Wes Anderson's “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is shaping up to be an art-house blockbuster.
That's sounds like a contradiction, but the quirky auteur has emerged as one of the most consistent brand names in independent cinema, analysts say. The Fox Searchlight release racked up a stunning $260,477 on Friday in just four theaters and an additional $40,000 in late night showings on Thursday. The film should make more than $600,000 over the weekend, making it the best showing of Anderson's career.
“What's happening with Wes Anderson is he's entered into Woody Allen territory,” Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com, said. “He's established a brand and can get A-list actors to take small roles. The audiences show up in droves because they know it's a good break from typical blockbusters.”
It's shaping up to be one of the biggest limited release debuts in history, and certainly the strongest so far this year. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” could average more than $150,000 per theater, surpassing the $147,000 that “The Master” put up on average last year in limited release and the $130,000 “Moonrise Kingdom” averaged in its limited bow.
“We've been looking for comparisons and drilling down into the numbers, and there isn't really one,” Frank Rodriguez, head of distribution at Fox Searchlight, said. “His fans are like a legion out there and they've been waiting for this film for two years.”
Collectively, Anderson's films have only grossed $175 million –less than the box office take of many films by Spielberg or Scorsese — but his name above the title is still a selling point.
Timing is everything. It's been a slow spring for the indie crowd, with Oscar contenders such as “12 Years a Slave” and “Philomena” hoarding screens as they gobbled up awards attention. That means Anderson's latest, which focuses on an urbane concierge in pre-World War I Europe, is hitting the cinephile set like a burst of fresh air.
“People have been subsisting on the leftover films, the Oscar films, from last year,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak, said. “There hasn't been a lot of brand new high-end favorites. For indie film fans, there hasn't been much out there.”
He also credited a marketing campaign that had a look and feel similar to the advertising roll outs for past Anderson films such as “Rushmore.” The trailers and posters emphasize a cast that includes art house favorites such as Ralph Fiennes and Bill Murray and Anderson's signature, dollhouse visual style.
Reviews have also been strong. The picture currently enjoys a sterling 89 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, putting it on similar footing with past Anderson favorites such as “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “Moonrise Kingdom.”
Demand for tickets to “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is far outstripping supply. That could mean that ticket sales may not see a typical surge of 50 percent to 60 percent on Saturday, Rodriguez said.
“It's going to be hard to achieve, because they're running out of seats,” he said.
The plan is to gradually roll out the film over the next four to five weeks, eventually placing it in more than 1,000 screens. As “The Master” found out, what plays well in major cities may be greeted with indifference in the heartland and elsewhere. Yet, Rodriguez is optimistic. Anecdotally he heard that “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was attracting young moviegoers.
“That bodes well for the film,” he said. “There's a broad audience for Wes’ films.”
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Veteran actress Cicely Tyson reprised her role as Carrie Watts from the Broadway play “The Trip to Bountiful” for Lifetime's adaptation airing on Saturday.
Set during the Jim Crow South, “The Trip Bountiful” follows Carrie as she sets out against her son's wishes for her hometown of Bountiful. Along the way, she collects allies to help on her journey home.
“She's a woman who loved life. She loved people,” Tyson told TheWrap of her character. “I think the all-encompassing term was her love of life. She enjoys in spite of the discomfort of the situation in which she finds herself living. She enjoys every moment in which she opens her eyes and sees the skies. And she goes through that day, despite the anguishes of the day, grateful to be alive.”
Tyson is joined in the movie by her Broadway co-star Vanessa Williams, who plays her snooty daughter-in-law, Jessie Mae.
“She becomes so much the person, so it's easy to react to her nastiness,” Tyson laughs about working with Williams. “I said it. I said that. Vanessa, I said that!”
But, Tyson regains her composure and explains that what she loves about Williams is her work ethic, remembering that her co-star originally came into the stage play very tentatively.
“Every night, I can see her growth in the character and I loved her for that,” Tyson said. “She never stopped working on Jessie Mae.”
Blair Underwood and Keke Palmer also star on “The Trip to Bountiful,” which airs Saturday at 8/7c on Lifetime.
Watch the interview above.
And below, watch Tyson talk about First Lady Michelle Obama's backstage visit and what she said that left the actress “dumbstruck.”
Lionsgate has acquired North American rights to “Exists,” a new project from Eduardo Sánchez.
