Flirting with Disaster
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5 items from 2008

Blu-Ray Review: Romantic Comedy Lives in ‘Ghost Town’

29 December 2008 5:07 PM, PST | | See recent news »

Chicago – With three of the most charming and enjoyable leads in any romantic comedy released in 2008, David Koepp’s “Ghost Town” should find a steady and satisfied audience on Blu-Ray this winter.

The ensemble may be better than the material they’ve been given but with the amount of awful entries in the genre this year, including horror shows like “What Happens in Vegas” and “Over Her Dead Body,” it is delightful to see the unique success that is both funny and romantic. The Blu-Ray from Paramount enhances the experience with a great commentary and a few featurettes.

Ricky Gervais stars in “Ghost Town” as Bertram Pincus D.D.S., a dentist who appears to have chosen the profession just because he likes to shut people up by stuffing his dental tools in their mouth. Bertram is what you would politely call a misanthrope. After a surgical procedure goes wrong »

- (Adam Fendelman)

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The Visitor

11 December 2008 12:59 AM, PST | | See recent Backstage news »

Casting Directors: Billy Hopkins, Suzanne Crowley, Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee, and Stéphane Foenkinos Writer-Director: Tom McCarthy Starring: Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Gurira, Hiam Abbass The Pitch: Widower Walter Vale (Jenkins) finds his life changed when two illegal immigrants (Sleiman and Gurira) are found squatting in his New York City apartment.As casting director Kerry Barden describes it, The Visitor was a unique challenge. The easy part, according to Barden — whose credits include the television show Sex and the City and the films Boys Don't Cry, Monster's Ball, and World Trade Center — was attracting Richard Jenkins, who had never carried a feature film before, to play the lead role of Walter Vale, a Connecticut college professor sent to Manhattan to attend a conference and surprised to find that a young foreign couple, victims of a real estate scam, have taken up residence in his New York apartment. Jenkins was best »

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Back Stage's "Evening With..." Series

11 December 2008 12:59 AM, PST | | See recent Backstage news »

Back Stage's "Evening With..." series invites actors and filmmakers to speak to an audience of our readers following screenings of their films. This season has included events with actors Benicio Del Toro (Che), Dennis Hopper (Elegy), Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky), Melissa Leo (Frozen River), and Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road). Below are some of the highlights from recent events.The Secret Life of BeesActors Dakota Fanning and Queen Latifah joined filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood to talk about The Secret Life of Bees at a Back Stage Evening With... event Oct. 7. Based on the best-selling novel by Sue Monk Kidd, the film stars Fanning as a young girl coming of age in 1960s South Carolina. She runs away from her abusive father (Paul Bettany) and takes refuge with her housekeeper (Jennifer Hudson) at a honey farm run by three sisters (Latifah, Sophie Okonedo, and Alicia Keys). Prince-Bythewood revealed that the project was originally set »

- Jenelle Riley

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'Grackle' has director circling

12 November 2008 2:00 PM, PST | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

David O. Russell is in negotiations to helm "The Grackle," Matthew McConaughey's Southern-fried comedy that's set up at New Line.

The New Orleans-set comedy centers on a barroom fighter who helps clients settle legal disputes with his fists.

"The Grackle" was a spec-script sensation for former lawyers Mike Arnold and Chris Poole several years ago and attracted studio interest before selling in a bidding war to New Line for an amount said to be in the seven figures.

After the initial frenzy in the summer of 2006, some thought a director would quickly follow, but news on the project leveled off before firing up again earlier this year.

Gus and Mark Gustawes are producing "Grackle" along with McConaughey.

The project represents one of the first New Line titles to move ahead after the studio was folded into Warner Bros. earlier this year.

Russell is known more for quirky comedies such »

- By Steven Zeitchik

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Sxsw 2008: Richard Jenkins on "The Visitor"

10 March 2008 2:15 PM, PDT | | See recent IFC news »

By Stephen Saito

There's an everyman quality to Richard Jenkins, but not every man (or actor) has had the chops that have led Jenkins to become one of cinema's great scene-stealers. Though his career has spanned over 30 years, Jenkins first broke through with a turn as a gay FBI agent on acid in David O. Russell's "Flirting With Disaster," which was followed up by supporting roles ranging from the deceased patriarch of the Fisher family on "Six Feet Under" to being a regular in films for the Coen and Farrelly brothers. He joins a different fraternity in his latest film, "The Visitor" »

- Stephen Saito

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