Harvey Weinstein

Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer

Warning: Spoilers for the ending of Snowpiercer Somewhere along the way, purchasing a ticket for Bong Joon-ho’s long-awaited Snowpiercer became a populist act that echoes the content of the film itself. Months of coverage followed Harvey Weinstein’s threat to cut the festival favorite. Knowing the kind of backlash that would ensue, Weinstein opted not to cut the film himself but instead asked Bong to shave 20 minutes off and add an explanatory voice-over to bookend the film. Bong refused, and the web backed him by reporting on the story, supporting the director’s vision and pushing for its unblemished release. While The Weinstein Company narrowed the rollout of Snowpiercer from a wide to a limited opening, no cuts were ever made, and it would seem that the voices of many overcame the far more powerful voice of one. It’s a strange case of life mimicking art, with movie fans and erstwhile supporters of artistic integrity using collective action against a major cultural gatekeeper. After traveling worldwide mostly without incident, film fans and prospective moviegoers pushed Snowpiercer to pry open the door and enter the American moviegoing scene on its own terms. But, as the film itself shows, the relations of power are never quite as simple as they seem.

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Shaun of the Dead

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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weinstein

Back when brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein created a company that combined their parents Miriam and Max’s names into a portmanteau and started distributing independent films (stuff like concert documentaries and horror movies) in the late 70s, not many people could have predicted what a juggernaut of the art film world Miramax Films would eventually become. Somewhere around the mid 80s, Miramax, under the lead of the Weinsteins, started putting out releases like The Thin Blue Line and Sex, Lies, and Videotape though, and after that it was off to the races. By the time the mid 90s rolled around, not only was Miramax probably the leading producer and distributor of arthouse and indie films in the world, it was also an awards-generating machine whose statue-grubbing campaigns rivaled anything the big studios were doing in terms of money spent and aggressiveness. Whether you see what the Weinsteins accomplished at Miramax in the 90s as simple capitalist greed, or as the most effective promotion of experimental and interesting cinematic art that’s ever been accomplished, it’s hard to argue that their releases and promotional tactics didn’t play a large part in creating the indie film boom we saw during that decade—which was a trend that brought us a ton of great films as well as created an entire generation of new film geeks. Once the Weinsteins were forced out of their company in 2005 by the Disney overlords who had bought it more than a decade earlier though, Miramax’s ability to generate […]

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twilight_theater

The biggest news of the week is something that happened a bit quietly yet wonderfully: FSR got a great (if we say so ourselves) new TV critic/columnist named Inkoo Kang, and she kicked things off excellently with her first recap of The Newsroom and a piece on Breaking Bad‘s proposed spin-off. Stay tuned for lots more smart and in depth coverage from her going forward. Aside from that, it was a fairly quiet week, except for — I guess we were due for another debate — the clamor about whether texting/tweeting should be allowed in movie theaters. And while we’re not sure Hollywood or the theater industry should be moving in that direction, we did look at some other things at least the studio side of the biz can learn this year regarding filmmaking and trailer-making. Once again, this post is where you’ll find a brief recap of the best news and original content from the past seven days, not including all our latest reviews, interviews and trailers, which you can find easily with the links on the site header. Start your weekend right after the jump.

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hSnowpiercer_14

To those who’d like to see Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer and don’t currently live in Korea, I’ve got some bad news. The film still has no release date for the Western world, but Harvey Weinstein, eager to add insult to injury, has just stepped in to make things much, much worse. According to film critic and programmer Tony Rayns (via Australia’s Inside Film), Weinstein, who’s in control of the film’s international distribution, has instructed Bong (The Host) to shave 20 minutes off his 126-minute film, or it won’t see a release in North America, the UK, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. That’s awful. But what’s even worse is Weinstein’s reasoning behind the cut.  Rayns tells why: “[The Weinstein Company] people have told Bong that their aim is to make sure the film ‘will be understood by audiences in Iowa … and Oklahoma.’” Reportedly, the cuts would come from the film’s character work, leaving Snowpiercer as a bare bones action flick.

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mnad_arrested

Tonight on America’s #1 nightly entertainment news column, the Bluth family changes television forever, Harvey Weinstein is a playa, Hollywood is done with sex and Damon Lindelof explains himself (or Prometheus 2). Also, Terrence Malick jokes.

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Pulp Fiction

A prominent theater owner once told me a story about two production assistants hustling it out for little pay on a Dolph Lundgren workout video. Part of the video involved Lundgren running down a sandy hill, so when they needed to do more takes, the PAs had to smooth out the footprints in the sand (of which, yes, there was only one set). The two PAs threw themselves into the task with such gusto that the director was awe-struck. They rolled on their sides down the hill, happily did any other task necessary and even grabbed a dog turd bare-handed to get it out of a shot on a sidewalk. The director talked about them to everyone, claiming they were the best PAs he’d ever seen in his career. One of them was apparently Quentin Tarantino. It’s a bit of a myth that he learned about movies exclusively by working at a video store, and even if this story isn’t true, it’s fun to believe it — if only to imagine Tarantino furiously doing menial tasks and ripping dog shit off the ground without question. However, Movies.com has a relic of his early career with a big more proof to it: an excellent video where Richard Gladstein recounts Harvey Weinstein‘s reaction to reading the script for Pulp Fiction for the first time.

