Tuesday, November 27, 2018

BumbleBee Set To Hit Theatres December 21

Travis Knight

Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Tom DeSanto & Don Murphy, Michael Bay, Mark Vahradian

Steven Spielberg, Brian Goldner, Chris Brigham

Christina Hodson 

Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Ortiz, Jason Drucker, Pamela Adlon, Stephen Schneider

And see it early on December 8, 2018 with early access screenings nationwide.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Slamdance Announces 2019 Competition Lineup

Photo Selects: (left) A scene from Crystal Swan, directed by Darya Zhuk. The Narrative Feature will have its world premiere at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival. Photo courtesy of Hannah Constant. (center) A scene from Happy Face, directed by Alexandre Franchi. The Breakout Feature will have its world premiere at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival. Photo courtesy of Stéphane Gérin-Lajoie; (right) A scene from Sudan: The Last Man Standing, directed by David Hambridge. The Documentary Feature will have its world premiere at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival. Photo courtesy of Andrew Brown.

NOVEMBER 26, 2018 (Los Angeles)- The Slamdance Film Festival today announced the Narrative and Documentary Feature Film Competition programs, as well as the lineup for its new Breakouts section, for their 25th edition, taking place January 25-31, 2019 in Park City. Slamdance continues to be the premiere film festival “by filmmakers, for filmmakers”, dedicated to fostering a community for independent emerging artists.  The Directors Guild of America and Blackmagic Design are Presenting Sponsors of the festival.

The feature competition lineup boasts 18 premieres, including 10 World, 4 North American, and 4 U.S. debuts. In addition to the United States, films come to Slamdance from countries around the globe, including Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Germany, India, Italy, Kenya, Poland, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. All competition films are feature-length directorial debuts with budgets of less than $1 million USD and without US distribution. Featured films were selected by a team of Slamdance alumni via a blind submission process and are programmed democratically. Films in both categories are also eligible for the Audience Award and Spirit of Slamdance Award, the latter of which is voted upon by filmmakers at the festival. 

“When it comes to discovering talent, Slamdance has consistently shown that its artist-led community can do it themselves,” said Slamdance Co-founder and President, Peter Baxter. “In a milestone year, our competition lineup symbolizes this ongoing endeavor. It’s full of incredible talent representing a global diversity that we believe will play a significant role in our cultural future.”  

In addition, the 2019 festival will see the return of the Russo Fellowship -- a $25,000 prize launched in 2018 by celebrated festival alumni Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: Civil War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Infinity War)  to enable a deserving filmmaker the opportunity to continue their journey with mentorship from the filmmaking duo. Presented by AGBO Films in partnership with the festival, the inaugural fellowship was awarded to filmmaker Yassmina Karajah for her narrative short Rupture.  

Also announced today is the lineup for the festival’s all-new Breakouts section. Breakouts are films by non-first-time-feature directors who demonstrate a determined vision of filmmaking that is instinctively becoming their own. These artists continue to push boundaries in genre and form and are beacons of light that predict the future of film. Slamdance’s goal is to help daring and resilient filmmakers connect with bigger audiences and take their well-deserved place on the world cinema stage. The 2019 Breakouts feature the work of several Slamdance alumni, including Steven Soderbergh, who executive produced Beats, and Canadian filmmaker Alexandre Franchi who received the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2010 festival for  The Wild Hunt.

"Our newly minted Breakouts section celebrates a group of experienced directors, including some Slamdance alumni, who are genuinely intent on taking bigger risks with their storytelling and career paths,” said Paul Rachman, Slamdance co-conspirator and Breakouts programmer.  “These are films from around the world that deliver a bold vision from filmmakers with drive and intent to establish their unique cinematic voices."

Established in 1995, Slamdance is dedicated to discovering and supporting new talents in independent filmmaking. In addition to the Russo Brothers, notable Slamdance alumni include Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity), Bong Joon Ho (Okja), Lena Dunham (Girls), Ari Aster (Hereditary), Gina Prince-Blythewood (Shots Fired), and Sean Baker (The Florida Project). 

