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21 March 2002

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  • 75 lose jobs as Miramax cuts staff by 16%

    Miramax Films, a division ofThe Walt Disney Co, laid off about 16% of its staff on Friday in a massiverationalization effort which stunned the industries in New York City, where thecompany is based, and Los Angeles, where it maintains a busy office. The cullcame just eight days before this year's Academy Award ceremony whereMiramax is the studio with most nominations with 15.75 people lost their jobsout of about 500 and more are expected to go, with Miramax reportedly planningto bring
  • About A Boy

    Dirs: Paul and Chris Weitz. UK/US. 2002. 100minsWill Britain's latest semi-confessional romantic comedy be the new Bridget Jones's Diary' It certainly has the right ingredients: a powerful combination of best-selling novelist Nick Hornby, Hugh Grant and the confident, commercial touch which co-producers Working Title have brought to this genre in their three previous outings with Grant (Four Weddings And A Funeral, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones
  • Advanced Medien's financial statements exposed

    Auditors have exposed 'dubious' transactions within Germany's Advanced Medien's financial statements for 1999 and 2000, rendering them 'ineffective' and according to some analysts, potentially fraudulent.In an ad-hoc statement, the Munich-based concern declared that, "as part of the required corrections, the sale of film rights with a total volume of Euros 39m will be eliminated from the financial statements for fiscal years 1999 and 2000. The underlying film rights will be re-entered
  • Ali G IndaHouse

    Dir: Mark Mylod. UK. 2002. 88 mins. A send-up of white kids trying to act black, Sacha Baron Cohen's alter ego Ali G has cut quite a figure on UK TV, making a fool of celebrities like David Beckham. He has shot a video with Madonna (Music). Now he has his very own film. It will be massive in his home turf of Staines and across the UK, thanks to the ubiquitous cult of Ali and a huge publicity spend. But even here, the film isn't clever enough to make much impact outside
  • Anger readies film of Crowley's Gnostic Mass

    Cult film-maker, actor and author Kenneth Anger, who was honoured last week by the Mar del Plata Film Festival in Argentina, is readying a 40-minute film version of The Gnostic Mass, an occult ceremony set out by Aleister Crowley in 1910. Anger, who hopes to cast Chloe Sevigny as the priestess, Vincent Gallo as the priest and Dennis Hopper as the deacon, says Sir John Paul Getty is to back the film. Anger's last completed film was Lucifer Rising in 1980. The new wo
  • Argentine president steps in to save film industry

    Argentina's president Eduardo Duhalde is to push through measures to rescue the country's film industry after a meeting last week head of the Argentine film institute, INCAA, Jorge Coscia, minister of culture Ruben Stella, and the producers of Oscar nominee Son Of The Bride - Pol-ka's Adrian Suar, Jemsa Productions' Estrada Mora and Patagonik's Pablo Bossi. Duhalde will back moves by INCAA to reform the country's existing film laws in order to free-up extra funds for film produc
  • Artisan hires Will Rokos to write new Billy Liar

    Will Rokos, theOscar-nominated co-writer of Monster's Ball, has signed on with Artisan Pictures to write thescreenplay for Artisan's update of Keith Waterhouse's novel BillyLiar, which was turned into a hitplay by Waterhouse and Willis Hall and the classic 1963 film directed by JohnSchlesinger.Paul A Kaufman, who broughtthe project to Artisan Pictures, is set to produce the film which is the storyof a man who escapes his dreary small-town life by creating a rich fantasy l
  • Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra

    Dir: Alain Chabat. France. 2001. 107mins.Mission Cleopatra has come, been seen and conquered. In a mere six weeks, the record-setting $42m blockbuster comedy has racked up 12.9m admissions ($61.9m) in France from 898 sites, and should replace 1992 Gaumont time-warp comedy Les Visiteurs as the second top-grossing French film of all time. (The champ remains the 1966 Louis de Funes-Bourvil war farce La Grande Vadrouille with 17m admissions). In addition, it has alr
  • Aurora beams for Australian script development

    Australia has created its own version of development "hothousing" on the back of four feature scripts and their creative teams. The New South Wales Film and Television Office (NSWFTO) examined overseas models including Sundance, Moondance and Equinoxe before putting together its own A$500,000 Aurora programme, which has filmmaker Jane Campion as its patron. The script advisers include In The Bedroom co-writer Rob Festinger, Geoff Stier, writer of Iris and The Talented
  • Bend It Like Beckham

