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If comedy is just a front to hide the darkness within, then Sarah Silverman has fully lifted the veil with her dramatic turn in the positively bleak I Smile Back. It’s a raw and fully-committed performance involving nudity, some horribly degrading sex, and masturbating on a teddy bear with her sleeping daughter beside her. And unlike other comediennes who’ve veered into drama, none of it felt like a stretch. But after 85 minutes of watching Silverman as bipolar housewife Laney Brooks, Napalm bombing her unhappiness with alcohol, cocaine, and wildly self-destructive extramarital affairs, it was a relief to see the actress as her acerbic self in the audience Q&A. Why did she do the role? “Why wouldn’t I? What am I − busy?” she replied. Asked if she gets depressed, Silverman said she can’t bring herself to watch a YouTube video her mother sent her called “Elephants »
- Jada Yuan
As part of our "How I Shot That" series, Indiewire asked cinematographer Eric Lin about shooting Adam Salky's "I Smile Back," which recently premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Based on Amy Koppelman's 2008 novel, the film stars Sarah Silverman as a suburban wife and mother who struggles with depression and addiction. What camera and lens did you use? Arri Alexa with Cooke S2/S3 Lenses How do you decide what camera to use? I'm very cautious about the tools I use. If someone is asking which camera we should shoot on and I'm offered up choices, it's always because it's either going to fit the aesthetic or the style of production. There's always something about the medium that makes sense for the project. If I know I'm going to be in very small quarters or there are a lot of scenes in cars, I'll go for a camera that is maybe more compact. »
- Paula Bernstein
Jimmy Kimmel Live will shake up its regularly scheduled musical performances this February with a new series, "Mash Up Mondays," bringing together two artists for a special one-off gig.
"Mash Up Mondays" kicks off February 2nd with Weezer and Zz Top — or as host Jimmy Kimmel re-dubbed them in a press release, "Wee-z Top" — and continues February 9th with Haim and funk legends Morris Day and the Time (a.k.a. "Morris Day and the Haim"). On February 16th, rising soul star Aloe Blacc will take the stage with Nineties »
Tig Notaro is a pretty remarkable person. A long-serving and much-respected comic (the kind often described as a “comedian’s comedian”) she was, until relatively recently, known only among true stand-up nerds, aside from a handful of appearances on “The Sarah Silverman Program,” “Community” and “The Office.” But then, in 2012, Notaro suffered a series of terrible events in her personal life, culminating in an August show at L.A’s Largo that immediately passed into legend: her friend Louis C.K, who was present at the show, tweeted afterwards that “In 27 years doing this, I’ve seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo.” C.K. persuaded Notaro to release the audio from the night on his website as a comedy album, and the result, Live, sold 75,000 copies in a week. The documentary “Tig,” directed by Notaro’s friends Kristina Goolsby and Ashley York, »
- Oliver Lyttelton
The appeal of upcoming mega-blockbusters like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Avengers: Age Of Ultron is rather obvious. Is there ever a time when it’s not okay to turn your brain off and bask in nail-biting action, heroics, and costly special effects? Big-budget blockbusters will never grow old, since the range of audiences partial to those kinds of films is all-encompassing.
However, not everybody is impressed with CGI-filled action scenes and superhero cinematic universes. Some prefer their films smaller and more intimate. So, what’s a cinema buff to do? As always, seek out the nearest independent theater and/or VOD platform and drop cash on the latest no-budget films worthy of such concerted efforts.
