16 items from 2014
How our relationship with movies evolves is intricately bound to our own changing perspectives, and to the medium's ever shifting context, forming a perpetually shifting dynamic. This new column borrows the namesake of one of my favorite films for that reason. Cinephilia itself is a sort of journey, and I’m no longer naïve enough (but still hopefully naïve!) to think that it’s one with a conclusion, or even a safe plateau one can reach. Likewise, life is some sort of movement homeward, where home is not a 'place,' but a pursuit of 'something.' For me these two odysseys run in parallel—hence, a long voyage home.
This column, for which I hope to prepare an entry every two weeks, ultimately has no unifying theme or format. One piece may be a review, the next a single observation, an image piece, a video essay...and hopefully things »
- Adam Cook
What’s new, what’s hot, and what you may have missed, now available to stream.
streaming now, while it’s still in theaters
A Long Way Down: a suicide-club meet-cute? it shouldn’t work, but it does, as wonderfully sardonic British humor and as a reminder that you’re not alone in being messed up in this insane world [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video]
streaming now, before it’s on dvd
Tim’s Vermeer: must-see, chills-inducing documentary looks at the intersections of art, craft, and technology [at Amazon Instant Video]
new to streaming
Omar: Palestine’s official submission for the Best Foreign Language Oscar is terse, tense suspense drama, and less overtly political than you might expect [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video] Visitors: a weirdly beautiful film, eerie in its complicated simplicity, and open to seven billion interpretations, all of them valid [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video] The Missing Picture: a blend of documentary and memoir that’s like a dream and a nightmare, though it’s »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Louie defies easy formal analysis because it doesn’t quite have an easily definable form. The most basic fact that everyone who cares about Louie knows about Louie is that the show is entirely Louis C.K.: Directed by, written by, edited by, starring. Back in 2010, it was still possible to understand the show as a sitcom, albeit an extremely precise kind of sitcom. Classically, situation comedies were collaborations: Ensemble casts, writing staffs, studio audience. Louie gave the form an auteurist twist, but you could watch the first season and see echoes of Curb Your Enthusiasm (handheld camera, inside-baseball showbiz comedy, »
- Darren Franich
Louie, Season 4, Episode 7, “Elevator Part 4”
Louie, Season 4, Episode 8, “Elevator Part 5”
Written and Directed by Louis C.K.
Airs Mondays at 10pm Est on FX
“Elevator” continues its dreamlike examination of Louie’s psyche this week, with our increasingly insecure lead pushing his relationship with Amia to the next level and losing it in the process. Louie spends quite a bit of these two episodes validating his romance with Amia to other people in his life and as they voice their doubts, Louie grows more and more self-conscious. At the start of “Elevator Part 4”, Louie and Amia are out at a hockey game, having a great time; Louie practically glows when Janet asks about his new leading lady. It’s sweet and just like Janet, viewers will be happy to »
- Kate Kulzick
Has it really been 20 months since Louie, a strong contender for the greatest show currently on TV (half-hour meta-comedy about a stand-up that runs on FX division) graced our airwaves? How time flies when you're busy watching long-running sitcoms disappoint their fans with so-so finales and chemistry teachers-turned-drug lords go out in a blaze of glory. The return of Renaissance man Louis C.K.'s brilliant, Beckett-like series is a cause for celebration, and as the back-to-back episodes that kicked off its fourth season last night confirmed, the time off has paid off, »
"Louie" finally returned to our television sets tonight. I published my advance review of the new season earlier today, and I have specific thoughts on tonight's two episodes coming up just as soon as I write a letter to AIDS... I don't know at what point FX decided that they'd be double-pumping most of "Louie" season 4, but "Back" and "Model" almost feel as if they were designed to air together on the same night. It's not just that they demonstrate two of the many different flavors available from the show — "Back" a collection of vignettes that are loosely tied together, "Model" one long (and very shaggy) story — but that they feel connected as part of a bigger tale about how Louis C.K. is feeling about himself (or, at least, about his less successful TV alter ego) at the moment. Many things happen in "Back," and we'll get to those in a minute, »
- Alan Sepinwall
Louie, Season 4, Episodes 1 and 2, “Back” and “Model”
Written and Directed by Louis C.K.
Louie is utterly unique to the television landscape. There are very, very few shows of which this can be said. It’s part standup, part experimental film, part character study, part whatever else Louis C.K. wants it to be, and in its first three seasons, the series that started out well grew increasingly confident, playing with form and stretching C.K. as a filmmaker and storyteller. After C.K. decided to take 2013 off, some viewers may have been concerned he wouldn’t be able to recapture the magic of the first three seasons. Fortunately, with “Back” and “Model”, C.K. picks up right where he left off, as sure and relaxed as ever.
- Kate Kulzick
I’ve always liked Louie, because as funny as it can be at times, the show has a darker tinge to it that makes it more of a drama at times than anything else. That appeals to me in a nutshell. To me, there’s always something compelling about the darker side of comedy and I find that Louis C.K, in his standup and the series, navigates that sweet spot with aplomb that ensures that both elements mesh well without feeling like one gets leaned on rather than the other. Sometimes, you get episodes like “Subway/Pamela” or “God,” that really hint at a deep romanticism and deep theological meanings that can be mined from a 20 minute comedy-drama. And other times, you get “Pregnant,” which is just one long set-up to a well-timed fart joke.
That’s the key to Louis C.K’s humor in a nutshell. It »
- Nathan Smith
Though impatient fans may have not liked the 19 months in between the third and upcoming fourth season of “Louie,” Louis C.K. said the break was good for him Tuesday evening discussion with New York Times writer Bill Carter at the Directors Guild. Two episodes of the FX hit will air on May 5, to be followed by two each week for the season’s 14-episode run.
