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August 6, 2017

‘Alien: Covenant’ Video Essay Argues That Ridley Scott’s Film Doesn’t Know What It Wants to Be — Watch

Alien: Covenant” didn’t exactly become a cultural phenomenon when it opened earlier this year. Ridley Scott’s latest prequel/sequel in his enduring science-fiction/horror series was met with lukewarm reviews and disappointing box-office returns, which is a shame — it’s the first true “Alien” movie in two decades, and a worthy addition to the xenomorph mythos. In a new video, Jack’s Movie Reviews attempts to diagnose the problem: It doesn’t know what it wants to be.

“I think it’s safe to say that we can learn just as much, if not more, from a movie that doesn’t work than one that works perfectly,” says the narrator as it opens. “For that reason, I believe we can call Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien: Covenant’ a perfect candidate for perfect inspection — a big reason being a lot of this movie does work.” For every horrifying scene and interesting idea at work in the film, however, our narrator argues that the movie is still less than the sum of its parts.

That’s because the three main facets — psychological horror, action, thematic ideas — don’t work in concert with one another. Whether you agree with these conclusions or not, there are a number of valid critiques in this nine-minute analysis. Watch below.

Source: IndieWire film

August 6, 2017

Box Office Plummets as ‘The Dark Tower’ Leads Weak Openers

Long-planned Stephen King adaptation “The Dark Tower” (Sony) managed to score the top spot at the weekend box office. Only the second King adaptation to reach theaters since 2007’s “Carrie” remake (which opened even lower), this one contributes a pittance to a mighty adjusted gross of $2.2 billion for all of King’s movies since the original “Carrie” in 1976.

Coming in under the projected $20 million for the weekend with an estimated $19.5 million, “The Dark Tower” couldn’t save one of the biggest falloffs ever for a summer weekend. The Top Ten came in at just $106 million, compared to $218 million exactly a year ago. That weekend boasted D.C. Comics entry “Suicide Squad.” But a $112 million shortfall and a drop of some 50 percent is grim. Last year’s second-ranked sequel “Jason Bourne” came in ahead of anything in the Top Ten this weekend.

As Sony kept the budget down on “Tower,” foreign returns could mitigate any losses. The same can’t be said for theaters experiencing the most severe drop yet in a summer that already has declined around 10 per cent from last year.



Francois Duhamel

“The Dark Tower” was one of three films to begin wide release this weekend, all with African-American leads, though widely diverse in their content. The delayed release (because of original distributor Relativity’s demise) of “Kidnap” (Aviron) managed to top $10 million with Halle Berry as the lead. Kathryn Bigelow’s urban uprising drama “Detroit” (Annapurna) expanded after a decent limited opening to a troubling $7 million, below what its acclaim suggested. And “Girls Trip” (20th Century Fox), clearly aimed at a female audience, might end up with a domestic gross as good or close to the other three combined.

Dunkirk” (Warner Bros.) stabilized a bit after a bigger than expected 47 per drop last weekend. That puts it back on course for an ultimate domestic take closer to $200 million. It won’t hurt that the rest of August offers secondary competition among new wide releases for adult audiences.

“Girls Trip”

Michele K. Short

“Girls Trip” had a bigger drop than its initial fall, but at $85 million already looks on course for a run at equaling last summer’s women’s comedy “Bad Moms” (which ended up at $113 million).

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” (Sony) has quietly climbed to third biggest summer domestic release. It could make it to $325 million, which would place it better than either of the “Amazing Spider-Man” reboots, though far below the lowest of the first trilogy (the third and least of those films adjusted grossed $435 million).

However, with Japan and China and China still to open, “Homecoming” should easily pass $800 million worldwide, enough with its $175 million budget and substantial marketing costs to make a nice profit and propel forward Sony’s most lucrative franchise.

“Annabelle: Creation” (Warner Bros.) should easily open to over $25 million next weekend, although expect grosses still to be substantially below last year, which saw the top three titles gross close to $100 million.

