Focus Features

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Posted by bender 03/02/2009 @ 23:13

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The Limits of Control (Focus Features, R) - Play by Play
Navigating Jarmusch's lucid dream isn't the difficult part; its path is lined with the familiar. Though Rotten Tomatoes may lead you to believe otherwise, The Limits of Control is Jim Jarmusch's finest offering in a decade....
Bornedal to direct Focus' 'Husband' - Variety
By ALI JAAFAR CANNES -- Focus Features has attached Danish helmer Ole Bornedal to direct the adaptation of the Dean Koontz novel "The Husband." Pic is about an ordinary working man whose love for his wife is put to a harrowing series of tests over a...
Men's lacrosse Final Four features familiar faces - USA Today
"I think if you start to talk about those kinds of things then you lose focus on the task at hand." Adding to the intrigue, Syracuse has very little history with its semifinal opponent, Duke. Despite the fact the Blue Devils are making their fourth...
At Quieter Cannes, Industry Execs Speculate Worst Has Passed - Wall Street Journal
And entities such as the Film Department, Universal's Focus Features International, Summit International, Mandate International, and Hype Park International did leave Cannes with solid sales. Summit's “Twilight” sequel “New Moon” and Hyde Park's...
A Long Menu With an Italian Focus - New York Times
VARIED Sleek yet casual surroundings set the tone at Mickey's, where the menu features an array of Mediterranean and Italian dishes. By STEPHANIE LYNESS CONSISTENCY may be the hobgoblin of little minds, but it is essential to a restaurant....
Kevin Bacon Mugged in NYC Subway - Popeater
(AP Photo/Dave Allocca, Starpix) AP In this photo provided by Starpix, Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber attend a special screening of "Milk" hosted by Focus Features with the Cinema Society in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Dave Allocca,...
Free To Use. Pay To Play. - Washington Post
The idea that you have a core set of features that are free to all users, and charge a fee to the smaller subset of users who will want more advanced features, makes a lot of sense. But now it's easier than it has ever been for startups of all sizes to...
Ang Lee partnership gives him broad film focus - The Associated Press
Schamus' distribution banner — Focus Features, a unit of NBC Universal — released "Brokeback Mountain" and is putting out "Taking Woodstock" in August around the 40th anniversary of the concert. After their frothy first films together, Lee went into a...
Ford Focus continues to be successful - The Morning Sun
The Focus also comes with a message center that keeps the driver alert to potential problems with the vehicle or service information. It also comes with features such as power windows that were once only found on more expensive vehicles, and seats that...
Away We Go - Variety
By DENNIS HARVEY A Focus Features release of a Focus Features presentation in association with Big Beach of an Edward Saxon/Big Beach production in association with Neal Street Prods. Produced by Edward Saxon, Marc Turtletaub, Peter Saraf....

Focus Features

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Focus Features (formerly USA Films, Universal Focus and Good Machine) is the art house films division of NBC Universal's Universal Pictures, and acts as both a producer and distributor for its own films and a distributor for foreign films.

Focus was formed from the 2002 divisional merger of USA Films, Universal Focus and Good Machine. USA Films was created by Barry Diller in 1999 by combining October Films and Gramercy Pictures. Vivendi sold the studio, among other entertainment assets, to GE in 2004 to form NBC Universal.

Focus' most successful release to date is Brokeback Mountain (2005), which earned $83,043,761 at the North American box office. However, this is not counting the domestic total of Traffic (2000), which earned $124,107,477 under the USA Films banner.

In addition to all these, Focus owns the backlog of predecessor October Films and Gramercy Pictures' in-house productions, as well as some rights to the 1974 film The Return of the Pink Panther (with the main exception of domestic theatrical, television, and internet distribution, still held by its original distributor, United Artists via sister company MGM), and most of the Savoy Pictures backlog, including Serial Mom.

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Brokeback Mountain

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Brokeback Mountain is a 2005 American romantic-drama film that depicts the complex romantic and sexual relationship between two men in the American West from 1963 to 1983.

The film was directed by Taiwanese director Ang Lee from a screenplay by Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry, which they adapted from the short story Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx. The film stars Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, and Michelle Williams.

Brokeback Mountain won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and was honored with Best Picture and Best Director accolades from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Golden Globe Awards, Producers Guild of America, Critics Choice Awards, and Independent Spirit Awards among many other organizations and festivals. Brokeback Mountain had the most nominations (eight) for the 78th Academy Awards, where it won three: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score. The film was widely considered to be a front runner for the Academy Award for Best Picture, but lost to Crash. At the end of its theatrical run, Brokeback Mountain ranked eighth among the highest-grossing romantic dramas of all time.

Brokeback Mountain is the story of ranch hand Ennis del Mar (Heath Ledger) and rodeo cowboy Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal), two young men who meet and fall in love on the fictional Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming in 1963. The film documents their complex relationship over the next twenty years.

Ennis and Jack first meet when they are hired by Joe Aguirre (Quaid) to herd his sheep through the summer. During the long months of isolation, a bond begins to develop between the two. One night, after heavy drinking, Jack makes a sexual pass at Ennis, who initially is apprehensive, but then succumbs to Jack's advances. Although he warns Jack it was only a one-time incident, Ennis finds himself becoming involved in both a physical and a powerful emotional relationship with his partner through the rest of their tenure. Shortly after learning their summer together is being cut short unexpectedly, they briefly fight, during which each is bloodied.

After the two part ways, Ennis marries his long-time fiancée Alma Beers (Michelle Williams) and Jack ends up in Texas, where he meets and marries rodeo princess Lureen Newsome (Anne Hathaway). The two men reunite four years later, and Alma accidentally witnesses them passionately kissing. Jack broaches the subject of creating a life together on a small ranch, but Ennis, haunted by a painful childhood memory of the torture and murder of a suspected homosexual in his hometown, fears such an arrangement could only end in tragedy. He also is unwilling to abandon his family. Unable to be open about their relationship, Ennis and Jack end up meeting only for infrequent fishing trips.

