Director George Hickenlooper Has Died at Age 47

Director George Hickenlooper, whose film Casino Jack has been playing festivals and is on the verge of release, has died in Denver, Colorado at the age of 47. His cousin, Denver mayor John Hickenlooper, confirmed the director’s passing to the Denver Post. Read More »

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Morgan Spurlock to Premiere ‘Committed’ on AMC

Oscar® and Emmy® Nominated Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me, The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special in 3-D)  is set to premiere a new one-hour documentary special titled “Committed: The Toronto International Film Festival“  by on AMC this Tuesday October 12th at 11pm eastern.

Narrated by AMC News correspondent Jacob Soboroff and commissioned by AMC, the show highlights the personal journeys of four filmmakers at the world renowned Toronto International Film Festival this past September.  Committed follows four filmmakers who spent 12 days at this prestigious event presenting their works to the most discerning critics, buyers and audiences from across the globe. Each filmmaker hopes that his/her film will be the next big thing. From first time filmmakers to an Oscar® nominated auteur to an indie director trying to make the leap to commercial success, this eye opening documentary brings you front and center in the middle of the excitement, the anxiety and the joys of being committed to getting your film seen, sold and accepted. Committed takes you through their ride of a lifetime from their first day at the festival to their last, through the negotiations that may lead to selling their film, as well as the potential devastations and unpredictable glory that may or may not come their way.

The filmmakers featured in the special include: first time documentary filmmaker Sarah McCarthy (The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical); newbie fiction director Shawn Ku (Beautiful Boy); Academy-nominated directed John Sayles (Amigo); and indie veteran George Hickenlooper (Casino Jack). I’ve always found the concept of film festivals interesting, and have had aa simular idea to this revolving around the Sundance Film Festival, in my mind for years. I’ do find it strange that we haven’t heard anything about this project until days before it airs, and the fact that no trailer or television commercial is available online. Read the full press release after the jump.

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Movie Trailer #2: Kevin Spacey in ‘Casino Jack’

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When we first saw a trailer for Casino Jack, starring Kevin Spacey as disgraced ‘super lobbyist’ Jack Abramoff, the film was called Bagman and the trailer was miserable. Tonally the clip was all over the place, the voice over was laughable, and it committed a serious sin by trying to pretend that Rolling Stones songs like ‘Gimme Shelter’ and ‘Sympathy For the Devil’ have any life left for use in cinema.

Now there’s a new trailer, and it is certainly cut with a lot more skill and consistency. Check it out after the break. Read More »

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The Toronto Film Festival is just getting underway, and already one film has been picked up for Us distribution. Sarah’s Key, starring Kristen Scott Thomas, was picked up by The Weinstein Commpany today as the first official buy of the fest. More info on the film after the break, along with good breaks for Barney’s Version with Paul Giamatti and Casino Jack with Kevin Spacey. Read More »

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For once it isn’t M. Night Shyamalan getting stuck into a bitter dispute over a film’s title (see The Woods/The Village and the Avatars) but some fresh meat. The combatants this time are documentarian Alex Gibney and sometime documentarian, sometime fiction filmmaker George Hickenlooper. At this moment, they’re both at work with films about the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff – Gibney a doc, Hickenlooper a drama set to star Kevin Spacey – and both of the films are claiming the title Casino Jack.

A cease and desist letter has been sent to Hickenlooper from the legal representatives of Gibney, threatening “any and all necessary action” if Casino Jack the second doesn’t budge over and find a new handle. What could “any and all necessary action” actually amount to?

Some excerpts from the letter and from Hickenlooper’s stinging response coming right up after the break.

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