2019 competition features include:

A Great Lamp (USA) - World Premiere
Director: Saad Qureshi
Screenwriters: Saad Qureshi, Donald R. Monroe, Max Wilde
On the river towns of North Carolina, two sad vandals and an unemployed loner wait for a fabled rocket launch.
Cast: Max Wilde, Spencer Bang, Steven Maier, Julian Semilian, Laura Ingram Semilian, Netta Green, Connie Stewart, Smokey, Spaz

Boni Bonita (Brazil, Argentina) - North American Premiere
Director/Screenwriter: Daniel Barosa
Reeling from the death of her mother, Beatriz moves to Brazil where she begins an intense and toxic relationship with Rogério, an older musician struggling with his family's artistic legacy. 
Cast: Ailín Salas, Caco Ciocler

Cat Sticks (India) - World Premiere 
Director: Ronny Sen 
Screenwriters: Ronny Sen, Soumyak Kanti DeBiswas
A pack of Calcutta youth seeks greater lust and life in their relentless pursuit of Brown Sugar (dirty heroin)... and it’s unsustainable high.
Cast: Tanmay Dhanania, Sumeet Thakur, Joyraj Bhattacharjee, Rahul Dutta, Saurabh Saraswat, Sreejita Mitra, Raja Chakravorty, Kalpan Mitra

Crystal Swan (Belarus, USA, Germany, Russia) - North American Premiere
Director: Darya Zhuk 
Screenwriter: Helga Landauer
In mid-90s Belarus, a young DJ's big overseas plans get derailed when a typo on her Visa application sends her to a backwater factory town where she is determined to fake her way to the American dream.
Cast: Alina Nassibulina, Ivan Mulin, Yury Borisov

Dollhouse: The Eradication of Female Subjectivity from American Popular Culture (USA, Canada) – North American Premiere
Director/Screenwriter: Nicole Brending
A puppet-animation charting the rise and fall of fictional child pop star, Junie Spoons.
Cast: Aneikit Bonnel, Sydney Bonar, Nicole Brending, Erik Hoover, Maggie Morrisson, Peter Ooley, Adam Sly

Hurry Slowly(Norway) 
Director/Screenwriter: Anders Emblem
Hurry Slowly follows Fiona over a few life-changing summer months on the north-western coast of Norway, where she juggles the care of her brother, her job at the local ferry and her interest in music.
Cast: Amalie Ibsen Jensen, David Jakobsen, Lars Halvor Andreassen

Impetus (Canada) - US Premiere
Director/Screenwriter: Jennifer Alleyn
In the process of her ongoing film shoot in New York City, a filmmaker finds herself questioning the origin of impulsion. As she tries to overcome loss through creation, an unexpected event enlightens her journey.
Cast: Pascale Bussières, Emmanuel Schwartz, Jorn Reissner, Esfyr Dyachkov

Lost Holiday(USA) - World Premiere
Directors/Screenwriters: Michael Matthews, Thomas Matthews
Two old high school friends solve a Christmas mystery in D.C.
Cast: Kate Lyn Sheil, Thomas Matthews, Keith Poulson, William Jackson Harper, Ismenia Mendes, Tone Tank,  Joshua Leonard, and Isiah Whitlock Jr.

