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Sarah Silverman is best known as a comedian, but she recently reaped a Best Actress bid at the SAG Awards for her dramatic turn in "I Smile Back" as Laney, a woman struggling with depression and drug abuse. Discussing that awards recognition during our recent webcam chat (watch it below), she admits, "I know people always say this, but it's because it's true: If I could pick one award to be nominated for, it would be by my peers, by actors. That is just the coolest." -Break- Subscribe to Gold Derby Breaking News Alerts & Experts’ Latest Oscar Predictions This isn't Silverman's first foray into dramatic acting. She previously appeared in "the great Sarah Polley's movie 'Take This Waltz.'" "Seth Rogen and I were both in it," she remembers, and the two actors often fielded questions about making the shift to drama. "Our answer was always that it's the same. »
If you've seen Sarah Polley's "Take This Waltz," then you know Sarah Silverman can do drama. So it shouldn't surprise that the unrepentantly brazen comedian goes into full manic meltdown mode in "I Smile Back," once again playing a substance-abusing mother who tumbles off the wagon with a shrug. "I Smile Back" (in theaters and on VOD) marks a serious dramatic turn for Silverman, and landed her a surprise SAG actress nomination this month. She plays Laney, a suburban housewife whose facade is slipping away in the face of manic depression and drug and sex addiction— unknown to her long-suffering husband, played by Josh Charles ("The Good Wife"). This unsettling movie, even as it careens into melodrama, is a real showcase for Silverman, who embodies a frittered woman willingly complicit in her own downfall, all steely gaze and grimly staring into the void. She wants redemption — but not quite yet. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
“The Bride” may be a pedestrian choice of title for a new adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s ever-crimson play “Blood Wedding,” but perhaps the change is fitting: Paula Ortiz’s decorative but inessential pic sees the famed source material losing a lot of blood in more ways than one. Instead, pure, perfumed soap pumps through the veins of this placeless period love triangle, set over the eventful wedding day of the eponymous, romantically conflicted heroine. Retaining the melodrama of Lorca’s words, but downplaying their ornate poetry and symbolic subtext, Ortiz’s film nonetheless takes (and gives) a certain amount of pleasure in placing unfeasibly beautiful people in telenovela-style poses of emotional distress. This cranked-up, borderline camp approach should yield commercial rewards in Latin territories, even as it proves Spain’s most celebrated writer a Lorca unto himself.
Ortiz, best known for her 2011 feature “Chrysalis,” isn’t the first »
- Guy Lodge
Snapshots into a life unraveling, I Smile Back is an unpleasant, earnest look at the struggles of coping with bipolar disorder and addiction. New Jersey housewife and mother of two children, Laney Brooks is prone to mistakes. Chief among them her decision to abruptly stop taking the lithium tablets that treat her mental disorder. She pounds alcohol at dinner, snorts cocaine in the bathroom, and cheats on her husband with their friend, but even when she’s home there’s a cavernous distance between the married couple.
This, the second feature film from Dare director Adam Salky, is the type of intimate suburban drama that’s a regular feature on film festival circuits. It feels recognizable if not familiar up until its depressing final few scenes. The biggest difference being that I Smile Back unexpectedly stars an unrelentingly vulnerable Sarah Silverman.
Silverman’s most notable work has been as a potty-mouthed, »
- Zachary Shevich
I Smile Back, 2015.
Directed by Adam Salky.
Laney Brooks does bad things. Married with kids, she takes the drugs she wants, sleeps with the men she wants, disappears when she wants. Now, with the destruction of her family looming, and temptation everywhere, Laney makes one last desperate attempt at redemption.
In her mid-40s, Sarah Silverman seems to be entering a new phase of her comedy/acting career, which is head-on tackling some very challenging dramatic roles. She’s also succeeding in this endeavor, slowly revealing new layers of talent, mostly due to the fact of how fearless she is handling extremely taboo subject material. It’s just a shame that such a breakthrough starring role is coming in a movie where everything orbiting her performance is lackluster in quality, not interesting enough, or so awkwardly fast-paced »
- Robert Kojder
Sarah Silverman, primarily known for her work in comedy, is one of the latest actors to branch out from lighter fare into the world of drama. This year’s I Smile Back, director Adam Salky‘s story of a troubled woman’s aim at redemption, was nominated for the Grand Jury prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and showcases star Silverman in a much different light than audiences are used to seeing her.
Silverman has ventured into dramatic territory before, with 2011’s Take This Waltz from director Sarah Polley, but was relegated to a supporting role beside stars Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen. With I Smile Back, Silverman takes on the heavy lifting of a serious starring role.