As the years pass, the marriages of both men deteriorate. Alma's awareness of the real nature of her husband's "fishing trips" with Jack have created a strain on the couple's relationship, and eventually they divorce. Meanwhile, Lureen has abandoned her fun-loving ways and become a straight-laced businesswoman who expects Jack to settle down and work in sales, a career for which he has talent but no drive. Hearing about Ennis's divorce, Jack drives to Wyoming in hopes they can live together at last, but Ennis refuses to move away from his children and is still fearful of possible repercussions if their relationship becomes public.

At the end of a camping trip, Ennis tells Jack he has to cancel their next outing because of his job, and an argument erupts. Ennis blames Jack for "making me the way I am" and for being the cause of his conflicted emotions, feeling they have trapped him and ruined his life. Jack attempts to hold him and there is a brief struggle, but they end up locked in an embrace.

An unspecified amount of time later, a postcard Ennis sent to Jack is returned stamped "Deceased." In a telephone conversation, Lureen tells Ennis that Jack died while changing a tire that exploded. Her explanation of the incident is overlaid with images of Jack being beaten brutally by three men; it is possible to interpret this as either Ennis's fear of what actually happened (inspired by his experience of the homophobic murder in his childhood) or a portrayal of what Lureen knows to be Jack's real fate, the account she relates being a sanitized version of her husband's demise. Lureen tells Ennis that Jack wished to have his ashes scattered on Brokeback Mountain, but she didn't know where it was. Ennis travels to see Jack's mother and father (Roberta Maxwell and Peter McRobbie), where he offers to take Jack's ashes, but the father flatly refuses the request. Jack's mother asks Ennis if he would like to see Jack's childhood bedroom before he leaves. There he discovers on a hanger in the closet the old blood-stained shirt he thought he had lost on Brokeback Mountain, learning instead that Jack had stolen it. Here it waits on a hanger, tucked inside the also blood-stained shirt Jack himself had worn in that fight long ago. Ennis holds them up to his face, breathes in their scent, and silently weeps. He carries the shirts downstairs with him, and Jack's mother allows him to keep them, and gives him a bag to carry them in.

In the final scene, 19-year-old Alma Jr. (Kate Mara) arrives at her father's trailer with the news she's engaged. She asks Ennis for his blessings and invites him to the wedding. Ennis, finally aware of the importance of love in a relationship and marriage, asks her if her fiancé really loves her. After Alma's departure, Ennis notices she has forgotten her sweater, which he folds and puts in the closet. Inside, hanging on a nail pounded into the door, are the two shirts with a postcard of Brokeback Mountain tacked alongside. Now, Jack's shirt is tucked inside of Ennis's. Ennis carefully fastens the top button of Jack's shirt, and with tears in his eyes mutters, "Jack, I swear..." while slowly straightening the postcard.

While the movie is set in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, it was filmed almost entirely in the Canadian Rockies in southern Alberta..

The "Brokeback Mountain" in the movie is so named because the mountain has the same swayback curve as a brokeback horse or mule, which is swaybacked or sagging in the spine, is actually a composite of Mount Lougheed south of the town of Canmore to Fortress and Moose Mountain in Kananaskis Country. The campsites were filmed at Goat Creek, Upper Kananaskis Lake, Elbow Falls and Canyon Creek, also in Alberta. Other movie scenes were also filmed in Cowley, Fort Macleod, and Calgary.

The movie was filmed during the summer of 2004.

During filming it was reported Ledger almost broke Gyllenhaal's nose during a kissing scene, as the scene required violent passion.

Brokeback Mountain cost about U.S.$14 million to produce, excluding its advertising budget of (allegedly) $5 million. According to interviews with the filmmakers, Focus Features was able to recoup its production costs early on by selling overseas rights to the film.

The film saw limited release in the United States on December 9, 2005 (in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco), taking $547,425 in five theaters its first weekend.

Over the Christmas weekend, it posted the highest per-theater gross of any movie and was considered a box office success not only in urban centers such as New York City and Los Angeles, but also in suburban theaters near Portland, Houston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, and Atlanta. On January 6, 2006, the movie expanded into 483 theaters, and on January 13, 2006, Focus Features, the movie's distributor, opened Brokeback in nearly 700 North American cinemas as part of its ongoing expansion strategy for the movie. On January 20, the film opened in 1,194 theaters in North America; it opened in 1,652 theaters on January 27 and in 2,089 theaters on February 3, its widest release.

Brokeback Mountain's theatrical run lasted for 133 days and grossed $83,043,761 in North America and $95,000,000 abroad, adding up to a worldwide gross of more than $178 million. It is the top-grossing release of Focus Features, ranks fifth among the highest-grossing westerns (since 1979) and eighth among the highest-grossing romantic dramas (1980-Present).

The film was released in London, UK, on December 30, 2005, in only one cinema, and was widely released in UK on January 6, 2006. On January 11, Time Out London magazine reported that Brokeback was the number one movie in the city, a position it held for three weeks.

The movie was released in France on January 18, 2006, in 155 cinemas (expanding into 258 cinemas in the second week and into 290 in the third week). In its first week of release, Brokeback Mountain was in third place at the French box office, with 277,000 people viewing the movie, or an average of 1,787 people by cinema per week, the highest such figure for any film in France that week. One month later, it reached more than one million viewers (more than 1,250,000 on March 18), with still 168 cinemas (in the 10th week). Released in Italy on January 20, the film grossed more than 890,000 euros in only three days, and was the fourth highest-grossing film in the country in its first week of release.

