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Road to Sundance: 'Before Midnight' brings sequels to Sundance -- VIDEO

Every Monday until the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, EW is celebrating a great success story from independent film’s most prestigious showcase. So far, we’ve revisited Lee Daniel’s Precious, Courtney Hunt’s Frozen River, Greg Mottola’s Adventureland, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon, and Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station. Today, we look back at Before Midnight, the much-anticipated 2013 sequel from Richard Linklater.

Sundance and sequels don’t typically go hand-in-hand. But Before Midnight, the third film in Richard Linklater’s accidental trilogy about the ongoing romance between Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), felt right at home when it debuted at the festival last year. The original 1995 movie, Before Sunrise, was a studio film that became beloved despite barely making a blip at the box office, and the latest installment was completely independent.

When Before Midnight debuted last January, fans were obsessed to see where the couple would be nine years after Before Sunset, the Paris-set sequel that left fans hanging on whether Jesse would catch his plane back to New York or start a new life with the “one that got away.” That film earned won the trio an Oscar nod for screenplay, and the three collaborated again on Midnight, which finds the couple together, with kids, in Greece.

Critics and fans adored the latest film, which featured combative marital scenes that were raw and honest. (Who hasn’t wanted to call one’s spouse the mayor of Crazytown?) The romance was still there, but it was no longer an ideal or a wish. It was real and grounded, evolved and maturing along with its characters.

Click below to see the trio at last year’s Sundance, discussing the movie and the future of their “franchise.” READ FULL STORY

'Before Midnight' Blu-ray: Richard Linklater on the little trilogy that could -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

When Richard Linklater made Before Sunrise with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in 1995, the chances of their adorable characters returning for a sequel, much less two, were as remote as the Greek island of Pserimos. Not only did the original, which captured the chance encounter of a grungy American guy named Jesse and a sophisticated French beauty named Celine as they spent less than a day in Vienna, gross just $5.5 million, but the characters’ soulful, Generation-X banter was the absolute antithesis of a modern movie franchise. Yet people who liked the film really liked the film. And since Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy enjoyed their very collaborative filmmaking experience, they reunited to co-write Before Sunset in 2004, which picked up the story nine years after Jesse and Celine had promised each other to meet up again six months after their meeting in Vienna. Turns out they did not, and Jesse had written a novel about their beautiful, coulda-been fling, which helps bring them back together in Paris. Critics swooned, the Academy nominated the trio for Best Original Screenplay, and everyone who loved the original turned out for the sequel: it grossed $5.8 million!

Clearly, money talks. So eight years later, Linklater got the band back together, packed their bags for Greece, and made Before Midnight. The cliffhanger of Before Sunset — will Jesse stay with Celine in Paris or leave to catch his plane for New York — is settled immediately: they’re married with children of their own. But their lives and love are more complicated than ever, and their story is richer and more layered as well. Their ambitions, their flaws, their insecurities all laid bare, Celine and Jesse have become surrogates for those early-20’s audiences who fell in love with Before Sunrise and now perhaps find themselves at difficult, reflective moments in their own relationships, asking “How did we get here?”

Since Before Midnight premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy — who also co-wrote Midnight — have fielded repeated questions about Celine and Jesse’s future. Is this the end? Or should we expect another check-in in 2022? I’m bullish, especially since Midnight clobbered its predecessors at the box-office. And by clobbered, I mean it cleared more than $8.1 million. Obviously, this isn’t a trilogy built around box-office, but audiences don’t seem ready to say goodbye.

Before Midnight, which should get some Oscar buzz, is out on Blu-ray tomorrow. Below, in two exclusive video clips, Linklater discusses the sequels, how they came about, and what it’s like to collaborate with Delpy and Hawke. If nothing else, just let Graham Reynolds’s strumming score marinate over you. It can’t transport you to a Greek island, but it’s almost the next best thing on a Monday morning. READ FULL STORY

From 'Fruitvale Station' to 'Before Midnight': Do independent films still work in the summer?