“The Dark Tower”


The Top Ten

1. The Dark Tower (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 35; Est. budget: $60 million

$19,500,000 in 3,451 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $5,651; Cumulative: $19,500,000

2. Dunkirk (Warner Bros.) Week 3 – Last weekend #1

$17,600,000 (-34%) in 4,014 theaters (+266); PTA: $4,385; Cumulative: $

3. The Emoji Movie (Sony) Week 2 – Last weekend #2

$12,350,000 (-50%) in 4,072 theaters (no change); PTA: $3,031; Cumulative: $49,452,000

4. Girls Trip (20th Century Fox) Week 3- Last weekend #3

$11,419,000 (-42%) in 2,582 theaters (-66); PTA: $4,422; Cumulative: $84,444,000

5. Kidnap (Aviron) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 45; Est. budget: $20 million

$10,210,000 in 2,378 theaters; PTA: $; Cumulative: $10,210,000

6. Spider-Man: Homecoming (Sony)  Week 5 – Last weekend #5

$8,800,000 (-34%) in 3,116 theaters (-509); PTA: $2,824; Cumulative: $294,908,000

7. Atomic Blonde (Focus) Week 2 – Last weekend #4

$8,245,000 (-55%) in 3,326 theaters (+22); PTA: $2,479; Cumulative: $34,125,000

8. Detroit (Annapurna) Week 2 – Last weekend #16

$7,251,000 (+1,971%) in 3,007 theaters (+2,987); PTA: $2,411; Cumulative: $7,766

9. War for the Planet of the Apes (20th Century Fox) Week 4 – Last weekend #6

$6,000,000 (-43%) in 2,704 theaters (-670); PTA: $2,219; Cumulative: $130,280,000

10. Despicable Me 3 (Universal) Week 6 – Last weekend #7

$5,289,000 (-30%) in 2,445 theaters (-585); PTA: $2,163; Cumulative: $240,780,000

Source: IndieWire film

August 6, 2017

‘Batman’ Voice Actor Kevin Conroy Recites ‘The Dark Knight’ Monologue — Watch

For many “Batman” fans, Kevin Conroy will always be the true Caped Crusader. The actor voiced the scowling superhero on “Batman: The Animated Series,” the “Batman: Arkham” games, and several other cartoons, animated films, and games; to the delight of many, he’s now recited the famous monologue that Christian Bale delivers at the end of “The Dark Knight.”

The table reading came as part of Nerdist’s “Talkin Toons” alongside Rob Paulsen of “Animaniacs” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” who voiced Commissioner Gordon (played by Gary Oldman in Christopher Nolan’s three films). Bale’s raspy delivery while wearing the cape and cowl in that trilogy was a source of both praise and mockery; watching Conroy’s take on such iconic lines as “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become a villain” certainly provides an interesting alternative.

Here’s Conroy’s tradition in two forms: the table read itself and a version in which his delivery is synced to footage from “The Dark Knight” itself.

Source: IndieWire film

August 6, 2017

Princess Leia Had a PhD, and ‘Star Wars’ Fans Are Wondering Why She Didn’t Get More Respect

Princess Leia was a pretty impressive person, not that she always got credit for it. Her credentials became even more imposing to a lot of people this weekend when it became more widely known that, among her other accomplishments, Leia completed a PhD by the time she was 19. The revelation came courtesy of Becca Harrison, who shared George Lucas’ 2004 commentary from “A New Hope.”

Here’s the passage in question:

“Young, nineteen, the same age as what Luke was supposed to be, but instead of being kind of an idealistic naive farm boy from the far reaches of the netherlands, she’s like a very sophisticated, urbanized rule, a Senator, so she’s a politician, she’s accomplished, she’s graduated, got her PhD at nineteen and she rules people and is in charge. [I needed an actress] who could be younger and play with a lot of authority…and push these guys around.”