Spiral Farm (USA) - World Premiere 
Director/Screenwriter: Alec Tibaldi
When two outsiders arrive on an isolated intentional community, seventeen-year-old Anahita begins to question her role at home, and what a future out in the world-at-large could be.     
Cast: Piper de Palma, Amanda Plummer, Jade Fusco, Teo Halm, Cosimo Fusco, Landen Beattie, Akuyoe Graham, Kayleigh Gilbert

The Vast of Night (USA) - World Premiere
Director: Andrew Patterson 
Screenwriter: James Montague, Craig W. Sanger
At the dawn of the space-race in America, two radio-obsessed teens discover a strange frequency over the airwaves that could change their lives, their small town, and all of Earth... forever.  
Cast: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz, Gail Cronauer, Bruce Davis

We Are Thankful (South Africa) - North American Premiere
Director/Screenwriter: Joshua Magor
When Siyabonga, a young South African actor hungry to expand his craft, gets wind of a movie production that is shooting in a neighboring town, the eager thespian decides to set out a journey that will take him away from his quiet home life and out into a bustling world of possibility.
Cast: Siyabonga Majola, Sabelo Khoza, Xolani “X” Malinga, Amanda Ncube, Percy Mncedicy Zulu, Ntokozo Mkhize, Sibusiso “Sbu” Nzama, Luthando “Cminzah” Ngcobo

Behind the Bullet (USA) - World Premiere
Director/Screenwriter: Heidi Yewman
An in-depth look at four individuals who have pulled the trigger and the profound impact it’s had on their lives.

The Beksinskis. A Sound and Picture Album (Poland) - US Premiere
Director/Screenwriter: Marcin Borchardt
A famous Polish painter known for his dark and twisted imagery chronicles his son's troubled life from the 1950s through the millennium.

Desolation Center (USA) - US Premiere
Director: Stuart Swezey
Screenwriters: Stuart Swezey, Tyler Hubby
The untold story of a series of Reagan-era anarchic punk rock desert happenings that still reverberate throughout our culture.

Dons of Disco (USA) 
Director: Jonathan Sutak
A lip-syncing scandal pits an American singer against an Italian male model over the legacy of 1980s 'Italo Disco' star Den Harrow. 
Markie in Milwaukee (USA) – World Premiere 
Director: Matt Kliegman 
A mid-western transgender woman struggles with the prospect of de-transitioning under the pressures of her fundamentalist church, family and community.
Memphis ‘69 (USA) - World Premiere
Director: Joe LaMattina, Screenwriters: Joe LaMattina, Lisa LaMattina
A year after Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated, a group of blues legends came together to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of Memphis, TN. This concert documentary shot over 3 days in June of 1969, celebrates an American art form that unites us all. 

The Professional: A Stevie Blatz Story (USA) - US Premiere
Director/Screenwriter: Daniel La Barbera
A behind-the-scenes look at the magic of Stevie Blatz, an entertainment entrepreneur in Bethlehem, PA.

Seadrift (USA) - World Premiere
Director/Screenwriter: Tim Tsai
In 1979, the fatal shooting of a white crab fisherman in a Texas fishing village ignites a maelstrom of hostilities against Vietnamese refugees along the Gulf Coast.

Sudan: The Last Male Standing (USA, Kenya) - World Premiere
Director: David Hambridge
Through the conservation efforts of a rhino caretaker unit in Kenya, we peer past the headlines into the emptiness of extinction in real time.

Beats (UK) - North American Premiere
Director: Brian Welsh, Screenwriter: Kieran Hurley, Brian Welsh
A universal story of friendship, rebellion and the irresistible power of gathered youth – set to a soundtrack as eclectic and electrifying as the scene it gave birth to, BEATS is a story for our time.
Cast: Cristian Ortega, Lorn Macdonald, Laura Fraser

Demolition Girl (Japan) - World Premiere
Director: Genta Matsugami, Screenwriters: Yoshitaka Kasui, Genta Matsugami
A high-school girl who lives in a rural town in Japan struggles to define her own way in life. To help her impoverished family she works as a video fetish performer which leads to problems for her and her family with a criminal underworld. 
Cast: Aya Kitai,Hiroki Ino,Haruka Imo,Yura Komuro,Yota Kawase,Ko Maehara,Ryohei Abe,Nobu Morimoto

Happy Face (Canada) - US Premiere 
Director: Alexandre Franchi, Screenwriter: Alexandre Franchi, Joëlle Bourjolly
Desperate to become less shallow, a handsome teenage boy deforms his face with bandages and attends a support group for disfigured people.
Cast: Robin L’Houmeau, Debbie Lynch-White, David Roche, E.R. Ruiz, Alison Midstokke, Cindy Nicholsen, Noémie Kocher.

