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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

F3Stage Review: A far from Indecent history lesson

Film Flam Flummox


From the moment one enters the Ahmanson Theatre to find its entire cast already seated, silent, on an open and nearly bare stage, director Rebecca Taichman announces the simple yet boundlessly clever stagecraft she brings to Indecent, which, as subtitled on a projection right above the cast, tells "the true story of a little Jewish play." That subtitle succinctly sums up the ostensible subject matter of Paula Vogel's play, but as the piece plays out over its brisk yet loaded two-hour, intermission-free run time, Vogel and Taichman's main concern appears less about that specific story and more about the greater and still-all-too-relevant scope of its thematic concerns.

One is also tempted to say one of those concerns is theatrical technique, for despite its undeniable creativity effectiveness, Taichman's approach keeps one hyper-aware of the theatrical artifice. Six of the seven actors in the cast are officially billed as just that--"Actor"--in the program, for they rotate with remarkable fluidity and versatility through a succession of roles in telling the decades-spanning story of Sholem Asch's landmark Yiddish play God of Vengeance. It begins from it and its author's humble beginnings in 1906 Warsaw and through the global success that leads the work to reach America and finally the Great White Way of Broadway in 1923. It is in the theater capital of the fabled land of the free that, ironically enough, the work runs into its big obstacle in its worldwide journey. A melodrama which earnestly tells of a romance that develops between two young women, including on-stage kiss between the two lovers--which then leads to it being shut down on grounds of indecency and its troupe of actors accordingly arrested. On the base level on the page, Vogel tells this story in as straightforward manner as summarized, with that somewhat by-the-book approach spilling over on stage with copious text supertitles being projected on the back wall (and, in a nice and rare note of mindfulness to those sitting on the sides, also on the left and right walls) serving as lower-thirds chyron equivalents for live theater, labeling characters, locations, time periods, and sometimes even offering supplemental information.

Those identifiers are crucial, not only as Vogel moves through the years but also as the actors impressively shuffle through different roles and even switch languages and accents, at many times on a dime. As mentioned, all but one of the acting septet covers multiple roles, classified by age group and temperament, the sole exception being Richard Topol (one of the four cast members from the original 2017 Broadway production reprising their roles at the Ahmanson) as Lemml, who is not only stage manager for God of Vengeance as it travels the globe over the years, but also serves as a meta one for the very production the audience watches. Thus encapsulates the central conundrum at the heart of this production. While the non-Topol six have a few roles that recur, including that of playwright Asch himself (which is shared by two of the billed Actors, Joby Earle and Harry Groener, at different ages), Vogel's script's briskness covering decades and the many people involved necessitates never delving too deeply into any of the characters, with Lemml and Asch the only having discernible arcs. But if characters then don't forge a strong connection with the audience, it then brings to greater prominence the broad thematic strokes of the piece, which appear to be Vogel's most paramount concern anyhow. While telling of a specific incident in history that centers around a specific community, not only are the general themes such as artistic censorship, immigration, ethnic and LGBTQ prejudice more universally relatable, they are sadly very relevant and timely in this day and age. In fact, given the political atmosphere of contemporary America, the entire scenario could have easily been adapted to current times, and it would ring all too painfully true.

Further making the ideas more resonant is Taichman's ingenious direction. The story theater approach, which frames the events as being presented by Lemml and his troupe from beyond the grave--or, rather, from ashes--may initially strike as a bit precious and on-the-nose, but by the haunting end, it becomes rather chilling. In between though, there's a fair amount of pure enjoyment to go with the heart rending drama, with a mix of period and original music by Lisa Gutkin (who, along with Patrick Ferrell and fellow Broadway production musician Matt Darriau, are on stage the entire time, even intermingling with the cast) making for some memorable dance moments (choreographed by David Dorfman) and serving as a propulsive engine through the numerous changes of scene, with Riccardo Hernandez's spare scenic design lent much versatility by Christopher Akerlind's expressive lighting concept. But most impressive is the cast, which in addition to Topol, Earle, and Groener includes Elizabeth A. Davis (who, in one scene, also plays the viola) and Broadway cast members Adina Verson, Mimi Lieber, and Steven Rattazzi. They all convincingly embody their numerous characters, and watching the six of seven seamlessly, repeatedly transform over the two hours adds additional excitement and even suspense. Indecent may ultimately be an informative if basic primer into the history of God of Vengeance and traditional Yiddish theater and Jewish-American playwrights, but it is executed in such an enthralling and inviting manner that one does feel compelled to investigate further.


