Sunday, October 10, 2010

“Steamy new Michelle Williams, Ryan Gosling movie slapped with NC-17 rating - MSN” plus 2 more

“Steamy new Michelle Williams, Ryan Gosling movie slapped with NC-17 rating - MSN” plus 2 more


Steamy new Michelle Williams, Ryan Gosling movie slapped with NC-17 rating - MSN

Posted: 08 Oct 2010 12:07 PM PDT

Steamy new Michelle Williams, Ryan Gosling movie slapped with NC-17 rating

Oct. 8, 2010, 2:11 PM EST

By Brent Lang
TheWrap

In a shocking decision, the Motion Picture Association of America has slapped "Blue Valentine" with the dreaded NC-17 rating.

The Weinstein Company has high hopes for the drama and has been planning to mount an awards campaign for the Sundance pickup.

Bing: Are 'Blue Valentine' co-stars dating?

"Blue Valentine"'s NC-17 is the latest in a string of controversial decisions by the MPAA ratings board. In the last few months, it handed out R ratings to two award-winning documentaries -- "The Tillman Story" and "A Film Unfinished." Both lost their appeals.

Starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, the indie film drew strong reviews from critics, who hailed its unflinching look at the breakdown of a marriage. Those who have seen the film were surprised by the decision, noting that while the movie contains sex scenes with some nudity, they were not exploitative.

More from TheWrap: 'The Tillman Story' loses appeal over R rating

The filmmakers now have four options. They could, of course, accept the rating. They could appeal it to a board comprised of distributors, exhibitors and industry executives. They could edit the film and resubmit it. Or they could release the film unrated.

A spokesperson for the studio had no comment, and it was not immediately clear if the filmmakers would make the cuts necessary to earn an R rating or appeal the board's decision.

Related: Williams and Gosling talk 'messy' sex and more in W

The MPAA would not comment on its reasons for the rating, noting that it maintains a posture of silence on all films until the rating has been accepted.

If it stands, an NC-17 rating would hobble the film's rollout. Many theater chains will not carry NC-17 films. Worse, some major retailers, such as Wal-Mart, refuse to stock NC-17 DVDs.

It could also impact the movie's awards chances. Only one movie, 1969's "Midnight Cowboy," has ever earned a Best Picture Oscar while carrying an X or NC-17 rating.

The Weinstein Company bought U.S., Canadian and Pan-Asian satellite rights to "Blue Valentine" at Sundance for a reported $1 million.

More from TheWrap:
'The Tillman Story' loses appeal over R rating
Holocaust doc loses appeal on R rating
Rick Sanchez on 'GMA': 'I screwed up'; calls Jon Stewart 'classy'

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'Slumdog Millionaire' star turns defiant Palestinian girl eager to fight Israel in new movie - Los Angeles Times

Posted: 07 Oct 2010 03:50 PM PDT

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Indian actress who starred in "Slumdog Millionaire" has moved from the slums of Mumbai to the squalid refugee camps of the West Bank in a new film: the story of a defiant Palestinian girl who wants to fight against Israel in a coming of age story with a Mideast twists.

"Miral," directed by award-winning artist Julian Schnabel and with cameos by Willem Dafoe and Vanessa Redgrave, stands apart for more than its star power.

Due for U.S. release in December, it's also likely to give Western audiences — some perhaps more used to movies depicting Arabs as violent Islamic militants — a compassionate view of the Palestinians.


For Mumbai-raised Freida Pinto, 25, who became a star after Slumdog shot from obscurity to box-office success and eight Academy Awards, it was a chance for a different setting.

"Miral" sweeps across decades of the Mideast conflict. The cinematography lays out beautiful Palestinian landscapes and Pinto glows in her scenes. But the dialogue comes across at times as preachy, and Schnabel seems to try pack in as much Palestinian history as possible in the 112-minute film.

For the filmmakers, the message is the key.

"The ordinary American who knows nothing about Palestine and knows nothing about our cause — it will be the first time he will sit and watch this story," said Yasmine al-Massri, a 31-year-old Paris-based Palestinian actress who plays Pinto's mother.

At a news conference in Ramallah before the screening late Thursday, some Palestinian movie crew members said they hoped Pinto's star power would draw audiences into cinemas and that Schnabel's Jewish faith would deflect claims of bias.

"It's a Jewish American director who is telling a Palestinian story," said al-Massri.

Schnabel was named "best director" at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007 and awarded him a top prize for his movie "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly."

Pinto brings wide experience to the role despite her youth. She is currently appearing as a neighbor of a conflicted writer in the latest Woody Allen movie, "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" and will co-star in the upcoming Greek mythology action tale "Immortals" and a "Planet of the Apes" prequel, "Rise of the Apes."

In "Miral," which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last month, Pinto's title heroine is sent to a Palestinian children's institution in Jerusalem when her alcoholic mother commits suicide and her conservative Muslim father struggles to raise her.

Headstrong, Miral tumbles into the political storms lashing around her: it's the late 1980s and Palestinians are rebelling against Israel's military occupation. Miral tries to fight Israel and battle her father, at the same time as she falls for a handsome Palestinian fighter.

The movie was filmed over three months in 2009 with a crew of about 150 people and a budget of $15 million, according to local crew members.

It's based on the tumultuous biography of Palestinian-Italian journalist Rula Jebreal, stretching back in time to tell the stories of her mother, her mother's savior, a nurse hardened by war who tries to bomb an Israeli cinema, and her older mentor, the real-life figure of Hind Husseini, who rescued children during the war that followed Israel's creation.

