13 items from 2015
Ryan Reynolds’ performance as fast-talkin’ Wade Wilson in the lacklustre X-Men Origins: Wolverine is arguably the film’s highlight. Across his entirely-too-short screentime, Reynolds catapults between the quippy ‘merc with a mouth’ Wilson to the Project X-powered Deadpool. He’s an absolute riot to watch, and hordes of Deadpool fans went public with that same opinion. So much so that the leaked footage from a canceled Deadpool spinoff movie incited such tremendous fan support that it eventually received the greenlight from Fox.
Speaking out in an interview with Shortlist, Reynolds addressed the status of the movie and how fan approval is one of the driving factors behind production:
“I’m incredibly happy about it — we’ve got a director that understands that world and writers with a slavish devotion to the canon of that character. That’s the most important aspect: it’s made in a way the most critical of fanboys could embrace. »
- Gem Seddon
Tommy Davidson has been set in Richard Reid’s indie comedy Frat Pack, described as “Road Trip meets Bridesmaids meets Project X with a little American Pie thrown in. Davidson, the comedian who was probably best known for his Sammy Davis, Jr. and Michael Jackson impressions on the iconic variety show In Living Color (which also introduced a wide berth of fans to the comedy of Jim Carrey and Jamie Foxx … hey guys, how about a reunion show?), will play an overly protective… »
For the second year in a row, the Sundance Film Festival has a clear breakout hit, with Me and Earl and the Dying Girl winning both the Grand Jury and Audience Awards for the U.S. Dramatic competition. (Whiplash pulled off the same feat last year.) A funny, touching, and highly inventive tale of a boy-girl high school borne in tragic circumstances, Me and Earl got a standing ovation in the dark while the credits were still rolling at the premiere screening I attended. Fox Searchlight and Indian Paintbrush may not have paid the Sundance-record $12 million that the film was originally rumored to have commanded, but there’s not doubting that director Alfonso Goméz-Rejón (best known for American Horror Story), screenwriter Jesse Andrews (who adapted his own novel), and virtually unknown star Thomas Mann (Project X) have very bright futures ahead of them.Tig Notaro, who’s the subject of a documentary, »
- Jada Yuan
Park City, Utah – HollywoodChicago.com’s coverage of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival is far from over. This is the latest batch of reviews of movies that I’ve seen there. One film was a triumph while the other two are titles that I wouldn’t want to be stuck talking to at a party.
Image credit: Sundance Institute
Running equal portions of dry goofiness and finite inspired storytelling, Jared Hess’ “Don Verdean” is a rewarding comedy about Biblical archaeology that’s necessary for times in which religious institutions crave sensationalism to get their good word across. For those who read “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven” before its child author said he made it all up, or those who saw “Heaven Is For Real” as a type of precursor to their own death’s aftermath, this movie is for them. It’s a brilliant take »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
For the third weekend in a row, American Sniper is going to easily take the top spot at the box office. Even with the Super Bowl monopolizing attention on Sunday, Sniper should still easily add at least $30 million over the three-day period.Among the weekend's new releases, found footage time travel movie Project Almanac should provide decent counterprogramming for teen moviegoers, while Black or White and The Loft will be lucky to earn a combined $10 million.Through 13 days in wide release, American Sniper has already earned $213.4 million. This weekend, it expands to an additional 180 locations, which brings its total count to 3,885; that's a new record for an R-rated movie, ahead of the record that Sniper set last weekend.On fantastic word-of-mouth, the movie dropped a very light 28 percent last weekend. With tough competition from the Super Bowl on Sunday, a similar drop this weekend is out of the question. Still, »
- Ray Subers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Let’s say you discover a time machine in your basement. Would you use it to go back and stop Hitler, or would you instead make tiny jumps to tweak the quality of your own life — like taking your friends to Lollapalooza, or perfecting the all-important kiss you flubbed the first time around? For the teens in the found-footage time-travel movie “Project Almanac,” the chance to rewrite history is wasted trying to perfect their high-school experience, which naturally leads to unforeseen consequences — for them, at least, although the aftermath will be plenty familiar to butterfly-effect believers — in a film that squanders its potential.