As you might expect, people are having pretty strong reactions to the news:

Source: IndieWire film

August 6, 2017

‘Wind River’ Scores at Specialty Box Office as ‘Step’ Gains a Foothold

During a competitive period when well-reviewed wide releases like “Dunkirk” and “Baby Driver” are luring adult audiences away from new smart-house fare, Weinstein stormed back at the specialty box office with Taylor Sheridan’s Wyoming western “Wind River,” which boasted one of the best limited openings of the year. A strong debut will help it stand out in the weeks ahead as the flow of new films declines.

Fox Searchlight welcomed a decent initial response for its heart-tugging inner-city dance documentary “Step” in seven cities. Also impressive is the two-theater launch for “Columbus,” starring Jon Cho as a Korean translator spending time in middle America due to a family emergency.


Wind River (Weinstein) – Metacritic: 73; Festivals include: Sundance, Cannes, Seattle 2017

$164,187 in 4 theaters; PTA (per screen average): $41,042

Taylor Sheridan’s well-received rural thriller debuted with the strongest limited debut since late June’s “The Big Sick” and “The Beguiled.” Since then an array of festival successes with similarly upbeat reviews have opened. It’s The Weinstein Company’s best limited opening since “Carol” in late 2015 (better than “Lion,” which went on with an Oscar boost to over $50 million), so this is a return to form for the once-dominant player in the specialized world. Saturday increased a healthy 23 per cent from Friday, suggesting good initial audience response.

What comes next: This expands to the top 20 markets this Friday, with likely extensive wider play beyond.



Step (Fox Searchlight) – Metacritic: 83; Festivals include: Sundance, San Francisco, Seattle 2017

$145,000 in 29 theaters; PTA: $5,000

Per usual, Fox Searchlight opened this documentary focused on a step-dancing team at an inner-city girls school in Baltimore in more than the standard two coastal cities. Its seven-market start in varied specialized and mainstream theaters will serve as a launch for its rapid expansion to 125 or more theaters this Friday.

Word of mouth is key, so the Sundance hit has been seen by a sufficient number of viewers to give it a shot at broader play. On the other hand, Saturday’s numbers stayed even with Friday, better than some studio releases but not as strong as many limited releases. (Searchlight’s recent “Gifted” opened in nearly double the theater count in April and increased 35 per cent on its second day.)

What comes next: The second week expansion is the start of a much wider planned national release.

John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson in Kogonada's Columbus


Columbus (Superlative) – Metacritic: 91; Festivals include: Sundance, Rotterdam, Seattle 2017

$28,800 in 2 theaters; PTA: $14,400

Rave reviews helped the two-theater New York/Los Angeles initial release for this Sundance Next section premiere. John Cho plays an estranged son who rushes to Columbus, Indiana (a center of modern architecture) when his father collapses. While his encounters there with a young tour guide make an unlikely basis for a contemporary specialized American movie, this debut feature has struck a chord. This could be sleeper success with continued careful handling (it is self-distributed).

What comes next: Seattle and San Francisco are next this Friday with top markets set over the upcoming weeks.

We Love You Sally Carmichael! (Purdie)

$(est.) 28,000 in 7 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 4,000

This home-grown Utah family story is about an anonymous popular romance novelist whose true identity is discovered, to his horror. It played top Salt Lake City and other area theaters to a passable initial response.

What comes next: This will likely get additional local attention for starters.

Also available on Video on Demand:

Brave New Jersey (Gravitas Ventures/Austin 2016) – $14,105 in 14 theaters

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Al Go

“An Inconvenient Sequel”

Courtesy of Sundance

Week Two

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (Paramount)

$900,000 in 180 theaters (+170); PTA: $5,000; Cumulative: $1,052,000

Paramount is lending major support to this climate change activist documentary sequel, with credible if not spectacular results. The second weekend for the original grossed (adjusted) an average of almost $25,000 in 77 theaters. This looks headed for a result that will place it both among the top-grossing documentary titles of the year but far below the “An Inconvenient Truth” total in 2006.

