12 items from 2015
Written by Patrick Tobin
Directed by Daniel Barnz
In Cake, it takes about fifteen minutes for director Daniel Barnz to establish the ground rules for this familiar portrait of grief and addiction, followed up by another ninety minutes or so of dramatic clumsiness and eye-rolling clichés. Whether it is drugs, sex, or booze, each brings a routine numbing quality to the table for Claire Bennett (Aniston), a seemingly darkly comedic and scathing woman who we first meet in a support group for chronic physical pain. The group is discussing the recent suicide of one of their members, while Claire draws appalling gasps due to her candid sarcasm on the matter. Sporting facial and body scars as well as weedy hair, Aniston’s return to drama screams “I’m ready for recognition!” but Cake does a horrible job of providing Aniston with much to work with.
Claire has driven most people away from her, »
- Ty Landis
The Admiration Game: Ponsoldt’s Moving Homage to Artist and Artistry
Following the critical successes of 2012’s Smashed and 2013’s The Spectacular Now, director James Ponsoldt recreates a defining moment in time between acclaimed author David Foster Wallace and Rolling Stones’ journalist David Lipsky with The End of the Tour, based on the memoirs of the latter. Beginning with Lipsky learning of Wallace’s suicide in 2008, we backtrack twelve years to 1996, after the publication of the author’s famed novel, Infinite Jest, which inspired the journalist, a novelist himself, to vie for an interview with the enigmatic personality. Framed as an unforgettable memory, Ponsoldt captures what feels like a sincere elegy from Lipsky to Wallace, a road trip that lasted five days and ran a gamut of intellectual, emotional, and philosophical highs and lows pertaining to the meaning of fame, success, and what it means to be an artist. Carried magnificently by its two leads, »
- Nicholas Bell
I am at my second Sundance Film Festival. These are my reviews.
Sundance Film Festival 2015 Reviews
Director: James Ponsoldt
Screenwriter: Donald Margulies
U.S.A., 2014, 105 min., color
Plot (courtesy of Sundance): This story of the five-day 1996 interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace explores the tenuous yet intense relationship
that develops between journalist and subject. The two men bob and weave, sharing laughs, and also concealing and revealing their hidden vulnerabilities.
Review: I have a history with Infinite Jest. I bought the giant, thousand-page book because I wanted to be the guy who loved that book. Sure, there are thousands out there who have enjoyed the novel by David Foster Wallace, but I wasn’t friends with them. So, I read it. That’s not true, »
- Jeff Bayer
Chicago – It’s been a while since I walked out of a screening so affected and feeling that I just experienced a truly honest, important film.
Sure, other ones have since, but back in 2007, “Once” especially made me feel that way long before the Oscars. I never would have expected it here and nor will you from this film you’ve probably heard little or nothing about, but a little engine that could called “Cake” has done that to me again. And you’d never guess who primarily made it possible: Jennifer Aniston in a visually unflattering, dramatic role.
While “Cake” as a film is receiving mixed reception, Aniston is being recognized for the career-growing range it’s proving for her beyond the “Friends” comedic stigma she’s trying to grow beyond. Though she tried with the dramatic romance “Love Happens” in 2009, it bombed. “Horrible Bosses” in 2011 and “Horrible Bosses 2 »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
A tete-a-tete between two writers that was acclaimed in book form fails to translate effectively to the screen in “The End of the Tour.” Despite high-powered talent — playwright Donald Margulies making his screenplay debut, helmer James Ponsoldt fresh off the excellent “Spectacular Now,” an attention-getting cast — there’s too little drama and insight to this adaptation of David Lipsky’s account of his lengthy interview/encounter with novelist David Foster Wallace. Fans of the late Wallace will be curious, but A24 (which bought U.S. rights just before the film’s Sundance premiere) will need stronger notices than they’ll likely get to pull anyone else toward a plotless two-hander whose central dynamic isn’t as compelling as intended.
A slightly younger novelist who’d returned to journalism after winning good reviews but low sales with two early books, Lipsky was — like many — awed by the sheer ambition and frequent »
- Dennis Harvey
A24 has announced its sight-unseen acquisition of director James Ponsoldt's "The End of the Tour," world-premiering Friday night at the Sundance Film Festival. Deadline projects a deal to the tune of $2-$3 million. Based on David Lipsky's memoir "Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace," the film tells the story of Lipsky's five-day Rolling Stone interview with postmodern writer David Foster Wallace. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg as Lipsky, and Jason Segel, in an unusual feat of casting, as the acclaimed "Infinite Jest" author (who would later end his own life in 2008). Penned by American playwright Donald Margulies, "End of the Tour" co-stars Anna Chlumsky, Joan Cusack, Mamie Gummer and Mickey Sumner. A24, which previously released Ponsoldt's 2013 Sundance darling "The Spectacular Now," is finalizing fall 2015 release plans. Chalk this up as the hottest buy of the fest next to Fox. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Having only just starting in the Us, it seems that some of the line-up at this year’s Sundance Film Festival is too good to turn down.