The history of comedic talent spreading their dramatic wings is full of big names and, in certain cases, has led to major Oscar recognition.
At last year’s Academy Awards, »
- Patrick Shanley
The way a film starts and the way it ends can tell a lot about a movie, as well as the particular style of the director behind the project. Numerous films throughout history have had memorable opening and closing shots that have elevated the feature in question, while also taking on a life of their own as iconic moments in cinema.
Following his first exploration of first and final frames in film, vimeo user Jacob T. Swinney has revisited the topic in a new video, looking at 70 new films and how their opening and closing mirror each other. Swinney had this to say in the episode description.
After numerous requests, I finally decided to create a sequel to “First and Final Frames”. Part II plays the opening and closing shots of 70 films side-by-side. Like the first video, some of the opening shots are strikingly similar to the final shots, while »
- Deepayan Sengupta
In a major departure from her usual comic work, Silverman stars here as a suburban housewife in the throes of addiction and depression.
I Smile Back opens in Us cinemas on October 23. »
Brace yourself to reassess your assumptions about funny woman Sarah Silverman. Yes, she's made her name at being an unflinchingly honest and caustic comedienne, and it's not unfair to say she paved the way for Amy Schumer's brand of comedy and success. While she did play a small dramatic supporting role in Sarah Polley's excellent 2012 drama, "Take This Waltz," you've never seen Silverman quite as raw and vulnerable as she is in the upcoming Sundance breakout film, "I Smile Back." Read More: Spotlight On Sarah Silverman At The 38th Mill Valley Film Festival Written by Amy Koppelman (the wife of screenwriter and podcaster Brian Koppelman) and Paige Ryan, and directed by Adam Salky ("Dare"), "I Smile Back" centers on a woman on the verge of a breakdown and in the throes of a serious spiritual crisis that leads her to a string of self-destructive habits. The movie co-stars Josh Charles, »
- Edward Davis
Sarah Silverman is set to receive the Mill Valley Film Festival Award after a screening of her film "I Smile Back" at the festival (October 8 through 18, 2015) and an onstage Q&A. "I Smile Back," scooped by Broad Green out of Sundance and set for October 23 release, marks a serious dramatic turn for Silverman (excellent before as a recovering alcoholic in Sarah Polley's "Take This Waltz"). She plays Laney, a suburban housewife whose facade is slipping away in the face of manic depression, and drug and sex addiction unknown to her long-suffering husband, played by Josh Charles ("The Good Wife"). This upsetting movie, even when careening into melodrama, is a real showcase for Silverman, who embodies a frittered woman willingly complicit in her own downfall, who wants redemption — but not quite yet. The film is directed by Adam Salky and written by Paige Dylan and co-writer Amy Koppelman, who penned »
- Ryan Lattanzio
We’ve just received word that AMC are to launch in the UK with an exclusive deal with BT (British Telecom). With that news comes the additional information that The Walking Dead spin-off, Fear The Walking Dead, will air exclusively on the channel on 31st August, which is a week after its North American air date.
If you are a BT customer you have no worries as the new channel is 100% free to subscribers to their phone and broadband service; a bit like BT Sport (which snapped up a huge chunk of Champions League coverage this year). The service will be automatically added to users set-top boxes from August 28th.
The news is bound to cause upset with fans of The Walking Dead as there are a lot of us who are not BT subscribers, and a BT subscription comes at an extra premium. If you want to watch the »
- Paul Heath
Gyllenhaal worked with the late Australian actor in 2005 on Oscar Winning film Brokeback Mountain, where the two starred as lovers who were separated for years at a time before rekindling their love across many years. Directed by Ang Lee, who won the Best Director Oscar for the film, Brokeback also starred Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables) and Michelle Williams (Take This Waltz).
Listening to a clip from the film during the NPR chat, Gyllenhaal spoke about his experiences with Ledger, and how his death changed his career.
“It brings me back to thinking about doing that scene with Heath, and the honor it was to work with him, and the beauty of his work. And I miss him as a human being, »
- Scott J. Davis
A critical and audience favorite at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, Touched With Fire “boasts Katie Holmes’ best performance in years,” according to the Huffington Post, and is the story of two bipolar poets whose art is fueled by their emotional extremes.
When they meet in a psychiatric hospital their romance brings out all the beauty and darkness of their condition until they have to choose between sanity and love.
