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Rubber Chicken Blues; Cera, Papoulia, Stockwell & Tye Sheridan Join Alverson’s “Entertainment”

15 hours ago

Brooke Bernard, Ryan Zacarias, and Ryan Lough’s Nomadic Independence announced that Rick Alverson’s Entertainment is officially in greenlight mode and cast alongside the already pegged Gregg Turkington and Tim Heidecker we have now have Michael CeraTye Sheridan and veteran Dean Stockwell filling out the supporting cast with Angeliki Papoulia rejoining her The Lobster co-star John C. Reilly. Jagjaguwar’s Chris & Ben SwansonElectric Dynamite’s Jack Black (yes the actor) will Executive Produce while George Rush (Ping Pong Summer), and Epic Pictures Group’ Patrick Ewald and Shaked Berenson will co-Executive Produce.

Gist: Written by Rick Alverson, Gregg Turkington and Tim Heidecker, this is set in the Mojave Desert, the film follows a broken-down comedian (Turkington) playing clubs across the Southwest, working his way to Los Angeles to meet his estranged daughter (Kalia Prescott). Along the way, his identity begins to deteriorate amid a series of encounters with »

- Eric Lavallee

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Interview: Martha Stephens & Aaron Katz (Land Ho!)

10 July 2014 2:00 PM, PDT

Sporting their own traditional Icelandic sweater (known as the lopapeysa), I had the chance to sit down with Land Ho! creative pair Martha Stephens & Aaron Katz the day after they had their rousing world premiere screening. 48 hours later, Sony Pictures Classics announced that they picked the domestic rights to the buddy (perfect wingman) comedy.  In the video interview below, we discuss topics such as writing visual comedy, insertion of non-scripted moments complementing a screenplay that is heavy on naturalism. We also discuss the multi-generation stance, ageism and of course the role of the setting and title cards. 

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- Eric Lavallee

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2014 Sundance Film Festival: Martha Stephens & Aaron Katz’s Land Ho!

10 July 2014 1:30 PM, PDT

Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz might have made a strong case for working in twos: as a tandem in both the directing and screenwriting departments and by working with a pair of co-leads. In Land Ho! (Sony Pictures Classics – 07.11), This Is Martin Bonner‘s Paul Eenhoorn (Trading Card Series Profile #14) and Earl Lynn Nelson (Trading Card Series Profile #7) initially come across as a contrasting pair of retirement-aged misfits deeply set in their ways, but a little road-tripping exploration of the earth and parallel exploration of self in a volcanic setting demonstrates that the dynamics of this bromance are in continual flux. It was at a rowdy post world premiere screening Q&A at Park City’s Library Centre where the Stephens/Katz, Eenhoorn/Nelson and crew fielded questions about the directing style, film pop culture references and the unique scape. Here’s our video footage: 

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- Eric Lavallee

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A Long Way Down | Review

9 July 2014 1:30 PM, PDT

Lost in Translation: Chaumeil’s English Language Debut a Wretched Operation

While his 2010 feature debut, Heartbreaker, which starred Vanessa Paradis and Romain Duris, managed to breathe an essence of effervescent charm into an already overproduced narrative, director Pascal Chaumeil followed up with the execrable Dany Boon rom-com Un Plan Parfait. Somehow, he’s managed to top the ineptitude of that with his first dip into English language with A Long Way Down. Butchering its Nick Hornby based source material (the author behind such works that would become films like High Fidelity, About a Boy, and An Education), the end result is an aggravating chore to sit through, a series of awkward and falsely staged interactions, leaving one to sift through multiple ironies in relation to the end product and the unintentionally apt title.