History of Love (Slovenia, Italy, Norway) - North American Premiere
Director/Screenwriter: Sonja Prosenc
A teenage swimmer/high diver Iva, endures a grieving process, as family secrets and mysteries, especially her mother’s, unveil.
Cast: Doroteja Nadrah, Kristoffer Joner, Matej Zemljic, Zoja Florjanc Lukan, Matija Vastl, Zita Fusco

By filmmakers, for filmmakers. Established in 1995 by a wild bunch of filmmakers who were tired of relying on a large, oblique system to showcase their work, Slamdance has proven, year after year, that when it comes to recognizing talent and launching careers, independent and grassroots communities can do it themselves.

In addition to the Festival, Slamdance serves emerging artists and a growing community with several year-round initiatives. These include the Slamdance Screenplay Competition, its educational program Slamdance Polytechnic, DIG showcase of Digital Interactive and Gaming art, distribution efforts through Slamdance Presents, worldwide screening series Slamdance on the Road, and LA screening series Slamdance Cinema Club

Notable Slamdance alumni include: The Russo Brothers (Avengers: Infinity War), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity), Marc Forster (Christopher Robin), Jeremiah Zagar (We The Animals), Lena Dunham (Girls), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Jeremy Saulnier (Green Room ), Gina Prince-Blythewood (Shots Fired), Lynn Shelton (Outside In, Humpday), Sean Baker (The Florida Project), Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night) and Ari Aster (Hereditary). Box Office Mojo reports alumni who first showed their work at Slamdance have earned over $17 billion at the Box Office to date.

For more information on Slamdance, visit: https://www.slamdance.com

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Foxx and Egerton Star In Lionsgate's 'Robin Hood'

By Darlene Donloe

The new Robin Hood (Lionsgate), starring Jamie Foxx and Taron Egerton, is a fast-moving film with no shortage of action sequences.

There is back-to-back-to-back, non-stop action. The film is a mix of the original Robin Hood, Ben Hur, and The Italian Job.  There is a chariot-like race and a moment when something huge is blasted through a floor.

The action and fight sequences are quite entertaining.

The film stars two charismatic leads, namely Jamie Foxx and Taron Egerton, who have terrific chemistry on screen.
(l-r) Jamie Foxx and Taron Egerton in Robin Hood 

Egerton is Robin Hood. Admittedly, he’s a different kind of Hood. He doesn’t have a huge presence on screen, but he’s likable.

When the film opens, Robin Hood is fighting in the Crusades.  When he witnesses senseless killings, he rethinks why he’s there, as well as the focus of the Crusades. He becomes disillusioned by it all, so much so that he tries to stop one of his commanders from killing a young boy, who happens to be the son of John, a Moor played by Jamie Foxx. While Robin Hood is gone, word gets out that he’s been killed.  After some time his woman, Marian (Eve Hewson), takes up with another man.  When Robin learns of this, he’s plunged deeper into despair.  

(l-r) Eve Hewson and Taron Egerton 

Eventually John and Robin Hood/aka Lord of Loxley team up to bring down the local government, which is starving and stealing everything from its citizens and indulging in other treasonous acts. Ben Mendelsohn plays the nasty Sheriff of Nottingham. John teaches Robin Hood how to fight and how to speed up his arrow game. Robin becomes adept at not only speed but accuracy with the arrows. Robin decides to infiltrate the government by pretending to be on their side. He dons a mask, steals from the government and returns the booty to the residents of Nottingham. His mask isn’t much of a disguise – Marian recognizes him right away. How no one else does is baffling.

