If the doling out of awards by the New York Film Critics Circle, and the release of the Annie Awards nominations hadn’t made it clear, as we’ve passed into December the movie business award season is officially open.

The latest stage in the game is the release of a shortlist of documentaries that will be considered by the¬†Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for nomination for the Best Documentary Oscar early next year. (This is not the nomination list — that will be released in January.) There are a few nice inclusions (such as our Sundance fave Searching for Sugar Man), some expected inclusions (The Invisible War, The Imposter, How to Survive a Plague) along with a batch of other possible nominations that we can all argue over. Read More »

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This week, Dave, Devindra, and Adam take on the MPAA and wonder about the fate of Gary Ross’s work in the Hunger Games film series. Also, can enthusiasm only take you so far? Or is it the key to unlocking your dreams? Special guest Joseph Kahn joins us to discuss. Kahn’s newest film, Detention, opens in limited release this Friday.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. We’ll be reviewing Cabin in the Woods next week. /Filmcast live broadcasts won’t be regular the next few months, but follow Dave on Twitter to see when we’ll be broadcasting next!

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The battle between The Weinstein Co. and the MPAA over the rating for Lee Hirsch‘s Bully could finally be winding to a close, as sources claim that The Weinstein Co. is preparing a PG-13 cut of the anti-bullying doc after all. The unrated, unedited version of the film opened in five New York and Los Angeles-area theaters this past weekend to solid box office numbers, and is expected to roll out to 23 more markets on April 13 with the new cut. More details after the jump.

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There’s been a strange turn of events in the tale of The Weinstein Company’s upcoming documentary Bully. The latest info was the film, which was in danger of being saddled with an R-rating the studio deemed unfair, would be released unrated and uncut. Normally, that would mean the film could not play in most major movie chains as they don’t play unrated or NC-17 rated movies. However, in the case of Bully, AMC Theaters will allow minors in to see the film as long as they have written or verbal permission from a parent. Cinemark, on the other hand, will not show the film. [Update: And Regal, will treat it as an R-rated film.] There’s more after the jump. Read More »

‘Bully’ to be Released Unedited, and Unrated

Here’s the latest update in the battle between Harvey Weinstein and Bully director Lee Hirsch on one side and the MPAA on the other. Weinstein and Hirsch have petitioned the MPAA to lower Bully‘s rating from R to PG-13; the film was rated R solely for the use of foul language by kids filmed for the documentary.

Weinstein petitioned the MPAA to change the rating, hoping that doing so would (he said) help get kids to see the movie. He cited the ratings change for the Iraq War documentary Gunner Palace, released in 2004, which was also originally rated R for language. In the case of Gunner Palace, the MPAA did change the rating, and it went out as a PG-13 movie.

In the case of Bully the MPAA refused to budge, and now The Weinstein Company will release it, unedited, as an unrated film. So will the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) make good on a promise to treat it as NC-17 and not let any minors in at all? Read More »

OK, this is getting absurd. First, let’s recap. Lee Hirsch made a documentary called Bully that takes on the issue of bullying in schools, spurred in part by the suicides of several kids who were victims of bullying. The Weinstein Company is distributing the film, but found the picture tagged with an R rating by the MPAA, thanks to scenes in which kids talk like kids. (Read: there’s some dirty words in there.)

Last week TWC appealed the rating and lost by one vote. At that point Harvey Weinstein threatened to break from the MPAA entirely. Harvey, Hirsch and others have continued to campaign for the film, which they want to be able to show in schools. A young woman named Katy Butler — herself a victim of bullying — also launched her own petition on Change.org to ask the MPAA to give the film a PG-13 rating.

Now, as Harvey talks about releasing the film unrated, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) is threatening to have association members treat the movie as if it is rated NC-17. Rarely is the argument over the release of a film so ironically captured by the film’s title as it is here. Read More »

The MPAA began, in slightly different form, to act in part as a tool for the early Hollywood studios. But it also quickly became a self-regulating arm of the film industry, an attempt to pacify those who accused movies of moral lapses without letting control over the business pass to a government agency. The MPAA has seen its share of controversy over many decades of existence, but in the last ten years has seemed more and more out of touch with common standards. Cite, if you will, the board’s inflexible approach towards ‘foul’ language, or a permissive attitude towards violence that contrasts with a severe distaste for sex, especially if the film in question is the product of a major studio.

Harvey Weinstein has had several battles with the MPAA in recent years, and the latest is over the documentary Bully. The film, a trailer for which we showed you yesterday, was rated R for scenes in which kids speak like kids do — that is, with some bad language. Weinstein appealed the R rating today, and lost by a single vote. Now he is threatening to do something that perhaps only Harvey could get away with: a wholesale break from the MPAA.

Update: The MPAA has released a statement in response to Weinstein’s threat. Read that below.

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Here’s the trailer for Bully, a documentary from director Lee Hirsch (NextWorld, Amandala!) about the ways that schoolkids and their families deal with bullying. We’ve seen several cases in the past few years where bullied kids have taken their own lives, or attempted to, and this film seems intended to address the issue both as an expose and a means of support to those who are bullied.

There is a minor point of controversy, however, as the version of Bully submitted to the MPAA was given an R rating for language, and Harvey Weinstein is trying to appeal that rating before the film’s March release. Read More »

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