In his latest horror thriller, “The Blair Witch Project” director is trying to do for Bigfoot what he did for camping. “Exists” debuted Friday at SXSW in Austin.
The film follows five friends whose weekend in the remote woods of East Texas turns into a struggle to survive against the beast. If it does anywhere close to “Blair Witch”-level business, Lionsgate will turn a tidy profit. The first film was a precursor to the low-budget, found-footage model currently being deployed by horror producers such as Jason Blum. It cost $750,000 to make and brought in $250 million globally.
The film stars Chris Osborn, Dora Madison Burge, Roger Edwards, Samuel Davis, Denise Williamson and Brian Steele and is produced by Jane Fleming, Mark Ordesky, Robin Cowie and J. Andrew Jenkins. The Sasquatch creature was designed by Spectral Motion.
“I'm really excited about working with the talented team at Lionsgate. We've had great history together and they really understand ‘Exists’ and see the tremendous opportunity to reboot Bigfoot for a new generation,” said director Sanchez.
Fleming and Ordesky, who developed and produced the film with Haxan Films through their production company, Court Five, said: “It is especially gratifying to sell the film at SXSW in Austin so close to Bastrop, Texas where we shot ‘Exists’ with an amazing Texas-based cast and crew. We look forward to working with Lionsgate to bring Ed's vision to the masses.”
Jason Constantine, Lionsgate's president of acquisitions and co-productions; Eda Kowan, Lionsgate's senior vice president of acquisitions; and Wendy Jaffe, Lionsgate's executive vice president of business and legal affairs, negotiated the deal on behalf of the studio. Graham Taylor and Christine D'Souza at WME and Stuart Rosenthal at Bloom Dekom negotiated on behalf of the filmmakers
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“The Book of Mormon” is headed straight for the lion's den.
The satirical musical sends up all things Church of Latter-day Saints, but that won't stop it from playing less than a mile from the organizations Salt Lake City headquarters next year. A touring production of the Tony-winning hit from “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker will play at the Capitol Theatre from July 28 to Aug. 9, 2015.
Songs such as “I Believe” do a pretty effective job of highlighting the more outlandish aspects of the religion — although it should be noted that other faiths have their own logic-defying elements. A sample lyric from the number reads, “I Believe; that in 1978 God changed his mind about black people!,” a reference to the church's past history of racial discrimination.
A spokesman for the theater did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, the church seemed to be taking the incursion in stride.
“The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but The Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ,” a spokeswoman for the church told The Salt Lake Tribune.
This marks the first time the show has played in Utah, where the Associated Press notes, six in 10 residents are Mormon. Tough crowd.
The CW and Warner Bros. Television's “Supernatural” spinoff has filled its final potential series regular role and the backdoor pilot has a new name.
“Arrow's” Melissa Roxburgh has joined the cast of “Supernatural: Bloodlines” (formerly known as “Supernatural: Tribes”), a backdoor pilot that will air as an episode of “Supernatural” on April 29.
“Bloodlines” follows the various mafia-esque monster families that, unknowingly to humans, “run” the underbelly of Chicago. They are being tracked by a newly-minted Hunter, who wants to stop them and rid Chicago of anything or anyone supernatural.
Roxburgh will play Violet, a member of the powerful werewolf pack. She hides her true nature, because of her forbidden love for family rival, David (Nathaniel Bozulic). But when cornered, Violet's inner wolf breaks out.
“Supernatural” fans may recognize Roxburgh from an appearance on the drama's Season 7 episode, “Time After Time.” Her other television credits include a recurring guest role on The CW's “Arrow” and Nickelodeon's “Big Time Movie.” She was also in the Bravo-scripted pilot, “Rita,” which the cable channel ultimately passed on. She also starred in the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” film franchise.
In addition to Buzolic, Roxburgh joins already announced castmembers Danielle Savre, Stephen Martines and Lucien Laviscount.
“Bloodlines” will be executive-produced and written by Andrew Dabb, and directed by executive producer Robert Singer. “Supernatural” creator Eric Kripke, Jeremy Carver and McG will also serve as executive producers.
Gersh and Play Management represent Roxburgh.
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“300: Rise of an Empire” roared to a $17. 7 million on Friday, it's first full day of release — heading for an opening weekend that could hit $45 million.
Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ R-rated sword-and-sandals saga will knock the Liam Neeson thriller “Non-Stop” out of the top spot and easily beat the weekend's other wide opener, DreamWorks Animation's “Mr. Peabody and Sherman.” The family movie, based on the 1960 cartoon, debuted with $8 million Friday and should hit $30 million for the three days, which is at the high-end of projections.
“Peabody” received an “A” CinemaScore from first-night audiences, while the “300″ sequel got a “B.”
On the specialty front. the Wes Anderson ensemble comedy “Grand Budapest Hotel” got off to a terrific start for Fox Searchlight, bringing in $260,477 from two theaters in New York, and two more in Los Angeles. That's a $65,119 per-screen average which, if it holds up on Saturday and Sunday, will become one of the biggest limited openings ever. Bill Murray, F. Murray Abraham, Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Saoirse Ronan and Tilda Swinton star in the film.
The opening of “Rise of an Empire” won't be close to the first weekend of the original “300,” but it's impressive given that it's been seven years since the Zack Snyder-directed film landed with a stunning $70 million in March of 2007. Noam Murro directed “Empire,” which Snyder wrote and produced. Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green star in the tale, which focuses on a huge sea battle between the ancient Greeks and invading Persians.
It was in 3,470 theaters and, with many of them 3D and 343 Imax screens, the ticket up-charges had to be helping the film, which has the same ultra-stylized look of “300.”
The original brought in more than $456 million worldwide, with $245 million coming from overseas. “Rise of an Empire” could do even better abroad, and is off to a fast start. After two days in release it had taken in $12.1 million and ranked No. 1 in 29 of 31 markets, including France, Germany, Russia, Australia and Korea.
On its current pace, “Mr. Peabody” will do better than the first weekends of “Turbo” ($21 million last August) and “Rise of the Guardians” ($23 million), but finish down from other DreamWorks films that have launched in March including 2013's “The Croods” ($43.6 million) and 2010's “How to Train Your Dragon ($43.7 million).
Directed by Rob Minkoff (“The Lion King”), “Mr. Peabody” is voiced by Ty Burrell from TV's “Modern Family.” Ariel Winter, Patrick Warburton, Stephen Colbert and Allison Janney also chime in.
Universal's airplane thriller “Non-Stop” took in $4.6 million Friday, off 54 percent from its opening, and is looking at a $15 million second week and third place.
The solid showing by “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” (which distributor Fox had in a market-high 3,934 theaters) came despite the presence of “The Lego Movie,” Warner Bros.’ animated hit that is still in 3,290 theaters. “Lego” brought in $2.3 million on Friday, upping its domestic total to $216 million — with more than $345 million worldwide.
“The Lego Movie” beat out Mark Burnett's Biblical saga “Son of God,” which took in $3.2 million Friday, a whopping 70 percent drop from its opening last week. The pared-down version of the History Channel miniseries “The Bible” will wind up with a $9 million second weekend, and should cross $35 million domestically for Fox.
Fox Searchlight added 654 theaters for its Oscar Best-Picture winner “12 Years a Slave,” and the film brought in $580,000 from 1,065 locations. That projects to a $2.3 million haul for “12 Years,” which has taken in more than $51 million domestically and another $90 million overseas.
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Stephen Colbert can be a strict parent when it comes to monitoring what his children watch on television.
His criteria has less to do with the level of objectionable content on a show, “The Colbert Report” told Jimmy Fallon on Friday's episode of “The Tonight Show.” It's all about the humor.
“As a comedian the one thing that's agonizing is when they come in and watch something that's not funny and has got a laugh track and I'm not going to say the Disney Channel, but the Disney Channel,” Colbert said. “It's like please you're killing me. It's like a chef watching their child eat dirt.”
That's why Colbert said he was so excited about his latest gig providing one of the voices for DreamWorks Animation's “Mr. Peabody & Sherman.” The time-traveling cartoon dog appeared in segments on the 1960s animated television series “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” and the Comedy Central star is a big fan.
“As soon as they were available on DVD, the original cartoons, I showed them to my kids, I said, ‘you can watch as much of this as you want,'” Colbert said.
Watch the video:
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It was a “Saturday Night Live” reunion on Friday's “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” as Kenan Thompson stopped by to check in on his old cast mates.
Seth Meyers and band leader Fred Armisen welcomed their old cohort back with open arms, with Armisen lavishing Thompson with praise.
