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Pluto Film Boards Venice Horizons Title ‘Victim,’ Debuts Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

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Berlin-based sales agent Pluto Film has acquired Michal Blaško’s suspense drama “Victim,” about a woman seeking justice in a racist society, ahead of its world premiere in Venice’s competitive Horizons strand.

The Slovak-Czech-German coproduction tells the story of Irina (Vita Smachelyuk), a single mother from Ukraine living in a town in the Czech Republic. When her son Igor (Gleb Kuchuk) is attacked, the whole town stands in solidarity with her family and condemns their Roma neighbors, who allegedly committed the crime. After her son wakes up in hospital, truth and lies become difficult to tell apart, which in turn leads to a personal crisis.

Blaško states: “’Victim’ tells a story about trust between Irina and Igor, a mother and son living in a foreign country, where they are left to their own devices. My aim was to paint an emotional portrait of Irina and use it to expose the character of Central European society, which views the protagonist’s situation as an opportunity to unleash and legitimize its hatred. The leitmotif of the film is manipulation, which permeates the story across all social strata. The fact that Irina and Igor are Ukrainians, and thus belong to the minority that is most widely represented in the Czech Republic, while still not being fully accepted, gives the characters a unique perspective.”

Blaško studied film and television directing at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava and FAMO Písek. His shorts were shown at festivals across the world and went on to win several awards. His student film “Atlantis, 2003” premiered in Cannes in 2017, and went on to win the Czech Lion for Best Student Film. He has since gathered a great deal of experience as a director of TV series. His latest series “Suspicion” premiered as part of this year’s Berlinale Series. “Victim” is his first feature.

“Victim” was part of L’Atelier in Cannes in 2019, and received the Works in Progress TRT Award at the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival in 2021. It is produced by Jakub Viktorín and Pavla Janoušková Kubečková for Nutprodukce, in coproduction with Saar Yogev, Naomi Levari and Michael Reuter for Electric Sheep and Radio and Television Slovakia and Czech Television.

Viktorín comments: “It has been six years since Michal first shared his idea for his feature debut with us. The film was made during quite challenging times and required significant effort from both the creative team and our partners. We are honored to be invited to present ‘Victim’ at the oldest film festival in the world, and excited to have secured Pluto Film as our sales agent ahead of the world premiere. We are confident that this partnership will be key in distributing the film to audiences around the globe.”

Pluto Film’s CEO Daniela Cölle says: “We are excited to team up with a young and talented creative team of emerging director Michal Blaško and producers Jakub Viktorín and Pavla Janoušková Kubečková. The story of ‘Victim’ reflects a divided society where all groups have their interests and strategies to manipulate reality. The emotional core of the film is a conflictual mother and son relationship, yet it offers many layers, a direct, real cinematic style, and suspenseful storytelling.”

Pluto Film’s lineup also includes Bettina Blümner’s “Vamos a la Playa”; “How I Learned to Fly” by Serbian helmer Radivoje Andrić; Augusto Sandino’s “A Vanishing Fog”; and Locarno Piazza Grande 2022 entry “Semret” by Caterina Mona.

“Victim” was financially supported by the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, the Czech Film Fund, Eurimages, Hamburg Film Fund, German Federal Film Fund, Creative Europe MEDIA Programme, South Moravian Film Fund, Ústecký Region and Pilsen Region.



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‘Violent Night’ Review: David Harbour Stars in Your Basic, Everyday Heist Meets Bloody Action Santa Meets ‘Home Alone’ Christmas Thriller

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The now-ancient joke about the kind of pitches that movie executives respond to (“It’s ‘Avengers 2’…meets ‘Glass Onion’!”) is really about what the audience responds to. We’re the ones who like our special-sauce tacos stuffed inside a bacon burger topped with a bun made of pizza. And “Violent Night” is a movie that takes the oversize appetite of the audience very seriously. The title might lead you to expect a holiday horror film, with Santa as a mad slasher ­— but, you know, we’ve been there, eaten that. In “Violent Night,” David Harbour, that jovially quirky actor from “Stranger Things” and the 2019 “Hellboy” reboot, does in fact play a dissolute Santa who cruises through Christmas on a bender of holiday cookies and random alcohol, peeing and puking off the side of his sleigh — but in movies like “Bad Santa,” we’ve tasted that fast-food combo, too.

