Overseas, "Malignant" made $6.3 million from 69 international markets for an international total of $9.5 million and a global tally of $15.1 million.
STX didn't report grosses for "Queenpins," a comedy starring Kristen Bell about the mastermind behind a $40 million coupon scam, which opened in 150 Cinemark theaters.” />
Marvel's "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" ruled the domestic box office again, collecting $35.8 million in its second weekend in theaters.
Disney's family adventure "Jungle Cruise" rounded out the top five, pulling in $2.4 million in its seventh frame. The film, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, has earned $109 million at the domestic box office and $194 million worldwide.
and Canada have been struggling to sell tickets to movies that are also available at home on streaming platforms. After putting "Black Widow," "Jungle Cruise" and "Cruella" concurrently on Disney Plus under its Premier Access banner, the studio announced last week that the rest of its 2021 slate — including Marvel's "Eternals" and Steven Spielberg's adaptation of "West Side Story" — will each screen exclusively in theaters. Even without a release date set in China, an important market for Marvel movies, box office receipts for "Shang-Chi" appear to be encouraging for Disney. The news is especially promising to theater operators, because Disney films are routinely among the highest-grossing of the year and most multiplexes in the U.S.
Ticket sales for the superhero movie, led by Simu Liu and Awkwafina, fell 53% from its debut, a decline on par with many Marvel installments in pre-pandemic times. Notably, "Shang-Chi" is holding up better than "Black Widow," the studio's recent comic book adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson, which plummeted nearly 70% in its sophomore outing. "Black Widow" opened earlier in the summer simultaneously on Disney Plus (for an extra $30), while "Shang-Chi" is playing only in cinemas.
A Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. "This is a weak opening for a genre that's held up well during the pandemic," says David. "With the film available on HBO, this start is below average."
The film, led by Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish, kicked off with $1.1 million, enough to rank eighth on box office charts. Elsewhere in North America, Focus Features premiered Paul Schrader's drama "The Card Counter" in 580 cinemas.
release this year, is available to stream on HBO Max at the same time. It landed a "C" grade on CinemaScore, which doesn't bode well for its future commercial prospects. But a bonkers twist ending, as well as decent reviews for the genre (75% on Rotten Tomatoes), weren't enough to entice audiences to watch a movie that, like every Warner Bros.
The weekend's only new nationwide release, the Warner Bros. twisted thriller "Malignant," debuted in third place with $5.57 million from 3,485 locations. Given its production budget was above $40 million, that's a tepid result since horror has been a reliable big-screen during the pandemic. Without any notable competition, "Shang-Chi" had no trouble towering over domestic charts. Plus, the film's director James Wan, the co-creator of "The Conjuring" Universe and the "Saw" franchise, has a solid track record when it comes to cinematic scares.
With $145.6 million at the domestic box office, the film is already the fourth-highest grossing film of 2021 and, if momentum sustains, it could give "Black Widow" ($182 million to date) a run for its money as the year's biggest earner. Globally, "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" has cleared the $250 million mark with revenues currently at $257.6 million.
"Free Guy" ever so slightly pulled ahead of "Malignant" and pocketed $5.8 million from 3,650 venues. To put "Malignant's" muted opening weekend ticket sales into perspective, it generated nearly the same amount as "Free Guy," Disney's sci-fi action comedy with Ryan Reynolds, did in its fifth weekend of release. "Free Guy" is doing solid business at the international box office, pocketing $174.7 million from 47 overseas territories for a global tally of $276.5 million. In total, the film has collected $101.5 million in North America, an impressive sum for an original property.
"Following the great response out of Venice and Telluride, we’re thrilled to see moviegoers around the country responding with the same enthusiasm for what Paul’s created on screen with Oscar, Tiffany and Tye,” said Focus president of distribution Lisa Bunnell. “And to see the specialty film audiences returning to theaters in these numbers is exciting not just for Focus, but for our entire industry."
After three weeks of release, the movie had amassed $48 million in the U.S. Universal's slasher film "Candyman" nabbed the No. and Canada and an additional $10.9 million internationally. 4 spot with $4.8 million from 3,279 locations.

That made it a perfect fit for Leno, who sees it as a version of his longtime person-on-the-street interview segment "Jaywalking" that aired on "Tonight Show" during his 22-year run at NBC. The veteran comedian has been offered hosting gigs on many game shows over the years, but Leno didn't have much interest in a show with a lot of involved game play. The highlight of the original "YBYL" — which began on radio in 1947 and expanded to TV on NBC for a decade-long run from 1950 to 1961 — was always Marx's famously fast zingers and his banter with everyday contestants.