Adina Verson and Elizabeth A. Davis in Indecent
(photo by T. Charles Erickson)

Indecent is now playing at the Ahmanson Theatre in downtown Los Angeles through Sunday, July 7.

Buy the Indecent Original Broadway Cast album CD here.
Buy the Indecent play text by Paula Vogel here.
Watch the Indecent Original Broadway Production here.
Buy The God of Vengeance play text by Sholem Asch here.

(Special thanks to Center Theatre Group)


The Movie Report wants to attend and cover all your live stage productions! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

F3Stage Review: Phantom's music of the night soars over restaging missteps

Film Flam Flummox


For many such as myself, The Phantom of the Opera holds a special place in the heart as the "gateway drug" that led to a lifelong love of live theater. Its status as an icon in pop culture, never mind in the ever-increasingly niche corner that is live stage, is no accident, for this is one of those singular feats in entertainment where everything appears to have magically fallen into place: the Gothic romance and horror hook--deformed, masked, musical genius goes to murderous lengths to win the affections of his young soprano protégé--of Gaston Leroux's original novel, Andrew Lloyd Webber's soaring melodies, Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe's evocative lyrics, director Harold Prince's revolutionary stagecraft, all assembled with utmost care by producer Cameron Mackintosh. With the original London West End and Broadway productions still going strong some three decades on without any signs of slowing down, it would appear to be a bit foolhardy to tamper with what has long worked and still to this day wins over new fans (or, rather, "Phans"), yet that's what Mackintosh has done with the current, restaged touring company, now in the midst of its second visit to the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. Billed as "the spectacular new production," anyone who's seen the original Prince-directed incarnation will only agree with the "new" part of that statement, but even then, the power of the music of the night overwhelms any shortcomings and outright missteps in this version.

This version, originally launched in the United Kingdom in 2012 and here in North America in 2013, is directed by Laurence Connor, who was also responsible for another scaled-down production of a Mackintosh mega-musical, Les Misérables (which, as it happens, directly preceded this production in the current Pantages season). While his downsizing work on that piece can be easily, though not comprehensively, summed up in two words--no turntable--given how Prince and his scenic and costume designer Maria Björnson crafted an exquisitely ornate spectacle from top to bottom, Connor and his designer, Paul Brown's, alterations to Phantom are a bit more extensive. With touring smaller venues in mind, the physical production streamlines and sometimes outright jettisons some of the more elaborate design touches in the original, and not just the larger ones such as the famous chandelier; in the title song alone, for instance, the descending catwalks and candelabras that ascend from the bottom of a misty lake are long gone. While noticeably more cramped than the Prince version, aside from the reworked chandelier, whose iconic rise and fall would be incredibly underwhelming here even for a first time live Phantom viewer, Brown's newer designs are perfectly adequate, if necessarily lacking the seamless, cinematic fluidity of Prince's scene transitions. Ironically enough, in compacting this production, Connor and scenic designer Paul Brown have done a reverse Les Mis, introducing a central revolving set piece here, a cylinder that most impressively makes for a more practical but still visually interesting passage into the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera House that opens up to reveal Phantom's (Derrick Davis) lair as well as houses the offices of hapless opera house owners Firmin (David Benoit) and André (Rob Lindley). While overall not as grandiose, Connor and Brown do exercise some visual creativity in their substitutions, such as the hall of mirrors that replaces the grand staircase in the act two opener, "Masquerade."

