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The Ultimate Slumber Party
There are certain films that capture the zeitgeist of an era, and The Big Chill is definitely one of them. If a movie like, say, Annie Hall, hits the nail on the head of urban relationships in the late 70s, then Chill embraces the Baby Boomers’ angst of adulthood in the early 80s—a time when the partying and discoing Carter years were undoubtedly over and we, in the USA, were solidly entrenched in Reagan’s world of hippies-turned-yuppies. The Big Chill is a love letter to the Baby Boomers, as it explores themes of regret over wasted opportunities, friendship and camaraderie, nostalgia, and the eternal question of what-happens-next.
Director and co-writer Kasdan, in a recent video interview (included as an extra on the disk), states that one of his influences for the picture was Jean Renoir’s 1939 classic, The Rules of the Game, »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
Among Ravens isn’t nearly as deep as it thinks it is. Centering on a group of friends who reunite at a lakehouse for their annual Fourth of July get-together, it shoots for the wit and profundity of The Big Chill, but as the film progresses, it soon becomes clear that directors Russell Friedenberg and Randy Redroad are grappling around in the dark for a greater meaning that they lack the ability to articulate. So, instead of providing coherent ideas about the nature of aging, marriage, happiness and family, Among Ravens plays in disappointingly shallow waters, presenting viewers with one-note characters and a borderline nauseating amount of clunky bird metaphors. Unfortunately, just because it sounds profound, that doesn’t mean it actually is.
On hand to provide some of the film’s most aggravatingly artificial lines is Joey (Johnny Sequoyah), a 10-year-old girl whose development literally begins and ends at precocious. »
- Isaac Feldberg
It's the kind of film in which the setup is conveyed via a pre-dinner toast and couples pick fights at the table. Directed by Russell Friedenberg and Randy Redroad with the nuanced staging of little kids pushing the heads of dolls together ("Now, you two kiss!"), the film concerns an annoying group of obvious, badly written stereotypes that meets for an annual lake-house douche huddle. To wit: There's a male life coach assembled from 1990s Burning Man clichés, who looks like Buddy Hackett with Jackson Galaxy sideburns, beaded chokers, and a fucking ukulele. ("You just gotta keep it real," he says, in lieu of life advice.)
Saul (co-director Friedenberg) is a Rasputin-r »
As a general rule, I’m a big believer in cinema moving forward. It’s vital for an artform to constantly renew and reinvigorate itself, in order to remain interesting and avoid stagnation. That’s why bold and visionary filmmakers are so important. To date, the writer and director of Reach Me – John Herzfeld – has been neither of those things (2 Days In The Valley, anyone?), but the new trailer for his latest movie suggests a move in a new, more intriguing direction.
The film is about a large collection of characters and their respective connections to a self-help book – titled ‘Reach Me’ – written by a reclusive author, played by Tom Berenger. Now, here’s the thing – it would seem that while this film represents the all-important forward motion for helmer Herzfeld, it may also prove to be the opposite for many in its cast – and that’s just fine. For »
- Sarah Myles
Chicago – The countdown to the Chicago International Film Festival’s 50th Anniversary in October continued on June 28th, 2014, at the Gala Celebration at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago. Oscar winning actor Kevin Kline was honored at the event, and answered a few questions on the Red Carpet beforehand.
Kevin Kline was born in St. Louis, and grew up in a musically oriented family – his father owned a record store there. He went on to study at Indiana University in their top-rated School of Music, but switched to acting and drama after joining an on-campus theater group. After graduation in 1970, he went to New York City to attend the Julliard School in their newly formed Drama Division. From that study he joined fellow students like Patti LuPone in the City Center Acting Company, which performed Shakespeare and other classical works around the country.
Kevin Kline at the Chicago Film Festival Gala, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
In 1983, a film was released titled The Big Chill. Featuring an ensemble cast of Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly, and JoBeth Williams, it was about a group of baby boomer college friends who reunite after fifteen years due to the suicide of a friend.
In About Alex, a circle of twenty-something friends reunite for a weekend away after one of them suffers an emotional breakdown.
Despite the group’s best efforts to keep it light and enjoy themselves, a tinderbox of old jealousies, unrequited love, and widening political differences leads to an explosion that, coupled with the flammable combination of drugs, wine, and risotto, »
- Michelle McCue
We've been seeing a lot of nostalgia over the summer of 1984 lately, but let's look back a little farther to the fall of 1983, when The Big Chill hit theaters and promptly won hearts. This ensemble drama, about a batch of old college friends who confront their current dilemmas together after attending the funeral of one of their own, is clearly the inspiration for the upcoming dramedy About Alex. And you can see it all over its new trailer. As quoted above, "The Big Chill for Millennials, complete with star-stuffed ensemble," was actually how I described About Alex following its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year. The bittersweet movie marks the directorial debut of its screenwriter, Jesse Zwick, who is following in the footsteps of his Academy Award-winning father Ed Zwick, producer of Shakespeare In Love and director of movies like About Last Night. (1986), Courage Under Fire, »
In James Ward Byrkit’s indie sci-fi thriller Coherence, a seemingly ordinary dinner party amongst long-time friends (Nicholas Brendon, Emily Baldoni, Maury Sterling and Elizabeth Gracen, to name a few) goes horribly awry after a passing comet causes a disturbance in the natural balance of existence, revealing dark secrets, challenging everyone’s perception of space and time and ultimately altering the universe as they know it.