Menashe (A24)

$80,317 in 10 theaters (+7); PTA: $8,032; Cumulative: $178,834

Among the few foreign-language films finding success these days, a handful about Orthodox communities in Israeli have stood out. Now a domestic New York divorce story set in an ultra-orthodox community where observance controls all aspects of life is showing some initial success in its second weekend as it slowly expands.

Kyle Mooney in Brigsby Bear

“Brigsby Bear”

Courtesy of Sundance

The Brigsby Bear (Sony Pictures Classics)

$42,790 in 15 theaters (+12); PTA: $2,853; Cumulative: $97,377

A mediocre second weekend limited expansion for this quirky independent story about the impact on one young man whose life goes into a downfall when his favorite kids’ TV show is cancelled.

Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000 in under 1,000 theaters)

Maudie (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 17

$262,496 in 187 theaters (-41); Cumulative: $5,148,000

This Canadian/Irish coproduction has dropped from its widest point, with the U.S. component of its combined gross reaching a decent $2.4 million so far.

Jenny Slate in Landline


Landline (Magnolia) Week 3

$240,000 in 131 theaters (+93);  Cumulative: $503,128

Amazon’s Sundance independent drama about a Manhattan family confronted with domestic turmoil broadened to most major cities in its third weekend. It shows a mixed response at best, similar to several other well-received films that have faced competition from multiple other sources (both studio and independent) aimed at review-oriented audiences.

Lady Macbeth (Roadside Attractions) Week 4

$164,245 in 131 theaters (+27); Cumulative: $736,877

Another quality specialized drama this summer that has struggled to find its audience amid major competition.

A Ghost Story (A24) Week 5

$146,232 in 208 theaters (-181);  Cumulative: $1,137,000

David Lowery’s artful return to independent film after his Disney detour with “Pete’s Dragon” had Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara in tow. But the admittedly strange film never caught on after its initial decent launch, and a little more than a month after opening, it’s down to virtually no business with a per theater average of only around $700.

midwife deneuve

“The Midwife”

The Midwife (Music Box) Week 3

$82,698 in 43 theaters (+15); Cumulative: $225,548

Music Box continues its commitment to French among other subtitled movies with this Catherine Deneuve vehicle. The drama expanded wider in its third weekend to marginal results, with further markets planned for next weekend and beyond.

The Little Hours (Gunpowder & Sky) Week 6

$75,260 in 60 theaters (-36); Cumulative: $1,348,000

A Decameron-based story about nuns and their fun is another recent decent opener that hasn’t blossomed in wider dates.

The Beguiled (Focus) Week 7

$54,495 in 89 theaters (-55); Cumulative: $10,451,000

Sofia Coppola’s Civil War drama is wrapping up its run with a respectable total.

Also noted:

Lost in Paris (Oscilloscope) – $50,000 in 30 theaters; Cumulative: $410,036

Beatriz at Dinner (Roadside Classics) – $39,632 in 43 theaters; Cumulative: $6,926,000

The Hero (The Orchard) – $31,383 in theaters; Cumulative: $3,922,000

Source: IndieWire film

August 4, 2017

PanelPicker Community Voting Begins Monday, August 7

We need YOU – the community – to lend us your expertise and weigh-in on the proposals we have received for the 2018 SXSW season during PanelPicker Community Voting from August 7-25. Browse submitted ideas, leave comments, and vote on what programming you would like to see at the 2018 SXSW Conference, SXSW EDU, and SXSW Gaming in March.

How to Vote

To be a part of the voting process beginning Monday, August 7, visit panelpicker.sxsw.com and login or create an account. If you created a SXSW account in 2013 or later, you will be able to use the same login and password.