It moves among scenes of Palestinian youths hurling rocks at Israeli soldiers, children fleeing violence and whispered conversations between imprisoned women. It crisscrosses between the cities of Haifa, Jaffa, Acre, now mixed Arab-Jewish cities in modern-day Israel. There are scenes in Jerusalem and the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

At Thursday night's screening in Ramallah that kicked off a local film festival, hundreds of Palestinians crammed into the Kasabeh movie burst into applause and laughter during a scene when a shiny-eyed Pinto tells her mentor Husseini that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators had signed a peace deal — 17 years later, peace talks have produced few results.

The audience seemed less convinced when, in another scene, Pinto kisses her boyfriend passionately as he explains how much land Palestinians will have in their future state.

The movie views historical events through Palestinian eyes, like the massacre of over 100 residents of the village of Deir Yassin in April 1948 by Jewish militants in the war that followed the establishment of the state of Israel.

In real life, as in the movie, children fleeing Deir Yassin were adopted by Husseini. She created an orphanage for them that eventually became a boarding school, partly for troubled children. It is now a Jerusalem Arab girl's school.

Pinto said in an August interview with the New York Times that she thought the film would make waves. "I knew it was going to be one of those stories that will create a lot of controversy."

Actress al-Massri said the movie could serve as a reminder of why Palestinians and Israelis needed to be pushed to peace.

"This movie is important because it is real," she said. "Everything we are saying, everything you are seeing, every action, every word you see is real. It happened, and its still happening in the everyday life of the Palestinian and Israeli people."

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Movie Review: It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010) - Rope of Silicon

Posted: 07 Oct 2010 11:35 PM PDT

NOTE: This review was originally published on September 11, 2010 after I screened It's Kind of a Funny Story at the Toronto International Film Festival.

As someone who isn't a Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden devotee, I didn't have any preconceptions or expectations as to what their latest film, It's Kind of a Funny Story, would be. I wasn't a huge fan of the writing and directing duo's Half Nelson, though I did recognize it as a good movie, and I've yet to muster up enough interest to watch Sugar, though it's received primarily positive reviews. As for It's Kind of a Funny Story, it doesn't do anything to put me more in their corner and in fact it feels as if they may be regressing with a film that is far more commercial than their previous efforts, though it does do one thing well… proves Zach Galifianakis has more range than just as a comedic sidekick.

Grade This Movie

User Grade: B+ (2 Ratings)

"It's Kind of a Funny Story" is a Focus Features release, directed by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden and is rated PG-13 or mature thematic issues, sexual content, drug material and language. The running time is 1 hour 41 minutes

The cast includes Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Viola Davis, Lauren Graham, Jim Gaffigan, Zoe Kravitz and Aasif Mandvi.

For more information on this film including pictures, trailers and a detailed synopsis choose from the following menu.

More About This Movie

It's Kind of a Funny Story is an adaptation of Ned Vizzini's 2006 novel of the same name centering on 16-year-old Craig Gilner (Keir Gilchrist). Craig ends up checking himself into the psychiatric ward at a local hospital telling the doctors he's afraid he may try to commit suicide. As innocent as his intentions may be, he underestimates the consequences of this decision and expecting a quick fix or perhaps a new drug prescription (he voluntarily stopped taking Zoloft three weeks ago), he ends up with a mandatory five day stay. Just enough time to get to know the people there, make friends, find love, find himself and have a pizza party.

I may not be a Fleck and Boden devotee, but I know this is cliche enough to upset those that expect something a bit more down to earth and not exactly so sickly mainstream. Everyone else, such as me, is likely to find it harmless.

Gilchrist (something of a Justin Long clone) brings a dull wit to his character as he wanders the hospital's psychiatric level finding friendship in Bobby (Galifianakis), infatuation in Noelle (Emma Roberts) and schizophrenia in most everyone else. This film pretty much writes itself and outside of a horribly cliched moment when Craig says something stupid and unbeknown to him Noelle is listening behind him causing an unnecessary five minutes of confusion, the film is fine. Most of the cast fills their requirements with Galifianakis serving as the stand-out only because it's a much different role than we've seen from him before.

Zach Galifianakis has had a quick rise in Hollywood, coming to major prominence with The Hangover in 2009 and most of his roles before and since then have been comedic. While his comedic timing benefits him here it's his straight moments that work so well as he plays a character that isn't exactly mentally insane but still has his share of issues.

Fortunately most of Galifianakis's comedy performances have benefit from his line-delivery rather than prat falls, which means he may be able to transition to drama a bit easier than most comedians. What he shows here proves it's entirely possible.

Emma Roberts, however, has yet to impress me and while she is a striking young lady, her acting does nothing to convince me she's got any kind of major talent stored up in her. Her delivery lacks conviction and film isn't helped by her mundane line-reading, but since It's Kind of a Funny Story doesn't seem to be trying for anything too great I guess that doesn't matter.

This film is a paint-by-numbers hospital tale. Something of a low-rent cross between "Scrubs" and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest without a Nurse Ratched. Nothing out of the ordinary happens and you will likely be ahead of each turn in the story as it moves along. The closer you get to the end the more you'll be ready to check out. Goofy freeze frames and an inexplicable postcard moment are just evidence of a directing duo trying to make a film that isn't mainstream, but it just jumbles things up more to the point this film really isn't much more than a feature length sitcom.

GRADE: C

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