“I'm a roof,” Armisen said. “I'm above you and I'll keep you warm and safe always.”
It also prompted a trip down memory lane, as Thompson and Meyers remembered past travel nightmares. In one instance, Amtrak canceled their train, forcing the two men to rent a car together in order to get to a comedy show in Rhode Island. Yet, Thompson lacked a credit card and Meyers didn't have a license. They were saved because the woman at the rental car company was a fan of Thompson's Nickelodeon show, “All That.”
“They wanted to know where Kel is,” Thompson said, referencing his “All That” co-star.
The drive didn't go as smoothly.
“I had like night terrors for a week after,” Meyers said. “Where I'd be like ‘Kenan no!’ You drove so fast.”
Watch the video:
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Personal responsibility seldom seems to be the focus (or lesson) of romantic comedies, much less relationship dramas, which may be why “Kelly & Cal” feels so fresh and different.
Directed by Jen McGowan from a script by Amy Lowe Starbin, the film takes a familiar scenario — two uncomfortable people find comfort from each other — and renders it in sensitive, human dimensions. And with the help of terrific performances by Juliette Lewis and Jonny Weston (“Chasing Mavericks”), “Kelly & Cal” never fails to recognize that the solutions to life's problems are usually as unglamorous as the circumstances that make them necessary.
Lewis plays Kelly, a new mom struggling with the challenges of taking care of a baby, a task made all the more difficult due to the grinding work schedule of her husband Josh (Josh Hopkins of TV's “Cougar Town”). After trying and failing to make friends with some of the other moms in her neighborhood, Kelly crosses paths with wheelchair-bound teenage neighbor Cal (Weston), who's feeling his own sense of constraint.
The two oddballs strike up an unusual camaraderie; Cal provides her with a reminder of her younger, wilder days, and Kellay offers him with much-needed, unsentimental companionship. As they grow closer, however, Kelly begins to realize that her flirtation with youthful irresponsibility actually has consequences, and she soon finds herself juggling the responsibilities of a fragile marriage she wants to preserve and a tenuous romance she wants to revert to a friendship.
The idea of new parenthood is hardly a novel subject for a movie, nor is the disillusionment of adulthood, although typically these challenges are foisted on poor young husbands rather than their mostly-capable, put-together wives. First-timers McGowan and Starbin literally flip the script, making Kelly a female manchild, nostalgic for her reckless, “fun” adolescence, emotionally unprepared for parenthood and completely lost amidst the mundane duties of child rearing.
Lewis is ideally cast in the role, bringing her own eclectic history as an actress along with the substantive loneliness she gives the character, an island of rock & roll cool in an ocean of suburban affluence. The evolution of her attraction to Cal — mostly platonic but, starved for attention from her husband, occasionally flirtatious — never overshadows the truth that she is married and wants to stay that way.
As Cal, meanwhile, Weston skillfully avoids sentimentality, even amidst the laundry list of his achievements prior to the accident that cost him the use of his legs. A kid just smart enough to get himself into trouble and just desperate enough to interpret Kelly's friendship as something more, Weston makes Cal a fully dimensional counterpart, especially once he starts choosing inappropriate ways to express his interest in his lonely neighbor.
See photos: The Faces of Pilot Season 2014
At precisely the moment when the audience might be asking why Kelly can't just talk to Josh, she thankfully starts wondering that too. McGowan and Starbin never let either of them skate past their problems with an easy turn of phrase or superficial solution, which is ultimately why “Kelly & Cal” ranks among the more honest films about adulthood, much less parenthood, made in recent years.
It's a film that takes its characters and their crises seriously, allowing them to fully explore their situation before providing them (and the audience) a genuine roadmap for finding their way through.
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Talent agents Adam Kanter and Martin Spencer have left Resolution, an individual with knowledge of the situation has told TheWrap.
Kanter did not respond to TheWrap's request for comment and denied he was leaving the agency earlier this week.
Former ICM chairman Jeff Berg launched Resolution in January 2013, and Kanter and Spencer were two of his highest-profile hires after the duo left CAA. At the time, Berg said that the duo would play ”a key role in the development of our new agency.”
It is not immediately clear what led to Kanter and Spencer's exits or what their future plans are, but one studio executive described the agents as two of Resolution's top dealmakers. It also remains unclear whether any of the duo's clients will leave Resolution with them.
