Director Barry Jenkins’ 14 Favorite Films from the Criterion Collection

What kinds of films pique the interest of Oscar-winning filmmaker Barry Jenkins?

Have you ever dreamed of entering the Criterion closet and perusing their massive collection of historically and culturally important films? If you’re a cinephile, you probably have, but if you’re a celebrated filmmaker, like director Barry Jenkins, you actually get to do it. Back in November, while promoting what would become the future Oscar-winning film Moonlight, Jenkins visited Criterion and was invited to thumb through their library, and he not only got to live every cinephile’s dream, but he also had the exact response every cinephile would have once being enveloped in all of that cinematic goodness:

«This is a bit overwhelming. There’s too much good shit in here.»

Here are Jenkins’ top Criterion picks:

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No Film School

How to Make the Jump from Lowly PA to Almighty Director [PODCAST]

‘Tramps’ director Adam Leon makes a case for why everyone needs to do time on set as a production assistant.

Adam Leon made only one short before breaking onto the indie scene with his SXSW winning debut feature Gimme the Loot. With a budget around $ 60,000 the writer/director won the «Someone To Watch» award at the Film Independent Spirits and was able to get his film into almost every notable film festival on the market, including a run in the Un Certain Regard competition at Cannes.

How did he pull it off? Hard work and humble beginnings. Leon’s work ethic was noticed on set as a PA and as a result of his efforts, he found collaborators and producers that were eager to invest in his future.

His latest film, Tramps, debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival last summer and was quickly scooped up by Netflix. It follows a young man and woman as they are unwittingly thrown into the middle of a money drop off gone awry. But for Leon, the real challenge came in crafting a genuine romance without leaning on cliche.

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No Film School

CS Video: Director Denise Di Novi and Her Unforgettable Cast

CS sits down with Denise Di Novi and her Unforgettable cast. Check out our Unforgettable cast and crew interviews.

CS sits down with director Denise Di Novi and her Unforgettable cast

This Friday, Warner Bros. Pictures brings to the big screen Unforgettable, a dramatic thriller that also represents the directorial debuts of Denise Di Novi. Di Novi, who has been working in Hollywood as a producer for more than three decades, is responsible for films like HeathersEdward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, The Nightmare Before Christmas and many more. CS recently had the chance to sit down with Di Novi and her Unforgettable cast (including stars Rosario Dawson, Katherine Heigl, Geoff Stults and Cheryl Ladd) to talk about what made her decide that Unforgettable was the right film to finally move into the director’s chair.

RELATED: It’s Rosario Dawson vs. Katherine Heigl in the Unforgettable Trailer

Unforgettable stars Heigl as Tessa Connover, who is barely coping with the end of her marriage when her ex-husband, David (Stults), becomes happily engaged to Julia Banks (Dawson)—not only bringing Julia into the home they once shared but also into the life of their daughter, Lilly (Isabella Rice). Trying to settle into her new role as a wife and a stepmother, Julia believes she has finally met the man of her dreams, the man who can help her put her own troubled past behind her. But Tessa’s jealousy soon takes a pathological turn until she will stop at nothing to turn Julia’s dream into her ultimate nightmare.

The Unforgettable cast also includes Simon Kassianides (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Whitney Cummings (The Wedding Ringer) and Robert Wisdom (Chicago PD).

The film is also being produced by Di Novi alongside Alison Greenspan (If I Stay) and Ravi D. Mehta (Grudge Match), from a screenplay by Christina Hodson. The behind-the-scenes creative team is led by multiple Oscar-nominated director of photography Caleb Deschanel (The Right Stuff, The Natural), production designer Nelson Coates (Flight), editor Frédéric Thoraval (Taken), and costume designer Marian Toy (Ballers).

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ director James Gunn has made up his mind about ‘Vol. 3’


Your favorite bunch of a-holes will return, and so will their faithful captain.

Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 writer and director James Gunn has confirmed he’ll be back to write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which has not yet announced a release date. 

Gunn dropped the announcement on his Facebook page, explaining that he’d only come to the decision after a lot of thought. «I needed to know it was, in my heart, what I truly felt called to do,» he wrote. «I have never made choices in my career based on anything other than passion and love for the stories and characters, and I didn’t want to start now.» Read more…

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Official Trailer for Netflix Film ‘Tramps’ Made by Director Adam Leon

Tramps Trailer

«We gotta get that briefcase.» Netflix has debuted a trailer for indie romantic comedy Tramps, from writer & director Adam Leon, of the NYC film Gimme the Loot previously. The story follows an aspiring chef in NYC who gets caught up in a crazy adventure when he has to help his brother finish a drug deal. But when the briefcase exchange goes wrong, he ends up running all over the city trying to figure out how to get things back in order. Callum Turner stars, along with Grace Van Patten, Michal Vondel, Mike Birbiglia, Margaret Colin, Louis Cancelmi, and Rachel Zeiger-Haag. I guess the unique twist in this is that he falls for the driver girl, which is kind of nice to see. It definitely feels like an indie, but has lots of heart, too. ›››

Continue reading Official Trailer for Netflix Film ‘Tramps’ Made by Director Adam Leon

‘Labyrinth’ Spinoff Will Be Directed By ‘Don’t Breathe’ Director Fede Alvarez…Uh, What?


