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Preview: Stellar Weekend Kicks Off 2015 Chicago Critics Film Festival

1 May 2015 10:57 AM, PDT | | See recent news »

Chicago – Friday, May 1st, kicks off one of 2015 Chicago’s most special events, the Chicago Critics Film Festival (Ccff) – a film festival as programmed by the members of the Chicago Film Critics Association. The place to be is at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago, and the titles included are an exciting batch of movies making their premiere here.

Many of the films had their world premiere at festivals like Sundance, Toronto and South X Southwest, and contributors Nick Allen and Patrick McDonald have been sampling the best of the festival, and offer this preview of the kick-off weekend. Each capsule is designated with Na (Nick Allen) or Pm (Patrick McDonald) – to indicate the author – or encapsulates the official synopsis from the festival.

Be sure to check back with on Monday, when we finish our preview of the festival by looking ahead to the weekday schedule, »

- (Adam Fendelman)

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Jenny Slate And Ari Graynor On For New Comedy Pilot

27 April 2015 10:18 AM, PDT | EmpireOnline | See recent EmpireOnline news »

Obvious Child was one of our favourite movies last year, so we’re pleased to see the team reuniting on a new project. This time, it’s a TV pilot for a road trip comedy that will star Child’s Jenny Slate alongside Ari Graynor.The film’s director, Gillian Robespierre and producer, Elisabeth Holm have written the script and will kick off filming the pilot this week, launching the story of two women who become friends, make a film together ands then go on a trip together. Though it doesn’t yet have a name, it does have the backing of Us cable network FX, which provides a home for the likes of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. If the pilot is successful, it’ll go to series on the channel.Slate will next show up in Joe Swanberg’s new film Digging For Fire and is attached »

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Watch: Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders & Kevin Corrigan Get Fit In The First Trailer For ‘Results’

15 April 2015 8:02 AM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

Mumblecore filmmakers are really breaking out of that limited ghetto as of late. Joe Swanberg has tapped into something great with actors like Anna Kendrick and Jake Johnson, with films like “Drinking Buddies” and “Digging For Fire.” The Duplass Brothers have long since had success in the mainstream world, including their terrific new HBO show “Togetherness.” In the last few years, Lynn Shelton and Drake Doremus have also graduated into, how should we put it, more polished filmmaking. Next in line is Andrew Bujalski, once dubbed “the godfather of mumblecore,” who made two key entries in the genre, “Funny Ha Ha” and “Mutual Appreciation.” At Sundance 2015, Bujalski stepped up with his most mainstream effort to date, “Results,” with quite the name cast, including Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders. And he did so with some pretty hilarious, well, results. The sometimes delusional culture of self-improvement — actualizing your dreams and achieving your goals to instant happiness. »

- Edward Davis

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Drinking Buddies Director Joe Swanberg Will Go Mainstream For Work Wife

10 February 2015 12:33 PM, PST | We Got This Covered | See recent We Got This Covered news »

Few filmmakers have been as pivotal to the mumblecore movement as Joe Swanberg, whose micro-budgeted, improv-heavy dramas have brought him widespread acclaim and considerable success over the past decade. In 2013, he had the biggest hit of his career with Drinking Buddies and followed it up with another high-profile project, titled Happy Christmas, which sent his profile soaring even higher. Now, Swanberg is continuing his progression toward mainstream cinema by taking on his first studio film.

Romantic comedy Work Wife, which Swanberg will direct for New Line but (in an unusual move for him) not script, centers on two thirtysomething lawyers who decide to try their luck at dating co-workers. Screenwriters Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins previously created the beloved yet short-lived ABC comedy Trophy Wife and also have two scripts in development – Lunch Lady at Universal and Booksmart at 20th Century Fox.

Swanberg has made more than 17 films since 2005’s Kissing on the Mouth, »

- Isaac Feldberg

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Sundance 2015: ‘Digging for Fire’ is pleasantly bland

8 February 2015 7:52 PM, PST | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Digging for Fire

Written by Jake Johnson & Joe Swanberg

Directed by Joe Swanberg

USA, 2015

Digging for Fire comes perilously close to having something interesting to say about relationships and lurking curiosities.  Unfortunately, it lacks the narrative focus and observational humor to be more than a mild diversion.  It’s the kind of film where the secondary characters exist only to further the plot, while the main characters always say exactly what’s on their mind.  It’s not a bad movie, exactly, but it never quite reaches the emotional heights that it’s reaching for.

Tim (Jake Johnson) and Lee (Rosemarie DeWitt) are a young married couple still bathing in the afterglow of the birth of their first child.  Their past lives are becoming a distant memory and things seem more stable than ever.  Everything is wonderful and idyllic.  That’s usually about the time that panic sets in.