Kanter is a well-respected agent whose exit had been heavily rumored over the past week. He represents filmmakers such as Malcolm D. Lee, Stephen Sommers and Joe Johnston.
Spencer represents J. Michael Straczynski, Stuart Beattie and Mark Steven Johnson. He also represents Simon West along with Kanter.
Resolution recently received a sizable investment from Beijing-based financial company Bison Capital Holdings.
The post Talent Agents Adam Kanter, Martin Spencer Exit Resolution (Exclusive) appeared first on TheWrap.
Jason Bateman is tired of being the straight man. After playing the yuppie family guy in “The Change-Up,” “Identity Thief” and TV's “Arrested Development,” Bateman thrusts both middle fingers into the air — one at his nice-guy image and the other at good taste — in “Bad Words,” his abrasive directorial debut.
As a dark comedy that leans more on shock than actual humor to produce laughs, this tale of a miserable sonovabitch (Bateman) hell-bent on destroying a kids’ spelling bee shares with the tonally similar “Horrible Bosses” a misanthropic verve that exhilarates in the first act and grates by the third.
Shorn of his white-collar good looks with an unflattering buzzcut, Bateman stars as Guy Trilby, an eighth-grade dropout who exploits a loophole in the spelling-bee rules to enter a national competition. Guy's an arrogant competitor and a sore winner, advising the parents in the audience at a regional contest to pick up some rubber pillowcases for the night: “[The] little pricks are going to be counting tears, not sheep.”
Despite his juvenile antics, Guy is obviously whip-smart (he's later revealed to have a genius IQ and a photographic memory), so there's clearly something else making him act like an a-hole.
The mystery of his motivation isn't revealed until much, much later, when it reaches the “too little, too late” mark, though it's telegraphed steadily beforehand. Until then, quirky characters are what happens to movie protagonists while they're busy making other plans, so Guy soon has his plate full between frumpy blogger Jenny (Kathryn Hahn), who orders him not to look at her while they do the naked grunt, and fellow competitor Chaitanya (Rohan Chand), a preteen with a gapped-smile, too-short pants, and no parental supervision who pathetically trails Guy like a three-legged puppy.
Allison Janney's death glares and Philip Baker Hall's walrus-eyed gravitas are also put to good use in those character actors’ side roles as incensed spelling-bee officiators.
The formula-hewing friendship between Guy and Chaitanya largely sidesteps sentimentality because the older man is too shameless to ever feel regret. One night, the two pals go on a giddy meanness spree: they prank a random driver into thinking he's run Chaitanya over, leave a live lobster in a men's room toilet (yes, the worst does happen), and buy the ten-year-old a private peep show with a prostitute. Expertly cut and timed, the sequence is the film's absolute highlight.
Clearly, and admirably, “Bad Words” strives to keep the hugging and learning to a minimum. Too many a film comedian has been chewed up and spit out by the redemptive-arc machine, which produces soft and indistinguishable lumps of meat in polo shirts whose personalities are subsumed by apologies. Bateman knows this, which is why he smartly employs a light touch in making his character more sufferable.
And yet it's that same unrepentance that makes “Bad Words” an occasionally hostile experience. Guy punches often and always low, and because Bateman never gets enough distance from his character, he asks his audience to go along with his character's deeply sexist and racist jokes. He has a cover: Guy's insults are probably more competitive trash talk, albeit on the extreme end, than reflective of personal biases.
Either way, it still means sitting through the character elaborately comparing a woman's vagina to an old sweat sock for a solid minute and listening to him call Chaitanya “Slumdog,” a Thai prostitute, a terrorist, and sundry other brown-skin-specific slurs throughout the film, none of which are remotely funny. Sure, the boy eventually stands up for himself, but watching Guy offend women, non-white and fat kids (the vast majority of his targets) is simply dispiriting in its lack of imagination about what “edgy comedy” can mean.
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Leah McGrath Goodman, author of the controversial Newsweek Bitcoin cover story, hit back at former Daily Beast and Newsweek editor Tina Brown for questioning the magazine's reporting.
“I find her comments not to be very friendly to Newsweek,” Goodman contended. “I have a problem with the way she spoke about it.”
