17 items from 2014
Wes Bentley rarely takes on leading roles, probably partially because his youthful, nondescript features lead audiences to identify with him most as a background player. Things People Do, a quiet drama directed by The Thin Red Line editor Saar Klein, finds Bentley taking on the main role of insurance adjuster Bill Scanlon, who turns to a life of crime when always playing the nice guy leaves him jobless and heavily in debt. Unfortunately, the film’s plodding, ham-fisted narrative allows neither Bentley nor Things People Do as a whole any opportunity to leave even the slightest impression.
Klein and co-writer Joe Conway clearly wanted their film to be received as a morality play, with seemingly every line of dialogue holding deeper meaning. In moderation, symbolic dialogue can be one of a screenwriter’s most potent weapons, but here it’s more exhausting than enlightening. One of the reasons Things People Do »
- Isaac Feldberg
“There ain’t no sin, there ain’t no wrong, there’s just things people do,” opines a washed-up detective (Jason Isaacs) to an unemployed insurance adjuster (Wes Bentley) turned armed robber in what is, remarkably, one of the least heavy-handed moments from “Things People Do,” a wildly overwrought and frequently preposterous recession-era morality play that marks the feature directing debut of veteran film editor Saar Klein. Burdened with absurd plot twists and two-ton metaphors (including a Chekhovian gun and a swimming pool more symbolic than Gatsby’s), this depressive drama about the desperate measures called for by desperate times will need its own strongarm tactics to see any significant theatrical exposure following its Berlin and SXSW premieres. Midrange name cast portends brisker ancillary traffic.
Lest we harbor any doubt about what kind of movie this is going to be, “Things People Do” opens with Bentley’s Bill Scanlin poking »
- Scott Foundas
SXSW is less than a month away and ShockYa.com is thrilled to announce that we’ll be on the ground in Austin, Texas for the event. There are loads of films on the line-up we’re aiming to catch, one of which is Academy Award nominated editor Saar Klein’s directorial debut, “Things People Do.” The film stars Wes Bentley as Bill Scanlon, a man who loses his job and can’t bring himself to tell his wife (Vinessa Shaw). Rather than risk losing his family, he opts to cover up the issue by becoming a criminal. Soon after taking the plunge and getting his hands a little dirty, Bill starts to enjoy the [ Read More ]
- Perri Nemiroff
Aiming to be the kind of restrained, grown-up ethical drama that we don't see a great deal of anymore, "Things People Do" from editor-turned-director Saar Klein, premiered unassumingly at the Berlin Film Festival, as though aware it was predestined to be almost immediately eclipsed by showier, punchier titles. Which is probably a little unfair, as the film does boast a lot of strong elements: unusually expressive cinematography; a well-rendered sense of place; Jason Isaacs. And in general it nearly succeeds in delivering on its gently moralist ambitions. However, its failings are all the more glaring for being in the realm of characterization, which is kind of crucial if a film of this kind is to transcend the potential limitations of the indie drama ghetto. Unfortunately "Things People Do" scuppers its own chances by having people do things we just don't ever, ever believe they would. Bill (Wes Bentley) and Susan (Vinessa Shaw) are happily, »
- Jessica Kiang
Like a condensation of the plot and themes in "Breaking Bad" without the meth, director Saar Klein's impressive debut "Things People Do" puts a criminal spin on suburban discontent. Aided by a grave, committed performance by Wes Bentley in the lead role, Klein's story treads familiar territory but doesn't take its appeal for granted. The story of settled insurance salesman Bill (Bentley), who turns to robbery after losing his job and hides it from his wife, "Things People Do" makes its dramatic material stick -- despite a few screenplay imperfections -- by upping the tension with ample restraint: guns are brandished but rarely fired, voices almost never raised. Klein maintains the intensity while delivering the heavy-handed themes with a whisper. Bentley's sad-eyed gaze becomes the movie’s central image early on, when Bill is laid off by his superior for lacking the ability to succeed at his job. The »
- Eric Kohn
You may not know the name Saar Klein, but you've undoubtedly seen his work. He's the Oscar nominated editor behind Terrence Malick's "The Thin Red Line" and Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous," who has a notable filmography that also includes "The New World" and "The Bourne Identity." However, he's transitioning to the director's chair, and his debut feature film "Things People Do" will be premiering at the Berlin Film Festival. Starring Wes Bentley, Vinessa Shaw, Haley Bennett and Jason Isaacs, and executive produced by (among others) Doug Liman, the film tells the story of a man who turns to crime after losing his job, and falls in with a detective who no longer believes in the value of upholding the law. Here's the full synopsis: Things are worse for Scanlin than he admits. Unknown to his family, he has lost his job as an insurance broker because he wasn »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Yesterday we brought you the very first image from Saar Klein’s upcoming indie film Things People Do. Klein, as you may or may not know, is a two time Academy Award nominee, having been honored for his editing work on The Thin Red Line and Almost Famous. His upcoming film, which is currently at the Berlin Film Festival and will be at SXSW next month, stars a cast that boasts impressive names like Wes Bentley, Jason Isaacs and Haley Bennett.