Nearly five years after Paramount announced its Insurge initiative — a plan to generate 10 pics in the ballpark of $100,000 a year, conceived in the wake of the 2007 microbudget phenom “Paranormal Activity” — the studio has finally unveiled its first title (not counting 2012’s shoestring pickup “The Devil Inside”). But »
- Peter Debruge
I love this movie. I love this movie so, so, so much. Mere minutes into Sunday afternoon’s Sundance screening of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, I started involuntarily whispering those words to the fellow journalist sitting next to me. I laughed hard many, many times. I bawled for minutes on end. And like the rest of the audience, I rose to my feet to applaud in the dark while the credits were rolling, tears still streaming down my face. More than any other movie that’s screened at Sundance 2015, Me and Earl feels like a breakout hit — it boasts an exciting second-time feature-film director, Alfonso Goméz-Rejón (who’s done Emmy-winning work as one of the most visually experimental directors on American Horror Story); a sharp first-time screenwriter, Jesse Andrews (adapting his own novel); and a virtually unknown young lead, Thomas Mann, whose previous work (2012’s house-party-gone-wild trifle »
- Jada Yuan
Heated bidding surrounded drama about teenage filmmaker befriending a classmate with cancer
Fox Searchlight has won a Sundance bidding war for worldwide rights to Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s young adult tearjerker “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” and will release it later this year, the company said Monday.
“Project X’s” Thomas Mann stars as Greg Gaines, an awkward, self-deprecating high school student with a single friend, Earl (Rj Cyler). Both of their lives change when Greg’s mother forces him to befriend Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a classmate who’s been diagnosed with leukemia. Nick Offerman, Molly Shannon, Jon Bernthal and Connie Britton co-star. »
- Jeff Sneider
Anyone who buys a ticket to a film called “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” goes in fully expecting to cry. It’s sort of a given. The surprise, then, is the laughter: the near-constant stream of wise, insightful jokes that make it so easy to cozy up to characters dealing with a tough emotional situation. The story of a high school senior forced to befriend a classmate who has just diagnosed with leukemia, and the sincere, nonsexual connection that forms as a result (sorry, “The Fault in Our Stars,” but there’s no nookie here), this rousing adaptation of Jesse Andrews’ novel is destined not only to connect with young audiences in a big way, but to endure as a touchstone for its generation.
- Peter Debruge
Michael B. Jordan in “Fruitvale Station.” Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley in “The Spectacular Now.” Oscar nominees Quvenzhané Wallis and Abigail Breslin in “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and “Little Miss Sunshine,” respectively.
All of those performances were once the talk of Sundance, where stars threaten to break-out each year. The 2015 edition of the frosty festival is no different, with no shortage of young stars poised to launch their careers in Park City and make a name for themselves in Hollywood. »
- Jeff Sneider
At their best, teen movies aren’t suitable for adults. Take Project X. Adolescent audiences flocked to the raucous party movie on its release in 2012, then threw “Project X parties” in their parents’ suburban semis, while middle-aged critics fell over one another to decry the film and its influence. Compare that with The Way Way Back, an old-fashioned coming-of-age dramedy released around the same time that failed to connect with any actual teenagers, but saw critics throwing up their arms and proclaiming the genre’s rebirth. »
The award, which is sponsored by Ee, recognizes actors or actresses who “have demonstrated exceptional talent, and are destined to be bright stars in the future of cinema.” The other nominees are Shailene Woodley, Margot Robbie and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
O’Connell first came to public attention in the U.K. TV series “Skins,” which he starred in from 2009. In 2013, he took the lead in British indie film “Starred Up,” playing Eric, a violent reprobate prematurely transferred to an adult prison. The role earned him a best actor nomination at last year’s British Independent Film Awards.
He also received critical acclaim for his punchy portrayal of Private Gary Hook in “’71,” for which he was nominated for a British Independent Film Award last year. The thriller, »
- Leo Barraclough
BAFTA has announced this year’s crop of nominees for its Ee Rising Star Award, with a handful of names in the mix whom many would consider already pretty firmly established. The group consists of Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jack O’Connell, Margot Robbie, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley. That there are three women in the mix is an evolution from last year’s two — a few years ago the org was criticized for selecting an entirely male roster. This is the only BAFTA award that is voted on by the British public; it honors actors and actresses “who have demonstrated exceptional talent, and are destined to be bright stars in the future of cinema.”
Mbatha-Raw recently won the British Independent Film Award as Best Actress in Belle. Her other feature credits have included Larry Crowne, Odd Thomas and Beyond The Lights, as well as TV appearances in Spooks and Dr Who. »
- Nancy Tartaglione
13 items from 2015
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