Where Connor runs into some entirely self-created problems is in the blocking, which in the first act comes off as change for change's sake. This most blatantly and unfortunately arises in one of the most famous passages in the show, "The Music of the Night" and its immediate aftermath. Not only a key moment from a narrative and character standpoint, with the Phantom whisking away his beloved Christine Daaé (Eva Tavares) to his lair after her triumphant singing debut and reasserting his sensual musical thrall over her, it's also one from the cast perspective, for it's a crucial chemistry building between the leads to sell the entire romance. Prince's original staging, for all the accoutrements that fill the stage, wisely keeps focus on the actors and relies on their skills and developing rapport, and as their push-pull gradually, inevitably moves from an intangible one to a physical one, ending in--when the pairing of actors works--a complete surrender and tangible connection. Connor, for no good reason, turns this into some weird, overly busy quasi-S&M scenario with the Phantom blindfolding Christine and her stumbling about for the bulk of the number. The less said about the scene that follows, originally a critical beat of agency by Christine involving the Phantom's mask that for some reason now has barely anything to do with the mask, the better.

Apparently having gotten over the urge to force a differing "vision" onto the material, after intermission Connor apparently learns to more completely trust it, which is still entirely involving and enveloping after 30 years. He's helped immeasurably by a solid cast. If the character of Raoul, Christine's upstanding suitor, is still an incredibly thankless part, Jordan Craig sounds good and strikes the necessary, earnest bond with Tavares in their key duet, the now-wedding song staple "All I Ask of You." Singing beautifully from the start, Tavares only grows in strength much like her character does as the story goes on, really hitting her stride from the underrated early act two gem "Twisted Every Way" onward. Her chemistry with the charismatic, menacing, and piercingly empathetic Davis, despite that bizarre "Music of the Night" staging, is palpable, reaching a feverish erotic boil in the climactic "The Point of No Return." That song, as ever, is aptly named, for that begins one of those most tense, suspenseful, emotionally urgent final stretches of any musical--which, in Connor's one truly inspired deviation from the Prince template, manages to be even more devastating. No spoilers, but the Phantom's--and the show's--final line now has an even more bittersweet lead-in that results in an even bigger wallop, further amplified by Davis's towering star turn. By the famous closing notes, the music of the night once again proves its everlasting power, undiluted by some less than ideal direction and production choices.





Derrick Davis as The Phantom, Eva Tavares as Christine Daaé
(photo by Matthew Murphy)

The Phantom of the Opera is now playing at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood through Sunday, July 7; the touring company then continues Southern California at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa from Wednesday, July 10 through Sunday, July 21 before moving on to other cities through the rest of the year.

Buy the The Phantom of the Opera Original London Cast album CD here.
Buy The Complete Phantom of the Opera book here.
Buy the The Phantom of the Opera movie Blu-ray here.
Buy the The Phantom of the Opera movie DVD here.
Buy the The Phantom of the Opera movie soundtrack CD here.
Buy the The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall: In Celebration of 25 Years Blu-ray here.
Buy the The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall: In Celebration of 25 Years DVD here.
Buy the The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall: In Celebration of 25 Years CD here.

(Special thanks to Hollywood Pantages Theatre)

The Movie Report wants to attend and cover all your live stage productions! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

Friday, June 7, 2019

The Movie Report #1023, June 7, 2019

The Movie Report

#1023, June 7, 2019


MOVIES:

  • Dark Phoenix ** 1/2
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco *** 1/2
  • Late Night *** Emma Thompson & Mindy Kaling introduction at CinemaCon
  • NGK: Nandha Gopala Kumaran ** 1/2
  • Pavarotti ***
  • The Secret Life of Pets 2 ***

The Movie Report wants to attend and cover all your film events and press junkets! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Samuel L. Jackson returns as Shaft in Hollywood

Film Flam Flummox



The Movie Report wants to attend all your film special events! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Randall Park & Nahnatchka Khan's rom com reflections on Always Be My Maybe