"There's a natural ebb and flow" to working with Eubanks, Leno said. "Comedy and jazz are a lot alike. It's all about timing and you never do it the same way twice."” />
She said, 'Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt.' Jay then asked, 'Which Roosevelt?' The woman responded, 'There's more than one?,'" Werner said. "My favorite moment so far is when Jay asked a contestant to name the four Presidents on Mount Rushmore.
Seven years after he signed off as host of "The Tonight Show," Jay Leno is ready to dive back into the daily TV grind as emcee of "You Bet Your Life," a revival of the classic quiz show hosted for years on radio and TV by Groucho Marx.
Leno is unabashedly looking forward to working in a comedic style and tone that is appropriate to early evening rather than late-night or comedy clubs. Especially given the troubled times, Leno's aim is to deliver good, clean fun.
Yes, there will still be a "Secret Word" of the day — a pre-selected term that if stated by a contestant brings them $500 — but no, it won't be announced by a Groucho-styled duck puppet lowered down on a wire as in the original series.
The small amount of money at stake also helps make for a lighter mood. Another aspect of the original that will be retained is the low value of the cash winnings available to contestants. The most a contestant can win is about $5,500. As with the original, contestants will be everyday people but with offbeat personalities, unusual occupations and other colorful characteristics that Leno will explore.
It's month-changing money," Leno quipped. "It's not life-changing money.
Producers are focused on finding "interesting and likeable" people from all over the country, he said. Tom Werner, who is executive producer of "YBYL," reinforced that the contestants and their interaction with Leno is the crux of the show. Werner and his former partner Marcy Carsey previously produced a version of "YBYL" in syndication hosted by the now-disgraced comedian Bill Cosby that ran for one season in syndication in 1992-93.
Leno's edition of the durable game show bows Sept. 13 in syndication, distributed by Fox Corp.'s Fox First Run division.
"What makes this show fun is the combination of Jay Leno’s comedy with the pairing of two strangers, each with their own unique stories, working together to win money and prizes," said David Hurwitz, showrunner and executive producer.
One new touch will be a spin-the-wheel game dubbed "The Rodney Run," in honor of fast-talking comedian Rodney Dangerfield, that will involve contestants trying to speed through a series of jokes.
The two were not at all surprised to see that they easily returned to their old groove even after a long break. Eubanks will serve as a co-host with Leno and he penned the show's new theme song. The return of "YBYL" also marks a reunion for Leno and his longtime "Tonight Show" bandleader Kevin Eubanks.
"This is a comedy show with a kind of tenuous connection to a game," Leno told Variety.
We need to see more fun on TV." Everybody's so angry. We just want everyone to be laughing at the end," Leno said. "That was a real selling point to station managers in the Midwest — no politics. "There's no politics here.

It's a bit rich at this point for "The Starling" to lampshade such a cornily obvious metaphor, given that Theodore Melfi's film has already given us ample scenes of McCarthy's character growing and nurturing a vegetable garden from scratch on dried-out, weed-strewn land, defending it from the aforementioned starlings as they themselves forge a home of their own from scraps and trash, and cathartically ridding her house of all its furniture for good measure. What could it all mean?
But it’s McCarthy alone who has to get us through this, in a story where “getting through this” is both the biggest ask in the world, and all too easily answered.” /> Cast against type as the near-terminally morose Jack, O’Dowd is at least persuasive as a man whose natural bounce has been lead-weighted to the ground. Kline is only the most prominent of several stock supporting characters assigned to absurdly overqualified actors: If Daveed Diggs, Loretta Devine, Laura Harrier and Timothy Olyphant signed on hoping “The Starling” might follow on from Melfi’s “Hidden Figures” in its ensemble-minded generosity, they ought to be disappointed.
Following a psychological breakdown, grade-school teacher Jack has been in a mental health facility while he seeks a way forward in life. Near the outset of the film, we open on her character, small-town supermarket worker Lily, staring at a shelf of baby-care products with a hollow, resigned look of yearning that effectively colors in all the backstory that Matt Harris's script withholds for another 20 minutes or so. It’s been a year since Lily and her husband Jack (Chris O’Dowd) lost their only daughter to sudden infant death syndrome, and since then, she’s effectively been left to cope — which is to say, not cope at all — on her own. The couple’s weekly meetings are increasingly strained and unproductive, as they exchange nothing but silent burdens of blame.
