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6 items from 2005


Trust the Man

16 September 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

This review was written for the festival screening of "Trust the Man".

TORONTO -- Just when it looked like the romantic comedy was doomed to forever repeat itself in some kind of formulaic purgatory, along comes filmmaker Bart Freudlich with "Trust the Man", a smart, sharply observed, highly affable look at contemporary relationships that finally injects a little life in the stagnating genre.

Working with a beautifully in-sync comic ensemble including Julianne Moore, David Duchovny, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Billy Crudup, Freundlich, who's Moore's husband, delivers what is by far his most accessible -- and most satisfying -- film to date.

Fox Searchlight, which picked up the film midfestival, could have a tidy little hit on its hands, appealing to a grown-up audience hankering for something adult without the "Wedding Crashers"/"40 Year Old Virgin" frat boy vibe.

With New York City providing the appropriately urbane backdrop, the picture surveys the in-transition lives of two couples in very different stages of their relationship.

Rebecca is a successful actress whose sex-addict husband Tom (Duchovny) is a stay-at-home dad for their two young kids.

Her commitment-phobic younger brother Tobey (Billy Crudup), meanwhile, is perfectly content to stay the course of his 7-year relationship with girlfriend Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a budding children's book writer aching to start a family of her own.

Despite the efforts of a couple of therapists played by Garry Shandling and Bob Balaban, Tom and Rebecca and Tobey and Elaine are each about to come face to face with potentially life-changing, but quite funny, obstacles.

Both geographically and thematically speaking, writer-director Freundlich finds himself on vintage Woody Allen turf here -- as in the "Manhattan"/"Husbands and Wives" Woody Allen -- while still managing to lend the production a unique voice of its own.

And Allen would've killed for Freundlich's terrific cast.

It's a real kick seeing Julianne Moore playing it for laughs for a change, and she's such a natural you wish she'd have signed on to do comedies years ago.

The same can be said for Crudup, a usually intense actor who plays things loose and loopy as the delightful Gyllenhaal's slacker b.f., while Duchovny looks to be really enjoying himself on screen for the first time in a long while.

Also amusing is Ellen Barkin as a book publisher who takes a shine to Gyllenhaal; James Le Gros as Dante, a sensitive singer-songwriter; and Eva Mendes as a friend of Crudup's from college looking for a little reunion action.

While the scripting loses a bit of its bite in the third act, when Freundlich playfully apes some of those rickety romantic comedy cliches missing from the rest of the film, it's a minor quibble.

Behind the scenes, it's also nice to see New York actually being played by itself for a change, and director of photography Tim Orr ("George Washington", "Little Manhattan"), takes full advantage of the local flavor, like Serendipity and The Magnolia Bakery, while incorporating those ever-changing elements, from wind to rain to snow and back again.

TRUST THE MAN

Fox Searchlight

Sidney Kimmel Entertainment presents a Process Production

A Film by Part Freundlich

Credits:

Director-screenwriter: Bart Freundlich

Producers: Sidney Kimmel, Tim Perell, Bart Freundlich

Executive producers: Marina Grasic, Evelyn O'Neill

Director of photography: Tim Orr

Production designer: Kevin Thompson

Editor: John Gilroy

Costume designer: Michael Clancy

Music: Clint Mansell

Cast:

Rebecca: Julianne Moore

Tom: David Duchovny

Tobey: Billy Crudup

Elaine: Maggie Gyllenhaal

Faith: Eva Mendes

Norah: Ellen Barkin

Dr. Beekman: Gary Shandling

Dante: James Le Gros

Running time -- 103 minutes

MPAA rating: Not yet rated »

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Trust the Man

15 September 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

TORONTO -- Just when it looked like the romantic comedy was doomed to forever repeat itself in some kind of formulaic purgatory, along comes filmmaker Bart Freudlich with "Trust the Man", a smart, sharply observed, highly affable look at contemporary relationships that finally injects a little life in the stagnating genre.