The three episodes screened prior to C.K.’s conversation revealed more of the offbeat nature that has become the show’s signature. An embarrassing injury obtained at a sex toy shop is treated by a stoic physician played by Charles Grodin, while a night spent in the company of a beautiful astronaut’s daughter lands C.K.’s character in jail.
Preparation for the season, a full two months of which consisted of C.K. taking notes before putting anything into script form, was »
- Adrienne Gaffney
We’re less than a month away from new episodes of Louie, and in anticipation of the debut, FX has released the first clip from season four to tide fans over. It’s a brief teaser of what’s sure to be a fantastic batch of episodes, but what’s particularly exciting about this clip is that it reveals a guest presence by the great Charles Grodin. He plays Louis C.K.’s doctor in the clip, and the less said about what transpires the better. We know essentially nothing about what season four of Louie entails, but the writer/director/star/executive producer has excelled in previous episodes with delivering stories that are unexpected, hilarious, dramatic, and at times very dark. Grodin is surely one of many familiar faces that will pop up throughout the new season, as season three's excellent guest stars ranged from Jerry Seinfeld to Parker Posey to David Lynch. »
- Adam Chitwood
Feature Ryan Lambie 28 Mar 2014 - 06:12
It's another selection of crowdfunding goodness, this week including a cybernetic sasquatch and a documentary about Ishtar...
Having devoted the last edition of Crowdfunding Friday to a revival of a classic game from the 80s (that would be Chaos), we're back to our usual format this week.
We've chosen four worthy projects from the ocean of campaigns on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, which this week includes a documentary about the once infamous 80s comedy, Ishtar, a top-down 2D action RPG, and a potentially brilliant comic book about a war between giant airships.
First, though, here's a brief look at a promising horror project about a cybernetic sasquatch...
What could possibly be more powerful and terrifying than a Bigfoot, sasquatch or yeti? Why, a cybernetically enhanced Bigfoot, that's what. This is the concept behind Justin Martell's Project: Megafoot, which sees the Us military create an ill-advised hairy Terminator. »
Italy’s Ambi Pictures has opened a Beverly Hills office to house Ambi Distribution and hired Julie Sultan to run the new international sales division.
Ambi Pictures partners Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi announced (21) Sultan’s appointment as president of worldwide sales and acquisitions and said the executive will attend Filmart.
Sultan will handle sales on in-house and third-party film and television titles. Ambi plans to produce eight features in 2014 including action-thriller Sights Of Death starring Danny Glover, Daryl Hannah, Rutger Hauer, Stephen Baldwin and Michael Madsen and The Humbing from Barry Levinson starring Al Pacino, Mandy Patinkin, Kyra Sedgwick, Charles Grodin and Dianne Wiest.
Sultan has served in senior positions at Lakeshore Entertainment, NBC and Peace Arch Entertainment.
“Julie is smart, professional and has great ideas about the direction for Ambi Distribution,” said Iervolino. “Having worked on many wonderful films and upholding a great reputation in the industry, she embodies all the qualities and qualifications we’ve been »
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
With its comeback-within-a-comeback storyline and a charming lead turn from Jason Segel, Kermit, Miss Piggy and co got the revival they deserved in 2011's box office hit The Muppets. A charming, delightfully upbeat film packed with memorable songs from Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie, it served as both an accessible introduction for newcomers and fan service to those who grew up with Jim Henson's endearing creations.
Follow-up Muppets Most Wanted begins just seconds after its predecessor, with the gang still basking in the glory of their show-stopping Hollywood performance. When they realise the cameras are still rolling, opening number 'We're Doing a Sequel' kicks in to set up a continental caper that sees Kermit replaced as the Muppets' figurehead by his sinister Russian doppelganger Constantine. »
Micha Barton to play a Romanian forced into prostitution in a crime thriller from burgeoning producer Ambi Pictures.
Ambi Pictures, the film development, finance and production company owned and run by Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi, has announced that Danny Trejo, Mischa Barton, Michael Madsen and Daniel Baldwin have signed on to star in the crime thriller Hope Lost.
The thriller, tackling prostitution and sex trafficking, is directed by David Petrucci from a screenplay written by Francesco Trento, Damiano Giacomelli and Francesco Teresi in collaboration with Loretta Tersigni. Additional cast include Andrey Chernishov, Francesca Agostini and Alessia Navarro.
Principal photography will commence this month in Rome. Iervolino and Bacardi are producing the film through their Ambi Pictures banner. Cosetta Turco is also a producer and Danielle Maloni is executive producer.
In the film, Barton plays a young woman who travels from her small town in Romania to a better life in Italy but is bought by a pimp »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Rosser)
Ambi Pictures, the Rome-based film production and finance company, has formed a new international sales division.
Following a trial run at the Efm in Berlin ealier this month, Ambi will now handle worldwide sales on the films it produces, starting with the recently completed action thriller Sights of Death, which was financed and produced by Ambi and stars Danny Glover, Daryl Hannah, Rutger Hauer, Stephen Baldwin and Michael Madsen.
Abmi bosses Monika Bacardi and Andrea Iervolino said: “We feel we are in a great position to grow the company, establish a significant footprint in the global film arena and ultimately build a strong brand as we bring high quality commercial feature films to the marketplace.”
The move will dovetail with its burgeoning production arm, which plans to produce eight feature films in 2014.
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
Barry Levinson directed “The Humbling,” currently in post-production and based on the novel by Philip Roth. The cast also includes Charles Grodin, Kyra Sedgewick, Dan Hedaya, Nina Arianda, and Billy Porter.
“The Humbling” centers on an aging actor who has an affair with a lesbian woman half his age at a secluded country house in Connecticut, with the relationship causing chaos as people from their pasts surface.
- Dave McNary
16 items from 2014
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