Susan Burke (VIII) - News Poster


This Southbound Journey has Only One Stop - Hell: A Film Review

*full disclosure: an online screener of this film was provided by Orchard TV. **there is one spoiler after the review. Directors: Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath and Radio Silence. Writers: Roxanne Benjamin, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Susan Burke, Dallas Richard Hallam and Patrick Horvath. Cast: Chad Villella, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Hannah Marks, Tipper Newton, Brad Miska and Kristina Pesic. Southbound is an indie horror anthology film, from four directors. Patrick Horvath, of The Signal (2007) fame, brings one of four stories. Though, an initial viewing would make the film appear as if it is five short films; the circular ending brings the film back upon itself. Southbound also brings an inconsistent morality to the screen as one good character finds escape, while another does not. The film also keeps its characters' histories and motivations hidden. This makes an interpretation of the plot difficult. But, the writers do agree on a trapped theme.
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Film Review: ‘Southbound’

Film Review: ‘Southbound’
What with the inferior “V/H/S Viral” having possibly run that hitherto enjoyable franchise aground, some “V/H/S” alumni plus a few newcomers try a different direction with “Southbound.” This entertaining-enough quartet of loosely interwoven terror tales falls right into the middle ground of horror omnibuses, with no outright duds but no truly memorable (or scary) segments either. Pic opens Feb. 5 in New York and Los Angeles, with another 30 or so theatrical rollouts currently booked after its VOD launch on Feb. 9; it should do well with genre fans in various formats.

The primary link among these suspense stories is that they all happen on or near a desolate stretch of desert road. (There’s also a minor connective thread in the audio-only form of Larry Fessenden channeling Wolfman Jack as a regional broadcast DJ.) In the Radio Silence troupe’s wraparound, “The Way Out/The Way In,” two
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Glasgow FrightFest 2016 – The Line-Up

Kicking off with a special screening of The Forest with star Natalie Dormer in attendance, and finishing in racy rock-fuelled style with Sean Byrne’s The Devil’s Candy, the UK’s favourite horror fantasy event returns to Glasgow Film Festival with another stellar line-up to shock, chill and thrill. A record thirteen films will screen from Thursday 25th February to Saturday 27th February, alongside a selection of unmissable shorts, guest director Q & A’s, great give-aways and a sneak preview of Paul Hyett’s Heretiks, with the popular director in attendance.

The line-up starts at 9pm on Thurs 25 Feb with the UK Premiere of The Forest starring Natalie Dormer searching for her twin sister in Japan’s most haunted location, the fabled Sea of Trees. The ‘Game of Thrones’ star is making her first appearance at Glasgow Film Festival and is thrilled to be headlining this gala event the
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Full AFI Festival Lineup And Schedule Unveiled

The American Film Institute announced today the films that will screen in the World Cinema, Breakthrough, Midnight, Shorts and Cinema’s Legacy programs at AFI Fest 2015 presented by Audi.

AFI Fest will take place November 5 – 12, 2015, in the heart of Hollywood. Screenings, Galas and events will be held at the historic Tcl Chinese Theatre, the Tcl Chinese 6 Theatres, Dolby Theatre, the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian, the El Capitan Theatre and The Hollywood Roosevelt.

World Cinema showcases the most acclaimed international films of the year; Breakthrough highlights true discoveries of the programming process; Midnight selections will grip audiences with terror; and Cinema’s Legacy highlights classic movies and films about cinema. World Cinema and Breakthrough selections are among the films eligible for Audience Awards. Shorts selections are eligible for the Grand Jury Prize, which qualifies the winner for Academy Award®consideration. This year’s Shorts jury features filmmaker Janicza Bravo,
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AFI Fest Completes Lineup, Includes 10 Foreign-Language Oscar Contenders

The American Film Institute has completed its AFI Fest lineup: 127 films from 45 countries will screen from Nov. 5 to 12.

The festival includes 38 films directed/co-directed by women, 17 documentaries and 10 official foreign-language Oscar contenders, including Argentina’s entry “The Clan,” Hungary’s “Son of Saul” and Romania’s “Aferim!” along with Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Dheepan.” The screenings and events will take place at the Tcl Chinese Theatre, Tcl Chinese 6 Theatres, Dolby Theatre, Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian, El Capitan Theatre and Hollywood Roosevelt.