Working with a beautifully in-sync comic ensemble including Julianne Moore, David Duchovny, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Billy Crudup, Freundlich, who's Moore's husband, delivers what is by far his most accessible -- and most satisfying -- film to date.

Fox Searchlight, which picked up the film midfestival, could have a tidy little hit on its hands, appealing to a grown-up audience hankering for something adult without the "Wedding Crashers"/"40 Year Old Virgin" frat boy vibe.

With New York City providing the appropriately urbane backdrop, the picture surveys the in-transition lives of two couples in very different stages of their relationship.

Rebecca is a successful actress whose sex-addict husband Tom (Duchovny) is a stay-at-home dad for their two young kids.

Her commitment-phobic younger brother Tobey (Billy Crudup), meanwhile, is perfectly content to stay the course of his 7-year relationship with girlfriend Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a budding children's book writer aching to start a family of her own.

Despite the efforts of a couple of therapists played by Garry Shandling and Bob Balaban, Tom and Rebecca and Tobey and Elaine are each about to come face to face with potentially life-changing, but quite funny, obstacles.

Both geographically and thematically speaking, writer-director Freundlich finds himself on vintage Woody Allen turf here -- as in the "Manhattan"/"Husbands and Wives" Woody Allen -- while still managing to lend the production a unique voice of its own.

And Allen would've killed for Freundlich's terrific cast.

It's a real kick seeing Julianne Moore playing it for laughs for a change, and she's such a natural you wish she'd have signed on to do comedies years ago.

The same can be said for Crudup, a usually intense actor who plays things loose and loopy as the delightful Gyllenhaal's slacker b.f., while Duchovny looks to be really enjoying himself on screen for the first time in a long while.

Also amusing is Ellen Barkin as a book publisher who takes a shine to Gyllenhaal; James Le Gros as Dante, a sensitive singer-songwriter; and Eva Mendes as a friend of Crudup's from college looking for a little reunion action.

While the scripting loses a bit of its bite in the third act, when Freundlich playfully apes some of those rickety romantic comedy cliches missing from the rest of the film, it's a minor quibble.

Behind the scenes, it's also nice to see New York actually being played by itself for a change, and director of photography Tim Orr ("George Washington", "Little Manhattan"), takes full advantage of the local flavor, like Serendipity and The Magnolia Bakery, while incorporating those ever-changing elements, from wind to rain to snow and back again.

TRUST THE MAN

Fox Searchlight

Sidney Kimmel Entertainment presents a Process Production

A Film by Part Freundlich

Credits:

Director-screenwriter: Bart Freundlich

Producers: Sidney Kimmel, Tim Perell, Bart Freundlich

Executive producers: Marina Grasic, Evelyn O'Neill

Director of photography: Tim Orr

Production designer: Kevin Thompson

Editor: John Gilroy

Costume designer: Michael Clancy

Music: Clint Mansell

Cast:

Rebecca: Julianne Moore

Tom: David Duchovny

Tobey: Billy Crudup

Elaine: Maggie Gyllenhaal

Faith: Eva Mendes

Norah: Ellen Barkin

Dr. Beekman: Gary Shandling

Dante: James Le Gros

Running time -- 103 minutes

MPAA rating: Not yet rated »

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Searchlight gains 'Trust'; 'Party' hearty

14 September 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

TORONTO -- Fox Searchlight's $6 million-$7 million purchase of Bart Freundlich's all-star dramedy Trust the Man dominated talk among buyers Tuesday morning at the Toronto International Film Festival. But by late afternoon, the conversation shifted to what appeared to be the likely sale of Michel Gondry's freeform comedy/concert Dave Chappelle's Block Party to Focus Features/Rogue. Earlier in the day, a Fox Searchlight representative said that 20th Century Fox's specialty films division had become the "proud owner" of writer-director Freundlich's absorbing relationship study, starring his wife and longtime film collaborator Julianne Moore, David Duchovny, Billy Crudup, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Eva Mendes and Ellen Barkin. »

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House of D

19 May 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

David Duchovny delivers a clearly heartfelt but terminally mawkish and awkward directorial debut in "House of D", a coming-of-age drama set in 1970s Greenwich Village. The tale of a teenager trying to overcome his troubled personal circumstances with the aid and advice of a mentally impaired janitor and a female inmate at a house of detention (hence the title), this comedy drama never overcomes the artificiality of its execution.

