Indie News

‘Mary Queen of Scots’ Opens Regal; ‘Vox Lux’ Solid and ‘The Favourite’ Expands Strong: Specialty Box Office

‘Mary Queen of Scots’ Opens Regal; ‘Vox Lux’ Solid and ‘The Favourite’ Expands Strong: Specialty Box Office
The Queens have it again. Focus Features opened Mary Queen of Scots in four New York and L.A. locations Friday to a robust start, taking in over $200K for a weekend, topping $50,045 per-heater average, placing it as the 11th highest PTA of the year as of Sunday morning.

Specialty moviegoers are clearly satiating their zest for period films centering on monarchs from the British Isles. Fox Searchlight’s The Favourite had the year’s highest opening weekend PTA at $105K. Now in its third weekend, the feature, starring Olivia Colman as Queen Anne, as well as Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz as her aristocratic suitors, expanded over the weekend, grossing $1.43M in 91 theaters, averaging $15,714.

Though Mary Queen of Scots reigned among limited-release openers, Neon’s Vox Lux by Brady Corbet and Peter HedgesBen Is Back, released via Ld Entertainment, Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate, had solid showings. Vox Lux,
See full article at Deadline »

‘Minding the Gap’ Wins Top Award From International Documentary Association

‘Minding the Gap’ Wins Top Award From International Documentary Association
Bing Liu’s skateboarding movie “Minding The Gap” has won the International Documentary Association’s award for top feature of 2018.

Floyd Russ’s “Zion” was awarded best short. Netflix’s “Wild Wild Country” won for best limited series and HBO’s “John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls” took the ABC News VideoSource Award. PBS’ “POV” won for best curated series, Showtime’s “The Trade” for best episodic series, Mel Films for best short form series, and Jayisha Patel’s “Circle” for the David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award.

Both Melissa Haizlip’s “Mr. Soul!” and Steve Loveridge’s “Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.” were each awarded best music documentary while “Bisbee ’17” and “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” were each awarded best music score. The New York Times’ “Caliphate” took the inaugural award in the audio documentary category.

Ricki Lake hosted the ceremonies Saturday night for the 34th
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘Roma’ Wins Best Picture From The Los Angeles Film Critics Association

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association announced their year-end awards today and the big winner was “Roma” which took the Best Picture prize. This is the second major win for “Roma” after taking the New York Film Critics Circle honor less than two weeks ago. Debra Granik earned some much-deserved kudos with a Best Director win for “Leave No Trace” while the expected winner, Alfonso Cuarón, took second.

Continue reading ‘Roma’ Wins Best Picture From The Los Angeles Film Critics Association at The Playlist.
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‘Aquaman’ Makes Waves In China As ‘Mary Queen Of Scots,’ ‘Vox Lux,’ & ‘Ben Is Back’ Debut [Box Office]

It’s been three weeks now with the top three films dominating the box office. “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” “The Grinch,” and “Creed II” have steadily kept those top three spots, providing for what would seemingly be a boring month at the box office, at least narratively. But yet, here we are, and there’s plenty to talk about including outstanding audience retentions holds for all the films in the top 10 especially family fare.

Continue reading ‘Aquaman’ Makes Waves In China As ‘Mary Queen Of Scots,’ ‘Vox Lux,’ & ‘Ben Is Back’ Debut [Box Office] at The Playlist.
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‘Green Book’ Rises; Same 6 Films Lead Box Office for Unprecedented Third Weekend

‘Green Book’ Rises; Same 6 Films Lead Box Office for Unprecedented Third Weekend
This was the worst-grossing weekend of 2018, not that it matters; this pre-Christmas weekend is usually among the lowest. All distributors avoided it for any new release, even throwaway titles. Historically, next week can be even worse (unless your film is “Star Wars” or similar). The priority now is to stake a claim that doesn’t risk seeing a film pulled for Christmas.

So, no new films, decreased gross — and at the same time, better holds for films currently on screen. That formula explains this week’s results. However, the same six films have led all others for three straight weeks and that’s unprecedented.

It also could have impact on weeks ahead. “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” “The Grinch,” and “Creed II” all grossed over $10 million in their third weekend (or later), in a slow period: That suggests they will play through the holiday. That would mean a major bonus for all three,
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Mary Queen of Scots’ Leads Limited Openers, ‘Amazing Grace’ Wows New York

‘Mary Queen of Scots’ Leads Limited Openers, ‘Amazing Grace’ Wows New York
The studios offered no new films this prime post-Golden Globes nominations weekend, so the specialty companies rushed to take advantage with openers, expansions and re-releases. Three companies with a track record for getting attention during the late year period opened important films.