AFI has already announced a trio of world premieres: the opening night film, Angelina Pitt Jolie’s “By the Sea,” on Nov. 5; the Will Smith drama “Concussion” on Nov. 10; and the closing night film, Adam McKay’s “The Big Short” on Nov. 12. It’s also scheduled galas for Michael Moore’s documentary “Where to Invade Next” on Nov. 7 and the Chilean miners drama “The 33” on Nov.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Tiff 15′ – ‘Southbound’ is a quick fix horror movie that leaves the audience wanting


Written by Roxanne Benjamin, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Susan Burke, Dallas Hallam & Patrick Horvath

Directed by Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath & Radio Silence

USA, 2015

Heavily promoted as a film by the creators of V/H/S, Southbound is a horror anthology movie that eschews the found footage format in favor of applying a traditional cinematic narrative that recounts several interconnected tales. Southbound does a fantastic job taking advantage of the anthology format. The film successfully links all five of its stories together with creative tracking shots (Birdman style). The approach is slightly better than a novelty. Combining the various segments into a continuous timeline is a cool visual trick that carries the movie’s manic energy forward from story to story.

As is the case with anthologies, there isn’t much time to tell a story and each of Southbound’s protagonists gets dropped into their segment and really hits the ground running.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

The Hey U Guys Instant Watching Guide – October 7th 2013

  • HeyUGuys
Breaking Bad is over and what a finale it was, although it may have been predictable based on what we knew from the flash forward at the start of the season, it still didn’t disappoint and was full of stirring and thrilling moments. More importantly, now that this is over, Netflix crucially need to up their game.

Hansel and Gretel and Texas Chainsaw, two pretty dire entries from earlier this year, just are not going to cut it against Argo and The Perks of Being a Wallflower regardless of who did what at the box office. Netflix seem to have the monopoly on quality catalogue titles this week with some little seen gems with Permanent Midnight and Orange County but this means nothing to the public and mostly registers with nerds like me.

This isn’t a suggestion that the company is in trouble at all but consider what
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Screenwriter Susan Burke Diffuses ‘Smashed’ of Any Indie Quirk

Last year, audiences couldn’t find two more distinct movies dealing with alcoholism than Flight and Smashed. While Robert Zemeckis‘s film dealt with an all-out reckless drunk, big dramatic plot points, and John Goodman, director James Ponsoldt’s Smashed approaches the matter with a more character-driven and religion-less narrative, with the assistance of the film’s co-writer, Susan Burke. Burke, who also works as standup comedian, didn’t want the lead character in Smashed, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, to suffer simply because she’s an alcoholic. It isn’t a movie that punishes its characters or says with a million exclamation points, “Drinking is bad.” Smashed isn’t grim in the way we generally associate movies featuring alcoholism, but a dramedy that isn’t built around misery porn and, as Burke says, indie quirks. Screenwriter Susan Burke made the time recently to discuss with us the advantages writing a film over standup can have, avoiding
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Exclusive: James Ponsoldt Talks Smashed and The Spectacular Now

Exclusive: James Ponsoldt Talks Smashed and The Spectacular Now
James Ponsoldt Talks Smashed, available on Blu-ray, and The Spectacular Now

James Ponsoldt is currently enjoying the successful launch of his comedic drama Smashed, available now on Blu-ray, as well as the spectacular reception of his upcoming project, The Spectacular Now, at SXSW earlier in the month. We recently caught up with the director to talk about both of these projects, and the impact they've had on his career.

Smashed follows a young woman whose marriage is hinged on alcohol, and her attempts to sober up. The Spectacular Now follows a young man who is also reliant upon the pleasure and power of alcohol, and how it affects his relationship with a 'nice girl'. Neither movie is a PSA on the dangers of consumption. Instead, both of these critical darlings rely on humor and real emotional heart to get their messages across.

How does James Ponsoldt feel about his budding
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DVD Review: Great Performances Anchor Smart Drama of ‘Smashed’

Chicago – I’m upset I didn’t see “Smashed” in time to produce my year-end lists for 2012 (Sony Pictures Classics inexplicably never sent a screener and I missed it in theaters). Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s stellar lead performance and Aaron Paul’s pitch-perfect support would have been included in both of my performance pieces. They’re so good here, balancing the truth of youthful addiction in ways that we rarely see in film.

