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Variety’s chief film critic Justin Chang participated in a Reddit Ama this morning, where he answered questions ranging from his favorite movie to how he avoids tabloid noise surrounding celebrities and filmmakers. Below are five things Chang said about his life as a film critic:
Have you ever had second thoughts on a review after publication? Have you ever come around to different view about a movie you panned or raved?
I don’t think I’ve ever had a dramatic reversal on an opinion that made its way into print, but I do recall having a very bizarre aversion to “School of Rock” when I saw it more than 10 years ago, and since then it’s become one of my favorite [Richard] Linklater movies. (Hey, sometimes you just have a bad night.)
How did you wind up writing film reviews? Did you start as a filmmaker yourself or did »
- Justin Chang
Last week, we brought you scoop that Sony’s upcoming adaptation of R.L. Stine’s classic anthology series Goosebumps had landed its female lead, The Giver actress Odeya Rush. Now, the Rob Letterman-directed film has cast another major player. Teen actor Dylan Minnette, known for roles in Prisoners, Labor Day and NBC’s Awake, will play the adaptation’s male protagonist, who teams up with Rush and Jack Black to take on all types of freaky monsters.
Minnette’s character, named Zach Cooper, moves with his family from New York to Greendale, Maryland, where he learns that one of his neighbors is reclusive author R.L. Stine (Black). Becoming friendly with Stine’s niece Hannah (Rush), Zach soon finds himself in over his head when an evil ventriloquist dummy named Slappy unleashes some of Stine’s scariest creations on the neighborhood.
I’m really not happy to see that Goosebumps »
- Isaac Feldberg
• Brittany Snow is set to reprise her role as Chloe in Pitch Perfect 2, which is already scheduled for a May 15, 2015, release. For those keeping tabs, we know that Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson plan to return as well, and that Elizabeth Banks will direct. The plot is being kept under wraps, but fans can rest easy knowing that Pitch Perfect scribe Kay Cannon is writing the sequel. [THR]
- Lindsey Bahr
Jack Black delivers his finest performance yet as small-town Texas mortician Bernie Tiede, a dapper and precise singleton who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a rich but mean-spirited widow (Shirley Maclaine). As his relationship with her intensifies from companion to chattel, he begins to resent her possessive nature until he can take no more. Black fruitfully re-teams with his School of Rock director Richard Linklater for this darkly funny comedy drama based on a true story. »
Black will star as a high school reunion committee chairman still searching for acceptance who has to do whatever it takes to get the most popular guy from high school (Marsden) to show up to the 20 year reunion. Screenwriter Mike White will also star alongside Nat Faxon (The Way Way Back).
Why not head on over to our newly-launched Flickering Myth Forum to discuss this story, or anything else that takes your fancy »
- Gary Collinson
Back in 2003, writer Mike White and star Jack Black teamed up for the spectacular family comedy School of Rock. And while news a few years ago indicated a potential sequel probably wouldn't happen, there was at least an awesome 10th anniversary reunion concert with the cast last year. Now White and Black are getting back together again for a new indie comedy called The D-Train. White is producing the film through his RipCord Productions and Black through his Electric Dynamite banner with the film set to shoot in New Orleans this month with Yes Man writing duo Jarrad Paul & Andrew Mogel set to direct. THR says the film follows a high school reunion committee chairman in Middle America, who has to do whatever it takes to get the most popular guy from high school (James Marsden) to show up to their 20-year reunion. But the problem is that guy is »
- Ethan Anderton
Jack Black and Mike White’s names go so well together that you would think they’d appear in more projects as a team than they already do. Having played buddies in School of Rock, the pair are finally getting the band back together for another comedy. This time they are boarding The D-Train, an upcoming high school reunion comedy co-starring James Marsden.
The D-Train will feature Jack Black as a high school reunion chairman tasked with locating his class’s most popular student (Marsden), now a washed up actor living in Los Angeles. White will appear as the less-than-popular Black’s best friend from high school, presumably there to assist his pal in convincing Marsden to show up at the reunion.
While the plot sounds something like every other high school reunion comedy ever made (high school losers try to make good, popular guy not as great as they thought he was, »
- Lauren Humphries-Brooks
Jack Black is set to reunite with School Of Rock and Nacho Libre writer, Mike White. The two will be joined by X-men’s James Marsden for The D-train. The film will see Jack Black as the head of a school reunion committee who will stop at absolutely nothing to make sure his classes’ most popular student attends. That student will be played by Marsden, who has become a star of TV commercials. Nat Faxon and White will also star, presumably as two other ex students.
