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‘Skyfall,’ Sam Mendes Win Empire Awards in U.K.


Skyfall

Jennifer Lawrence, Daniel Radcliffe, Martin Freeman and "Ted" were also honored at the 18th annual awards that are voted on by the public.

LONDON – Sam Mendes and his , starring Daniel Craig as James Bond, were big winners here at the 18th annual Jameson Empire Awards late Sunday.

PHOTOS: The Making of ‘Skyfall’: Bond is Back, Better Than Ever

Mendes scooped up three awards, including the Empire Inspiration prize, as well as the honors for best director and best movie of 2012.

STORY: ‘Skyfall’ Leads U.K.’s Empire Award Nominations With Six

Billing itself as "an antidote to more formal, industry-voted awards," such as the BAFTA Awards, the Empire Awards, organized by the movie magazine and sponsored by the beverage company, take place at the end of the annual awards season and before the Cannes Film Festival. They are voted for entirely by the movie-going public.

Joss Whedon’s and Peter Jackson’s followed ‘s six nominations with five each. In the best director category, Mendes edged out  Jackson and Whedon along with Christopher Nolan () and Quentin Tarantino (). The same five films also competed in the best picture category.

Seth MacFarlane‘s won the best comedy prize at the Sunday night awards ceremony.

STORY: Irish Comic Ed Byrne to Present Empire Film Awards

earned two nods – for best sci-fi/fantasy film and for Martin Freeman as best actor.
 
Jennifer Lawrence won the best actress honor for her role in . She thanked the audience from on-location work in Hawaii.

Meanwhile, Daniel Radcliffe earned the Empire Hero award. Director James Watkins, whose starring Radcliffe won the best horror award, handed the honor to the young actor. Past winners include the likes of Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley and Jude Law.
 
Helen Mirren received this year’s Empire Legend award, presented to her by Tom Hiddleston. Last year’s inaugural Legend winner was Tim Burton. And Danny Boyle picked up the Empire Outstanding Contribution award, which acknowledged his "stellar career so far."
 
Tom Holland was named best male newcomer for his role in , while fans picked Samantha Barks as the best female newcomer for her work in .
 
The best British film award went to Ben Wheatley-directed comedy about a man who wants to show his girlfriend his world during a caravan holiday that takes a wrong turn.

The awards ceremony took place at the Grosvenor House hotel in front of an industry crowd that also included the likes of Ian McKellan, Nick Park and host Ed Byrne.
 
An awards special will air on BSkyB’s Sky Movies this coming weekend.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai
 

‘The Ring’ Director Hideo Nakata: ‘I’m Not Really Into Grotesque Stuff’ (Q&A)


Hideo Nakata 2013 P

At the second Okinawan International Movie Festival, he discusses getting famous for gore by accident, how the Asian horror wave has died down in the U.S., and why he’s hoping to work in Bollywood.

The director of Japanese horror-phile favorite, the  franchise (), Hideo Nakata arrived in Japan’s southern islands this week for the domestic debut of his latest chiller, "The Complex," at the Okinawan International Movie Festival. sat down with the veteran genre master to discuss the social undercurrents of his new film, how he never planned to make — nor particularly liked — scary movies, and why his next project might be taking him to Bollywood. 

The Hollywood Reporter: () is set in a public housing project, why did you choose that setting?

Hideo Nakata: I discussed it with the producers, and Dark Water also took place in a housing complex. We wanted to set the film in an old, somewhat broken-down, low-income housing project with lots of the same type of apartments all lined up together; where there are old people living next to young families, and a lot of the elderly residents are socially isolated.

Rotterdam Review: The Complex (Kuroyuri Danchi)

THR: The problem of old people dying alone has caused a lot of concern in Japan recently, what made you include that in the story?

Nakata: As I was developing the script, there were a lot of incidents in the news of elderly people dying alone and their bodies not being discovered for weeks. Japan is a rapidly aging society and it’s making headlines now, but there will be a time when it’s no longer considered newsworthy. There are cases where 60-year-old children are looking after 90-year-old parents, and so they don’t get much help from the authorities. Then the younger carer dies first, leaving the older person helpless. It’s not the theme of the film, but it became part of the story; it’s a reality of Japanese society.