Rating: 4.0/5.0

That’s the key reason that “Smashed” works as well as it does — truth. Director James Ponsoldt is a true talent (and his new film, “The Spectacular Now,” will be playing the Chicago Critics Film Festival next month), finding honesty in what could have been cliched situations. It helps that he has an actress as fully committed as Winstead, playing a role that constantly threatens to segue into something Hollywood or predictable but never allowing her to do so.
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Smashed – DVD Review

DVD Review


Directed by: James Ponsoldt

Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Octavia Spencer

Running Time: 1 hr 21 mins

Rating: R

Due Out: March 12, 2013

Plot: An alcoholic schoolteacher (Winstead) decides it’s time to sober up. Her quest for sobriety puts a strain on her life and marriage.

Who’S It For? Those who are looking for a good drama that balances a lighter side shouldn’t regret watching Smashed. Fans of Mary Elizabeth Winstead should walk away loving her more, and skeptics just might be won over.


Smashed is a very good second feature from James Ponsoldt. It’s not flawless, but my problems are mostly confined to the opening fifteen minutes. So, like the film, I want to get my issues out of the way first. That way I can spend most of my time delivering praise.

One thing I found a little
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Smashed – review

For a good many years drunkenness was a joke in Hollywood movies. Since Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend, the harrowing 1945 movie that won Oscars for best film, director and actor, things have been different. Smashed is a valuable, non-judgmental addition to the cinema of addiction, centring on Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a Los Angeles primary-school teacher, and her husband Charlie (Aaron Paul), a journalist working from home. The movie is as much about lies, self-deception and mutual dependency as it is about drinking, and it takes place over 18 months or so, beginning and ending virtually in mid-sentence.

The hungover Kate gets wound up in front of her class and vomits beside the blackboard. She covers up by accepting a bright young pupil's conjecture that she's pregnant and gets stuck with the lie and the sympathy it provokes from the school's principal. A fellow teacher, now a recovering alcoholic, draws her into AA,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Smashed Review

Director: James Ponsoldt

Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Octavia Spencer

Running Time: 85 minutes

Certificate: 15

Synopsis: The life and times of a young couple in Los Angeles dealing with alcoholism and rehabilitation…

The term ‘Sundance indie hit’ has been so often used it brings a shudder to hardened film critics and casual viewers alike. Does the term simply mean yet another low budget rambling human drama?

Films about alcohol addiction are never ‘pleasurable’ viewing. Think Leaving Las Vegas or When A Man Love A Woman. Marriage, relationship breakdowns, wallowing emotions, criminal activity, death, are staples of such films.

But tonally, Smashed is closer to 1962’s Days Of Wine And Roses. Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is a fun loving primary school teacher. She is the soul of the party when she’s drunk, not adverse to a bout of karaoke singing belting out ‘Cruel to be Kind’. Her husband,
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Smashed (review)

It’s the other alchoholic-gets-a-wakeup-call movie of 2012, though Smashed is a lot less flashy than Flight: its $500K budget might possibly stretch to cover about two seconds of Flight’s plane-crash FX, but that’s it. And this one -- from director James Ponsoldt, who cowrote with Susan Burke, based partly on her own experiences -- eschews that other film’s swagger and sense of heighted reality to give us a wounded protagonist all of us are much more likely to be able to identify with. I mean, it’s hard to imagine anyone who might wonder whether they should have that third beer or fourth martini being put off by the tale of a hero flyboy who saves hundreds of lives despite the fact that he’s stoned and drunk at the time. But Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) Kate, a down-to-earth Los Angeles elementary school
See full article at FlickFilosopher »

UK Trailer for Smashed with Mary Elizabeth Winstead & Aaron Paul

  • HeyUGuys
James Ponsoldt’s Smashed saw its world debut at Sundance at the start of the year, and leading lady Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s performance has been Oscar-buzzed ever since.

The film won the Special Jury Prize at the festival, and just last month, Winstead’s performance was recognised once more when the Independent Spirit Awards nominations were announced, nominating her for Best Actress.

It opened in a limited release in the Us back in October, and has been continuing its expansion over the weeks since then, and will now be released in the UK this Friday. Sony have released the UK variant of the trailer, and though it is essentially identical to the first trailer we saw in September, it’s nice to know for 100% certain that it has secured the UK release it deserves.