Human/nature metaphor is easier to write, however, than true human nature: “The Starling” is heavy with a particularly Hallmark-ready variety of the former, and digestibly light in all other respects. Losing a child is the kind of pain unimaginable to those who have never had the misfortune, but here it feels familiar from countless other films on the subject, its ugliest truths softened with cute visual shorthand, a stringy, positively suffocating score by Benjamin Wallfisch, and the kind of tidy, teary therapy-speak that you never actually hear in therapy. It’s easy enough to watch, thanks largely to its leading lady’s reliably buoyant charisma, but you can’t help thinking it should be harder.
Seeing as how the perfectly personable Lily lives one of those hermetically sealed, screenwriter-friendly lives inexplicably devoid of secondary family and friends, “The Starling” contrives her Someone To Talk To in the shape of kindly psychoanalyst-turned-veterinarian Larry (Kline) — because a plain old human therapist wouldn’t be winsomely quirky enough. He’s rusty, but at least he can get by with the basics: Conveniently, Lily hasn’t even heard of the 12 stages of grief.
When starlings mate, he explains, they build and protect their nest together: "They're just not meant to exist in the world alone." "Real subtle stuff," she responds, with a trademark McCarthy grimace. Late in "The Starling," at a stage when Melissa McCarthy's grieving mother has never felt more distant from her withdrawn husband, she receives a pep talk from Kevin Kline's wise confidante about the titular bird.
Suffice it to say that “The Starling’s” emotional arcs are as narratively complete as they are psychologically dashed-off. Will the bird be a handy illustrative prop in the process? Have a guess. Will the good doctor develop a personality separate from his twinkly platitudes? Will Larry bring his tender affinity for the animal kingdom to bear on her healing process?
Time outdoors brings her into frequently aggressive contact with the feisty, territorial starling nesting on her property — a somewhat disconcerting CGI creation introduced in a distractingly elaborate flight sequence over the film’s opening credits, as he bobs, weaves and soars across town, scooping up material for the nest and evading the larger threats of cars and crows. The bird’s turf wars with Lily are a running source of somewhat repetitive slapstick, though you needn’t have read Flaubert's "A Simple Heart" to imagine what this free, family-minded creature might come to represent for our heroine. Lily, for her part, attempts to self-heal via the aforementioned strategies of gardening and Marie Kondo-ing the hell out of the couple's vast, gorgeous rural farmhouse.
Still, “The Starling” will doubtless attract a warmly receptive audience when it bows on Netflix shortly after its Toronto Film Festival premiere. McCarthy’s more sentimentally inclined fans will be sated with this showcase for her brand of everywoman comedy, which finds room for a few signature pratfalls amid the maudlin confessionals. Vincent.” No one can be surprised at this point by the actor’s rumpled, vulnerable dramatic chops, though despite the higher emotional stakes, they’re not tested here as delicately or expansively as they were in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” or even her previous Melfi collaboration, “St.

We did everything in our power to try and get some access to them, but it didn’t end up working out. Vasarhelyi: There is a preexisting deal with another studio who own the rights to the children.
And do you feel pressure to achieve the same level of success with this film? “The Rescue” is your first film after winning the Oscar for “Free Solo.” Is it nerve-wracking to go out with a new film after all the acclaim for “Free Solo”?
We pursued the project because it was a story we just loved. Vasarhelyi: National Geographic controlled the rights to the footage, and [Jimmy] and I asked if we could direct it.
Vasarhelyi: The shot in the movie — what I think of as the Holy Grail shot — is when the children are found and diver John [Volanthen] leads them in a motivational cheer.
From those 87 hours of cave footage, how did you know what had to make it into the film?
It was like looking behind a curtain because we had no idea that was what was involved because we had never seen images of it. Vasarhelyi: We had only heard rumors from the divers themselves that they remembered carrying GoPros. When we finally came to an agreement with them, we realized there was 87 hours of all of this amazing footage of what happens inside the cave [including] the footage of the kids themselves. When we met in person with the Thai Navy Seals, we were expecting they had at most 90 minutes of cobbled-together material.
When did you discover that footage existed? “The Rescue” uses never-before-seen footage shot by the Thai Navy Seals.
The boys who were rescued from the cave were not interviewed for the film. Why did you decide to not include their voices in “The Rescue”?
Unlike “Free Solo” and their 2015 docu “Meru,” Vasarhelyi and Chin relied on other people’s footage, Zoom interviews and reenactments to make “The Rescue.” Film screens at the Toronto International Film Festival. Eight months after winning the documentary Oscar for “Free Solo,” directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin began working on their next documentary project: National Geographic’s “The Rescue.” The directing duo used never-before-seen footage and exclusive interviews to tell the story of the dramatic 2018 rescue of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave.