In what would be the fourth sale already before the festival gets into full swing, distributors A24 are considering picking up the rights to The End of the Tour, the new drama from James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now) starring Jason Segal (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Jesse Eisenberg (The Double).
Receiving its premiere tonight at the festival, the film is loose adaptation of David Lipsky’s Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace, in which the Rolling Stone reporter (played by Eisenberg) spent five days on the road with the late writer David Foster Wallace (Segel) conducting interviews for the book, which was released a year and a half after Wallace’s death.
A24 has worked »
- Scott J. Davis
Let Them Have It: Barnz Banks on Adept Aniston
Grief is a prickly emotion to convey within the confines of the indie American melodrama, a place that audiences have come to expect a certain amount of imaginable tragedy causing rippling aftershocks for its protagonist that force him or her to grow once more into a healed, even enlightened being. Along the way, a checklist of unlikely supporting cast mates imbue these reflections on coping with a sense of wishful thinking—we want these heroes and heroines of life’s harsh blows to have access to magical members of disenfranchised, socio-economically compromised denizens to guide them through a series of growing pains so that it’s possible to get right back to where they started from. If this sounds familiar, then you’ll be able to plug into the familiarity of Cake from director Daniel Barnz, which unfortunately feels more like »
- Nicholas Bell
A24 is nearing a deal to acquire U.S. rights to James Ponsoldt‘s “The End of the Tour,” which stars Jason Segel as “Infinite Jest” author David Foster Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky, an individual close to the deal has told TheWrap.
The deal, which is being brokered by Wme and UTA, is in the low-seven-figure range, according to sources.
Also Read: Sundance 2015 Answers #OscarsSoWhite, Gender Problems With Diverse Lineup
Story explores the bond Wallace and »
- Jeff Sneider
Chicago – This Thursday marks the beginning of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and yours truly will be in attendance to cover the fest for HollywoodChicago.com. Last year, the Park City, Utah event introduced the world to its 2014-defining sensations like “Whiplash” and “Boyhood”.
Those titles followed in the paths of indie landmarks such as “sex, lies and videotape,” “Clerks,” “Hoop Dreams,” “American Movie,” “Memento,” “Frozen River,” “Winter’s Bone,” and “Fruitvale Station,” among many others.
In pursuit of new favorite films for a new year, I’ve composed a relatively solid schedule so that I can devour as much diverse Sundance goodness as possible. Narratives, documentaries, white supremacists, nasty babies, Neil Hamburger, Chiwetel Ejiofor, stolen cop cars, and much, much more are all in play. But with hopes that everything I witness is the next “Boyhood”-like zeitgeist, I’ll be sure to report back here on what’s worth, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
The Party Report’s early picks of the prestigious, unique and special gatherings at the festival. Look for these intimate invites in your inbox
Despite causing agita throughout the industry for threatening not to circulate his annual “Sundance Party List” for talent, publicists and media — Chris Ryan’s encyclopedic tome is forthcoming and will be likely forwarded several times by the time you’re reading this post.
This is not that list.
Instead of a comprehensive treatise, I’ve picked the intimate, special and the unique gatherings of the creative community and people who make Sundance scene special and so broadly popular, »
- Mikey Glazer
A new UK trailer has been released for Daniel Barnz’s drama Cake which stars Jennifer Aniston in a critically-acclaimed performance as a sarcastic chronic pain sufferer. You can check it out below after the official synopsis…
Claire Simmons (Jennifer Aniston) is in pain. Her physical pain is evident in the scars that line her body and the way she carries herself, wincing with each tentative step. She’s no good at hiding her emotional pain either. Blunt to the point of searing insult, Claire’s anger seethes out of her with nearly every interaction. She has driven away her husband, her friends— even her chronic-pain support group has kicked her out.
The only one left in Claire’s otherwise solitary existence is her housekeeper- cum-caretaker, Silvana (Academy Award nominee Adriana Barraza), who barely tolerates her boss’ need for liquor and prescription pills. But the suicide of Nina (Academy Award »
- Gary Collinson
12 items from 2015
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