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Ira Glass thinks it’s crazy for anyone to make a film. Ever.
But when his “This American Life” contributor Mike Birbiglia wanted to follow their 2012 collaboration “Sleepwalk with Me” with a film about an improv comedy troupe, Glass went along for another ride.
“It’s very hard for anybody who tries to make things for a living,” Glass said in our video interview at SXSW the morning after the film’s rousing premiere. “It’s hard to make anything that’s good… It struck me even more this time how many things have to go right, in every scene, every sound cue, it’s almost like every minute of the film is another 15 things that you can screw up.”
But Birbiglia, who learned a lot writing, directing, starring, and releasing “Sleepwalk with Me,” was up for the challenge. “It’s like nine art forms — you’ve got photography, acting, »
- Anne Thompson
Led by Paramount franchise sequel “Star Trek Beyond,” the box office should soar back into summer blockbuster territory.
After a 16% drop off from 2015 last weekend caused by the sole new wide studio release “Ghostbusters” doing decent but not stellar business, the late summer surge could finally arrive. Paramount’s “Star Trek Beyond” should be the easy #1 film, but two other new entries, animated sequel “Ice Age: Collision Course” (20th Century Fox) and horror flick “Lights Out” (Warner Bros.) —the genre has been rebounding — along with some decent holdovers should elevate the totals ahead above both last year and last weekend.
Year to date numbers remain a scant 1% ahead of 2015, which means that with slightly higher ticket prices, fewer people have attended movies this year. The big shortfall runs from May through summer. Through April grosses had increased over 9%, momentum reversed over the last two months.
Three new movies including two »
- Tom Brueggemann
Don't Think Twice looks at life inside an improv comedy group, which means it speaks to anyone on the periphery of success who dreams of taking the next step. It also speaks to the agony of watching one of your peers take that step and leave you behind. I can't get Mike Birbiglia's movie out of my head.
Birbiglia, 38, knows the drill: He's been doing improv and stand-up since forever. In 2012, he turned his semi-autobiographical one-man show, Sleepwalk With Me, into his feature film debut as writer, director and actor. »
To help sift through the increasing number of new releases (independent or otherwise), the Weekly Film Guide is here! Below you’ll find basic plot, personnel and cinema information for all of this week’s fresh offerings.
For July, we’ve also put together a list for the entire month. We’ve included this week’s list below, complete with information on screening locations for films in limited release.
See More: Here Are All the Upcoming Movies in Theaters for July 2016
Here are the films opening theatrically in the U.S. the week of Friday, July 22. All synopses provided by distributor unless listed otherwise.
Director: Galen T. Chu, Mike Thermeier
Synopsis: Scrat’s epic pursuit of his elusive acorn catapults him outside of Earth, where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the planet. »
- Steve Greene
[Note: This review is from SXSW earlier this year, but we're re-running it now because this spectacular movie is rolling out to theaters this week. Do not miss it.] Will they? Won’t they? That simple question is what drives so many comedies. Usually it’s found in movies or TV shows about two people who can’t stand each other but are clearly meant for each other, so the question becomes can they reconcile their differences and find a way to be together. That sets up a happy ending everybody wants and expects and it’s one that comedies, more often than not, deliver. In a lot of ways, Don’t Think Twice, the new comedy from Sleepwalk With Me writer-director Mike Birbiglia, is a will they, won’t they kind of movie, but it’s not...
- Peter Hall
“Don’t Think Twice” follows the members of The Commune, an improv group that plays to small audiences, little money, and even less recognition. The group’s members include founder Mike (Mike Birbiglia), Jack (Keegan-Michael Key), Samantha (Gillian Jacobs), Allison (Kate Micucci), Lindsay (Tami Sagher), and Bill (Chris Gethard); they all work crappy day jobs to feed the dream of performing comedy professionally, and maybe one day being cast on “Weekend Live,” a fictional version of “Saturday Night Live.” But when one of their own actually gets cast on the show, it sends the rest of the members into an existential spiral as they face the real possibility of never actually “making it.” Amidst feelings of jealousy and despair, the group struggles to move on from the thing they love the most. Check out some exclusive stills from the film below.