While »

- J.R. Kinnard

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Sundance 2015 Interview: Digging For Fire With Joe Swanberg

3 February 2015 11:00 AM, PST | Twitch | See recent Twitch news »

Joe Swanberg has never looked to filmmaking as a means of escapism. With an eye attuned to realism, Swanberg has a great talent for exploring and working through themes of relationships and ageing and the correlation between the two. Swanberg's 2013 film, Drinking Buddies, found him working through the constraints of freedom within the precarious post collegial period of the serious relationship, prior to commitment. His new film, Digging For Fire, is an observationally meditative allegory that finds him at odds with marriage, fatherhood, and what becomes of one's identity when these forces overwhelm a person's concept of his/her personality. Both Drinking Buddies and Digging For Fire are exceptional behavioral studies that thoroughly dig at the implications and weight of sexual tension. But now...

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Review: Political drama 'Zipper' becomes 'Reefer Madness' for sex addiction

2 February 2015 9:30 PM, PST | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

Just as sex scandals are pretty much as old as politics themselves, as long as we've had films, we've had cinematic depictions of sex scandals, usually serious and sometimes comedic. Whether filmmakers have had to be coy about the nature of the scandals -- see "The Best Man" or "Advise and Consent" -- or whether filmmakers have been able to directly tear sex scandals from the headlines -- see "Primary Colors" -- the ground has been fertile. Fortunately -- Unfortunately? -- sex scandals just keep coming along and we keep lapping them up, from Eliot Spitzer to John Edwards to Anthony Weiner. Bringing the genre to Sundance this year was "Zipper," a largely straight-faced approach to a plausibly finger-on-the-pulse topic, which falls flat because of a middle act in which the drama spirals into dated addiction craziness. When it's a political thriller, "Zipper" is respectably acted and presented and has some merit. »

- Daniel Fienberg

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2015 Sundance Diary: ‘Digging for Fire,’ ‘Entertainment’ & ‘Results’

2 February 2015 6:38 PM, PST | | See recent news »

Park City, Utah – There are still some films to be discussed in my Sundance coverage. Here’s write-ups of “Digging for Fire,” “Entertainment,” and “Results,” which featured the return of festival-approved directors, albeit heading in different directions.

At this year’s festival, two maestros of the ol’ mumblecore days stepped into the big-time spotlight with their new films that boasted their biggest casts and fanciest films yet. The first to show was Joe Swanberg, who has gone from super low-key directing to hosting a celebrity party this side of “This is the End” in “Digging For Fire.” The other is Andrew Bujalski, whose previous films were nerd alerts like “Mutual Appreciation” and most recently “Computer Chess.”

In a reverse course is Rick Alverson’s “Entertainment,” which doesn’t start modestly but attempt to reach a wide audience, but starts with a big promise to reach a very specific audience. An explanation on that below. »

- (Adam Fendelman)

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Sundance: Joe Swanberg, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Jake Johnson on Digging for Fire

2 February 2015 2:33 PM, PST | Vulture | See recent Vulture news »

If you've heard of Digging for Fire, it's likely that you're aware that Chris Messina’s penis makes an appearance in the film, during a scene when the actor goes skinny-dipping. How did that magical moment happen? It’s all by the grace of director Joe Swanberg’s improvised movie-making style, wherein the performers worked to fill in the dialogue and action suggested by a ten-page outline written by Swanberg and New Girl’s Jake Johnson. (The latter starred in Swanberg’s 2013 Drinking Buddies.) This time around, Johnson and Rosemarie DeWitt play Tim and Lee, parents to a 3-year-old boy (played by Swanberg’s own son, Jude), who find a rusted gun and a bone in the hillside of a fancy L.A. place they’re housesitting. Soon they’re off on different adventures: Lee’s involves a chance encounter with Orlando Bloom, while Tim invites his buddies — Sam Rockwell, »

- Jada Yuan

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Sundance: The Orchard, Sony Pictures International Snag ‘Digging for Fire’ (Updated)

30 January 2015 11:53 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The Orchard has nabbed North American rights to Joe Swanberg’s “Digging for Fire,” marking the upstart distributor’s second major deal of the Sundance Film Festival.

In addition, Sony Pictures International has paid an undisclosed film for foreign rights to the off-beat comedy.

The film arrives courtesy of “Drinking Buddies” creator Swanberg and follows a husband and wife who come across a bone and a gun and the fallout from that discovery. A big selling point was the picture’s ensemble cast, which features prominent names such as Sam Elliott, Judith Light, Ron Livingston, Melanie Lynskey and Jenny Slate. Jake Johnson co-wrote the script with Swanberg.