THR: Your film Ringu was famously remade in Hollywood, do you expect to get remake offers for The Complex?

Nakata: There are no solid remake offers yet, but there are some people interested. The J-horror and Asian horror wave has kind of died down in America now. That’s the film business, it goes in cycles.

THR: You’ve said you never intended to be horror director.

Nakata: I wasn’t really a horror cinephile or anything. I kind of came to be a horror director by accident and I’d like to do more work in other genres. Wes Craven, who of course has made a lot of different kinds of films, once said that when you get the offer to do your second horror film in a row, you have to say no or you get labeled as a horror director. Of course, I watched films like , which was a huge hit in Japan, when I was in junior high school, but I wasn’t a big horror fan, and I never thought I’d end up making them. I never really liked the splatter films of the 80s either. I’m not really into grotesque stuff.

STORY: Can Okinawa Become an Entertainment Hub?

THR: And you have done some non-horror work.

Nakata: I made the documentary about the March 2011 disasters, Living in the Wake of 3/11, which I financed myself as an independent film. I spoke to Japanese television stations about cooperating on it, but there were some issues about some of the topics I wanted to include. The line taken by the media was that even after the disaster, Japan stayed completely orderly and there was no stealing or looting, but actually there was some. So I decided to fund the documentary myself and have complete freedom in what I included. It has been shown in arthouse cinemas in Japan, but hasn’t really been seen abroad. The attention of the world shifted away from the aftermath of the tsunami to the Fukushima nuclear accident anyway.

THR: What is next for you?

Nakata: I’m working on a Japanese action thriller that will be shooting in July and August, and should be finished by the end of the year. I can’t give any more details about it yet. I’m also talking to an Indian company about making a film in English. It will probably be a horror, but not one with singing and dancing [laughs]. That’s really interesting, how globalized the industry is getting, with Indian companies looking at making a film in English, not Hindi. I’d really like to do more work in genres outside horror though. I’m very grateful for horror, and I’m not against doing them, but I’d like to explore other kinds of filmmaking.

Twitter@GavinJBlair

William and the Windmill: SXSW Review

William and the Windmill - H 2013

The Bottom Line

Crowd-pleasing subject is viewed through a narrow lens.

Venue:

South By Southwest, Documentary Competition

Director:

Ben Nabors

The SXSW grand-jury doc prize went to Ben Nabors’s look at a teen inventor’s newfound celebrity.

AUSTIN — When the story of Malawi teenager William Kamkwamba — who responded to being too poor for school by teaching himself how to build an electricity-generating windmill for his family — hit the West, it was inevitable that the inspiring young man would attract the interest of people desperate to embrace signs of hope in Africa. Their generosity wasn’t an unmitigated blessing, as Ben Nabors finds in , a doc whose focus on the results of fame, however hopeful, may disappoint many who’d rather hear nothing but the happy side of the tale.

Spending little time setting the scene of Kamkwamba’s childhood and milking drama from a quest neighbors thought was crazy (, a memoir co-authored by Bryan Mealer, tells that tale), essentially starts with the young man’s exposure at a 2007 TED talk, where conference regular Tom Rielly decided to get involved in his life.

PHOTOS: The Scene at SXSW: James Franco, Olivia Wilde, Snoop Lion Take Austin by Storm

Aware that many global do-gooders use up their energy in a quick burst of enthusiasm, then move on and leave their impoverished beneficiaries floundering, Rielly promised to give Kamkwamba seven years. He became all but a surrogate parent — from dispensing life advice and fielding Hollywood story-rights offers to helping the young man move into his freshman dorm at Dartmouth.

If the movie sometimes seems too interested in Rielly, that’s at least partly because he’s a chatterbox compared to his protege, a modest youth who isn’t in a rush to say what’s on his mind. Though we witness the stress Kamkwamba faces — at the elite pan-African high school he’s dramatically underprepared to attend; on a U.S. book tour requiring non-stop gladhanding — Nabors isn’t as adept at probing his subject’s mixed emotions as a more experienced documentarian might have been. realizes it’s looking at something more than a happily-ever-after tale, but isn’t able to flesh out the more complicated narrative underneath.