Brokeback Mountain was released in Australia on January 26, 2006, where it landed in fourth place at the box office and earned an average per-screen gross three times higher than its nearest competitor during its first weekend despite being released in only 48 cinemas nationwide. Most of the Australian critics praised the film. Brokeback was released in many other countries during the first three months of 2006. The film was released in Peru and in the Netherlands on February 16, and opened in Germany on March 9. It premiered in Brazil on February 3 and quickly topped the charts with more than 100,000 viewers. The movie was released in India on March 10.

During its first week of release, Brokeback was in first place in Hong Kong's box office, with more than US$473,868 ($22,565 per cinema).

Brokeback Mountain was the highest-grossing movie in the U.S. from January 17 through January 19, 2006, perhaps due primarily to its wins at the Golden Globes on January 16. Indeed, the movie was one of the top five highest-grossing films in the U.S. every day from January 17 until January 28, including over the weekend (when more people go to the movies and big-budget films usually crowd out independent films from the top-grossing list) of January 20-22. On January 28, the movie fell out of the top five and into sixth place at the box office during that weekend before entering the top five again on January 30 and remaining there until February 10.

The movie was released on January 20, 2006, in Taiwan, where director Ang Lee was born. It ran until April 20.

The pair of shirts from the film sold on eBay on February 20, 2006, for US$101,100.51 The buyer, film historian and collector Tom Gregory, called the shirts "the ruby slippers of our time," and intends never to separate them. The proceeds will benefit California children's charity Variety, which has long been associated with the movie industry.

Professional film critics have heaped praise on Brokeback Mountain. The film won four Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture-Drama, and was nominated for seven, leading all other films in the 2005 awards. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival, as well as the title Best Picture from the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, the Florida Film Critics Circle, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, the Southeastern Film Critics Association, the Utah Film Critics Society, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (the BAFTAs).

Brokeback Mountain received an 87% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, compiled from 223 reviews, with the consensus that "a beautifully epic Western, Brokeback Mountain's gay love story is embued with heartbreaking universality, helped by the moving performances of Ledger and Gyllenhaal." The film was given a "two thumbs up" rating by Ebert and Roeper, the former granting a four-star review in the Chicago Sun-Times. The film received "circumspect" positive reviews from Christianity Today. Conservative radio host Michael Medved gave the film three and a half stars, stating that while the movie's "agenda" is blatant, it is an artistic work.

Some gay cultural critics, such as David Ehrenstein, believe that the film's cultural impact is being overplayed at the expense of other groundbreaking films and the challenges that openly gay and lesbian actors still face. A few other gay commentators have written disapprovingly about the fact that, in what has been widely hailed as a "breakthrough" film for gay cinema, neither the film's two lead actors, nor its director, nor its screenwriters are gay.

The film's significance has been attributed to its portrayal of a same-sex relationship without any reference to the history of the gay civil rights movement. This emphasizes the tragic love story aspect, which leads many commentators to effectively compare Ennis and Jack's drama to classic and modern romances like Romeo and Juliet or Titanic, often using the term star-crossed lovers. This link to classic romances is no coincidence: the poster for the film was inspired by that of James Cameron's Titanic, after Ang Lee's collaborator James Schamus looked at the posters of "the 50 most romantic movies ever made".

When Ledger and Gyllenhaal were asked about any fear of being cast in such controversial roles, Ledger responded that he was not afraid of the role, but rather he was concerned that he would not be mature enough as an actor to do the story justice. Gyllenhaal has stated that he is extremely proud of the movie and his role, regardless of what the reactions would be. Although he has repeatedly stated that he is heterosexual, he regards rumors of him being bisexual as flattering. Both have stated that the sex scenes in the beginning were difficult to do. Lee found the first scene difficult to film and has stated he has great respect for the two main actors for their "courage".

On January 3, 2006, Universal, the studio of which Focus Features is the specialty division, announced that Brokeback Mountain was the most honored film of 2005. The independent website criticstop10.net backed that assertion, reporting that Brokeback Mountain was the most frequently-selected movie on reviewers' year-end Top Ten lists of 2005.

On March 9, 2006, Brokeback Mountain made the news yet again when a press release was sent to more than 400 media outlets announcing that nearly $26,000 had been raised for an ad to be posted in the Daily Variety on March 10, 2006. This $26,000 had been raised by just over 600 fans through an online donations site, affiliated with a non-studio-sponsored online forum which is devoted to the film and the book. The story was quickly picked up by several outlets including Yahoo!, The Advocate, and The New York Times. The ad served as a simple show of fan support despite its losing the Best Picture Oscar.

Although there are minor differences between the original short story and the movie, Proulx stated in an extra essay published in a reprint of her "Brokeback Mountain" short stories compilation that she was positively surprised and impressed how Ang Lee, the scriptwriters and the actors were able to portray the story, calling it even an improvement from her original short story.

The title of Brokeback Mountain has been translated into several other languages. Often the foreign title is literally The Secret(s) of Brokeback Mountain (how the French, Italian, Portuguese and Polish titles translate). In Canadian French, the title was translated to Souvenirs de Brokeback Mountain (Memories of Brokeback Mountain). The Region 1 DVD has English, Spanish (Latin American), French (Canadian), and on some DVDs, German audio tracks.

The film critic for the U.S. morning show The Today Show, Gene Shalit, called Gyllenhaal's character, Jack Twist, a "sexual predator" who "tracks Ennis down and coaxes him into sporadic trysts." This triggered complaints, particularly from gay media watchdog group GLAAD, which argued that Shalit's characterization of the character would be akin to calling Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Titanic a sexual predator for his romantic pursuit of the character played by Kate Winslet. Shalit later apologized.

In a letter to GLAAD, Shalit's son Peter, who is gay, wrote, "He may have had an unpopular opinion of a movie that is important to the gay community, but he defamed no one, and he is not a homophobe." He went on to say that GLAAD had defamed his father by "falsely accusing him of a repellent form of bigotry".

