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Remember that episode of “30 Rock” where Liz and her boyfriend go to Ikea and suddenly every conversation they have about furniture turns into a metaphor for their relationship? Well, the couples of “It Happened in L.A.” are doing the same thing, but all the time. Michelle Morgan’s feature directorial debut centers on Annette (Morgan, “Girl Most Likely”), her boyfriend Elliot (Jorma Taccone, “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping”), and their friends, all of whom talk about their relationships without actually talking about their relationships.
In one of their arguments, Annette complains about how Elliot bugs her to take walks with him. When he reminds her that walking is healthy, she yells, “But I don’t want to walk anymore!” Translation: Annette might not want to be with Elliot anymore.
One of the couple’s friends, Tom (Tate Donovan, “Elvis & Nixon”), has a conniption when his girlfriend plans to buy a new couch for their place. “I know what kind of couch I like and this is not it. And I’m not gonna be manipulated into making a huge decision.” Translation: Stop pressuring me to commit!
And, while hanging out with her best friend Baker (Dree Hemingway, “While We’re Young”), Annette announces, apropos of nothing, that “palm trees are actually very condescending.” Translation: Okay, that could just be her random opinion — or the palm trees in question are an Elliot stand-in.
Morgan previously wrote, directed, and starred in the short film “K.I.T.” a portrait of a yuppie determined to prove she is a good person. She has also penned the screenplays for 2008’s “Middle of Nowhere” and “Girl Most Likely.” Also an actress, Morgan has appeared in projects like “American Dreams” and “Cinema Verite.”
“It Happened in L.A.” opens November 3 in New York and November 10 in La. You can catch it on VOD November 14.
Trailer Watch: No One Says What They Mean in Michelle Morgan’s “It Happened in L.A.” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
One of my favorite discoveries at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was Michelle Morgan’s It Happened in L.A. (then going by the Seo-unfriendly title L.A. Times). As writer, director, and star, her voice was among the most unique I saw at the festival, mixing Whit Stillman’s sensibilities with a Wes Anderson-esque visual approach to deliver a sweet, distinct romantic comedy. Also starring Jorma Taccone, Dree Hemingway, and Kentucker Audley, the first trailer has now arrived ahead of a release next month.
“In an age where the modus operandi of love-seeking is ever-changing, a film can feel immediately dated on its journey from script to screen, yet Morgan’s voice feels like one of the freshest on this particular topic in some time,” I said in my review. “Eschewing the insufferable nature of the bulk of today’s romantic comedies, It Happened in L.A. stands apart with »
- Jordan Raup
10 October 2017 12:50 PM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
The Orchard has acquired domestic rights to It Happened in L.A., Michelle Morgan's feature directorial debut. It will get a limited theatrical release in New York on Nov. 3 and in Los Angeles on Nov.10, and will be released on digital platforms on Nov. 14.
Morgan wrote the screenplay and also stars in the ensemble comedy with Jorma Taccone, Dree Hemingway and Kentucker Audley. It Happened in L.A. centers on a handful of misguided thirtysomething Angelenos and their professional and personal pursuits, and explores the search for elusive love in the 21st century. The film premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film »
- Ashley Lee
Rutherford and Lapkus portray an engaged couple forced to visit Palm Springs for a weekend to celebrate her parents’ 25th wedding vow renewal and discover the apparent secret to their happy marriage — threesomes. Determined to properly celebrate their own “re-engagement,” they set out on a wild night in search of a threesome of their own but the experience takes an intense turn, exposing deeper relationship problems and threatening their future together.
Robert Schwartzman directed from a script written by Rutherford, Kirk Johnson and Will Elliott from a story by Schwartzman. The film was produced by Schwartzman and Russell Wayne Groves and was executive produced by Bret Disend, Al »
- Dave McNary
Chris O’Dowd, Andie MacDowell star in family drama.
The couple’s two sons – a successful book editor played by O’Dowd and a struggling artist played by James Adomian – react in wildly different ways as the family lurches towards acceptance. Harbaugh and Eric Mendelsohn wrote the screenplay.
