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January 3, 2013 | By Ken Dilanian and Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - After complaining for weeks that the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” erroneously implies that torture yielded key information in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, a trio of senior senators now want to know whether CIA personnel deliberately misled the filmmakers on that point. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, along with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), said Thursday that they had sent two letters to acting CIA chief Michael Morell.
February 12, 2013
Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" has been acclaimed not just by critics but by historians as well for its acute and realistic portrayal of the 16th president as he maneuvered to pass the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States. But the filmmakers got at least one detail wrong: They depicted two Connecticut delegates to the House of Representatives voting against the amendment when, in fact, all four of Connecticut's House members voted for it in 1865. Now, one of the state's current representatives, Joe Courtney, a Democrat, has written to Spielberg asking if the movie could be corrected before it's released on DVD. In a statement, screenwriter Tony Kushner admitted that he deliberately strayed from fact when he put "nay" votes in the mouths of the two Connecticut congressmen - but only to emphasize the dramatic closeness of the vote.
October 3, 2010 | By Mark Olsen, Special to the Los Angeles Times
In adapting the economics bestseller "Freakonomics" into a documentary film, and in marketing it, producer Chad Troutwine hardly took a by-the-book approach. First, he brought together something of a dream team of contemporary documentary filmmakers, from the serious and high-minded to the entertainingly comedic, to tackle various chapters or ideas from the text by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Then, to sell the movie, he and distributor Magnolia Pictures decided to release it first as a digital download and via video-on-demand before taking it to theaters.
February 13, 2011 | By Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times
The largely peaceful revolution that ended Hosni Mubarak's regime in Egypt also has the potential to reshape the repressive cultural climate in the country and perhaps elsewhere in the Arab world, according to filmmakers, musicians and other cultural figures who have been watching and participating in the uprising in Cairo. Even as events unfolded in Tahrir Square and across the capital, many artists began filming documentaries and composing music along lines that previously would have been forbidden by the government.
May 22, 2013 | By Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times
CANNES, France - A few months ago, Jeremy Saulnier had risen early for a flight to Cleveland when he saw a message in his inbox. It was in French. The 36-year-old New Yorker was traveling to the Buckeye State to shoot corporate videos, which the director had been doing to pay the bills since his filmmaking career fizzled six years before with the disappointing performance of his first movie, a genre comedy called "Murder Party. " The email that morning was from programmers at the Cannes Film Festival.
March 5, 2014 | By Julie Makinen
BEIJING - In the mid-1980s, Wu Tianming's star was on the rise. With China opening up to the world after the Cultural Revolution and Mao Tse-tung's death, he had found success as director of movies including "Life" and "The Old Well" and as the head of the Xi'an Film Studio. Under his guidance, daring and innovative filmmakers like Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige were bursting onto the international scene with pictures like "Red Sorghum" and "King of Children. " Wu was making a name for himself for his willingness to shake up an ossified state-run studio - and was raising eyebrows for calling out Communist Party bureaucrats who meddled in the arts.
September 23, 2010 | By Chris Lee, Los Angeles Times
French filmmaker Gaspar Noé makes the kind of movies that require warnings. His brutal 2002 revenge drama, "Irréversible," arrived in theaters in England and Canada with a written alert about the possible side effects of a strobe-like sequence: "Some people may experience loss of consciousness or epileptic seizures when exposed to certain light effects or flashes of light. " The writer-director's 1998 debut feature, "I Stand Alone" — about a sociopathic butcher with incest and murder on the brain — carries an even less subtle warning.
September 16, 2009 | Jeffrey Fleishman
Driving through the desert night, Mohammed Khalif skids left and pulls up at an apartment with walls the color of pink grapefruit. Young men sit on a couch, reveling in the intricacy of Stanley Kubrick and chiding the sentimentality of Steven Spielberg. A debate ensues over genius. The usual suspects are trotted out: Italian neo-realism, the French New Wave. A Spielberg defender blurts: "You wouldn't even be here if it weren't for Spielberg. Look what he's done." A brief pause.
May 22, 2012 | By Oliver Gettell
Video-on-demand services usually come into play toward the end of a film's life span — either to follow a theatrical run or to take a movie straight to video. For the website Prescreen, however, VOD is the launching pad. Prescreen, which debuted in September, offers users a curated selection of independent films, most available for 60 days and many exclusive to the site. A single film is spotlighted in a daily email, and most rentals cost $2 to $8 for a 48-hour viewing window.
December 16, 2010 | By Randee Dawn, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Actors often talk about "becoming" a character, but when it came to "The Fighter's" Dick Eklund ? a former real-life welterweight boxer ? Christian Bale outdid himself. "We were shooting the movie, and Dickie's sisters stopped by the set," recalls producer Todd Lieberman. "One of them was in the room with Christian, and he had his back to her, and he's always in role and in character ? and the sister for a minute thought he was her brother. He had transformed himself so much that his authenticity became reality.
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