Several Christian fundamentalist groups, such as Concerned Women for America and Focus on the Family, lambasted the film heavily even prior to its release. Following wins by Brokeback Mountain, Capote, and Transamerica at the 2006 Golden Globes, Janice Crouse, a Concerned Women for America member, cited these films as examples of how "the media elites are proving that their pet projects are more important than profit" and suggested that they were not popular enough to merit so much critical acclaim.

Right-wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh has referred to the film as "Bareback Mountain" and "Humpback Mountain". Don Imus, another controversial radio personality, had labeled the film "Fudgepack Mountain".

Some commentators have voiced concerns about the coverage of the movie's homosexual theme in the mass media both in advertising and in public events, such as press conferences and award ceremonies. Several journalists, including New York Daily News writer Wayman Wong, Dave Cullen and Daniel Mendelsohn, have complained that the movie's director, lead actors, and publicity team all avoided using the word gay to describe the story and pointed out that while the movie trailer does not show the two male leads kissing each other, it nevertheless includes a clip from a heterosexual love scene.

On March 23, 2006, actor Randy Quaid, who played Joe Aguirre (Ennis and Jack's boss), filed a lawsuit against Focus Features (LLC), Del Mar Productions (LLC), James Schamus, David Linde, and Does 1-10 alleging that they intentionally and negligently misrepresented Brokeback Mountain as "a low-budget, art house film with no prospect of making any money" in order to secure Quaid's professional acting services at below-market rates. The film had grossed more than $160 million as of the date of his lawsuit, which sought $10 million plus punitive damages. On May 5, Quaid dropped his lawsuit. Quaid's publicist said he decided to drop the lawsuit after Focus Features agreed to pay him a bonus. Focus Features denies making such a settlement.

The American Humane Association raised concerns that animals were treated improperly during filming, alleging that sheep were handled roughly and that an elk appeared to have been "shot on cue", suggesting further that the animal was anesthetized for this purpose, violating standard guidelines for animal handling in the movie industry.

Some critics accused the Academy of homophobia for failing to award the Oscar for Best Picture to Brokeback Mountain and instead giving it to a rival nominee, Crash. Michael Jensen notes that prior to the Oscar ceremony, Brokeback Mountain became "the most honored movie in cinematic history", winning more Best Picture and Director awards than previous Oscar winners Schindler's List and Titanic combined, and pointing out that prior to Brokeback, no film that had won the Writer's Guild, Director's Guild, and Producer's Guild awards failed to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and that only four times in the previous twenty-five years had the Best Picture winner not also been the film with the most nominations. He also notes that only once before had a film not even nominated for the Golden Globe's Best Picture (Crash) go on to win the Academy Award.

This film is the first to be released the same day as both a DVD and a downloadable movie available via the Internet.

It was released in the United States on April 4, 2006. The film moved more than 1.4 million copies on its first day of release and was the second biggest seller of the week behind Disney's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Though the ranking fluctuates daily, by late March and early April 2006, Brokeback Mountain had been the top-selling DVD on Amazon.com several days running. The Region 2 (Europe) DVD was released on April 24, 2006, though at first only in the UK. Other release dates are much later: France on July 19, 2006, and Poland in September, a considerable time after the theater release in both countries. The Region 4 (Australia/New Zealand/South America) DVD was released on July 19, 2006. Brokeback Mountain was re-released in a collector's edition on January 23, 2007. On that same day, Brokeback Mountain was also released as a Combo Format HD DVD/DVD. Brokeback Mountain was released on Blu-ray Disc on September 30, 2007, but only in the UK. Brokeback Mountain will be released on Blu-ray Disc in the United States on March 10, 2009.

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The Return of the Pink Panther

Clouseau and a blind man talk about a license required for begging with musical instruments. (See below)

The Return of the Pink Panther is the fourth film in the Pink Panther series, released in 1975. The film stars Peter Sellers in the role of Inspector Clouseau in his third Panther appearance, after the original The Pink Panther (1963) and A Shot in the Dark (1964).

Herbert Lom also reprises his role as Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus. The film also features the return of the character Sir Charles Lytton (the notorious Phantom), now played by Christopher Plummer rather than David Niven, who was unavailable but would later return for Trail of the Pink Panther. The Pink Panther diamond once again plays a central role in the plot.

The bumbling of Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) has resulted in his being demoted to beat cop by his boss, Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus (Herbert Lom), who despises Clouseau to the point of obsession. However, the French government forces Dreyfus to reinstate Clouseau as a detective so that he can go to the fictional Middle Eastern nation of Lugash to investigate the theft of the fabled Pink Panther diamond, which has once again been stolen.

Clouseau's investigations at the Lugash National Museum, which he nearly destroys, lead him to believe that Sir Charles Lytton (Christopher Plummer), the notorious Phantom, is re-creating the most infamous heist of his career. Clouseau is delighted at this, and sees this as his only chance to get his revenge on Lytton for framing him and temporarily sending him to prison on the first film. Although Clouseau fails to uncover any leads into the theft, his bumbling allows him to survive several attempts on his life by a mysterious assassin. After staking out, and nearly demolishing, Lytton Manor in Nice, Clouseau is tricked into leaving France. He follows Sir Charles' wife, Lady Claudine (Catherine Schell) to a resort hotel in Gstaad, Switzerland, where his attempts to investigate her repeatedly fail.

Meanwhile, Sir Charles reads about the theft and realizes that he has been framed. He goes to Lugash to investigate, encountering various underworld figures of old acquaintance, and foils several attempts on his life. Lytton eventually manages to discover the identity of the true thief – his wife, Lady Claudine. Because they were both bored with their quiet retirement, she stole the diamond for her own excitement, then sent her husband on a wild goose chase for his. Sir Charles makes a daring escape from Lugash and goes to Gstaad to find his wife and the diamond.