    Dir: Gurinder Chadha. UK. 2001. 110mins.Gurinder Chadha's high-spirited, unassuming comedy about a football-mad Indian girl living in London is a real charmer which should score with teenagers but also has strong crossover potential. In the UK it will coast on the successful new wave of popular Asian comedy of which Chadha's own first film, Bhaji On The Beach (1994), about Indian women on a jaunt to the seaside resort of Blackpool, was an early example: more recently t
  • Bertelsmann opts against RTL share offering

    Germany's Bertelsmann has decided not to proceed with a voluntary public offer for minority shares in the RTL Group not already held by the media concern or its affiliates.In December 2001, Bertelsmann had purchased Pearson's 22% stake in the Group and investigated whether a voluntary public offer of Euros 44 per share could be made on the same terms and conditions. In the past three months, Bertelsmann bought a further 785,000 RTL Group shares at Euros 44 per share and consequently no
  • Blade II

    Dir Guillermo Del Toro. US. 2002. 117mins.Gruesome and ghastly violence, state-of-the-art special effects, fast-moving action and stylish cutting and framing can't conceal the fact that there's a big blank space at the centre of Blade II. Largely this is the fault of David Goyer's slender, meandering, and uninvolving scripting of the vampire saga. The gifted Wesley Snipes reprises the title role, first seen in New Line Cinema's surprise 1998 hit, Blade, parading on th
  • Bolivar That's Me takes Mar del Plata crown

    Jorge Ali Triana's Bolivar That's Me (Bolivar Soy Yo) won the Golden Ombu award for best film and the best Iberoamerican film prize at the Mar del Plata International Film Festival, Latin America's leading film event, on Saturday 16 March. The 59-year-old Colombian director's use of magical realism flew in the face of a trend towards social realism exhibited in many of the festival's other Latin American films, especially those made by younger film-makers. Magic realist novelist
  • Canada's Remstar acquires new package

    Montreal-based distributor Remstar has picked up Canadian rights to Jacob Berger's Aime Ton Pere (Honour Thy Father), currently in post-production. The feature debut of writer-director Berger, the $5m suspense drama sees the reunion of father and son actors Gerard and Guillaume Depardieu in starring roles. The story follows the plan of a 28 year-old son who decides to kidnap his father and force him to appreciate the inexplicable pain the son carried since childhood. The tripart
  • Canadian film board launches co-production unit

    Canada's National Film Board (NFB) will launch an International Co-production Unit (ICU) with the goal of developing key partnerships and framework agreements with international broadcasters and other organisations. NFB chairman Jacques Bensimon said that the move was precipitated by cutbacks at public-sector institutions internationally. "The NFB has a duty to spearhead the movement to recover the ground lost by the public sphere in recent years. Not only to recover this ground but to
  • Cannes Critics' Week adopts slimmed-down look

    Under its new chief Claire Clouzot, the Critics' Week sidebar of the Cannes festival is to present a tightened-up programme.With Clouzot as artistic director, Critics' Week (May16-24) will screen seven features and seven shorts. In recent years the event had expanded to take in a number of other films not competing for the Critics' Week prize. But, contrary to previous reports, there will still be room for documentaries selected by the Union of Film Critics or FIPRESCI discoveries.
  • Columbia Tristar enters Korean film production

    Columbia Tristar is to fully finance a major new Korean production directed by Cinema Service founder Kang Woo-suk. The $10m feature, titled Silmi Island, is the first instance of a Hollywood studio fully funding and taking on worldwide distribution rights for a Korean movie.The Korean-language film, which will be produced by Jonathan Kim at Hanmac Films, is based on a 1968 historical event about a group of South Korean spies trained to infiltrate the North. Harshly mistreated
  • Constantin unveils first fruit of RTL distrib deal

    German distributor Constantin Film and private broadcaster RTL Television have unveiled the first three titles to be released under a deal struck last September. Constantin will handle theatrical distribution of US teen comedy Van Wilder, to be released on July 4, the Alicia Silverstone/Woody Harrelson-vehicle Scorched and Chen Kaige's erotic Killing Me Softly all acquired by the broadcaster under all-rights deals.The deal was motivated by Constantin's desir
  • Cool & Crazy bags Jensen first ever repeat award

