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‘Cruella,’ ‘The Green Knight,’ Among Art Directors Guild Awards Nominees

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‘Cruella,’ ‘The Green Knight,’ Among Art Directors Guild Awards Nominees

The Art Directors Guild (IATSE Local 800) announced the nominations for its 26th Excellence in Production Design Awards in motion pictures, television, commercial and music video categories. A live-in person ceremony is scheduled to be held March 5 at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown hotel.

Awards for live-action features are divided into three categories: period, fantasy and contemporary film. Nominees for period feature film are The French Dispatch, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley, The Tragedy of Macbeth and West Side Story. In the fantasy feature category, the guild nominated Cruella, Dune, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, The Green Knight and Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. And in the contemporary film category, nominees are Candyman, Don’t Look Up, In The Heights, The Lost Daughter and No Time To Die.

Over the past five years, the winner of the ADG’s period film prize has gone on to win the Oscar for production design three times: in 2018 for The Shape of Water, in 2020 for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and in 2021 for Mank. The production design Oscar went to the winner of the fantasy category in 2019, for Black Panther. And in 2017, La La Land picked up the ADG award for a contemporary film on the way to winning the Oscar for production design.

This year, Adam Stockhausen is nominated twice in the period film category, for his work on Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch and Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. He previously won an Oscar for Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Encanto, Luca, The Mitchells vs. The Machines, Raya and the Last Dragon and Sing 2 are nominated in the animated features category. Television nominees include Succession, WandaVision and Yellowstone.

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As previously announced, during the awards ceremony, Dune helmer Denis Villeneuve will receive the William Cameron Menzies Award, and The Power of the Dog director Jane Campion will receive the Cinematic Imagery Award.

The complete list of nominees follows:

PERIOD FEATURE FILM
The French Dispatch Production Designer: Adam Stockhausen

Licorice Pizza Production Designer: Florencia Martin 

Nightmare Alley Production Designer: Tamara Deverell 

The Tragedy of Macbeth Production Designer: Stefan Dechant

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West Side Story Production Designer: Adam Stockhausen
          
FANTASY FEATURE FILM
Cruella Production Designer: Fiona Crombie

Dune Production Designer: Patrice Vermette

Ghostbusters: Afterlife Production Designer: François Audouy 

The Green Knight Production Designer: Jade Healy 

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Production Designer: Sue Chan

CONTEMPORARY FEATURE FILM 

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Candyman Production Designer: Cara Brower

Don’t Look Up Production Designer: Clayton Hartley

In the Heights Production Designer: Nelson Coates

The Lost Daughter Production Designer: Inbal Weinberg

No Time to Die Production Designer: Mark Tildesley

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

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Encanto Production Designers: Ian Gooding, Lorelay Bové

Luca Production Designer: Daniela Strijleva

The Mitchells vs. the Machines Production Designer: Lindsey Olivares

Raya and the Last Dragon Production Designers: Paul Felix, Mingjue Helen Chen, Cory Loftis

Sing 2 Art Director: Olivier Adam

ONE-HOUR PERIOD OR FANTASY SINGLE-CAMERA SERIES

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Foundation: “The Emperor’s Peace” Production Designer: Rory Cheyne

The Great: “Dickhead,” “Seven Days,” “Wedding” Production Designer: Francesca di Mottola

Loki: “Glorious Purpose” Production Designer: Kasra Farahani

Lost In Space: “Three Little Birds” Production Designer: Alec Hammond

The Witcher: “A Grain of Truth” Production Designer: Andrew Laws

ONE-HOUR CONTEMPORARY SINGLE-CAMERA SERIES

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The Handmaid’s Tale: “Chicago” Production Designer: Elisabeth Williams

The Morning Show: “My Least Favorite Year,” “It’s Like the Flu,” “A Private Person”
Production Designer: Nelson Coates

Squid Game: “Gganbu” Production Designer: Chae Kyoung-sun

Succession: “The Disruption,” “Too Much Birthday” Production Designer: Stephen Carter