Once you are logged in to PanelPicker, you can begin the voting process. Filter through proposals by session format, programming track, and level. You can also search for by title, description, tags, and speakers in the search field.

Each voter can vote once per proposal – selecting “arrow up” for yes or “arrow down” for no. You can also leave a constructive comment about the proposals you vote on. Have a question for the organizer? This is also a great place to post all of your questions.

During Community Voting, it’s also important for anyone who submitted a proposal to rally online support for your idea and encourage voting through your personal blog or social media channels. We have created handy “Vote For My PanelPicker Idea” graphics for you to use for social media sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Inside the PanelPicker Process

Each year, SXSW PanelPicker helps shape the majority of the SXSW Conference programming. Community Voting comprises 30% of the SXSW Conference programming decision, plus input of the SXSW Staff (30%) and Advisory Board (40%) helps ensure that less well-known voices have as much of a chance of being selected to speak at SXSW as individuals with large online followings. Together these percentages help determine the final content lineup.

For more information about the Community Voting process, read the PanelPicker FAQ and visit the SXSW PanelPicker page.

Cast Your Votes August 7-25

Join Us in March

SXSW 2018 registration and housing are open for business! The SXSW early-bird has a lot of advantages including the biggest discount on registration fees and the best choice of Austin hotel rooms – register before September 8 and save.

Register Now

SXSW 2017 Music Industry Track Panel – Photo by Judy Won

The post PanelPicker Community Voting Begins Monday, August 7 appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

August 3, 2017

Hari Nef and Ana Fabrega Flirt Awkwardly in Dark Lesbian Comedy ‘Let Me Die a Nun’ — Exclusive Clip

When stand-up comedian Ana Fabrega first read the script for “Let Me Die a Nun,” the comedy was so dark she didn’t think it was a comedy at all. “She thought it was a drama just from reading the script, because it was such a dry comedy,” said writer and director Sarah Salovaara. “She was very confused as to why I was interested in her, but we worked it out.”

Salovaara wanted a comedian in the lead role, even though she’s the straight woman. “Everyone around her is very heightened, and she has to be the one that grounds the experience in her emotional turmoil,” said Salovaara. “I wanted someone who could play drama, but in a comedic context, which comedians can do really well.” Fabrega stars alongside trans model and “it” girl Hari Nef, whom viewers may recognize from the flashback scenes in season two of “Transparent.” A fan of “Transparent,” Salovaara was thrilled when Nef agreed to do the micro-budget series.

Let Me Die a Nun // Trailer from Sarah Salovaara on Vimeo.

Salovaara, who transitioned from film journalism to filmmaking a few years ago (she even has clips on IndieWire), drew from personal experience for the zany premise. “I started writing this story when I was coming out, and then I finished writing when I was with my first girlfriend,” she said. “We’re all very familiar with coming out narratives in LGBTQ cinema, and they’re not necessarily the most stirring of genres. So I wanted to look at it in a heightened context like the church, where the realization that you are gay alters the entire course of your life.”

Growing up in a very religious family not only provided dramatic inspiration, but helped when it came to finding shooting locations. “This was actually shot at my second cousin’s church in midtown Manhattan,” she said.

Salovaara’s film savvy comes through when discussing with the male suitor/stalker character, played by Carl Kranz. “That was a satire of a lot of male leads in romantic comedies, especially from the 80s,” she said. “John Cusack types who relentlessly pursue the female characters until they succumb to their wishes, and it’s actually just kind of creepy more so than romantic.”

In this exclusive clip, tension is ripe when Fabrega and Nef’s characters meet for the first time. Check it out:

“Let Me Die a Nun” premieres in Brooklyn at Secret Project Robot on August 3, after which it will be available on Vimeo.

Source: IndieWire Digital TV

August 3, 2017

SXSW 2017 World Premiere Becoming Bond Available on Hulu [Video]

“I had read George’s story, much of it I couldn’t quite believe if it was true or not, and I said yeah, let’s go meet him and sit down and have lunch. First of all, his story was incredible, more importantly he’s an incredible story teller, but it took some convincing, ” – Director Josh Greenbaum.