    The multiple-award-winning Norwegian documentary Cool & Crazy, which generated more than half a million admissions in its home territory last year, has secured filmmaker Knut Erik Jensen his second national Film Critics Award, the first time a director has ever won the prize twice. Jensen first picked up the prize from Norsk Filmkritikerlag for his feature Stella Polaris in 1992/93. The award was first given out in 1948, and has previously gone to local filmmakers like Un
  • Danish film panned by critics, loved by audiences

    Despite getting a critical mauling from the local press, Danish comedy, Polle Fiction, had the third highest ever opening in Denmark with 80,473 admissions, behind Anja & Viktor (157,000) and Olsen-Bandens Sidste Stik (100,000). The first ever feature based on a TV commercial concept, Danish comedy, Polle Fiction, has made a huge impact on the Danish box-office. Released on a high 98 screens across the country last week, it achieved 114,191 admissions
  • Denmark's NatFilm dedicated to Stroheim

    This year's NatFilm Festival, the biggest film event in Denmark, will feature a special tribute to Austrian director and actor Erich von Stroheim (1885-1957). The non-competitive event, now in its 13th edition, runs from April 5-21 in Copenhagen and three other cities around the country and will present a total of 143 features and documentaries to an estimated 40,000 film-goers.Restored von Stroheim masterpieces like Greed and The Wedding March will highlight a r
  • Dutch producer assembles cast for Turmoil

    Producer Rob Houwer (Soldier Of Orange, Turkish Delight) is assembling a major Dutch cast for his latest movie Het Woeden Der Gehele Wereld (The Turmoil Of The World), a thriller based on the best-selling novel by Dutch author Maarten 't Hart. Houwer is hoping to assemble a cast including: Jeroen Krabbe (The Discovery Of Heaven), Monique van de Ven (Turkish Delight), Victor Low (Character), Carice van Houten (Minous) and Golden Calf-winn
  • E.T. The Extra Terrestrial: The 20th Anniversay

    Dir Steven Spielberg. US. 1982. 120mins.Despite some new footage and astute digital enhancements, the 20th anniversary reissue of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Steven Spielberg's most beloved alien fable, shows that the film is very much a product of its times, reflecting the zeitgeist and technology of 1982. That said, it's an excellent idea - and not just for commercial reasons - to introduce a new generation of filmgoers (the children of those who saw it two decades ago) t
  • Film buyers heading to Hong Kong Asia screenings

    Film buyers from 15 countries, including the US, UK and Japan, have confirmed their attendance at Hong Kong's new film market, the Hong Kong Asia Screenings (HAS), which is set to take place April 2-4.Organised by the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) and Hong Kong industry association, the MPIA, the event aims to showcase the best of new Asian cinema in the run up to Cannes. About 50 buyers are set to attend including Warner Bros. and Miramax, Japanese distributors Nippon
  • From Berlinale to Biennale - De Hadeln gets Venice

    After weeks of political machinations, intrigue and rumour, the Venice Film Festival has named former Berlin head Moritz De Hadeln (pictured)as artistic director of the next edition of the Biennale. De Hadeln replaces Alberto Barbera, who has been in charge of Venice since 1999.Initial reaction to the last-minute, stop-gap appointment, which covers only the next edition of the festival, was largely one of relief; With just five months to go before the start of the festival, most
  • From Nought To Ten (Dazeroadiec)

    Dir: Luciano Ligabue. Italy, 2002. 100mins.Italian rockstar Luciano Ligabue rather showed up the country's army of under- achieving full-time directors when his first film, Radiofreccia, turned out to be both a critical and a commercial success. But hubris - at least on the critical front - has not been long in coming. Although visually inventive, From Nought to Ten fails to gel, marred as it is by a weak script and an inflated sense of its own capacity to amuse. Howev
  • Germany's Premiere unveils low-cost package