Yellowstone: “No Kindness for the Coward” Production Designer: Cary White

TELEVISION MOVIE OR LIMITED SERIES

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Halston Production Designer: Mark Ricker

Mare of Easttown Production Designer: Keith P. Cunningham

The Underground Railroad Production Designer: Mark Friedberg

WandaVision:  Production Designer: Mark Worthington

The White Lotus Production Designer: Laura Fox

HALF HOUR SINGLE-CAMERA SERIES

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Hacks: “Primm” Production Designer: Jon Carlos

Only Murders in the Building: “True Crime” Production Designer: Curt Beech

Schmigadoon!: “Schmigadoon!” Production Designer: Bo Welch

Ted Lasso: “Carol of the Bells,” “Man City,” “Beard After Hours” Production Designer: Paul Cripps

What We Do in the Shadows: “The Prisoner,” “The Cloak of Duplication,” “The Siren” 
Production Designer: Kate Bunch

MULTI-CAMERA SERIES

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Bob Hearts Abishola: “Bowango” Production Designer: Francoise Cherry-Cohen

Call Your Mother: “Pilot” Production Designer: Glenda Rovello

The Conners – Season 3: “A Stomach Ache, a Heartbreak and a Grave Mistake,”
“An Old Dog, New Tricks and a Ticket to Ride” Production Designer: John Shaffner

Dave: “Ad Man,” “Enlightened Dave,” “Dave”  Production Designer: Almitra Corey

Family Reunion: “Remember When M’Dear Changed History?” Production Designer: Aiyana Trotter  

Punky Brewster: “Put a Ring on It” Production Designer: Kristan Andrews     

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COMMERCIALS

Anhauser-Busch Super Bowl LV: “Let’s Grab a Beer” Production Designer: Donald Graham Burt

Apple: Introducing iPhone 13 Pro Production Designer: Dylan Kahn

Apple: “Saving Simon” Shot on iPhone 13 Pro Production Designer: Chelsea Oliver

Apple Music: “Billie Eilish – Happier Than Ever” Production Designer: François Audouy
Gucci: “Aria” Production Designer: Jeremy Reed

Neom: “Made to Change” Production Designer: François Audouy

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MUSIC VIDEOS

Coldplay “Higher Power” Production Designer: Patrick Tatopoulos

Coldplay X BTS: “My Universe” Production Designer: François Audouy

Ed Sheeran: “Shivers” Production Designer: François Audouy

P!nk: “All I Know So Far” Production Designer: François Audouy

Taylor Swift: “All Too Well” Production Designer: Ethan Tobman

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VARIETY, REALITY OR COMPETITION SERIES

A Black Lady Sketch Show: “If I’m Paying These Chili’s Prices, You Cannot Taste My Steak!” Production Designers: Cindy Chao, Michele Yu

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses: “Gryffindor vs. Hufflepuff” Production Designer: John Janavs

RuPaul’s Drag Race: “Condragulations,” “Bossy Rossy Rubot,” “Gettin’ Lucky”              Production Designer: James McGowan

Saturday Night Live: “Host: Dan Levy + Music: Phoebe Bridgers,” “Host: Maya Rudolph + Music: Jack Harlow,” “Host: Kim Kardashian West + Music: Halsey” Production Designers: Keith Raywood, Eugene Lee, Akira Yoshimura, N. Joseph De Tullio

Waffles + Mochi: “Tomato” Production Designers: Cindy Chao, Michele Yu

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VARIETY SPECIAL

American Express – Unstaged (with SZA) Production Designer: Carlos Laszlo

Jim Gaffigan: Comedy Monster Production Designer: James Kronzer

Live in Front of a Studio Audience: “Facts of Life – Kids Can Be Cruel (320) &
Diff’rent Strokes – Willis’ Privacy (115) 
Production Designer: Stephan Olson

Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 3 Supervising Art Director: Steve Morden

Yearly Departed Production Designer: Frida Oliva

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

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The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

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Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

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Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

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To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

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Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

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Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

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