“Mary, Queen of Scots” (Focus) starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie performed the best by some distance; it should play well with specialty crowds even if it isn’t a well-reviewed awards player. “Vox Lux” (Neon) starring Natalie Portman follows “A Star Is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” as dramas about troubled performers. While not on the same scale, it also found initial interest. Roadside Attractions’ “Ben Is Black” starring Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges mustered just enough interest to warrant holiday expansion.

The sleeper this weekend is “Amazing Grace” (Neon), which in an awards qualifying run in New York is sold out its entire week. It will return next year,
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The Internet Is Just Discovering Ralphie From ‘A Christmas Story’ Stars in ‘Elf,’ and Minds Are Blown

The Internet Is Just Discovering Ralphie From ‘A Christmas Story’ Stars in ‘Elf,’ and Minds Are Blown
Minds have been blown across the internet over the last week following a discovery that has been hiding in plain sight for 15 years: Peter Billingsley, the actor behind the iconic role of Ralphie in “A Christmas Story,” also appears in the Christmas movie classic “Elf.” Not only that, but he also appears in the Christmas film “Four Christmases,” starring Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn.

The discovery went viral after a tweet announced Billingsley’s “Elf” role to the world, which was followed by the viral Buzzfeed article, “I Was Today Years Old When I Realized ‘Ralphie’ Was That Actor In ‘Elf.'” Of course, Billingsley hasn’t been hiding his career and anyone who found themselves on the actor’s Wikipedia page or IMDb page would’ve seen he’s been a presence in numerous Christmas films over the years.

More surprising, Billingsley is listed as an executive producer on “Iron Man,
See full article at Indiewire »

Lafca 2018 Winners: ‘Roma’ Takes Best Picture, Debra Granik Named Best Director

Lafca 2018 Winners: ‘Roma’ Takes Best Picture, Debra Granik Named Best Director
Following the Golden Globe nominations last week, the 2018-19 awards season continues today in a big way with the announcement of the 2018 Los Angeles Film Critics Association winners. Lafca, as the group is known, is set to honor the year in film by awarding prizes to the best performances and features of 2018.

Lafca’s east coast counterpart, the New York Film Critics Circle (Nyfcc), announced its winners on November 29, with Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” winning three prizes: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Cinematography. The drama is expected to have another strong showing with Lafca, although the group is known to make surprising choices every now and then.

Recent Lafca winners for Best Film include “Call Me By Your Name,” “Moonlight,” “Spotlight,” “Boyhood,” and “Her.” All of these films went on to earn Oscar nominations for Best Picture, with “Moonlight” and “Spotlight” winning the top honor. Last year’s Lafca
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Nick Cannon Stands Up for Kevin Hart by Posting Homophobic Tweets From Schumer, Silverman

Nick Cannon Stands Up for Kevin Hart by Posting Homophobic Tweets From Schumer, Silverman
Nick Cannon is sticking up for Kevin Hart after the comedian stepped down from hosting the 2019 Academy Awards. Hart was announced as Oscars host on December 4, but soon afterward controversial jokes featuring Lgbtq slurs from Hart’s past began to resurface. After initially refusing to apologize, Hart eventually said he was sorry and confirmed he would not be hosting as to “not be a distraction” to the show at large.

Cannon showed support for Hart on Twitter by re-posting old tweets from female comics Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, and Chelsea Handler that, similar to Hart, feature Lgbtq slurs and derogatory terms. Cannon noted he’s a fan of Silverman’s “Wreck-It Ralph” franchise despite the fact she once tweeted in 2010, “I dont mean this in a hateful way but the new bachelorette’s a f*g.”

A 2012 tweet from Amy Schumer read, “Enjoy ‘Skyfall’ f*gs. I’m about to
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Kevin Hart Quotes Martin Luther King Jr. After Oscars Host Drama, but That Causes More Backlash

Kevin Hart Quotes Martin Luther King Jr. After Oscars Host Drama, but That Causes More Backlash
Kevin Hart is earning more backlash after an ill-fated attempt to move on from the drama surrounding his short-lived Oscars hosting gig. The comedian sent a post out to his 34.6 million Twitter followers quoting one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous speeches: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Hart was announced on December 4 as the host for the 2019 Academy Awards, but he stepped down from the position quickly due to backlash over his history of making jokes featuring Lgbtq slurs and derogatory terms. Hart originally refused to apologize for the controversial jokes from his past, but he later said he was sorry after announcing he would not host the Oscars.