Directing the feature will be Jarred Paul and Andrew Mogel, the screenwriters of Yes Man. This will be their directorial debut. School Of Rock is still one of my favourite comedies after surprising me all those years ago, but that was helmed by Richard Linklater, a man with much more experience. Hopefully Paul and Mogel have been chosen well as the plot seems to write itself, »
- Luke Ryan Baldock
• Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables) is in talks to star alongside Robert De Niro in The Intern for director Nancy Meyers (It’s Complicated). Hathaway would play a high-powered executive who gets assigned a senior intern (De Niro). Reese Witherspoon was previously attached to the role when Warner Bros. signed on, but dropped out due to reported scheduling conflicts. After a quiet 2013 (release-wise), Hathaway can be seen next in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar (Nov. 7). She also just enjoyed the premiere of Song One (release date Tbd) at Sundance. [THR]
- Lindsey Bahr
The story centers on a high school reunion committee chairman (Jack Black), who is still struggling for acceptance following his high school days. He sets off on a journey to Los Angeles to try and convince his most popular classmate (James Marsden), a failed actor now working in commercials, to attend their 20 year reunion. Mike White, who wrote the screenplay, co-stars as the man who was Jack Black's character's only friend in high school. Nat Faxon is in negotiations to join the cast in an unspecified role.
Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel are attached to make their directorial debuts. They both wrote the 2008 Jim Carrey comedy Yes Man, and co-created the short-lived Fox animated series Allen Gregory with Jonah Hill.
For a while, it seemed as though Jack Black was becoming the premier comic leading man of his generation, and with a couple of more hits that coronation would have been complete. Instead, Black stumbled with Gulliver.s Travels and subsequently disappeared from leading man roles. He was excellent in 2011.s little-seen Bernie but that wasn.t much of a hit, and Black has busied himself since then with television appearances and voice work. Even if you were growing tired of his schtick, you might have missed him a little. Fortunately, it looks like Black is about to return, collaborating with his School Of Rock and Nacho Libre mate Mike White for The D-Train. According to THR, Black will play a sadsack high school reunion chairman tasked with finding the most popular guy from his graduating class and bring him back to his hometown. Presumably that.s the character in »
Jack Black and James Marsden are set to headline an upcoming comedy titled The D-Train , says a story today at The Hollywood Reporter . The script hails from Mike White, the scribe behind School of Rock and Nacho Libre (both of which starred Black). Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel, the screenwriters behind Peyton Reed's 2008 comedy Yes Man , are set to make their directorial debut with the indie project, which sets Black as the chairman of a high school reunion committee desperate to do whatever it takes to get his class' most popular student to attend an upcoming 20-year reunion. That student, Marsden's character, is now working in Los Angeles as an actor in commercials. The trade also notes that Nat Faxon is in talks to appear and that White himself will play Black's »
Fresh from the huge success of his directorial debut Ted in 2012, Family Guy and American Dad creator Seth MacFarlane returns to the big screen with his sophomore effort A Million Ways To Die in the West, whose first red band trailer premiered today.
Will lightning strike twice for MacFarlane in the film arena, or will it be a step too far? From the trailer, it looks he has another like smash comedy that, like his famous animations, isn’t shy on being rude, crude and utterly tasteless. Just the way we like them!
Set in Arizona in 1882, A Million Ways to Die… stars MacFarlane in the lead as local farmer Albert, who with the help of a former gunslinger’s wife (Charlize Theron; Monster, Prometheus), sets out to win back the heart of ex (Amanda Seyfried; Les Miserables, Lovelace) by beating renowned local criminal (Liam Neeson; Batman Begins, Taken) in a gunfight. »
- Gary Collinson
Brie Larson is one of the brightest young actresses of the moment, alongside Shailene Woodley and Greta Gerwig. Her wrenching performance in Short Term 12 (2013′s finest independent film, in my opinion) is a stunner and she should have a prosperous future in the industry. Now, Larson is in talks to star in The Good Luck of Right Now, based on the new novel from Matthew Quick, the author of Silver Linings Playbook. Although Larson is the only actor attached to the comedy, she is in good company: the directors are Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris of Little Miss Sunshine fame, and the script comes from Mike White (Enlightened, School of Rock).
