Raindance Winner on Creating a Modern-Day David and Goliath Story

LONDON — Spanish-born, U.K.-based director Jonathan Cenzual Burley was surprised enough to win one award, let alone three, for film, director and actor, and, as a result, didn’t have a speech prepared. “I feel really bad,” he told Variety at the awards ceremony, “because I wanted to thank so many people but it caught me… Read more »

‘Zen Dog’ Director on Reinventing the Road Movie With a Spiritual Twist

LONDON — Rick Darge came to the Raindance Film Festival with his first feature and left with a brand new prize — Film of the Festival — that will see him directing the event’s trailer for 2017. “I feel like I’m going to wake up back in Los Angeles at any moment,” he joked at… Read more »

Film Review: ‘Milton’s Secret’

It takes about 13 minutes for Donald Sutherland to first appear in “Milton’s Secret,” and for those 13 minutes (and perhaps a few more), one can still hold out hope that something will rescue this televisual Canadian production from its terminal blandness. Alas, even a prickly pro like Sutherland can’t do anything to elevate a hokey self-help… Read more »

Capone takes a trip to the moon with OPERATION AVALANCHE writer-director-star Matt Johnson

Capone takes a trip to the moon with OPERATION AVALANCHE writer-director-star Matt Johnson

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Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here. Writer-director-actor first made name for himself as an indie Renaissance man with the 2013’s deftly made THE DIRTIES about making a mock revenge comedy about high school bullies that turns scarily real. Three years later, using many of the same primary actors, Johnson returned this year with OPERATION AVALANCHE, which premiered at Sundance, and I caught at the SXSW Film Festival. This time around Johnson and friends play low-level CIA agents circa the late 1960s, who infiltrate NASA to discover if the space agency will indeed be able to deliver on the promise set for by President Kennedy to put a man on the moon by decades’s end. When they discover it doesn’t look like NASA is on target for such a task, they decide to film a fake moon landing to play on televisions around the world as the actual lunar lander is orbiting the moon. What starts as something of a fun adventure involving dressing like astronauts, building a full-scale lunar module, and Stanley Kubrick (who makes a brief appearance in the film…the real Stanley Kubrick, mind you) turns into something much more sinister, even dangerous. I had a chance to chat with Johnson recently, just before his Viceland series “Nirvanna the Band the Show” was about to premiere at Fantastic Fest. He’s a great guy to chat with and most importantly, he has incredible stories about getting his film made using the sneakiest means at his disposal. With that,

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HERC RADIO!! Tim Burton’s PECULIAR!! Plus DC, Marvel, Star Wars & Star Trek!!

HERC RADIO!! A TV Critic Evaluates DEEPWATER HORIZON & MAGNIFICENT SEVEN!! Plus DC, Marvel, Star Wars & Star Trek!!

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A gripping and moving nonfiction mashup of “The Poseidon Adventure” and “The Towering Inferno,” “Deepwater Horizon” recounts that one of history’s worst ecological disasters began by precipitating a boatload of very violent fatalities.
Director Peter Berg (“Lone Survivor”) and screenwriters Matthew Michael Carnahan (“State of Play,” “World War Z”) and Matthew Sand (“Ninja Assassin”) spend the first 55 minutes introducing us to the folks who inhabit and operate the titular vessel and explaining how everything works.
The rest of the movie is essentially the crew trying to minimize the mayhem and keep themselves alive among flying shrapnel and mammoth infernos.
Kurt Russell and Mark Wahlberg are terrific as the supervisors who keep warning their BP clients (the superb John Malkovich and Brad Leland) that safeguards are not where they want to cut corners.
Supercute Gina Rodriguez seems to be there to show us that she’s wasting her time winning TV awards for “Jane The Virgin” and needs to take on more movie work.
While not everyone dies in “Deepwater,” I can say without contradiction that “Sully” boasts a much happier ending.
“Deepwater” gets positive reviews from 60% of “top critics” polled by Rotten Tomatoes.

A surprisingly engaging remake of the 1960 Yul Brynner-Steve McQueen-Charles Bronson remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic “The Seven Samurai,” the 2016 version of “The Magnificent Seven” comes to us from prolific director Antoine Fuqua, who earlier collaborated with Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke on “Training Day” and with Washington again on 2014’s gratifyingly violent “Equalizer” remake.
The new movie is also significant in

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‘Miss Peregrine’ Rules No. 1 With $25M-$26M; ‘Deepwater Horizon’ Murky; ‘Masterminds’ Dumbs Down – Late Night B.O. Update

UPDATE, Friday, 11:50PM: Refresh for updates, chart coming  Wait until Saturday matinees. That’s what folks are saying about the opening weekend results for 20th Century Fox/Chernin Entertainment’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children which are currently at an estimated $8.8-$9M for Friday and $25M-$26M over three days.
Lionsgate/Summit/Participant Media’s Deepwater Horizon looks like it has mostly everything working for it: an 81% fresh Rotten Tomatoes rating and…

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Ava DuVernay’s ’13th’ Opens to Standing Ovation at New York Film Festival

Ava DuVernay’s “13th” opened the 54th New York Film Festival with a jolt of topical urgency, shaking up tradition as the first documentary to kick off the festival and addressing head-on the issue of mass incarceration and its historical roots. The crowd at the premiere screening rose to its feet when the credits rolled —… Read more »