Inspector Clouseau, who has unknowingly been on the trail of the real thief all along, receives a telephone call from Chief Inspector Dreyfus telling him to arrest Lady Claudine. However, when Clouseau calls Dreyfus back to ask why, he is informed that Dreyfus has been on vacation for the past week. Dreyfus, now revealed as the assassin trying to kill Clouseau, prepares to shoot him with a sniper rifle as soon as he enters Lady Claudine's room.

Lady Claudine playfully confesses the theft to her husband, and hands the diamond over to him, so he can go about proving his innocence. They are cornered by Colonel Sharky (Peter Arne) of the Lugash Secret Police, who intends to kill them both. It turns out the Lugashi government has been using the theft of the diamond as an excuse to purge their political opponents. Just then, Clouseau barges into the room to arrest the Lyttons. Sir Charles points out that Colonel Sharky is going to kill them all, and Clouseau buffoonishly attempts to arrest Sharky. Suddenly, Dreyfus opens fire on the room, and manages to accidentally kill Sharky while aiming at Clouseau, who has ducked at the last minute to check his fly. During the fray, Clouseau allows the Lyttons to escape.

For his work in recovering the Pink Panther, Clouseau is promoted to Chief Inspector, and vows to bring Sir Charles, who has resumed his crime spree, to justice. Lady Claudine's fate is not revealed to the audience. Dreyfus is committed to a lunatic asylum, where he is straightjacketed and placed inside a rubber room. The movie ends with Dreyfus holding a crayon between his toes to scrawl "KILL CLOUSEAU" on the cell wall, while the animated Pink Panther appears to film him.

Like the previous three Panther films, "Return" was released by United Artists. However, United Artists was not directly involved in the production of this film.

At the time of its release, UA sold their rights to independent company ITC Entertainment, which intended to make a Pink Panther television miniseries starring Sellers and Lom. However, early in pre-production, ITC made the decision to make a feature film.

As of the present, UA continues to hold the copyright as well as theatrical distribution rights (as MGM currently holds theatrical rights to the ITC feature film library). When the film made its television premiere in 1976, UA also held television rights until ITC, by contract, took over television syndication, which is why for later TV airings the ITC television logo, instead of the then-current UA/Transamerica logo, preceded the film. But in 2008, UA (via sister company MGM) acquired, for the first time ever, domestic television syndication and internet distribution rights (the MGM logo precedes current internet and television airings of "Return"). However, those are the only rights UA has to this film. Due to rights issues and management changes involving ITC Entertainment, MGM/UA did not originally hold select ancillary rights beyond their original theatrical distribution license. As a result, other video companies (under license from ITC) such as CBS/Fox Video and Live Entertainment (as well as Live's successor Artisan Entertainment) handled home video versions. These issues caused "Return" to enter litigation for a brief time, which is why MGM Home Entertainment did not include "Return" in a 2004 DVD box set of "Pink Panther" films or the 2008 "Ultimate" collection, and will not do so for future collections. MGM was also not given permission to include material from this movie in its 2006 publication "Pink Panther: The Ultimate Guide to the Coolest Cat in Town", although footage from the movie does appear in the ending credits of Trail of the Pink Panther, since due to theatrical distribution rights, they could include it in a feature film and consequently, that film's home video release.

The remaining rights to "Return" outside of domestic media distribution have reverted to Universal Pictures (via its Focus Features division), which recently assumed the video rights from Artisan/Lions Gate Home Entertainment. Universal/Focus' portion of the rights are in partnership with ITC and its successor-in-interest, Granada International.

The film opens with Clouseau on a street beat, arguing with a blind street minstrel and his monkey if he had a license. Meanwhile, Clouseau is totally unaware of a bank heist going on in the background, and even returns a dropped wad of bills back to the robbers whilst engaged in an argument with the minstrel. Clouseau pronounces "license" as something sounding like "le sanz", and "monkey" as "muin-key", continuing the hilarious vaudeville slant of the film. Later he is questioned by his superior, the Chief Inspector Dreyfus.....

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Gramercy Pictures

Gramercy Pictures was a film distributor launched in 1993, a joint venture of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and Universal Pictures. Gramercy, a so-called "mini-major," was the distributor of PolyGram movies in the United States and Canada. Due to the Universal acquisition by Seagrams in 1999, Gramercy was merged with October Films to briefly become USA Films, until USA Films was transformed into the successful Focus Features in 2002.

The short-lived Gramercy Pictures had only a couple of box office hits: the 1994 Best Picture Academy Award nominee Four Weddings and a Funeral, and the 1996 Oscar winner Fargo. However, several Gramercy releases of the 1990s have grown in stature to become beloved cult classics in the present day: The Big Lebowski, Dazed and Confused Clay Pigeons, and Mallrats. In addition, 1996's The Usual Suspects won two Oscars, for Best Original Screenplay (Christopher McQuarrie) and Best Supporting Actor (Kevin Spacey).

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Brick (film)

Brickmovieposter.jpg

Brick is a 2005 American drama film written and directed by Rian Johnson. It was Johnson's directorial debut and won the Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Brick was distributed by Focus Features, opening in the United States on April 7, 2006, in New York and Los Angeles.

The film's narrative centers on a hardboiled detective story that takes place in suburbia. Most of the main characters are high school students. The film draws heavily in plot, characterization, and dialogue from hardboiled classics, especially from Dashiell Hammett. The title refers to a block of heroin, compressed roughly to the size and shape of a brick.

Brendan Frye (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a student of an unnamed California high school, stares silently at the body of ex-girlfriend Emily (Emilie de Ravin) lying in a storm drain. Days earlier, Brendan, in the know of the intricacies of the "upper crust" of drug-addicted socialites but choosing to live outside them, receives a terrified phone call from Emily, who tearfully tells him that she "didn't know that the brick was bad" and that "the Pin's on it now," imploring him to help her. Brendan manages to find her, only to face her plea for him to leave her alone.

