Los Angzeles , Jan 8 (AP/UNB) — The scripts for "Black Panther" and "A Star Is Born" are among the five films that have been selected to compete for best adapted screenplay at the Writers Guild of America Awards. The two blockbusters will compete against "BlacKkKlansman," ''Can You Ever Forgive Me?" and "If Beale Street Could Talk."
The writers guild also on Monday announced its nominees for best original screenplay, including Bo Burnham for "Eighth Grade," Alfonso Cuaron for "Roma," Adam McKay for "Vice," as well as the scripts for "A Quiet Place," co-written by John Krasinski, and "Green Book."
Documentary scripts nominated include Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 11/9" and Lauren Greenfield's "Generation Wealth."
Winners will be announced at concurrent ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles on February 17.
New York, Jan 6 (AP/UNB) — The National Society of Film Critics on Saturday chose Chloe Zhao's low-budget debut feature, "The Rider," as best picture of 2018.
Director Alfonso Cuaron's black-and-white "Roma" period piece set in modern Mexico won the most awards — as best picture runner-up, best foreign-language film and for best cinematography. Cuaron also got the award for best director.
The society of leading movie critics voted for Olivia Colman as best actress in "The Favourite," and Ethan Hawke as best actor in "First Reformed." The top accolade for best supporting actor went to Steve Yeun of "Burning," while Regina King of "If Beale Street Could Talk" nabbed best supporting actress. About 40 of the society's 64 members voted.
Best screenplay went to "The Death of Stalin," and best non-fiction film to "Minding the Gap," a documentary directed by Bing Liu about the complex friendship among three skateboarding young men, including himself, in their hometown of Rockford, Illinois.
The film critics society was founded in 1966, electing its voting critics from newspapers and other major U.S. media outlets. The 53rd annual awards were hosted by New York's Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Justin Chang, the society's chairman and the Los Angeles Times' film critic, told The Associated Press that 2018 yielded "an embarrassment of riches" among new movies, but "The Rider" stood out among them — a contemporary western drama shot in the badlands of South Dakota. There, a family living in a trailer against the backdrop of the rodeo circuit struggles with autism, brain damage from a bronc riding competition, drinking and gambling, but somehow endures.
The film, directed by a Beijing-born woman who was educated in the United States and lives here, "is a mixture of documentary realism and fiction," Chang said. "She uses nonprofessional actors in a way that's intimate and organic; it's a heartbreaking movie with a lot of staying power."
He noted that the society does not base its choices either on a film's box office or its budget. "We care about the quality of the movies."
The 2018 winners reflect this year's wide ethnic and technical diversity in film production, including "Burning," a South Korean mystery drama directed by Lee Chang-dong.
"Roma," directed by the Mexican-born Cuaron, has also been named best picture by the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
"A lot of directors are rediscovering the striking, atmospheric properties of black-and-white cinema," Chang said — including Cuaron, who had also directed the 2001 prize-winning "Y Tu Mama Tambien."
In "Roma," Cuaron's lavish visuals capture a young domestic worker in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City in the 1970s, exploding with domestic, social and political turmoil.
"It's the critical hit of the season," Chang said.
San Francisco, Jan 3 (AP/UNB) — Netflix said 45 million subscriber accounts worldwide watched the Sandra Bullock thriller "Bird Box" during its first seven days on the service, the biggest first-week success of any movie made for the company's nearly 12-year-old streaming service.
Netflix, which typically refuses to provide viewership numbers, made the rare disclosure in a recent tweet as movie producers, writers, actors and investors continue to size up a company that has already reshaped the way the world watches video.
The first-week audience means nearly one-third of Netflix's 137 million subscribers watched the movie from Dec. 21 through Dec. 27 — a holiday-season stretch when many people aren't working and have more free time. Had 45 million people actually gone to a theater in the U.S. to watch "Bird Box," it would have translated to about $400 million in box-office revenue, based on average ticket prices.
But people were watching the movie on a service for which they already had paid and had the luxury of doing so without leaving their homes. That makes watching "Bird Box" more comparable to watching a television program, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said.
By that yardstick, the viewership for "Bird Box" is less impressive. For instance, the Super Bowl typically attracts 100 million to 110 million viewers in the U.S. alone. The annual telecast of the Academy Awards has drawn a U.S. audience of 26 million to 40 million in recent years. And those totals are for a single day, not a week.