Quick’s novel is not out in bookstores until February 11, but the plot synopsis is wonderfully quirky. The Good Luck of Right Now is about Bartholomew Neil, a 38-year-old man who finds a “Free Tibet” letter from Richard Gere »
- Jordan Adler
In a collection of fantastic indie talent, Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine, Ruby Sparks) are going to direct Brie Larson (Short Term 12, 21 Jump Street) in an adaptation of The Good Luck of Right Now, based on the book of the same name by Matthew Quick, author of Silver Linings Playbook. In addition, THR reports it will be School of Rock and "Enlightened" writer Mike White who will adapt the book, and Bruce Cohen, who produced the adaptation of Silver Linings Playbook, will take the same job in this new project set up at DreamWorks. This seriously is a spectacular assembly of people. The book doesn't hit shelves until February, but here's the official synopsis: For thirty-eight years, Bartholomew Neil has lived with his mother. When she gets sick and dies, he has no idea how to be on his own. His redheaded grief counselor, Wendy, says he »
- Ethan Anderton
Still riding high on her phenomenal breakthrough leading performance in last year’s Short Term 12, Brie Larson has been lining up her follow-up projects very nicely, and is now eyeing the adaptation of Matthew Quick’s upcoming novel, The Good Luck of Right Now.
The Wrap reports that the young actress is in talks with DreamWorks to take one of the four leading roles, with the Philadelphia-set novel centred on the intertwined lives of four people, all outsiders in their own right, who come together to form the most unlikely of families in the wake of grieving over pain and loss in their respective lives.
Courtesy of Amazon, here’s the synopsis for the original novel.
The Good Luck of Right Now, a funny and tender story about family, friendship, grief, acceptance, and Richard Gere—an entertaining and inspiring tale that will leave you pondering the rhythms of the »
- Kenji Lloyd
So, here's equation: the star of "Short Term 12" + a movie based on the novel written by the guy who penned "Silver Linings Playbook" + the directors of "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Ruby Sparks" = sign us up. Yep, Brie Larson has signed on to star in "The Good Luck Of Right Now," the latest from filmmakers Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Adapted by Mike White ("School Of Rock," "Enlightened"), it's another story of damaged individuals dealing with various pains in their lives, and we'd expect no less from author Matthew Quick. Here's the Amazon synopsis: For thirty-eight years, Bartholomew Neil has lived with his mother. When she gets sick and dies, he has no idea how to be on his own. His redheaded grief counselor, Wendy, says he needs to find his flock and leave the nest. But how does a man whose whole life has been grounded in his mom, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Brie Larson is in negotiations to star in an adaptation of Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick's upcoming novel The Good Luck of Right Now for DreamWorks. Little Miss Sunshine's Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris have signed on to direct, while Mike White (School of Rock, Enlightened) is writing the screenplay. Bruce Cohen (Silver Linings Playbook, Milk) is producing. The story follows the intertwined lives of four people, all outsiders in their own right. However, in the wake of grieving over pain and loss in their lives, they come together to form the most unlikely family. Quick's book hits shelves
- Tatiana Siegel, Borys Kit
[Editor's Note: We Can't Wait is a Team Experience series, in which we highlight our top 14 most anticipated films of 2014. Here's Tim Brayton on Boyhood.]
Richard Linklater’s 12-years-in-production epic follows one child from age 7 to 18, as he and his parents grow up in front of our eyes. There’s no readily apparent plot details beyond that -- unless you're reading spoilers from Sundance reviews -- but I’m hoping for robot vampires.
Director-producer-conceiver Linklater is joined by his ever-ready partner in long-form narrative, Ethan Hawke, as well as Patricia Arquette. Ellar Coltrane, in the longest-gestating breakthrough performance of all time, stars as the boy himself.
Why We Can’t Wait
The excellence of the every-nine-years entries in the Before… series have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Linklater has a unique gift for telling stories about the way that people’s lives, outlooks, and even personalities mature and evolve as the years go by. And if anything, the hook behind his newly-completed project is even more exciting: watching a child »
- Tim Brayton
"Before Midnight," the third film in Richard Linklater's trilogy about Celine and Jesse's ongoing romance is one of the most delightful and insightful movies of 2013. The trio, who earned a second Oscar nomination for original screenplay, describe their unusual process in our interview below. What's the big whoop about? Anyone who has been through a relationship of any duration will recognize the degree to which Linklater and his co-writers and actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy dig into the essentials of the male/female dynamic. (Joel Stein writes about this in Time.) The Austin-based director ("School of Rock") did something right back in 1995 when he first cast the American actor and French actress as two strangers who meet on a European train and enjoy a brief romantic liaison in Vienna in "Before Sunrise." They meet again nine years later when Celine shows up at one of Jesse's book readings in "Before Sunset. »
- Anne Thompson
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