17 items from 2017
Hannah Fidell is following up “6 Years,” her portrait of dysfunctional young love, with a buddy comedy. Principal photography for “The Long Dumb Road” has begun in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a press release has announced.
Tony Revolori (“Grand Budapest Hotel”) and Jason Mantzoukas (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) star as two men who have little in common but are both at personal crossroads. They “meet serendipitously and take an unpredictable journey through the American Southwest,” the film’s official synopsis reveals. “At once comedic and honest, the film explores how differences in class, race, age, and life experience divide us, and how they can ultimately bring us together.”
Taissa Farmiga (“American Horror Story”), who starred in Fidell’s 2015 relationship drama “6 Years,” has a supporting role in the project. The ensemble cast also includes Grace Gummer (“Good Girls Revolt”), Casey Wilson (“Happy Endings”), and Ron Livingston (“Drinking Buddies”).
“It’s been my experience that the indie/festival world is very female-director friendly. It’s those higher-budgeted projects where it seems to be harder to break through,” Fidell told us when “6 Years” premiered at SXSW. At the time, she was working on the screenplay for “The Long Dumb Road.” “I’m in the middle of writing a comedy — two dudes on a road trip — that I co-wrote with my friend Carson Mell,” she said. “He wrote on ‘Eastbound and Down’ and currently writes on ‘Silicon Valley,’ so you know this film will be very different from anything I’ve done before, just as the improv-heavy ‘6 Years’ was vastly different from the meticulously planned out and scripted ‘A Teacher.’ I like a good challenge. And I like to feel that I’m always learning something new,” she emphasized.
“The Long Dumb Road” was financed by Gamechanger Films, which invests in narrative features helmed by women. Fidell and Jacqueline “Jj” Ingram (“Operator”) are producing alongside Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams of Ten Acre Films (“Hellion”). Mynette Louie (“Lovesong”) and Alicia Van Couvering (“Christine”) are serving as executive producers along with Gamechanger’s Julie Parker Benello, Dan Cogan, Geralyn Dreyfous, and Wendy Ettinger.
Principal Photography Kicks Off for Hannah Fidell’s “The Long Dumb Road” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Joe Swanberg has had one of the more interesting career upswings of any independent filmmaker out there. After being one of the essential founders of the mumblecore indie movement, he made a right turn of sorts a few years back. Opting for bigger stars and similarly simple premises, he’s found more acclaim than ever before. Between Drinking Buddies, Happy Christmas, and Digging for Fire, Swanberg is as exciting a writer/director as ever before. Most recently, Swanberg has teamed up again with frequent collaborator Jake Johnson for Win It All, a film that at once feels both different and similar than what he’s been up to lately. Above all else, it’s a great vehicle for Johnson, who does his best work when paired with Swanberg. The flick is a character study, centered on gambler Eddie Garrett (Johnson). He’s broke, but charming. A nice guy unable to resist a card game, »
- Joey Magidson
With his new, SXSW-premiering Netflix Original, Win it All, the famously improvisatory writer/director Joe Swanberg has dealt his fans a real surprise: a picture with a much clearer plot, rhythm and character journey than his previous films. Indeed, with this movie about risk-taking, Swanberg has taken on a risk many successful filmmakers have avoided — the risk of artistic evolution. Pairing up again with collaborator Jake Johnson (Swanberg’s Drinking Buddies, TV’s New Girl), Swanberg puts his focus on gambling and the addiction to both winning — and perhaps losing too. Johnson, who co-wrote the script, plays Eddie Garrett, a down-and-out […] »
- Meredith Alloway
‘Win It All’ Is a Low-Stakes Table But a Good TimeJoe Swanberg’s latest character study combines neo-noir and lawnmowing.
I may be overly sympathetic towards Eddie (Win It All’s protagonist played by Jake Johnson) during the film’s opening credit sequence, because I recently took a similarly bleary-eyed train back home from Chicago’s Chinatown after a long night of cutting my losses. It’s not just that, though. Win It All is a slow-burn dramedy set on undercutting the romanticized, disheveled losers of noir while still developing a charm of its own. Johnson, in his expressive, frumpy portrayal of a low-stakes gambling addict — the kind of guy that wears a thin gold chain around his neck and really means it — finds pain, humor, and hope in a dead-end card junkie.