Without that kind of open-mindedness, Diy moviemaking would cease to exist, robbing cinephiles of flicks that could potentially rival the likes of Reservoir Dogs, The Terminator, and Night Of The Living Dead. »
- Jesse Gumbarge
Sarah Silverman was her playful, jokey self when she sat down with Indiewire hours before world premiering her new film "I Smile Back" at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. In her first starring role, that sparkle is gone. "I Smile Back," stars Silverman as Laney, a suburban wife and mother who struggles with depression, reckless behavior and addiction. Within the first first 20 or so minutes of Adam Salky's harrowing drama, based on the 2008 novel by Amy Koppelman, Laney goes on a drug and alcohol fueled rampage that causes her husband (Josh Charles) to check her into rehab. Silverman is astonishing in the role, fearless in her portrayal of a woman on the verge of self destruction."I Smile Back" is one of the most hotly anticipated films playing this year solely based on the interest in your dramatic performance. What's that like? I feel like it's just set up for. »
- Nigel M Smith
Park City — The Sundance Film Festival giveth, and the Sundance Film Festival taketh away…85 minutes of your evening. Those are the breaks when it comes to any major festival and, unfortunately, "I Smile Back" falls into the latter category. That may sound a tad harsh, but Adam Salky's latest is a disappointing effort that is the one film that truthfully doesn't belong in the U.S. Dramatic Competition this year. [It's worth noting there are usually two or three films that the Sundance faithful wonder why they've been selected for competition, so just one means it's been quite a good year overall.] In many ways, "Smile Back" feels like a film that would have been at Sundance 10 to 15 years ago. It centers on Laney (Sarah Silverman), a stay-at-home mom living in a gorgeous house in either Connecticut or upstate New York (either works) who has two beautiful kids and, seemingly, a wonderful husband, Bruce (Josh Charles). In reality, however, Laney isn't entirely with it. She forgets her ID to allow her to walk her kids to their classrooms and keeps trying »
- Gregory Ellwood
Park City, Utah - At the Golden Globes this winter, Maggie Gyllenhaa said “I’ve noticed a lot of people talking about the wealth of roles for powerful women in television lately... what I see actually are women who are sometimes powerful and sometimes not, sometimes sexy, sometimes not, sometimes honorable, sometimes not, and what I think is new is the wealth of roles for actual women in television and in film." It was her comment on the "strong female character" buzz, that "telling women's stories" doesn't mean any one particular archetype or role. For Sarah Silverman in Sundance drama "I Smile Back," her "woman's story" means her character's addictions and self-destruction spiral out of control all while she aggravates her marriage and her children. It's Silverman's first leading film role, and her first dramatic role, after her many years as a standup comic, author, writer and television actress. Perhaps »
- Katie Hasty
Laney (Sarah Silverman) is the perfect wife to Bruce (Josh Charles) and perfect mom to Eli (Skylar Gaertner) and Janey (Shayne Coleman). She’s a nurturing, loving woman, but she’s also got a raging addiction to anything in sight: sugar, booze, pills, coke, sex, literally anything she can get her hands on. It’s clear that as much love as she has for her kids (and Silverman has great chemistry with them), there are also deep wells of rage within her that send her into flaming-out downward spirals. Silverman plays Laney with a dead-eyed, twitchy ferocity, and her performance is at once horrifying in its reality and morbidly compelling in her rampant self-destructiveness. At first, "I Smile Back" feels a bit like a very well-shot episode of “Intervention,” and the inciting incident that eventually sends her to rehab is rather ridiculous, but boy, does Silverman sell it. The majority »
- Katie Walsh
Rarely has a performer striven so concertedly to shed any trace of his/her comedy roots as Sarah Silverman does over the course of “I Smile Back,” an addiction drama in which the acerbic comedienne gives the kind of warts-and-all, let-it-all-hang-out (body parts, fluids, etc.) turn that awards’ consultants dreams are made of. But Silverman’s performance is more than an attention-getting stunt, and it’s her hellish rendering of a New Jersey housewife under the influence of drugs, alcohol and mental illness that elevates director Adam Salky’s sophomore feature above the suburban-nightmare movie-of-the-week it otherwise often resembles. Even with the buzz sure to ignite around its Sundance premiere, “Smile” will prove a tough sell commercially, where more sensitive types will blanch at the film’s Olympian gauntlet of self-abuse, reckless endangerment and public humiliation.
Playing addicts of one kind or another has been a tried-and-true recipe for funnymen »
- Scott Foundas
Based on Amy Koppelman’s book published by the independent press Two Dollar Radio — a book depicting the destructive despair of a housewife spiraling into drugs and bad sex — I Smile Back is being touted here at Sundance as the feature dramatic debut of Sarah Silverman, the comedian whose shocking riffs are always delivered with an unnerving sweetness and sexy demeanor. Attempting to channel — or perhaps remold — Silverman’s persona to the demands of the novel (adapted by Koppelman and Paige Dylan) is Adam Salky, who returns to Sundance following his debut picture, Dare. I Smile Back premieres […] »
- Scott Macaulay
"I Smile Back" doesn't quite smile back -- it's a very real, very dark look at just how bad things can get when you're dealing with depression, even when your life may seem perfect. Sarah Silverman stars in her most serious screen role to date, taking her character Laney through the pitfalls of disillusionment and the recklessness that follows. What's your film about, in 140 characters or less?Laney is a wife and devoted mother of two adorable children, but her perfect world is a façade, and reckless compulsion puts it all at risk. Now, what's it Really about?Laney, played by the extremely talented Sarah Silverman, is an attractive, intelligent woman who is tormented by some very complex personal demons. "I Smile Back" is about how this character came to be emotionally and psychologically broken, and how hard it is for a person like that, particularly someone with as big a heart as Laney, »
- Rosie Narasaki
As I said in my review of AMC’s “Better Call Saul!” I approached the “Breaking Bad” prequel with some skepticism about whether it could work, before ultimately being pleased with the first three episodes. Two other men who had deep and long-lasting concerns about the viability of the project? That would be “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan and producer Peter Gould, who wrote the episode that introduced Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman. As the two men discuss in this interview I did at press tour, a Saul spin-off was something they had been talking about — half in jest, half not — going back to “Breaking Bad” season 3, but the actual show went through many iterations before it evolved into its current form as a light-hearted drama series dealing with a younger Saul (or Jimmy McGill, as he went by back then) trying to establish himself as a defense lawyer in Albuquerque. »
- Alan Sepinwall
Popular kid shows like Sesame Street, Yo Gabba Gabba!, and Spongebob Squarepants aren’t always just for kids. Grown-ups have been known to not only tune in to the children’s-friendly programming (hey, some of them are really good!), but even appear on said shows. While stars like Jon Hamm, Ricky Gervais, Sarah Silverman , and Amy Poehler made the best of their time and had some seriously awesome cameos, other celebrities haven’t made quite the same impression. We’ve compiled the seven most awkward, inappropriate, or downright strange appearances by adults on kid shows.