After her death, Brendan takes it upon himself to avenge her, enlisting the aid of fellow loner The Brain (Matt O'Leary) to track information, while feigning to be an inside man for his assistant vice-principal (Richard Roundtree). His intrusion into the tightly knit circle of high school cliques brings him into the lives of several people, including sophisticated Laura (Nora Zehetner), prolifically violent Tug (Noah Fleiss), stoner Dode (Noah Segan), seductive play actress Kara (Meagan Good), jock Brad (Brian J. White), and drug baron The Pin (as in kingpin) (Lukas Haas). All are pivotal in his pursuit of Emily's fate.

Origins of Brick came from Rian Johnson's passion for the writing of Dashiell Hammett, an author known for hardboiled detective novels, and a desire to make a straightforward American detective story. He had discovered Hammett's work through an interview with the Coen brothers when their gangster film, Miller's Crossing was released in 1990 (who, in turn, used the Hammett novel "The Glass Key" as the main influence for their own film). He read Red Harvest and then moved on to The Maltese Falcon and The Glass Key. Johnson had grown up watching detective films and film noirs. Reading Hammett's novels inspired him to make a film that created the same kind of world. He realized that this would result in a mere imitation and came up with high school as the setting to keep things fresh. He said, "Once I started actually writing , it was really amazing how all the archetypes from that detective world slid perfectly over the high school types". He also wanted to disrupt the visual preconceptions that came from the film noir genre but once he started making Brick, he found it "very much about the experience of being a teenager to me".

Johnson wrote the first draft of Brick in 1997 after graduating from USC School of Cinematic Arts a year earlier. He spent the next seven years pitching his script but none of the Hollywood studios or production companies were interested because the material was too unusual to make with a first-time director. Johnson figured out the smallest amount of money he could make the film for and asked friends and family for money. After acquiring about $475,000 for the film's budget, Brick finally began production in 2003.

The film was shot in 20 days, but Johnson spent a great deal of time beforehand rehearsing with the actors and refining the script. He had seen Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a film called Manic, met with him and knew that he wanted the young actor to be in his film. He encouraged the cast to read Hammett but not to watch any film noirs because he did not want them influencing their performances. Instead, he had them watch Billy Wilder comedies like The Apartment and other comedies like His Girl Friday. He was initially nervous working with a professional cast and crew for the first time but as soon as he started filming, this feeling went away and he had a good experience.

Johnson shot the film in his hometown of San Clemente, California on 35 mm film stock. Much of the film takes place at San Clemente High School, the high school he attended. He also enlisted current students to work on the film, shooting on weekends so as not to disrupt classes. He also had difficulty finding a run-down house for the Pin's base of operations. The production found an appropriate house but only had a week before it was destroyed for a more upscale house. Johnson also had difficulty finding a mansion for the party scene until, with one day left to find the location, a former Telecom executive allowed them to shoot in his place which was still under construction.

Johnson cited Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns and Cowboy Bebop as influences on his visualization of the movie. He used shoes as a design element for his characters and saw them as an "instant snapshot of the essence" of the characters. He has also stated that many of the film's visual cues were taken from Chinatown with its wide-open flat spaces.

The majority of the film's special effects were cheaply and efficiently produced using practical and in-camera effects. Early in the film, for example, Emilie de Ravin walks toward the camera out of a tunnel as a garbage bag floats downstream and engulfs the camera, transitioning over to Joseph Gordon-Levitt back in his character's bedroom. To achieve this, the desired effect was filmed in reverse order. The garbage bag began over the camera and was pulled away during filming, as de Ravin walked backwards into the tunnel. This footage was then cut to a scene in which a garbage bag was simply pulled over Gordon-Levitt's head.

Slowly filming a car driving in reverse, then playing the footage backwards at a higher speed gives the illusion of a car quickly approaching as the camera darts in front of it stylishly. Clever fades give the impression of time changes while quick jump cuts add tension to a scene in which the protagonist wakes up after passing out. Certain edits were also introduced to the film to time footage to different dialogue, adding certain information and leaving other information out completely. These edits are noticeable, as the actors' mouths are not always moving in sync with their dialogue. One particular scene, in which de Ravin's character floated toward the camera, used a green screen, but it was edited out of the film far before its completion.

The score to Brick was composed by Rian Johnson's cousin, Nathan Johnson, with additional support and music from The Cinematic Underground. The score harkens back to the style, feel and overall texture of noir films. It features traditional instruments such as the piano, trumpet and violin, and also contains unique and invented instruments such as the wine-o-phone, metallophone, tack pianos, filing cabinets, and kitchen utensils, all recorded with one microphone on an Apple PowerBook.

Since Nathan Johnson was in England during most of the production process, the score was composed almost entirely over Apple iChat, with Rian Johnson playing clips of the movie to Nathan Johnson, who would then score them. The two later met in New York to mix the soundtrack.

The soundtrack CD of the movie was released on March 12, 2006 by Lakeshore Records. In addition to Johnson's score, it contains songs by The Velvet Underground, Anton Karas and Kay Armen as well as the big band version of "Frankie and Johnny" performed by Bunny Berigan and a full unedited performance of "The sun whose rays are all ablaze" by Nora Zehetner.

Brick premiered in the United States on April 7, 2006 in two theaters. It opened to United Kingdom audiences on May 12, 2006 on a limited number of screens. The film grossed USD $2.07 million in North America and a total of $3.9 million worldwide.

Brick was released to mostly positive reviews. It currently has a 78% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and ranked #35 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the "50 Best High School Movies". Based on 34 reviews, Metacritic gave it an average score of 72 out of 100 ("Generally positive reviews").

Brick ranks 489th on Empire magazine's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time.