    Leo Kirch's beleaguered pay TV platform Premiere is to launch a new "taster" package from May 1 as part of managing director Georg Kofler's plans to make savings of around Euros 500m each year from 2003 and reach a positive operating result (EBITDA) a year later.In his business plan, which was given the greenlight by the platform's supervisory board on Tuesday (March 19), Kofler announced the launch of Premiere Start which will cost subscribers Euros 5 per month when they sign up for 1
  • Golden Harvest losses increase by 34.5%

    Losses at Hong Kong studio: Golden Harvest increased by 34.5% to $3.1m (HK$23.96m) in the six months to December 31, 2001, compared to $2.3m (HK$17.81m) for the same period the previous year.However, at the same time group turnover increased during the second half of 2001, by 8% to $17.6m (HK$137m), compared to $16.3m (HK$127m) in the second half of 2000.The company attributed the losses to a downturn in the level of fees generated by its production and film processing divisions
  • Ice Age rocks box office record book

    One week before the AcademyAwards, 20th Century Fox, which has one of the lead contenders in MoulinRouge, celebrated a victory at theNorth American box office with Ice Age. The CGI animated comedy about a family of prehistoric beasts trying toreunite a human baby with its mother took a massive estimated $47.9m in threedays, the highest March opening ever and the third biggest animated openingever. The movie is Fox'sfirst bona fide box office blockbuster for an animated fi
  • Icon picks up first Oz film for distribution

    The Australian office of Icon Film Distribution has picked up local rights on its first Australian film. Paul Goldman is to direct the UK/Australian co-production The Night We Called It A Day which draws on singer Frank Sinatra's notorious 1974 tour of Australia, during which he became very unpopular with the unions. The Night We Called It A Day was given the green light (March 19) by the board of the Film Finance Corporation and will go into production in the seco
  • Indian banks find confidence to fund films

    Indian information and broadcasting minister, Sushma Swaraj has cleared the way for the Industrial Development Bank of India, the Bank of India and the Reserve Bank of India to grant loans to filmmakers.The move comes as part of 'Operation Clean-Up', an initiative launched to prevent the use of 'underground' money in film production.The first Indian Bank-funded movie Aankhein is to be released in April and 12 further film projects have already been funded by the Indian Ba
  • India's film & TV industry set to double by 2006

    India's entertainment sector is set to double in size within five years, according to data presented over the weekend at the Frames 2002 industry seminar in Bombay. Consulting firm Arthur Andersen said that the local film industry would grow steadily at a compound annual rate of 15%, to reach a value of $1.03bn (Rup50bn) by 2006 up from $502m (Rup25bn) last year. The firm also reported that India's TV sector had grown by 38% last year to reach $1.93bn (RUP94bn) and that by 2006
  • India's first film completion guarantor launched

    Los Angeles-based Film Finances and Bandit Queen producer Bobby Bedi's Kaleidoscope Films have launched India's first film completion guarantee company, with Indian director Yash Chopra also expected to join the outfit.Richard M Soames, president of Film Finances, revealed that the Indian joint venture will seek to provide completion guarantees for around five Indian films a year initially. Film Completion Services is currently negotiating a completion guarantee for Th
  • Indo-Canadian production treaty imminent

    India and Canada are on the brink of signing a co-production treaty that will extend the nascent film production relationship between the two territories, which has already seen a number of Indian films shoot in the country.Cwurrently, Indian film star Manoj Bajpai is to star in (Exotica), an Indo-Canadian feature titled Indigo. The English-language film is to be directed by the Toronto-based filmmaker Suresh Natrajan (Petals). The film is based on a true st
  • International appeal to save Buenos Aires festival

    Jacques Gerber, assistant programmer of the Cannes Directors' Fortnight, has announced the Quinzaine's intention to launch an international appeal to rescue the Buenos Aires Independent Cinema International Festival, which has lost 80% of its funding. Over the last three years, director Eduardo Antin (Quintin) has developed the festival into the foremost film event in South America and the stronghold from which the emerging Argentinean cinema has been presented to the world. Now
  • Isle of Man launches $35m location incentive fund

    The Isle of Man Government has launched a $35.6m (£25m) fund to attract big-budget films to use it as a locationThe so-called Media Development Fund will invest in films, as well as develop an infrastructure for the film sector. The Isle of Man government aims for the fund to retain and re-invest a proportion of the income it generates."There are an increasing number of bigger budget films wishing to do business with our Film Commission," said Allan Bell, Treasury Minister.
  • K3G dominates Indian Academy technical categories

    Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, the Indian epic which has already been a globalsuccess, came out on top in the tehnical categories for the InternationalIndian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards which were announced yesterday byPricewaterhouseCoopers. The technical awards weredecided on the basis of film industry polling held on Feb 23 and 24 in Juhu.The results of the popular awards categories - voted on by the public -will be announced at a ceremony in Malaysia on April 6.Kabhi Khu
  • Kinowelt sells more cinemas, production arm

    Debt-laden Kinowelt is close to completing its withdrawal from the exhibition sector having sold the Kinopolis multiplex chain. It now expects to dispose of its 25% minority holding in a clutch of Village Roadshow-controlled complexes by the end of this month.The group, which is in insolvency discussions, said that it does not expect to be able to agree rescue terms with banks and investors until the second half of April. These could see investors take over or buy into Kinowelt's core
  • Kirch Group to unveil Premiereworld restructure

    The Kirch group is expected to unveil plans to restructure Premiereworld, its loss-making pay-TV division. Premiereworld has cost Kirch billions of Euros and has seen a succession of chief executives. Today it is the turn of Georg Kofler, who was drafted in only a few months ago, to present to shareholders who include News Corp with 22%. Analysts estimate that Premiereworld, which has some two million subscribers, will run out of cash by September. Premiereworld is losing some E
  • KirchMedia, ProSiebenSat.1 merger cancelled

    Germany's KirchMedia and ProSiebenSat.1 have cancelled their planned merger which was to take place this June.In an official communique stating that the merger would be "not feasible in the foreseeable future", the two indicated that they would nevertheless "continue to work together, as they always successfully have been doing, to maximise value in the interest of both, taking also advantage, where possible, of cost reduction potential already identified during the merger preparation"
  • Korea's film floatation boom yet to materialise

    The phenomenally successful share floatation of Korea's CJ Entertainment earlier this year raised expectations of a film-fuelled boom reminiscent of Germany's Neuer Markt in the late 1990s.As the nation's first film-related company to issue an IPO, CJ Entertainment broke new ground. The company's share price at first doubled, with investors citing the strength of the local film industry as grounds for their optimism. CJE's current share price is up a massive 182% on its pre-floatation
  • Laissez-Passer opens 6th LA French film festival

    Bertrand Tavernier's Laissez-Passer (Safe Passage), which played in competition at the Berlin International FilmFestival, will have its US premiere kicking off the sixth annual City OfLights, City Of Angels Film Festival in Los Angeles on April 8.The film, for which JacquesGamblin was named best actor at Berlin, will be introduced by Tavernier. Fundedby the Franco-American Cultural Fund, a collaborative effort between theDirectors Guild Of America, the Motion Picture Asso
  • Le Divorce cast finalised for Merchant Ivory

    Director James Ivory andproducer Ismail Merchant have begun production on Le Divorce, a contemporary social comedy about two Americansisters in Paris, which is being fully financed by Fox Searchlight Pictures. Playing the two sisters areKate Hudson and Naomi Watts and the cast also includes Glenn Close, StockardChanning, Sam Waterston, Bebe Neuwirth, Leslie Caron, Romain Duris, MelvilPoupaud, Jean-Marc Barr and Lambert Wilson.The film is about one sisterleaping into an af
  • Lost In La Mancha finds UK distribution

    UK distributor Optimum Releasing has picked up Lost In La Mancha, the acclaimed documentary about the so-called un-making of Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.Optimum is to give the film a theatrical outing this year after its success with audiences and critics at February's Berlin International Film Festival. Directed by Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe, the film is sold by Rosa Bosch's international sales outfit, Tequila Gang.Optimum has also picke
  • Macquarie, Nine Net launch major production fund

    Macquarie Bank and the Nine Network's production subsidiary today (March 21) formally announced a bold plan to entice investors to provide up to $33.2m (A$62.5m) for the production of eight feature films, two TV series and two telemovies. The third partner in the equation is Hoyts Distribution, which will distribute all the features in Australia.Features to be made, if the unlisted investment fund is fully subscribed, will include the $10.6m (A$20m) Fast Car to be produced by di
  • Magnolia takes domestic rights to Sur Mes Levres

