ZERO DARK THIRTY Director Kathryn Bigelow and Writer Mark Boal Developing Bowe Bergdahl Movie

by     Posted 93 days ago

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Well this is sure to ruffle some feathers.  Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, the filmmaking team behind the Oscar-winning war drama The Hurt Locker and the tremendous post-9/11 procedural Zero Dark Thirty, are looking to possibly turn the controversial story of Army soldier/POW Bowe Bergdahl into a feature film.  If for some reason you haven’t been paying attention to the news, Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan after leaving his Army base, where he was subsequently tortured and held prisoner for five years.  A little over two weeks ago, Bergdahl was released as part of a prisoner exchange with the Taliban, as the United States traded five Taliban members who were being held at Guantanamo Bay.

Hit the jump for more on the potential Bowe Bergdahl movie, which Bigelow and Boal have apparently been tracking for some time. [Update: Deadline has updated its story to report that Fox Searchlight is also developing a Bowe Bergdahl film of its own based on the non-fiction book America's Last Prisoner of War with In the Bedroom director Todd Field apparently involved.]

Kathryn Bigelow to Direct THE TRUE AMERICAN; Tom Hardy to Star

by     Posted 126 days ago

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After a bidding war, Annapurna Pictures has picked up the screen rights to The True American: Murder and MercyKathryn Bigelow is on board to direct and produce—after working with Annapurna on Zero Dark Thirty—and Tom Hardy is set to star.  In The True American, author Anand Giridharadas recounts the fascinating true story of Bangladeshi immigrant Raisuddin Bhuiyan and American Mark Stroman.  Self-described “American terrorist” Stroman acted out revenge for the 9/11 attacks with a gas station shooting where he maimed Bhuiyan and killed two others.  Ten years later, Bhuiyan decides he must again meet Stroman face to face to find closure, and ends up fighting the Texas state government to save Stroman from the death penalty.

No writer is attached at this time, but I imagine Bigelow will reach out to Mark Boal, who wrote The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, and the stalled Bigelow project Triple Frontier.  The book synopsis mentions Stroman “striving on Death Row to become a better man,” which gives Hardy (who I presume is playing Stroman) a redemption arc to play.  I am curious to see who they cast as Bhuiyan.  See the press release for more after the jump.

ZERO DARK THIRTY Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 174 days ago

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The events of September 11, 2001 had a profound effect on the United States of America that forever changed us as a nation.  We live in a post-9/11 world, and it is impossible to go back to “the way things were before.”  Though it’s been a decade since the event, in the scope of things we’re still living in the immediate aftermath of the most devastating domestic terror attack in history.  Filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow has now dealt with these effects in two films, as she previously focused on the events of the Iraq War with her 2008 Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker, and her brilliant 2012 drama Zero Dark Thirty masterfully chronicles the decade-long hunt for the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks: Osama Bin Laden.  The result of the latter is a taut procedural thriller that not only entertains, but also provides a difficult and introspective look at America’s place in the post-9/11 world.  Hit the jump for my review of Zero Dark Thirty on Blu-ray.

Weekend Box Office: ZERO DARK THIRTY Leads with $24 Million; A HAUNTED HOUSE Edges Out GANGSTER SQUAD for Second Place

by     Posted 1 year, 247 days ago

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In its first weekend in wide release, Zero Dark Thirty easily captured first place with an estimated $24 million from 2,937 locations. With months of press coverage, great reviews and a Best Picture nomination behind it, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the CIA thriller won the frame. A bit more surprising is the position claimed by A Haunted House. The low-budget genre spoof overcame the higher-profile (and higher-budgeted) Gangster Squad for second place at this weekend’s box office.

Title Weekend Total
1. Zero Dark Thirty $24,000,000 $29.4
2. A Haunted House $18,817,000 $18.8
3. Gangster Squad $16,710,000 $16.7
4. Django Unchained $11,065,000 $125.3
5. Les Miserables $10,127,000 $119.2
6. The Hobbit $9,080,000 $278.8
7. Lincoln $6,314,000 $152.5
8. Parental Guidance $6,100,000 $60.6
9. Texas Chainsaw 3D $5,150,000 $30.7
10. Silver Linings Playbook $5,000,000 $41.3

Friday Box Office: ZERO DARK THIRTY Tops GANGSTER SQUAD and A HAUNTED HOUSE with $9 Million

by     Posted 1 year, 248 days ago

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She may have been overlooked by the Academy, but director Kathryn Bigelow has been avenged at the box office. Zero Dark Thirty, the “controversial” CIA thriller that has been enjoying incredible success in limited release, is now a success on a much wider scale. The Best Picture nominee took first place on Friday with an estimated $9 million from 2,937 runs. With its three-day take expected to top $25 million, Zero Dark Thirty will remain on top through Sunday, giving Bigelow the first number one hit of her career. Once the presumptive pick for the top spot, Warner Brothers’ Gangster Squad had to settle for third on Friday. The R-rated crime drama, which has had its own share of controversy following the events in Aurora and Newtown, earned an estimated $6.6 million from 3,103 locations – just under the $6.7 million estimate of the new R-rated comedy A Haunted House. With Django Unchained in fourth, it looks like the four highest-grossing domestic films will all carry an R-rating this weekend – the equivalent of a solar eclipse in box office parlance. We’ll have full details tomorrow.

