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‘The Matrix Resurrections’ First Reactions Range From ‘Awe-Inducing’ to ‘Meta to a Fault’

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The first reactions to “The Matrix Resurrections” are in — and it’s a mixed bag, ranging from “terrific” to “bogged down in exposition.”

As the film’s social media embargo lifted on Thursday night, film critics and journalists took to Twitter to share their opinions about the franchise’s latest installment.

Film critic Courtney Howard called it “a terrific, awe-inducing, meta mind-bender completely in line with the franchise’s legacy.” Howard also praised the movie for finding “an innovative, high-concept way to frame the new story.”

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On the other hand, Cheat Sheet critic Jeff Nelson was less enthused with “The Matrix’s” latest outing, calling it “an almost 2.5-hour exposition dump with choppy action scenes reminiscent of the Bourne movies. It reuses far too much footage from previous installments and is meta to a fault.”

Although People news editor Nigel Smith wrote that the movie is “bogged down in exposition like the previous two,” he said that it’s “more fun than I remember the sequels ever being.”

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Insider correspondent Kirsten Acuna also enjoyed the film more than the franchise’s last two sequels, comparing it to Star Wars’ “The Force Awakens.”

But Mashable writer Alison Foreman wrote that in the film “nothing matters, and not in a cool nihilistic way.”

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Forbes’ Scott Mendelson agreed, saying that it is a “comedy” with disappointing action and thin characters. However, he complemented the film’s “metatextual commentary.”

The fourth installment of the sci-fi franchise sees Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss reprising their roles as Neo and Trinity, but they don’t remember each other — or their pasts. Along with Reeves and Moss, the cast includes Jada Pinkett Smith, Lambert Wilson and Daniel Bernhardt reprising roles from the original trilogy, as well as Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Christina Ricci and Jonathan Groff.

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Lana Wachowski directed the film from a script she co-wrote with David Mitchell and Aleksander Hemon. Sisters Lana and Lilly Wachowski created “The Matrix” franchise and wrote and directed the first three installments, which were huge box office hits and have grossed more than $1 billion globally.

“The Matrix Resurrections” hits theaters and HBO Max on Dec. 22. Read more reactions below.

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Bolivian Debut Feature ‘Utama’ Drives Home Impact of Climate Change

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By telling the story of an elderly indigenous couple as they eke out a living in the arid Bolivian highlands, Alejandro Loayza Grisi brings home the all-too-real perils of climate change in his country and around the world. But “Utama” (“Our Home”) is also an enduring love story, played by real-life couple Jose Calcina and Luisa Quispe, who’ve been married for 48 years.

“Utama,” which world premieres Jan. 22 at Sundance’s World Dramatic Competition section, is the fiction feature debut of Loayza Grisi, who credits his work in still photography and documentaries for the precise framing of the film’s stunning, otherworldly landscapes and moving character portraiture. It was while traveling around Bolivia as a DP for the documentary series “Planet Bolivia” where he saw first-hand how the rural communities’ way of life — some just outside the main cities — was being threatened by the extreme changes in the climate.

“Utama” turns on elderly Quechua couple Virginio and Sisi, played by non-pros Calcina and Quispe, whose daily routine tending to llamas is disrupted by an unusually long drought. The arrival of their grandson Clever (played by actor Santos Choque) is a catalyst that will force them to face the realities of their threatened lifestyles.

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Working with Calcina and Quispe, who first rebuffed several attempts by Loayza Grisi to cast them, turned out to be a gratifying experience. “The chemistry between them was what helped the most,” said Loayza Grisi who lauded their commitment to the film. “The biggest challenge was to make them yell and lose their temper with each other as they are even sweeter in real life,” he said, adding: “What undoubtedly helped a lot is that they were able to identify with their characters.”

“[Choque] was very generous in his work and supported them in everything,” he recalled. “To create a better relationship, he decided to accompany them in their daily lives, so he really was an adoptive grandson.”

Equally charming were the llamas: “They’re highly intelligent; they soon grasped what we were trying to do and after a few takes, knew what was expected of them, going in or out of their pens on cue,” said Loayza Grisi, who expects that aside from a screening at the community where it was shot, BF Distribution will be releasing the film in key cities of Bolivia by August.

International sales are handled by Alpha Violet, which boarded “Utama” while the film was participating in the Toulouse Cinélatino program as a work in progress.

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Loayza Grisi has two fiction projects in development, both with working titles: “Chovore,” which also carries an environmental message, turns on a group of young cadets based at a remote town in the Bolivian Amazon who are put to the test when they are sent to contain forest fires without adequate resources.

