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Bill Murray is the subject of the complaint that shut down Aziz Ansari’s new film; The Northman and the Nicolas Cage film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent are finally here and are exactly equal, in one way; Pam Grier is honored; Martin Scorsese does some honoring. Plus: Great things are happening in San Luis Obispo, Milwaukee and Seattle; Florida and Saudi Arabia, not so much. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.
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Out Today: Nicolas Cage in the comedy-drama The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, and Robert Eggers’ The Northman. We have detailed stories on the making of both: Check out Margeaux Sippell’s cover story on Massive Talent here, and Caleb Hammond’s deep dive on The Northman here. I can’t remember the last time two films I badly wanted to see arrived in theaters on the same day. Both films have an 89 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

It’s Bill Murray: The report that Aziz Ansari’s film Being Human has paused due to a complaint sparked an obvious question: A complaint against who? Deadline reports that the answer is Bill Murray, one of the film’s leads, and that the complaint accuses him of inappropriate behavior. Little other information has been released, and Murray has not commented.
Today in Government Repression: The Hollywood Reporter says Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will not be allowed in Saudi Arabia because it features a gay character, America Chavez (played by Xochitl Gomez).
In Related News: The Florida House has voted to revoke Disney World’s designation as a special tax district — a huge perk Disney enjoyed for 55 years. The New York Times explains that the decision by Florida Republicans “has been widely seen as brazen retaliation after Disney, Florida’s largest private employer, paused political donations in the state and condemned a new education law that opponents call ‘Don’t Say Gay.’” 
Scorsese Does a Great Thing: The Film Foundation, the non-profit organization that Martin Scorsese started in 1990, is launching The Film Foundation Restoration Screening Room, which will “showcase films restored with support from the foundation and its partners.” The screening room will be available for free starting on Monday, May 9 , and additional features will arrive on the second Monday of each month. The first film is 1945’s I Know Where I’m Going!, directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It’s been restored by The Film Foundation and BFI National Archive, in association with ITV and Park Circus, and will be available for a 24-hours window. The Film Foundation Restoration Screening Room will be “appointment viewing,” with screenings starting at a set time. Here is a link you should definitely save.
Pam Grier: Pam Grier has just been announced as the subject of Season 4 of Turner Classic Movies’ The Plot Thickens podcast. “I’m a classic now!” Grier said at the media reception for the TCM Classic Film Festival earlier this week, where the announcement was made. “The word ‘iconic’ is overused in this industry, but Pam has been a true revolutionary regarding the depiction of Black women in Hollywood,” The Plot Thickens host Ben Mankiewicz said in a press statement. “Pam’s characters are unapologetic, tough and fiercely independent, just like she was when she started in Hollywood five decades ago and remains to this day,” he added. Look for the podcast this fall. Here’s the latest season, about Lucille Ball.

SLO Ride: The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, just named one of our 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee, has announced that for its 28th annual edition, starting next Thursday, actress Dale Dickey (A Love Song) will receive the King Vidor Award, and Michael Showalter (The Eyes of Tammy Faye) will be this year’s Spotlight Award honoree. Stacy Peralta’s The Yin and Yang of Gerry Lopez was announced as the featured film for this year’s Surf Nite at the Drive-in. SLO was one of the very first festivals to go virtual for COVID-19, and festival director Skye McLennan is very happy about the return of in-person events: “The King Vidor Award, the Spotlight Award, Surf Nite, moderated talks with Ben Mankiewicz, Jenelle Riley, and more are the things lovers of cinema on the Central Coast have sorely missed,” McLennan said. “I can speak for everyone here when I say we are counting each day until SLO Film Fest opens next week!” This is a lovely festival, drivable from San Francisco or L.A., and you should go. More details are here.
Milwaukee: The 14th Annual Milwaukee Film Festival, which started yesterday, is also returning to in-cinema screenings. The festival includes director Alice Gu attending a screening of her latest film Really Good Rejects and festival alumni Amy Bandlien Storkel and Bryan Storkel attending their Opening Night screening of The Pez Outlaw. “Given the challenges of the past two years, we are honored to be able to welcome so many filmmakers to share their films with our wonderful audiences and have that fulfillment we know they’ve craved,” said Cara Ogburn, Milwaukee Film’s artistic director.  I also recommend checking out Navalny, and am very intrigued by Petit Maman from Portrait of a Lady director Céline Sciamma. If you can get to Milwaukee, this looks like a great event. Here’s the festival homepage.
Warm Blood: Here’s a new film from the great Factory 25 made from the short ends of Jonah Hill’s Mid90s. Set in Modesto, in the 1980s, it uses the real-life diary of a teenage runaway named Red (newcomer Haley Isaacson) who returns home to find her father. The narrative feature debut from director Rick Charnoski is informed by his work as a skate video director, and frequent Kelly Reichardt collaborator Christopher Blauvelt (First Cow, The Bling Ring) shot it all in 16mm. “The vibe shift has arrived,”  says Megan Leonard for the highly praised Seattle International Film Festival, where Warm Blood is now playing. “Light your cigs, because indie sleaze is back. When a skater-turned-filmmaker and hooks up with Kelly Reichardt’s DP, a special trash magic is made.” Also the trailer’s opening line is pretty irresistible, even to old people like myself.

Main image: Pam Grier in Jackie Brown (1997).
 

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