- Vikram Murthi
The first trailer has arrived online for writer-director Mike Birbiglia’s upcoming comedy drama Don’t Think Twice which stars Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia, Chris Gethard, Kate Micucci and Tami Sagher; check it out here along with the poster…
When a member of a popular New York City improv group gets selected for a hit TV show, the rest of the group—all best friends—start to realize that not everyone is going to make it after all. The new dramatic comedy from Mike Birbiglia (Sleepwalk With Me) features a stellar ensemble of comic actors in Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, Tami Sagher and Birbiglia. Don’t Think Twice tells a hilarious and honest story about the lives of professionally funny people.
Don’t Think Twice is set for release on July 22nd.
- Amie Cranswick
Mike Birbiglia continued his writing-directing-acting exploration of the comedian’s life and process by following 2012’s Sleepwalk with Me — one of the clearer recent examples of “far better than you’d have any right to expect” — with Don’t Think Twice, a dramedy concerning the world of New York City improv, late-night comedy, and the resentment that jealousy can breed among friends. Lending this story a bit of additional authenticity, Birbiglia surrounded himself with a row of genuine comedic talent: Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, and Tami Sagher.
Don’t Think Twice begins its theatrical run this summer, ahead of which there is now a trailer. At Tribeca, we were complimentary of the picture, saying, “As in his directorial debut, and comedy in general, Birbiglia — who, as well as writing the screenplay, serves as producer alongside Ira Glass — is astute in blending humor with life’s hardships. »
- Nick Newman
Mike Birbiglia started out as a stand-up comedian before transitioning into filmmaking with 2011’s loosely autobiographical Sleepwalk With Me, based on one of his stand-up acts. It was solid and sweet and lots of fun, but it’s his second film, Don’t Think Twice, that should really mark him as an indie director to watch. The […]
- Angie Han
Exclusive: The Help helmer Tate Taylor and partner John Norris have gotten help for their Wyolah Films banner, hiring producer Jacob Jaffke to be Head of Development & Production for Film & Television. This comes as Taylor is in post production on his adaptation of the Paula Hawkins bestselling thriller novel Girl On The Train, which Wykolah Films produced. Jaffke, whose credits include In a Valley of Violence, Sleepwalk with Me and The Sacrament, will work closely with… »
For his first feature Sleepwalk with Me, comedian-turned-director Mike Birbiglia adapted his semi-autobiographical one-man show, picking apart his anxieties and fears when it comes to the most personal aspects of his life. His follow-up, Don’t Think Twice, presents a perhaps even more insular world, that of the New York improv comedy scene and more specifically, the shifting dynamics of a single group.
Made up of founding member Miles (Birbiglia), Jack (Keegan-Michael Key), Samantha (Gillian Jacobs), Allison (Kate Micucci), Lindsay (Tami Sagher), and Bill (Chris Gethard), the tight-knit troupe goes by the name of The Commune. Whether they succeed or fall flat on any given night, they don’t break any of their rules: always say “yes,” it’s all about the group, and don’t think. They may hold jobs as a delivery man, a hostess or a hummus sample provider, but they live and breathe for that small »
- Jordan Raup
The movie debuted at SXSW last month to solid reviews, which resulted in bids from A24 and Roadside Attractions. But Film Arcade, which also financed the project, has decided to keep U.S. distribution rights.
“Film Arcade basically said if you release a movie with us, we’re going to let you tour the movie and not be day-and-date, and go as wide as the movie allows,” said Birbiglia, who wrote, direct and stars in the dramatic comedy.
“Don’t Think Twice” follows a group of New York comedians — played by Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Chris Gethard and Kate Micucci — who are trying to launch their careers on an “SNL”-like skit show. Cold Iron Pictures’ Miranda Bailey and Amanda Marshall produced the film. »
- Ramin Setoodeh
When writer-director Mike Birbiglia and his stars Gillian Jacobs and Keegan-Michael Key showed up at TheWrap’s SXSW 2016 interview studio in Austin, Texas, hijinks naturally ensued. The three comedic forces came in support of “Don’t Think Twice,” Birbiglia’s followup to his 2012 festival hit “Sleepwalk With Me.” The film follows a troupe of sketch comedians who lose the lease on their theater space at the same moment when one of their members lands a plum job on a sketch show reminiscent of “Saturday Night Live.” Also Read: SXSW: Nicolas Cage 'Deeply Aware' He's an Internet Icon (Video) Hard realities come as the group. »
- Matt Donnelly
Improvisational comedy is all about finding character, story, and humor in the heat of an unknown moment – but is that not life, too? As Del Close (a founding improv mind) once said, “Fall, and then figure out what to do on the way down.” That wisdom resonates through Mike Birbiglia’s sophomore effort, Don’t Think Twice, as he explores the perils of personal passion through middling “stagnation.” Life is passion, but passion is also pain, so, by association, doesn’t that mean life also equals pain? Birbiglia doesn’t shy away from the glamourless hardships of navigating New York City’s competitive artistry talent pool, which will be a wake up call that some people might not want to hear…but need.