If you’re an adventurous moviegoer, then counterprogramming, as it’s known, is one of your best friends. It’s what allows you, right smack in the middle of the greasy-butter escape-tastic sequelitis summer season, to see movies like The Kids Are All Right or Beasts of the Southern Wild or Before Midnight or Midnight in Paris: movies for adults, movies that trade over-scaled fantasy for human-scale feeling, movies that get publicized as early awards players because they truly deserve to win awards. If that one screen at the way, way back of the megaplex wasn’t showing The Way, Way Back or Frances Ha, but instead was offering the sixth opportunity that afternoon to see Man of Steel, a lot of us who love movies would be the poorer for it. Counterprogramming offers more than just an offbeat “alternative.” It allows “small movies” (a term that drives me nuts, since some of the greatest movies ever made have been “small movies”) to saddle up right next to jumbo-size ones, to be experienced with the same Saturday-night big-screen excitement. READ FULL STORY

Ethan Hawke talks about his surprise No. 1 movie, 'The Purge'

Ethan Hawke is better known for his eclectic artistic tastes than his mainstream box-office successes. But the indie stalwart and Broadway veteran recently added a new dimension to his resume with his starring role in The Purge, a violent high-concept thriller that connected with moviegoers to become the weekend’s No. 1 movie. (What would Troy Dyer from Reality Bites think?)

In the latest twisted tale from producer Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity), Hawke plays a successful home-security-system salesman whose gated community wares are especially in-demand in the near future, when the government sanctions an annual cathartic “holiday” where citizens can murder and pillage with impunity. When a hunted man seeks refuge in his locked-down house, and a masked mob demands he turn the uninvited guest over, Hawke’s character has to decide what kind of man he really is.

Audiences flocked to theaters to experience this deliciously nasty puzzle, to the tune of $34.1 million, giving Hawke two of the most interesting movies currently in theaters. In addition to The Purge, Hawke stars in Before Midnight, the third chapter of his ongoing romantic conversation with Julie Delpy for director Richard Linklater. Since premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, critics have swooned and audiences are packing theaters in its limited release, to the tune of more than $10,000 per theater last weekend. When it expands to more theaters on Friday, he’ll likely have two movies in the box office top-10.

But Ethan Hawke hasn’t changed his stripes. He’s planning to play Macbeth on the stage at Lincoln Center this fall, and he and Richard Linklater are also on the verge of completing a unique 12-year project tentatively titled Boyhood. The pair have been filming a story about the year-by-year maturation of a boy (Ellar Coltrane) for more than a decade, with Hawke playing the boy’s father. “When I did my first scene with Ellar, he was 7,” says Hawke. “Now he’s 18. This is just part of his life. It’s like his own little private acting club.”

EW checked in with the actor in the midst of his triumphant weekend to discuss his place in Hollywood, and how it feels to be No. 1. READ FULL STORY

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy shoot 'No Talking' PSA -- VIDEO

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Before Midnight stars Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke really, really want you to stop talking and texting at the movies.

Check out the charming pair midway through filming a scene as Jesse and Celine before Delpy clearly can’t ignore the off-screen commotion any longer. “Is it your living room? What’s your f***ing problem, man?” Delpy angrily remarks to people behind the camera. But don’t worry about Delpy losing her cool — the scene is actually a PSA against texting and talking at the movies, and was shot for Alamo Drafthouse, an Austin-based movie theater chain.

Watch the warning — with an indie-movie twist — below: READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Fast & Furious 6' breaks $100 million, 'Hangover III' sobers up on record-breaking weekend

Here’s what the Memorial Day weekend taught us: America really likes the Fast & Furious franchise, but America loves movies. The four-day holiday racked up $314 million in receipts, the largest-ever Memorial Day weekend at the box office. As for Fast 6, it’s hard to talk about the successful opening without resorting to cliché. Despite hitting theaters in a crowded May marketplace, the Universal film earned an estimated $120,019,000, the fourth-highest Memorial Day opening in history, for a per-theater average of $33,400. That’s the second-biggest opening this year, behind Iron Man 3, and a sizable leap from the trajectory of the previous two Fasts (and most predictions).

