7 items from 2015
If you were to somehow distill into a single movie character the most insufferable attributes of Holden Caulfield, Max Fischer and the self-absorbed grown-up version of Antoine Doinel, you might come up with someone like the charisma-challenged protagonist of helmer Noah Pritzker’s debut feature, “Quitters.” Pritzker and co-scripter Ben Tarnoff earn grudging admiration for daring to construct their fitfully amusing dramedy around a central figure who, at his frequent worst, comes across as borderline sociopathic. And Ben Konigsberg displays an undeniably impressive fearlessness while playing the lead role as written, without subtle pleas (or, really, pleas of any kind) for sympathy and understanding. Barring an improbable outburst of critical hosannas, however, it’s unlikely that even venturesome audiences will want to spend much time with this character, or the movie that contains him.
Clark Rayman (Konigsberg), the teenage son of a well-to-do San Francisco couple, appears to have emotionally »
- Joe Leydon
If you ever saw the very first exercise I worked on with writer-director Noah Pritzker in film school, you’d probably be thinking there’s just no hope for these two, but, mere months later, Pritzker churned out an exceptionally polished short film called Little Dad that went on to screen at SXSW in 2012. After that, it was no surprise when I heard that Pritzker directed a quality first feature that earned a spot on the festival's Narrative Competition lineup this year. Quitters stars Benjamin Konigsberg as a high school student named Clark. When his mother (Mira Sorivno) heads off to rehab and he starts butting heads with his father (Greg Germann), Clark latches on to his new girlfriend, Natalia (Morgan Turner), and convinces her to let him move in with her far more stable, traditional family. Shortly after the Quitters world premiere at SXSW, I got the opportunity to sit down with Pritzker, »
- Perri Nemiroff
Chicago – Will Ferrell is a funny guy. Kevin Hart can be a funny guy. But the prison buddy comedy “Get Hard” is woefully less than the sum of its comedic parts. It fires buckshot of lame jokes at its audience, but precious few come anywhere near their targets as it squanders nearly every comic opportunity that comes its way.
Ferrell stars as a wealthy hedge fund manager with a gold-digging fiancée (Alison Brie), and a house full of servants who can barely conceal their disdain for him. His life begins to crumble when he’s accused of fraud and embezzlement, and arrested at his own birthday party. No one is asking for “The Verdict” in a Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart comedy, but even by the lackadaisical standards of a studio comedy, Ferrell is convicted and sentenced to 10 years hard labor in San Quentin based on alarmingly little evidence and with little or no provocation. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
It’s team-up time for twin titans of comedy once again . Actually one of the stars of this new film was attempting this just a couple of months ago. The in-danger-of-over-saturation star Kevin Hart made an attempt to broaden his fan base by joining up with another rising comic star, Josh Gad, In the modest hit (couldn’t have cost that much) The Wedding Ringer. Well it certainly worked for Kevin’s comic predecessors Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, and Chris Tucker. But this time out he’s truly going for it, making a run for the comedy big leagues, by teaming with an established superstar of laugh-filled flicks, Will Ferrell (sure he’s had some duds, but when he scores, he scores big). And this new film takes some hot-button current topics, and gives them a spin that may remind you of certain Pryor and Murphy classics. So, let’s »
- Jim Batts
With Sundance in the rear view mirror and Berlin just around the corner, another huge festival that’s now very much in mind is the 2015 South By Southwest Film Festival (SXSW 2015), to be held in Austin, Texas, this March. And this year, the lineup looks no less eclectic than in any previous year for the festival.
SXSW 2015 will see the debut of two big-studio comedies (Paul Feig’s Spy, starring Melissa McCarthy; and Etan Cohen’s Get Hard, starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart), some red-hot documentaries (none more so than Alex Gibney’s Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine) and a vast array of smaller indie titles. Intriguingly, Judd Apatow’s Amy Schumer vehicle Trainwreck will be screened as a work-in-progress.
- Isaac Feldberg
South by Southwest, the multi-faceted film, music and technology festival held annually in Austin, TX will feature such upcoming films as Paul Feig’s Spy, David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn, Alex Gibney’s documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, and Ondi Timoner’s Russell Brand profile Brand: A Second Coming as headliners in this year’s film festival lineup.
SXSW runs from March 13 to 21 in Austin and is now in its 22nd year. Variety has details of the 145 films and 100 world premieres bowing at this year’s festival. Brand, as previously reported, will be the festival’s opening night film.
Other notable titles on the list are the Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart comedy Get Hard, a rough cut of Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck, the directorial debut of 28 Days Later screenwriter Alex Garland, Ex Machina, and a new comedy by Michael Showalter, Hello, My Name is Doris.
On the small screen, »
- Brian Welk
Top brass at the 22nd South By Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival have announced the feature line-up for the upcoming festival, set to run from March 13-21 in Austin, Texas.
SXSW will showcase 145 features. The line-up includes 60 films from first-time film-makers and comprises 100 world premieres, 13 North American premieres and 11 Us premieres.
Head of film Janet Pierson and her team of programmers culled selections from a record 2,385 feature-length submissions composed of 1,614 Us and 771 international features. The record of 7,335 total submissions marks a 13% gain on 2014.
For the first time the number of films in the juried Narrative Feature and Documentary Feature selections have risen from eight to ten. The complete Conference line-up and schedule will be released on February 17.
Besides the Narrative Feature Competition and Documentary Feature Competition selections listed below, feature entries include Judd Apatow’s work-in-progress comedy Trainwreck starring Amy Schumer in Special Events, music film 808 (pictured) in 24 Beats Per Second and Alex Garland’s sci-fi »
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
7 items from 2015
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