Film Flam Flummox



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Sunday, March 31, 2019

CinemaCon 2019 preview

Film Flam Flummox


Tomorrow, Monday, April 1 marks the first day of CinemaCon, the annual convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), in Las Vegas. The four-day conference is perhaps best known for the lavish presentations thrown by film distributors large and smaller, showcasing the upcoming releases--and, more often than not, talent behind and/or featured in said releases--on their slate. After a packed 2018 edition that saw the the convention struggling to fit in the many studios that opted to formally participate, 2019 finds the event in a bit of flux, much like the film exhibition industry as a whole following the mega-merger of the Walt Disney Studios and 20th Century Fox. The departure of the latter already leaving an empty spot in the schedule in what had been its traditional week-capping spot on Thursday morning, the convention suffered a further blow with Sony Pictures announcing in January that it is opting not to put on a presentation this year. That decision has appeared to, if not completely set off, then at least partially influence a bit of a domino effect, with Focus Features then opting to abandon what had been an annual luncheon slot. With the Will Rogers Motion Pictures Pioneers Foundation also deciding to move its Pioneer of the Year dinner gala from being a midweek staple of the convention to being its own separate event in Los Angeles, yet another hole materialized in the schedule. So this year finds a couple of indies picking up the slack and getting thrust onto the main stage in the massive Colosseum in Caesars Palace: Amazon Studios, which like Focus had traditionally held a luncheon, screens its celebrated Sundance acquisition Late Night, with presumably at least a passing glance at the rest of its slate; and, in the most unexpected move, the big opening night slot is being given to CinemaCon newcomers NEON, who will be screening their Scottish country music drama Wild Rose, which the distributors picked up at this past fall's Toronto International Film Festival. While the big studios that are returning will certainly be doing their best to grab exhibitors' and the media's attention--and, in the case of the bigger-than-ever Disney, more attention and scrutiny will certainly be paid as its game plan with its newly acquired division of Fox should be come at least a little more clear--there is an unusual air of uncertainty, and thus a larger sense of excitement, about how exactly this year will play out.

Here's the scheduled daily rundown of the studio presentations:

But as I say every year since I've been comprehensively covering what was then named ShoWest back in 2001, this event is about more than just the product that is projected on cinemas' screens, but all issues pertaining to the exhibition industry, from the latest and greatest in audio, projection, and presentation technologies and concession stand offerings in the massive trade show and demonstration suites; to strategies and ongoing business concerns for theatre owners. All of the business talk will culminate with the Thursday evening tradition of the Big Screen Achievement Awards, honoring numerous luminaries for their contributions in front of and behind the camera on upcoming releases.

Stay tuned here and on my Twitter and Instagram all week for ongoing coverage of all the goings-on at CinemaCon 2019!

(Very special thanks to Rogers & Cowan for all their helpful and generous assistance at the convention.)


The Movie Report wants to attend all your film special events for coverage! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

F3Stage Review: Purely misguided imagination robs Charlie and the Chocolate Factory of all magic

Film Flam Flummox


If there were a literary property just about ready-made for stage musical treatment, it's Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. A perennial favorite for young and old alike since its publication, its whimsical comic fantasy and relatable, rootable underdog story would alone offer ample ingredients for an effectively escapist entertainment. That's not even counting that a proven musical template is already long set, in the form of Mel Smith's beloved 1971 feature film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. But not for nothing did a seemingly surefire success become one of the biggest disasters of the 2017 Broadway season, for somehow, some way director Jack O'Brien and his team manage to completely drain all the magic from this tale--which makes this monstrosity, now running at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, a true feat of pure imagination in the absolutely worst way.

