11 items from 2015
Plot: Don Verdean (Sam Rockwell) is a self-described .biblical archaeologist. whose findings are often met with disbelief and derision. Now eking out a living on the church lecture tour, Don gets his big break when a pastor (Danny McBride) offers to finance his digs in the Holy Land, provided he bring something back that will bring people to his church. Review: I think it's safe to say that I walked into Don Verdean with a great deal of skepticism. I'm never been the biggest fan of »
- Chris Bumbray
Paramount Pictures has decided to mix up the release dates for its upcoming horror slate. Shortly after moving the Friday the 13th reboot from it's original November 13 slot, they have now slid Rings, a reboot/sequel hybrid of The Ring franchise, into that old space. And they have shifted Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, the fifth film in the series (sixth if you count the spinoff Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones), away from its March 13 date, which it was never going to make. It will now open in time for Halloween.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension will reportedly follow a video game designer who moves his family from New York to Palo Alto, where they are greeted by the infamous Demon of the franchise. It is believed the sequel will be the first movie in the series to be released in 3D. While it was originally set to open this spring, »
Paramount Pictures has shifted the date of its upcoming Friday the 13th reboot. Don't worry, it will still open, as intended, on Friday the 13th. Only now, we'll be getting it next summer instead of this winter, as the second attempt to remake the movie into a viable franchise leaves its original November 13th slot and slides into the more comfortable May 13, 2016 spot on the calendar.
Platinum Dunes producers Andrew Form and Bradley Fuller confirmed a little less than two weeks ago that the new Friday the 13th would hopefully shoot this year. The screenplay is still being worked on, but it has been confirmed a few times now that the story will definitely revolve around iconic camp slasher Jason Voorhes. No further details have been revealed at this time.
In the above clip, Danny McBride, who plays Tony Lazarus attempts to proposition biblical archaeologist Don Verdean (Sam Rockwell) to come work for his church the Lazarus fellowship. After offering to bankroll his endeavors, Leslie Bibb who plays Joylinda Lazarus, helps drive the nail in the coffin, so to speak. After very little actual convincing, Verdean willingly obliges. “I think it’s fair to say this might be a match made in heaven,” says Verdean with an obviously bad religious pun.
Don Verdean follows the title character (Sam Rockwell), a Biblical archaeologist hired by the local church pastor to find faith-promoting relics in the Holy Land. After proving unsuccessful in his attempts to find anything of substance, »
- William Fanelli
There has been a lot of heat going into Sundance that this year's festival could be another buyer's market for mini-majors and indie distributors looking to fill out their 2015 slates. Fox Searchlight already picked up Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig's "Mistress America" and now Lionsgate has surprised by acquiring another premiere title, Jared Hess' "Don Verdean." A potential comeback for the man behind "Napoleon Dynamite," "Verdean" finds Sam Rockwell playing the title character, a biblical archeologist brought on by a small town church pastor to find "faith-promoting" historical items in the Holy Land. He has to get creative when his expedition comes up short. The rest of the cast is rounded out by Jemaine Clment, Amy Ryan, Danny McBride, Leslie Bibb and Will Forte. Hess' first break was when "Napoleon Dynamite" exploded out of Sundance in 2004. A decade later he returns after one major hit, 2006's "Nacho Libre, »
- Gregory Ellwood
The 2015 Sundance Film Festival won't even begin until tomorrow, but Lionsgate has already picked up a film debuting in Park City this month. It's been 11 years since director Jared Hess made a huge splash at Sundance with Napoleon Dynamite, and now he's back with Don Verdean, a new comedy starring Sam Rockwell, Jemaine Clement, Amy Ryan, Danny McBride, Will Forte and more. And now Deadline reports Lionsgate has already picked up the distribution rights to the film before it premieres next week. Does this mean that Hess might finally have another good film to follow his breakthrough indie sensation? We certainly hope so, especially since it's one of our 10 most anticipated films of the festival. More below! Here's our first look at Jared Hess' Don Verdean from the Sundance film guide: Don Verdean is directed by Jared Jess (Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre), who co-wrote the script with his brother Jerusha Hess. »
- Ethan Anderton
11 years after director Jared Hess and his wife/co-writer Jerusha Hess brought their debut Napoleon Dynamite to the Sundance Film Festival, Lionsgate has picked up their new comedy Don Verdean, one week before its world premiere at this year's Sundance fest. Sam Rockwell stars as the title character, a biblical archaeologist hired to find "faith-promoting relics in the Holy Land." After he comes up empty in his journey, Don must get creative in what is described as "a comedy of faith and fraud."
The supporting cast is rounded out by Amy Ryan, Jemaine Clement, who starred in Jared Hess' Gentlemen Broncos, Danny McBride, Will Forte, Leslie Bibb, Steve Park and Sky Elobar. Jared Hess also produces alongside Brandt Andersen and Dave Hunter. Grindstone Entertainment's Barry Brooker and Stan Wertlieb brought the project to Lionsgate.
It isn't known when Lionsgate may release Don Verdean at this time, but it's possible »
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 Sundance Film Festival’s Premieres section is “A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated narrative films of the coming year.”
Mississippi Grind — Image courtesy of The Sundance Institute
From the writing and directing duo that brought us Half Nelson and It’s Kind of a Funny Story comes Mississippi Grind, starring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn as a pair of desperate gamblers on the road. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have thus far earned a solid indie reputation, so there’s not much reason to doubt that they’ll deliver engaging content even if one’s unsure of the acting team that’s being put to task. Reynolds’ name may suffer from overexposure in big studio flops like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Green Lantern, whereas Mendelsohn’s growing respectability flies well below pop culture’s radar. »
- Lane Scarberry
Stars: Daniel Ross, Cory Okouchi, Jay Saunders, Devon Brookshire, P.J. Megaw, Dan Guy, Carla Okouchi, Jasmine Guillermo, Sam Lukowski, Elliot Kashner, Daniel Mascarello, Lyon Beckwith, Mina Noorbakhsh, Vicki Parks | Written and Directed by Justin Timpane
With a title like that, what could possibly go wrong? The epic finale of a trilogy (no, really, there are three of them) which has seen the titular ninjas take on vampires and zombies now has the superhero team battling horror’s most classic villains – Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman and the Mummy. It speaks volumes for the monsters’ recent output that this ultra lowbudget film is the best some of them have been in years.
Going into Ninjas vs Monsters blind, there’s a surprising amount of history to catch up on. The gist of it: a gang of slacker friends are gifted ‘Ninja’ super powers while battling zombies and a resurrected loved one turned bad. »
- Joel Harley
Lena Dunham is getting some new neighbors. HBO launches something of an indie spirit night Sunday, Jan. 11, when “Girls” returns for a fourth season, followed by a pair of original series sprung from the same singular, low-budget film roots that led Dunham — and her $65,000 SXSW phenomenon “Tiny Furniture” — to stardom.
First up after “Girls” is “Togetherness,” a new comedy from indie veterans Jay and Mark Duplass, about four forty-somethings, one a couple, living together, starring Mark Duplass, Melanie Lynskey and Amanda Peet. That show is followed by a second season of “Looking,” the San Francisco-set dramedy co-created by writer Michael Lannan and director Andrew Haigh, whose romantic drama “Weekend” won an audience award for emerging visions at the 2011 SXSW fest.
- Geoff Berkshire
11 items from 2015
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