Prettttt-ay, prettttt-ay, pretttttt-ay bizarre.
Festival resurges as launch pad for awards contenders while sales agents are prepared for healthy market
Those up in arms over Hollywood’s limited roles for women and minorities should be excited for the diversity of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday with no shortage of films that address the broad range of human experience, while renewing the festival as a key launch platform for awards season hopefuls.
- Jeff Sneider
Michael B. Jordan in “Fruitvale Station.” Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley in “The Spectacular Now.” Oscar nominees Quvenzhané Wallis and Abigail Breslin in “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and “Little Miss Sunshine,” respectively.
All of those performances were once the talk of Sundance, where stars threaten to break-out each year. The 2015 edition of the frosty festival is no different, with no shortage of young stars poised to launch their careers in Park City and make a name for themselves in Hollywood. »
- Jeff Sneider
This week, the Sundance Film Festival gets underway, seeking to highlight the best in independent film. I won’t be in Park City this year, sadly, though I have been in the past and can vouch for it as a really unique and enjoyable (if exhausting) festival to attend. In honor of its 2015 start, I wanted to run down some of the higher profile titles that could make a dent on the awards season later on this year. If not Oscar players, these could at least become the indie darlings of the season, or perhaps just crossover successes. Had I been in attendance at Sundance, there’s almost two dozen movies that I’d be hoping to catch, but I whittled a list down to just ten of the ones I want to highlight most. Take a look… Here are ten films to look forward to once they leave Sundance: »
- Joey Magidson
Hollywood descends on the Sundance Film Festival this week, checkbooks in hand, hoping to find the next big thing in indie movies. In many cases, that means buyer beware, because the thin mountain air in Park City can turn conservative bidders into free spenders.
“People get the fever sometimes,” says Jim Berk, CEO of Participant Media. “Everybody is looking for that next ‘Juno’ or ‘(500) Days of Summer.’ They want to find the next Cary Fukunaga or that new hot director they have to be in business with. That’s what drives the hype and the excitement.”
It’s easy to see why Sundance, with its bucolic setting, history of producing iconoclastic films, and reputation as a showcase for new talent, remains an essential stop for buyers and sellers. Yet despite the popularity of VOD and emergence of new digital platforms such as Netflix and Amazon hungry to distribute content in all its forms, »
- Brent Lang
The Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber will be taped in Los Angeles and Kent Alterman, President of Content Development & Original Programming at Comedy Central, says the "Baby" singer was asking for it.
"Justin has been asking us for a few years to roast him," Altman reveals of the 20-year-old pop star, "and we just kept telling him to go create more source material first. We’re thrilled he listened."
Bieber -- who turns 21 on March 1 -- echoed those same sentiments on Twitter, writing: "Finally after all that hard work for my 21st bday it's happening."
For years I have wanted Comedy Central to roast me. They said only if I provided them w/ more material so for a year »
The torching of the pop star will tape in Los Angeles on a date to be revealed soon
The cable channel’s hilarious president of Content Development & Original Programming, Kent Alterman, already fired the first shot: “Justin has been asking us for a few years to roast him, and we just kept telling him to go create more source material first,” he said. “We’re thrilled he listened.”
Also Read: 18 Comedians Who Died Too Soon – From John Pinette »
- Tony Maglio
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