From what I can tell, that wasn't always the case with this show, which premiered in London's West End in 2013 under the direction of Sam Mendes. While receiving mixed reviews, one unanimous point of praise was the appropriately elaborate scenic design. Creative overhauls and director changes made in the transfer over the Atlantic are hardly uncommon for productions that are believed to have underachieved in their original form, but O'Brien's biggest apparent "fix" once brought on board was to run in the completely opposite direction visually, scaling back the production to the point of minimalism. If a bit disappointing from the initial curtain raise, such a direction makes at least some kind of dramatic sense in act one, with scenic designer Mark Thompson's (who also, improbably, designed the Mendes version) rather spartan set pieces--a house, a candy store--reflecting the drab everyday of poor, young Charlie Bucket (Rueby Wood on opening night; he alternates with Henry Boshart and Collin Jeffery), who spends his days in the crowded home he shares with his widowed mom and all four of his grandparents dreaming up inventions and hoping to win a golden ticket to visit renowned candy maker Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. In a departure from the different adaptations of Dahl's story, Wonka (Noah Weisberg, trying to lend the proceedings some energy) has a literal presence outside of the factory here, in disguise as the owner of the candy shop that Charlie frequents. This adjustment, nor some half-hearted (not to mention incongruous, given all the nods, primarily in the very cheap prices, to this being set way in the past) attempts to "modernize" the tale by throwing in pandering references to social media and computer hacking, has no discernible narrative impact on the slog that is act one, which librettist David Greig structures as a repetitive series of news reports/song numbers that introduce the winners of the Golden Ticket contest one by one: gluttonous Augustus Gloop (Matt Wood), spoiled Veruca Salt (Jessica Cohen, a talented ballet dancer), gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde (Brynn Williams), and the aptly named Mike Teavee (Daniel Quadrino). The routine rhythm would be somewhat forgiven by a memorable score, but the team of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are far from their Hairspray glory days here, serving up a slate of sleepwalking songs whose utterly forgettable melodies and lyrics are underscored by the show's inclusion of a few of Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley's evergreen compositions from Willy Wonka, such as the emblematic "Pure Imagination" and the Sammy Davis Jr. standard "The Candy Man." (One can't help but feel that, given the production involvement of film rights holders Warner Bros., the show would've been better off as a top-to-bottom adaptation of Willy Wonka; perhaps that would've been less--yes--imaginative, but it probably would've at least been more enjoyable.)

Once (spoiler alert, but not really, given the title) Charlie himself wins the final golden ticket and the long-awaited tour of the chocolate factory finally begins after intermission, one hopes the production finally comes to life in act two. Alas, the show only becomes more baffling. While Wonka's troupe of minions, the Oompa Loompas, are admittedly brought to diminutive life in a clever way, the benefit of the doubt given to Thompson's otherwise restrained design in the first act is rescinded, for instead of upping the spectacle and selling the magic of Wonka, the stage becomes even more bare, with whatever physical sets being more cheap (it's hard to muster up the same enthusiasm, much less awe, as the characters when seeing the high school drama level manifestation of the Chocolate Room, never mind its iconic chocolate waterfall), and often the backdrop being literally blank, without even the most simplest of images projected onto it. When the stultifying simplicity reaches its most insulting nadir when the contest winners and their companions are forced to navigate an invisible maze for one overlong scene, it's difficult to not think that O'Brien's entire angle for this assignment is as a dare to make audiences exercise their own imaginations to the breaking point.

That's actually a more charitable conclusion, for he and Greig ultimately feel like they're outright trolling the audience, in particular the families to which this is being sold. Dahl's work has always had a dark edge that flirted with the macabre, but he never got as outright morbid and downright mean as O'Brien and Greig do here. The factory-set portion of the story is characterized by how Charlie's fellow winners are comically done in by their vices, but it's hard for anyone, much less kids, to get a laugh when a horrified parent has their child's innards splattered all over him or, even more shockingly, another child is literally torn to pieces on stage--which prompted a clearly disturbed cry by a young patron seated behind me on opening night. Pure imagination, yes, but also pure nightmare fuel in a most bitter tasting piece of Chocolate.


The First National Tour cast of
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
(photo by Joan Marcus)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is now playing at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood in a limited engagement through Sunday, April 14; the First National Tour then continues on to other cities throughout the year, including a return to Southern California at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa from Tuesday, May 28 through Sunday, June 9.

Buy the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Original Broadway Cast album CD here.
Buy the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Original London Cast album MP3 here.
Buy the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Blu-ray here.
Buy the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory DVD here.