Juliet Rylance and »
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
Directed by Harbaugh and written by Harbaugh and Eric Mendelsohn, the drama documents the divergent ways a family navigates their path forward in the wake of the loss of its patriarch. “Love After Love” premiered in April at the Tribeca Film Festival where it won the award for best cinematography for Chris Teague. MacDowell and Gareth Williams portray college theatre professors while O’Dowd and Adomian play their sons.
“Love After Love” was produced by Lucas Joaquin, Lauren Haber and Michael Prall. Executive producers are Lars Knudsen, Eric Mendelsohn, Robert Halmi and Jim Reeve. The film is a Great Point Media production in association with Secret Engine and Weedon Media.
“‘Love After Love’ was made by a hungry group of artists obsessed with movies and excited by the risk of attempting something new,” Harbaugh said. “I’m proud of what we made and how we made it and thrilled that our work has found a true champion in IFC Films.”
Nick Schager of Variety gave the film a strong review: “Bolstered by superb lead turns from Chris O’Dowd and Andie MacDowell, as well as a formal structure that enhances the roiling emotions propelling its characters into a downward spiral, ‘Love After Love’ is an assured debut feature that announces its writer-director as a formidable new American indie voice.”
- Dave McNary
21 June 2017 11:30 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
Russell Harbaugh makes his feature directorial debut with the ensemble film, which documents the divergent ways a family navigates their path forward in the wake of the loss of its patriarch. MacDowell plays Suzanne, a college professor who grieves the death of her husband while watching how her two sons handle the news very differently.
Written by Harbaugh and Eric Mendelsohn, the drama also features Chris O'Dowd, Gareth Williams, James Adomian, Juliet Rylance and Dree Hemingway. It made its world premiere in April at the Tribeca Film Festival, »
- Ashley Lee
Blending the intimate volatility of John Cassavetes with the elegant lyricism of Hou Hsiao-hsien, Russell Harbaugh crafts an alternately ugly and lovely — and altogether authentic — snapshot of the tumultuous process of grieving a lost loved one. Bolstered by superb lead turns from Chris O’Dowd and Andie MacDowell, as well as a formal structure that enhances the roiling emotions propelling its characters into a downward spiral, “Love After Love” is an assured debut feature that announces its writer-director as a formidable new American indie voice. In the wake of its Tribeca Film Festival premiere, it seems primed to attract enthusiastic theatrical — and award season — attention.
The narrative starts before the film’s calamity, with Suzanne (MacDowell) and son Nicholas (O’Dowd) pondering the nature of true happiness, and how long it might last. The answer to the latter question is not very long at all, given that Suzanne’s husband, »
- Nick Schager
Welcome back to the Weekend Warrior, your weekly look at the new movies hitting theaters this weekend, as well as other cool events and things to check out.
Two Very Different Movies Look to Divide Up the Weekend Box Office Business
With Disney’s Beauty and the Beast continuing to dominate at the box office with $90 million this past weekend, and Saban’s Power Rangers (Lionsgate) also doing exceedingly well with $40 million in second place, you wouldn’t think anyone would try to release a movie that might get overshadowed by those two blockbusters.
That said, what’s interesting about this weekend is the fact there are two very different movies that are competing very heavily for second place with DreamWorks Animation’s latest animated family film, The Boss Baby (20th Century Fox), taking on the live action English remake of Ghost In The Shell (Paramount), starring Scarlett Johansson. In most cases, »
- Edward Douglas
The only remotely unpredictable thing about “Carrie Pilby,” a bland romantic drama that wastes and waters down the abundant charisma of its young star (“Diary of a Teenage Girl” breakout Bel Powley), is that it suffers from the exact same problem that turned last week’s “Power Rangers” into such a lifeless bore: By trying to provide a little something for everyone, it ultimately offers precious little to anyone. From low-budget stories of sex in the city to blockbuster reboots about teens who overcome their sexting scandals by fighting giant alien monsters made of liquid gold, it seems that even the most outwardly dissimilar of movies are united by their shared compulsion to sacrifice insight at the altar of accessibility (union agreements come and go, but mediocrity is forever).