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Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp My Valentine

Harvey Weinstein. This guy. He’s crazy like a fox, and not all of his moves can be understood ahead of time, which is why he often prevails. In the case of the music video for Paul McCartney‘s “My Valentine,” it’s unclear who he’ll prevail over, but the producing titan has requested that theaters in New York and Los Angeles play the black and white work (which features Johnny Depp and Natalie Portman signing the lyrics to the song (before Depp takes a sweet acoustic solo)) before screenings of The Intouchables. There is no connection between the two projects (at least not one that could be made without Kevin Bacon), so it all seems sort of bizarre. The Intouchables is the latest Olivier Nakache film which tells the comically dramatic story of a wealthy quadriplegic man hiring a poor man from the projects to take care of him (Review here). Oh, no. Does Weinstein think quadriplegic people and deaf people are the same? Hopefully not. At any rate, here’s the video if you’d like to prep for the movie that it has nothing to do with:

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The Intouchables Movie

On the surface, The Intouchables sounds like another trite, feel-good movie about a mismatched pair of unlikely friends, who come together to inspire each other despite overwhelming odds. Or, maybe it’s a remake of The Untouchables with an unfortunate typo. But it’s not about sending anyone to the Chicago morgue, and your everyday buddy movie simply doesn’t achieve the enormous box office haul that’s been amassed by this French drama, which has reportedly earned more than $280 million before even opening stateside. So The Intouchables has clearly hit unique nerve. After all, it’s not a big, expensive blockbuster or a sequel to a mega-popular franchise. Still, the formula for success here, perfected by co-directors/writers Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, is clear: Find characters worth caring about, cast actors who are adept at making you feel for them and surround the stars with an inspirational narrative centered on meaningful, affecting human growth.

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What is Cannes in 60 Seconds? If you say it with a pompous accent, it’s a hilarious pun on a classic Nic Cage/Angelina Jolie film that no one can rightfully claim is at all terrible. If you say it with a normal accent, it’s still a news and review round-up from the South of France. The biggest news comes from the mouths of critics after seeing the opening night flick – Wes Anderson‘s Moonrise Kingdom. It’s garnered high, near-universal praise. A smattering of reviews can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. But that’s not all that’s going on:

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After weeks and weeks of controversy, manufactured or otherwise, the tumultuous story of The Weinstein Company’s anti-bullying documentary Bully has finally come to a close. For those who haven’t been following all of the hullabaloo, the fun all started when the MPAA ridiculously gave a Lee Hirsch-directed documentary meant to expose the escalating problem of bullying in U.S. schools an R-rating. Even though the movie taught a good lesson, the fact that it used the F word a few too many times deemed it unsuitable for our children’s bruised little ears. Never one to take a chance at free publicity lying down, the film’s producer Harvey Weinstein made a big stink about how unjust the rating was, and vowed to have it appealed. He did as much, and he even brought one of the bullied kids from the film, Alex Libby, to speak during the appeals process. Nonetheless, the MPAA decided that the rating would stand. This, of course, led to further outrage on the part of everyone. Weinstein put the film out unrated, the PTC threatened to picket any theaters that would show it, and the MPAA continued to sit behind closed doors and do whatever evil things they do that we don’t know about. The whole situation was a mess, and in some serious need of mediation. Which must have eventually happened, because at some point they re-edited the film, re-submitted it to the MPAA, and it now has a PG-13 rating. Apparently the issue was that they […]

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There are least two sides to this whole Bully MPAA rating mess. Maybe it’s a valiant outcry against the hypocrisy of an organization that treats sex and language differently than violence. Maybe it’s a huge public relations stunt orchestrated by Harvey Weinstein in order to get more butts into seats. Maybe it’s both. Either way, Lee Hirsch‘s movie is caught in the balance, and it looks like he’s ready to cut off his entire head to spite his face. Shortly before the Los Angeles premiere of the movie, he made the decision to release it unrated into theaters. Because if your goal is to make sure as many children see it as possible, the best move would be to make it impossible for them to see it, right?

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The Art of Ralph McQuarrie

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of links, movie news, happy things and sad things. Tonight we begin with something sad, because it’s easily the biggest story of the night. We begin this evening on a sad note. Over the weekend, Ralph McQuarrie passed away. Some of you may not know the name, but you’ve seen his work. In fact, his work may have defined a lot of what you consider to be the iconography of your childhood. He’s the man who helped George Lucas craft the look of a little project called Star Wars, among other things. Better men than I have written excellent obituaries. I found Drew McWeeney on Ralph McQuarrie and AICN’s Eric Vespe on Ralph McQuarrie to be the best of them. Also, Geek Tyrant has a great gallery of Ralph McQuarrie art.

