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Chicago – As the days count down to the end of the year, it’s a perfect time for a countdown of the top ten films of 2011. Last week, Brian Tallerico of HollywoodChicago.com posted his 10 Best of 2011, and this week I pick my Top Ten Films of 2011, by Patrick McDonald.
If there was a single overriding theme to films in 2011, it was the end of the world. There were symbolic, financial, moral, anarchistic and literal end of the worlds, which comes on the heels of the meltdown of the end of last decade. It wasn’t a science fiction style end, but a commentary on a pervasive mood in general society, and the reflection of that mood in so many films throughout 2011 is quite remarkable, and unmistakable.
In my Top Ten of 2011, several of those end-of-the-world films are there, but also there is hopeful turns with baseball, Woody Allen and brilliant smaller budget filmmaking. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Featuring honest performances from a talented ensemble cast, including David Call (Tiny Furniture), Eleonore Hendricks (Daddy Longlegs), Tate Ellington (Remember Me) and more, Northeast is a vividly naturalistic portrayal of the pressures of impending adulthood. Starting February 22nd and going until February 28th, Northeast is heading back to Brooklyn with a repertory run at the lauded reRun theater. Co-presented by Filmwax, Tribeca Film and reRUN, filmmaker Gregory Kohn, David Call, Eleonore Hendricks and additional cast and crew will be in attendance at the 7:30 this coming Friday. Kohn (who will make appearances throughout the week) took the time to speak to us about storytelling, the filmmakers who influenced him, and the real events that inspired Northeast, his film for the millennial generation. Note: This interview originally ran as part of our coverage for our December 2011 Film Slate. Tribeca: Northeast zeroes in on this new breed of 20-somethings who are taking »
Girls TV Show Teaser Trailers. Lena Dunham‘s Girls (2011) TV show teaser trailers, produced by Judd Apatow, star Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Chris Eigeman, Angelic Zambrana, and Jemima Kirke. Girls’ plot synopsis: “Created by and starring Lena Dunham (“Tiny Furniture”), the show is a comic look at the assorted humiliations and rare triumphs of a group of girls in their early 20s. Dunham wrote and directed the pilot of the series, which she executive produces along with Judd Apatow and Jenni Konner.”
Looks funny. I’ll be watching.
More on the Girls‘ production:
And another writer’s opinion on Judd Apatow and the series:
it’s great to see the guy who once helped bring Lindsay Weir to life make his return to television with another hilariously uncomfortable series featuring a smart female lead. »
Girls, the new HBO comedy created by and starring Lena Dunham and exec produced by Judd Apatow, looks like the anti-Sex and the City. The lead character, 24, is too broke to afford fancy shoes (or lunch), knows struggle because she’s 11 pounds overweight (“I am 13 pounds overweight, and it has been awful for me my whole life!”), and thinks she might be the voice of a generation (as opposed to just single ladies). What she does have in common with Carrie Bradshaw and her girls: a lot of sex talk. Watch two teases below. (And yes, that’s Peter Scolari as the dad! »
- Mandi Bierly
The combination of Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow for a new TV show makes a lot of sense. Dunham became one of the top up-and-coming comediennes with her breakthrough writing/directing/acting effort _Tiny Furniture_ and Apatow focused less on male-centered comedies my producing this summer’s hit comedy _Bridesmaids_. With _Girls_ the two combine to create a new comedy for HBO. »
Starz has revealed a bunch of promotional artwork and new stills, a high-profile new Facebook app, and a four-minute clip showing off the opening scene from their upcoming second season of the network's biggest series - the blood and sex-fueled "Spartacus".
Liam McIntyre takes over from the late Andy Whitfield in the titular role, while various other regulars including Lucy Lawless, Manu Bennett and Dustin Clare returning. The season premiere is set for Friday, January 27th 2012 at 10/9c.
Netflix has given a thirteen episode order for the new Eli Roth-produced horror series "Hemlock Grove," based on an upcoming Brian McGreevy novel. The series "re-imagines everything it means to be a monster as reflected in the struggle to be human".