(Special thanks to Hollywood Pantages Theatre)

The Movie Report wants to attend and cover all your live stage productions! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Movie Report #1013, March 29, 2019

The Movie Report

#1013, March 29, 2019


MOVIES:

  • The Beach Bum * 1/2 Q&A video with Matthew McConaughey, Harmony Korine, Stefania LaVie Owen
  • The Burial of Kojo *** Q&A video with Blitz Bazawule, Michael Fernandez
  • Dumbo ***
  • Furie ***
  • Kesari (Saffron) ** 1/2
  • Super Deluxe ***

The Movie Report wants to attend and cover all your film events and press junkets! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Movie Report #1012, March 22, 2019

The Movie Report

#1012, March 22, 2019


MOVIES:

  • Dragged Across Concrete *** 1/2
  • Hotel Mumbai *** 1/2
  • Us *** 1/2

The Movie Report wants to attend and cover all your film events and press junkets! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

F3PR: Henry Golding to receive CinemaCon Male Star of Tomorrow Award

Film Flam Flummox

PRESS RELEASE

CinemaCon

HENRY GOLDING TO RECEIVE CINEMACON®
MALE STAR OF TOMORROW AWARD

Universal Pictures to release Last Christmas
in North America on November 15, 2019

WASHINGTON D.C. (March 20, 2019) – Henry Golding will receive this year’s “CinemaCon® Male Star of Tomorrow Award,” Mitch Neuhauser, Managing Director of CinemaCon, announced today. CinemaCon, the official convention of NATO, will be held April 1-4, 2019 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Golding will be presented with this special honor at the “CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards” ceremony taking place on the evening of Thursday, April 4, at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, hosted by the Coca-Cola Company, the official presenting sponsor of CinemaCon.

“In just a little over a year, Henry Golding has proven that he has what it takes to be a leading man on the big screen,” noted Neuhauser. “From Crazy Rich Asians, to A Simple Favor, and the upcoming Last Christmas, Bush and Monsoon, Golding will continue to entertain movie audiences around the world, and we are thrilled to honor him as this year’s ‘Male Star of Tomorrow.’”

Golding will next star in Last Christmas, to be released by Universal Pictures on November 15, 2019. A romantic comedy inspired by a George Michael beat and written by Academy Award Award® winner Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility, Bridget Jones’s Baby) and playwright Bryony Kimmings, Last Christmas, is directed by Paul Feig (A Simple Favor, Spy, Bridesmaids) and stars Golding along with Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Thompson.

In Bush, from director Guy Ritchie, Golding stars opposite Oscar® winner Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Colin Farrell and Hugh Grant as a ruthless Vietnamese gangster named Dry Eyes who’s attempting to wrest control of London’s lucrative drug trade. Bush is scheduled for release next year.

Golding also stars in the upcoming drama Monsoon, from director Hong Khaou (Lilting), as Kit, a British-Vietnamese man who returns to Saigon 30 years after his family fled during America’s war in Vietnam.

Golding first appeared on the big screen when he was selected to star as Nick Young in the mega-hit Crazy Rich Asians. He quickly solidified his position as a leading man with his role of Sean in Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor, starring opposite Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively. This past year Golding became the first Asian actor to grace the GQ Man of the Year cover. He made Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch and was featured on the cover of Vanity Fair’s Hollywood issue.

About Last Christmas

Kate (Emilia Clarke) harumphs around London, a bundle of bad decisions accompanied by the jangle of bells on her shoes, another irritating consequence from her job as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop. Tom (Henry Golding) seems too good to be true when he walks into her life and starts to see through so many of Kate’s barriers. As London transforms into the most wonderful time of the year, nothing should work for these two. But sometimes, you gotta let the snow fall where it may, you gotta listen to your heart … and you gotta have faith.

Last Christmas features the music of George Michael, including the bittersweet holiday classic of the film’s title. The film will also premiere brand new unreleased material by the legendary Grammy-winning artist, who sold more than 115 million albums and recorded 10 No. 1 singles over the course of his iconic career.

Last Christmas is directed by Paul Feig and is produced by Feig and Jessie Henderson for his Feigco Entertainment, and by BAFTA winner David Livingstone for Calamity Films, and by Oscar® winner Emma Thompson, who wrote the screenplay with playwright Bryony Kimmings.

