August 2012 - Posts

TELLURIDE REVIEW: Ben Affleck Broadens His Directing Skills With the Tense, Entertaining Period Piece 'Argo'

Equally a slick political thriller, intelligent period piece and sly Hollywood satire, Ben Affleck's "Argo" maintains a careful balance between commentary and entertainment value. Stepping beyond the raw thriller qualities that distinguished his first two directing efforts, "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town," the actor-director successfully broadens those skills with a historical scope. This tense and frequently amusing reenactment of a covert 1979 CIA operation to smuggle assailed American political operatives out of Iran amid revolutionary chaos by disguising them as a film crew takes the material seriously while still having fun with it. That's not to say that "Argo" breaks any new ground. As the story breathlessly shifts between CIA headquarters, the Canadian embassy in Iran where the Americans take refuge, and Hollywood studios where the CIA finds a pair of an unlikely allies to carry their scheme, characters often speak with...
Posted by Indiewire

Watch: Teaser for 'Banshee,' the New Cinemax Series Produced By 'True Blood' Creator Alan Ball (VIDEO)

There's not a lot to go on in this first teaser trailer for "Banshee," the new Cinemax series kicking off in January 2013, other than the tried and true promise of sex and violence. The show comes from novelists Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler and is executive produced by "True Blood" creator Alan Ball. It joins Cinemax's nascent original programming slate alongside the currently airing action series "Strike Back" and a TV adaptation of "The Transporter." "Banshee" stars New Zealand actor Antony Starr as Lucas Hood, an ex-con and master thief who assumes the identity of the sheriff of Banshee, Pennsylvania, though he keeps up the criminal activities even as he’s hunted by the gangsters he betrayed years before. Ivana Milicevic, Ulrich Thomsen, Frankie Faison and Rus Blackwell are also in the cast.
Posted by Indiewire

Watch: New U.S. Teaser Trailer for Kristen Stewart-Garrett Hedlund Adaptation of 'On the Road' (VIDEO)

It looks like IFC Films/Sundance Selects has put out a new U.S. teaser trailer for Water Salles and Jose Rivera's adaptation of Jack Kerouac's Beat Generation-defining 1957 novel "On the Road." It's got a great jazzy soundtrack and a recitation of the most famous lines from the book as Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen embody the famous figures of that "mad" era. READ MORE: IFC Films President Jonathan Sehring Wants You to Know a Few Things The film will have its North American premiere at the Toronto film festival next week -- with a new, shorter cut -- ahead of its December theatrical release. Check it out:
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Does TV Play Up the Gritty Past as a Kind of Guilty Pleasure?

"Copper," BBC America's new original series, starts with a grimy, not-yet-pubescent urchin girl offering protagonist Kevin Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones) sex as thanks for the hard-boiled egg he tossed her way. Last week's episode of AMC's "Hell on Wheels" found a man being brutally murdered, chopped up and fed to pigs -- and that's after a mob commits a near-lynching earlier in the hour. No one can accuse these shows of glamorizing the past -- in fact, out of the current run of period dramas on television, it's really only "Downton Abbey" on PBS that applies a sheen of nostalgia to its upstairs-downstairs dealings and its portrayal of the hierarchical ecosystem that is a historical estate. With the backstabbing and brutality of the returning HBO series "Boardwalk Empire," the even darker machinations of Showtime's "The Borgias" and the gangsters and their girls in Starz's "Magic City," period...
Posted by Indiewire

The 7 Indie Films You Must See This September

September  is about to offer quite the selection to movie-goers (even for those not heading to Venice, Telluride or Toronto), with over 35 films on Indiewire's September calendar. As an extension of our recent fall movie preview, Indiewire is offering the first of four monthly fall "must-see" lists to make cinematic decision-making over the next 30 days as easy as possible.  From Paul Thomas Anderson and Ira Sachs to some mean bachlorettes and a teenage wallflower, check out Indiewire's picks for September's 7 best options, and then check out the full September calendar, as there are many worthy films that didn't end up making this list. 1. The Master (September 14) Director: Paul Thomas Anderson Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Laura Dern Distributor: The Weinstein Company Why Is It a "Must See"? Clearly one the year's most anticipated films among many a film lover, Paul Thomas...
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COMMENTARY: After His Republican National Convention Speech, Is Clint Eastwood 'Unforgiven'?

