Sign up to receive our Essential Arts & Culture Newsletter
Movies Now Film — past, present and future
Sofia Coppola departs as director of 'The Little Mermaid'

Plans for Sofia Coppola to direct "The Little Mermaid" have dissolved into sea foam.

The "Lost in Translation" filmmaker has exited Universal Pictures' and Working Title Films' live-action adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale over creative differences, The Times has confirmed. Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.

Universal is moving forward with the project, which is being produced by Working Title co-chiefs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner.

Caroline Thompson ("Edward Scissorhands") wrote the most recent draft of the script, which was previously worked on by Kelly Marcel ("Fifty Shades of Grey") and Abi Morgan ("Shame"). Joe Wright ("Pride & Prejudice") also circled the film as director before Coppola came aboard last year.

INDIE FOCUS: Sign up for our weekly movies newsletter

Details about the new take on "The Little Mermaid" have yet to emerge, but given the names mentioned above, it could be darker and more grown-up than the beloved Disney animated musical from 1989....

Read more
Eli Roth's delayed horror film 'The Green Inferno' due in September

Eli Roth's "The Green Inferno" is finally ready to emerge from the jungle.

The cannibal horror movie is set to hit theaters Sept. 25, more than a year after its original intended release date, from Blumhouse Productions' BH Tilt label and Universal Pictures, the companies announced Monday.

The tale of student activists who travel to the Amazon to save the rainforest but get more than they bargained for, "Green Inferno" represents Roth's first film as a director since 2007's "Hostel: Part II." The cast includes Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Aaron Burns and Daryl Sabara.

INDIE FOCUS: Sign up for our weekly movies newsletter

Roth, a veteran horror maestro and proud provocateur, debuted "Green Inferno" at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013, after which it was acquired by Open Road Films. Though slated for release Sept. 5, 2014, the movie was pulled from the calendar at the 11th hour.

Open Road is no longer involved with the film, which will be released on about 1,000 screens. Jason...

Read more
Betsy Palmer on Jason's slasher mom in 'Friday the 13th': She'd kill and die for you

Betsy Palmer, best known for playing Jason Voorhees’ murderous mother in “Friday the 13th,” was only in it for the cash -- but she ended up with some interesting perspectives on the character.

Palmer, who died Friday at age 88, long said that what drew her to 1980's “Friday the 13th” was the paycheck alone: She was offered the role just after her car broke down, and the $10,000 she earned would almost exactly cover the cost of the new Volkswagen Scirocco she wanted, she told reporters over the years.

She put in her 10 days of filming and figured nobody would see the 1980 horror movie, in which she played Camp Crystal Lake chef Pamela Voorhees, whose young son Jason drowned after a pair of canoodling counselors failed to keep an eye on him.

Throughout the film, Mrs. Voorhees stabs and slashes her way through two generations of camp counselors, including one played by a young Kevin Bacon, until she is decapitated with her own machete.

Although she called the script “a piece of dreck,” Palmer...

Read more
'Aloha': Cameron Crowe still seeking box office redemption

Cameron Crowe is no stranger to redemption stories, from Tom Cruise's sports agent in crisis in "Jerry Maguire" to Orlando Bloom's suicidal shoe designer in "Elizabethtown" to Matt Damon's grieving widower in "We Bought a Zoo."

The director's latest movie, the Hawaii-set romantic comedy "Aloha," once again centers on a man — this time a jaded military contractor played by Bradley Cooper — trying to figure out whether and how to put his life back together.

But as "Aloha" emerges from its first weekend in theaters, it seems that Crowe too is looking to get back on the right track: His latest effort grossed an underwhelming $10 million in North America, taking the No. 6 spot.

INDIE FOCUS: Sign up for our weekly movies newsletter

Going into the weekend, "Aloha" was projected to take in a soft $12 million to $15 million, and clouds of bad buzz were already gathering. In recent months the film had been pushed back on the release calendar and badmouthed by Sony executives in leaked emails, and...

Read more
'San Andreas' buries 'Aloha' at Friday box office

It doesn't appear that there will be any major shake-ups at the box office this weekend, as "San Andreas" is on track to claim No. 1.

The earthquake thriller starring Dwayne Johnson was the top performer at the multiplex on Friday, taking in $18.2 million, according to distributor Warner Bros. That means the film is on track to collect a solid $45 million by weekend's end -- about as much as pre-release surveys had indicated.

The only other film that debuted in wide release this weekend was Cameron Crowe's "Aloha," a Hawaii-set, star-studded drama that has earned the filmmaker some of the worst reviews of his career. Sony Pictures said the film grossed $3.6 million on Friday, so the movie should end up with a underwhelming opening of about $10 million.

At least the film wasn't all that expensive to produce: $37 million compared with the massive $110-million budget of "San Andreas.'' Johnson's disaster flick received a mixed critical reception but was well-liked by early moviegoers: Those...

Read more
'San Andreas' leaves critics shaken, not stirred

Poor California gets split in half by seismic activity in "San Andreas," director Brad Peyton's earthquake thriller starring Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino and Alexandra Daddario.

Not unlike the Golden State itself, film critics have also been divided by the disaster flick: Some appreciate its unabashed spectacle, but others can't get past its CGI sheen and wooden dialogue.

In an ambivalent but somewhat favorable review, The Times' Kenneth Turan writes, "'San Andreas' has the technical might to make the post-quake horrors it depicts all too plausible." On the other hand, the movie is "woefully by-the-numbers from a dramatic point of view. Even by the non-Olympian standards of the disaster genre, 'San Andreas' is chock-full of cliche characters, staggering coincidences and wild improbabilities. And its dialogue is so of the 'this is gonna hurt' variety that I tallied close to half a dozen 'Oh, my Gods' before I stopped counting."

And yet, Turan writes, "films this preposterous can be engaging...

Read more