  Title Friday Total
1.   Zero Dark Thirty $9,000,000 $14.4
2.   A Haunted House $6,700,000 $6.7
3.   Gangster Squad $6,665,000 $6.6
4.   Django Unchained $3,456,000 $117.7
5.   Les Miserables $2,800,000 $111.8

ZERO DARK THIRTY Review

by     Posted 1 year, 249 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from December when Zero Dark Thirty opened in limited release.  The film opens today in wide release.]

Kathryn Bigelow‘s previous film, The Hurt Locker, opened with the statement, “war is a drug.” Like The Hurt Locker and her earlier film K-19: The Widowmaker, Bigelow’s new picture, Zero Dark Thirty, deals with a deadly obsession created in wartime. But unlike Hurt Locker and K-19, Zero Dark Thirty exists on a different battlefield—one of intelligence gathering, subterfuge, shady tactics, and misinformation. It’s a battlefield that is arguably more lethal than what we’ve seen before. It’s not where we place our troops. It’s where we place our citizens, and every moment in a post-9/11 world is a time bomb waiting to explode. In this world, Bigelow has crafted a thrilling and disturbing tale about how deeply an obsession can warp an individual, and how far we’re willing to go for the illusion of safety.

Directors Guild of America Announces Nominations for the 65th Annual DGA Awards, Including Ben Affleck

by     Posted 1 year, 252 days ago

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The Directors Guild of America has just announced their nominations for “Outstanding Direction in Feature Film” for the 65th Annual DGA Awards.  The nominees are as follows:

These nominations, as well as the omission of certain other directors, carry certain implications heading into the Academy Awards contest.  Hit the jump for more DGA-related news.

Paramount Balked at $80 Million Price Tag for Kathryn Bigelow’s TRIPLE FRONTIER; Director Refused to Cast Will Smith

by     Posted 1 year, 270 days ago

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Back in 2010, Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal were coming off their Oscar wins for The Hurt Locker, and turning their attention to the crime drama Triple Frontier (also known as Sleeping Dogs).  The details of the plot were unknown, but the film was billed as an action-adventure set in a border zone of South America known as “la triple frontera”, a haven for organized crime.  Tom Hanks was attached to play one of the leads, and other stars were rumored for the picture including Johnny Depp, Sean Penn, Denzel Washington, and Javier Bardem.  The plan was to start filming in March 2011.  But then Bigelow and Boal decided to hit pause, and do an indie thriller before Triple Frontier.  It’s worth noting that Variety shot down a rumor that “the plot concerns the hunt for Osama Bin Laden,” even though that rumor ultimately turned out to be true.  However, at that time the indie thriller was about losing Bin Laden in the Tora Bora Mountains; once he was killed, the script had to be updated.

So what happened with Triple Frontier?  Hit the jump for more.

ZERO DARK THIRTY Review

by     Posted 1 year, 272 days ago

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Kathryn Bigelow‘s previous film, The Hurt Locker, opened with the statement, “war is a drug.”  Like The Hurt Locker and her earlier film K-19: The Widowmaker, Bigelow’s new picture, Zero Dark Thirty, deals with a deadly obsession created in wartime.  But unlike Hurt Locker and K-19, Zero Dark Thirty exists on a different battlefield—one of intelligence gathering, subterfuge, shady tactics, and misinformation.  It’s a battlefield that is arguably more lethal than what we’ve seen before.  It’s not where we place our troops.  It’s where we place our citizens, and every moment in a post-9/11 world is a time bomb waiting to explode.  In this world, Bigelow has crafted a thrilling and disturbing tale about how deeply an obsession can warp an individual, and how far we’re willing to go for the illusion of safety.

Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Jessica Chastain, and Jason Clarke Talk ZERO DARK THIRTY, the Decision to Include Enhanced Interrogation Scenes, Filming the Raid, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 273 days ago

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Zero Dark Thirty, the multifaceted story of the hunt to find Osama bin Laden, marks producer/director Kathryn Bigelow’s second collaboration with writer Mark Boal and her most ambitious production to date.  The film encompasses sweeping events spanning nearly a decade across multiple countries and involving a cast of hundreds.  From the naturalistic performances of an ensemble that includes Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Ehle, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler, and Edgar Ramirez, to innovative cinematography in extreme low-light conditions, to the painstakingly layered art direction, every facet of the production became a proving ground for Bigelow to make living history come alive on screen.