Jamie Dornan

Jamie Dornan plays Will Scarlet, a Nottinghman community activist, who now is the love interest of Marian.

Tim Minchin brings a little levity as Friar Tuck, while F. Murray Abraham plays a deliciously evil Cardinal.

Robin Hood, directed by and written by, stars Jamie Foxx, Taron Egerton, Jamie Dornan, Eve Hewson, Tim Minchin, and F. Murray Abraham.

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Robin Hood gets an O (oh, yeah).

Monday, November 19, 2018

Center Theatre Group Announces 2018-2019 L.A. Writers Workshop Participants

L-R: (back row) Luis Alfaro, Aziza Barnes, Brian Otaño, Ruby Rae Spiegel, (front row) Diana Burbano, Aditi Brennan Kapil and Noah Haidle, 2018-2019 L.A. Writers’ Workshop participants.
Photo by Hal Banfield.

Center Theatre Group has selected participants for the 2018-2019 L.A. Writers’ Workshop, where local playwrights are invited to spend eight months in residence at the company researching and writing new works with the feedback from artistic staff and their fellow writers. The workshop, administrated by Center Theatre Group’s Artistic Department, is designed to foster new voices, inspire playwrights to create their best work, encourage bold writing and build relationships among local playwrights, Center Theatre Group and the Los Angeles theatre community.

Those participating in the 2018-2019 L.A. Writers’ Workshop include Luis Alfaro, Aziza Barnes, Diana Burbano, Noah Haidle, Aditi Brennan Kapil, Brian Otaño and Ruby Rae Spiegel. Playwrights were selected by Center Theatre Group’s artistic staff. Each year, the goal is to bring together Los Angeles playwrights, all of varying backgrounds and writing styles, with the intent on creating work that challenges audiences and the surrounding theatre community. To be eligible, the writers must currently reside in Los Angeles and must be either starting work on a new play or interested in starting work on a new play.

Nile Rodgers & Chic Set For July 4th Spectacular During The Hollywood Bowl Summer Season

Los Angeles, CA (November 19, 2018) – The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association announced today the first details of the 2019 Hollywood Bowl summer season, with the entire season to be announced in February 2019.

One of pop history’s most inventive, successful and enduring artists, Nile Rodgers & CHIC is set for the July 4th Fireworks Spectacular, with three performances, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, July 2, 3, and 4, at 7:30 p.m.. Joining the GRAMMY®-winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee is the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by Thomas Wilkins. Considered one of Southern California’s top Independence Day pyrotechnic displays, the annual July 4th Fireworks Spectacular at the Bowl has become a local family tradition. Tickets for children ages 12 and under are half price.

Among music legends, Nile Rodgers is truly exceptional. He amplifies his legacy as a multiple GRAMMY-winning composer, producer, arranger, and guitarist by constantly traversing new musical terrain and successfully expanding the boundaries of popular music. As the co-founder of CHIC and the newly elected Chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Rodgers pioneered a musical language that generated chart-topping hits like “Le Freak” (the biggest selling single in the history of Atlantic Records) and sparked the advent of hip-hop with “Good Times.” Nile Rodgers transcends all styles of music across every generation with a body of work that has garnered his inductions into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (2017) and the Songwriters Hall of Fame (2016). Most recently, he was appointed as the first ever Chief Creative Advisor for the legendary Abbey Road Studios to cap a year that has included “festival best” performances at both Glastonbury and Coachella, resulting in a nomination for “Best Live Performance of 2017” at the BBC Music Awards and the Los Angeles Times stating “Nile Rodgers’ influence stretches all over Coachella, beaming the sound of a better future.” Rodgers’ work in the CHIC Organization and his productions for artists like David Bowie, Diana Ross, and Madonna have sold over 500 million albums and 75 million singles worldwide, while his innovative, trendsetting collaborations with Daft Punk, Avicii, Sigala, Disclosure, and Sam Smith reflect the vanguard of contemporary music. Nile Rodgers & CHIC recently released their first new studio album in over 26 years to critical acclaim and a Top 10 position on the UK album charts.

