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‘Westworld,’ ‘Preacher,’ ‘The Night Of’ Among Asc TV Nominees

‘Westworld,’ ‘Preacher,’ ‘The Night Of’ Among Asc TV Nominees
The American Society of Cinematographers (Asc) has announced television nominees for the group’s 31st annual awards, scheduled for Feb. 4, 2017.

Five HBO titles were recognized, including series “Game of Thrones” and “Westworld,” as well as miniseries “The Night Of” and TV movie “All the Way.”

New shows nominated in addition to “Westworld” include AMC’s “Preacher,” