10 items from 2014
Earth Below Us: Plotnick’s Debut a Sweet Space Soap Opera
Those familiar with the comedic genius of Jack Plotnick should be thrilled to see his directorial debut, Space Station 76, based on a stage play he co-wrote. Bearing his particular brand of subversive, offbeat humor, it’s a space set soap opera made as if it were in the 1970’s and meant as an homage to those classic films from the time period that inventively attempted to visually prophesies the space age. Regularly featured in the films of Quentin Dupieux and television series, ‘Reno 911,” Plotnick’s perhaps best known for the sorely underrated spoof, Girls Will Be Girls, so many may be surprised at the sometimes melancholy tone underlying this film’s more capricious moments. More of a space age melodrama reflecting nostalgia for a bygone era of storytelling in its mixture of vintage and modern tone, it’s as sweet, »
- Nicholas Bell
In space, everyone one can hear you kvetch. That appears to be standard operational procedure aboard “Space Station 76,” an intergalactic deadpan farce that suggests a daft mashup of “The Ice Storm” and “Space: 1999.” With the aid of ensemble players who maintain admirably straight faces amid the absurdity, director Jack Plotnick gets an impressive amount of mileage from a concept — characters in a futuristic sci-fi setting evince ‘70s angst and attitudes — that might seem at first blush barely adequate to sustain a “Saturday Night Live” sketch. This low-key indie comedy could live long and prosper on homescreen platforms.
Working from a script he and four fellow writers originally conceived for the stage, Plotnick establishes a tone of seriocomic soap-operatics in the early scenes while introducing the diversely dysfunctional crew of the Omega 76 Space Station.
Sexually repressed Capt. Glenn (Patrick Wilson, first among equals in a fine cast) is by »
- Joe Leydon
The retro-kitsch appeal inherent to “Space Station 76” is palpable from its star-gazing opening credits, rendered as they are in Gill Sans font (think “2001: A Space Odyssey”) with state-of-the-art CGI effects modeled on the miniature work of yesteryear. What follows is a sci-fi soap opera seemingly borne from the 1970s and only now seeing a release, and for a good while, that novelty alone seems strong enough to carry the film. The titular spacecraft is helmed by Glenn (Patrick Wilson), a brash captain who’d rather be left alone by his new second-in-command, Jessica (Liv Tyler), and the station’s populace in general. Among the ship’s residents are overworked mechanic Ted (Matt Bomer), his wife Misty (Marisa Coughlan) and their daughter Sunshine (Kylie Rogers), along with Steve (Jerry O’Connell)—with whom Misty is having an affair—wife Donna (Kali Rocha) and their newborn child. We see few »
- William Goss
Directed by Jack Plotnick
Space Station 76 begins with a narration musing on the impermanence and isolation of asteroidal paths. It’s the overarching metaphor in a film that is hilariously set in a nostalgic, 1970s version of the future and populated with hurt, dysfunctional, and yearning characters.
Glen (Patrick Wilson) is the alcoholic, abrasive, and suicidal captain of the Omega 76; Jessica (Liv Tyler) is new aboard and although much more competent than her counterparts, she is struggling with her own maternal inabilities; Ted (Matt Bomer) is an earnest but naive mechanic who lives with Misty (Marisa Coughlan), his philandering wife, and their lonely, precocious daughter Sunshine (Kylie Rogers). Together, this motley cast of characters explores what it means to live in a future built on expectations from the past. What happens when »
- David Tran
Scott Bakula loved his scene in the bathhouse on Looking. He got a chance to catch up on something he felt he’d missed. “This was as close as I’d ever gotten to a real bathhouse. Just hearing about it in my old days in New York in the mid-‘70s, you know that was a huge deal. That’s where Bette Midler started and that whole scene! My gay friends would be off to Sunday Tea, and then roll in at 9 the next morning after the bathhouse. But that was about as close as I ever got. But I thought this was a great scene, a great way to introduce the character. I love what that scene was about. But no, I wasn’t shocked. In terms of having my clothes off, »
- Ed Kennedy
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 cable channel has ordered 13 episodes which will start airing next fall. There are 21 installments in the first season (which is still airing).
Liv and Maddie revolves around 16-year-old identical twins, Liv and Maddie (Dove Cameron), as they deal with high school and annoying brothers. The rest of the cast includes Joey Bragg, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Kali Rocha and Benjamin King.
What do you think? Does someone in your household enjoy this sitcom? »
10 items from 2014
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