    Eamonn Bowles' new USdistributor Magnolia Pictures has acquired North American rights (excludingFrench-speaking Canada) to Jacques Audiard's award-winning French film SurMes Levres (Read My Lips) starring Vincent Cassel and Emmanuelle Devos.Sur Mes Levres, which won three Cesar awards in Paris earlier thismonth including best actress for Devos, is a thriller about a power strugglebetween a downtrodden secretary and an ex-con she hires as a trainee at herwork. It pr
  • Mojto to unveil new German production company

    Veteran KirchGroup programming executive Jan Mojto is expected to launch his own German film production company at the forthcoming MIP-TV market in Cannes in April. According to the German media journal Der Kontakter, Mojto, who had been deputy chairman of KirchMedia executive board until late last year, is to set up a production outfit by the name of Eos Entertainment with two Kirch colleagues Klaus Zimmermann and Eric Welbers to focus on film production. Until now, Zimmermann
  • Nanni Moretti to give lecture at Cannes

    Last year's Palme d'Or winner, Nanni Moretti will return to the Croisette to give the Cinema Lesson (La Lecon Du Cinema) at this year's Cannes Festival.A Cannes regular, with films including The Son's Room (La Stanza Del Figlio), Dear Diary (Caro Diario), which won the directing prize, and Aprile appearing at the festival, Moretti will speak about his work and his relationship with film. Previous speakers include Wong Kar-wai, Agnes Varda, Theo Angelopoulos and Youssef C
  • Pre-Oscar marketing fever goes global

    March is the richest month for Oscar-nominated films in the North American market, as cinema-goers scramble to see the contenders before March 24. The international picture, however, is different. Mike Goodridge looks at the films with nominations in key categories and how they are being opened across the world to cash in on Oscar fever.ALINumber of nominations: 2Key nominations: actor, supporting actorNorth American distributor: Columbia PicturesNorth Ame
  • Profession Of Arms leads Donatello nominations

    Ermanno Olmi's 16th century war picture The Profession Of Arms, Silvio Soldini's tortured drama Burning In The Wind and Giuseppe Piccioni's film about urban misfits, Light of My Eyes led the nominations for the 2002 David di Donatello Awards, Italy's Oscar equivalents.Veteran auteur Olmi's picture, which scored well with local audiences last year and screened in competition at Cannes, led the race with nine nominations, including best film, best director, best scre
  • Queensland funds Warner Roadshow Studio expansion

    Australia's appeal as a location for runaway productions is set to get another boost with Queensland Premier Peter Beattie's decision to grant a $4.3m (A$8m) loan to the Warner Roadshow MovieWorld Studios in order to increase its size by 50%. Once completed, the Gold Coast facility will be one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.Beattie said the expansion would ensure a "dramatic increase" in the amount of production within the state. Two new sound stages of about 1,600 square me
  • Rings tops NZ box office, nears $500m int'l gross

    Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring has become the biggest box office earner of all time in its home territory, New Zealand - fittingly the first country where it has done so, but with other nations set to follow shortly. It is due to pass $500m internationally within the next week.Lord Of The Rings overtook Titanic on March 18 to become the biggest box office earner of all time in New Zealand, which is using the Middle Earth tag on everything from marketing
  • Rotterdam contributes to Buenos Aires fund

  • Shochiku signs first-look deal with DiCaprio, IEG

    Japan's Shochiku has signed a $5m three-year, first-look distribution deal with Leonardo DiCaprio's production company Appian Way.In return for Shochiku's $5m, to cover Appian's project development overhead costs, for the next three years it will have first negotiation rights to distribute Appian Way films in Japan.Appian Way was established in August 2001 in Los Angeles by DiCaprio and financed by the US sales and production company Initial Entertainment Group. Shochiku has a c
  • Showtime

    Dir Tom Dey. US 2002. 95mins.In the silly, utterly redundant, and only sporadically funny action comedy Showtime, Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy try to have their cake and eat it, cashing in on their established screen images while at the same time spoofing and deviating from them. Cliche-ridden and replete with references to various aspects of American movie and pop culture (specifically cop shows, action stars, and black actors), it's a poorly directed comedy whose
  • Sony premieres Spider-man trailer on the web