The Region 1 DVD release of Brick was released on August 8, 2006 as part of the Focus Features Spotlight Series. Special features include: selection of deleted and extended scenes with introductions by director Rian Johnson; audition footage featuring Nora Zehetner and Noah Segan; and feature audio commentary with Rian Johnson, Nora Zehetner, Noah Segen, producer Ram Bergman, production designer Jodie Tillen, and costume designer Michele Posch.

The Region 2 DVD was released on September 18, 2006.

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Hamlet 2

David Garrick in Hamlet, I, 4

Hamlet 2 is a 2008 American comedy film directed by Andy Fleming, written by Fleming and Pam Brady, and starring Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, Amy Poehler, and David Arquette. It was produced by Eric Eisner, Leonid Rozhetskin, and Aaron Ryder. Hamlet 2 was filmed primarily at a high school in New Mexico from September 2007 to October 2007. The film premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and was distributed by Focus Features. The film had a limited release on August 22, 2008, followed by a wide release on August 27. Its UK release was scheduled for December 28, 2008, but was postponed until February 27, 2009.

After an opening recapping the highlights of Dana Marschz's (Steve Coogan) unsuccessful acting career (undignified television commercials and a bit acting part), the film joins him "where dreams go to die": Tucson, Arizona. He is an even more unsuccessful suburban high school drama teacher, with only two (enthusiastic) students, Rand (Skylar Astin) and Epiphany (Phoebe Strole), and a history of producing school plays that are merely stage adaptations of popular Hollywood films (his latest being Erin Brockovich). When the new term begins, a bunch of inner-city kids are forced to transfer classes, due to destruction of a building in the school, and take his class, as it is the only remaining arts elective available. He gets off to a rocky start with the new students. Dana, who is a fan of actress Elizabeth Shue (played by herself), meets her in the hospital, where she works now as a nurse. At Dana's request she gives a presentation to the students.

Dana is floored when the school notifies him that the drama program – a worthless waste of money in the administration's judgment – is to be shut down at the end of the term. Unintentionally inspired by the school paper's ruthless pre-adolescent drama critic Noah Sapperstein (Shea Pepe), Dana undertakes to write and produce an original play: a sequel to Hamlet featuring time-traveling to avoid the deaths of the characters, and allowing Jesus Christ to be one of the characters too. It contains a song-and-dance number titled "Rock Me Sexy Jesus", and a bi-curious Laertes played by Rand.

Dana is further traumatized when his wife Brie (Catherine Keener) leaves him for the uninteresting, but fertile, boarder Gary (David Arquette) they had taken into their home to supplement their modest income. Also the school shuts down the production over its controversial content. Dana wants to cancel the production, but the students have gotten enthusiastic about it, and want to continue. They arrange an abandoned warehouse and rave spot, technical assistance, and security. Dana is also encouraged by ACLU activist Cricket Feldstein (Amy Poehler), who is not interested in the play itself, but in the civil liberties issue. The play is staged amid a media frenzy.

The performance is sold out. The staging of the play causes wide religious group protest, causing the fire department to arrive. The musical's opening number is about getting raped in the face, and shocks nearly everyone in the audience. Elizabeth Shue seems to be the only one amused at this point. The next number shown "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" causes a group of religious woman to kneel in front, only to find they enjoy the song because in reality it teaches good morals and the power of Jesus. At this point most of the audience is amused. The play continues without the intermission because Dana fears the fire department might evacuate the building. The next act shows Hamlet and Jesus (played by Dana) travelling in a time machine to 33 AD so Hamlet can save everyone's lives. The musical ends with Hamlet forgiving his father, and then Jesus ascending into the air to forgive his father as well.

Astin and Strole are original Broadway cast members of the musical Spring Awakening, and they had to take a few weeks off from to film Hamlet 2.

The play shown within the film was written on deadline for production. The film was budgeted at a little over $9 million. Production began in September 2007 in New Mexico. Filming took place mainly at West Mesa High School in Albuquerque, where actual students were permitted to perform as extras in the film. Filming concluded on October 31, 2007. The film was executive produced by Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, who also produced Little Miss Sunshine.

A rough edit of Hamlet 2 was prepared for the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, where it was a late addition, three days before its scheduled screening. The film premiered at the festival on January 21, 2008. After the screening, an all-night bidding war took place for rights to distribution, which Focus Features won for $10 million, acquiring worldwide rights to the film. The purchase of Hamlet 2 nearly broke the Sundance Film Festival record set by Little Miss Sunshine, which sold for $10.5 million in 2006.

The DVD was released December 21, 2008. The DVD includes deleted scenes, an audio commentary, and a sing-along.

Duane Byrge of The Hollywood Reporter described Hamlet 2 as "a slam-bang patchwork of more inspired comedies, such as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Borat". Byrge described the premise as "a twist on the formula of let's-put-on-a-show, with the twist being that no one wants the show". He thought that the screenwriters had put together "a string of gags in a hit-and-miss dither".

The film currently holds a 63% positive rating on movie review site Rotten Tomatoes. The IMDb, as of December 22, 2008, has a 6.5 rating.

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Coraline (film)

Coraline poster.jpg

Coraline is a 2009 animated stop-motion 3-D horror fantasy film based on Neil Gaiman's novella of the same name. It was produced by LAIKA and distributed by Focus Features. Directed by Henry Selick, it was released widely in theaters on February 6, 2009 after a world premiere at the Portland International Film Festival. It is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor.

Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning) moves into the Pink Palace Apartments in Ashland, Oregon with her loving but distracted parents (Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman). On the first week of her moving in she meets a strange boy named Wybie Lovat (Robert Bailey Jr.), whose grandmother used to live in the Pink Palace (and now owns it). He gives her a doll that resembles Coraline the next day. Coraline also encounters a stray black cat (Keith David) that is familiar to the neighborhood and is often tended by Wybie.