To wake up the jaded taste buds of today’s holiday movie audience, you need a piece of entertainment that’s truly going to combine flavors. So consider this: a comedy about a filthy-rich family whose members can’t stand each other but gather anyway, on Christmas Eve, at the Greenwich, Conn., mansion of their misanthropic matriarch, Gertrude Lightstone (Beverly D’Angelo), for a little forced holiday cheer. Before the festivities have begun, they’re set upon by a ruthless team of home invaders led by a psycho who calls himself Scrooge (John Leguizamo). He sets the tone with a hearty “Bah humbug, motherfucker!,” and the foul-mouthed Yuletide spirits escalate from there.

Scrooge, who’s been casing the joint for months, knows that there’s $300 million hidden in the vault below, and he has arranged it so that everyone — catering staff, security agents — is secretly working for him. What he wasn’t counting on is Santa Claus, who’s making his yearly Christmas pitstop. Santa is a bit of a Scrooge himself: a drunk and a curmudgeon who can’t get over what consumerist zombies today’s kids have become. But he’s also got special powers. Do I mean his ability to glide, with a twinkling twitch of his nose, up and down chimneys? Or the golden digital scrolls he unfurls with a list of what each kid has done that’s naughty or nice? Certainly all that.

Mostly, though, this Santa is a weapon-welding badass. He’s many centuries old and started off, in vintage Kris Kringle fashion, as some sort of earthy Scandinavian Viking warrior. Now he’s like a member of the Expendables, dispatching enemies with old-school brutality. When he grabs a sledgehammer, he becomes a death-wish version of Thor. But since “Violent Night” is a Christmas movie, it’s all in good fun! Especially when Trudy (Leah Brady), the 7-year-old daughter of Jason (Alex Hassell), the only honorable member of the Lightstone clan, goes “Home Alone” medieval on the asses of the home invaders. Ladders are booby-trapped so throats get pierced with nails; heads are scalped; the pain gets brought. As someone in a film like this might put it: That’s what I’m talkin’ about. Or maybe I should just say: Have yourself a bloody little gonzo action Christmas.  

Over the last week, everyone in entertainment media, including me, has churned out hand-wringing articles about how the acclaimed awards films are all fizzling at the box office. One after another, “Tár,” “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “She Said,” “Triangle of Sadness,” and “Till” are all crawling their way to a gross of maybe $10 million. (“The Fabelmans,” with a more high-profile pedigree, will probably crawl its way to $20 million.) We know that this is the age of Marvel, so “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is the triumphant counterexample. But even in 2022, people don’t just go to Marvel movies. One of the things that’s defeated adult moviegoing is the insatiable hunger for unabashed junk food like “Violent Night.” The movie has no comic-book hook; it’s a trash-compactor genre buffet that smashes together a dozen things you’ve seen before. But that’s the hook. “Violent Night” is amusing in a few spots, wearying in more than a few others, but to complain about it in the way that I’m doing is to come off as churlish. It’s a movie that feeds the beast.

David Harbour gives off of a ping of likability, and that makes him the right actor to play a down-in-the-dumps, vengeance-is-mine Santa who is really, beneath his bloody mottled gray curls, the Christmas mensch we want him to be. John Leguizamo, as always, refuses to phone anything in; as Scrooge the sociopath who hates Christmas, he makes every obscenity pop. Beverly D’Angelo, Edi Patterson, and Cam Gigandet play the rest of the Lightstone clan as walking high-camp horrors, and Alexis Louder, as Jason’s estranged wife, lends a lone note of stubborn sanity to the proceedings. “Violent Night,” with its action-thriller soundtrack built around themes from classic Christmas songs, is a movie that makes you think: What’s next, “Massacre on 34th St.”? Christmas movies, like all Hollywood pulp, build on one another, and maybe this is just one more age-of-nothing-sacred holiday mish-mash, but “Violent Night,” depending on how it performs, could open the door to a new kind of down-and-dirty Christmas/action hybrid. Just imagine hearing lines like “God bless us — every one, motherfucker!” The possibilities are endless.



