Movies News

Greta Gerwig is set to inject a feminist spin into the live-action Barbie film starring Margot Robbie and we're so here for it. The dream team. When Warner Brothers announced Barbie was undergoing a modern-day makeover in a new live-action film, no one expected Robbie would be cast in the role. While it seems like an obvious fit aesthetically, it doesn't scream revolutionary. In the past, the Barbie doll has garnered widespread criticism for projecting unrealistic body ideals onto young girls, so with the news of a film, we presumed the doll would be reinvented for a progressive, 21st century audience. But don't panic just yet. There's still hope. Ladybird's Greta Gerwig has confirmed she'll be joining forces with her long-term partner Noah Baumbach to co-write the script, with the screenwriter in talks to direct the film too. And if there's one thing guaranteed with Greta, it's a female-led film with strong feminist messaging. Oh yes. "For us, the Barbie movie should definitely have a message of female empowerment, and that you can dream and be anything you want," she asserted. Interestingly, Amy Schumer was originally signed up to play the role of Barbie but was forced to pull out due to conflicting schedules. At the time, she said of her decision: "The film has so much promise, and Sony and Mattel have been great partners. I'm bummed, but look forward to seeing Barbie on the big screen." A couple of years later, Margot was confirmed to take her place. "Playing with Barbie promotes confidence, curiosity and communication throughout a child's journey to self-discovery," said the Once Upon A Time In Hollywood star. Unfortunately, the film's release date has been pushed back to 2020 with Greta working on the upcoming film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women starring Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson and Timothee Chalamet, and Noah busy directing an untitled Netflix film starring Scarlett Johansen and Adam Driver. Now, let the guessing games commence on who will take on the role of Ken. (British Glamour)

Venice Film Festival to Open With Hirokazu Kore-eda's 'The Truth'. The film stars Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke. La Verite (The Truth), directed by Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-eda (Shoplifters; The Like Father, Like Son) will open this year's Venice International Film Festival. It stars Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke and will screen in the competition of the 76th Venice festival, which runs Aug. 28-Sept. 7. The fest is led by Alberto Barbera and organized by the Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta. "It is with great joy that I have learned that my new film, La Verite, has been selected to open the official competition of the Venice Film Festival," said Kore-eda, who won the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or for Shoplifters in 2018. "I am extremely honored. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the entire staff of the festival. We shot the movie in 10 weeks last fall in Paris. As officially announced, the cast is prestigious but the film itself recounts a small family story that takes place primarily inside a house. I have tried to make my characters live within this small universe, with their lies, pride, regrets, sadness, joy, and reconciliation. I truly hope you will like this film." "For the first film he has directed abroad, Kore-eda had the privilege of working with two major French film stars," Barbera said. "The encounter between the universe of Japan's most important filmmaker today and two beloved actresses like Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche, brought to life a poetic reflection on the relationship between a mother and her daughter, and the complex profession of acting. It will be a pleasure to present this movie as the opening film of this year's Venice Film Festival." The film is about Fabienne (Deneuve) who is a star of French cinema. "She reigns amongst men who love and admire her," according to a plot description. "When she publishes her memoirs, her daughter Lumir (Binoche) returns from New York to Paris with her husband (Hawke) and a young child. The reunion between mother and daughter will quickly turn to confrontation: truths will be told, accounts settled, loves and resentments confessed." (Hollywood Reporter)

Box Office: 'The Lion King' Dethroned Early in China. Before Disney's CGI remake could reach its second weekend in the massive Chinese market, a local family film opened Thursday to rave reviews and began dominating ticket sales. A coup d'etat is afoot at China's massive movie box office. Disney's The Lion King opened last weekend in the Middle Kingdom to a healthy $55 million, but the Hollywood blockbuster's reign is proving surprisingly short-lived. Looking Up, a local family film, was released Thursday to rave reviews and is already dominating ticketing sales across the country. By 3 p.m. Beijing time, Looking Up already had earned just under $6 million for the day, about three times The Lion King's $2 million tally. Looking Up's muscular start is especially troubling for The Lion King's legs in China because the local title is playing as direct competition. Both movies focus heavily on father-son relationships and are pitched towards multi-generational family viewers. Co-directed by and starring Deng Chao (The Mermaid, Duckweed), Looking Up tells the story of a Chinese father (Deng) who deviates from China's standardized test-focussed approach to education and parenting, and instead nurtures his son (played by Feng Ze'ang as a boy, and Bai Yu as an adult) and encourages him to chase his own dreams. The film takes the present day as a framing device, in which the adult son, now an astronaut, loses contact while aboard his ship amidst the vastness of space. The film then proceeds in a series of flashbacks as the son thinks back about the wisdom and generosity of his dad. "This is a film you should watch with your child," said one user of Chinese social media service Weibo in a widely shared post. "It offers encouragement and guidance about how we should approach education in the family." "The film shows some of the problems with our educational system, and the importance of children's independence," wrote a user of Chinese movie reviews site Douban. "But it also teaches not to give up under pressure, or when facing difficulties -- it's worth a lot of thought." Looking Up is riding strong social scores: 9.4/10 from ticketing app Maoyan, 9.1 on Alibaba's Taopiaopiao and 6.3 from Douban (which has a more critical community of filmgoers). The Lion King has been relatively well received in China too, though, with its scores sitting at 8.9, 8.8 and 7.4, respectively. Looking Up's cast and filmmakers began a major marketing tour last weekend, holding preview screenings across the country. By Wednesday, even though the film had yet to officially open, Looking Up already had sold more than $14 million in tickets for previews. The film is produced by Deng's company Tianjin Chengzi Yingxiang Media, with Enlight Media, Maoyan, Tencent Pictures and Dadi Films also holding stakes. After its solid $55 million opening, The Lion King was projected by Maoyan to finish in China with approximately $165 million (RMB 1.14 billion). Those forecasts are being revised downward significantly as Looking Up grows. As of mid-afternoon Thursday, the film had earned $74 million. (Hollywood Reporter)

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