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Sofia Coppola And Others Win Top Prizes As 70th Cannes Film Festival Wraps

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The 70th Cannes Film Festival wrapped up this year with several big surprises. The Killing of a Sacred Deer and You Were Never Really Here both tied for the best screenplay award. Sofia Coppola became the first female director to win the Best Director award at Cannes in 56 years for The Beguiled, an adaptation of Thomas Cullinan’s Civil War novel about a wounded soldier who takes refuge among the inhabitants of a girls’ school in Virginia. Joaquin Phoenix and Diane Kruger were awarded best actor awards for their respective roles in You Were Never Really Here and In The Fade, the latter of which featured Kruger speaking in her native German. Additionally, Nicole Kidman received a special award for her appearances in four of this year’s festival entries, including The Beguiled, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, and Top of the Lake. Other noteworthy entries include BPM (Beats Per Minute), a drama focused around the French gay-rights movement in the early 90s that earned this year’s Grand Prix, and Ruben Östlund’s The Square, about a high-class museum curator who is forced to mingle with lower class members when he is pick-pocketed on the street. A full list of this year’s winners is provided below…. Continue reading

The Legacy of James Baldwin Lives in New Documentary ‘I Am Not Your Negro’

James Baldwin‘s (1924-1987) life and legacy can now speak to modern audiences in a new documentary called I Am Not Your Negro. The film is finally getting a long overdue theatrical release from Magnolia Pictures this February 3rd after wowing audiences at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. I Am Not Your Negro is a film from Haitian director Raoul Peck that envisions Baldwin’s final, albeit incomplete novel Remember This House as an uncompromising and complete narrative of race in America. The unfinished memoir focuses on the authors personal memories and relationships with three enduring Civil Rights leaders: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X. Peck was allowed access to the entire Baldwin archives and composed the film over a period of 10 years, drawing from the incomplete manuscript and Baldwin’s own personal notes. It won the People’s Choice Documentary Award and, like Baldwin himself, is sure to stand as a vital testament to race in America today. Continue reading

October’s Long History of Historical Film Releases

Happy Halloween! October is traditionally known for the fall season and for hosting Halloween on the last day of the month. Likewise film distributors tend to look at October as a good time to release horror and slasher films for Halloween on fight-seeking audiences across the country, and around the world. October, however, has a long history of major motion picture releases that is not strictly limited to the horror genre. Read on to see our list of impressive October releases, and enjoy your Halloween Weekend! Continue reading

This Week In Film History….

In a historical week that also saw The Bridge Over the River Kwai released in 1957, Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961, director Don Siegel and actor Clint Eastwood (Dirty Harry, Escape from Alcatraz) do their first work together on Coogan’s Bluff (1968), and Lars von Trier drive the film festival circuit wild with Breaking the Waves (1996), we have to recognize one of the sole reasons that any of these accomplishments were able to happen. On October 5th, 1864, Louis Lumière was born Besançon, France. Lumiere and his brother Auguste, would grow up to provide perhaps the most significant contribution to film as both an industry, and an art form. Continue reading

Today in Movie History….

Today in 1989, the eccentric and far-out vacation-gone-wrong comedy Weekend at Bernie‘s opened in theaters around the world. While critics didn’t have too many great things to say about it, movie-goers openly embraced the outlandish comedy, making it one of pop-culture’s most frequently referenced movies to-date. The script was penned by Emmy-winning screenwriter Robert Klane, who also worked as a writer on National Lampoon’s Vacation (1985) and Weekend at Bernie’s II (1993). Ted Kotcheff (Fun with Dick and Jane, Rambo: First Blood) directed the movie, which starred Andrew McCarthy (St. Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink) and Jonathan Silverman (Conception, The Hungover Games) as a pair of insurance agents who are invited by their boss to spend the weekend with him at his house in the Hamptons; when they arrive to find him dead Continue reading

B.B. King Documentary ‘The Life of Riley’ Now Available on NetFlix

Director John Brewer (Jimi Hendrix: The Guitar Hero, Nat King Kole: Afraid of the Dark) released his documentary on the late B.B. King back in 2012, but it wasn’t released in the US officially until 2014. That said, the film, titled The Life of Riley (B.B. King’s name was Riley B. King), is now available on Netflix. Narrated by Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption, The Dark Knight), the film features a plethora of musicians, friends, and family, who discuss B.B. King’s long and revolutionary career as an American bluesman, including Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Ringo Starr, Bono, Ronnie Wood, Dr. John, and Solomon Burke. B.B. King hailed from the flat delta land in Mississippi and eventually made his way to Memphis, Tennessee, where he began regular work as a blues artist. He secured a number of record deals, and when rock music took off in the ’60s, a new interest in King’s and other blues artists of his era as they had never experienced before. Continue reading