One cold New Year’s Eve in London, four depressed people meet on a rooftop they »

- Nicholas Bell

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes | Review

9 July 2014 1:00 PM, PDT

Monkey Trouble: Reeves Get a Crack at Famed Cinematic Simian Franchise

It’s kind of wild to think how much cinematic mileage (now eight films and two television series) has been milked from Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel, Planet of the Apes. After 2011’s franchise reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes became a surprise moneymaker (after also surpassing critical expectations), its inevitable sequel has arrived—Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. That said, Matt Reeves, known for his Let Me In remake and Cloverfield, gets to follow in Rupert Wyatt’s footsteps. For better or worse, it’s an assuredly solid chapter in the continuing saga with this material, though sadly bereft of the more inventive narrative surprises of the last film. Even as staunchly predictable as its plot is (though, it’s worth noting that it means to highlight the calculable nature of humans and primates »

- Nicholas Bell

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Rage | Review

9 July 2014 12:30 PM, PDT

Cage Against the Machine: Cabezas’ English Debut Labors Through Borrowed Themes

Playing like the cheap echo of David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence, director Paco Cabezas flaunts his English language debut on the haunches of the increasingly erratic reputation of Nicolas Cage. Another brick in the growing pile of fecal matter from the unwavering Cage saga, Cabezas retools basic genre themes (you’ll probably be reminded of Taken at some point in the mix) for a film that plays like it could just as well be the third part of a trilogy including Cage’s turns in strikingly similar B fare like Roger Donaldson’s Seeking Justice or Simon West’s Stolen. To his credit, Cabezas’ Rage is no worse than the offerings of these more accomplished directors, but that doesn’t make the experience of it any more worth your while. Painstakingly generic, one only wishes it would »

- Nicholas Bell

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Kate Lyn Sheil Part of the New Breed of Indie; Boards Doremus’ “Equals”

8 July 2014 8:20 PM, PDT

Along the lines of when Greta Gerwig landed Greenberg and essentially moved higher up in the indie echelons, the hardworking Kate Lyn Sheil has been Total Recalled for fellow Sundance alumni Drake Doremus’ next directing gig which already includes the threesome of Nicholas Hoult, Kristen Stewart and Guy Pearce. In Equals, which is set for a shoot next month in Asia, Sheil will play Kate, a fellow co-worker of  Hoult and Stewart’s characters.

Gist: Set in a future society where emotions have been eradicated. A new breed of humans, called Equals, live peacefully until a disease begins activating emotions in its victims, who are sent away and never seen again. Hoult is set to star as Silas, who becomes infected and is outcast until he connects with Nia (Stewart), another “switched on” Equal who is able to hide her emotions.

Worth Noting: Deadline mentioned a who’s who indie »

- Eric Lavallee

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Chad Hartigan Puffing Away on Third Feature; “Morris From America” Set for Fall Start

8 July 2014 8:10 PM, PDT

Much like his past collaborator in Land Ho! (starring Paul Eenhoorn) filmmaker Aaron Katz, Chad Hartigan is not restricting his films to Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land topography. Reported by Variety’s Guy Lodge, the Luke and Brie Are on a First Date and This is Martin Bonner helmer is moving eastward into Berlin, Germany for a third feature film that he described as, a “part coming-of-age tale, part fish-out-of-water” type of narrative.  Shooting is set for a September start with some German backing involved.

Gist: This centres around an overweight African-American child living in small-town Germany who falls for a local girl.

Worth Noting: The Next section-Sundance selected This is Martin Bonner was the winner of the John Cassavetes Award at the 2014 Independent Spirit Awards. It travelled the fest circuit including my coverage of last year’s 48th Karlovy Vary film fest.

Do We Care?: »

- Eric Lavallee

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Rohrwacher’s “The Wonders”, Östlund’s “Tourist” & Pawlikowski’s “Ida” Among Ten Lux Prize Finalists

8 July 2014 8:00 PM, PDT

With past winners being The Broken Circle Breakdown and Lorna’s Silence and past finalists being 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Attenberg and The Selfish Giant, the annual Lux prize (an annual spotlight on films that go to the heart of the European public debate) acts as a barometer for the latest in solid European fare. Announced yesterday at the Karlovy Vary Film Fest, this year’s batch of noms include several Cannes winners in Alice Rohrwacher’s sophomore, Main Comp selected, Grand Prix winning family drama, Kornél Mundruczó’s Un Certain Regard winning film with a little bit, and Ruben Östlund darkly comical slope-side gem. If I were a betting man, my two euros is on Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida. Here are the ten, with attached trailers:

Beautiful Youth (Hermosa Juventud) – (Jaime Rosales) – Spain, France

Class Enemy (Razredni Sovraznik) – (Rok Biček) – Slovenia

Force Majeure (Turist) – (Ruben Östlund) – Sweden, Denmark, France, »

- Eric Lavallee

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Boyhood | Review

8 July 2014 10:00 AM, PDT

About a Boy: Linklater’s Unique Experiment a Mostly Enjoyable Endeavor

An experience that is as enhanced by the aura of its experimental nature as it is sometimes hindered by it, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, a film shot in 39 days over the course of 12 years, has long been gathering a sort of mythic anticipation. The result is a unique and unprecedented experience, and one that may not quite live up to its expectation or even some other far superior titles from Linklater’s own recent filmography. That said, with nearly a three hour running time and daunting shoot, he has created a seamless portrait of childhood, adolescence and parenting that is at times arresting and aggravatingly uninteresting. And just as we watch its engaging cast members grow before our eyes, so do we see Linklater’s own craft as a director and screenwriter transform as well.

We meet Mason »

- Nicholas Bell

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Vic + Flo Saw A Bear | DVD Review

8 July 2014 9:00 AM, PDT

Squeezed between his lavishly received, Sundance preemed docu-portrait of zoo life in Bestiaire, and Joy of Man’s Desiring, a genre blending meditation on factory work which had its debut at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Canadian auteur Denis Côté took home the Alfred Bauer Award from the Berlinale last year for his latest work of intricately haunting fiction, Vic + Flo Saw A Bear. It seems the stark visual sense found in Côté’s documentary work has carried over to his latest narrative. Squarely framed against spare backdrops within the rural cabin they’ve shacked up in, Pierrette Robitaille and Romane Bohringer, who play middle-aged lesbian ex-con couple Vic and Flo, respectively, are trying their hand at the monotony of a normal life, but sooner than later they swiftly find that they can not for all their efforts escape the horrors of one’s past.

Côté’s interests lie »

- Jordan M. Smith

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The Unknown Known | Blu-ray Review

8 July 2014 7:30 AM, PDT

The poster of Errol Morris’s newest interrotron bonanza, The Unknown Known, features former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld sporting his signature squinty eyed, cheese eating grin with an ironic question floating just left of his forehead: Why is this man smiling? Why indeed. Using the same straight shooting interrogation style employed for his bouts with Robert S. McNamara in The Fog of War, Morris fails to really answer this fairly simple seeming question, but that’s the point. Where Morris successfully coaxed the facts of controversial political lineage from McNamara, with Rumsfeld, there seems only to be the eloquent facade of deflections and fortune cookie phrases we are all too familiar with from his daily white house press conferences as the public face of the war on terror post-9/11. Less politically enlightening than its cinematic predecessor, The Unknown Known succeeds instead in highlighting with a blacked out layer of »

- Jordan M. Smith

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I Vinti | Blu-ray Review

8 July 2014 7:00 AM, PDT

Michelangelo Antonioni’s third feature, I Vinti, translating as The Vanquished, gets a Blu-ray upgrade from Raro Video, serving as a definite collector’s item for aficionados of the director. A rather stilted and stuffy moral tale about lost youth, it’s a title championed by some as serving as an index for the turning point in Italian cinema, which was heavily influenced in the post-war period by a Catholic revival. Certainly, this is the auteur still struggling to find his stride, and the title most notably serves as an influential precursor to his most celebrated work, 1966’s Blow-Up. Beyond this, it’s a rather lukewarm trio of segments based on ‘ripped-from-the headline’ scenarios concerning privileged youths and their apathetic ambivalence toward their fellow man, supposedly caused from growing up through war.

Bouncing from France, to Italy, and finally, London, England, we get a series of disturbing acts of violence »

- Nicholas Bell

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