Today, in hopes of continuing to build anticipation for this intriguing project, we’re happy to be premiering the very first clip from the film. It doesn’t show off a whole lot but we get to see Bentley contemplating a recent decision he’s made and from what we can see here, Things People Do does appear to be quite interesting from a visual standpoint. Sure, some dialogue would have been nice, »
- Matt Joseph
Today we are happy to be premiering the very first image from Academy Award nominee Saar Klein’s Things People Do, which will be showing at SXSW next month (and at the Berlin Film Festival this month). Seen above, the still depicts stars Wes Bentley and Jason Isaacs playing with some guns on a mock shooting range in the desert. It doesn’t show off a whole lot but as a film that looks like one of the more interesting indie projects currently on the festival circuit, I’m very pleased that We Got This Covered can debut the image.
For those unfamiliar with the plot, Things People Do follows Bill Scanlin (Bentley), a man who has recently lost his job. Afraid to tell his wife, he ends up turning to a life of crime to make money. One night, he crosses paths with Frank McTiernan (Isaacs), a detective who »
- Matt Joseph
Sundance just ended, and we are already preparing for the next big film festival, South By Southwest. Not too long ago, the festival announced a few of the films premiering this year, but now they’ve announced the main slate. The midnight selections and some inevitable late-breaking additions are still to be announced, but this should be more than enough to get you excited. Along with many World Premieres, and Sundance favorites like Richard Linklater’s Boyhood and Gareth Evans’ The Raid 2, the line up also includes an anniversary screening of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and an extended Q&A screening of The Grand Budapest Hotel with Wes Anderson. SXSW 2014 runs March 7 through 15 in Austin, Texas. Check out the line up after the jump.
Narrative Feature Competition
Eight world premieres, eight unique ways to celebrate the art of storytelling. Selected from 1,324 films submitted to SXSW 2014. Films screening in Narrative »
Today the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival announced a diverse features lineup for this year’s Festival, the 21st edition and running March 7 – 15, 2014 in Austin, Texas. The 2014 program expands on SXSW tradition of embracing a range of genres and span of budgets, featuring a wealth of vision from experienced and developing filmmakers alike.
For more information visit http://sxsw.com/film.
Listed in the announcement are 115 of the features that will screen over the course of nine days at SXSW 2014. The lineup below includes 68 films from first-time filmmakers, and consists of 76 World Premieres, 10 North American Premieres and 7 U.S. Premieres. These films were selected from a record 2,215 feature-length film submissions composed of 1,540 U.S. and 675 international feature-length films. With a record number of 6,482 submissions total, the overall increase was 14% over 2013. The Midnighters feature section and the Short Film program will be announced on February 5, with the complete »
- Movie Geeks
After announcing earlier this month that Jon Favreau’s Chef and the Veronica Mars movie will be making their world debuts at SXSW this year, the festival has revealed its full line-up, including further very promising world premieres, alongside appearances from some of the year’s most high-profile films.
The Midnight programme will be announced early next month, along with the Shorts line-up, and the complete Conference slate a little later as well.
Led by Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, Nicholas Stoller’s anticipated R-rated comedy, Neighbors, will be making its world debut at the festival, notably marked out as a ‘work-in-progress’ ahead of its theatrical release in May.
David Gordon Green’s acclaimed Joe will make its Us premiere, having bowed at Venice and then Toronto last year. Early reviews have Nicolas Cage giving one of the finest performances of his career, with Tye Sheridan (Mud) excellent alongside him. »
- Kenji Lloyd
Not sure if there is a Short Term 12 equivalent in this year’s Narrative Feature Comp, but on paper SXSW programmers are serving up a mean (and the usual lean group of 8 out of a whopping 1,324 film entries) for the upcoming competitiuon of eight which includes notable entries (that we’ve been tracking for a good time now) such as Zachary Wigon’s The Heart Machine, John Magary’s The Mend, Leah Meyerhoff’s I Believe in Unicorns and Lawrence Michael Levine’s Wild Canaries. Undoubtedly one of the most anticipated docs of the year, on the non-fiction side we find Margaret Brown’s The Great Invisible. Below you’ll find a breakdown of the other sections (notable world preems in We’ll Never Have Paris and Faults (see Mary Elizabeth Winstead above), some Sundance items with Texan connections and other nuggets.