Our intention was to try to make them as impressionistic as possible. In an ideal world, we would have filmed the real participants in the real cave, but as we were unable to get to Thailand because of COVID, we filmed the real divers reenacting certain parts of their accounts from the rescue in a tank in England. What it ends up as is a pastiche of real footage from GoPros and reenactment.
 ” />
“The Rescue” includes several reenactment sequences. You and Jimmy had never film reenactments, so how did you approach it?
Was “The Rescue” a commissioned project or did you bring the idea to National Geographic?
We love “The Rescue” and it's been incredibly special to spend time with this film during the pandemic. Mostly because someone has trusted us to share their story with the world, so we have to get it right. Vasarhelyi: Every time we make a new film we feel immense responsibility and pressure, that’s who we are. Our experience with “Free Solo” was very special, and each film is different.

After many years in Marin County, Calif., Brigden settled down with his wife in Santa Rosa in 2001. Outside of music, he developed a passion for winemaking and cycling — his grapes were used to make an exclusive Owl Ridge cabernet, and he rode a vintage Bianchi steel-framed bike from Italy.
"It's been a crazy and wonderful 33 years of rock 'n' roll," Satriani said in a statement following Brigden's death. "I've never worked so hard, played so hard, laughed and cried so hard, made so much music and had so many worldwide adventures, and all with Mick by my side."
Together in the late '70s, Brigden and Pustilnik launched the Columbia-distributed label Wolfgang Records, signing Eddie Money as their first artist.
He also directed tours for Dylan and the Stones, but he's best known for the last three decades managing guitarist Joe Satriani. Throughout his career, which spanned over 50 years, Brigden served as manager and road manager for the likes of Humble Pie, Peter Frampton, Taj Mahal, Morrison and Carlos Santana.
He added, "He was the ultimate music business mentor. Honest, tough, nurturing, hardworking, respectful, tenacious, insightful, he was all of things and more. Throughout his illustrious career he worked the biggest and the best, but always knew it was important to be kind, be respectful, be cool and do things the right way." I learned so much about how to be a good person from Mick.
Brigden's wife, Julia Dreyer Brigden, told the Press Democrat that her husband was on the property digging a grave for the family's pet dog when the accident happened.
Brigden is survived by his wife Julia, son Jack, step-daughter Jessica and grandson David Merz. Donations in Brigden's name may be made to The Humane Society of Sonoma County.” />
Mick Brigden, a tour manager who worked with artists including The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison, died on Sept. He was 73. 5 after an accident at his home in Santa Rosa, Calif.
In the early 2000s, they sold the business, and Brigden founded MJJ Management, with Satriani as his only client. When Graham died in 1991, Brigden and Pustilnik banded together with 13 other BGP employees to buy 90 percent of the company, leaving 10 percent for Graham's two sons.
He soon met Bill Graham and started working for the legendary rock concert promoter, eventually leading the management division of Bill Graham Presents (BGP) alongside Arnie Pustilink. and became their road manager. In the late 1960s, he met Felix Pappalardi of the band Mountain, relocated to the U.S. Born in 1947 in Southend-On-Sea, England, Bridgen moved to Toronto at age 19 to pursue a career in graphic art.

That makes it China’s seventh highest-grossing film of the year, just a touch behind “Godzilla vs. Meanwhile, the light for director Benny Chan’s “Raging Fire” has yet to go out. Kong,” having surpassed Zhang Yimou’s “Cliff Walkers.” It came in third this week with a further $5.77 million, bringing its current cume up to $187 million, according to Maoyan.
“Tomorrow War” came in fourth this week with a further $3.51 million, bringing its cume up to $14.6 million. Meanwhile, Japanese children’s animation “Pokemon the Movie: Secrets of the Jungle” opened to $3.44 million.” />
In second place in China this week was the Taiwanese youth romance “Stand by Me,” which grossed $6.12 million after opening Thursday. Although it has relatively dismal viewer ratings, it’s one in a long string of schoolyard romance films this year that have had the chance to pull in substantial box office numbers thanks to a lack of flashier competition.
It brought in $12.4 million on a rare weekend with three non-Chinese language titles in the top five, according to Maoyan figures.