A no-budget, mind-bending exercise in the fragility of human relationships with a bit of quantum physics thrown in to really get you thinking, Coherence is thoughtful and well-made thriller with a hint of mystery to it that simmers nicely below the surface from start to finish. As Byrkit reveals tiny hints and clues, his story also has a bit of fun with the space-time continuum, leaving his characters left to figure out just which reality they actually belong to. For the most part Byrkit »
- Heather Wixson
Screen Media Films has released the trailer for their upcoming indie About Alex. The film, which has been compared to The Big Chill, stars Aubrey Plaza (Safety Not Guaranteed), Jane Levy (Evil Dead), Max Greenfield (New Girl), Nate Parker (Red Tails), Max Minghella (The Social Network), Jason Ritter (The Big Ask), and Maggie Grace (Taken).
The debut film from writer/director Jesse Zwick, About Alex debuted at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival to some good reviews. The film follows a circle of twenty-something friends who reunite for a weekend away after one of them suffers an emotional breakdown. Despite the group’s best efforts to keep it light and enjoy themselves, a tinderbox of old jealousies, unrequited love, and widening political differences leads to an explosion that, coupled with the flammable combination of drugs, wine, and risotto, cannot be contained. An honest appraisal of adult friendship for our current social media moment, »
- Scott Davis
As an executive producer and writer on “Lost” and showrunner of “Bates Motel” and the upcoming FX series “The Strain,” Carlton Cuse knows how to keep a secret. But the two-time Emmy winner said that seeing his name alongside Army Archerd’s in the pages of Variety meant he wasn’t a secret any more.
What do you recall from that time in your life?
I started my career as a development executive. On the side, I was writing, honing my craft so that I could jump across the desk and be the person coming in and pitching projects rather than the person trying to develop them.
Did you learn a lot from reading scripts?
I learned what it meant to be a good writer and what it meant to write a script that would get made. It also inspired me to put in the hours honing my craft.
- Jenelle Riley
Fans have come to love Aubrey Plaza and Max Greenfield in TV series "Parks & Recreation" and "New Girl" respectively, and now they're together in what looks like spectacular little indie drama. As the trailer praise indicates, About Alex looks like The Big Chill for a new generation. After one of a circle of friends attempts to commit suicide, the whole crew reunites to show their support. However, the reunion also digs up plenty from the past like former romance between Plaza and Max Minghella (The Social Network). We hadn't even heard of this movie until today, but now we're very excited to see it later this summer. Watch! Here's the first trailer for Jesse Zwick's About Alex, originally from Apple: About Alex is written and directed by Jesse Zwick ("Parenthood"). The film follows a circle of twenty-something friends who reunite for a weekend away after one of them suffers a breakdown. »
- Ethan Anderton
The trailer for About Alex has no problem making the connection between this new movie and Lawrence Kasdan’s 1983 film, The Big Chill. In this millennial update by newcomer writer/director Jesse Zwick, a group of seven longtime friends gather at a vacation house for the weekend, in order to support one of their number after an attempted suicide. During the three-day getaway, a lot of guards get dropped, and desires, fears, and darker emotions all begin to come to the surface, as the friends try to navigate each other (and themselves) through this new phase of adulthood.
This indie dramedy is sold mostly by the cast of actors working in the ensemble. Aubrey Plaza (Park and Recreation), Jason Ritter (The Event), Max Greenfield (New Girl), Maggie Grace (Lost), Jane Levy (Evil Dead), Max Minghella (The Internship) and Nate ...