About CinemaCon

CinemaCon will attract upwards of 6,000 motion picture professionals from all facets of the industry--from exhibition and distribution, to the equipment and concession areas--all on hand to celebrate the moviegoing experience and the cinema industry. From exclusive Hollywood product presentations highlighting a slate of upcoming films, to must-see premiere feature screenings, to the biggest stars, producers and directors, CinemaCon will help jumpstart the excitement and buzz that surrounds the summer season at the box office.

Additional information on CinemaCon, the Official Convention of NATO, can be found at www.cinemacon.com.

About NATO

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) is the largest exhibition trade organization in the world, representing more than 33,393 movie screens in all 50 states, and additional cinemas in 94 countries worldwide. NATO’s membership includes the largest cinema chains in the world and hundreds of independent theatre owners, too.


The Movie Report wants to attend all your film special events! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

F3PR: Graham King to receive CinemaCon International Filmmaker of the Year Award

Film Flam Flummox

PRESS RELEASE

CinemaCon

GRAHAM KING TO RECEIVE
CINEMACON® INTERNATIONAL FILMMAKER
OF THE YEAR AWARD

Bohemian Rhapsody has earned
over $874 million worldwide

WASHINGTON D.C. (March 19, 2019) – Graham King will receive this year’s “CinemaCon® International Filmmaker of the Year Award.” Mitch Neuhauser, Managing Director of CinemaCon, announced today. CinemaCon, the official convention of NATO, will be held April 1-4, 2019 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. King will be presented with this special honor at the International Day Luncheon taking place on Monday, April 1, 2019.

“With over 20 years of bringing films to audiences around the world, Graham King has continued to produce not only blockbuster releases but films that have been heralded by critics, film groups and audiences alike,” noted Neuhauser. “With the astounding success of Bohemian Rhapsody, a passion project which took nearly 10 years to bring to the big screen, King continues to show his dedication to bringing audiences worldwide films that entertain, empower and intrigue.”

Oscar®-winning producer Graham King has produced or executive produced more than 45 films, grossing $1.4 billion at the domestic box office and over $3.6 billion worldwide. His films have been nominated for 66 Academy Awards®, 40 Golden Globe Awards, and 59 BAFTA Awards. He most recently produced the global phenomenon Bohemian Rhapsody, starring Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury. The film has been recognized with several awards and nominations including, seven BAFTA nominations and two Golden Globe wins, including one for Best Motion Picture Drama. Additionally, the film was the most-winning film at this year’s Academy Awards® winning four out of the five categories it was nominated in. With an impressive box-office total of over $874 million globally to-date, Bohemian Rhapsody marks King’s 10th film to cross $200 million worldwide.

Previously the President and CEO of Initial Entertainment Group, which he founded in 1995, King has served as an executive producer on such films as Traffic and Ali. He received his first Best Picture Academy Award nomination and won a Best Film BAFTA Award for The Aviator, and, in addition, has previously won a Best Picture Oscar® as a producer for The Departed. King’s other producing credits include the blockbuster films Tomb Raider and World War Z, the award-winning Argo, Hugo, Rango, and films such as The Town and Gangs of New York, among many others.

About CinemaCon

CinemaCon will attract upwards of 6,000 motion picture professionals from all facets of the industry--from exhibition and distribution, to the equipment and concession areas--all on hand to celebrate the moviegoing experience and the cinema industry. From exclusive Hollywood product presentations highlighting a slate of upcoming films, to must-see premiere feature screenings, to the biggest stars, producers and directors, CinemaCon will help jumpstart the excitement and buzz that surrounds the summer season at the box office.

Additional information on CinemaCon, the Official Convention of NATO, can be found at www.cinemacon.com.

About NATO

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) is the largest exhibition trade organization in the world, representing more than 33,393 movie screens in all 50 states, and additional cinemas in 94 countries worldwide. NATO’s membership includes the largest cinema chains in the world and hundreds of independent theatre owners, too.


