15 items from 2015
It’s mid-March, and as film fans know full well, it seems like movie studios are kicking off the summer blockbuster season earlier every year. Though some might argue it started with Cinderella last week or with Insurgent this week, it truly begins in earnest on April 3rd with the long-awaited release of Furious 7. This year has been pre-emptively dubbed “the greatest year in film” by some, and with a slate this stacked, it’s easy to understand why: this summer plays host to a number of the year’s most exciting and highly-anticipated films, from fanboy-friendly action flicks to riotous comedies.
As happens every year, though, some of the most talked-about movies end up flopping while, on occasion, something that looks terrible might prove pleasantly surprising, and this article is an attempt to predict the various twists and turns of the cinematic calendar over the next few months. »
- Jack Pooley
“Monogamy isn’t realistic” says a soon-to-be-divorced dad to his two pre-teen daughters in an early scene from Judd Apatow’s “Trainwreck.” Two decades later, those words have taken their toll on one of those erstwhile little girls — a tart-tongued, booze-swilling serial dater (writer-star Amy Schumer) whose love life is barreling downhill with ever-increasing velocity. She’s the screwed-up, screwball heroine at the center of a somewhat shaggy, frequently hilarious romantic comedy that, like much of Apatow’s best work, delicately balances irreverent raunch with candid insights into the give-and-take of grown-up relationships. The change in scenery (New York from L.A.) and gender emphases serves Apatow well, as does Schumer’s excitingly original comic voice, which should spell a critical and commercial rebound for the comedy impresario, following the mixed fortunes of his more sober, semi-autobiographical “Funny People” and “This Is 40.” The Universal release opens wide July 17 following »
- Scott Foundas
After breaking out in a huge way with both The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, Judd Apatow found himself moving in a more dramatic direction. With both Funny People and This is 40, the filmmaker found himself dealing in more serious material like cancer and middle-adulthood, and while the movies did have their funny moments, they also didn.t pack the same kind of fresh energy and entertainment that featured so heavily in his first two directorial efforts. With Trainwreck, however, Apatow has rediscovered his incredibly gifted sense for comedy, and thanks to his collaboration with star/writer/producer Amy Schumer, he has made his best, funniest movie in years. Screening as a work in progress at SXSW this evening, the film stars Schumer as Amy, a young woman who has spent her entire life not believing in monogamy, and as a result has found herself living a »
The Sundance hit features more than 60 of the funniest people alive
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- Christopher Campbell
Based on the cast list, you’d probably think Ross Katz‘s Adult Beginners was a broad comedy. The lead is Nick Kroll of Kroll Show and The League fame; co-stars include SNL‘s Bobby Moynihan, Community‘s Joel McHale, 30 Rock‘s Jane Krakowski, and comedians Mike Birbiglia and Jason Mantzoukas. But while the Adult Beginners has some laughs, it’s really […]
- Angie Han
This is a repost of our review from the 2014 Toronto Film Festival [Tiff 2014].
Like an orbiting celestial body, a rare Adam Sandler role appears every half-decade or so that threatens to break the actor out of his lucrative fiefdom of low-brow comedy. Punch-Drunk Love looked like a potential turning point in 2002, but a Spanglish or two aside, he avoided further dramatic work until 2010’s Funny People, which earned Sandler wide praise for how capably he lampooned his own career. He then followed that up with Jack & Jill, That’s My Boy, and a pair of Grown Ups. Clearly, if Sandler were interested in a McConaughey-esque career turnaround, he would have gone for it by now.
The underwhelming returns on his latest vacation disguised as a comedy, Blended, along with a pair of upcoming dramatic roles once more see the established Sandler narrative being challenged. The Cobbler is the first of two »
- Sam Woolf
Friendless groom-to-be hires phoney best man in order to dump indignities on him. A laughter vacuum
Kevin Hart’s latest laughter vacuum repurposes the plot of 2009’s undervalued I Love You, Man for actors whose own relatives probably wouldn’t pay to watch them in a cinema. Where its predecessor used this set-up – friendless groom-to-be hires phoney best man – to observe how funny men can get around other men, Ringer is principally concerned with the indignities wrought on schlubby Josh Gad’s gonads by, among other elements, chilli and hungry dogs. Hart continues to demonstrate what Funny People euphemistically termed “a lot of energy”. Here, it encompasses ultra-lame dance routines and behaviour towards women that would likely land one on a register if emulated in real life.
Continue reading »
- Mike McCahill
Manuel here to discuss one of last week’s hottest trailers by one of my favorite funny ladies. After the success of Bridesmaids ($288 million worldwide gross and 2 Oscar nominations), it’s not surprising seeing Judd Apatow partnering up with another small-screen comedy talent for her big screen debut.
