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Preview: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Movies

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Q&A: Sonia Braga plays the role of her life at 66

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 21:03:37 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — While female actors are fighting for more and better roles in Hollywood, Sonia Braga got the part of her life at 66 in Kleber Mendonça Filho's "Aquarius". The Brazilian star is getting rave reviews for her portrayal of Clara, a widow and retired music critic reluctant to sell the seaside apartment that holds her most cherished memories. "A breathtakingly intuitive actress, she's beautifully aged into an aristocratically sensual physicality, and makes Clara's firmness mingle with tenderness," said Variety. "When I got the screenplay it was one of the most beautiful gifts I was getting in my whole life," Braga told The Associated Press in a recent interview in New York, where she lives. "Aquarius " debuted last May at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was the only Latin American production competing for the Palm d'Or, and was recently nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. In the film Clara has gone through a lot, including breast cancer, yet she can be as subtle as strong. Because I'm not an actress either! He said, What do you mean? ''I'm scared of rehearsals, I'm scared of doing all this because I don't feel like I'm an actress. [...] they have been for so long in very serious and important positions in life: scientists, prime ministers, candidates to be the president. ... When was it that people decided as a society that your body is in one place and your sexuality in another place, something like a hat, or a coat, that when you leave home you hang it and when you come back home you say, Ah!



Don Calfa, prolific film and television actor, dead at 76

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 18:40:56 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Don Calfa, the film, stage and television actor whose credits included The Return of the Living Dead, ''Weekend at Bernie's and Barney Miller, has died. Calfa appeared in dozens of comedies, dramas and horror flicks, notably as the mortician Ernie Kaltenbrunner in "The Return of the Living Dead."



Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher welcome second child

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 05:23:55 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher are parents for the second time. A publicist for the actress said in an email Thursday that Kunis had given birth. The publicist, Melissa Raubvogel, did not provide further details on the baby, including whether it's a boy or girl. But dad Kutcher may have spilled the gender beans. In an October appearance on NBC's "Today," Kutcher said the couple's 2-year-old daughter, Wyatt, was pointing to her mother's belly and saying, "baby brother." Kunis and Kutcher, who were cast mates in the sitcom "That '70s Show," married in July 2015.



Review: 'Man Down' waits too long to deliver worthy message

Thu, 1 Dec 2016 22:57:57 UT

"Man Down" carries a poignant message about American veterans' mental health needs, but you may give up on the movie before it gets there. Nothing is clear until the film's final moments, which hit with a gut punch just before the credits roll. [...] the story is told through disjointed flashbacks that make it hard to know what's going on and who to root for. Director Dito Montiel bounces between boot camp, active duty in Afghanistan and life in post-apocalyptic America, with star Shia LaBeouf's haircut and beard scruff the only real indicator of where we are in time. Screenwriter Adam G. Simon's nonlinear story parses out details in such a way that we don't know enough about Gabe's situation to experience his emotional arc until the very end, which feels like a lost opportunity given its heart-wrenching heft. "Man Down" ultimately has a lot to say about the debilitating effects of war and the dismal reality for many veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress.



'La La Land' leads Critics Choice Awards with 12 nominations

Thu, 1 Dec 2016 21:13:08 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — The Los Angeles romance "La La Land" has landed 12 nominations from the Critics' Choice Awards, including best picture, best director for Damien Chazelle and nods for its stars, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. The Broadcast Film Critics Association, which presents the Critics' Choice Awards, announced the nominations Thursday.



'La La Land' named best film by New York film critics

Thu, 1 Dec 2016 20:11:28 UT

"Manchester by the Sea" took best actor for Casey Affleck, best screenplay for Lonergan and best supporting actress for Michelle Williams. Chazelle's film, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, also led the Critics' Choice Awards nominations on Thursday with 12 nods. Best first-film was a tie between Kelly Fremon Craig's teen comedy "The Edge of Seventeen" and Trey Edward Shults' micro-budget family drama "Krisha."



China's iQIYI and Sony to produce online series in Mandarin

Thu, 1 Dec 2016 11:45:45 UT

Chinese and foreign producers have increasingly teamed up in recent years to make movies for distribution in both markets, but the deal between iQIYI and the division of Hollywood studio Sony Pictures is a rare example of collaboration between Chinese and Hollywood companies to produce programming for the Chinese audience. iQIYI earlier this week announced it had signed a licensing agreement with Hollywood studio Lionsgate to give it exclusive streaming rights in China to upcoming Lionsgate movies and some library titles. The 90-year-old American producer of films including "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre" and "Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader" will lead a team of young Chinese filmmakers and act as producer on a sci-fi film made for viewing on the internet or mobile phone called "Invasion."



Sundance unveils diverse slate of competition films

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 22:18:36 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jenny Slate reunites with her "Obvious Child" director in the '90s-set "Landline," Sam Elliott plays a stoner Western film icon in "The Hero," Aubrey Plaza gets serious in "Ingrid Goes West," and Jennifer Aniston teams up with the future Han Solo, Alden Ehrenreich, in the Gulf War drama "The Yellow Birds" in some of the films in competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. At the 2017 Festival, Lily Collins stars in the anorexia drama "To the Bone" from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" writer Marti Noxon; Jason Schwartzman reteams with his "Listen Up Philip" director Alex Ross Perry in "Golden Exits"; and "Moonlight" breakout Trevante Rhodes stars alongside Alfre Woodward in "Burning Sands," about violent fraternity hazing. "From the passion and chaos of creativity, independent filmmakers make decisions to harness that energy, break new ground and tell their stories," Redford said in a statement.



'Moana' a Disney hit but portrayal irks some in the Pacific

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 04:21:36 UT

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Disney's animated movie "Moana" debuted to critical acclaim and box office success over the Thanksgiving weekend, but some people in the South Pacific dislike how it depicts their culture. Criticism from the Pacific has likely stung Disney, which went to extraordinary lengths to ensure the movie was culturally appropriate after being accused of racism in previous movies such as "Aladdin" (1992). For "Moana," the filmmakers traveled to the Pacific and met with anthropologists, historians, fisherman and linguists, part of what they came to call the Oceanic Story Trust. Disney suffered an early embarrassment when it decided to sell costumes of Maui, which featured brown shirts and long pants with full-body tattoos. Producer Osnat Shurer, speaking by phone from Berlin where she was promoting the movie, said the moviemakers spent five years working closely with people in the Pacific to create what they believe is a beautiful representation. [...] Teresia Teaiwa, a senior lecturer in Pacific studies at Victoria University of Wellington, said she was concerned about the portrayal of Maui. Teaiwa said if Disney really wanted to be culturally correct they would have paired Maui with a female deity, as he is in most legends, and not with a teenager.




Review: In 'Jackie,' a fractured Kennedy fable

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 00:25:12 UT

Summoning a journalist to Hyannis Port in 1963, not long after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, she coolly sets the record for her late husband's legacy, coining "Camelot" and shaping the mythology. Pablo Larrain's "Jackie," a work of probing intimacy and shattered stereotype, is an electrifyingly fractured portrait of the former First Lady. The more complicated view of the mysterious Kennedy is inspired partly by the revelatory private interviews conducted by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and released in 2011. Throughout "Jackie," we feel her discomfort at playing a starring role in an American fairy tale turned nightmare. "Jackie," though endlessly fascinating, can feel like a character study conducted on a surgical table. What is within the grasp of "Jackie" — aside from a compelling, intricate performance from a fully committed Portman — is a sense of how difficult it may have been for Kennedy to make things look so easy. Jackie," a Fox Searchlight release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for "brief strong violence and some language.



'Manchester by the Sea' tops National Board of Review awards

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 20:06:38 UT

In the awards announced Tuesday, "Manchester by the Sea" also took best actor for Casey Affleck's lead performance, best screenplay for Lonergan's script and best male breakthrough performance for Lucas Hedges. "Moonlight," the coming-of-age drama that cleaned up at Monday's Gotham Independent Film Awards , was awarded best director for Barry Jenkins, and best supporting actress for Naomie Harris. Without significant ties to the movie industry, their awards -- known for spreading around the love to attract a room-full of celebrities -- hold little influence on Hollywood's awards season. Made in America for best documentary, Asghar Farhadi's The Salesman for best foreign-language film and Kubo and the Two Strings for best animated film.



'Hamilton' creator to tackle 'The Kingkiller Chronicles'

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 19:13:43 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Lionsgate has partnered best-selling author Pat Rothfuss with composer and writer Lin-Manuel Miranda for an ambitious TV and film adaptation of the fantasy trilogy "The Kingkiller Chronicles." The film studio said Tuesday it will develop and produce the feature film franchise, as well as a TV drama series that expands on the world outside of Rothfuss' books.



The top 10 movies on the iTunes Store

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 17:45:46 UT

The top 10 movies on the iTunes Store iTunes Movies U.S. charts for week ending November 27, 2016: iTunes Movies US Charts: The Secret Life of Pets War Dogs (2016) Hell or High Water Suicide Squad (2016) iTunes Movies US Charts - Independent: Captain Fantastic



'Moonlight' shines brightest at Trump-focused Gotham Awards

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 10:41:34 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — At a Gotham Independent Film Awards overshadowed by the election of Donald Trump, Barry Jenkins' coming-of-age drama "Moonlight" shined brightest. A celebrated film about a boy growing up gay, black and poor in Miami, "Moonlight," virtually swept the night, taking best feature, best screenplay, a special jury award for best ensemble and the audience award. Monday night's ceremony, hosted in Manhattan by Keegan-Michael Key, also served as the first opportunity for the film industry — or at least a sizable chunk of its more East Coast, indie contingent — to formally gather since the election. The string of awards had the cast — which features newcomers Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders and Alex R. Hibbert playing the young protagonist in three chapters — frequently dancing arm-in-arm while the Gotham crowd stood to applaud. Other top awards went to Casey Affleck, who won best actor for his performance in Kenneth Lonergan's "Manchester by the Sea," and Isabelle Huppert, whose turn in Paul Verhoeven's "Elle" took best actress over favorites such as Natalie Portman ("Jackie") and Annette Bening ("20th Century Women"). Damian Lewis, the British actor, presented the audience award with a tweak for the electoral college.



Review: Chastain enlivens political thriller 'Miss Sloane'

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 01:25:58 UT

There's never a hair out of place in "Miss Sloane ," a painstakingly slick political thriller from director John Madden about a brilliant lone wolf lobbyist consumed with the win. All the pieces are there, especially in the film's subject — the steely Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain), a pill-popping master manipulator who is always at the ready with a perfect quip, biblical verse or history lesson for the moment. [...] she also has principles, and leaves her top firm for the opposition when a powerful gun group asks her to devise messaging to turn women against universal background checks for gun ownership. [...] fighting for the underdogs, an increasingly obsessed, Elizabeth uses everything at her disposal to try to ensure that the background check bill passes, testing the loyalty and limits of those around her (including the firm's head played by Mark Strong, and an ambitious protégé in Gugu Mbatha-Raw) with her sliding morality and deep distrust of others. While it is fun to see Chastain as a powerful boss lady, raising a martini glass to her competitors (including a sniveling Michael Stuhlbarg) who she's just publicly embarrassed with another move of political cunning, the story itself just skates along an already well-established surface of corrupt Washington narratives.