China’s box office has been dismal all summer and the slump continued this week with, once again, only five films that made over $1 million. Nevertheless, authorities have chosen to keep out top Hollywood moneymakers like “Shang-Chi” and let major blockbusters like “Dune” and “No Time to Die” languish in limbo without release dates.
It is now China’s third highest grossing Hollywood film of the year so far, and has already earned more than “Tenet” did last September ($66.6 million, albeit at a time when movie-goers were more cautious about returning to cinemas). Its current China cume pushes the Shawn Levy-directed film past a March re-release of “Avatar,” which grossed $57.6 million back in March.
“Free Guy” retained its lead of the China box office for the third weekend in a row, and has now surpassed "Tenet" in local sales.
“Deadpool 2,” in which he stars, grossed $42.4 million in the country even though the expletive-laden first film never made it to Chinese theaters. “Free Guy” stars Ryan Reynolds, who is a well-known figure in China, where his films have grossed a collective $195 million, according to Maoyan.
“Free Guy” was one of the rare summer movies that released only in theaters stateside, where it has just surpassed the $100 million mark. China sales for “Free Guy” generated $1.7 million in box office receipts for Imax, bringing the film’s Imax total in the country up to $10.7 million — a significant chunk of its current global Imax total of $19.7 million. In China, its cume is now up to $76.5 million, according to Maoyan.

How did you want to frame the characters, especially when William and Cirk were interacting?
It was something that the audience could lean into, you could look at Ethan or Amanda and all these different characters and see them in focus. We came up with this cinematography that was stationary, very deep focused, we use a very modern lens to create a world that we felt like was very immersive.
We wanted this contrast of being able to do this portraiture, but at the same time, see the neon and slot machines. With “The Card Counter,” I did a few tests on the Alexa LF and I liked the idea of using a medium format camera because we have this character who has done some horrible things. He has a painful and traumatic past. He goes from casino to casino in a lonely way, and yet, casinos are full of so much life.
This is your third collaboration with Paul, can you share a little about your shorthand and how that works?
Cinematographer Alexander Dynan got to know director Paul Schrader working on "First Reformed" and an earlier film, "Dog Eat Dog."
The prison sequences are shot in a distinctive, disorienting style — how did those come about?
Dynan developed a shorthand with Schrader and with colorist Tim Merick that helped him light and color Schrader's "The Card Counter," which is in cinemas now.
Flipping between the drab suburban landscape of the present and hallucinatory visions of the prison, Dynan turned to inspirations from Schrader's lodestar, Robert Bresson, to VR videos to Caravaggio to help deliver Schrader's vision. He exists in a kind of purgatory, so the drab and monotonous backdrop of casinos mirrors his conflicted soul. Told in an urgent, immersive style, the film follows William (Oscar Issac), a lonely and tortured man who once served at Abu Ghraib.
On “First Reformed,” we really established a visual language. We asked ourselves, if Robert Bresson had digital cinematography tools, what he might be doing because the film was influenced by him and “Diary of a Country Priest.”
I was going through the casinos seeing a lot of beige, and there were these wild carpets which made me think of Caravaggio. You see it in the poker scenes, where the face it lit and everything is this murky darkness. I also looked at a lot of other Italian Renaissance painters and started to think about the quality of oil on board and how that feels.
They have beige walls and this crazy carpet. It feels like a monotonous world.’ That really worked for Will’s character who is going through the motions as he plays cards and is lonely. Paul turned to me and said, ‘These are all the same. We barely moved the camera with “First Reformed,” and as Paul and I were scouting casino after casino, we came to realize that casinos these days are owned by large corporations. We thought about the idea of floating around the casino with him.
With the flashbacks, he wanted that to feel like a virtual reality experience. They were shot in a 360 manner and they were posted online, and the video player couldn’t handle that, so you get these crazy lines. So, I ended up using a VR lens and started experimenting with it to get that point of view effect. I ended up working with Ben Schwartz, who's a VR expert because that lens sees everything at this 220-degree angle and it was hard to operate. I thought that was an interesting challenge, how do you make these scenes feel outside of the rest of the film? And they’re terrible scenes, especially with the torture. I thought of James Wong Howe, the Chinese American cinematographer who built strange sets. I looked around the internet and saw these VR videos where people had shot them with VR lenses and GoPros.
What was the color palette you wanted to use for this?
I worked closely with the colorist Tim Masick who I’ve worked with before, and we have a very tight working relationship. We started to pull this brown out and that became the guiding light as we were lighting.” /> We looked at textures, tones and the photos that I'd taken on location.