The Orchard previously outbid a number of distributors to snag the sex comedy “The Overnight.”

“After admiring Joe’s films for a long time, it’s a dream for us to have the opportunity to work with him,” said Paul Davidson, the Orchard »

- Brent Lang

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Sundance: Joe Swanberg’s ‘Digging for Fire’ Starring Jake Johnson Sells to The Orchard (Exclusive)

30 January 2015 11:49 AM, PST | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

[Exclusive Update 12:45 p.m.: Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has bought international rights to “Digging for Fire,” which means the film will be distributed worldwide.]

Earlier Exclusive

The Orchard is acquiring North American rights to Joe Swanberg’s “Digging for Fire,” which Swanberg co-wrote with star Jake Johnson. The duo also produced the movie with Alicia Van Couvering.

An individual with knowledge of the negotiations told TheWrap that the deal is worth around $2 million.

The film, which made its world premiere earlier this week at Sundance, co-stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Orlando Bloom, Brie Larson, Sam Rockwell, Anna Kendrick and Mike Birbiglia. The supporting cast includes Sam ElliottJudith Light, Ron Livingston, Melanie Lynskey  Jenny Slate, Timothy Simons and Jane Adams.

Digging for Fire” follows the discovery »

- Jeff Sneider

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Digging For Fire finds buyers

30 January 2015 3:26 AM, PST | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Sundance: Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has acquired international rights and The Orchard has picked up North America on Joe Swanberg’s drama. In separate deals, Ten Thousand Saints and Fresh Dressed also sold.

Digging For Fire stars Jake Johnson, Rosemarie DeWitt, Orlando Bloom, Brie Larson, Sam Rockwell, Anna Kendrick and Mike Birbiglia

Swanberg co-wrote with Jake Johnson and produced with Alicia Van Couvering and Johnson.

The story follows a married couple who head off on separate adventures after they discover a bone and a gun.

Screen Media Films has acquired Us rights to Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s comedy-drama Ten Thousand Saints starring Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Emily Mortimer, Julianne Nicholson, Emile Hirsch and Ethan HawkeScreen Media Films will release in late summer via day-and-date theatrical and VOD after brokering the deal with CAA.Samuel Goldwyn Films and StyleHaul have acquired North American rights to Sacha Jenkins’ documentary Fresh Dressed, about the evolution »

- (Jeremy Kay)

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Review: Digging for Fire (Sundance 2015)

28 January 2015 3:37 PM, PST | | See recent JoBlo news »

Plot: The discovery of a human bone and an old gun sends a husband (Jake Johnson) and wife (Rosemarie DeWitt) on separate adventures over a few days in L.A that will test the strength of each partner's marital devotion. Review: It's not Sundance without Joe Swanberg, right? An insanely prolific director, the former mumblecore director continues his transition into the mainstream (his way) with Digging For Fire. Like his last few movies . Drinking Buddies and Happy Christmas . Digging »

- Chris Bumbray

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'Digging For Fire' director Joe Swanberg says he's already made a superhero movie

27 January 2015 4:15 PM, PST | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

"Digging For Fire," the new film from indie relationship dramedy favorite Joe Swanberg, premiered on Monday (January 26) evening at the Sundance Film Festival. You can check out my review of the star-studded film here. Bright and early on Wednesday, I caught up with the sleep-deprived Swanberg, co-writer and star Jake Johnson and star Rosemarie DeWitt to talk about "Digging For Fire." Swanberg skipped in after happily watching the first 15 minutes of the 8:30 a.m. screening of "Digging For Fire," enthusiastically reporting crowd response to Johnson, who had only another few hours in Park City before returning to La and work on "New Girl." The "Drinking Buddies" veterans admitted that they were surprised by how much of "Digging For Fire" played as drama at its premiere, reflecting on Swanberg's sets make every scene feel like a party. "Digging For Fire" is about a long-married couple (Johnson and DeWitt), who contemplate »

- Daniel Fienberg

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Review: Jake Johnson, Rosemary DeWitt charm and mature in 'Digging For Fire'

27 January 2015 11:02 AM, PST | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

Joe Swanberg is 33. I don't know whether to be amazed by how high or low that number is.  On one hand, that's ridiculously young for a filmmaker who broke out back in 2006 and 2007 with "Lol" and "Hannah Takes The Stairs" and has been absurdly prolific since then. On the other hand, though, the filmmaker who made his name -- and, depending on your generosity, made a genre -- chronicling the dramatically limited foibles of recent college graduates has reached the "thirtysomething" phase of his career. The erratic and misdirected youths at the center of Swanberg's earlier films have become the pesky nubiles who show up to make Swanberg's new leads feel either old or optimistically mature. It's a transition that has been in the works for a little while. Last year's Swanberg Sundance entry "Happy Christmas" featured the director and Melanie Lynskey as a grown-up, responsible couple whose house nearly »