Click to continue reading ‘About Alex’ Trailer: Highs of Friendship, Lows »
- Kofi Outlaw
"Ew!" is exactly what Parks and Recreation's April Ludgate would say to the idea of hooking up with New Girl's Schmidt, but that essentially happens in the trailer for About Alex. In The Big Chill-like story, a gang of friends who have grown apart gathers together after one of their own, Alex (Jason Ritter), attempts suicide. Like all Big Chill-ish movies, seeing each other dredges up old memories and new dramas - including a love triangle for Sarah (Aubrey Plaza), Josh (Max Greenfield), and Isaac (Max Minghella). If that's not enough to get you to watch, know that someone from one of your favorite shows is in this movie, like Jane Levy and Maggie Grace. About Alex comes out in theaters and on VOD Aug. 8. Front Page Image Source: The Bedford Falls Company »
- Shannon Vestal
Call it "The Big Chill" for the new millennium. "About Alex," from new director Jesse Zwick, premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival and follows a group of friends who get together for a bonding weekend after on of their bunch (Jason Ritter) attempts suicide. A combination of old jealousies, new love interests, and copious amounts of booze amps up the tension in each adult friendship. The rest of the trendy cast includes Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield, Jason Ritter, Maggie Grace, and Jane Levy. "About Alex" hits theaters August 8. Check out the trailer below. »
- Casey Cipriani
Jesse Zwick‘s About Alex isn’t technically a remake of The Big Chill, but it might as well be. Both films center on groups of college friends who reunite when one of their own, named Alex, tries to kill himself. The difference is that in About Alex, he’s not successful. Concerned, Alex’s friends plan a getaway weekend so […]
- Angie Han
Thirty years ago, "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," the much-awaited follow-up to "Raiders of the Lost Ark," debuted. Indiana Jones was back -- although the film was set earlier than the events of "Raiders" -- and this time, he had a dame (Kate Capshaw) and a kid (Jonathan Ke Quan) with him. Oh, and he wasn't fighting Nazis, just a deadly, child-enslaving cult.
If you're not old enough to remember, this (along with "Gremlins" and "Poltergeist") was the movie that prompted the creation of the PG-13 rating, after parents complained that a PG-rating wasn't adequate for a movie that includes a scene where a man's still-beating heart is ripped out of his chest.
But did you know that an Oscar-winning Hollywood legend almost had a small role in the film? Or what stars pranked Harrison Ford on the set? Didn't think so.
Here are 30 things you might not have known about the movie. »
- Sharon Knolle
People around the world, and the younger generation in particular, have used social media in recent years to allow those they’re connected with unrestricted access into their everyday, personal lives. But even the seemingly most unhindered insight into a person’s daily routine doesn’t always offer the most in-depth vision into their true feelings and motivations. That intimate exploration of how well friends really know each other, particularly with the public persona people often create on social media, is explored in first-time feature film writer-director Jesse Zwick’s new drama, About Alex.
About Alex, which recently had its world premiere at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, follows a group of estranged college friends as they gather in a country home in the wake of the title character’s (Ritter) attempted suicide. The group sought out to help their friend after he alerted them of his intentions by posting a suicide note on Twitter. »
- Karen Benardello
In the 1983 drama The Big Chill a group of estranged college friends converge on a country home in the wake of their friend Alex’s suicide and reflect on their pasts, futures, relationships, and evolving (or regressing) world views. In 2014′s About Alex a group of estranged college friends converge on a country home in the wake of their friend Alex’s attempted suicide and reflect on their pasts, futures, relationships, and evolving (or regressing) world views. If it appears as though About Alex is the millenial-inspired remake of The Big Chill, you’d be wrong. There’s plenty of differences to dispel that notion, but there isn’t anything new to add either.
As per the usual milieu of this story type, the friends in question share an openly incestuous bond, with many of the characters having had some sort of romantic entanglement in one way or another. Josh »
- Damen Norton
Every generation needs a couple of reunion movies, and in “About Alex" we have another one: first-time writer-director Jesse Zwick doesn't so much swing for the fences as attempt to dribble a single down the baseline. This comedy-drama doesn't reach any untold heights, but with formula pictures like this, you can only hope the company is pleasant. With this cast, those meager expectations are reached. Jason Ritter is Alex, whom we greet just as he's tweeting about his impending suicide attempt. News of his ultimately failed attempt circulates, from one phone call to another, before a troupe of handsome character actors find themselves sequestered in Alex's rustic cabin in the countryside. It's very much like “The Big Chill” in how these character represent a specific generation, willingly ready to discuss and dissect their own shortcomings. And then Alex returns home, and he's basically a ghost to these people, as they »
- Gabe Toro
Our Tribeca coverage begins with Glenn on two similarly titled indies
Alex is in crisis in both About Alex and actor Chris Messina's directorial debut Alex in Venice. Both films are indie dramas about the complexities of modern relationships, though one is decidedly much better than the other. While both Alexes are broad-strokes comparable to similar films that have come before, Jesse Zwick’s About Alex has trouble feeling like anything more than a cheap imitation. Populated by a cast of predominantly TV actors (Maggie Grace, Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield, and Jason Ritter as Alex) and featuring a lot of nonsensical moments and illogical characters traits that could easily be the result of the first time feature writer and director’s inexperience, About Alex just doesn’t congeal into anything substantial. It lacks the generational pull of its most direct cinematic cousins, like Lawrence Kasdan’s Oscar-nominated 1983 classic The Big Chill »
- Glenn Dunks
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