    Columbia TriStar MarketingGroup is to premiere the new theatrical trailer for Spider-Man on the film's dedicated website starting nextWednesday before it hits theatres across the world. "This internetexclusive is also our way of saying thank you to the online community that hasso enthusiastically followed and supported the development and production of Spider-Man over the past several years," said GeoffA
  • Stolen Summer

    Dir Pete Jones. US 2002. 95 mins.The background story of how Stolen Summer was produced has been documented with step-by-step accuracy, healthy humour and a good deal of cynicism and self-importance in HBO's hit US TV series, Project Greenlight. Unfortunately, this high media profile overshadows and overwhelms the artistic merits of Peter Jones's modest feature directorial debut. Indeed, without the hype and hoopla, Stolen Summer would have been just ano
  • Swiss film scores at local box office

    Swiss comedy Ernstfall In Havanna claimed the top spot in its home country with a strong four-day opening (March 14-17) of $292,603 (SFr 484,551). Playing on 31 screens in Switzerland's German-speaking region the film beat several high profile Hollywood titles including A Beautiful Mind at number two in its third week ($253,663), Monsters, Inc. at three ($245,721) in its seventh week and Spy Game at four - which also opened in the German region this week on
  • Talk To Her leads European resistance

    Although the European box office has seen a host of high profile US product take top spots in several territories at the weekend, including the European launch of DreamWorks SKG's The Time Machine in The Netherlands, a raft of local productions, led by Spain's Talk To Her (Hable Con Ella) are fighting back.In the US corner, the HG Wells adaptation starring Guy Pearce opened well in The Netherlands with a four-day weekend (March 14-17) of $258,180 and seven-day tot
  • Tenenbaums receive royal reception in UK

    Director Wes Anderson's latest comedy The Royal Tenenbaums has recorded impressive figures on its opening weekend in the UK. Grossing $997,187 (£700,025) over its first three days, the film took fourth place in the chart. However playing at 159 sites, the least of any film in this week's top 10, Tenenbaums managed a powerful site average of $6,272 - the highest of any film on general release at the weekend.The critically lauded ensemble comedy, which features a host
  • The clock is ticking for Venice film festival

    The clock is ticking and the Venice Film Festival is still without an artistic director following the sudden withdrawal of Pierluigi Celli and Piera Detassis, who were both reportedly offered the top job last week. Although Celli had initially indicated his willingness to accept the position, he has since emerged from preliminary meetings about the festival declaring that he has turned down the job because he feared that his autonomy would not be guaranteed. "It's a war zone, and I don
  • The Tracker

    Dir: Rolf de Heer. Australia. 2002. 98minsThe flood of Australian features with Aboriginal themes financed, coincidentally, two years ago are now finding their way to cinema screens. Philip Noyce's eagerly awaited Rabbit-Proof Fence has chosen to expose Australia's dirty laundry with its portrait of a 1930s government attempting to assimilate "half caste" children into white society. Meanwhile Australian Rules has courted controversy by upsetting the local community th
  • Three Cartoon Movie tributes awarded

    Three European companies were awarded tributes at the closing event of Cartoon Movie, the forum dedicated to European animation feature films, which took place in the Babelsberg studios from 14 to 16 March. Of the seven nominees, the three winning companies were selected for being major initiatives or success stories.Cinelibre - Cineart (Belgium) - For the Best Distribution of European Animation Films Over the last two years, Cinelibre-Cineart has distributed 13 European ani
  • Venice Int'l TV festival to launch this week

    While Venice's Film Festival still awaits the official appointment of a new artistic director, the Lido is about to see the first Venice International Television Festival kick off in high style.The TV festival will open its doors to the industry and the public from March 21 to 25, in the island's historic Palazzo del Cinema which has housed the Venice Film Festival since 1937.The debut event's program, which was unveiled by artistic director Marlene Sternbaum, includes a multi-
  • Working Title, DNA team on Curtis comedy

    Working Title Films and National Lottery franchise DNA Films have teamed to produce leading UK writer Richard Curtis' directing debut, a romantic comedy in which Hugh Grant is to play the British prime minister.Grant is in talks to play a bachelor PM who falls in love on his first day in office with the girl who brings him his tea. Emma Thompson is also understood to be in talks to star in the film, which has the working title of Love Actually.The film interweaves ten sep