Film notes: Pittsburgh makes the cut, sort of, in 'Grudge Match'

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The trailer for the boxing comedy "Grudge Match" starring Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone features signature shots of the city's skyline and a sign proclaiming, "Pittsburgh's Greatest Are Back: We're Proud of You."

Pittsburgh would have been proud of the stars, playing boxers reuniting in the ring after 30 contentious years, had the movie filmed here. Pennsylvania was out of tax credit money when production started, so it went to New Orleans.

Each of the boxers had scored a victory against the other during their heyday, but on the eve of their tie-breaking third match in 1983, Razor (Mr. Stallone) suddenly announced his retirement. Now, a boxing promoter sees big money in the prospect of a rematch.

Peter Segal ("Get Smart") directs the movie also starring Kim Basinger, Kevin Hart and Alan Arkin. A funny "Rocky" nod comes when Mr. Stallone takes some jabs at slabs of beef in a meat locker, and Mr. Arkin strolls in and deadpans, "We're just here to buy a little dinner. You don't have to punch everything."

Shots of Pittsburgh are in the trailer, thanks to either stock footage or a photographer who captured sweeping views later edited into the footage. "Grudge Match," PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language, is scheduled to open on Christmas.

Point Park film series

The free film series "Fight Back: Global Politics of Resistance" will open Monday at Point Park University with "The Take."

It's a 2004 Canadian documentary about workers in Buenos Aires, Argentina, who reclaim control of a closed Forja auto plant where they once worked and turn it into a worker cooperative.

"Fast Food Nation," will screen on Oct. 16. Director Richard Linklater worked with author Eric Schlosser to turn his book into a fictional story that probes the world behind the counter, where ranchers, meat packers (some smuggled across the Mexican border), marketers, store managers and teen employees reside.

It boasts a good cast, led by Greg Kinnear, Bobby Canavale and Catalina Sandino Moreno, but it's footage from a real slaughterhouse that sticks with you.

The final film, "Cultures of Resistance," will be shown on Nov. 11. Brazilian filmmaker Iara Lee profiles global grass-roots movements that embody the philosophy of nonviolence in such places as Burma, Brazil, Rwanda, Iran, Burundi, Israel/Palestine, Nigeria, the Congo and Liberia.

The films, sponsored by Point Park's global cultural studies program and open to the public, will be screened at the University Center at 414 Wood St., Room 212, and begin at 6 p.m.

Free 'Blood Brother' showing

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh is presenting a free showing of "Blood Brother" at 7 p.m. Oct. 1 at the Hollywood Theater, 1449 Potomac Ave. in Dormont. The award-winning documentary counts many Art Institute alumni behind and in front of the camera.

Admission is free, but you must register through

"Blood Brother," from director Steve Hoover, is inspiring, personal filmmaking at its best. Mr. Hoover documents how Rocky Braat, his best friend and onetime Pittsburgh roommate, finds and forges a family at an orphanage in India for children with HIV and AIDS.

The movie makes you care about him and the children who clearly adore him. He's father, brother, uncle, friend, playmate, teacher and unofficial nurse or doctor at times, as well as mourner.

The filmmaking team of "Blood Brother" is expected at the theater Oct. 1. It is working on another movie, "Gennadiy," a look at a man in Ukraine who uses unorthodox methods to rescue children from despair, drug use, homelessness and early death.

Cranston on a roll

Bryan Cranston will star as blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in a film that's to be his first after wrapping "Breaking Bad."

A publicist for Mr. Cranston confirmed the casting Thursday, the Associated Press reports. The film, "Trumbo," will be directed by "Meet the Parents" filmmaker Jay Roach from a script by John McNamara.

Change in dates, names

Disney may have no Pixar movie to release in 2014, a first since 2005. It moved "The Good Dinosaur" to Nov. 25, 2015, after removing the director, and "Finding Dory" will be released in 2016. The live-action "Maleficent" starring Angelina Jolie moves up from July 2 to May 30.

Paramount Pictures announced some new release dates or titles, including "Transformers: Age of Extinction" for June 27, 2014, and "Terminator" on July 1, 2015.


Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: or 412-263-1632. Read her blog:


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