New to Blu-ray: OBLIVION, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES, MUD, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 45 days ago

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Quite a few worthwhile titles are hitting Blu-ray this week.  Here’s a look at the new releases:

2013 Writers Guild Awards Nominations Include LOOPER, THE MASTER, ZERO DARK THIRTY, and THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER

by     Posted 1 year, 259 days ago

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As we head into the thick of awards season, we’re starting to see how the various guilds stack up with regards to the best of 2012 (the PGA nominations were announced yesterday).  The guilds are usually a good Oscar predictor as their voting bodies overlap significantly with the Academy’s voting body, and today we have a peek into the screenplay race by way of the nominations for the 2013 Writers Guild Awards.  The list includes some pleasant surprises like Rian Johnson’s brilliantly original script for Looper and Steven Chbosky’s touching adaptation of his own novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower, as well as expected candidates like The Master, Moonrise Kingdom, Zero Dark Thirty, and Lincoln.

Each year a number of screenplays are ruled ineligible for the WGA’s, and this year is no exception as Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, Behn Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, and William Nicholson’s Les Miserables were all  ineligible for WGA consideration for various insignificant reasons.  Hit the jump to check out the full list of WGA nominations.  The 2013 Writers Guild Awards will be held on February 17th.

Damien Echols and Lorri Davis Talk WEST OF MEMPHIS

by     Posted 1 year, 267 days ago

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The documentary West of Memphis, from director Amy Berg and producers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, tells the story behind the fight to stop the state of Arkansas from killing an innocent man.  While it examines the police investigation into the 1993 murders of three eight-year-old boys in the small town of West Memphis, Arkansas, the film also uncovers new evidence surrounding the arrest and conviction of the three other victims – Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, who became known as the West Memphis 3 – who were imprisoned for 18 years for crimes they did not commit.

At the film’s press day, first-time film producers Damien Echols and his wife, Lorri Davis, talked about seeing this documentary as just another extension of the case, what it’s been like to have the support of Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, finding themselves on the set of The Hobbit, the desire to get to a point in life where the sensory overload isn’t as overwhelming, the double-edged sword of having to keep talking about the last thing they’d like to be reminded of on a daily basis, in order to make sure that people don’t forget that they still have not been exonerated, building a home and life for themselves, and how they’d like to express themselves creatively and artistically, in the future.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

Director Amy Berg Talks WEST OF MEMPHIS, Collaborating with Peter Jackson & Fran Walsh, Her First Narrative Feature EVERY SECRET THING & More

by     Posted 1 year, 269 days ago

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The documentary West of Memphis, from director Amy Berg and producers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, tells the story behind the fight to stop the state of Arkansas from killing an innocent man.  While it examines the police investigation into the 1993 murders of three eight-year-old boys in the small town of West Memphis, Arkansas, the film also uncovers new evidence surrounding the arrest and conviction of the three other victims – Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, who became known as the West Memphis 3 – who were imprisoned for 18 years for crimes they did not commit.

At the film’s press day, filmmaker Amy Berg spoke to Collider for this exclusive interview about how she came to be a part of this moving and powerful story, the aspects of the case that stuck out the most once she started delving into it, the unique challenges in taking on something that was constantly changing and evolving, going through 800 hours of footage for the editing process, her thoughts on the Alford plea deal that ultimately got the three men out of prison, and what it was like to collaborate with Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh.  She also talked about the first narrative feature she’ll be directing in the Spring, called Every Secret Thing, which is a drama about a detective who looks to unravel a mystery surrounding missing children, that stars Diane Lane.  Check out what she had to say after the jump.

2013 Oscar Preview: Best Animated Feature, Best Adapted and Original Screenplay, and Technical Category Quick Picks

by     Posted 1 year, 300 days ago

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We’re continuing on with our weeklong preview of the upcoming 85th Academy Awards, and after running down both acting categories it’s time to take look at some of the other races.  Today we’ll be looking at the Best Animated Feature, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay categories in depth, and I’ll also make some way-too-early quick picks in the technical categories.  The fun begins after the jump.