The film follows an improv collective called The Commune, as they deal with the looming reality of their club’s closure. Over the course of a few weeks, »
- Matt Donato
On stages at Second City, Upright Citizens Brigade, iO, and more, writers and performers hone the art of comedy improv, chasing funny ideas into the unknown with the hope of arriving somewhere worthwhile. For some the goal is to create their own improv group; for others, the form is just the road to movies and TV. However, failure is also a very real outcome, and it’s a reality superbly captured in comedian Mike Birbiglia's sophomore directorial effort, “Don’t Think Twice.” Following six New York performers on the cusp of breaking out, played by Birbiglia, Gillian Jacobs, Chris Getherd, Tami Sagher, Kate Micucci, and Keegan-Michael Key, it fashions an entertaining, thoughtful portrait of friends in crisis when success is near. Read More: 2016 SXSW Film Festival: 12 Films & TV Highlights To Look Out For The film progresses the narrative and technical aims Birbiglia targeted with his first, “Sleepwalk With Me, »
- Charlie Schmidlin
After scoring a sleeper success with 2012’s “Sleepwalk With Me,” which adapted his solo stage show about toiling on the standup circuit, writer-director Mike Birbiglia stretches out a bit — but not too much — with the accomplished seriocomedy “Don’t Think Twice.” Like its predecessor a pleasingly naturalistic insider’s view of life on the lower rungs of showbiz, this more ensemble-focused piece is also somewhat autobiographical, as it draws on Birbiglia’s background training and performing with improv groups. But here a fictive scenario develops in which one member of a longtime improv troupe suddenly wins the comedy lottery of a cast gig on a “Saturday Night Live”-type sketch show, throwing those colleagues left behind into turmoil. This realistic but not excessively downbeat portrait of fame striking a lucky few — and missing everyone else — should build on “Sleepwalk’s” fandom to decent niche returns in various formats.
After being together a decade, »
- Dennis Harvey
Anyone paying attention to the SXSW Film Festival — or, for that matter, the American independent film scene — will recognize plenty of names in this year's lineup. Standup comedian-turned-filmmaker Mike Bibiglia follows his breakout hit "Sleepwalk With Me" with "Don't Think Twice," the story of an improv group facing big changes, with a cast headlined by Keegan-Michael Key. Horror maestro Ti West returns to the festival that first showcased his eerie ghost story "The Innkeepers" with a change of pace, the western "In a Valley of Violence," which stars John Travolta. And Austin's biggest source of pride, director Richard Linklater, opens the festival this year with his "Dazed and Confused" riff "Everybody Wants Some." Read More: Ethan Hawke, Jake Gyllenhaal and More Headline 2016 SXSW Features Lineup But like the feisty crowd that crams the downtown streets in mid-March, SXSW owes much to the youthful energy of »
- Eric Kohn
New films from Mike Birbiglia ("Sleepwalk with Me"), Ti West ("The Innkeepers"), and a doc from studio exec-turned-director Susan Glatzer highlight the latest additions to SXSW's feature film lineup, set to open March 11 with the world premiere of Richard Linklater's "Everybody Wants Some." Birbiglia's comedy "Don't Think Twice," with Keegan-Michael Key, West's revenge drama "In the Valley of Violence," starring Ethan Hawke, Taissa Farmiga, and John Travolta, and Glatzer's swing dance doc "Alive and Kicking" join the U.S. premiere of "Wild" director Jean-Marc Vallee's "Demolition," with Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, and Chris Cooper. In her eighth year, SXSW Film Festival head Janet Pierson and her team juggled programming the return of many SXSW alumni with "a lot of unknowns," she said in a phone interview. "We are always showing new emerging work, so we default to »
- Anne Thompson and Matt Brennan
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