- Jacob Oller
When Jake Johnson met director Joe Swanberg for the first time, he had no idea that this meeting would start what has so far been a fruitful and highly creative actor-director partnership. The fact that “Drinking Buddies” turned out to be their first movie helped a lot. The 2013 film, starring Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Olivia Wilde, has become the blueprint example of how good Swanberg’s style can be when everything just clicks.
- Jordan Ruimy
The new Netflix comedy Win It All is the third collaboration between Joe Swanberg and Jake Johnson, following Drinking Buddies and Digging for Fire. The duo approached the new film differently than their previous work, describing it as a “straight-up comedy.” The A.V. Club sat down with Swanberg and Johnson, as well as cast members Joe Lo Truglio and Aislinn Derbez, to find out how this new approach altered the filmmaking process. »
- Baraka Kaseko
Welcome back to the Weekend Warrior, your weekly look at the new movies hitting theaters this weekend, as well as other cool events and things to check out.
Three New Movies May Have Trouble Making Much of a Mark
After a couple impressive March weekends with one new box office record, and a couple impressive openings, we’re now into April, and of the new movies, there just doesn’t seem like anything can defeat last week’s powerful duo of DreamWorks Animation’s The Boss Baby--which exceeded all predictions with $49 million, taking the top spot from Beauty and the Beast. Ghost in the Shell didn’t even do as well as I thought it may, opening with just $19 million, those late reviews helping to kill its weekend.
- Edward Douglas
Movies about gamblers are fun. Movies about reformed gamblers, on the other hand, tend to put the viewer in the uncomfortable position of rooting for the protagonist to relapse. That’s the challenge taken up by Joe Swanberg and Jake Johnson—who previously collaborated on Drinking Buddies and Digging For Fire—in their latest joint effort, Win It All. Can they sustain viewer interest in a story about a literal loser who’s making a sincere, committed effort to overcome his gambling addiction and straighten out his life? Not really, as it turns out, but there’s enough disreputable behavior bookending the righteousness, and enough solid jokes along the way, to make the effort moderately entertaining.
Johnson doesn’t deviate much from his winningly hangdog New Girl persona as Eddie, who’s first seen getting cleaned out in a backroom poker game. (The film is set in Chicago, which is »
- Mike D'Angelo
From “Nights and Weekends” to “Happy Christmas” and “Drinking Buddies,” mumblecore master Joe Swanberg has shown a distinctive talent for infusing dazzling humanity and humor into simple stories. With his latest SXSW entry, “Win It All,” he does this in the tale of a lovable, low-grade degenerate whose offered an unusual opportunity to conquer his gambling addiction when thousands of dollars are dropped on his door step.
- Kristy Puchko
For anyone who first encountered indie auteur Joe Swanberg in his nano-budget days of both literal and figurative onscreen onanism, the idea that his films might one day be almost too tidy in their clockwork plotting and crowdpleasing sweetness would have seemed absurd. Yet that’s precisely the trade-off offered by his latest, “Win It All,” which casts a never-better Jake Johnson as an endearingly hopeless small-time gambler who finds redemption at the worst possible time. Funny, warm, and broken-in in all the right ways, “Win It All” marries Swanberg’s loping, observational style with a plot that wouldn’t have been out of place in an old-school Warner Bros. melodrama, and ends up dealing a surprisingly strong hand.
Swanberg first began making overtures to audiences outside mumblecore’s closed feedback loop with “Drinking Buddies” and “All the Light in the Sky.” But it was with his first venture into episodic television, »
- Andrew Barker
The most radical thing about “Win It All,” a perfectly agreeable little movie about one man’s attempt to put his gambling problems behind him, is that it follows a pretty conventional arc. More than a decade after director Joe Swanberg started cranking out rambling, improvisatory lo-fi movies, he has wound up funneling those tendencies into formula. At the same time, “Win It All” shows only just enough interest in narrative to keep its light entertainment value in play, while resisting the impulse to tell all but the simplest of stories. It’s still a talky character study, but Swanberg has steadily shown a far greater regard to holding the interest of a general audience, and this is the closest he has come so far.