While exploring her new surroundings, Coraline finds and unlocks a small door covering a bricked-up section of wall. That night, Coraline follows a small mouse that goes through a dark corridor beyond the door, which leads her to a world parallel to the house grounds. There she encounters beings who claim to be her "Other" Parents (Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman), who visually resemble her real parents with the exception of having black buttons for eyes. The black-button-eyed inhabitants of this fantastical Other World prove to be much more interesting and attentive than those from her own world, particularly her Other Mother, who does everything she can to keep Coraline happy. In the Other World she also encounters the black cat, which is able to speak here; it warns her not to be easily tricked by the Other Mother. When she goes to sleep at night in the Other World, she awakens in her room in the Real World. From Wybie, she learns that his grandmother refuses to let him enter the apartments due to the grandmother's twin sister having been "stolen" when they were young.

Every night, Coraline goes to visit her Other Parents after following the mouse through the small door. Her Other Neighbors put on a series of entertaining shows to keep her interests piqued. The Other Mother tells her she can stay there forever if she is willing to sew buttons into her eyes. She refuses, and goes to her room for a night's sleep, thinking she'll wake up back in her Real Bedroom. The next morning, upon waking, Coraline finds she is still stuck in the Other World. Coraline decides she would much rather be with her real parents, angering the Other Mother, who reveals her true form as an evil witch and traps her in a small room. There Coraline encounters three ghost children who lost their souls to the Other Mother after allowing her to seduce them into staying on this side; one of them proves to be the lost twin sister of Wybie's grandmother. The ghost children explain that the doll of Coraline is actually a spy to the Other Mother, allowing the Other Mother to mimic her victims' worlds. Coraline manages to escape the Other World with the help of the Other Wybie and return home, though her real parents are nowhere to be found. She realizes that they have been kidnapped by the Other Mother, and the only way to save them is to return to the Other World and defeat her. Wybie visits her upon her return to the real world, explaining he needs to have the doll back, claiming it was her grandmother's twin sister's. Coraline repeats to Wybie how the Other Mother uses the doll to mimic her victims' worlds. She searches for the doll to find it has disappeared. After she can't find the doll, she decides to return to the Other World. Coraline challenges the Other Mother to a game: if Coraline can find the children's souls and her parents scattered throughout the Other World, they will be set free. Otherwise, she will stay in the Other World forever, and sew buttons over her eyes.

With the help of the mystical black cat and a magic seeing stone provided by her (real) neighbors, (Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders), Coraline retrieves all three souls and disintegrate the inhabitants of the Other World, grotesquely twisted and sent against her by the Other Mother. Locating her parents as well, and knowing the Other Mother would go back on her word if she lost, Coraline tricks her into unlocking the passage between the two worlds. Coraline throws the cat into the Other Mother's face; it claws her button eyes out, allowing Coraline to steal the key and escape. As the Other Mother tries to grab her, Coraline manages to close the door on her hand, severing it. Back in her own world, Coraline finds her parents safe and sound without any memory of the incident.

That night, the freed souls of the children explain to Coraline that the Other Mother will try to make her way into her world and find the key to reclaim her. Coraline takes the key to a deep well on the house grounds, but is attacked by the Other Mother's severed hand. After a brief struggle, Wybie, after believing Coraline's story, arrives just in time and crushes the hand. He and Coraline throw it and the key into the well, ridding the world of the Other Mother's influence forever. The movie ends with all the apartment house residents in the garden planting fresh new flowers, while Coraline finally meets Wybie's grandmother and begins to tell her tale.

At its peak, the film involved the efforts of 450 people, including from 30 to 35 animators and digital designers in the DDG or Digital Design Group (the newly appointed director of which is Dan Casey) and more than 250 technicians and designers. One crew member was hired specifically to knit miniature sweaters and other clothing for the puppet characters, using knitting needles as thin as human hair.

Coraline was staged in a 140,000-square-foot warehouse which was longer than a Hillsboro city block; the building was formerly the home of a company called Southern Plastic Mold. The stage was divided into 50 lots which played host to nearly 150 sets Among the sets were three Victorian mansions, a 42-foot apple orchard, and a model of Ashland, Oregon (complete with tiny Oregon Shakespeare Festival banners).

Focus Features distributed the film. Coraline appeared at Comic-Con 2007. A trailer was shown with the films Beowulf, U2 3D, Twilight, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Inkheart, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Hotel For Dogs, Bedtime Stories, My Bloody Valentine 3D, Bolt, Marley & Me, and The Tale of Despereaux.

The film has an 89% "Certified Fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and a 79 out of 100 at Metacritic, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

According to Paul Dergarabedian a movie business analyst with Media by Numbers, for the film to succeed it needed a box office comparable to Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, which grossed $16 million its opening weekend and ended up making more than $192 million worldwide; prior to the film's release, Dergarabedian thought Laika "should be really pleased" if it made close to $10 million on its opening weekend.

In its U.S. opening weekend, the movie made $16.85 million, ranking third at the box office. It made $15 million on its second weekend, bringing its U.S. total up to $35.6 million, $25.5 million of which coming from 3D presentations. In Mexico, the film ranked first during its opening weekend, grossing $1.30 million on 399 screens. As of February 27, 2009, the film has grossed $55,851,615 in the United States and Canada and $60,849,140 worldwide.

Since the release, there has been interest in replicas of some of the objects seen in the movie, like snow globes and clothing.

The soundtrack for Coraline, on E1 Music (formerly Koch Records) was released digitally February 3, 2009, and is now in stores since February 24. It features songs performed by French composer Bruno Coulais with one, "Other Father Song", by They Might Be Giants.

On June 16, 2008, D3Publisher of America announced the release of a video game based on the film. It was developed by Papaya Studio for the Wii and Playstation 2 and by Art Co. for Nintendo DS. It was released on January 27, 2009, close to the film's theatrical release.

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Source : Wikipedia