But even that fatal flaw could be seen coming a mile away, especially by those who were already familiar with the »
- David Ehrlich
Batgirl is coming to the big screen, and Joss Whedon is helping her get there. The “Avengers” helmer will write, direct and produce a standalone film for Warner Bros. about the superheroine, reports Variety. The movie, to which no one else is yet attached, will be part of the DC Extended Universe and follow this summer’s “Wonder Woman” as the second project in that franchise to center around a female lead.
First appearing in 1967, Batgirl has previously been portrayed onscreen by Yvonne Craig in the campy “Batman” series and Alicia Silverstone in 1997’s “Batman & Robin”; more recently, Rosario Dawson voiced her in “The Lego Batman Movie.” Toby Emmerich, who serves as president and chief content officer of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, will be shepherding this new project alongside Jon Berg and Geoff Johns. »
- Michael Nordine
Marc Webb managed to make just one character-driven feature, the quirky rom-com “(500) Days of Summer,” before he turned his attentions to the studio world, with “Amazing Spider-Man” and its sequel. Webb’s foray into the superhero world yielded uneven results: While both films cracked over $700 million at the global box office and made an effective case for Andrew Garfield as the web-slinger, overall returns were not nearly as hefty as Sony had hoped (Webb’s “Amazing Spider-Man 2” is the lowest earner of the franchise) and critical reception was decidedly mixed.
Now Webb is back to his roots with “Gifted,” a good-hearted family drama that’s a bit like “Good Will Hunting” for the elementary school set — which is to say, solid and familiar, but not exactly a triumphant return to form.
- Kate Erbland
There is nothing on the surface of “Live Cargo” that would suggest anything more than a cookie-cutter relationship drama: A young couple struggles with the trauma of their stillborn child, escaping to an exotic island to work through their problems; in the process, they’re swept up in island life, and given a second chance to appreciate their shared existence. Fortunately, the black-and-white debut of writer-director Logan Sandler is just sharp enough to complicate its clichés with strong performances and a mesmerizing tone that pushes the mopey proceedings into psychological thriller territory. Despite some clunkier moments, it’s a notable effort to avoid some familiar traps.
“Live Cargo” mainly follows Nadine (Dree Hemingway) and Lewis (Lakeith Stanfield) as they arrive at the unspecified Bahamian island that Nadine’s family visited in her youth. It’s there that she introduces Lewis to Roy (Robert Wisdom), the island’s mayor and stern patriarch, »
- Eric Kohn
“Live Cargo” is one of the most evocatively shot debut films in recent memory, which is why its shabby storytelling is such a crushing disappointment. Rendering its every character and dramatic scenario in a single dimension while visualizing them — and their Bahamas surroundings — via rapturous black-and-white HD compositions, Logan Sandler’s drama/thriller feels as if it were conceived with only mood in mind. Alas, no amount of captivating atmosphere can compensate for the sheer torpor of this thinly sketched tale, which will struggle to make headway against spring’s wave of theatrical releases.
A thoroughly oblique opening finds Nadine (Dree Hemingway) and Lewis (Lakeith Stanfield) weeping as their newborn baby is taken away from them. The fact that it’s not immediately clear that the infant has died is emblematic of the film’s plotting, which is heavy on quick, silent close-ups of aggrieved faces but distressingly short on lucid details. »
- Nick Schager
20 March 2017 1:17 PM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
The project is based on a short film with the same name that Boyd also wrote and helmed and which starred Dakota Johnson. It garnered more than 800,000 views after premiering on Vogue’s digital channel in 2015 and followed two couples who find themselves in opposite stages of love.
- Borys Kit
Heading into its sixth year, the Sun Valley Film Festival is a perfect confluence of everything one could possibly want in a celebration of cinema: compelling, thought-provoking movies, a snowy resort town filled with pristine ski runs, and whiskey-soaked saloons redolent of the Wild West. Add to that a relaxed crowd of Hollywood players, Idaho locals, and an eclectic batch of writers, directors, and cineastes.