I’ll admit that Karam’s camera strays down one too many empty hallways for my taste, but I love the patience with which he lets things unfold, the respect he shows this family, and the way these characters don’t feel like characters at all, but real people — fellow humans.” /> The sound design is precise, but doesn’t include the greater city beyond.)

Whereas theater audiences could see all parts of the apartment at practically all times — except the bathroom, which offered characters a few square feet of privacy, as needed — Karam carefully controls our gaze in the film version. Over the course of just eight years, A24 has established itself as a distributor for which out-there creative gambits aren’t merely permitted, but outright encouraged. Some critics have described the Blakes as a dysfunctional family, but I don’t see it that way. (I later learned that Betty, a retired drama teacher who graciously invited me to plays when I could barely afford it, was the estranged grandmother of actor Sam Rockwell, but I digress.) I remember my family coming to visit me a few months before 9/11, which gave me an excuse to go to the top of the World Trade Center. New York audiences laughed at the way each crash made fuddy-duddy Blake family patriarch Erik (Richard Jenkins) jump, sensing that not only was he uncomfortable with the big city, but he also had something on his mind. The precise, draftsman-like windows of a Chris Ware comic come to mind, challenging us to make sense of each frame, mixing up the angles and asking us to notice details that might otherwise disappear in the background — like the way a water leak makes paint blister or the maze of pipes that run along the ceiling. When he looks inward, we’re invited to do the same. (But if that’s the case maybe it wasn’t a conscious strategy, as Karam doesn’t layer in such exterior commotion here. Onstage, the set represented a cross-section of a spacious yet scuzzy two-story Chinatown apartment — barely furnished with folding tables and chairs, since Brigid (played here by Beanie Feldstein) and her boyfriend Richard (Middle Eastern in the play, now repped by Steven Yeun) had just moved in — while strange noises emanated from the building and neighboring apartments: the demonic rumbling of the trash compactor, the bowling-ball thud of something heavy being dropped upstairs. Plays can get away without a lot of plot, since theater is so often about spending time with interesting characters and the pleasure (or discomfort) of being in their company. “The Humans” is about a hundred or more recognizable aspects of being alive in America at this moment. I sense all of that in “The Humans,” which is perhaps my favorite work of art to result from 9/11 — except perhaps architect Santiago Calatrava’s Oculus structure, which simultaneously evokes a dinosaur carcass and a wing taking flight. When looking out at a sunset, some people appreciate the sky, while others find themselves distracted by the billboards and power lines in the foreground. Playwright Stephen Karam hasn’t just made a movie out of his Tony-winning play “The Humans”; he’s made an A24 movie, with all the idiosyncrasies and directorial self-indulgences that implies. Metaphorically speaking (since these windows open onto nothing more than a claustrophobic interior courtyard), Karam wants us to pick up both, alternating seamlessly between intensely private moments — as when clearly lonely big sister Amy (Amy Schumer) finds a quiet corner to call her ex-girlfriend — and beautiful, bigger-picture moments of connection. We feel for her too, as “The Humans” finds a moving vehicle for her voice to be heard. And I remember what it meant to live in lower Manhattan after the attacks, when you had to cross a police barricade at 14th Street to reach your apartment, and the smell of the aftermath — of concrete and carnage, of 110 stories and countless lives vaporized into a poisonous mist that lingered in the air and polluted one’s nostrils for months afterward. Collaborating with DP Lol Crawley (“Vox Lux”), he tends to focus on small nooks, subdividing the space and directing our attention much as a graphic novelist does. There are those who will watch “The Humans” and find it totally banal. In its own oblique but circumspect way, “The Humans” acknowledges how the WTC attacks transformed the city, how conservative, small-town parents already nervous about letting their kids leave the nest for New York were given reason to fear the worst, and how a generation of strong-willed survivors refused to let their dreams be derailed on account of it. I recall seeing the show at the Ahmanson in Los Angeles and realizing that, despite all the attention paid to reproducing those effects, “The Humans” seemed to be missing the unique sound of New York — that cocktail of police sirens, taxi horns and people hollering in the streets. It’s about tolerance, which flows both ways: parents who love their kids unconditionally, even when they show up with same-sex or nonwhite partners, and kids who find it in themselves to respect their folks’ old-fashioned Christian values. Above all, it’s about acceptance and reconciliation, whether that comes from a religious place or not. The result has been a situation in which audiences perceive the company — which has produced such films as “Lady Bird,” “The Lighthouse” and “Uncut Gems” — as a reliable curator of movies that challenge mainstream, mass-market expectations. I’ve never shared this with my readers, but it feels relevant to the