Snowpiercer

For the past four months, we’ve been getting worrisome reports about what U.S. distributor The Weinstein Co. is doing to Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer. The Weinsteins wanted to chop up the movie, despite great reviews from Korea and France, because they were afraid that “audiences in Iowa and Oklahoma” wouldn’t get it. While the director initially assured press that the cuts were “pretty soft,” he’s since become more vocal about his displeasure.

Today, the most detailed report yet reveals a bit more about the behind-the-scenes struggle between the director and the distributor. Among other things, the Weinsteins blocked the film from playing on the fall festival circuit, and suggested to Bong that he add bookending voiceovers penned by Neil Gaiman. Hit the jump for the latest on this battle.

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Rounders

The once-independent Miramax catalog is getting a new school Hollywood makeover. Founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who left the company in 2005 and formed The Weinstein Company, just signed a deal to regain creative control over the Miramax library. Colony Capital purchased it from Disney in 2010, for $660 million. Their first two orders of business will be sequels to Best Picture winner Shakespeare in Love and cult poker film Rounders. They’ll also develop TV series based on Good Will Hunting, Swingers and Flirting with Disaster, and jumpstart development on scripts by Stephen Colbert, Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack. Read much more below. Read More »

Josh Brolin Sin City

The new film Sin City: A Dame to Die For won’t be the only project to transfer Frank Miller’s stark noir tales from the comic page to the screen. In fact, that film may be swiftly followed by a new Sin City TV show.

Harvey Weinstein, like many other producers, has started to see TV as the safest medium in which to earn a few bucks. ”The way to add stability to the company is to be in the television business,” he recently told the New York Times, elaborating that he wants a TV division “as powerful as the theatrical division.” With many a mention of the limited earnings potential of standalone films, which “may fade without creating spinoffs and sequels,” what we see is inspiration from others who are trying to use movies as a way to bring audiences to TV.

So among the offerings the Weinsteins are trying to assemble are the Sin City show, and also a new limited series based on The Mist.

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Vampire Academy

Paranormal YA characters tend to be a pretty mopey lot, whether they’re pining after sparkly vampire boyfriends or stressing over whether they’ll use their witchy powers for good or evil. But the tough, sarcastic leads of Vampire Academy look like a welcome exception.

Rose (Zoey Deutch) is a snarky ass-kicker in the Buffy Summers mold, though she protects bloodsuckers instead of fighting them; her charge and BFF is Lissa (Lucy Fry) is a vampire princess whose royal lineage doesn’t stop her from hating high school.

Their wisecracking powers come from the folks behind the camera: Director Mark Waters is best known for having helmed Mean Girls, while his screenwriter/brother Daniel Walters famously penned Heathers and Batman Returns. Watch the newest trailer after the jump.

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Snowpiercer_st_02

Not only do American audiences not know when we’ll get to see Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer, we don’t even know what form it’ll be in when we do. Back in August, word got out that U.S. distributor The Weinstein Company was cutting 20 minutes out of the film. Bong initially seemed pretty chill about the whole thing, but then other reports indicated that he was actually quite furious in private.

As of now, the struggle between Bong and the Weinsteins over the final cut is “still going on,” according to the director. And the director is willing to fight for his vision, claiming that his version has actually fared better with test audiences in the States than the Weinsteins’ shorter cut did. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

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Jake Gyllenhaal in End of Watch

There aren’t many situations in which Jake Gyllenhaal would seem like an appropriate replacement for Eminem, but Antoine Fuqua‘s Southpaw could turn out to be one of them. Gyllenhaal has entered talks to take the lead in the boxing drama, which had Eminem attached a few years back. Hit the jump for more on the movie’s plot and history.

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Only God Forgives

Celebrate the filmmaker who is able to rip stuff right out of their head and put it on screen. One of the most striking movies of 2013 is Only God Forgives, from Drive and Bronson director Nicolas Winding Refn and Drive star Ryan Gosling.

Refn’s movie is a hallucinogenic trip through stunted sexual growth, with a manchild (Gosling) defined and constrained by the influence of his domineering mother, played by a fierce Kristin Scott Thomas. The film seems hell-bent on shattering Gosling’s image as a muscular leading man, and in diving deep into the corners of an unstable and not entirely welcoming mental space.

Only God Forgives is out on disc this week. Earlier this year I spoke to Refn and the film’s soundtrack composer, Cliff Martinez, and they explained the gestation of the voice of the film, and the idea of following artistic inspiration.  Read More »

immigrant-french-trailer-header

This looks promising. The Immigrant is James Gray‘s latest film, which debuted at Cannes to generally positive reviews. And no wonder: the film stars Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner in a love triangle of sorts, as Phoenix “helps” Cotillard as she immigrates to the US in the 1920, then traps her in a life of prostitution. Renner plays Phoenix’s cousin, and the man who could set her free. Sure, that’s a pretty hoary old story, but with the talent involved it still has appeal. And coming from Gray (and cinematographer Darius Khondji) I’d expect more out of it than the basic description suggests.

Note: this trailer is not safe for work, due to some nudity. Read More »

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