New Western ‘Jane Got A Gun’ Opening In Theaters This Friday

A new western starring Natalie Portman (Leon: The Professional, V for Vendetta) titled Jane Got A Gun is opening in theaters nationwide this Friday, January 29th. Directed by Gavin O’Connor (Miracle, Warriors) from a script by Brian Duffield (Insurgent, The Babysitter), Anthony Tambakis (Warriors, Cinnamon Girl: California Dreamin), and Joel Edgerton (The Rover, The Gift), the film follows a woman who enlists the help of her former lover to protect her outlaw husband from a gang that haunts her path and who wishes to kill him. Co-writer Joel Edgerton appears in the supporting cast with actors Ewan McGregor (Big Fish, The Men Who Stare At Goats), Rodrigo Santoro (300, Focus), and Noah Emmerich (The Truman Show, Little Children). The trailer is available here on MADE. Enjoy!

New Adventure/Comedy ‘Band of Brothers’ Seeing Limited Release This January 15th

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Writing/directing brothers Adam and Aaron Nee.

A new adventure/comedy titled Band of Brothers from writing/directing brothers Aaron and Adam Nee (The Last Romantic, The Geniuses) will be seeing a limited release this Friday, January 15th. Featuring brother Adam and lead actor Kyle Gallner (A Haunting in Connecticut, American Sniper) in the lead roles of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, respectively, the film finds the childhood friends as delinquent grown-ups, who, following Finn’s recent prison stint, forms the ‘band of brothers’ with their friends Joe Harper and Ben Rogers in order to finally find the treasure that has eluded them since their youth. Co-starring in the film are actors Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds, The Life Aquatic w/ Steve Zissou), Hannibal Buress (Neighbors, Daddy’s Home), Melissa Benoist (Whiplash, Supergirl), and Stephen Lang (The Men Who Stare At Goats, Avatar). The film is scheduled to officially premier at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival on June 13th, and then again in October at the Tallgrass Film Festival, New Hampshire Film Festival, and St. Lawrence International Film Festival. Keep an eye out for a trailer.

New Dramatic Comedy ‘Our Brand Is Crisis’ With Sandra Bullock Opening In Theaters This Week

Oscar winner Sandra Bullock (Speed, Crash), who has been lending her voice to animated comedies of late, is returning to the big screen this week in a new “dramedy” Our Brand Is Crisis. Directed by Pineapple Express and East Bound & Down director David Gordon Green, the film is a dramatization of Rachel Boynton’s 2005 documentary of the same name by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Peter Straughan (Tinkler Taylor Soldier Spy, The Men Who Stare At Goats). Bullock stars as Jane, an experienced political campaign strategist who is sent to war-torn South American to aid in the installation of a new leader, but whose efforts art threatened to be thwarted by an old political rival. Also starring in the film is Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton (Armageddon, Monster’s Ball), with Anthony Mackie (Million Dollar Baby, Avengers: Age of Ultron), Joaquim de Almeida (Clear and Present Danger, Behind Enemy Lines), and Scoot McNairy (Argo,12 Years A Slave) included in the supporting cast. Argo producers George Clooney (The Ides of March, The Monuments Men) and Grant Heslov (Good Night and Good Luck, August: Osage County) are behind the production of the project, which thus far has drawn much praise for Bullock’s acting, but also mixed feelings about the screenplay and directing. I suppose you’ll have to decide for yourself when you see it in theaters! The movie opens on Friday. Enjoy the trailer.

Director Craig Zobel’s ‘Z For Zachariah’ Now Playing In Theaters

Opening in theaters today is a new post-apocalyptic drama from director Craig Zobel (Great World of Sound, Compliance) titled Z For Zachariah. The film comes from an adaptation of Robert C. O’Brien‘s 1975 novel of the same name by screenwriter Nissar Modi (Breaking at the Edge) about a trio of survivors living in a post World War III environment who find themselves entwined in an intense love-triangle as the only known survivors of the nuclear fallout. Making up the three-member cast line-up is Oscar-nominated actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (American Gangster, 12 Years A Slave), and actors Chris Pine (Unstoppable, Star Trek: Into Darkness), and Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street, Focus). The film was seen earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, where it received an Official Selection nod, and critics have praised it both for Tim Orr’s work on the cinematography (Pineapple Express, Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World) and for the music score by composer Heather McIntosh (The Rambler, Honeymoon). Also opening today is a new music-oriented drama with Zac Efron titled We Are Your Friends, which follows Efron as a DJ attempting to climb to a position of fame in the Electric Dance Music scene, while also juggling with a forbidden romance. This one comes from writer/director Max Joseph, who is best known for his documentary series Good. I’m not expecting this one to be focused so much on the forbidden love factor as it is to the world of professional DJs, but I’m also not a huge Zac Efron fan, so I’ll leave this one up to you to decide. Enjoy the weekend!