6 items from 2015
The Ballad of Franks and Beans: Stephens’ Dips Toes and Other Bits into Political Scandal
It is still very much a man’s world, or so the expectedly corrupt judicial landscape seems to be sighing as it unrolls before our eyes with near clinical precision and predictability in Mora Stephens’ sophomore feature Zipper. Another politically minded effort, her first feature in a decade since 2005’s Democrat/Republican ideals face-off Conventioneers, this thriller skirts in and out of issue concerning addiction and the abuse of power without really delving into either beyond superficialities. Featuring a notable, comely cast and co-written by Stephens’ spouse Joel Viertel, there’s a dark cynicism managing to rear its face from time to time, but given we’re never surprised or endeared towards this group of slow-to-strike piranhas, this scandal sheet is a tale as old as time.
- Nicholas Bell
Resolutely striving to satisfy both your personal and professional desires and needs, no matter how drastically they contradict each other, can be a strenuous challenge that not everyone has the audacity to pursue. But ruthless attorneys and politicians are often believed to have the fierce personality to relentlessly seek their goals, no matter what consequences they’re forced to face as a result. Those conflicting ambitions are intriguingly examined in the new political drama, ‘Zipper,’ which is set to be released in select theaters and On Demand on Friday. Director Mora Stephens reunited with her husband, Joel Viertel, after they penned the script for the 2005 comedy, ‘Conventioneers,’ to once again [ Read More ]
- Karen Benardello
Following the premiere, several studios began aggressively bidding for “Zipper” before Alchemy picked up rights to the pic.
Produced by Darren Aronofsky and set against the backdrop of a political campaign, “Zipper” stars Patrick Wilson, Lena Heady, Ray Winstone and Richard Dreyfuss. Alchemy will release the film this fall.
- Justin Kroll
Zipper is a dark political thriller that examines the tendency of men in power to succumb to their more base desires. The film is a return of sorts for writer/director Mora Stephens whose last film Conventioneers was back in 2005.
Produced by Darren Aronofsky, Zipper has Patrick Wilson as a rising-star attorney who finds himself tempted to stray from his marriage to his wife (Lena Headey) by a seductive intern (Dianna Agron). To quell this overt office affair, he instead looks to internet escort services to make a more “transactional” relationship with these women. He soon finds himself addicted to the service and forced to come to terms not only with the legality of his behaviour but its affect on his burgeoning political career.
Cineplex spoke with Wilson and Agron while they were in Sundance to promote the film, along with other members of the strong cast including Richard Dreyfuss, »
- Jason Gorber
Though "Zipper" is only the second narrative feature from writer-director Mora Stephens, she's arriving at Sundance with some clout. Her first movie, "Conventioneers," was awarded the John Cassavetes Award from Film Independent, which recognizes the team behind an exemplary piece of filmmaking that is made for less than $500,000. "Zipper" is a stylish, provocative political thriller focused on an exposed politician's interior life. Featured at Sundance for the first time, Stephens hopes her film will ignite a serious dialogue about contemporary political culture. What's your film about in 140 characters or less? “Zipper” is a political thriller about a hot-shot federal prosecutor (played by Patrick Wilson) on the cusp of a bright political future. But what was meant to be a one-time experience with a high-end escort instead turns into a growing addiction. His moral compass unraveling, his new demon threatens to destroy his life, family and career. »
- David Canfield
Following a potential political sex scandal through the eyes of the politician, “Zipper” plays like an odd hybrid of “Shame” and a season-long subplot on “House of Cards.” Tawdry but cripplingly self-serious, the second feature from Mora Stephens (a full decade after her little seen, and also politically themed, debut “Conventioneers”) benefits from Patrick Wilson’s committed star turn. Still, the awkward end product would inevitably struggle in theatrical venues, making it more advisable to play to the base and go straight to VOD and premium cable.
Federal prosecutor Sam Ellis (Wilson) is on the fast track in national politics. He’s got it all: high-profile career success, good looks, charm, a well-connected and shrewdly strategic wife, Jeannie (Lena Headey), and a clean-cut image as someone who wants to punish the bad and protect the good. Sam even rejects the advances of comely intern Dalia (Dianna Agron) when they share »
- Geoff Berkshire
6 items from 2015
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