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100 Best of the 21st Century?

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Entries in release dates (86)


Ava DuVernay Documentary to Open New York Film Festival 

by Murtada

The Fall Film Festivals (Venice, Toronto, Telluride, New York and London) are almost upon us. Or at least the announcements of their programmes are. TIFF announces next Tuesday, Venice at the end of of July. New York announced its opening night selection this week, Ava DuVernay’s The 13th, a documentary about the high incarceration rate, particularly of African Americans, in the United States.

The title refers to the constitutional amendment abolishing slavery:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.”

The film mixes archival footage - from the civil rights movement, Ku Klux Klan to the Black Lives Matter movement - with modern day commentary to present the ramifications of the amendment and the history of racial inequality in the US. It’s an apt choice for all that’s unfolding in 2016. The 13th will be released in cinemas and on Netflix on October 7th.

Lupita Nyongo'o and Madina Nalwanga in Queen of Katwe

Meanwhile lists are also being made for what other movies will appear on the festival circuit. London will open with Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom, and Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe will have its European premiere there, meaning it will debut somewhere on this side of the Atlantic first. Let’s speculate what else could play at New York, based on precedent that is arbitrary and will probably mean nothing in the end. But it’s fun to speculate:

• Damien Chazelle’s La La Land - this film, with the beloved trailer, will open Venice. Another Emma Stone film, Birdman, opened Venice and closed New York, it could happen again.

• Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk - because Life of Pi opened NYFF in 2012.

• Martin Scorsese's Silence - remember when Hugo started its Oscar campaign with a surprise screening in New York in 2011?

• Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals - the rumour is that it will play in competition at Venice. Come to New York soon after, Tom. We'd like to see Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal together in a movie, too.

• Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By the Sea - there’s always a Sundance movie that makes it to NYFF, Whiplash and Brooklyn being the last two examples.

• Robert Zemeckis’ Allied - his last two films, The Walk and Flight, both played at NYFF before opening nationwide.

That's just a few titles, we will know much more in the next few weeks. Are you planning to attend any of the fall film festivals?


Oscar Chart Updates: Picture, Director, Screenplay

It's time to overhaul those April Fool's Oscar Predictions. Release dates have shifted around a bit with Miss Sloane (starring Jessica Chastain) and The Founder (starring Michael Keaton) moving to a very crowded December. Same as it ever was. Quite strangely every Oscar hopeful wants to open opposite Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, so those that have firmly planted their flags in October and November like Birth of a Nation, Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk, and Loving are looking extra smart since that's where Best Picture winners come from for a whole decade now. So why do studios keep banking on December? The answer is twofold. IF you don't get buried in the glut (that's the risk) you can make a lot of money during the holidays and get a higher nomination count than you probably could have managed had you opened in October since you're so fresh in the memory. That's what happened to The Big Short, Carol, Star Wars, and The Revenant last year though half of those did not manage Best Picture honors, even with the benefit of being fresh despite a plentiful stack of nominations.

Will the screenplay branch be appreciative of The Lobster's eccentric originality?

Sadly it doesn't look like we have a major summer player this year like we did last year with Mad Max Fury Road. Though we can hold out hope that The Lobster, Love & Friendship, The Witch and some other goodies from the year's first half will get a second wind later in the season. Anyway, the updates!

Faith is increasing in Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk and Loving and La La Land (though they were already doing well in our charts). Faith has decreased in Fences -- they sure rushed that one, didn't they, since they're already done filming and The Zookeeper's Wife has moved to 2017. (Surely a few more titles will also exit and wait it out)

We'll assume Loving is an Original Screenplay for now, though there's a documentary and other writings on that topic. Since Oscar is weird about nominating musicals for Screenplay this is one category where La La Land is not predicted. But we've thrown Miss Sloane onto the chart to see how it feels. In Adapted Screenplay we're banking on Love & Friendship being the early bird that sticks around since it became such an arthouse hit and it's so delightful and so much was made in profiles and reviews and interviews of Whit Stillman's Jane Austen connection. 

More updates to come!


Jessica Chastain as Miss Sloane: A Story in Gifs

Jessica Chastain's upcoming movies have been shuffled around. The Zookeeper’s Wife - a WW2 drama directed by Niki Caro - will be released next March while Miss Sloane is coming this December. In the John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, The Debt) directed movie, Chastain is Elizabeth Sloane, a DC lobbyist battling for gun control legislation. It's a timely topic that we hope is handled with the care it deserves. The supporting cast includes Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alison Pill, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jake Lacy, Sam Waterston and John Lithgow.

Good cast Jessica, are you excited? (A Gif story after the jump)

Click to read more ...


On this day: Billy the Kid, The Dark Knight, Hello Nasty

Happy Bastille Day! Isn't it weird that violent/bloody days often become holidays later on?

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

Howard Hughes The Outlaw (1943)

1862 The Artist Gustav Klimt is born. Later Dame Helen Mirren will fight for custody of one of his most famous paintings in the bad movie Woman in Gold (2015).
1868 Explorer Gertrud Bell is born. Nicole Kidman played her in an ill-fated unreleased Werner Herzog movie Queen of the Desert
1881 Outlaw Billy the Kid is shot and killed outside Fort Sumner. Numerous stars have played him in movies including Roy Rogers (Billy the Kid Returns), Kris Kristofferson (Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid), Emilio Estevez (Young Guns), and Paul Newman (The Left-Handed Gun). The most famous film version of his story may well be The Outlaw (1943) the Howard Hughes film which starred Jack Buetel as Billy and Jane Russell, in her star-making role, as his girl. You'll probably remember the funny scenes about this scandalous film (and Jane Russell's controversial cleavagae) within Martin Scorsese's The Aviator (2004)

more after the jump including Harry Dean Stanton's 90th birthday...

Click to read more ...


Screening Room Attempts to Recreate Theater Experience In Your Living Room By Subtracting Everything That Makes It A Theater Experience

Daniel Crooke, here. In one corner: art house cinemas, regional and independent theater chains, and the flickering hope that sitting in a dark room while watching strangers’ problems projected onto a screen will warm you from the inside out. In the other: Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Peter Jackson, Justin Timberlake in The Social Network and the redheaded squirt from The Andy Griffith Show. Somewhere beyond the ropes, off in the stands, or wherever spectators chill in a sports metaphor: you, the audience, wondering how the hell you can just lean back and watch a damn movie. The fight: whether Sean Parker’s in-home moviegoing composite, Screening Room – which offers the chance to stream day-in-date releases of top shelf studio releases in the comfort of your own home – accessibly accessorizes or fundamentally destroys movies as we know, watch, and profit from them. Is it a forward thinking, easy-making application or Napster’s file sharing, older sister with a Friedkin poster on the wall? A brave new venture or a brave new world?

Doomsday scenarios and potential benefits after the jump...

Click to read more ...


IFC Films Acquires Kelly Reichardt's Certain Women

Daniel Crooke here, with the news that Kelly Reichardt’s sixth feature film, Certain Women, has found a home at IFC Films after screening at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to great acclaim but no immediate buyer. While some of her (unnamed) louder, male peers from the American indie scene of the ‘90s have gone on to beat their chests across multiplexes with Great Big Cinema, Reichardt has kept fixing nitrogenous empathy to her storytelling roots over the years and elevated them into a premiere form of living, breathing naturalism. Certain Women stars Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, and Kristen Stewart as an intersecting triptych of Montana ladies, whose “performance style is as casually organic and democratic as in any of her more scrappily cast early projects,” according to Guy Lodge at Variety.

For longtime fans or recent converts evangelized by Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff, or Night Moves, this distribution partnership is a particularly exciting one as it promises Reichardt her largest release platform to date – with no offense to sage curatorial lookouts Oscilloscope Laboratories and Cinedigm, this is a big bump in maximizing eyes on the screen and seats in the theater. IFC Films has yet to announce a specific release date but assures that it will hit theaters at the tail end of 2016.

As if upping the ante for exposure weren’t enough, this puts Certain Women in the excellent company of other, ahem, certain exemplary women from female-forward stories in the IFC Catalogue. At their poker table of daring heroines with complex agendas, you find no less than: 45 Years’ shatter-glass Kate Mercer holding a royal flush (which she’ll soon discover is actually just an Ace high); Maria Enders and Valentine of Clouds of Sils Maria bluffing one another under the table; and the ultimate in unpredictable poker faces, Phoenix’s Nelly. So welcome to the IFC Films party, Certain Women, and know going in that Two Days, One Night’s Sandra has already paved the way in pressuring them to sacrifice a little extra dough when it comes to Oscar campaigning for a critic’s favorite. But above all else, per Amelia, watch out for The Babadook!


2016's Tentative Calendar

We'll begin awardable speculations all over again starting April 1st as we do. Don't hate us because we're OCD. So I'm prepping a cheat sheet list of releases that could factor in in ways very minor or major. Let me know if I've missed any juicy titles you're awaiting after the jump.