The five-day fest will screen more than 30 films, including 14 narrative features and 16 documentaries, Rory Kennedy’s “Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton” among them. Also unspooling are several films that bowed at this year’s Sundance fest, including Michelle Morgan’s comedy “L.A. Times” starring Dree Hemingway.
The world premiere of “Blood Road,” a documentary starring Sun Valley-based endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch, will open the fest. Charles Randolph (“The Big Short”) will host this year’s Screenwriters Lab. The winner of the High Scribe screenwriting contest, »
- Malina Saval
Following a successful festival run, writer-director Logan Sandler’s debut feature Live Cargo is set for release in the States later this month, and we’ve got a poster and trailer for the thriller, which stars Lakeith Stanfield, Dree Hemingway, Robert Wisdom, and Leonard Earl Howze.
Following a devastating loss, Nadine (Hemingway) and Lewis (Stanfield) retreat to a small Bahamian island where Nadine’s family has kept a house for many years. As they try to heal and move forward with their relationship, the community on the island shows signs of unraveling — with the island’s mayor, Roy (Wisdom), squaring off against Doughboy (Howze), a human trafficker who manipulates the impressionable homeless teenager Myron (Dillon) into assisting with his smuggling operation.
Live Cargo is set for a limited release on March 31st. »
- Amie Cranswick
"We've been calling these islands the 'Wild Wild West' with all things been going on around here." FilmBuff has debuted a new official trailer for the film Live Cargo, from director Logan Sandler. Live Cargo stars Keith Stanfield and Dree Hemingway as a grieving couple who escape to an island in the Bahamas for some recuperation. However, they end up caught in a turf war between Roy, the island's aging patriarch, and "Doughboy", a dangerous human trafficker. The full cast includes Robert Wisdom, Sam Dillon, and Leonard Earl Howze. This looks like yet another intriguing tropical-island thriller, along with Isolation. I'm a fan of Keith Stanfield, and I like seeing B&W films, just not so sure this is worth watching. Take a look. Here's the new official trailer (+ poster) for Logan Sandler's Live Cargo, direct from YouTube (via Tfs): A grieving couple (Dree Hemingway & Keith Stanfield) retreats »
- Alex Billington
While he first made an impression in his debut feature film, Short Term 12, it’s been thrilling to see the star of Lakeith Stanfield rise. Since his 2013 break-out, we’ve seen him in Atlanta, Selma, Dope, Straight Outta Compton, Snowden, Miles Ahead, and most recently, Get Out. For his next role, he’s heading to the Bahamas in the black-and-white, grounded crime drama Live Cargo.
Premiering back at Tribeca Film Festival last year, Gunpowder & Sky Distribution picked it up for a release a the end of the month and have now released the first trailer. Coming from writer-director Logan Sandler, it stars Stanfield and Dree Hemingway as a couple who are reeling from a personal loss and head to the tropical location, only to be caught up in its criminal underbelly. Judging from the preview it looks to be a powerfully atmospheric drama with strong performances.
- Leonard Pearce
Keep up with the always-hopping film festival world with our weekly Film Festival Roundup column. Check out last week’s Roundup right here.
– Hot Docs has announced the ten documentary features that will screen in this year’s Special Presentations program. Special Presentations features a high-profile collection of world and international premieres, award winners from the recent international festival circuit and works by master filmmakers or featuring some star subjects.
Special Presentations will screen as part of the 2017 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, running April 27 – May 7. The complete Special Presentations program and the full selection of films to screen at Hot Docs 2017 will be announced on March 21, including the 2017 opening night film.
The new titles include: “Bill Nye: Science Guy,” “Chasing Coral,” “Dolores,” “Elian,” “Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower,” “In Loco Parentis,” “Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press,” “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World,” “Strong Island” and “The Workers Cup. »
- Kate Erbland
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