Newsweek unmasked the person it claimed created the digital currency, Bitcoin, when it resumed printing this week after a 14 month hiatus. The problem is the man in question, Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, told the press that the story was incorrect and media critics have criticized Goodman's evidence is weak. There's also the nasty issue of whether or not it was ethical for Goodman to expose someone who wished to remain anonymous.
Earlier on Friday, Brown laughed about Newsweek's predicament with the story and said it would be “rough” if her old publication's cover story about Bitcoin turned out to be wrong.
“All I can think of is I'm so glad I'm not the editor!” Brown cackled.
“There's a a back story to that and she knows there is one,” Goodman responded.
Bloomberg TV's Tom Keene questioned why Goodman was certain she had found the right man, given his denials.
“His whole background according to those closest to him was that which would inform the sort of coding that would be required for Bitcoin,” Goodman explained.
“There are 10,000 people that are described by what you said,” Keene pressed. “What are the attributes he displayed that lead you to connect the dots that he invented Bitcoin?”
“His career history,” Goodman argued. “If 10,000 people fit all the attributes we looked at, I'd like to talk to those people because I did not find there were 10,000.”
Watch the video:
The post Newsweek Bitcoin Writer Slams Tina Brown: ‘I Have A Problem’ With Her Comments appeared first on TheWrap.
In an earlier preview here of the just-released Taiwanese baseball film titled “KANO,” this reporter explained that when a high school baseball team from Taiwan was invited to the Japan in 1931 to play in an annual high school tournament, it surprised everyone by reaching the finals — and almost winning.
Okay, they came in second, but the story still resonates today in both Taiwan and Japan, and a new movie by first-time director Umin Boya has lit up the scoreboard.
Producer Te-sheng Wei, the director of earlier Taiwanese blockbusters “Cape No. 7″ and “Seediq Bale,” also about the influence of Japanese culture on Taiwan over the past 100 years, had the baseball project in mind for about 10 years, he said in an interview last year. So he wrote a script, asked actor and rookie director Umin Boya to helm the movie and hired a cast of unknown Taiwanese actors and local extras.
The movie was released Feb. 27 in Taiwan and will be screened in Japan as well.
After seeing “KANO,” a three-hour emotional rollercoast with lush, superb cinematography and English subtitles, I want to tell readers here and around the world: this movie is the. Best. Baseball. Movie. Ever.
Not just the best Asian baseball movie ever, but the best baseball movie ever in the world! It's that good.
The movie tells the story of a high school baseball team comprised of three ethnic groups — Japanese, Han Chinese and native Aboriginal boys — and one tough Japanese coach, played by the actor Masatoshi Nagase in a stellar performance.
The “Chiayi No-rin Gakko” team took a boat from Keelung to Japan in the summer of 1931 and turned a lot of heads in Kobe. Now in 2014, the movie is turning heads in Taiwan and Japan and when it hits movie theaters in North America and Europe, baseball flicks will never be seen in quite the same way again.
For one reviewer in Taiwan, a Westerner who goes by the handle of “Hansioux” on an online film forum, “KANO” rocks.
“‘KANO’ is about baseball, people who love the game of baseball, and how sports can transform a person, a group, a city and even a nation,” he writes. “As a baseball movie, it's a great one, and as a rabid baseball fan, I've seen a lot of baseball movies.”
In most sports movies, there's a “building the team by finding all the right pieces” sequence, Hansioux writes, adding: “It's not restricted to sports movies, think ‘Oceans 11', when George Clooney and Brad Pitt are picking and recruiting the team. It is usually done with a snappy tempo, being humorous while showing the audience what these people can do, and why they belong on the team. 'KANO’ tries to have such a sequence, but the tempo is a bit choppy and also doesn't clearly show the audience that the Japanese colonial coach went to each of the Taiwanese players one by one and asked if they want to join.”
Another thing most sports movies must have is some douchebag trying to dissolve, unfund the team, like the owner of that Charlie Sheen “Wild Thing” movie trying to sell the team, or the parents in the original “Bad News Bears” wanting their kids to quit, Hansioux notes.
While the movie starts off in colonial Taiwan, the film moves north to the national high school baseball championships in Japan in 1931 and it's here where “KANO” hits paydirt.
“The Japanese portion of the story was what made this movie one of the best baseball movies ever,” Hansioux wrote. “The character stories and acting are top-notch. The atmosphere and the scenery of the stadium is breathtaking. More importantly, the level of baseball skills displayed on the screen is real. I mean this is not Tim Robbins as Nuke Laloosh in ‘Bull Durham’ or Thomas Ian Nicholas in that ‘Rookie Rocket’ movie. There are no quick edits to hide the awkwardness of the actors, and there are no gimmicks. I seriously felt like I was watching a baseball game. I got pretty nervous and felt the pain of the players, clenching my fists when things got tough even though I knew the story pretty well.”
Before going into his summary, Hansioux adds: “Before you non-baseball lovers mock that feeling like a real baseball game must mean the tempo was slow and sleep inducing, the tempo was just right. It was fast and snappy when the plays were going on, and just slow enough when it came to developing the characters. I don't think I ever had as intense of an experience watching other baseball movies.”
His conclusion: “There's a theme of not giving up, setting a high goal for oneself, don't expect to win, just give your darnedest not to lose even if the odds are stacked against you. If there's anything else in this movie other than the game of baseball, it's producer and writer Wei and director Umin Boya wanting to remind audiences what the ‘Taiwanese spirit’ means.”
So let this Hollyblogger repeat: “KANO” is “The. Best. Baseball. Movie. Ever.”
With the news that Friday's episode of NBC's “Grimm” would heavily feature Reggie Lee's character, Sgt. Wu, fans of the actor wondered if the character was going to meet his end.
Lee said that there's no truth to the speculation.
“No, I'm not leaving ‘Grimm,'” Lee told TheWrap. “I know some people wondered that. There's this one person whose Twitter account is @TeamSgtWu and she was like, ‘Should I be nervous about this upcoming episode?’ I said, ‘No, don't worry.'”
In fact, fans can take comfort in the fact that Wu is currently shooting Episode 20 of the series in Portland.
What is true is that Friday's episode, titled “Mommy Dearest,” places Wu in direct danger as it explores folklore from the character's (and Lee's own) Filipino heritage: a monster called the “Aswang.” The storyline will stay with Wu for quite some time.
“This is going to be a lingering affect on him,” Lee said. “There's no way after my character goes through this experience that it won't be at the forefront of his consciousness.”
Written by Brenna Kouf and directed by Norberto Barba, “Mommy Dearest” features an Aswang, which creeps into Portland with its sight set on a young expectant couple who are close friends of Wu. The officer will become a big help to Nick (David Giuntoli) and Hank (Russell Hornsby) as they try to figure out what this dangerous new threat really is.
Aside from placing his heritage front and center in his role on the NBC thriller, Lee was integral to developing the storyline. “Grimm” producers approached him to see if he knew of any Filipino folklore that lent itself to being adapted on the series.
“I gave them a list of three and they chose the Aswang,” he recalled. “And by the time I had heard which one they picked, unbeknownst to me, they had already started a story outline. According to the creators, this is the creepiest monster they've had yet and they've called it one of their best episodes yet, which is a credit to the crew and cast.”
He continued, “I didn't want to see the rendering of the monster until I actually got to that part of my preparation — that sort of came at the end. But when they showed it to me, I was like ‘Holy s–t. This sucker is badass.’ It's definitely one of their creepiest monsters yet. And not to mention, one of their most invasive monsters yet.”
Lee will be throwing a viewing party for the episode on Friday, complete with Filipino food. For an actor who has played all kinds of ethnicities from Korean on “Prison Break” to Chinese on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise, he's very proud to finally showcase his actual cultural background on “Grimm.”
“I love finally representing in that way,” he said. “There are not a lot of Filipino stories told in Hollywood — probably just one, this one. So, it's kind of cool to facilitate that even in some small way.”
“Grimm” airs Fridays at 9/8c on NBC.
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Video sharing app Vine has revised its content policy to ban “explicit sexual content,” following a video that went viral of a teenager performing lewd acts with a Hot Pocket.
“As we've watched the community and your creativity grow and evolve, we've found that there's a very small percentage of videos that are not a good fit for our community,” the social networking company wrote in a blog post.
“So we're making an update to our Rules and Terms of Service to prohibit explicit sexual content.”
Vine, which is owned by Twitter, did not say whether the change in terms was prompted by a video that went viral last week of an 18-year-old man having sex with a Hot Pocket.
The teen, who goes by the handle @VERSACEPOPTARTS, made the six-second video after challenging followers on Twitter to retweet a post 420 times.