New Trailer for Peter Jackson-Produced Documentary WEST OF MEMPHIS

by     Posted 1 year, 321 days ago

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A new trailer for the documentary West of Memphis has been released.  Produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, the film chronicles the investigation surrounding the “West Memphis Three”, a trio of innocent men who were wrongly convicted of murdering three young boys in Arkansas in 1993 despite the fact that there was no evidence linking them to the crime. Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley Jr. served nearly 20 years in prison (Echols on death row), before finally being released late last year through legalese that required them to maintain their guilt.  It’s an incredibly frustrating story, and I’m interested to see how director Amy Berg’s film differentiates itself from the Paradise Lost trilogy of documentaries that helped prove the trio’s innocence.

Hit the jump to watch the new trailer, and click here to read our review of the film from the Toronto Film Festival.  West of Memphis opens on December 25th.

TIFF 2012: WEST OF MEMPHIS Review

by     Posted 2 years, 12 days ago

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This time last year TIFF held the world premiere of Paradise Lost 3, the latest chapter of the ongoing documentary series about the West Memphis Three, a group of teenagers (Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley) who in 1993 were wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to either life in prison or death sentences. That was an odd film to watch at the time as the three men were finally set free mere weeks before the film festival following bizarre guilty pleas (while maintaining innocence), but the movie was completed too late to mention it.

It’s not a huge surprise that another documentary about the case would find its way to TIFF this year given the unexpectedly abrupt ending to the last Paradise Lost film. What is a bit odd is that this movie doesn’t come from Paradise Lost directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, but an entirely new team in producer Peter Jackson (nuff said) and director Amy Berg (Deliver Us From Evil). Viewed entirely on its own merits, West of Memphis is an intriguing overview of the case. It’s just not quite as resonant as the Paradise Lost series and it’s a real shame that those filmmakers weren’t allowed to properly conclude their series.  Hit the jump for my review.

Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Peter Jackson-produced West Memphis Three Documentary WEST OF MEMPHIS

by     Posted 2 years, 203 days ago

Following its much-anticipated premiere at last month’s Sundance Film Festival, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired worldwide rights to director Amy Berg’s documentary West of Memphis. Produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, the film chronicles the new investigation surrounding the “West Memphis Three”, a trio of innocent men who were wrongly convicted of murdering three young boys in Arkansas in 1993 despite the fact that there was no evidence linking them to the crime. Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley Jr. served nearly 20 years in prison (Echols on death row), before finally being released late last year. West of Memphis not only follows the fight to free the innocent men, but also seeks to provide evidence that convicts the true perpetrator of the crime.

I’m pleased to see that Sony Pictures Classics is handling the distribution, as I’m itching to get a look at the film. It premiered to positive reviews at Sundance, and Echols is actually a credited producer on the pic. There’s no word on what kind of distribution model is planned, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s given an awards push later this year. Hit the jump to watch the powerful trailer, followed by the full press release.

Peter Jackson-produced Documentary WEST OF MEMPHIS Unveils Breakthrough New Evidence in West Memphis Three Case

by     Posted 2 years, 243 days ago

The trial, conviction, and release of the West Memphis Three have been well covered on many fronts over the past 16 years. The documentary trilogy Paradise Lost was tantamount to the eventual release of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jesse Misskelley, who were convicted of murdering three young boys in 1994. While the State of Arkansas released the trio through a legal loophole that maintained their guilt (thus protecting the state from a multi-million dollar wrongful conviction lawsuit), the killer remains at large. A new documentary produced by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Echols called West of Memphis premiered at the Sundance Film Festival today and revealed a breakthrough in evidence against one of the victims’ stepfathers, who has been the primary person of interest since new DNA testing connected him to the crime. Hit the jump to find out what evidence may finally exonerate the West Memphis Three.

