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    Wednesday, 26 March 2014 10:44

    CinemaCon Frontlines - II

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    costnerWhat a great second day at CinemaCon 2014. Universal Studios has a huge lineup of diverse film, and Universal has been on a roll, and with the upcoming slate, will continue that roll through this year. And Lionsgate with director Ivan Reitman at the helm brought out a film that established Kevin Costner as one of the best actors of our age, as well as giving us a film set against a sports backdrop that will literally take your breath away.

    Universal Distribution President, Nikki Rocco, presented their lineup and the stars to a jam-packed Coliseum Theatre at Caesar’s Palace of industry people and media from throughout the world.

    Universal screened Neighbors in its entirety, and footage from Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West; The Purge: Anarchy; Fast & Furious 7, with a great tribute to Paul Walker; the James Brown bio pic – Get on Up; Fifty Shades of Grey; the great sequel, Dumb and Dumber To; the animated Minions, which is a spin-off from the hugely successful Despicable Me; Angelina Jolie directed Unbroken; Luc Besson’s Lucy, which stars Scarlett Johansson.

    “Neighbors” stars Seth Rogen and Zac Effron and is a bawdy comedy that had industry insiders roaring and this will be big for Universal, as it is in the model of “Ted” and just as funny, if not funnier.

    Seth MacFarlane the creator of “Ted” was up next with his “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” which is a hilarious take off on many of the western dramas of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood, and has a great group of stars carrying it off.

    And certainly, everyone was in awe and gave a standing ovation to Angelina Jolie as she presented “Unbroken”, the unbelievable story of Louis Zamperini, who was no ordinary prisoner of war, and who’s exploits in WWII are legendary. This was originally supposed to be a Universal vehicle for Tony Curtis, in 1959, but never got made. Jolie found the script, and the rest, as they say in Hollywood, is legend.

    Another treat was the first footage seen from “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and even the execs at Universal hadn’t seen this yet.

    Scarlett Johansson stars in Luc Besson’s “Lucy”, a sci-fi action film that keeps you on the edgfe of your seat, and Besson is a master of that format. 

    And now, 20 years later we get a sequel that got the audience laughing so loud it had to have been heard up and down the strip – “Dumb and Dumber To” and Jim Carrey is back in a big way in this film as well as Jeff Daniels when Carrey wakes up from a 20 year stay in an institution.

    “Get On Up” is directed by Tate Taylor, who directed “The Help,” is the bio of James Brown, and no matter if you know Brown or not, you will be up out of your seat jamming in the aisles on this fantastic look into Brown’s life.

    Most people were stunned at “The Purge: Anarchy,” which was a sequel to last year’s big hit, but this one has a great storyline, that for twelve hours, once a year, all crime is legal, including murder.

    ivan reitman

    But the story of the day was Lionsgate’s “Draft Day”, starring Kevin Costner and directed by super-director/producer Ivan Reitman ("Ghostbusters" "Stripes") and some great character actors about, as the title implies, draft day in the NFL.
    The entire narrative centers on Costner as the GM of the Cleveland Browns and it is a riveting, funny, eye-opening glimpse into the world of NFL as no movie has ever shown.
    The screenplay is magnificent. With plots and twists that give us the real inside scoop of the down and ruthless life of what’s at stake.
    This is Oscar caliber, and the best of Costner’s long line of sports-themed films and Reitman should definitely earn a nomination for Best Director!

    But again, the story was Costner himself in this film skillfully guided by Reitman's sure directorial hand. He carries this film in every scene, and the dramas and humors that build around him are played like no one else. He is back like you have never seen him before, and he has risen in stature as a real star who is also a great actor, just as Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart.

    lorenzo and friend

    And the story is so great, with all the action taking place in one day, and the screen gets time of day at different spots to highlight the enormity of the day and build on the intense pressure to find not only  the best player, but players that will sell season tickets and create fan devotion.

    The cutbacks and split screens on phone calls was done so well the moviegoer was in on the call.

    Great kudos to Costner, the screenwriter, and the director, Reitman, for pulling this off, and it is a huge picture that opens in April. This picture is perfect in what is defined as great, from the opening scene to the credits this is a great film in the long tradition of Hollywood films that engage the moviegoer immediately into the action and the character, and we feel the enormity of the stakes from the first scene.

    Thank you, Universal, and thank you very much, Lionsgate.

    Lorenzo P. is currently stalking the highways and byways of CinemaCon for OC Screenwriters.   Thanks, Buddy!


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