At the film’s press day, Bigelow, Boal, Chastain and Clarke talked about the challenges of telling a story where the audience already knows the ending, how all the characters are based on real people, why the Department of Defense did not vet the script, why they included enhanced interrogation scenes, how Bigelow collaborated with her creative team on the look and tone of the film, and why the raid was the most logistically demanding scene.  Chastain also discussed how she approached Maya, the film’s strong central character, and revealed she’s now starring in The Heiress on Broadway.

Final Trailer for ZERO DARK THIRTY Highlights Performance by Jessica Chastain

by     Posted 1 year, 277 days ago

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Director Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty has stirred up quite a lot of awards buzz lately, thanks in part to Jessica Chastain’s performance. Chastain is front and center in this final trailer for the picture. There’s plenty of new footage to go around in addition to the reveal of more side-plots, since we already know how the operation to kill Osama bin Laden worked out. The added musical accompaniment of a children’s choir singing Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” puts this thing over the top; I wish it was in theaters right now.

Written by Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty also stars Kyle Chandler, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong, Scott Adkins, Joel Edgerton and James Gandolfini.  The film opens in limited release on December 19th, then expands nationwide on January 11th. Hit the jump to watch the powerful final trailer. 

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Names AMOUR Best Picture; New York Film Critics Online and Boston Society of Film Critics Award ZERO DARK THIRTY

by     Posted 1 year, 281 days ago

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Director Kathryn Bigelow’s drama Zero Dark Thirty continues its dominant critics awards path, as it has picked up two more Best Picture wins from the New York Film Critics Online and Boston Society of Film Critics groups, adding to its previous wins from the New York Film Critics Circle and National Board of Review.  Bigelow also won Best Director from both organizations, while Daniel Day-Lewis took home Best Actor for LincolnEmmanuelle Riva won Best Actress from New York and Boston, while she shared the award in a tie with Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Los Angeles broke from the mold a bit by naming director Michael Haneke‘s devastating French-language film Amour the Best Film of the year.  They also awarded Paul Thomas Anderson Best Director for The Master and Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Dwight Henry the Best Supporting Actor honor in a couple of pleasant surprises.  Hit the jump for the full list of winners from all three critics groups.

National Board of Review Names ZERO DARK THIRTY Best Film of the Year; DJANGO UNCHAINED, LOOPER, and LES MISERABLES Make Top 10

by     Posted 1 year, 285 days ago

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The second major critics organization has announced its Best of 2012 winners, and director Kathryn Bigelow’s drama Zero Dark Thirty is once again the victor.  The National Board of Review named Zero Dark Thirty the best film of the year, also awarding Kathryn Bigelow with Best Director and Jessica Chastain with Best Actress.  Bradley Cooper bested heavyweight Daniel Day-Lewis for the Best Actor trophy for his work in Silver Linings Playbook, while Leonardo DiCaprio and Ann Dowd took home the supporting awards for Django Unchained and Compliance, respectively.  Other notable wins include Rian Johnson’s Looper script winning Best Original Screenplay (huzzah!) and Les Miserables being named Best Ensemble, with The Perks of Being a Wallflower (huzzah again!) and Argo making the Top 10 list.

It certainly looks like the critics will be rallying around Zero Dark Thirty this year, but as we’ve seen many times in the past, the critics’ pick doesn’t always match up with Oscar.  Since 2000, only two NBR Best Film winners have gone on to win the Oscar: No Country for Old Men and Slumdog Millionaire.  Other past NBR Best Film winners include Hugo, The Social Network, and Up in the Air.  Hit the jump for the full list of 2012′s honorees.

New York Film Critics Circle Names ZERO DARK THIRTY Best Film; Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, and Matthew McConaughey Win Acting Awards

by     Posted 1 year, 287 days ago

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The New York Film Critics Circle has kicked the awards race off in earnest, and the love was spread primarily between Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln.  The drama about the hunt for Osama bin Laden took home Best Picture, Best Director for Kathryn Bigelow, and Best Cinematographer, while Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln was awarded Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.  The group also had a couple of left field choices with the Best Supporting Actor award going to Matthew McConaughey for Magic Mike (alright, alright, alright) and Best Actress going to Rachel Weisz for The Deep Blue Sea.  McConaughey winning the trophy was a pleasant surprise, but Weisz’s win is a tad baffling.

Hit the jump to check out the full list of winners, and click here to peruse our recent Oscar Preview features.

New Clip and Images from ZERO DARK THIRTY Featuring Jessica Chastain and Joel Edgerton

by     Posted 1 year, 290 days ago

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A few new images and a new clip from director Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty have landed online.  The film documents the decade-long manhunt for Osama bin Laden, focusing on a CIA analyst whose obsession with tracking the terrorist down eventually led to his assassination.  The drama has picked up plenty of praise since the first critics’ screenings took place last weekend, and judging by the amount of marketing material released in the past few days, Columbia Pictures is gunning for the Oscar win.

Hit the jump to check out the images and the clip, which shows SEAL Team Six taking off for their mission.  The film stars Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Kyle Chandler, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong, Scott Adkins, and James GandolfiniZero Dark Thirty opens in limited release on December 19th and expands nationwide on January 11th.

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