Still, the film does augment an out-of-poverty story Americans may have felt could be put aside safely. It may have few answers to share, but at least it knows the West’s responsibility to those who might become world-changers doesn’t end with making them celebrities and leaving them to fend for themselves.

 

TPB AFK – The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard: SXSW Review

TPB AFK – The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard H

The Bottom Line

Doc about piracy trial offers intriguing character studies despite limited scope.

Venue:

South By Southwest, Special Events

Director:

Simon Klose

Simon Klose forgoes an overall history of the notorious piracy site in favor of a close-up on legal wrangling.

AUSTIN — As the world’s leading facilitators of online file-sharing, whose exploits have inspired fury in Hollywood and many other corners of the world, the Swedish hackers known as The Pirate Bay seem obvious choices for documentary coverage, be it from filmmakers on the side of copyright holders or those embracing internet anarchy. Though it’s counterintuitive that the first feature about them would focus on a brief (if significant) episode in their career instead of offering a biography, Simon Klose‘s benefits from an intimate POV and should offer some satisfaction to any viewer curious about the people behind the web site’s anonymous provocations. Already available on VOD from FilmBuff and online (both via paid downloads and in TPB-endorsed free torrents), its performance at fests and in theaters should speak to the old argument that widespread free availability doesn’t eliminate theatrical demand.

PHOTOS: The Scene at SXSW: James Franco, Olivia Wilde, Snoop Lion Take Austin by Storm

Beginning with the music and shooting style of a gritty policier, the film opens on a ragtag crew of young men moving computer servers around in the night, staying a step or two ahead of the authorities. As we hear one say later, mocking the threat of crackdowns on their database of illegal-download links, "they failed to shut us down — they’re welcome to come fail again."

And "they" — prosecutors working in concert with various rightsholders — try throughout the film. We follow the 2008 Swedish lawsuit that, after appeals, left four men sentenced to jail time and millions in fines — punishments we see will be hard to enforce.

A big part of the difficulty appears to be that The Pirate Bay is a much less organized enemy than record companies and movie studios believed: The three main participants we meet here — Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, and Fredrik Neij — don’t even have an office, instead "meeting" via online chats. (The film’s unnecessarily cryptic title uses shorthand, "away from keyboard," indicating those instances when meetings happen in the flesh.) While Bond villains have secret island fortresses, TPB’s weaponry is highly portable: Klose takes us into a server room where we’re told a single box, a cube about 1.5 feet on each side, is responsible for about half the world’s BitTorrent traffic.

STORY: Pirate Bay Co-Founders Can’t Overturn Conviction on Free Speech Grounds

The group also doesn’t present an easily-attacked unified front. The three defendants are united by little but fascination with technology’s possibilities and contempt for those who object to their (often-disingenuous) arguments for internet freedom. However tongue-in-cheek their legal defense may be, the group finds more rigorous thinkers who share their stance: A professor testifying on their behalf (and bullied for it by the prosecution) notes that, as a part-time songwriter whose compositions bought him a house, he believes in copyright; he simply thinks there’s a way for copyright to protect the initiative to create without becoming a control mechanism over a network that needs to be unregulated.

Klose is less effective in conjuring drama from the chronology of court proceedings than he is in showing us the colorful, often deeply flawed personalities at its heart: Fredrik Neij, labeled an "alcoholic racist asshole" even by his partner, delivers a short anti-immigrant rant in a bar (then marries a woman from Laos, intending to hide out there until his prison sentence becomes unenforceable); Gottfrid Svartholm Warg appears, by the film’s end, to be swallowed up by drug abuse; only Sunde, the Pirate Bay spokesman who acts more like a Silicon Valley hustler than a hacker hermit, appears likely to emerge from this affair unscathed.