January through April
Which ones will people still care about in 10 months when top ten lists / awards season begins
10 Cloverfield Lane, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Boss, Demolition, Everybody Wants Some, Hail Caesar!, Hello My Name is Doris, A Hologram for the King, The Huntsman: Winter's War, Krisha, The Meddler, Midnight Special, Miles Ahead, Sing Street, Tale of Tales, The Witch, and Zootopia

Popcorn Season (May-August)
Some Oscar nominees always emerge in the summer. But the question is in which categories?
Alice Through the Looking Glass, Ben-Hur, The BFG, A Bigger Splash, Captain America: Civil War, Captain Fantastic, The Conjuring 2, Finding Dory, The Founder, Genius, Ghostbusters, Hands of Stone, High Rise, Independence Day: Resurgence, Jason Bourne, Kubo & The Two Strings, Last Days in the Desert, The Legend of Tarzan, Money Monster,  Pete's Dragon, The Secret Life of Pets, Star Trek Beyond, Suicide Squad, Warcraft, X-Men: Apocalypse

Festival Friendly (Sept-October)
October & November are now the best months for release (statistically) if you'd like to win Best Picture
The Accountant, The Birth of a Nation, Bridget Jones Baby, Deepwater Horizon, Girl on the Train, The Light Between Oceans, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, A Monster Calls, Storks, Sully, Snowden, 

Holidays (November-December).
December continues to be the most popular month to schedule Oscar hopefuls though no eventual winner has been released that late since 2004. Still, it's usually good for way too many Oscar nominations even if few wins come of them... 
Assassin's Creed, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Collateral Beauty, Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Lion, La La Land, Moana, Passengers, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Sing, Trolls, Untitled Robert Zemeckis / Brad Pitt World War II Film

Liam Neeson in Martin Scorsese's Silence 

Have Yet to be Scheduled But Expected in 2016
20th Century Women (Mike Mills directs The Bening and other stars)
Charming (animated comedy about the Prince's multiple storybook romances)
A Tale of Love and Darkness (Natalie Portman)
Silence (Martin Scorsese directs Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, Etc...)
The Last Face (Charlize Theron & Javier Bardem)
The Book of Henry (Naomi Watts, Lee Pace, Jacob Tremblay)
The Zookeepers Wife (Jessica Chastain, WW II drama)
Gold (Matthew McConaughey)
Suite Francaise (Michelle Williams... this is still out there somewhere. It's been finished for how long?)
The Queen of Katwe (Mira Nair directs Lupita Nyong'o)
A United Kingdom (Rosamund Pike & David Oyelowo)
Untitled Howard Hughes Project (Warren Beatty, Alec Baldwin, Lily Collins, The Bening)
Loving (Jeff Nichols directs Joel Edgerton & Ruth Negga, true story)
LBJ (Rob Reiner directs Woody Harrelson in the biopic) 
Untitled Woody Allen (Blake Lively, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell) 
The Seagull (Saoirse Ronan, Corey Stoll, and The Bening in a Chekov adaptation) 
Beat-up Little Seagull (Michelle Pfeiffer) 
The Lost City of Z (James Gray directs Tom Holland and Charlie Hunnam in 1920s jungle exploration) 
HHhH (Rosamund Pike, Mia Wasikowska, Jason Clarke in WW II thriller)  
War Machine (David Michôd directs Brad Pitt in Afghan war satire)
Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford directs Amy Adams & Jake Gyllenhaal. Based on the book "Tony & Susan") 
The Secret Scripture (Jim Sheridan directs Rooney Mara & Vanessa Redgrave in mental hospital drama) 
Una (Rooney Mara & Ben Mendelsohn)
The Whole Truth (Courtney Hunt directs Keanu Reeves & Gugu Mbatha-Raw)
Our Kind of Traitor (Damian Lewis & Naomie Harris) 
Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan directs Casey Affleck & Michelle Williams)
Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt directs Kristen Stewart & Michelle Williams)
Tallulah (Ellen Page & Allison Janney)
Trespass Against Us (Michael Fassbender & Brendan Gleeson)
Alone in Berlin (Brendan Gleeson & Emma Thompson) 
The Promise (Terry George directs Christian Bale & Oscar Isaac & Charlotte Le Bon in Ottoman Empire love triangle) 
The Circle (James Ponsoldt directs Emma Watson & Tom Hanks) 

Intended for 2017 but they're already filming so you never know...
Live by Night (Ben Affleck directs Prohibition Era crime story)
Miss Sloane (Jessica Chastain)
The Snowman (Tomas Alfredson directs Michael Fassbender)
Trainspotting 2 (the whole cast returns)
All Eyez on Me (Tupac Shakur bio) 
The Dinner (Oren Moverman directs Richard Gere & The Lovely Laura Linney)