Vine said explicit content was not overly common on the micro-video sharing network, but it changed its terms of service to eliminate it altogether.
“For more than 99 percent of our users, this doesn't really change anything,” the Vine blog continued.
“For the rest: we don't have a problem with explicit sexual content on the Internet — we just prefer not to be the source of it.”
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Barbara Walters has no sympathy for former Russia Today anchor Liz Wahl.
The veteran ABC news correspondent took to “The View” Thursday to address the RT anchor's recent on-air resignation, in protest of the Russian government's pro-Putin propaganda on the network.
“She is working for a Russian network!” Walters exclaimed. “Therefore, she is protesting the Russians!”
Walters went on to say that while she can understand Wahl's “personal choice”, she urges not to “make her a hero for protesting. She is working for the government.”
Not all of Walters’ colleagues on “The View” agreed with her. Panelist Sherri Shepherd actually stood up for Wahl.
“Even though she was working for [the government], it was Russian, but she's saying ‘it's still every day I've got to do this, I'm not feeling good inside,'” Shepherd argued. “‘It's violating what I'm feeling, so it's okay.'”
Watch more of Walter's segment below:
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South by Southwest stands apart from other film festivals like Toronto and Cannes in that it is three festivals at once — music, interactive and film. Its lineup reflects that diverse background, as Austin plays home to more horror movies and music documentaries than most, in addition to standard narrative and documentary films. This year South By branches out into two new territories — TV and sports. Here are 15 projects you need to see.
The post 15 Gotta-See SXSW Movies: Zac Efron Bros Out and Jeremy Sisto Balls Out (Photos) appeared first on TheWrap.Related stories from TheWrap:
President Barack Obama lost a little respect — or, “rspect” — from the Internet community, when he misspelled the title/chorus of classic Aretha Franklin song during a White House “Women of Soul” event on Thursday.
“When Aretha first told us what ‘R-S-P-E-C-T’ meant to her, she had no idea it would become a rallying cry for African-Americans and women,” Obama read, stumbling over the spelling and omitting vowel No. 1.
The crowd erupted in laughter at the mistake; Obama did not react at all. The President continued his remarks before introducing Patti LaBelle.
Also performing in the East Room on Thursday night: Ariana Grande, Melissa Etheridge, Janelle Monae and Jill Scott.
Watch the flub, which happens around the 3-minute, 25-second mark:
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Sheila MacRae, who played Alice Kramden in the later years of the pioneering television comedy “The Honeymooners,” has died. She was believed to be 93.
An employee at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in New Jersey confirmed MacRae's death.
See photos: Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2014 (Photos)
The London-born actress played Ralph Kramden's long-suffering wife on the “Honeymooners” episodes of “The Jackie Gleason Show” from 1966 to 1970. She was one of multiple actresses to play the role, including Audrey Meadows, Pert Kelton and Sue Ane Langdon.
MacRae's other television roles included Madelyn Richmond on the soap opera “General Hospital.”
The actress had four children husband Gordon MacRae, to whom she was married from 1941 until the pair divorced in 1967. In addition to sons William Gordon MacRae and Robert Bruce MacRae (deceased), the couple had two daughters, both actresses. Heather MacRae appeared on series including “Starsky and Hutch,” “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City.” while Meredith MacRae (also deceased) starred as Billie Jo Bradley on “Petticoat Junction.”
MacRae's theater credits include “Guys and Dolls” and “The Bells Are Ringing.”
On this week's episode of “Helix”, S gets R.
Syfy's new hit series journeys outside the confines of “Helix's” disease-ridden Antarctic lab on Friday, in the hopes of getting one step closer to finding a cure for the worst virus ever.
In an exclusive clip made available to TheWrap, Dr. Farragut (Billy Campbell) and his ex-wife, Dr. Walker (Kyra Zagorsky), venture to an abandoned research station in search of Dr. Adrian (guest star Julian Casey) and his stolen vials that may hold a key to destroying the deadly virus that plagues the series.
Their search could lead to revelations about not just what the always-shady Hatake is really up to at the facility, but also a link to a potential cure for cancer. (Clutch the pearls!)
Also read: Syfy's ‘Being Human’ to End in April
The new episode, “Fushigi”, airs Friday on Syfy at 10/9c.
Watch the clip above. Or else.
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