It’s a reasonable outcome for a movie produced exclusively for Netflix, where Swanberg recently did a full season of his observational comedy “Easy,” further »
- Eric Kohn
South by Southwest, once known as an intimate stomping ground for tiny films, has turned into the Comic-Con of the spring. Starting today, thousands will descend in Austin for the splashy red-carpet movie and TV premieres, as well as concerts (hello, Solange), panels and keynotes speeches ranging from Joe Biden to Lee Daniels. In keeping up with the political climate, there’s even a Planned Parenthood rally, called “Never Going Back,” co-hosted by Tumblr on Sunday
afternoon.The annual gathering, which started as a music festival in 1987 and has quickly expanded from there, is now a must-stop for studios and networks. In recent years, hits like “Furious 7,” “Sausage Party,” “Trainwreck,” “Spy” and “Neighbors” have all come to Texas before dominating multiplexes across the country. And in 2012, “Girls’” debuted with a then-unknown Lena Dunham. Here are Variety’s pick for the 17 buzziest projects at this year’s SXSW.
1. “Song To Song”
In a major coup that »
- Andrew Barker, Elizabeth Wagmeister, Joe Leydon and Ramin Setoodeh
South by Southwest, once known as an intimate stomping ground for tiny films, has turned into the Comic-Con of the spring. Starting today, thousands will descend in Austin for the splashy red-carpet movie and TV premieres, as well as concerts (hello, Solange), panels and keynotes speeches ranging from Joe Biden to Lee Daniels. In keeping up with the political climate, there’s even a Planned Parenthood rally, called “Never Going Back,” co-hosted by Tumblr on Sunday afternoon.
The annual gathering, which started as a music festival in 1987 and has quickly expanded from there, is now a must-stop for studios and networks. In recent years, hits like “Furious 7,” “Sausage Party,” “Trainwreck,” “Spy” and “Neighbors” have all come to Texas before dominating multiplexes across the country. And in 2012, “Girls’” debuted with a then-unknown Lena Dunham. Here are Variety’s pick for the 17 buzziest projects at this year’s SXSW.
- Andrew Barker, Elizabeth Wagmeister, Joe Leydon and Ramin Setoodeh
He started to make films before Netflix’s streaming empire skyrocketed, but it couldn’t be a more perfect venue for the films of Joe Swanberg. While it’s unfortunate most people will experience the upcoming films of Bong Joon-ho and Martin Scorsese from home, Swanberg’s rag-tag, lo-fi approach is an ideal fit for this kind of viewing. With that, we have the trailer for next film, Win it All, which premieres at SXSW and lands on Netflix next month.
A reunion after Drinking Buddies and Digging for Fire, Jake Johnson leads the film (along with co-writing it), playing a gambler who tries to dig himself out of debt after a bad decision. Swanberg and Johnson have proven to be a strong fit together and this one doesn’t look to shake up that winning formula. Also starring Keegan-Michael Key, Joe Lo Truglio, and Aislinn Derbez, check out the trailer below. »
- Jordan Raup
The prolific indie director Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies) has mostly shied away from direct conflict in his films, which makes the upcoming Win It All seem like a comparatively risky change of pace. It’s the story of a compulsive gambler (Jake Johnson, a Swanberg regular) who is asked to hide a duffel bag of money for a criminal acquaintance and ends up blowing it on bets. And while it seems to be set in Swanberg’s regular milieu (i.e. the north side of Chicago) and was shot in his preferred format of Super 16mm by Easy cinematographer Eon Mora, the trailer doesn’t completely look like a Joe Swanberg movie, either. It’s a little dingier, a little more adventurous in the lighting.
Win It All was actually shot in the summer of 2015, and despite being rumored as a possible pick for Sundance for two years in ...
- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
For his first feature film in two years — quite possibly a record for the prolific writer/director/producer/editor/actor — Joe Swanberg returns with “Win It All,” which is set to premiere at South by Southwest this weekend. Netflix just released a trailer for the movie, which stars co-writer Jake Johnson. Watch below.
Johnson — who previously worked with Swanberg on “Drinking Buddies,” “Digging for Fire” and an episode of “Love” — plays a gambler who vastly overestimates his own abilities (and luck, for that matter). “When he discovers cash in the bag, he’s unable to resist the temptation and winds up deeply in debt,” reads the Netflix synopsis. “When the prison release is shortened, Eddie suddenly has a small window of time to win all the money back.”
Read More: »
- Michael Nordine
Jake Johnson and Joe Swanberg seem to have a pretty good thing going. The actor starred in the director’s “Drinking Buddies” and “Digging For Fire,” his TV series “Easy,” and now his next feature, “Win It All.”
Read More: 20 Must-See Movies At The 2017 SXSW Film Festival
- Kevin Jagernauth
17 items from 2017
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