way “The Humans” captures the micro and macro aspects of post-9/11 New York: I moved to the Big Apple 20 years ago, and spent my first year sharing a West Village apartment not unlike the one seen here with an 83-year-old woman named Betty Davis. So what does an A24 version of “The Humans” look like? It’s about how different generations interact with each other. Thanksgiving-set family dramedies are so often rowdy, whereas not much happens by traditional cinematic standards here — a creative choice A24 clearly protected. Karam’s script was already somewhat experimental by the standards of a typical Broadway play: While the drama centers on a middle-class, 21st-century Scranton family’s housewarming-slash-Thanksgiving dinner at youngest daughter Brigid’s newly rented New York City apartment, the staging did interesting things with lighting, music and sound. In the role of Erik, Jenkins gives a subtle, understated performance. Others won’t see themselves in it at all and instead of relating, might reject it as just another “boring white person” movie. And then I thought, surely a Broadway audience would have heard all that clamor live, pouring in through the walls of the Helen Hayes Theatre. It’s reached the point where moviegoers who’ve never heard of the individual auteurs responsible (many of whom are on their first or second features) trust the company supporting them, congregating to discuss A24 films on Facebook, and turning up just to see whatever unusual project the outfit might release next. Karam has invested each of the characters with dimension and complexity — even grandma Momo (June Squibb), her mind cannibalized by dementia, reduced to mumbling nonsense from her wheelchair. And as his wife, Deirdre, Jayne Houdyshell (the only actor from the original Broadway cast) is just terrific, exuding care and concern for everyone, but also a kind of cautious self-protection vis-à-vis her weight, her kids’ teasing and Erik’s secret.

"The world is changing fast these days, and it's not headed in the right direction: We've left behind women in Afghanistan where they risk being raped every four seconds and everywhere in the world there are still women who are beaten to death," says the director.
The ambitious period movie marks Amazon's first French movie original. Melanie Laurent, one of France's most acclaimed actors-turned-filmmakers, has been having a banner 2021, headlining Alexandre Aja's hit Netflix movie "Oxygene," sitting on Spike Lee's Cannes jury, and world premiering her sixth directorial effort "The Mad Women's Ball" at Toronto.
Although the film is set in the 19th century, Laurent says it's "very modern to talk about women who are silenced and called crazy." "I'm under the impression that the more power women have today and the more they are called crazy or hysterical," she says.
"The Mad Women's Ball" is the first film that Laurent directs for a streaming service. The French studio was initially set to co-produce and distribute the film in France, but the pandemic hit and the project needed a deep-pocketed partner to get greenlit. Amazon Prime Video boarded the project after Gaumont had been involved.
"I've often been told I was crazy, for a long time, because I try to do a lot of different things. It's just the idea of seeing me get out of my little box of actress and try to accomplish other things. It's true that a woman who dares to venture into too many projects always raises suspicion, but we're capable of so much!" says Laurent, adding that she's never seen a male filmmaker bring his kids on set for more than five minutes whereas their female counterparts do it and can juggle.
The latest wave of feminism has also led to a surge of hostility towards outspoken women, says Laurent, who admits she's often been called crazy herself for taking on too much.
Women could have made more discoveries in sciences, they could have done so many things, but they were silenced," says Laurent, adding that she was compelled by the cinematic appeal and complexity of Mas' book. "Through history, women who have tried to make society progress were often not allowed to and they didn't have access to knowledge like men, so they found other ways to learn things on their own.
"I think on this subject, on this film, that's what I wanted."” /> "I would have been unhappy to see the film come out in theaters and pulled away from screens after a week or two; whereas with Amazon, it's rolling out in 240 countries, on the same day and at the same time," Laurent says.
After her family discovers her secret, she is taken to the hospital, where she bonds with a nurse, Geneviève (Laurent). Alain Goldman and Axelle Boucaï at Legende Films (“La vie en rose”) produced the film. Their encounter will change both their futures as they prepare for Charcot’s ball. Lou de Laâge, who starred in Laurent's sophomore outing "Breathe," plays Eugénie, a young, radiant and passionate woman who discovers at a young age that she has the special power to hear the dead.
She has a star demeanor with a mind-blowing beauty and she also has this intelligent look in her eyes and a vulnerability while having this big voice; so we can't put her in any box," says Laurent, adding that de Laâge brings modernity and boldness to the character of Eugénie. Laurent also praises de Laâge for her singularity and her performance in "a role that was made for her." "She's an actor with such a huge potential and she's often cast by directors, often male ones, as the pretty woman, but she can do so much more.