Further along in development is “El Chico del Rayo” (“Lightning Boy”), set in Apolobamba, a town in the Andes at more than 5,000 meters above sea level. Here, 16-year-old Egan begins to feel the call of his destiny to become a callawaya (Shaman). To do this, he must be struck by lightning and learn the art of clairvoyance from Don Cosme, an old callawaya who reads fortunes in town.

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Michael Douglas to be Guest of Honor at Meihodo International Youth Visual Media Festival – Global Bulletin

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FESTIVAL

Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker Michael Douglas will serve as guest of honor and advisor at the fourth annual Meihodo International Youth Visual Media Festival. Douglas will appear during the short film festival’s 2022 virtual awards ceremony to announce the grand prize winner and offer insights to young filmmakers. The ceremony will be organized via Japan-based Meihodo’s U.S. headquarters in New York City, and stream on YouTube for U.S. audiences on Feb. 22,

The theme of this year’s festival will be “Dreaming Big in the Digital Revolution.” The festival has received thousands of entries from around the world and Meihodo will introduce a new element, awarding top winners with custom NFTs and cryptocurrency and bestowing a prize of $20,000 to one standout work, with total prize money exceeding $100,000.

“I’ve had the good fortune to work in the film business for decades, and I’m both humbled and excited to connect with young filmmakers at the fourth annual Meihodo festival,” Douglas said. “From a young age, thanks to my father, I’ve had a front-row seat to watching films be made and it’s a pleasure to not only share some of that wisdom but also learn from a new wave of artists.”

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The festival’s special advisor is Oscar-winning “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” composer Tan Dun and the honorary chair is acclaimed producer Yue-Sai Kan.

APPOINTMENTS

Banijay Iberia has appointed Miguel Martín as the new managing director of its label Zeppelin, replacing Amparo Castellano. Zeppelin’s recent hits include “Secret Story,” “Big Brother,” “The Bridge and SKAM España.” Martín began his tenure at Banijay Iberia in 2019 at IP development hub Banijay Birds and has also served as executive producer on local titles including “LOL: Last One Laughing” for Amazon Prime Video. He has also directed and produced shows across multiple genres. The executive also has U.S. experience, having served as executive producer on formats for NBC-Telemundo and FOX.

Meanwhile, Sivan Pillay has been appointed CEO of the newly formed Trace Studios, which was formed by the acquisition of Trace by the Cape Town-based Okuhle Media Studios. Pillay joined Endemol South Africa in 2000 and rose to managing director in 2008. He was named CEO of Endemol Shine Africa after the global Endemol-Shine merger. After his Endemol years and until the end of 2021, Pillay was the founder and CEO of 360 Degrees South and Zero Gravity TV and Media where he developed over 40 TV formats that will be part of Trace Studios format catalogue.

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ADAPTATION

BBC Studios and Pastel Film are adapting Sally Wainwright’s BAFTA winning drama “Happy Valley” for the Turkish audience as “Son Nefesime Kadar,” the first time it has been remade for an international audience. Acclaimed actor Nurgül Yeşilçay stars as Catherine Cawood, a no-nonsense police sergeant in a small town whose world is turned upside down when the man she thinks is responsible for her daughter’s death – Tommy Lee Royce- is released from prison. Emre Bey plays Royce, with Emre Kinay playing Catherine’s ex-husband Richard Cawood and Ertan Saban as new character, Vedat.

Adapted by Hatice Meryem, whose previous work includes local adaptations of “Shameless” and “Desperate Housewives,” the series is currently in production in Istanbul. It is produced by Yaşar İrvül and Efe İrvül and directed by Deniz Çelebi Dikilitaş. It is due to air on free-to-air channel FOX in the coming months.

RELEASE

Tribeca Film Festival selection and Nashville Film Festival grand jury prize winning film “Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road” is currently on release in U.K. cinemas. The music documentary explores the life and career of legendary The Beach Boys musician Brian Wilson, through a literal and metaphorical road trip exploring his hometown. 2022 marks 60 years of The Beach Boys. The film features 36 of Wilson’s most iconic hits, including “God Only Knows,” “Good Vibrations” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” rare tracks, never-before-heard demos and his personal home movies and photo albums.

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In addition, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Nick Jonas and Taylor Hawkins share the impact Wilson has had on their careers. The documentary is by “Streetlight Harmonies” filmmaker Brent Wilson (no relation).

“‘Long Promised Road’ is an affectionate and satisfying movie, sentimental at times but often stirringly insightful, a collection of pinpoint testimonials to Wilson’s artistry by such authoritative fans as Springsteen and Elton John, and a movie that lets the enchanting qualities of Wilson’s music cascade over you,” wrote Variety critic Owen Gleiberman in his review of the film.

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“Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road”
Ley Line Entertainment

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