July 14, 2010 |
In one of Hollywood's most gripping legal thrillers, Chevron Corp. is trying to obtain 600 hours of outtakes from a documentary film focused on oil industry environmental practices in Ecuador, sparking a court battle that has attracted the attention of 1st Amendment lawyers, top filmmakers, show business unions and a corporation that says it was defamed in another nonfiction film. For 17 years, the San Ramon, Calif.-based energy giant has fought a class-action lawsuit in Ecuador that could cost it up to $27 billion in damages and cleanup costs.
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 |
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 |
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 13, 2012 |
At first, the email rants from readers expressing their distress about Hollywood's increasing reliance on foul language were a mere trickle. Like the way one couple lost faith in one of their favorite actors, Paul Rudd, mortified by his graphic pep talk to his private part in"Wanderlust. " Before those complaints could be chalked up to a prudish few, they grew into a steady stream of frustration, such as the distinct distaste for the dialogue in writer-director-actress Jennifer Westfeldt's indie comedy"Friends With Kids.
May 26, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Some Republican lawmakers were outraged when federal records released last week showed that the White House, CIA and Defense Department granted high-level access last year to a pair of acclaimed filmmakers researching an action thriller about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The documents tell "a damning story of extremely close, unprecedented, and potentially dangerous collaboration" between the filmmakers and the Obama administration, fumed New York Rep. Peter T. King, GOP chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
May 22, 2013 |
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.
September 16, 2009 |
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.
September 23, 2010 |
French filmmaker Gaspar NoÃ© makes the kind of movies that require warnings. His brutal 2002 revenge drama, "IrrÃ©versible," 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.
May 22, 2012 |
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.