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Preview: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Movies

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Review: 'Baby Driver' is a toe-tapping, engine-revving jolt

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:31:48 UT

There's nothing like an epic getaway chase to kick a movie into high gear, and the first five minutes of "Baby Driver " are pure movie magic. A driver named Baby (Ansel Elgort) sits coolly in a car — black Ray-Ban style shades on his face, earbud headphones in place and a jacket that's, fittingly, somewhere between Ferris Bueller and Han Solo. Baby sits back, cranks up "Bellbottoms" by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and air guitars his way through the sequence while the others rob a bank and exit in a hurry. Director and writer Edgar Wright crafts a slick, stylish and wholly original action epic with "Baby Driver," which is both as good as anything you're bound to see in theaters this summer and a bit of a drop-off from the incredibly high bar that Wright has proven himself capable of hitting. Some youthful indiscretions in Atlanta put Baby in debt to a big-time criminal orchestrator, Doc, played by a perfectly over-the-top Kevin Spacey. The only people he engages with are his guardian, Joseph (CJ Jones), who is wheelchair-bound and deaf and whom Baby takes care of, and the waitress of Baby's dreams, Debora (Lily James), whom he meets when she breezes into the throwback diner singing Carla Thomas' "B-A-B-Y" to herself. Baby Driver," a Sony Pictures release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for "violence and language throughout.



Lanvin fuses sartorial and street to cap Paris menswear week

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 20:49:28 UT

The veteran Dutch menswear designer took suits with a flavor of the 1950s and mixed them up with sports references, on-trend baggy pants, hoodies and sneakers. A loose, rippling gray worker's overall was given a luxurious makeover, worn under a dark gray wool knee length coat. A sartorial Prince of Wales check jacket was fused into sportswear with geometric patterning on the shoulder, zips, studs, tassels and an exposed bright orange interior. The stereotype of young VIP Fashion Week attendees as rich, soulless attention-seekers wasting their parents' money has now been transformed into a fashion concept. Since 2013, one of the core values of the house is simply to maintain exorbitant price tags — T-shirts cost up to $1,000 and couture jackets are priced as high as $95,000. Male models struck sometimes exaggerated retro poses against the backdrop of a giant photograph of what could have been the French Riviera and the Mediterranean Sea. High double buttons, ruffled Asian sleeves, and triple pockets defined the very stylish suit styles, some of which were given street cred with baggy Asian-style Burmudas. The fusion from men's to women's clothes was handled with sensitivity via stripy statement socks, bold patterns and pure colors.



'Transformers: The Last Knight' debuts to a franchise low

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 19:46:11 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — The hulking machines of "Transformers" are no longer box-office behemoths in North America. The Last Knight, the fifth installment in the Hasbro series, scored a franchise-low domestic debut with an estimated $43.5 million in ticket sales over the weekend and a five-day total of $69.1 million since opening Wednesday. All previous "Transformers" sequels opened with $97 million-plus. [...] Paramount Pictures' "The Last Knight," the second "Transformers" movie to star Mark Wahlberg, still showed its might overseas. Future business will tell whether those grosses are enough to cover a hugely expensive movie: $217 million to make, plus nearly as much to market. Studios reap a smaller percentage of ticket sales from Chinese theaters. [...] reviews — though never much of a factor in "Transformers" land — were worse for "The Last Knight" than the earlier films. The previous film, 2014's "Age of Extinction," made $858.6 million of its $1.1 billion global haul abroad. "Transformers' is built for a global audience," said Kyle Davies, president of distribution for Paramount. In limited release Kumail Nanjiani's acclaimed romantic comedy "The Big Sick" landed the best per-screen average of the year. The Focus Features release, starring Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Colin Farrell, is a remake of Don Siegel's 1972 Civil War-era gothic thriller about a wounded Union soldier taken in by a Southern all-girls school. Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:



Trumps attend wedding of treasury secretary and actress

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 01:58:27 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were among the guests as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO'-shin's) married a Scottish actress. The 54-year-old Mnuchin worked for the Goldman Sachs investment firm for nearly two decades before founding a hedge fund.



'Boyhood' actress gets deferred sentence for drug charge

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 02:41:18 UT

'Boyhood' actress gets deferred sentence for drug charge WACO, Texas (AP) — A 24-year-old actress from the Oscar-nominated movie "Boyhood" has been given a three-year deferred sentence for a drug possession charge in Texas.



For 'Okja,' growing a GMO pig from page to screen

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 23:08:26 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — The giant genetically modified pig of Bong Joon Ho's "Okja" is 8-feet tall, 13-feet long and would, if real, weigh six tons. Like the South Korean director's previous films (Snowpiercer, ''The Host), Okja is a mishmash of genres: magical fantasy and grotesque political satire. Since its debut at the Cannes Film Festival, "Okja" has been thrust into debates over Netflix's impact on traditional moviegoing. Most large movie theater chains in North America and Bong's native South Korea have refused to screen a film that will simultaneously hit Netflix's streaming service. [...] the heart of it is a young Korean girl named Mija (An Seo Hyun) and her loyal pig companion. After ten years raising Okja, the corporation that created these "super pigs" wants them back. [...] those industry things come in. When he first mentioned the film to Swinton (they were driving to the airport after the Seoul premiere of "Snowpiercer") he merely showed her a pencil drawing of the animal. To flesh out his own sketches, Bong turned to Jang Hee-chul, the conceptual artist who designed the monster of the director's 2007 thriller "The Host." Others usually just look at the outer exterior, but Erik conceived Okja with not just the skin but the arteries, the blood, the fat and the bone structure. For behavior and some of the intelligence and connection with the owner, we looked again at canines and Labradors and beagles, especially, said De Boer.