Dates for other popular annual concerts at the Hollywood Bowl have also been set, including Opening Night (June 15), Smooth Summer Jazz (August 18), Movie Night (September 1), and the Sing-A-Long Sound of Music (September 21).

With the Hollywood Bowl serving as the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for nearly 100 years, the 2019 season continues the tradition of offering classical concerts every Tuesday and Thursday night, with star-studded programming.

Highlights include:

  • Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel conducting Mahler’s transcendent Symphony No. 2, the “Resurrection.”

  • Hungarian conductor Iván Fischer bringing his magnificent Budapest Festival Orchestra to the Bowl.

  • Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a program featuring the astounding Yuja Wang as piano soloist.

  • Popular American conductor James Gaffigan returning to the Bowl with a special program of his own.

  • Gustavo Dudamel conducting the LA Phil in a program that features the stunning pianism of Khatia Buniatishvili.

  • Xian Zhang leading a program that includes Beethoven’s awe-inspiring Ninth Symphony along with a world premiere by the youngest Pulitzer-winning composer ever, Caroline Shaw.

Tickets for the Hollywood Bowl 2019 summer season will be available online at HollywoodBowl.com or via phone at 323.850.2000 on the following dates:
  • Subscription online renewals will be available November 14, 2018.
  • Subscription mail renewals will be available November 15, 2018.
  • Group sales for July 4th Fireworks Spectacular and Movie Night will be available February 4, 2019; Smooth Summer Jazz and the Sing-A-Long Sound of Music on February 11, 2019; and all other events on February 19, 2019. 
  • New subscriptions will be available February 5, 2019.
  • “Five or More” packages will be available March 12, 2019.
  • The Hollywood Bowl Box Office opens for single ticket sales May 5, 2019.

Programs, artists, prices, and dates subject to change. Ticket limits may apply.

For additional information, please visit: http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/

Friday, November 16, 2018

'Instant Family' In Theaters Nationwide Today

Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne

By Darlene Donloe

The foster and adoption systems are no laughing matter.  Well, not until Mark Wahlberg gets involved. The result is Instant Family, a comedy/drama about a couple, played by Wahlberg and Rose Byrne, who foster three siblings all at once. One is a 15-year-old girl named Lizzy (Isabela Moner). The other two are Juan (Gustavo Quiroz) and a little girl named Lita (Julianna Gamiz), who is about five going on 21.

At first, it looks like everything is going well. Then reality steps in and chaos ensues.
Instant Family, currently in theaters, is both funny and poignant as it tackles the emotional and always serious issue of fostering and adopting.

l-r Rose Byrne, Mark Wahlberg, and Octavia Spencer

Some of the best moments in the film come from support sessions led by Octavia Spencer and Tig Notaro, both of whom are hilarious. Supporting cast members also include 
Julie Haggerty, and Margo Martindale, who plays Grandma Sandy.  All of the supporting cast elevate the movie.

Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne and Julie Haggerty

The story is exceptional and the writing is authentic. At times the movie is a two-hanky tear-jerker. Thankfully, it doesn’t Hollywoodize the process. To its credit, the film doesn’t pull any punches or whitewash anything about the foster/adoption process. The film presents the system with its warts and all.

Whether he’s doing comedy or drama, Wahlberg is adept on the screen. He and Byrne definitely have chemistry.  Together, the two of them bring this heart-tugging story to life.

l-r Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Isabela Moner, Julianna Gamiz, and Gustavo Quiroz

The message of this movie is front and center. Lacking subtlety, it encourages everyone to consider the foster care system so, they too, can experience the warm and fuzzy feeling of family. This is a wonderful movie for this time of year. It’s a great feel-good movie, full of laughter and the good kind of tears.

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Instant Family gets an O (oh, yeah).