As far as Hollywood is concerned, Clint Eastwood may have just turned “Unforgiven” from his crowning achievement as a director into the attitude that buries what may have been left of his career. It’s hard not to wonder if Eastwood’s surprise appearance at the Republican National Convention Thursday night will affect his relationships in Hollywood. For a long time, Eastwood has had the respect of moviegoers and industry colleagues alike, despite his political beliefs. Money and talent trump most anything. And yet, he may have just crossed a line. Does Beyonce now drop out of Eastwood’s planned remake of “A Star Is Born?” Does his new film, the baseball drama “Trouble With the Curve,” tank at the box office or gain audiences on the right? How will the RNC stunt affect his relationship with Warner Bros.? It was only a few weeks ago that WB chairman Barry Meyer threw a fundraiser for First Lady Michelle Obama at his home,...
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Watch: Michael Shannon Takes Many, Many Lives in New Trailer for 'The Iceman' (VIDEO)

"I guess God's busy." Michael Shannon has delivered many an intense line, but this one, which closes the new trailer for "The Iceman," has an especially dead-throated tone to it. "Iceman" screens at the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals these next two weeks, and Shannon is at his chilly best playing a real-life contract killer in Ariel Vromen's period thriller. READ MORE: Michael Winterbottom, Noah Baumbach, Sally Potter, Sarah Polley & Ramin Bahrani Lead 39th Telluride Film Festival Program Check it out:
Posted by Indiewire

Robin Williams Eyeing a Return to TV With Sitcom 'The Crazy Ones'

Robin Williams, who recently dipped his toe back in the world of TV with appearances on "Wilfred" (as a "Good Will Hunting"-style therapist) and "Louie" (as the only other mourner at the funeral of a man they both disliked), is looking to make a more permanent return to the small screen. According to TV Guide, the comic actor is in talks to develop a sitcom about a brilliant but aging ad exec called "The Crazy Ones" with writer and executive producer David E. Kelley (creator of "Chicago Hope," "The Practice," "Ally McBeal" and others). The show would be a half-hour, single-camera comedy that would look at how Williams character and his daughter, with whom he works, start to question the lives their living -- if only we were doing this in the 1960s, they'll probably wail, we'd get to wear amazing period clothing and be intensely critically acclaimed! CBS is reportedly pursuing the project. ...
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Venice 2012: Zac Efron Goes Indie With 'At Any Price'

"At Any Price" director Ramin Bahrani compared his young stars to Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep in the Venice press conference today. Speaking of Zac Efron -- who plays rebellious farmer’s son Dean in the film -- he praised his ability to embrace different roles and predicted he would, “Follow in the footsteps of great actors like Johnny Depp or Tom Cruise, who started one way and pushed themselves to another.” Meanwhile, he claimed newcomer Maika Monroe, who was cast after sending in “the most sincere tape I’d seen,” could have the “trajectory of Meryl Streep”.   Bahrani was joined by Efron, Monroe and co-writer Hallie Elizabeth Newton to discuss his tale of a Southern Iowa land owner (Dennis Quaid) whose ambition becomes increasingly desperate amid seed crop troubles. It’s a slow-burning tale of the perils of the American Dream from "Man Push Cart" director Bahrani, who welcomed comparisons to his...
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FUTURES: Lauren Miller On Giving Her Hubby Seth Rogen a Run For His Money With Sex Comedy 'For a Good Time, Call...'

Why She's On Our Radar: Few films tickled Sundance's funny bone this year like Lauren Miller and Katie Anne Naylor's raucous feature screenwriting debut, "For a Good Time, Call.." And with good reason! The comedy, directed by newcomer Jamie Travis and starring Miller as one of the two leads opposite "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" breakout Ari Graynor, centers on two former college frenemies who, after randomly becoming roommates in the Big Apple, decide to start up a phone sex line together in order to make ends meet. The Focus Features pickup (out in theaters this Friday) is foul-mouthed, sexy and winning, putting many of its male centric counterparts (we're looking at you, "Hangover Part II") to shame. "A jubilant celebration of raunchiness, 'For a Good Time, Call...' maintains the giddiness of a classic Doris Day sex comedy with all the suggestive dialogue transformed into the real deal," wrote Eric Kohn...
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'Louie' Gets Lucky at Last With the Showbiz Offer All Comics Dream Of -- Don't They?