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Super Mario Bros. Movie Posters Show New Looks For Nintendo Characters

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Illumination unveils more Super Mario Bros. Movie posters showing off the new looks for the beloved Nintendo characters for the animated adventure.


Hot off the premiere of a new trailer for the animated movie, a new set of The Super Mario Bros. Movie posters have been released to showcase the colorful cast of Nintendo characters. The video game publisher has partnered with Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment to give their most iconic video character new life on the big screen after the critical and box office disappointment of the 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. The new animated take on Mario features an impressive cast including Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Seth Rogen, Keegan-Michael Key, and Jack Black.

SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

To coincide with the new trailer, Universal Pictures also released a series of The Super Mario Bros. Movie posters. The key arts highlight the main characters including Mario, Princess Peach, Luigi, Donkey Kong, Toad, and Bowser. Each character is given a unique location that will be showcased in the film and highlights the level of accuracy the filmmakers took to make the characters match their video game counterparts. Check out the posters below:


Super Mario Bros.’ Character Designs Are A Good Sign

Super Mario Bros Movie Rainbow Road

Ever since it was announced that Chris Pratt would be voicing Mario in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, the film has faced an uphill battle in trying to win fans over. The first teaser for the movie even held off on Mario, with the character getting only a minimal amount of dialogue. While audiences may still have a hard time getting used to his voice for the character, the faithfulness of the character designs showcased in the posters are likely to ease some concerns about the film.

The character designs for The Super Mario Bros. Movie capture the essence of the characters, with only some minor tweaks made to the faces to make them more expressive for an animated picture. It does not appear that The Super Mario Bros. Movie will suffer the same hiccup that Sonic the Hedgehog faced when audiences reacted so poorly to the title character’s design in the original teaser that the character had to be reworked and the film delayed. The creative team behind The Super Mario Bros. Movie has clearly gone to great lengths to maintain a level of visual accuracy to the video games.

As audiences head out to the theaters this holiday season for films like Avatar: The Way of Water, it is likely they will not only see the new The Super Mario Bros. Movie trailer, but also the character posters at various theaters across the country. The posters are colorful enough to catch the eyes of long-time fans, casual moviegoers who may recognize Mario, and young child audiences who are new to the character. Nintendo and Universal are hoping this pays off for a big box office intake as Nintendo is looking to develop more films while the Mario-themed land also set to open at Universal Studios Hollywood just ahead of the film’s release.

Source: Universal Pictures

Key Release Date

  • Mario Bros Film Poster

    The Super Mario Bros Film

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Oscars 2023 Will Include All 23 Categories Presented Live on Air (EXCLUSIVE)

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All 23 categories will be aired during the Oscars 2023 telecast.

Bill Kramer, CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, announced the news exclusively to Variety Tuesday morning. “I can confirm that all categories will be included in the live telecast,” he said.

The news comes after eight different Oscar categories — original score, makeup and hairstyling, documentary short, film editing, production design, animated short, live action short and sound — were cut from the main telecast at the 2022 Academy Awards, leading to much outrage across the film industry.

“We are committed to having a show that celebrates the artisans, the arts and sciences and the collaborative nature of moviemaking. This is very much what the mission of the Academy is, and I am very hopeful that we can do a show that celebrates all components of moviemaking in an entertaining and engaging way,” Kramer said.

Since his appointment in June, Kramer said he’s had many conversations about restoring the missing categories: “We are thrilled to be in a position to execute that.”

Jimmy Kimmel will return for the third time to host the Oscars. Kramer said he was excited to have the late-night host back. “I love having someone hosting the show who knows live television. I think that’s so critical,” he said.

When asked about what else audiences can expect from the telecast, Kramer said, “All I will say right now is that our anniversary, the 95th Oscars, is extremely important to us. I think it sets a really interesting rhythm for our 100th. You see this in the museum, I think we are able to celebrate our legacy while bringing the Academy into the future and the show will reflect that.”

Executive producers and showrunners Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner of White Cherry Entertainment will produce the Oscars, and Weiss returns, for the eighth consecutive year, as the show’s director. The 95th Academy Awards will take place on March 12, 2023, live from the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood. The ceremony will be televised live on ABC and in more than 200 territories worldwide



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