Becoming Bond won the 2017 SXSW Film Festival Audience Award in the Visions category and tells a unique tale chronicling the stranger-than-fiction true account of a poor Australian car mechanic who, through an unbelievable set of circumstances, landed the role of James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), despite having never acted a day in his life.

Greenbaum is an Emmy Award-winning director in film, TV, and commercials. In addition to winning an audience award at this year’s film festival, Greenbaum’s feature documentary The Short Game won the Audience Award at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival and was acquired by Netflix to launch their Originals film division.

After you watch this intriguing narrative/documentary hybrid, be sure to check out our Q&A with Greenbaum, George Lazenby, and Josh Lawson, who plays Bond in the film.

Join Us For SXSW 2018

Learn how to successfully enter your film to the 2018 SXSW Film Festival with our How to Submit Your Film video and find out more information about deadlines and fees here.

Join us for SXSW 2018 – register to attend by Friday, September 8 for the biggest savings of the season. Make your hotel reservations through SXSW Housing & Travel for the best available rates. Platinum badge remains your best bet with primary access to all of SXSW. We hope to see you in March!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News for the latest SXSW coverage, announcements, application tips, and updates.

Photo by Steve Rogers Photography/Getty Images for SXSW

The post SXSW 2017 World Premiere Becoming Bond Available on Hulu [Video] appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

August 3, 2017

Discover What’s Next: Spotlight on SXSW 2018 Video

Dive into our spotlight video on SXSW 2018 and begin gearing up for another memorable SXSW next March 9-18 in Austin, Texasregistration and housing are now open.

SXSW Conference & Festivals celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries during 10 days of sessions, screenings, showcases, exhibitions, parties, art installations, and networking.

SXSW is the premier destination for thousands of creatives from a vast and diverse range of industries to discover what’s next. From compelling conversations with industry heavy weights and forging new connections, to buzz-worthy film screenings and fresh new sounds at showcases, SXSW fosters creative and professional growth. This March, get ready for the perfect mix of learning, discovery, innovative visions, personal points of view, new friends, a serious amount of tacos, and beyond. This is only a sampling of the multitude of unexpected adventures to come next March… with many exciting programming announcements on the way.

Browse our first SXSW Conference announcement of the season including Keynotes Academy Award-winning writer and director Barry Jenkins (Moonlight, Medicine for Melancholy), psychotherapist and best-selling author Esther Perel, and technology entrepreneur and quantum computing expert whurley, plus Featured Speakers.

Learn how you can apply to participate in one of the many prestigious SXSW categories – Film Submissions, Showcase Applications, Interactive Innovation Awards, SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event, and more. Then help shape the March event during PanelPicker Community Voting from Monday, August 7 – Friday, August 25.

It’s never too early to begin planning your SXSW adventure! With expanded access to events for all registrants, attendees will receive primary access to programming associated with their badge type but now also enjoy secondary entry to most other SXSW events. Take the Tracks Quiz to select SXSW Conference programming tracks and festivals that most interest you to discover which badge fits your needs.

Register before Friday, September 8 for the biggest savings of the season and book your hotel to get the best available housing rates and selections. Hint: Early birds catch the best SXSW rates and hotel locations – great downtown accommodations are still available for all SXSW dates.

Sign up for SXSW Event Updates and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on the latest SXSW happenings.

Register Now

Teaser photo by Phil Nacionales

The post Discover What’s Next: Spotlight on SXSW 2018 Video appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

August 3, 2017

How to Break into UX Design: Tips from Design Instructor Beth Koloski

For many aspiring UX designers, Beth Koloski has been the teacher and mentor that’s helped them turn their professional dreams into realities. She …
Source: CW’s Flipboard Feed