18 items from 2015
The documentary film "Raiders!" is a curious exercise in meta-narrative; it's a film about a film that is a remake of another film. Co-directed by Jeremy Coon (producer and editor on "Napoleon Dynamite") and Tim Skousen, "Raiders!" tells the story of two Indiana Jones fanboys who embark on an adventure that rivals the legendary explorer's onscreen exploits. Here's the official synopsis: "In 1982, two 11 year-olds in Mississippi set out to remake their favorite film: Raiders of the Lost Ark. It took seven turbulent years that tested the limits of their friendship and nearly burned down their mother's house. By the end, they had completed every scene except one... the explosive airplane scene. Thirty years later, they attempt to finally realize their childhood dream by building a replica of the 75-foot "Flying Wing" plane from Raiders in a mud pit in the backwoods of Mississippi... and then blow it up! This is the story behind the. »
- Shipra Gupta
Haylie Duff has been ''fighting'' against wearing maternity clothes throughout her pregnancy. The 'Napoleon Dynamite' star - who is the older sister of singer and actress Hilary Duff - admitted she has tried to avoid unsightly styles for expectant mothers but has finally had to give up and don the stretchy garments as she has entered her third trimester and her baby bump is getting too big. She said: ''I was fighting the good fight on buying maternity clothes, but now I just have this massive belly and I can't deny that I'm pregnant any longer! ''I've tried to not go too maternity, but at a certain point you've got to have room, you know?'' The 30-year-old actress - who is expecting her first child with fiancé Matt Rosenburg - has tried to stay in shape throughout her pregnancy and has been kept busy looking after her sister's two-year-old son Luca. »
One of the hardest bouts of growing pains experienced by adolescents is that rite of passage known as the high school experience. In high school one is subject to discovering their own sense of self-identity and purpose. In fact, sometimes the social factor is crucial because the cost of belonging in social-related circles is vital in a four-year commitment to belonging among your peers.
The tension is high to belong and get along as your search for excellence in good grades, social interaction and the overall learning experience is important. However, not every youngster can cope with what they are faced as the obstacles to excel are demanding in high school. Hence, the potential to become “an outsider” is inevitable and the unlikeliest label that no one can overcome no matter how much they try.
The movies have been instrumental in capturing such heavy-handed angst and frustration of the tortured »
- Frank Ochieng
Ah, the sweet sound of success! Even more relevant in this movie article is the sweet movement of success. Thus, Shake A Tail Feather: Top Ten Dance Moments in the Movies will highlight some of the top-notch dance steps where moving your feet to the music is essential. Now this does not have to necessary be exclusive to musical-oriented films or dance-related flicks but hey…it could not hurt either, right?
Nevertheless folks, how about we take a free-wheeling look at some of the selections that were memorable (some more than others) spotlighted here in Shake A Tail Feather: Top Ten Dance Moments in the Movies were your finger-snapping, feet-stomping urges overcome you. Perhaps you have your brand of acceptable dance moments not included in this group? Well, let your thoughts be known if you feel compelled to do so. In the meantime, sit back and check out some of »
- Frank Ochieng
Directed by Jared Hess
The wife and husband duo behind Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre, and Gentlemen Broncos gives us Don Verdean, a relatively tame exploration into the antics of biblical archaeology. The subject matter is rife with comedic possibilities but the film doesn’t go big enough with its shenanigans to see us through to being truly entertained. There are sporadic moments of inspiration, but they are too few and far in between to save it from itself. Not much is skewered about religion, instead broadly-drawn zealots populate the plot who desperately want to believe that discoveries abound which could validate biblical stories. The religious extremism doesn’t go far enough, as if it’s afraid of offending its audience. It seems satisfied to keep it mild and barely tongue-in-cheek. A rocking »
- Lane Scarberry
Eastbound and Down is one of the few comedic shows to actually stick its landing. That very, very loose autobiography Powers wrote? Spot on. That show has given us plenty of unforgettable lines and moments. The four seasons were consistent with the laughs and, best of all, never softened Kenny Powers. At the end of the final season, Powers is still the same oblivious foul-mouthed doofus, it’s just that he’s finally learned a terribly simple life lesson, which only took him four seasons to get to. Co-creators Jody Hill and Danny McBride need to keep working together, and thankfully, that’s the plan. After the premiere of McBride’s latest film, Jared Hess‘s (Napoleon Dynamite) Don Verdean, we caught up with the actor at the film’s after party. Time was short and we both had had a few drinks — or maybe just me and I presume he had as well — but we discussed »
- Jack Giroux
There are a growing number of recent films that have tried to make a fun joke out of religion, which can sometimes be a sensitive subject (at least in this country). Not many of them are that good, as sometimes they get too dumb with the humor (e.g. Year One), but sometimes they strike the right chord, touching upon both the importance of and hilarity of modern religion. Don Verdean is the latest film from Jared Hess & Jerusha Hess, the husband/wife filmmaker team that brought us Napoleon Dynamite and Gentlemen Broncos previously. Don Verdean is the name of religious artifacts collector who gets into some deep shit. In Don Verdean, Sam Rockwell dons a beard and plays Don, a religious collector who made a name for himself years ago but is well past his prime now. Working with his assistant Carol, played by Amy Ryan, he decides to »
- Alex Billington
In 2004, director Jared Hess was behind one of the most successful indies of the year: Napoleon Dynamite. The two films of his which followed that wild success were received less warmly. The director’s funniest film, Nacho Libre, didn’t come close to matching Dynamite‘s impact on pop culture or its success, while Gentlemen Broncos was mostly just a disaster. The one bright spot […] »
- Jack Giroux
With Peanuts looking better with every new trailer, Warner Bros. is plotting a feature-length return for another classic cartoon – Hanna-Barbera series The Jetsons.