First Trailer for Peter Jackson-produced West Memphis Three Documentary WEST OF MEMPHIS

by     Posted 2 years, 250 days ago

The first trailer for the documentary West of Memphis has gone online. Produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, the film takes a new look at the circumstances surrounding the West Memphis Three. If you’re unfamiliar with the case, three teenagers were convicted of murdering three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas in 1994 with virtually no evidence. They were recently freed through a complicated legal maneuver (saving the life of Damien Echols, who was on death row), but the true killer remains at large and the Arkansas legal system is refusing to admit their mistake.

The case has been well covered by the Paradise Lost trilogy of documentaries, so I was curious as to why Jackson felt the need to produce yet another documentary. This trailer makes clear that Jackson and director Amy Berg’s intent is to clear the names of the West Memphis Three and bring to justice the real murderer of the three boys from West Memphis. It’s engaging stuff, and I can’t wait to check the full film out once it’s released. Hit the jump to watch the trailer. West of Memphis will premiere at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival.

New Posters for STAR WARS: EPISODE I – THE PHANTOM MENACE 3D, GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGANCE and WEST OF MEMPHIS

by     Posted 2 years, 251 days ago

We’ve got quite a few new posters to share with you today. First up are five new posters for the 3D re-release of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. They’re pretty fantastic, as a few of them run off the theme of a lightsaber. The Darth Maul lightsaber one is sufficiently badass, though there’s a quote-laden one highlighting Maul’s face that kicks considerably less ass. We’ve also got a new international poster for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance that puts star Nicolas Cage on full display.

Finally, we’ve got the poster premiere for Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh’s West Memphis Three documentary West of Memphis. Though the three wrongly convicted men are now free, Jackson and Walsh are working hard to bring justice to the case and solve the 18-year-old triple murder. The poster is excellent and brings their message across loud and clear. West of Memphis will screen at the Sundance Film Festival. Hit the jump to check out the posters.

Sundance 2012: Sundance Film Festival USA to Include Films featuring Frank Langella, Chris Rock, Elizabeth Olsen, Vera Farmiga, and More

by     Posted 2 years, 281 days ago

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In September, we reported that the Sundance Film Festival would be taking its show on the road by offering a handful of festival selections to theaters across the country.  Sundance has now announced the nine films that might be coming to your city provided your city is Ann Arbor, Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Houston, Nashville, Orlando, San Francisco, or Tuscon.  This year’s Sundance Film Festival USA slate includes movies featuring Frank Langella, Chris Rock, Elizabeth Olsen, Vera Farmiga, Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Isla Fischer, Adam Scott, and many more.

Hit the jump for the line-up and theater which each film will be playing.  The 2012 Sundance Film Festival will run from January 19 – 29th.  All Sundance Film Festival USA screenings will take place on January 26th.

Sundance 2012: Premieres Line-Up Announced; Includes RED HOOK SUMMER, LAY THE FAVORITE, and WEST OF MEMPHIS

by     Posted 2 years, 289 days ago

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Last week, we learned what the 2012 Sundance Film Festival had lined-up in its In-Competition categories, plus the out-of-competition Spotlight, Park City at Midnight, Next <=>, and New Frontier selections. But today Sundance has announced the heavy-hitters with the “Premieres” category.  That’s not to say these are the best films or the ones that will get the biggest buzz.  But they’re the ones that will pack the gigantic Eccles Theater bright and early every morning.

The Premieres category will include Spike Lee‘s Red Hook Summer, Rodrigo CortesRed Lights, Stephen FrearsLay the Favorite, James Marsh‘s Shadow Dancer, Ice-T‘s Something from Nothing: The Art of Wrap, and the Peter Jackson-produced West Memphis Three documentary, West of Memphis.  There’s plenty more than these few films and you can check out the entire line-up after the jump.  The 2012 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 19 – 29th.

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