While the Martin Luther King Jr. quote was an attempt by Hart to put his decision to
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Saturday Night Live’ Review: Jason Momoa Makes His Enthusiastic Debut

‘Saturday Night Live’ Review: Jason Momoa Makes His Enthusiastic Debut
Another week, another first-time “Saturday Night Live” host. Jason Momoa is Aquaman — he’s kind of a big deal under the sea — but he’s also considered a hunk and a heartthrob, a point this episode has no problem acknowledging. He rips off tearaway pants at one point, which was perhaps expected by fans tuning in to see him.

But here’s a disappointing spoiler alert, fans: There is no “Stargate: Atlantis” or “North Shore” reference in this episode, because the “SNL” writers are aren’t about completely giving the audience what they want. Oh, a “Game of Thrones” sketch, huh? How unexpected.

Host: Jason Momoa

First of all, the title of this monologue on YouTube is “Jason Momoa Mo-Monologue.” Cute.

This opening monologue sets the tone of Momoa’s work in the episode, for better or worse, because like he says, he’s a real “‘SNL’ super nerd dork,
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Brad Pitt’s Sci-Fi Epic ‘Ad Astra’ Gets Bumped to May 2019, but It’s Still ‘Far From Finished’

Brad Pitt’s Sci-Fi Epic ‘Ad Astra’ Gets Bumped to May 2019, but It’s Still ‘Far From Finished’
Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is the upcoming Brad Pitt release everyone can’t stop talking about right now, but the actor has another project set to open before “Hollywood” that ought to be on everyone’s radar. At least, that is if it actually opens in 2019 at all. Pitt is the lead in James Gray’s science-fiction epic “Ad Astra,” and the director recently cast doubt on meeting the film’s deadline while speaking with The Film Stage.

“It’s exciting, but it’s far from finished,” Gray said when asked for “Ad Astra” updates. “I’m here [at the Marrakech Film Festival], a little bit on vacation. I’m really tired because the previous movie [“The Lost City of Z”] was physically very difficult. It was both Europe and the jungle and this one I thought would be easier. Not easier like an easy movie to make but, like,
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“If the Content is Sh*t, It Will Still be Sh*t in Vr and Ar”: Virtual Reality and Hard Truth at the 2018 FilmGate Interactive Media Festival

The Virtual Reality Portal at the FilmGate Interactive Media Festival, which this year overlapped with Art Basel in downtown Miami, featured a wealth of new discoveries alongside some stellar high-profile projects. Among the three-dozen or so interactive works on display were a pair that made for great companion pieces. The first was Lynette Wallworth’s “psychedelic documentary” Awavena, an inner trip that I’d just missed experiencing at Idfa DocLab (and which made me wish that every Vr experience came with a hammock). The second, Eliza McNitt’s Sundance-premiering outer trip Spheres, also had perhaps the widest target audience of any of the […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine_Director Interviews »

“If the Content is Sh*t, It Will Still be Sh*t in Vr and Ar”: Virtual Reality and Hard Truth at the 2018 FilmGate Interactive Media Festival

The Virtual Reality Portal at the FilmGate Interactive Media Festival, which this year overlapped with Art Basel in downtown Miami, featured a wealth of new discoveries alongside some stellar high-profile projects. Among the three-dozen or so interactive works on display were a pair that made for great companion pieces. The first was Lynette Wallworth’s “psychedelic documentary” Awavena, an inner trip that I’d just missed experiencing at Idfa DocLab (and which made me wish that every Vr experience came with a hammock). The second, Eliza McNitt’s Sundance-premiering outer trip Spheres, also had perhaps the widest target audience of any of the […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

‘The Umbrella Academy’ First Trailer: Ellen Page Has a New Superhero Family in Netflix Series

‘The Umbrella Academy’ First Trailer: Ellen Page Has a New Superhero Family in Netflix Series
Ellen Page is moving on from the “X-Men” in the first trailer for Netflix’s upcoming superhero series “The Umbrella Academy.” The project is based on the comic book series of the same name created and written by Gerard Way, illustrated by Gabriel Bá, and published by Dark Horse Comics.

The Umbrella Academy” begins in 1989 on a day in which 43 infants are born to mothers who, up to the day of their deliveries, had not been pregnant. A wealthy billionaire adopts seven of these children after they show superhuman abilities. Years later, the six remaining children are forced to band together to solve the mysterious death of the billionaire and the impending apocalypse.