Klose spices up his fly-on-the-wall material with atmospheric shots of Stockholm and the occasional glimpse of secret worlds, like the subterranean data bunker, all glass and chiseled rock, that one of the men dismisses as Apple-style glitz. Viewers will likely wish for more of this material. If The Pirate Bay is as resilient as it seems to be, we may get it before long.

 

J.J. Abrams on New ‘Star Wars’ Movie: ‘More Questions Than Answers’

J.J. Abrams on New ‘Star Wars’ Movie: ‘More Questions Than Answers’

The "Star Trek" director also compares the two hit sci-fi franchises he’s working on.


REP SHEET J.J. Abrams

While he’s directing arguably the most highly anticipated movie of the near future, J.J. Abrams hasn’t quite nailed down the plan for just yet.

"There are infinitely more questions than answers right now," the helmer tells magazine.

PHOTOS: ‘Star Wars’ Actors: Then and Now

Abrams also was responsible for successfully rebooting the franchise in 2009, with the sequel, set to hit theaters May 17. Asked to compare the two franchises, Abrams says they are "not that dissimilar."

"Though I came at these both from very different places, where they both meet is a place of ‘Ooh, that’s really exciting,’ " he says. "And even though I was never a fan, I felt like there was a version of it that would make me excited, that I would think, ‘That’s cool, that feels right, I actually would want to see that.’ … The movies, the worlds could not be more different but that feeling that there’s something amazing here is the thing that they share."

Abrams says he initially was hesitant to direct he was approached about the job while working on the sequel.

VIDEO: Top Talent on Joining ‘Star Wars’ Sequel

"But then time went by and I got further along working on the movie and getting to a place where I had done most of the heavy lifting," he says.

is scheduled to hit theaters in 2015.

‘World War Z’ Poster: Pile of Zombies Attack Helicopter in Flight

‘World War Z’ Poster: Pile of Zombies Attack Helicopter in Flight

The thriller starring Brad Pitt hits theaters June 21.


Brad Pitt

Now that’s a lot of zombies.

Paramount Pictures has released a new poster for its upcoming zombie thriller starring Brad Pitt, that features a horde of zombies piled high as they attack a helicopter in flight.

PHOTOS: Cinema With Brains: Hollywood’s 12 Best Zombie Flicks

The movie centers on a U.N. employee (Pitt) who travels the world in a race against time to stop a pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity.

Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox andDavid Morse also star in World War Z, which hits theaters June 21. Marc Forster directed the film from a script by Matthew Michael Carnahan, who adapted the book by Max Brooks.

VIDEO: ‘World War Z’ Trailer: Brad Pitt Tries to Save the Planet

A new trailer debuts at midnight Monday. Meanwhile, check out the new poster and watch the Super Bowl spot that premiered last month below.

 

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ Trailer: The Lego Version (Video)

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ Trailer: The Lego Version (Video)

The movie’s official trailer gets made entirely with the toy bricks and figurines.


Star Trek Into Darkness Trailer With Legos - H 2013

Two months after redoing the trailer using all Legos, Antonio and Andrea Toscano have done it again.

The apparent Lego enthusiasts have remade the trailer for the upcoming using only the toy bricks and figurines — only they’ve tweaked the title to

PHOTOS: ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’: 13 Photos to Get You in the Mood

Check out their video, along with the official trailer, below.

J.J Abrams’ sci-fi sequel — which stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Benedict Cumberbatch — hits U.S. theaters May 17.

BBC America’s ‘Nerdist’ Talk Show Unveils Star-Studded Lineup

BBC America’s ‘Nerdist’ Talk Show Unveils Star-Studded Lineup

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Guillermo Del Toro are among the guests appearing on the Chris Hardwick-led series.


Joseph Gordon-Levitt TIFF - P 2013

BBC America has announced the lineup for Chris Hardwick’s series.

The cable network will kick off the 10-episode season on March 30 with Dominic Monaghan, ‘s Matt Smith and new companion Jenna-Louise Coleman, as part of its "Supernatural Saturday"-themed programming block. The second episode, airing April 6, will feature guests Robert Kirkman, Michael Rooker and Karen Gillan. 