Written by Amy Schumer and directed by Apatow himself comes Trainwreck ("We all know one" the poster coyingly tells us), which opens this July as a nice bit of counter-programming (it goes up against Apatow-alum Paul Rudd's Ant-Man so you know where my momey that weekend will be going to). The film will first show itself over at SXSW as a "work-in-progress" so we'll have word of what to expect sooner rather than later, though it shows great confidence in the material. It also tells us precisely what kind of demographic they're hoping to muster enthusiasm among. Both Funny People and »
- Manuel Betancourt
Today's episode is a little shorter than most Friday episodes, but we have a special bonus for you as our wives, Lindsay and Laura, join us to review Fifty Shades of Grey. Get pumped! We also review Kingsman: The Secret Service, answer several of your questions and play a few games. Hope you enjoy! If you are on Twitter, we have a Twitter account dedicated to the podcast at @bnlpod. Give us a follow won'tchac I want to remind you that you can call in and leave us your comments, thoughts, questions, etc. directly on our Google Voice account, which you can call and leave a message for us at (925) 526-5763, which may be even easier to remember at (925) 5-bnl-pod. Just call, leave us a voice mail and we'll add those to the show and respond directly. An alternative to that option is a new way of leaving us a voicemail directly from your computer. »
- Brad Brevet
Making a comedy that gets recognized by the Oscars is an almost impossible pursuit. Best Picture nominees that are comedies are few and far between, let alone winners. Still, there are some filmmakers who traffic in laughs and you really feel can make a mark with the Academy. Judd Apatow is one of them. He had a few brushes with awards attention early in his directorial career, but his recent efforts haven’t done much for voters, even as the material has been baitier and baitier. Will a return to simplicity with his Amy Schumer vehicle Trainwreck be the cure? We shall see, but it looks hilarious, if nothing else. When Apatow moved from producing and writing to also directing, he burst on the scene with The 40 Year Old Virgin. Teamed up with now Academy Award nominee Steve Carell, they crafted an uproarious sex comedy that also managed to have a ton of heart. »
- Joey Magidson
The first trailer for Judd Apatow’s new comedy movie Trainwreck has landed online, which sees Amy Shumer (Inside Amy Schumer) as a jaded singleton afraid of marriage and commitment fall into the bed of sports doctor Bill Hader (The Skeleton Twins).
Check out the trailer and synopsis below:
Since she was a little girl, it’s been drilled into Amy’s head by her rascal of a dad that monogamy isn’t realistic. Now a magazine writer, Amy lives by that credo – enjoying what she feels is an uninhibited life free from stifling, boring romantic commitment – but in actuality, she’s kind of in a rut. When she finds herself starting to fall for the subject of the new article she’s writing, a charming and successful sports doctor named Aaron Conners, Amy starts to wonder if other grown-ups, including this guy who really seems to like her, might be on to something. »
- Luke Owen
It was American humorist Erma Bombeck who is credited is saying that “there is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” In the documentary program of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, this is a topic oft explored. From the quite literal exploration in Kevin Pollak’s Misery Loves Comedy to the less overt themes in Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon, there were many instances of both pain and laughter, especially in the creation of great comedy. It is through these docs that Sundance explored the minds and eccentricities behind what makes us laugh. Let’s explore. Misery Loves Comedy In what began as a Kickstarter project for Kevin Pollak, the actor, comedian, filmmaker, podcaster and everyman of entertainment struggles to keep himself unheard as he interviews many of his most revered contemporaries about their lives in comedy. Though we don’t mind, as »
- Neil Miller
When “Parks and Recreation” signs off on NBC at the end of next month, fans will say goodbye to the colorful residents of Pawnee. But there won’t be a need to bid farewell to the actors who played the characters they grew to love.
Even though “Parks” never emerged from Nielsen’s ratings cellar or garnered the industry awards it richly deserved, its exceptional ensemble has nonetheless made a huge mark in Hollywood. What launched as a star vehicle for Emmy-nominated “Saturday Night Live” veteran Amy Poehler quickly became a showcase for breakout talent Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Adam Scott, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari and Rashida Jones.
“We collected a group of people at a really important time,” Poehler says. “I am the least surprised at how fancy and famous everyone is and has become. I felt that way about them and their talent since day one.”
From movies to standup to publishing, »
- Geoff Berkshire
Participant Media’s television network, Pivot, made the following announcements at Friday’s Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour: The renewal of eco-adventure series, “Angry Planet;” the greenlighting of docuseries “Series Lives of Americans;” three new productions in development; and a premiere date for first scripted series “Fortitude.”
Also Read: Pop TV Boss Compares Pulling ‘Seventh Heaven’ Reruns to Pulling ‘Cosby Show’
- Tony Maglio
Exclusive: Zac Efron and Robert De Niro are getting more company in their Lionsgate road trip pic Dirty Grandpa. Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza has signed onto the comedy about an uptight twenty-something (Efron) who embarks on a road trip before his wedding to bond with his recently widowed grandfather (De Niro) only to find that his grandpa is a foul-mouthed lunatic on a mission to get laid during Spring Break.
Plaza will play Lenore, a savvy, beguiling party girl looking for fun on Spring Break.
Dan Mazer (Da Ali G Show) is directing from a screenplay by John Phillips, while Bill Block, Jason Barrett, Barry Josephson and Michael Simkin are producing. Zoey Deutch joined the cast last month and Dermot Mulroney also stars. Lionsgate has already set an August 12, 2016 release for the Qed and Ninjas Running Wild comedy. Erik Feig and Jim Miller are overseeing for the studio. »
- Jen Yamato
15 items from 2015
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