Actress Mira Sorvino urges support for trafficking victims

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 22:27:08 UT

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino urged all nations and the business community on Friday to ramp up financial support for victims of human trafficking, saying the services such funds provide "mean the difference between life and death." Sorvino, who has been a U.N. goodwill ambassador for the global fight against human trafficking, told a U.N. meeting that "government and private sector funding is sorely lacking in providing the life-rebuilding shelter, services and legal help survivors desperately need."



Watch ole 'Bandit' run: Fans ride to Georgia for film's 40th

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 18:45:20 UT

"Every town we drive through, people come out to film us, take pictures and wave as our convoy of cars comes through - it's like being in a huge parade," said organizer Dave Hall of Lincoln, Nebraska. Truckers and others also took part in "Snowman's Run," a road trip that raises money for wounded veterans in the name of the late actor and musician Jerry Reed, who played the trucker Snowman in the movie. Smokey and the Bandit was among the first big-budget movies to be filmed in Georgia, paving the way for more recent films such as "The Hunger Games" movies and TV shows such as AMC's "The Walking Dead." The city's train depot that dates to 1867 appears in the movie, but movie-makers temporarily replaced its Jonesboro sign with one that said "Texarkana" so they could film scenes set in the town on the Texas-Arkansas line.



Ron Howard hopes to honor 'great work' done on Han Solo film

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 16:39:00 UT

The Oscar-winner has only been in the pilot's seat on the Star Wars spinoff film for a day but is not wasting any time making his passion for the franchise known. Howard tweeted Thursday night that he was "beyond grateful" to add his voice to the Star Wars universe after being a fan since May 25, 1977, when the original hit theaters.



The song that begat 'Baby Driver,' a quasi-musical on wheels

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:04:04 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — In the jagged grooves and quivering violins of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion song "Bellbottoms," a young Edgar Wright heard a movie. When Wright first started fanatically listening to the lead track off the band's "Orange" album in 1995, the British writer-director had a vision that has culminated, more than two decades later, with his new film, "Baby Driver." Baby Driver, it turned out, was the movie, but it took years for Wright (Shaun of the Dead, ''Hot Fuzz) to find the story that matched his initial inspiration. Eventually he hit on his protagonist: an uncommonly young, fresh-faced getaway driver (Ansel Elgort) who obsessively syncs his life and his car chases to the music of his iPod. The movie wouldn't just tie together song and cinema; it would be about the fusion of music and action. Wright had to secure his soundtrack's rights before shooting; many of the songs, like the Blues Explosion one, were cleared years ago. Actors received their scripts with a thumb drive of music attached. Mike Mills, the "20th Century Women" director, designed some of their cover art and directed a music video. Shortly before production was to begin, he and the studio parted ways over creative differences, a painful end to a big-budget passion project of Wright's. "Maybe the day after I left the other movie, literally one of the first emails I got from (production company) Working Title just said 'Baby Driver next?'" recalled Wright.



Ron Howard takes helm of Han Solo 'Star Wars' film

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:42:41 UT

[...] his recent films, including the "Da Vinci Code" sequel "Inferno" and "In the Heart of the Sea," have struggled at the box office. How producers and the Directors Guild of America handle the film's directing credit will also be closely watched. Lord and Miller had previously been considered among Hollywood's most sought-after directors, having turned "The Lego Movie" and "21 Jump Street" into unexpected and widely praised comedy hits. [...] reports have circulated that the duo, who favor improvisation and irreverent humor, clashed with Kennedy and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, a "Star Wars" veteran and executive producer.



Diageo to buy Clooney's tequila brand in $1 billion deal

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 21:04:05 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Global liquor behemoth Diageo said Wednesday it will pay up to $1 billion to buy a tequila brand co-founded by movie star George Clooney. Clooney and Gerber, an entrepreneur who is married to model Cindy Crawford, have appeared in ads for the brand.



Sculpture to honor 'Beautiful Mind' mathematician Nash, wife

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 19:33:12 UT

WEST WINDSOR, N.J. (AP) — A sculpture honoring famed mathematician John Nash and his wife will be erected in the New Jersey town where they spent their last years. NJ.com reports West Windsor has commissioned an artist to build the statue at Nash Park, which was dedicated in honor of the Nobel Prize winner.



NBC says 'Downton Abbey' movie production to start in 2018

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:03:36 UT

Michael Edelstein, president at NBCUniversal International Studios, said it hopes to assemble 20 cast members from the popular TV series. The Exhibition, which features costumes, locations and never-before-seen footage from the TV show. Because as you know, people go on and do other things. "Downton Abbey," which concluded in 2015, portrays the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family in England and their servants amid the backdrop of such historical events as the sinking of the Titanic and World War I. It has become one of the most popular TV shows in the world, airing in at least 150 countries.



Diddy's 'Can't Stop Won't Stop' lets '90s rap stories shine

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 15:23:35 UT

The Grammy-winning rapper and producer said it's the right time to commemorate his and B.I.G.'s legacies 20 years after his protege was gunned down in Los Angeles during the height of rap's East Coast-West Coast rivalry. Combs stars in the new documentary "Can't Stop Won't Stop," which chronicles the rise of his label Bad Boy as a hip-hop powerhouse, culminating in a 2016 tour that honored its successes as well as B.I.G. The concerts brought together some of the late rapper's frequent collaborators, including Lil' Kim and Faith Evans. "Straight Outta Compton" found critical and commercial success in 2015 depicting the rise of N.W.A. and its stars, Easy-E, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. "The Defiant Ones," a HBO documentary series about producers Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, premieres on July 9. Combs compared the multi-generational interest in '90s hip-hop to previous documentaries about iconic rock bands, including The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and U2. Combs said he wants to continue being a platform for the next generation of artists, including two of his six children already in the entertainment industry.