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Hot on the heels of winning a slew of awards at the Oscars, Harvey Weinstein has decided to go to war with the MPAA over the new documentary Bully, which was “slapped” with an R rating for language and lost an appeal to have it changed to PG-13. I’m not going to spend all my time pointing out the irony that Harvey Weinstein is a big bully himself, leveraging the tragic events in this new film to orchestrate a publicity stunt. Suffice it to say, if he were interested in actually having as many students as possible watch this film instead of making money, he could easily distribute censored screeners to schools with any offending language bleeped out. And why is he doing a little song-and-dance about releasing it “unrated” when he knows full well that the National Association of Theatre Owners will have to treat it like an NC-17 film (under the yoke and obligation of the MPAA)? Make no mistake… Weinstein’s in it for the money and not the cause. But let’s leave his personal bullying out of the argument and consider the possibility that an R rating might, in fact, be the right thing for Bully.

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The Independent Spirit Awards and the Oscars never agree. Well, almost never. In 28 years of co-existing, the two organizations have only agreed once before – on Oliver Stone’s Platoon back in 1986. It’s not surprising since the Spirit Awards focus on celebrating a particular method of filmmaking that is often overlooked by the red-carpet-ready Academy Awards, but if both honor prestige movies, it seems at least likely they’d agree from time to time, right? They didn’t until last night. The more-than-two-decades-long drought was finally broken when The Artist took home Best Picture less than a week after bringing home the top Spirit prize. It became the first movie since 1986 to win both the Oscar and the Indie Spirit Award. One was in an ornate theater, the other was in a tent on the beach, but the implication is clear: independent movies are breaking more and more into the mainstream.

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A couple of days ago we reported that Harvey Weinstein intended to once again heroically take on the MPAA. This time it was because they had seemingly ridiculously stuck the upcoming documentary Bully with an R-rating due to some nasty language. The kerfuffle with that comes from the fact that director Lee Hirsch’s work is an important look at a terrible behavioral plague that has the American school system in its grip, and has already lead to an unacceptable amount of violence and death. This movie deals with the lives of bullies and those that are bullied; it’s theoretically an eye-opening experience meant to preach an anti-bullying message to a generation of people who are growing increasingly more callous in the way they treat one another. But, you know, that doesn’t work if the movie gets an R-rating and none of the kids who are supposed to go see it are able to buy a ticket. Just a few days ago this didn’t seem like such a big deal. Weinstein had successfully argued down the rating of one of his films before, so there was no reason to believe he wouldn’t be able to do it again; especially in such a cut and dry situation where a movie was made for didactic purposes, and a little bit of language could probably be excused under the grounds of the film needing an air of realness in order to reach the younger generation who most need to hear the message. The MPAA isn’t […]

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The Motion Picture Association of America has a history of questionable practices when it comes to their content rating of film releases. And Harvey Weinstein has a history of going up against the organization when he doesn’t agree with harsh ratings they’ve slapped on Weinstein movies. In October of 2010, his indie project Blue Valentine got slapped with an NC-17 rating due to an oral sex scene, and Harvey successfully appealed the decision, arguing that nothing in the film was exploitative or unessential, and that the rating would be financially harming a great work of art if it was left to stand. It looks like it’s time for round 2 in the Weinstein/MPAA war. This time the fight is over a documentary called Bully, which takes a look at schoolyard bullying in the United States. The MPAA has deemed that the film should be R-rated due to “some language,” and Weinstein is pissed because a restrictive rating would prohibit the youths who need to see a movie like this most from being able to buy a ticket.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s all the movie news that’s fit to print. So, please, print it out and read it on your morning commute. The videos are especially effective that way. We begin this evening with four arms. This is just one of the ninety-seven images that Disney released in support of John Carter which means that if you make a flipbook of them, you’ve got a nice cheap version of the movie. Plus, John Carter wants you to read!

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With the Oscar nominations out terrorizing the community, we turn to IMDB Managing Editor Keith Simanton to discuss why the Academy Awards still matter, how the voting environment works, and why Harvey Weinstein always seems to control the conversation. Plus, Landon Palmer explores the death of the movie star and the rise of franchises. Could it help the revival in independent filmmaking? As if that weren’t enough, Cinema Blend‘s Editor-in-Chief Katey Rich squares off with Hollywood.com Movies Editor Matt Patches in a Movie News Pop Quiz that will change everything. Download This Episode

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Editor’s Note: This review originally ran in November 2010, but since The King’s Speech just won the Academy Award for Best Picture, it seemed incredibly relevant. Enjoy. According to the dictionary, to be kingly is to be “stately or splendid, as resembling, suggesting, or befitting a king; regal.” The great movie kings — Henry II, Richard III, Arthur — fit that description, being strong, alpha male types, domineering presences unafraid to exert their authority and make their reign felt. What a surprise, then, to encounter George VI (Colin Firth) in Tom Hooper’s eloquent, emotional The King’s Speech. The current Queen Elizabeth’s father ascended to the throne in 1936, at a time that called out for a forceful leader. With scandal in his wake, spurred by his brother Edward’s abdication, and the European continent on the precipice of war, the new king faced the daunting task of inspiring an empire rife with tumult.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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