Who else will be joining Hardwick and regular contributors Matt Mira and Jonah Ray?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Zach Galifianakis, Elijah Wood, Buzz Aldrin, Evan Goldberg, Katee Sackhoff, Tatiana Maslany, Guillermo Del Toro, Gillian Jacobs and Bobak Ferdowski are just some of the bold-faced names dropping by the show in the new season.

STORY: Chris Hardwick Touts ‘Nerdist’ Talk Show

Comedians Ron Funches, Rob Huebel, Matt Kirshen, Natasha Leggero, Kyle Kinane and Paul Scheer are also slated to appear.

began as a slew of one-hour pop culture specials, and currently films in Los Angeles. In December, BBC America gave a full-season order to , ordering 10 episodes to complement its originals on Saturdays, which will include the debut of Hardwick is no stranger to leading talk shows centered on well-regarded geek properties: He hosts AMC’s talk show,

will continue to be produced by Nerdist Industries and Comcast Entertainment Studios. Hardwick, Alex Murray, Jay James, Gary Snegaroff and K.P. Anderson serve as executive producers.

The first two episodes below:

EPISODE ONE – SATURDAY MARCH 30, 2013

Guests Include:  Wild Things host Dominic Monaghan, Doctor Who’s Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman, Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany and comedian, Matt Kirshen.

EPISODE TWO – SATURDAY APRIL 6, 2013 

Guests Include:   From The Walking Dead, creator Robert Kirkman and actor Michael Rooker, celebrity correspondent and Doctor Who alum Karen Gillan and comedian, Kyle Kinane.

premieres at 10 p.m. March 30 on BBC America.

Foreign Box Office: ‘The Croods’ Opens at No.1 With $63.3 million


Disney’s "Oz the Great and Powerful" nabbed $21.7 million in its third round in 55 territories; Warner Bros.’ "Jack the Giant Slayer" collected $19.3 million from some 7,300 locations in 47 markets.

20th Century Fox’s first release of a DreamWorks Animation title, , a 3D computer animation family film, opened substantially if not spectacularly on the foreign theatrical circuit, grossing $63.3 million at 11,870 venues in 47 markets covering 86 countries.

The adventure comedy about a pre-historic family embarking on a road trip scored the second highest offshore opening launch of 2013, bested by the foreign opening Disney’s, which drew $69.9 million a fortnight ago. Nonetheless, racked up powerful numbers in its seven largest markets, and scored No. 1 debuts in a total of 44 territories.

BOX OFFICE REPORT: ‘Croods’ Opens to Solid $44.7 Million; ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ Nabs $30.5 Million

Tops was Russia which provided a mighty $12.9 million including previews at 2,166 sites. Mexico threw off $9.5 million at 1,911 locations while the No. 1 bow in the U.K. generated $8.3 million at 1,100 spots.

Germany also provided a No. 1 perch with $4.3 million including previews elicited from 986 locations. Brazil came in with $4.2 million at 674 spots. Spain tendered $3.4 million from 695 locations while Italy came up with $3.3 million at 788 sites.

Fox predicted that with school holidays looming this week in many foreign markets, "we are anticipating a long and successful international run" for , the first DWA film to be distributed by Fox since the producer wound up its former arrangement with Paramount with 2012’s .

Croods opens in 19 territories this week including Australia, Belgium and Holland.

Taking the weekend’s No. 2 spot was , director Sam Raimi’s special-effects-intensive fantasy based on L. Frank Baum’s novel, which collected $21.7 million in its third round in 55 territories. Foreign cume stands at $178.8 million; $356.4 million worldwide.

Showing some much-needed bounce on the foreign circuit was Warner Bros.’ , director Bryan Singer’s 3D interpretation of the Jack and the Beanstalk fable, which grossed $19.3 million from some 7,300 locations in 47 markets, raising the film’s offshore cume to $60.5 million.

ranks No. 3 on the weekend. A Russia opening drew $6.8 million from 1,325 screens, enough for a No. 2 market ranking. A No. 2 U.K. debut produced $2.3 million at 831 locations.