Hoping to transform the beloved show, about a family living in a futuristic utopia filled with fantastical technology, into an animated theatrical feature, the studio has hired Matt Lieberman to pen a script. Word is that Warner Bros. was impressed with Lieberman’s work on an animated Scooby-Doo project that it is putting together, and that’s what landed him this gig.
Lieberman, who honed his skills in the Disney Writers Program, has been everywhere in Hollywood recently. He penned spec script 12/24, a found-footage Santa Claus movie that 1492 scooped up; another spec called The Pet, which Disney has set Napoleon Dynamite helmer Jared Hess to direct; Paramount Animation’s Giant Monsters Attack Japan; sci-fi Short Circuit, which Alvin and the Chipmunks director Tim Hill has signed on to helm; Mr. »
- Isaac Feldberg
The “Napoleon Dynamite” magic fails to re-materialize in Jared and Jerusha Hess’ latest comedy. “Don Verdean” has a promising premise: The titular protagonist is a self-appointed “biblical archaeologist” roaming the globe for famous relics that have mysteriously evaded far more qualified experts for centuries. But the expected satire of religious gullibility and charlatanism proves toothless; worse, a cast of very funny people is given very little funny to do. This Lionsgate title (its release Tba) looks to make its primary, modest impact in ancillary formats.
Things look encouraging enough at the outset, as we are privy to a highlight reel of low-end video clips from “Verdeen Acheological Discovery Prods.,” in which Sam Rockwell’s intrepid explorer for Jesus is seen allegedly wowing international audiences of the faithful with his amazing — or perhaps just credulity-stretching — finds in the Holy Land dirt. It seems whenever he thinks of a key memento from a biblical story, »
- Dennis Harvey
Whether you love him or hate him there's no arguing the fact that there's simply nobody else quite like Rubber and Wrong director Quentin Dupieux these days. The musician turned director has been baffling and / or delighting audiences around the globe with his drily absurd sense of humor for a good few years now and he did the same at the Venice film festival this past year when he premiered his latest effort, Realite.Boasting an international cast that includes Alain Chabat, Eric Wareheim and Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Heder. As usual for Dupieux this one resists meaningful synopsis - plot points really aren't the point of a Dupieux film - but here's how Venice described it:Jason, a quiet cameraman, dreams of directing his first horror...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
In the above clip, Danny McBride, who plays Tony Lazarus attempts to proposition biblical archaeologist Don Verdean (Sam Rockwell) to come work for his church the Lazarus fellowship. After offering to bankroll his endeavors, Leslie Bibb who plays Joylinda Lazarus, helps drive the nail in the coffin, so to speak. After very little actual convincing, Verdean willingly obliges. “I think it’s fair to say this might be a match made in heaven,” says Verdean with an obviously bad religious pun.