Television viewership and theatrical box-office numbers are typically calculated by third-party firms, unlike the "Bird Box" figure released by Netflix. The Los Gatos, California, company has steadfastly refused to divulge its viewership because it regards the data as a competitive advantage in deciding what programs will attract subscribers. All Netflix will say about its "Bird Box" number is that it counted only accounts that watched at least 70 percent of the movie. Multiple viewers sharing a single account are counted once.
Netflix so far has made its biggest splash with highly acclaimed TV series such as "House of Cards," ''Stranger Things," and "The Crown." ''Bird Box" is the latest example of the company's resolve to become a bigger player in movies, too.
To pull it off, Netflix is borrowing billions of dollars to pay for original movies and TV series. But beyond money, Netflix needs to appease directors and actors who want their work to also be seen in movie theaters, both for their larger screens and for award consideration. That's why Netflix has been arranging for films like "Bird Box," ''Roma," and "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" to have limited runs in theaters first.
That's a strategy that Amazon had already been following, enabling its "Manchester By The Sea" to win Academy Awards for best actor and original screenplay in 2017. An ESPN documentary, "O.J.: Made In America," also won an Oscar in 2017 after appearing in theaters before its debut on the TV network.
By breaking tradition and disclosing viewership numbers for "Bird Box," Netflix cleverly created even more buzz, Pachter said. "They are masters at getting attention and they knew revealing the numbers would get the media to write about it," he said.
That, in turn, gets the attention of movie producers and directors, as well as luring back investors who had sold off Netflix in recent weeks as part of a broader sell-off of tech stocks. The company's stock closed Wednesday unchanged at $267.66, but has dropped 37 percent from its peak in June — a slump that has wiped out nearly $70 billion in shareholder wealth.
Netflix quickly found itself grappling with another problem Wednesday as it acknowledged censoring an episode from its "Patriot Act" series in Saudi Arabia to comply with laws in that country.
Dhaka, Jan 1 (UNB) – Veteran Bollywood actor-writer Kader Khan passed away due to prolonged illness on Monday. He was 81.
Khan was admitted to a hospital in Canada and his son Sarfaraz Khan confirmed that his last rites will be conducted in the country, reports the Times of India.
“My dad has left us. He passed away on December 31 at 6 pm as per Canadian time due to prolonged illness. He slipped into coma in the afternoon. He was in the hospital for 16-17 weeks,” the son said.
“The last rites will be performed here in Canada only. We have our entire family here and we live here so we are doing it," said Sarfaraz.
"We are thankful to everyone for their blessings and prayers," he added.
The news of the death of the actor-screenwriter, who was at his peak in the 1980s-90s, comes days after his son dismissed media reports of his demise.
Reportedly, he suffered from progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a degenerative disease that causes loss of balance, difficulty in walking and dementia. Kader also underwent surgeries for his knees in 2017.
Born in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 22, Kader Khan is known for his work as an actor and a writer in several films. He has been part of numerous blockbusters including Khoon Bhari Maang, Biwi Ho To Aisi, Bol Radha Bol, Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Judwaa, Dulhe Raja and Haseena Maan Jayegi. He was last seen in 2015 in Ho Gaya Deemag Ka Dahi.
Dhaka, Dec 30 (UNB) - Mrinal Sen, the legendary director of Indian cinema based in West Bengal, is no more.
Part of the Pantheon of visionary filmmakers to emerge in the ‘parallel cinema’ of West Bengal in the 20th century, with the likes of Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, Sen died of a cardiac arrest at his residence in Kolkata’s Bhabanipur on Sunday. He was 95.
Tracing his roots to Faridpur in Bangladesh, Sen was born on May 14, 1923. He has directed a handful of critically acclaimed films that put Bangla Cinema on the map including “Baishe Srabon”, “Chorus”, “Akaler Sandhaney”, “Bhuvan Shome”, “Parasuram” and more. His fanbase, not surprisingly, spanned the entire Bengal, including Bangladesh.
He won Silver Prize in Moscow International Film Festival in 1975 for Chorus; the Grand Jury Prize for Akaler Sandhaney in Berlin International Film Festival in 1981 and the Jury Prize in Cannes Film Festival in 1983 for Kharij. Additionally he won numerous accolades at home and abroad.
He is survived by his son Kunal Sen.