Where do working stand-ups go if they don't break big, if they have just enough success to keep grinding it out on the road, doing gigs around the country until they're too tired? That dark kingdom is just as significant a presence as the crazy possibility of a major late night gig in last night's episode of "Louie," the first of a three parter, "Late Show Part 1." Louie (Louis C.K.) gets flown to Los Angeles with his pre-adolescent agent Doug (Edward Gelbinovich) where he's going to close out "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." He warms up with his four-and-a-half minute bit at the Improv the night before, a solid and thematically relevant piece about the luxuries and burdens of consumerism, and how "life is good, and so we want it to be better." His biggest worry is that he's going to be bumped, because the main guest on the show the following night is Tom Cruise, who tends to go long. And then Cruise doesn't...
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TIFF Exclusive: Colin Firth and Emily Blunt Swap Identities In New Photos From 'Arthur Newman'

Oscar-winner Colin Firth stars alongside Emily Blunt for the first time in the dark comedy "Arthur Newman," which will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in a matter of days -- and we've got two exclusive photos from the film to share with you. Directed by first-time feature filmmaker Dante Ariola, "Arthur Newman" centers on a depressed divorcee (Firth) who after faking his own death and adopting a new identity meets a troubled young woman (Blunt) in a motel. When she discovers his secret, she decides to follow suit, leading the pair to embark on a cross-country spree of life-swapping and bed-hopping. The film is currently without a distributor, but with Firth and Blunt headlining expect that to change soon after its premiere Monday, September 10. Below are the two exclusive photos:  
Posted by Indiewire

Odds Are, You’ll See a Few of These Movies at the Telluride Film Festival – Even Though They’re Not in the Program

Given its frequent appropriation of Cannes titles and annual slot squeezed in between Venice and Toronto, Telluride should have a hard time defining itself in the fall festival season. And yet it never has. This is partially because of its gorgeous location, isolated high in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, and the loyal, elevated cineaste crowd (filtered somewhat by cost) that shows up every year, but it’s also because of that handful of films programmers and eager distributors slip into the program as sneak screenings at the last minute. “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Black Swan,” “The King’s Speech,” “127 Hours,” “Up in the Air,” “Juno” — all were snuck into Telluride before their Toronto screenings in recent years (and several hit the best picture jackpot six months later). While even the best films with the most preemptive buzz swim in a vast sea of international filmmaking at...
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Decide Who Wins a Spot at the CIFF Points North Pitch! Vote for CIFF & Indiewire's Project of the Week!

All this week on Indiewire's Project of the Day column, we've been profiling films that have entered themselves for the Points North Pitch at the Camden International Film Festival.  Now, we're ready to open up the vote for Project of the Week, the winner of which will receive accomodations and a spot on the Points North Pitch at this year's Camden International Film Festival.  For more details on CIFF and Indiewire's Project of the Day contest, click here!  If you're a filmmaker who hasn't yet submitted to the pitch, there's still time to submit (submissions have been extended!). Vote below for this week's Project of the Week. The winning filmmaker will receive a digital distribution consultation from SnagFilms and will become a candidate for Project of the Month. That winner will be awarded with a creative consultation from the fine folks at the Tribeca Film Institute! The four projects up for the prize:...
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Slamdance Award-Winner 'Punching the Clown' Being Developed as a Showtime Series

Director Gregori Viens' indie comedy/future cult film "Punching the Clown" won the audience award for best narrative feature at Slamdance in 2009 before a small self-distributed theatrical release in 2010. The film, which Viens co-wrote with star Henry Phillips, is loosely based on Phillips' life as a writer and performer of comedic songs, and follows him as he navigates sudden showbiz success and a just as sudden fall from grace in Los Angeles. Now, according to the Hollywood Reporter, "Punching the Clown" is being developed into a TV series at Showtime, with Viens, Phillips and Chuck Martin ("Arrested Development") serving as writers, and all three attached as executive producers alongside Sarah Silverman and David Permut ("Youth in Revolt"). Viens and Phillips have been working on variations of this story for years -- before "Punching the Close" was a narrative feature, they reportedly made...
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