- Garth Franklin
Regardless of what you think of Judd Apatow as a writer and director, you have to admit that he's very good at bringing funny people together and helping them find their voice. He always seems to be keeping an eye out for fresh new talent, and with the recent success of Bridesmaids he also seems to be interested in getting away from the "bromance" thing and trying to appeal to the opposite sex as well. Enter Lena Dunham, director of a little indie comedy called Tiny Furniture. Apatow dug the movie so much that he wanted to work with her, and together they pitched a comedy series to HBO about a group of 20-something girls living in New York City. Girls has since been picked up and the first teaser trailer has now arrived online. It promises all the frank female conversations of Sex and the City with Dunham herself »
Lena Dunham won my heart and mind with her 2010 debut film, Tiny Furniture. Awkward, unfiltered, and a bit oppressive, Tiny Furniture is like a page ripped out of a twentysomething's diary (or Wordpress), with little cleaning up around the selfish, discontented edges. So when I heard that Dunham was launching an HBO series, Girls, that was set to be executive produced by some "Judd Apatow" schlub, I was overwhelmingly excited. (Because of Dunham, not the schlub.) Judging by Girls' new teaser, which features scenes of Dunham tweeting existentially and questioning the functionality of lube, my excitement was well-founded. Dunham and Apatow's half-hour comedy follows three young female friends living in New York, showcasing their various humiliations and triumphs in the social and professional realms. So, it's like Sex and the City, but with half the wardrobe budget and three times the brain. Or, if [...] »
 If CBS' 2 Broke Girls didn't quite prove to be edgy enough for you, perhaps HBO's thematically similar new series Girls will fit the bill. Created by Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture) and executive produced by Dunham, Judd Apatow, and Jenni Konner, the comedy follows a group of 20something women -- aspiring writer Hannah (Dunham) and her BFFs (Jemima Kirke from Tiny Furniture and Brian Williams' daughter Allison Williams) -- as they struggle to make it in the big city. Watch the first trailer after the jump. [via Vulture ] Tiny Furniture and Knocked Up may appear to have rather different sensibilities on the surface, but judging by this 47-second teaser, Apatow and Dunham actually seem to bring out the best in each other. Girls looks a great deal peppier and more laugh-out-loud funny than Tiny Furniture was, without sacrificing any of the bracing candor that made that film worth watching. "I’ve never seen »
- Angie Han
In addition to "Game of Thrones," which HBO has already started previewing, the cable channel will roll out two more new series in the spring. HBO unveiled the first looks at its comedies "Veep" and "Girls" over the weekend.
"Veep" stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the vice president of the United States, who's a mere heartbeat away from being the leader of the free world. As the wordless promo for the series shows, however, it's not always a thrill a minute in the VP's office.
"Girls" comes from creator/star Lena Dunham ("Tiny Furniture") and is executive produced by Judd Apatow. It's about four young women (Dunham, Zosia Mamet, Jemima Kirke and Allison Williams), but if the trailer is anything to go on »
Lena Dunham, who won many hearts and minds with her 2010 debut feature "Tiny Furniture" (headed for the Criterion Collection soon), will soon be exposing her self-affacing brand of awkward humor to a much bigger audience when her television series, "Girls," executive produced by some dude named Judd Apatow, hits HBO next year. Last night, during the "Boardwalk Empire" finale/"Luck" sneak peek pair of brilliance, HBO debuted a short teaser for the series. And we've got to say, we're cautiously optimistic. Set to a jaunty pop ditty called "All of This" by New Zealand band The Naked and Famous, the teaser features a bombardment of clips from the series, most of them featuring Dunham's confessional brand of Tmi humor. She sardonically muses that she only has enough money to survive the next few days in New York, is seen asking a boyfriend-type why he needs to get lube, and while in a clinic, »
Ever since folks criticized Judd Apatow for his overly male-oriented movies and sense of humor, the writer-director-producer has been dabbling in some more female-focused productions, serving as a producer on this year's Bridesmaids and next year's HBO show Girls, written, directed by and starring Lena Dunham, whose indie flick Tiny Furniture won a few awards last year, like the Indie Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. We've been looking forward to Girls ever since it was first announced, mainly because we love Dunham's jaded sense of humor when it comes to documenting the trials and tribulations of the twenty-something crowd. The first trailer for Girls has just been unleashed, and it's exactly what we expected it to be. A funny, unglamorous look at...
- Erik Davis
As year-end rituals go, remembering those we've lost over the past twelve months is the solemn twin of list-making, though it's often no less an act of celebration. In the new issue of the Brooklyn Rail, Charles Bernstein and Susan Bee look back on the life of George Kuchar, "one of the most creative, original, and influential filmmakers of our time, straddling two generations of North American iconoclasts, from Stan Brakhage, Ken Jacobs, Rudy Burckhardt, Kenneth Anger, and Michael Snow to Warren Sonbert, Ernie Gehr, Abigail Child, and Henry Hills. Often collaborating with his twin brother, Mike, George Kuchar started making films as a Bronx teenager, and the brothers' early films already show the ingenuity, exuberance, and do-it-yourself charm that would pervade scores of their subsequent films."
Ten of the brightest and best tell their stories – from the first novel optioned at 26 to being head-hunted by Donatella Versace at 24
Lucy Prebble, playwright, 30
When we were auditioning actors for Enron, they'd talk to the director, not to me, and it occurred to me they thought I was a secretary taking notes. Then one said, "Who's the writer?" and the director said, "She is." This guy just looked at me and went, "You wrote this? Ok..." and nodded. It was beautiful because I felt like he was giving me a lot of respect.