Joining Ellen Page in the star-studded cast are Mary J. Blige, Cameron Britton, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, John Magaro, Ashley Madekwe, and Kate Walsh, among others. The series is created for television by Steve Blackman, best known
See full article at Indiewire »

Jason Momoa Resurrects Khal Drogo as ‘SNL’ Honors Dead ‘Game of Thrones’ Characters

Jason Momoa Resurrects Khal Drogo as ‘SNL’ Honors Dead ‘Game of Thrones’ Characters
Jason Momoa returned to his “Game of Thrones” roots during his first stint as “Saturday Night Live” host. The actor resurrected his fan favorite character Khal Drogo for the sketch comedy series’ parody version of a “Thrones” talk that honors all of the dead characters from HBO’s fantasy blockbuster series.

Momoa was a part of the original “Game of Thrones” cast, but his Khal Drogo only lasted 10 episodes. The character was the warlord of the Dothraki people and became married to Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), as arranged by her brother Viserys. Daenerys and Drogo got over their initial animosity towards each other and became a real dynamic force, only for Drogo to be killed after being wounded by one of his men.

Despite Momoa’s short stint on “Thrones,” he has always been one of fans’ most beloved characters. In the “Saturday Night Live” sketch below, the actor effortlessly became Drogo once again,
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‘Divide & Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes’ Is A Fascinating Tale Of An Abusive Monster [Review]

“Divide & Conquer” may not offer too many insightful biographical details about Roger Ailes, the controversially partisan, dishonest and notoriously monstrously-behaved former Fox News Chairman and CEO instrumental in making the conservative news cable channel the biased media behemoth that it is today. The politically savvy (likely the bulk of this film’s audience) will know “The Story of Roger Ailes”—the story of the most powerful man in media— but the fascinating documentary does at least frame the paranoid and fear behind Ailes’ deeply dubious ethos and his uncanny understanding of the medium of television and its massive influence.

Continue reading ‘Divide & Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes’ Is A Fascinating Tale Of An Abusive Monster [Review] at The Playlist.
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Critic Jourdain Searles Talks Writing Rom-Coms [Indie Beat Podcast]

Hey, what’s that under the tree? Did Santa come early? Why, it’s a gift! Unwrap that bad boy and click play — it’s the latest episode of Indie Beat. On this installment, I spoke to film critic, screenwriter, comedian, and fellow podcaster Jourdain Searles.

Jourdain began her life in Georgia but soon moved to New York City to pursue her interest in cinema, attending the Master’s program at NYU. Since then she has run her own media criticism website Fishnet Cinema, an outlet solely contributed to by female-identifying writers and focusing on how race, gender, sexuality, and class pervades the various iterations of media we consume.

Continue reading Critic Jourdain Searles Talks Writing Rom-Coms [Indie Beat Podcast] at The Playlist.
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‘Minding The Gap’ Wins Three Ida Documentary Awards

Rookie filmmaker Bing Liu’s “Minding The Gap” beat out the competition to win top honors at the 34th Annual Ida Documentary Awards at the Paramount Theatre on Saturday night. The portrait of a group of skateboarders took home Best Feature, Emerging Filmmaker and Best Editing. Liu had accepted a Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, where the Pov film was acquired by Hulu.

Other winners include Floyd Russ’s “Zion” (Best Short), Netflix’s “Wild Wild Country” (Best Limited Series), HBO’s “John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls” (the ABC News VideoSource Award), PBS’ Pov (Best Curated Series), Showtime’s “The Trade” (Best Episodic Series), Mel Films (Best Short Form Series), and Jayisha Patel’s “Circle” (the David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award). Both Melissa Haizlip’s “Mr. Soul!” and Steve Loveridge’s “Matangi / Maya / M.I.A.” won Best Music Documentary,
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Brightburn’ Trailer: James Gunn Does A “What If?” Horror Version Of The Superman Story

Well, this is rather fascinating. It had been untitled for months, but we’ve known about a James Gunn-produced genre movie that was supposed to come out in 2018 for a long time. Kept mostly under wraps, the film was supposed to hit this fall. But it became delayed when bad-faith-acting Alt-Right trolls targeted Gunn earlier this year, and exploited some of his awful, poor taste jokes, which forced Marvel to fire him from “Guardians Of The Galaxy.” The controversy led the studio to hold a beat on his new movie.

Continue reading ‘Brightburn’ Trailer: James Gunn Does A “What If?” Horror Version Of The Superman Story at The Playlist.
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