and a classmate diagnosed with leukemia, received both the grand jury prize and the audience award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday night. Part cancer-themed tearjerker and part tribute to obsessive movie love, "Me and Earl" was acquired by Fox Searchlight earlier this week in one of the festival's biggest deals.

This marks the third year in a row that one movie has taken both top prizes at Sundance, following the lead of "Fruitvale Station" in 2013 and "Whiplash" last year. "Me and Earl's" victory was even more noteworthy given what many considered one of the stronger U.S. dramatic competitions in recent memory, with strong critical and audience buzz for "Dope," "The Witch" and "The Diary of a Teenage Girl," all of which also received prizes.

In addition to "Me and Earl's" big wins, the grand jury prize for U.S. documentaries went to another movie about the power of cinema and the creative instinct: "The Wolfpack," Crystal Moselle's intimate portrait of the Angulo siblings, who alleviated their confined existence by watching and reenacting movies.

POSTED: Sunday, February 1, 2015, 12:49 PM
Filed Under: Movies
Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle and Sienna Miller as his wife, Taya, in the adapted real-life drama "American Sniper." (Keith Bernstein)
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "American Sniper" is nearing the $250 million mark after picking up $31.8 million to set a new Super Bowl weekend record.

The previous high-water mark for football's big weekend was "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour," which nabbed $31.2 million when it premiered in 2008.

If it continues on this torrid clip, Clint Eastwood's biopic of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle could challenge "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" as the highest-grossing 2014 release and will pass "The Matrix Reloaded" to become the second-biggest R-rated release in history. It has earned $248.9 million -- an unbelievable result for an adult drama about such hard-hitting topics as war and its psychological effects.

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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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