The story is told in flashback, in the form of the recollections of Tom Warshaw (Duchovny) -- an expatriate artist living in Paris -- relating the tale of his childhood to his wife (Magali Amadei) and 13-year-old son.

When Tom was a boy (Anton Yelchin), he lived in a suspiciously bucolic Greenwich Village with his widowed mother (Tea Leoni), a pill-popping, manic depressive basket case since the death of his father. When not attending Catholic school, Tom has a job delivering meat for a local butcher store (run by an exotically sexy French woman, no less). His co-worker and best friend is Pappass (Robin Williams), the mentally impaired but lovable janitor at his school.

Pappass serves as Tom's improbable mentor, along with a female prisoner dubbed "Lady Bernadette" (singer Erykah Badu), who shouts advice at Tommy through the barred window of her upper-floor cell. When Tommy becomes smitten with Melissa (Zelda Williams, Robin's daughter), a fellow student, their burgeoning romance sets off a wildly melodramatic chain of events that ultimately leads to, of all things, a mercy killing.

Filmmaker Duchovny has a nice feel for creating a nostalgic atmosphere and for invoking the innocent bloom of young love. But his overly convoluted screenplay has severe tone and credibility problems, and the story eventually collapses under its own weight. Not helping matters are the mawkish prologue and epilogue, the first set in a typically romanticized Paris and the latter in the present day Village, with Williams slathered in old-age makeup and delivering the kind of witticisms more appropriate to a stand-up comedian than a mentally impaired senior.

Yelchin is highly moving and sympathetic in the lead role, and young Zelda Williams is quietly appealing as his love interest. The older performers fare less well. Leoni's effectiveness is undercut by the fact that this is her second hysterical performance in but a few months ("Spanglish" was the other one), and Robin Williams, though reasonably restrained, really, really needs to avoid sentimental characters like these at this point in his film career.

House of D

Lions Gate Films

Credits:

Director-screenwriter: David Duchovny

Producers: Richard B. Lewis, Bob Yari, Jane Rosenthal

Director of photography: Michael Chapman

Editor: Suzy Elmiger

Music: Geoff Zanelli

Production designer: Lester Cohen

Cast:

ommy: Anton Yelchin

Mrs. Warshaw: Tea Leoni

Tom Warshaw: David Duchovny

Pappass: Robin Williams

Coralie Warshaw: Magali Amadei

Lady Bernadette: Erykah Badu

Rev. Duncan: Frank Langella

Melissa: Zelda Williams

Running time -- 97 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13 »

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Perez has 'Secret' for Duchovny

26 April 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

David Duchovny will star in The Secret, a supernatural drama being directed by Vincent Perez, who is making his English-language debut. Luc Besson is executive producing through his Paris-based shingle, EuropaCorp, with producing partner Virginie Silla. Lili Taylor and newcomer Olivia Thirlby also are cast. Secret is based on the 1999 Japanese film Himitsu and is set against an emotional triangle among a 16-year-old girl, her mother and her father. After the mother is killed in an accident, her spirit inhabits the daughter's body. Ann Cherkis wrote the screenplay. »

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B.H. fest builds on Duchovny's 'House'

10 April 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

David Duchovny's directorial debut, House of D, and the Los Angeles premiere of the short Mr. Dramatic, starring Oliver Hudson, will kick off the fifth annual International Beverly Hills Film Festival, which runs Wednesday-Sunday. The opening night, held at the WGA Theatre, also will honor the California Film Commission. The fest will screen more than 50 films, and its jury includes Lions Gate Films chairman Mark Amin and Crystal Sky president Steven Paul. »

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6 items from 2005


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