She says her baby daughter was on the set of "The Mad Women's Ball" every day, which made her feel "fulfilled" and gave her the "mental strength" she needed on the shoot.
"We were ready to make this film for theaters and were preparing the film with Gaumont and TV channels, but then the second wave began, and it became complicated and very stressful for financiers; we were starting to feel that there would be a clutter of releases and we feared we couldn't find a good slot to release the film in theaters," says Laurent.
Laurent ("Inglourious Basterds,""Beginners") shot the film when her long-gestated Sony project "The Nightingale" with Elle Fanning and Dakota Fanning saw its production halted due to the pandemic.
Laurent says that although the idea of adapting Mas' novel came from her producer (Goldman), she had a desire to direct a period film about "witches in the Middle-Age, a film that could be described as 'eco-feminist.'"
"After reading 'Le Bal des folles,' I was horrified as I realized women have been oppressed at different periods, either the clergy, or the field of medicine, or our male-dominated society," says Laurent.
The helmer says she was given complete creative freedom by Amazon Prime Video and its head of originals, Thomas Dubois."[Dubois] never came on set or in the editing room; he just told me to be as radical as I wanted, so I felt more free than on any other film," says Laurent.
The action unfolds at the Salpêtrière hospital where such women, diagnosed with different kinds of nervous system disorders, were confined and put under the supervision of neurologists such as Jean-Martin Charcot. Each year, a prestigious ball was organized with the patients and attracted the Parisian elite; it was a place to see and be seen. Based on Victoria Mas' award-winning novel "Le Bal des folles," "The Mad Women's Ball" takes place at the end of the 19th century in Paris, at a time when women deemed too rebellious or difficult were frequently labeled as insane and institutionalized.

“It's a totally different way of filmmaking,” says Heene. “What we're looking for is authenticity; it's very interesting working with non-professional actors.”
The film is also about what it means to do good – can you really put yourself aside or is there always a personal motivation?” adds Troch, who writes all of her screenplays. The film's other central figure is the girl's teacher. “She has this big dream of becoming a world savior and doing good, and she sees in Holly something special, the perfect tool to achieve that ideal of becoming this Mother Teresa figure.
“It's about the power of a community, what connects people, how they interact with each other – it's about exploring human nature,” says Heene.
Belgium's Fien Troch, who won best director in Venice Film Festival's Horizons section in 2016 with “Home,” returned to the Lido last week to pitch her fifth feature, “Holly,” in the Venice Gap-Financing Market.
Other backers include Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), Casa Kafka, Cinéart, Netherlands Film Fund, and Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Fédération WallonieBruxelles.” /> The film is a Belgian-Dutch-French co-production with France's Agat Films, Topkapi in the Netherlands, and Belgium's Les Films du Fleuve.
'Home' was a very interesting experience for me because, all of a sudden, music became more present than in my previous films, almost like another character. “Music is very important in my films. I will very likely have the same approach for 'Holly,' ” says Troch.
Troch will be teaming up again with DoP Frank Van den Eeden, her husband, Nico Leunen, who has edited all of her films, and American musician Johnny Jewel of the Chromatics, who also provided the soundtrack for “Home.”
“ 'Home' was meant to feel like we accidentally had a camera and got into a story and just filmed – of course that wasn't the case: Everything was very prepared. But that was what the viewer had to feel,” explains Troch.
'Holly' will be more cinematic. “What I did with 'Home' was extreme, working with a very small crew so we had the freedom to move around. But at the same time, I'm always investigating how I can find a much freer way to film. With each film, I always try to find the right language, what's best for the film and empowers the story,” she adds.
The film tells the story of a 15-year-old girl who unwittingly becomes a savior figure in the aftermath of a school fire. A traumatized community looks to her for consolation, but very soon the line between support and abuse blurs.
The project, which is budgeted at €2.5 million, is produced by Antonino Lombardo's Belgian outfit Prime Time. The Dardenne Brothers' company, Les Films du Fleuve, is among the co-producers.
As with “Home,” Troch plans to film with a mix of professionals and non-professionals. Shooting is set to start next year in the suburbs of Brussels and casting is underway.
“[The Dardenne Brothers] have been following Fien's work for a long time, so it's great to be able to finally work with them,” says Elisa Heene, who produces alongside Lombardo.
While entirely scripted, “Home” had a definite doc-style feel. Authenticity is a central theme to Troch's work.