The Movie Report wants to attend all your film special events! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

Monday, March 18, 2019

F3PR: Octavia Spencer to receive CinemaCon Spotlight Award

Film Flam Flummox

PRESS RELEASE

CinemaCon

OCTAVIA SPENCER TO RECEIVE
CINEMACON® DIRECTORS OF THE YEAR AWARD

Universal Pictures to release Ma
on May 31, 2019

WASHINGTON D.C. (March 18, 2019) – Oscar® winner Octavia Spencer will receive this year’s “CinemaCon® Spotlight Award.” Mitch Neuhauser, Managing Director of CinemaCon, announced the award today. CinemaCon, the official convention of NATO, will be held April 1-4, 2019 at Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. Spencer will be presented with this special honor at the “CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards” ceremony taking place on the evening of Thursday, April 4, at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, hosted by the Coca-Cola Company, the official presenting sponsor of CinemaCon.

“From the moment she appeared on screen as Minny Jackson in The Help, Octavia Spencer put Hollywood and movie audiences on-notice, leaving no doubt she would become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents,” Neuhauser said. “With her upcoming performance in the thriller Ma, Spencer will prove once again that there is no role or genre that she cannot conquer, and we are honored to be able to present her with this year’s ‘CinemaCon Spotlight Award.’”

Spencer will next star in Ma, to be released by Universal Pictures on May 31, 2019. Sue Ann (Spencer) is a loner who keeps to herself in her quiet Ohio town. One day, she is asked by Maggie (Diana Silvers), a teenager new to town, to buy some booze for her and her friends. Seeing the chance to make some unsuspecting friends of her own, Sue Ann, offers the kids the chance to avoid drinking and driving by hanging out in the basement of her home. But there are some house rules: One of the kids has to stay sober. Don’t curse. Never go upstairs. And call her “Ma.” But as Ma’s hospitality starts to curdle into obsession, what began as a teenage dream turns into a terrorizing nightmare. Ma also stars Juliette Lewis, Luke Evans, McKaley Miller, Missi Pyle, Corey Fogelmanis, Gianni Paolo and Dante Brown. Directed by Tate Taylor, Ma, is written by Scotty Landes and is produced by Jason Blum for his Blumhouse Productions, and by Taylor and John Norris.

In addition to Ma, Spencer will star in several upcoming film projects including, The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle with Robert Downey, Jr., Oscar® winners Rami Malek and Emma Thompson, and Antonio Banderas and Selena Gomez; the animated Onward, with Chris Pratt, Tom Holland and Julia Louis-Dreyfus; and Spencer will soon begin production on The Witches, Robert Zemeckis’ adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, which also stars Oscar® winner Anne Hathaway. Spencer recently starred in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, for which she received Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Academy Award® nominations. Her previous film credits include Instant Family; Hidden Figures, for which she received Academy Award®, SAG Awards, Golden Globe and NAACP Image Award nominations; Gifted; the Divergent franchise; Zootopia; The Help, for which she won the Academy Award®, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, SAG Award and Broadcast Film Critic’s Choice Award; Fruitvale Station, and Get on Up, just to name a few. She recently served as an executive producer on Green Book, which won the Oscar® for Best Picture, and she is set to produce the upcoming film Coffee Will Make You Black, which stars Gabrielle Union.

About CinemaCon

CinemaCon will attract upwards of 6,000 motion picture professionals from all facets of the industry--from exhibition and distribution, to the equipment and concession areas--all on hand to celebrate the moviegoing experience and the cinema industry. From exclusive Hollywood product presentations highlighting a slate of upcoming films, to must-see premiere feature screenings, to the biggest stars, producers and directors, CinemaCon will help jumpstart the excitement and buzz that surrounds the summer season at the box office.

Additional information on CinemaCon, the Official Convention of NATO, can be found at www.cinemacon.com.

About NATO

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) is the largest exhibition trade organization in the world, representing more than 33,393 movie screens in all 50 states, and additional cinemas in 94 countries worldwide. NATO’s membership includes the largest cinema chains in the world and hundreds of independent theatre owners, too.


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