Are you ready to return to the mystical world of Jim Henson’s 1986 film Labyrinth? TriStar Pictures sure hopes you are, because after years of stops and starts, they’ve hired director Fede Alvarez to helm a continuation. Yes, I assure you that you read that correctly: the guy who made Don’t Breathe and the Evil Dead remake is making a new Labyrinth movie.

Labyrinth wasn’t a hit upon initial release, but the movie has since become a cult classic and a cultural touchstone, especially for women who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s. I came to the film late – I only saw it for the first time a few years ago – but it has great characters led by a young Jennifer Connelly and an absolutely mesmerizing performance by David Bowie, and I can see why a generation holds it close to their hearts.

A sequel or continuation of has been in the works since at least 2014, and last year, it was reported that Guardians of the Galaxy writer Nicole Perlman was tapped to write the screenplay for a remake. She quickly took to Twitter to clarify the situation:

But now Deadline reports that TriStar has hired Alvarez to direct and co-write the screenplay with Jay Basu (Monsters: Dark Continent), and there’s no mention of Perlman’s name anywhere, so it seems like she’s off the project. She’s currently writing Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel with Inside Out writer Meg LeFauve.

But let’s take a step back and talk about how strange of a choice Alvarez is for this material. Deadline’s sources assure them that this Labyrinth movie will be a “new story within the universe created in the original movie,” it’s specifically “not a remake,” and David Bowie’s character – Jareth the Goblin King – won’t be involved. So even though we don’t know anything about its plot, it’s safe to assume The Henson Company and TriStar, who are co-producing this film, will attempt to recapture the original’s tone so they can aim at a similar age group. (Jim Henson directed the first film, and his daughter Lisa Henson will be a producer on the new installment.)

Alvarez has directed a violent Evil Dead remake, the disturbing and suspenseful Don’t Breathe, and he’s now working on The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Sony’s sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. None of those projects are anywhere near “family friendly,” so this strikes me as a peculiar choice. But when I was watching Don’t Breathe, I remember being incredibly impressed by his ability to stretch tension to its breaking point, so if he’s able to tackle a more lighthearted tone with that same level of control, he might actually do the impossible and make a Labyrinth movie that lives up to expectations of fans who adore the original.

What do you think? Is Alvarez the right guy to tackle a new Labyrinth movie?

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Official Trailer for Grand Prix Winner ‘Violet’ from Director Bas Devos

Violet Trailer

«Delicately surreal.» A new trailer has arrived for a film titled Violet, from Flemish director Bas Devos. The film tells the story of 16-year-old Jesse, as played by Cesar De Sutter, who is the only one to witness the stabbing of his friend. But now he has to face his family and the friends in his BMX crew to tell them about how he really feels. Violet first premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2014, three years ago, and is just now being released. It won the Grand Prix prize at the festival then, for «its abstract exploration of emotions following a tragic death and because of its exquisite sculpture of cinematography, sound & story.» See below. ›››

Continue reading Official Trailer for Grand Prix Winner ‘Violet’ from Director Bas Devos

Michael Crichton’s ‘Micro’ Sets Sail With ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Director

micro movie

Michael Crichton‘s best work always tends to read like fleshed-out screenplay. Few “airport novelists” (and I use that term with affection) were so effective at relaying blockbuster-sized action on the page, at vividly depicting what feels like a major Hollywood story in 500 or so breathless pages. It’s no wonder that his work continues to inspire adaptations nearly a decade after his death.

The latest novel to embark on a journey to the big screen is Micro and the project has nabbed a Pirates of the Caribbean director and a producer with his fair share of Crichton experience.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales co-director Joachim Ronning is in negotiations to direct Micro for Amblin Entertainment. Frank Marshall, whose many credits include Jurassic Park (the most famous and popular Crichton adaptation) and its three sequels, will produce. This will be Ronning’s first feature project without Espen Sandberg, his fellow Pirates director with whom he also helmed Bandidas, Max Manus: Man of War, and Kon-Tiki

While I’ve read much of Crichton’s work, I never go around to Micro, which was published posthumously in 2011 (Richard Preston finished the novel on behalf of the late author). It sounds an awful lot like Honey I Shrunk the Kids with a bit more intrigue and ruthlessness, telling the story of “a group of graduate students lured to Hawaii to work for a mysterious biotech company” who are miniaturized and “cast out into the rain forest, with nothing but their scientific expertise and wits to protect them.” It’s certainly a fun hook and one that will allow for all kinds of special effects sequences and derring-do. In fact, it sounds like the kind of movie Amblin would have made back in the ’80s: a high concept science fiction adventure film built around an adventurous premise.

While Jurassic Park is an undisputed classic (it’s also Crichton’s best novel), other Crichton adaptations have proven less successful in the past. 1995’s Congo, directed by Marshall, is a straight-up bad movie, albeit, a straight-up bad movie with personality and charm to spare. Other movies, like Timeline, The 13th Warrior, and Sphere failed to capture the attention to detail that makes the source novels so entertaining. And then there’s Rising Sun and Disclosure, two bad movies based on bad books that shouldn’t have been adapted in the first place.

In other words, we’re way overdue for another great Michael Crichton adaptation. Let’s hope Ronning and Marshall can pull it off.

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