READ FULL STORY

'Before Midnight' poster: Are Jesse and Celine looking forward or looking back? -- EXCLUSIVE

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When Before Sunrise opened in 1995, it would have been difficult to predict that Richard Linklater’s sweet — but little seen — romance would deliver not one but two sequels. But after Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) promised to reconnect after their chance encounter on a European train, passionate fans demanded to know what became of their romance. With Before Sunset, the two reconnected in Paris and discovered that their chemistry was as strong as ever. And in Before Midnight, which screens tonight at the Tribeca Film Festival and opens in theaters on May 24, we find the couple on vacation in Greece, with their children.

Click below for an exclusive poster for the film, featuring the couple looking out across the Mediterranean. Are they watching the sun set? Is midnight approaching on their storybook romance? READ FULL STORY

Tribeca 2013: 13 must-see movies

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Now in its 12th year, the Tribeca Film Festival is one of the premiere artistic showcases and industry marketplaces for independent cinema. Sundance might still be the place to go to discover new talent on the cheap, Toronto is the festival to generate Oscar buzz, but Tribeca has an eclectic mix that both reflects the soul of native New Yorkers and what the city means to the rest of the world as a cultural international capital. In between tonight’s opener — the music documentary Mistaken for Strangers about the National — and the closing night’s special screening of Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy — New Yorkers will enjoy 89 feature-length films from more than 30 different countries, including 53 world premieres.

New York is constantly changing, neighorhood by neighborhood, and the festival has evolved as well. This year’s slate includes an emphasis on new technology — a Vine contest, transmedia projects, and a choose-your-own-adventure video game starring Ellen Page — as well as a deep roster of documentaries about high-profile people. “For me, it ended up being docs on people who use their voices in a creative way and were able to effect change,” says Genna Terranova, the festival’s director of prograaming. “Like Moms Mabley, who came before everybody, and Richard Pryor and Elaine Stritch. They said what they thought and pushed themselves into our culture and our consciousness.”

That’s New York, isn’t it?

Click below for 13 movies, many of them world premieres, that might end up defining Tribeca 2013.

READ FULL STORY

'Before Midnight,' latest from Woody Allen & Pedro Almodovar get release dates

Fans of Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise and Before Sunset have spent nine long years yearning to see the next chapter of Celine and Jesse’s story — and this spring, the wait will finally be over.

Statistical research firm Exhibitor Relations revealed via Twitter yesterday that Linklater’s Before Midnight will hit theaters in New York and Los Angeles on May 24. That date was confirmed by the movie’s Facebook page. Like the first two films in the series, Midnight stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as a pair of photogenic lovers. It premiered at Sundance in January and will play at Austin’s South by Southwest Film Festival next month as well.

Exhibitor Relations also announced release dates for two more high-profile auteur projects: Pedro Almodóvar’s I’m So Excited (Los amantes pasajeros), starring Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, and Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, starring Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard, and Louis C.K., among others. I’m So Excited comes to New York and L.A. June 28; Blue Jasmine appears in those same cities July 26.

Read more:
Rashida Jones talks ‘Celeste and Jesse Forever’ — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
‘Sound City,’ ‘Before Midnight’ join SXSW Film lineup
Ashton Kutcher tweets mindbending image of himself with Steve Jobs — PHOTO

Sundance 2013: The deal report

Yes, the Sundance Film Festival is a temple to the glory of independent film and the purity of the art of cinema and blah blah blah. But it is also a vital marketplace for indie distributors to find the next blockbuster Little Miss Sunshine, or acclaimed Beasts of the Southern Wild, or wildly overpriced Happy, Texas. With the festival drawing to a close, Sundance 2013 has already proven to be one of the biggest deal-making festivals in recent memory, producing several major sales of movies that will either go on to become some of the buzziest films of the year, or, you know… not. We’ll update this space with additional deal reports throughout the week ahead. Here are the highlights so far: READ FULL STORY

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