Narrative Feature Competition
Eight world premieres, eight »
- Eric Lavallee
The South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival has announced its full features lineup, including a new episodic section highlighting the influence of smallscreen programming.
Five films will headline SXSW, including Universal’s work-in-progress comedy “Neighbors” with Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, David Gordon Green’s Nicolas Cage starrer “Joe” and previously announced pics “Chef,” directed by and starring Jon Favreau and the crowd-funded “Veronica Mars.”
The episodic section will debut six shows destined for the smallscreen, both for television and online, including Robert Rodriguez’s “From Dusk Till Dawn” series. Last year, the festival premiered the pilot of A&E’s “Bates Motel,” while the year before it debuted the first three episodes of Lena Dunham’s “Girls.”
The smallscreen programming sidebar joins a hefty selection competition entries, higher-profile Spotlight titles, experimental-flavored entries in the Visions section and Global titles.
The fest’s juried competition includes eight titles each in docu and narrative sections, »
- Alexandra Cheney
London — Eighteen films will compete for the best first feature award at the Berlin Film Festival, which comes with a Euros 50,000 ($68,500) prize, shared by the director and the producer.
Entries of note include hotly tipped competish title “’71,” helmed by Yann Demange, Wes Bentley-starrer “Things People Do,” whose helmer Saar Klein earned Oscar noms as one of the editors on “Almost Famous” and “The Thin Red Line,” and Germany-based American helmer Damian John Harper’s “Los Angeles,” which is about a Mexican villager fighting the local gangsters.
The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in the Berlinale Palast on Feb. 15.
- Leo Barraclough
Berlinale has unveiled the three-person jury for its Best First Feature Award.
Us director and producer Nancy Buirski, Italian actress and director Valeria Golino and Argentinian producer Hernán Musaluppi will decide the award, with the winner announced at the official award ceremony in the Berlinale Palast on Feb 15.
The award comes with a €50,000 prize, donated by the Gwff, and will be split between the producer and director of the winning film, while the director will also be awarded with a high-quality viewfinder.
A total of 18 directorial debuts have been nominated by the heads of the Competition, Panorama, Forum, Generation and Perspektive Deutsches Kino section.
´71 - United Kingdom
By Yann Demange
Historia del miedo (History of Fear) – Argentina / Uruguay / Germany / France
By Benjamin Naishtat
With Jonathan Da Rosa, [link »
- email@example.com (Ian Sandwell)
A total of 24 world premieres are included in the Berlinale’s Panorama selection, which has added a number of Asian productions.
Some 36 films from 29 countries will feature in the Panorama section of the Berlin International Film Festival (Feb 6-16), of which 24 will be world premieres.
Most recently invited are works from Norway, Ethiopia, Mexico, India, Iran, Georgia, Greece, Hungary and Austria – with returning filmmakers Elfi Mikesch and Umut Dağ, who opened Panorama 2012 with Kuma, his directorial debut.
New titles include a number of Asian productions. In Ieji (Homeland) by Japan’s Nao Kubota, a farmer’s son, who first fled to the city, explores his home village in the Fukushima district, an area that is actually still a no-go zone following the disaster at the region’s nuclear power plant.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Rosser)
London — The Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama section, which is devoted to art-house cinema, with a particular focus on auteur movies, has completed its lineup of fiction pics. It includes 24 world premieres.
The selection has a strong Asian contingent, with several titles from the continent added.
Panorama’s main program will open on Feb. 6 with a Vietnamese sci-fi pic, “2030.” In Nghiem-Minh Nguyen-Vo’s film, the ocean levels have risen and the land of many farmers is now under water. Vegetables are cultivated on floating farms, a catastrophic situation from which global corporations want to profit.
Nao Kubota’s “Homeland” follows a farmer’s son from the Fukushima district of Japan, who has fled to the city. He returns to his home village, which lies in a no-go zone following the nuclear disaster.
In the South Korean film “Night Flight,” LeeSong Hee-il presents a poignantly unsettling duel between two schoolmates »
- Leo Barraclough
17 items from 2014
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