- Daniel Fienberg

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Sundance Review: Joe Swanberg’s ‘Digging For Fire’ With Jake Johnson, Rosemarie DeWitt, Alison Brie and Sam Rockwell

27 January 2015 10:51 AM, PST | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

Let’s get it out of the way immediately: Joe Swanberg’s “Digging For Fire” has been dubbed a more indie-oriented, small-scale “Eyes Wide Shut.” And while the prolific filmmaker’s latest is also about the anxieties common to marriage and is dedicated to the memory of relationship-curious filmmaker Paul Mazursky (“An Unmarried Woman,” “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice”), the funny/sad “Digging For Fire” finds Swanberg using different approaches to track some similar ideas. Set in Southern California, married couple Tim (Jake Johnson) and Lee (Rosemarie DeWitt) are two East L.A.-side dwellers who decide to house-sit for one of Lee's yoga clients. They use the empty modern house in the Hollywood hills as an excuse for a weekend retreat, bringing their three-year-old son (played by Jude Swanberg, stealing just as many scenes as he did in his father's previous film “Happy Christmas”). As a yoga instructor, Lee is spiritually inclined, »

- Rodrigo Perez

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Sundance Film Review: ‘Digging for Fire’

27 January 2015 10:38 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Joe Swanberg continues his march toward the mainstream even as he deepens his signature brand of hangout film in “Digging for Fire,” a lovely slice of everything and nothing centered on a housesitting couple who discover possible evidence of a murder. There are feints toward a bona fide mystery plot, but that genre element is just a pretext for a stealth marital drama. The film is held together through strong improv, tight editing (by Swanberg himself), moody cinematography and a synth score (from Dan Romer) that parties like it’s 1991. This is Swanberg’s starriest picture to date — even if some appearances, like Jenny Slate’s, amount to glorified walk-ons — making breakout success eminently possible.

Concerning the adventures of married parents Tim (co-screenwriter Jake Johnson) and Lee (Rosemarie DeWitt), “Digging for Fire” opens with the two of them and their son, Jude (played by Swanberg’s toddler, Jude, the finest »

- Ben Kenigsberg

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Go Behind-the-Scenes of the Sundance Film Festival!

25 January 2015 1:20 PM, PST | | See recent news »

With Sundance weekend officially in full swing, Hollywood's biggest names continued to invade beautiful Park City, Utah, hitting up gift suites, tucking into multi-course meals and pal-ing around at premieres and parties. Newly minted Golden-Globe winner Gina Rodriguez held court at a table at Tao with boyfriend Henry Esteve, new dad Ryan Reynolds joked about breastfeeding with us and Courtney Love and daughter Frances Bean Cobain had a love fest at the premiere of the new documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. Keep on reading to see who else People rubbed elbows with! 10:45 a.m., Birchbox Sundance Pop-Up: Lena Dunham »

- Melody Chiu and Patrick Gomez

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Jake Johnson’s Smokin’ First Still For Swanberg’s ‘Digging For Fire’

22 January 2015 12:45 PM, PST | The Hollywood News | See recent The Hollywood News news »

Ah, Mr Joe Swanberg, the never-stop-working crazy film man is back with another indie movie and another great little cast as his Digging For Fire is on the horizon.

We reported that it finished filming last year and this one stars Jake Johnson, Rosemarie DeWitt, Orlando Bloom, Brie Larson, Sam Rockwell, Anna Kendrick and Mike Birbiglia. This one sounds like another fun outing as it centres around the discovery of a bone and a gun which, in turn, sends a husband and wife on separate adventures over the course of a weekend.

It was co-written by Swanberg and Johnson and will debut at the upcoming Sundance:

Source: TheWrap »

- Dan Bullock

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Sundance 2015: Films to look out for at this year’s festival

22 January 2015 9:53 AM, PST | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Scott Davis on films to look out for at Sundance 2015…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when many of Hollywood’s big hitters gather together to be awarded a variety of different prices on the Awards circuit, culminating with the 87th Academy Awards on February 22nd. But on Thursday weekend in west USA (namely Utah) the Sundance Film Festival kicks off again, and many of the world’s best independent films will get their debuts to the public, and the press, over the next few weeks.

Staff Writer Scott Davis takes a look at some of the films making their debuts, and digs deep to find the next gems that could be coming out way in 2015.

A Walk in the Woods

When an aging travel writer sets out to hike the 2,100-mile-long Appalachian Trail with a long-estranged high school buddy, the duo learn that some roads are better left untraveled. »

- Scott J. Davis

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2015 | 2014

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