Fox’s continues to collect solid returns in China (ranking No. 2 in the market with $4.2 million drawn from 2,300 screens for a cume of $26 million), propelling the total weekend take to $10.5 million generated at a total of 5,514 locations in 38 territories. Overseas gross total now is $220.2 million.

Opening in five territories was Universal’s comedy starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, which grossed $4.7 million at 1,600 playdates in a total of 23 territories. With 30 more markets still to play, the film’s overseas total stands at just $8.2 million.

FOREIGN BOX OFFICE: ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ Stays No. 1 With $46.6 Million

Paramount and other distributors’ drew $3.5 million on the weekend at 2,030 locations in 35 territories, lifting the films gross total overseas to $156.8 million. Sony’s has crossed the $250-million offshore gross mark ($251 million) after a $3.2 million weekend at 2,115 sites in 52 markets.

, Universal’s horror title starring Jessica Chastain, premiered in seven new markets including Italy ($1 million at 226 sites), and grossed a total of $3.1 million at 2,100 playdates in 35 territories, lifting its foreign cume to $51.8 million.

Other international cumes: Fox’s , $81 million; Universal’s , $284.3 million; Pathe’s , $7.1 million over two rounds in France only; Universal’s , $52.4 million; Universal’s, $18.5 million; and Universal’s , $329.6 million.

Opening this week: Paramount’sin 53 markets including Australia, Brazil, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Russia and Spain.

Under the Figtree (Sous le Figuier): Film Review

Under the Figtree - H - 2013

The Bottom Line

Death is sanitized in this saccharin view of elderly woman putting youngsters to rights.

Director

Anne-Marie Etienne

Cast

 Gisele Casadesus, Anne Consigny

A 97-year-old actress, Gisele Casadesus, distills saloon-bar wisdom in Belgian helmer’s feel-good movie about the business of dying.

Belgian director Anne-Marie Etienne‘s  is about an elderly woman facing the imminence of death from an incurable disease. Not, on the face of it, a movie you’d want to take your granny to. But then again, why not, since this is death with all the sting taken out of it — reassuring, life-affirming, heart-warmingly philosophical. That the philosophy is of the saloon-bar variety should not be too much of a deterrent to popular audiences in these troubled times, and with the proper packaging Figtree could at a stretch be pitched as family viewing.

Selma (Gisele Casadesus), 95-years-young and bright as a button, leads a comfortable existence, augmenting her pension with occasional tarot-reading and fortune-telling, though doctors have given her only a few weeks left to live. Her close friend Nathalie (Anne Consigny), half her age, suggests that they should spend the time left to her at a summer retreat out in the country. Nathalie brings along her best friend Christophe (Jonathan Zaccai) and his three children, while Selma invites a young client, Joelle (Marie Kremer), who also has a small child in tow.

The first half-hour of the film is an extended set-up for what follows. The younger characters, each in their own way, are weighed down by the discontents of modern civilization – Nathalie as head chef in a restaurant whose proprietor wants to convert her to the latest fad in nouvelle cuisine, Christophe as an unemployed house-husband, Joelle as a harassed (borderline hysterical) reluctant mother. Each of them is emotionally unfulfilled, by separation, divorce or a cheating partner. During their summer idyll, while the children splash around in the swimming pool or as they sit at the dinner table watching the sun decline, Selma distills the ageless wisdom will enables them to see their lives in perspective while she herself awaits the inevitable.

That at least is the premise of this curate’s egg of a movie. Only occasionally does Etienne succeed in avoiding the saccharin trap inherent in any story that has a sweet little old lady at its centre. Selma says she is determined to go on smiling until the end, and smile she does, relentlessly. Her pearls of wisdom rarely rise above the cracker-barrel level of "You’re afraid of life" — "No, I’m afraid of suffering" — "Same thing". More objectionably, Selma’s death is sanitized and rendered as untraumatic as catching a train. Supposedly ravaged by a disease that is never specified, she remains impeccably groomed, every hair in place even as she lies in her hospital bed.

Against that, Casadesus‘s performance at the age of 97 (she made her first on-screen appearance in 1934) is remarkable and if Etienne‘s intention was to make a feel-good movie about the business of dying, there at least her energy and conviction carry her though.