“Kate and Charlie like to have a good time. Their marriage thrives on a shared fondness for music,
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Oscar Watch: Check Out Online Screenplays for 'Amour,' 'Moonrise Kingdom,' 'This is 40'

Oscar Watch: Check Out Online Screenplays for 'Amour,' 'Moonrise Kingdom,' 'This is 40'
"It starts with the script" is an old chestnut which just happens to be true. I get a kick out of talking to actors, directors and studio heads, but by far my favorite conversations are with such writers as Michael Arndt or Tony Kushner. These people are smart! Years ago after interviewing the Coens for "Raising Arizona," I abandoned my fledgling efforts at screenwriting. I could never be that good. One of the new tools in the Oscar campaign arsenal is the internet. Some studios are putting screenplays up online for easy reading access. You can check out at least ten of the competitors for original screenplay. Universal posts "This is 40" by Judd Apatow,  among others, while Sony Pictures Classics boasts "Amour" by Michael Haneke and "Smashed" by James Ponsoldt and Susan Burke, Lionsgate/Summit has "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," by Stephen Chbosky as well as "Arbitrage,
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Smashed Review: Tremendously Acted, Gripping Addiction Drama

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

One of the best recent films about addiction of any kind, Smashed serves as familiar material for director James Ponsoldt, whose previous film Off the Black piercingly examined the chronic alcoholism of an ageing baseball umpire. This time opting to observe the effects of alcohol addiction upon younger subjects, Ponsoldt mines co-writer Susan Burke’s own substance abuse issues to produce a riveting, affecting, superbly acted drama.

As much as it is about alcoholism, Smashed is first and foremost a love story; the opening scenes of the film in which we meet married couple Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Charlie (Aaron Paul), it is clear that their mutual love of alcohol only strengthens their bond and enhances their love for one another. Ponsoldt also plausibly demonstrates how they function – albeit scarcely – in their day-to-day lives; Charlie lives off his rich parents, while Kate teaches young schoolchildren,
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

Smashed with Mary Elizabeth Winstead & Aaron Paul secures UK December Release

  • HeyUGuys
The Oscar buzz has been surrounding Mary Elizabeth Winstead for her performance in Smashed all year, since the film debuted at Sundance back in January, where it jointly won the Special Jury Prize.

I absolutely loved the film when it continued its festival circuit at Tiff, and with the film currently in limited release in the Us, Sony have finally announced that they’ll be releasing the film here in the UK on 14th December.

Winstead stars opposite Aaron Paul, with the leading duo playing a functioning alcoholic couple, and when the former realises what a mess her life has become, her path to sobriety is not an easy one.

“Kate and Charlie like to have a good time. Their marriage thrives on a shared fondness for music, laughter . . . and getting smashed. When Kate’s partying spirals into hard-core asocial behavior, compromising her job as an elementary schoolteacher, something’s got to give.
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Oscar Screenplays: 'Perks,' 'Arbitrage,' 'Smashed' and 'Celeste and Jesse' Added

Sony Classics and Lionsgate / Summit have opened up their For Your Consideration doors and added four new screenplays to the growing list of Oscar screenplays for you to download including Stephen Chbosky's excellent screenplay for The Perks of Being a Wallflower and James Ponsoldt and Susan Burke's screenplay for Smashed, which includes a fantastic speech at the end of the film from Mary Elizabeth Winstead's character, Kate. These four scripts are added to the list of six previous scripts from Focus and Universal bringing the current total to ten, but more will certainly be on the way soon enough. You can download any of the screenplays available directly below. Sony Classics Celeste and Jesse Forever (Download the Script) Smashed (Download the Script) Lionsgate / Summit / Roadside Attractions The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Download the Script) Arbitrage (Download the Script) Focus Features Moonrise Kingdom (Download the Script) ParaNorman
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

It’s Hard to Love ‘Smashed’


Written by James Ponsoldt and Susan Burke

Directed by James Ponsoldt

USA 2012 imdb

Simon Howell’s Tiff review

The reason to see Smashed is an amazing performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead as an alcoholic 1st grade teacher, married to an equally alcoholic music critic. Winstead’s Kate is walking a tightrope made of broken bottles, teetering somewhere between comedy and tragedy like a drunken Hexadecimal. Kate and Charlie (Aaron Paul) are the life of the party, any party, every party. It is only when a hungover Kate throws up in front of her 1st grade class (after taking a few nips from the flask in her car to fortify her for the day) and her students come to the conclusion that she’s pregnant, that Kate begins to believe that she has a problem. For a teacher, Kate is a very slow learner and it takes even more disturbing
See full article at SoundOnSight »
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