Don Verdean follows the title character (Sam Rockwell), a Biblical archaeologist hired by the local church pastor to find faith-promoting relics in the Holy Land. After proving unsuccessful in his attempts to find anything of substance, »
- William Fanelli
A weekend getaway with friends turns into a deadly cat-and-mouse game in “Desecrated,” starring Haylie Duff (“Napoleon Dynamite,” “Material Girls”) and Michael Ironside (“X-Men : First Class,” “Total Recall”). The horror film is now available on DVD and VOD. “Desecrated” is directed by Rob Garcia and also stars Gonzalo Menendez (“The Event”), Heather Sossaman (“Hawaii Five-o”), Wilmer Calderon (“Fast and Furious”) and Paul James (“Greek”). Here’s more about the film: “After finding his family murdered by vagrant squatters, an ex-military operative and survivalist is hired by the man who bought his land to watch over the acreage and protect it from invaders. When the new landowner’s daughter arrives for a [ Read More ]
I know that most of you have seen Napoleon Dynamite. I am equally certain that most of you can quote one, if not more, lines from that aforementioned film of awkward hilarity. But you might not be aware of what Jared and Jerusha Hess have done since they unleashed Napoleon and his weird clique on an unsuspecting world. Lionsgate is hoping that you will still have some passion left for their work, though, as they picked up the Hess’ new film Don Verdean very quickly at Sundance.
Lionsgate acquired the film for U.S. distribution several days in advance of its premiere at Sundance – which either says that the studio is hard up for new releases, or that they have great faith in what the Hesses have produced.
- Lauren Humphries-Brooks
There has been a lot of heat going into Sundance that this year's festival could be another buyer's market for mini-majors and indie distributors looking to fill out their 2015 slates. Fox Searchlight already picked up Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig's "Mistress America" and now Lionsgate has surprised by acquiring another premiere title, Jared Hess' "Don Verdean." A potential comeback for the man behind "Napoleon Dynamite," "Verdean" finds Sam Rockwell playing the title character, a biblical archeologist brought on by a small town church pastor to find "faith-promoting" historical items in the Holy Land. He has to get creative when his expedition comes up short. The rest of the cast is rounded out by Jemaine Clment, Amy Ryan, Danny McBride, Leslie Bibb and Will Forte. Hess' first break was when "Napoleon Dynamite" exploded out of Sundance in 2004. A decade later he returns after one major hit, 2006's "Nacho Libre, »
- Gregory Ellwood
The 2015 Sundance Film Festival won't even begin until tomorrow, but Lionsgate has already picked up a film debuting in Park City this month. It's been 11 years since director Jared Hess made a huge splash at Sundance with Napoleon Dynamite, and now he's back with Don Verdean, a new comedy starring Sam Rockwell, Jemaine Clement, Amy Ryan, Danny McBride, Will Forte and more. And now Deadline reports Lionsgate has already picked up the distribution rights to the film before it premieres next week. Does this mean that Hess might finally have another good film to follow his breakthrough indie sensation? We certainly hope so, especially since it's one of our 10 most anticipated films of the festival. More below! Here's our first look at Jared Hess' Don Verdean from the Sundance film guide: Don Verdean is directed by Jared Jess (Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre), who co-wrote the script with his brother Jerusha Hess. »
- Ethan Anderton
11 years after director Jared Hess and his wife/co-writer Jerusha Hess brought their debut Napoleon Dynamite to the Sundance Film Festival, Lionsgate has picked up their new comedy Don Verdean, one week before its world premiere at this year's Sundance fest. Sam Rockwell stars as the title character, a biblical archaeologist hired to find "faith-promoting relics in the Holy Land." After he comes up empty in his journey, Don must get creative in what is described as "a comedy of faith and fraud."
The supporting cast is rounded out by Amy Ryan, Jemaine Clement, who starred in Jared Hess' Gentlemen Broncos, Danny McBride, Will Forte, Leslie Bibb, Steve Park and Sky Elobar. Jared Hess also produces alongside Brandt Andersen and Dave Hunter. Grindstone Entertainment's Barry Brooker and Stan Wertlieb brought the project to Lionsgate.
It isn't known when Lionsgate may release Don Verdean at this time, but it's possible »
The Sundance Film Festival’s Premieres section is “A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated narrative films of the coming year.”
Mississippi Grind — Image courtesy of The Sundance Institute
From the writing and directing duo that brought us Half Nelson and It’s Kind of a Funny Story comes Mississippi Grind, starring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn as a pair of desperate gamblers on the road. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have thus far earned a solid indie reputation, so there’s not much reason to doubt that they’ll deliver engaging content even if one’s unsure of the acting team that’s being put to task. Reynolds’ name may suffer from overexposure in big studio flops like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Green Lantern, whereas Mendelsohn’s growing respectability flies well below pop culture’s radar. »
- Lane Scarberry
18 items from 2015
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