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The Playlist

Cannes Review: 'The Snow Of Kilimanjaro' Flirts With Big Ideas, But Lands On Easy Answers

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 15, 2011 10:03 AM
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  • 0 Comments
In Robert Guédiguian's "The Snows Of Kilimanjaro" shot in the beautiful town of Esthaqe deeper problems are roiling underneath the sunkissed sky. After thirty years, Michel (Jean-Pierre Daroussin), along with a number of other workers, has lost his job on the docks where he was one of the toppers. Essentially forced into early retirement, Michel mostly keeps a strong front, spending more time with his grandchildren and tackling projects he's always said he was going to do but never did. But he's also got his lovely wife Marie-Claire (Ariane Ascardie) at his side, and as it turns out, they've got an anniversary coming up. Gathering all their friends together -- including some of Michel's former coworkers, some of whom were also laid off -- they celebrate and are surprised with a gift of money and tickets from everyone for an African Safari. Despite the brief bump in the road, life seems very, very good.

Cannes Review: 'The Artist' A Joyous, Big Hearted Tribute To Old School Moviemaking

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 15, 2011 8:23 AM
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  • 2 Comments
When The Weinstein Company announced last week just before the kick off the Cannes Film Festival that they had picked up Michel Hazanavicius' "The Artist" it was certainly a surprise. Harvey and Bob laid down big bucks for a film that, in this age of CGI and 3D blockbuster pictures, seems like box office poison. A silent film, in black and white, led by two French stars that are virtually unknown in the United States, it doesn't seem like the kind of movie that, outside of arthouse buffs, would catch on with a broader audience. But, the Weinstein instincts were right on as screening this morning for critics, not only did "The Artist" play like gangbusters to critics who applauded the film at various points during the film but more importantly, Hazanavicius' film is a pure joy. Wildly entertaining, with a big generous heart, "The Artist" is not just an exercise in old school filmmaking, it's a beautifully told story that is classic and timeless in feel.

Review: ‘Priest’ Is A Spot-the-Cliché Mishmash of Well-Worn Sci-fi Staples

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • May 15, 2011 5:55 AM
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  • 4 Comments
In the stark, humorless world of “Priest,” directed by former visual effects dude Scott Stewart and based on a popular Korean comic book by Min-Woo Hyung, violent fights break out almost all the time. Stewart, who also helmed last year’s tedious “Terminator” rip-off “Legion,” films these fights with sub-“Matrix” flourishes of extreme slow-motion or exaggerated physical performances by the actors (chief among them Paul Bettany). But the most violent clash in “Priest” is probably the way in which a long litany of science fiction and horror clichés rattle and clang against one another; it’s not a movie, it’s a checklist.

Weekend Box Office: 'Thor' Holds #1 With $34.5 million, 'Bridesmaids' Surprises

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 15, 2011 5:55 AM
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  • 21 Comments
If you enter the blockbuster business in Hollywood, you essentially enter the $80 million opening weekend business. Which is to say, it’s part of a pray/hope/accept/die model. Considering most blockbusters cost $150-$200 million, with marketing sometimes adding up to $100 million, a 3x’s multiplier after an $80 million opening ($240 million) might be the best-case scenario, unless you‘ve released a much-better-than-expected film (not likely). You double that number with overseas receipts, you’ve potentially got $480-$500 million worldwide on a possible $300 million expenditure. The studio earns 55% of that take, meaning that you’ve approached profit, with DVD and merchandising expecting to take care of the rest.

Rewind: The Week In Movies, May 8th-May 15th

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 15, 2011 5:31 AM
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  • 1 Comment
It was a predictably big week at The Playlist as we experienced the second week of a busy month of May. In addition to greeting the beginning of Cannes, there were also aftershocks to last week’s "Django Unchained" announcements, as well as exciting news about the next films from Paul Thomas Anderson and Woody Allen, while “Tree Of Life” anticipation reached a fever pitch.

Angelina Jolie's Directorial Debut Now Titled 'In The Land Of Blood and Honey'

  • By Edward Davis
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  • May 15, 2011 5:16 AM
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  • 5 Comments
FilmDistrict To Release Bosnian-Set War/Romance Picture On December 23rdAcademy Award-winning Actress, U.N.-approved humanitarian, prodigious international baby adopter, geographical coordinate tattoo enthusiast, partner to one of the sexiest men on the planet and now director. Is there anything Angelina Jolie can't do?

Exclusive: First Look At Willem Dafoe In Abel Ferrara's Latest "4:44 Last Day On Earth"

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 15, 2011 4:35 AM
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  • 4 Comments
The idea of the end of the world is an endless mine for filmmakers. Principally, of course, they're big-budget action fests, whether showing the disaster in progress, like the many, many examples in Roland Emmerich's career, or showing the aftermath, like "Mad Max" and his plentiful rip-offs. But sometimes, you get lower-key takes on the same subject matter, which are inevitably infinitely more insightful about an idea that, let's be honest, hangs around the back of most of our minds. From Don McKellar's "Last Night" to the upcoming Steve Carell/Keira Knightley drama "Seeking A Friend At The End of the World," it's surprisingly easy to make the apocalypse happen on a low-budget, and the latest director to turn his eye to this genre is maverick veteran Abel Ferrara.

Nicolas Winding Refn Says REO Speedwagon Helped Him & Ryan Gosling Seal The 'Drive' Deal

  • By Edward Davis
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  • May 15, 2011 4:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments
While Nicolas Winding Refn's "noir thriller Drive" threatens to be one of the most talked about films of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, especially considering its A-list cast that includes Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Oscar Isaac, Christina Hendricks and "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston to name a few, the film has not screened so far, nor has the cast assembled to talk about it yet.

Gemma Arterton & Saoirse Ronan To Play Mother & Daughter Vampires In Neil Jordan's 'Byzantium'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 15, 2011 2:00 AM
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  • 4 Comments
We always feel that Neil Jordan is somewhat undervalued. Generally speaking, his films aren't giant hits (bar "Interview with the Vampire"), or gather awards attention (except for "The Crying Game"). And there are plenty of misfires across his career, from "Michael Collins" to "In Dreams" to the truly awful "The Brave One." But his work is consistently interesting, and sometimes downright superb, particularly when he delves into more fantastical territory: we're not sure that films like "The Company of Wolves" and the recent "Ondine" ever quite got the attention they deserved.

FilmDistrict Team With TriStar To Pick Up Rian Johnson's Time Travel Actioner 'Looper'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 15, 2011 1:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Jumping in as a new distributor into a circuit where the big dogs -- the Paramounts, the 20th Century Foxs, the Warner Bros.s, the Universals -- have been up and running for the best part of a century, can't be easy. The most recent start-ups, Summit and CBS Films, have had mixed success, the former might have a mega-franchise in the "Twilight" series, but are still finding their feet outside it, while the latter are yet to have a box office hit in their first year of operation. But FilmDistrict, the shiniest, newest company in town, have managed to come out of the blocks in a fairly impressive way.

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