Drawing inspiration from his own life experience and journey with bipolar disorder, Paul Dalio wrote, directed, edited and scored Touched With Fire. The film is produced by Jeremy Alter and Kristina Nikolova Dalio, »
- Michelle McCue
Read More: Exclusive Poster from SXSW Film 'Mania Days' is Like a Psychedelic Dream Roadside Attractions has acquired distribution rights for Paul Dalio's debut film "Touched With Fire" (previously entitled "Mania Days"), with Spike Lee serving as an executive producer. Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby ("Take This Waltz") star in this deeply emotional drama as two bipolar poets who meet in a psychiatric hospital. When their paths cross, they find themselves exploring all different dimensions of their condition until they are put to the ultimate test of choosing between sanity and love. Griffin Dunne ("Dallas Buyers Club"), Christine Lahti ("Swing Shift") and Bruce Altman ("Matchstick Men") also co-star alongside Holmes and Kirby in the film. The film premiered at SXSW earlier this year, and was a critical and audience favorite particularly because of Katie Holmes' powerful and stirring performance. "'Touched with Fire' »
- Sarah Choi
Over the course of film history, we've seen plenty of long-time actors step behind the camera to take up their directorial ambitions. Clint Eastwood did it. Mel Gibson did it. George Clooney did it. What do these three have in commonc Well, for starters, they are all men, so there's that. Further, they are all white, but more on that later. More to the point of the article, these men all eased into their directorial careers by starring in their respective debuts, using their presence on screen to help market their talents off it. And with his feature directorial effort The Water Diviner, which hits limited theaters this week, Russell Crowe is just the most recent addition to a growing list of actors who have decided to try their hand behind the camera. Like Eastwood, Gibson, and Clooney before him, the Best Actor winner stars in his first feature as director, »
- Jordan Benesh
This month Alan Rickman's A Little Chaos, Ryan Gosling's Lost River and Russell Crowe's The Water Diviner see these performers make the dizzying leap from actor to director. But in which of their colleagues' footsteps might they follow?
We take a look at six different categories of actor-turned-directors.
Too handsome to be a supporting actor, and lacking the gravitas of a major star, Ben Affleck looked to be heading towards Kilmer-ville before he released Gone Baby Gone, a dark Dennis Lehane thriller he co-wrote and directed, with brother Casey taking the lead. Follow-up The Town proved solid, but his next effort, Argo, was a surprise Best Picture winner. The fact Affleck didn't receive a Director nomination suggests he's not yet been forgiven for the likes of Gigli, but the forthcoming Lehane adaptation Live By Night should fix that.
As an actor, Clint Eastwood's flinty »
The project was set up in 2013 with Di Novi and Swicord while Pascal was co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment and chair of its motion picture group. Di Novi also produced the 1994 Winona Ryder version with Swicord writing that screenplay.
- Dave McNary
Editor Jacob T. Swinney has created a fascinating five minute video featuring the first and final shots from 55 different films. In some cases we can attempt to draw meaning from what we're seeing and in others there doesn't appear to be much rhyme or reason, but that in itself can offer a window into what the director was attempting to achieve. My only complaint with the video is the fact Swinney didn't include the film titles in the actual video, opting instead to list them in the film's description. While the majority of the images are recognizable enough, I did find myself looking at the descriptions here and there, taking me out of the video for a second and ultimately causing me to have to pause the video overall. Not a major complaint, just more a compliment in fact to the engrossing nature of what was created. I personally find the images of Birdman, »
- Brad Brevet
SXSW kicks off on Friday, with thousands arriving in Austin, Texas, to attend the film festival component. While there won’t be as many distribution deals as at Sundance or Toronto, SXSW can offer a strong launching pad for upcoming releases — last year, both “Neighbors” and “Chef” attracted lots of attention in Texas to before they went on to becomes box office hits. And, of course, the festival is also as a showcase for smaller films seeking buyers, such as the Katie Holmes drama “Mania Days.” Here are the 13 buzziest titles playing at SXSW this year.
The hottest ticket at SXSW will be for Judd Apatow’s new comedy starring Amy Schumer as a thirtysomething journalist who, after a series of one-night stands, sparks a connection with a subject she’s profiling (Bill Hader). Over the years, Apatow has helped launch the careers of some of Hollywood’s biggest »
- Ramin Setoodeh, Justin Chang and Dennis Harvey
It has not been an easy week. At the start of the week, we had our editorial meeting here at HitFix, as we do every Monday, to talk about both the week ahead and longer-term projects as well. For fairly obvious reasons, there was a fair amount of talk about Valentine's Day content, and I mentioned a few different ideas that I might write about, including one that I'll end up publishing at some point about Steve Martin. But even as I pitched a few ideas, I found myself uncomfortable with the entire idea of writing about romantic films right now. Honestly, I was hoping to spend this week with my head down and then just sail right through this weekend without writing about love at all, because for the first time in my adult life, I am no longer sure what I think about it. After all, I was with my wife for 14 years. »
- Drew McWeeny
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