I've always written – diaries, terrible poetry when I was younger, that sort of thing – but I didn't think about showing anyone until I was at university. I fell in with a group of »
Grab your ski jackets and swag bags and start warming up your eyeballs: the Sundance Film Festival is almost upon us. 2012's Sundance runs from January 19 to 29 in Park City, Utah, and today the fest announced their first wave of programming, 58 titles in the Us and World Dramatic and Documentary Competitions.
The slate so far includes plenty of familiar faces. Sundancers in 2012 will get the first crack at new movies from Antonio Campos ("Afterschool"), Kirby Dick ("This Film is Not Yet Rated"), Ira Sachs ("Forty Shades of Blue"), and Mark Webber ("Explicit Ills"). I'm also intrigued by "Nobody Walks" from "You Won't Miss Me" director Ry Russo-Young and "Tiny Furniture" director Lena Dunham (Russo-Young directed, the two co-wrote the screenplay) and a cast that includes John Krasinski, Olivia Thirlby, and Rosemarie DeWitt. Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass star in "Safety Not Guaranteed" about "a trio of magazine employees investigating a »
- Matt Singer
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Feb. 14, 2011
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
Dunham portrays Aura, a recent college graduate who returns to New York and moves back in with her mother and sister (played by their real-life counterparts). Though Aura is gripped by stasis and confusion about her future, she manages to stumble into a bunch of humorous situations relating to her plight.
Co-starring Merritt Wever (Greenberg) and Amy Seimetz (Bitter Feast), Tiny Furniture received a limited release to theaters in the U.S. in November, 2010, following playdates at some dozen film festivals, including South by Southwest and the Los Angeles Film Festival.
Dunham got her start making YouTube videos, but she emerged as a »
Originally published in the Summer 2010 issue.
Only a few months after we selected her for last year’s “25 New Faces” list, writer-director Lena Dunham went into production on her second feature Tiny Furniture. Shot by fellow 2009 “25 New Faces” Jody Lee Lipes and produced by Filmmaker contributing editor Alicia Van Couvering and Kyle Martin, the film wound up winning the Grand Prize at 2010’s SXSW Film Festival and was picked up by IFC for distribution this fall. The film was shot on the Canon 7D, and we asked Lipes, focus puller Joe Anderson and Technicolor colorist Sam Daley to comment on the Dslr format and their production and postproduction decision making. –S.M.
“Choosing to shoot on the Canon 7D was a bold move on [director] Lena [Dunham’s] and [d.p.] Jody [Lee Lipes’s] part,” says focus puller Joe Anderson. “At the time of production there were few (if any) rental houses in New York supporting the »
- Filmmaker Staff
Photos from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, Playing the Field, Brave, Arthur Christmas, This Must Be the Place, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Butter, and Ada Wong on the set of Resident Evil: Retribution.
"Walt Disney Studios have proudly announced that a new animated short film based on "Tangled" will screen with "Beauty and the Beast in 3D" opening on January 13th 2012. The short spotlights the royal wedding of Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) and »
- Garth Franklin
The Criterion Collection continually release some of the best and most important films (not to mention the best picture, sound and supplements packages) one could hope to find in the Blu-ray format and today's announcement of their February releases further cements this belief.
In February, The Criterion Collection will be releasing six films, five new additions to the numbered spine count, as well as one upgrade. The upgraded title consists of two films, La Jeéte and Sans Soleil, directed by Chris Marker. Both films, the former being about time travel through the use of still imagery, the latter about a trip from Africa to Japan, are completely different but inherently connected.
From Sci-Fi to Samurai, the five new additions to The Criterion Collection run the gamut of genres, all representing some of cinema's finest moments. There's World on a Wire, Rainer Werner Fassbinder's futuristic noir tale that was originally »
#42. Nobody Walks - Ry Russo Young A 2010 Sundance Screenwriters Lab selected project with additional support from the Annenberg Film Fellowship Grant and the Indian Paintbrush Fellowship, Ry Russo Young teamed with Lena Dunham for a project that attracted the likes of Dylan McDermott, Rosemarie DeWitt, John Krasinski and Olivia Thirlby for a film budgeted at a significantly larger amount than what it cost to make her debut film, You Wont Miss Me (a New Frontier programmed film). Nobody Walks looks poised for a U.S Dramatic Comp inclusion. Gist: Co-written by Lena Dunham and Ry Russo-Young, a driven young artist is a guest at the home of a Hollywood sound designer and his family as he helps her finish her first film. Their professional connection triggers a sexual and emotional entanglement that lays bare the needs, narcissism and questionable morality of everyone involved. Producers: Jonathan Schwartz (Like Crazy), Andrea Sperling »
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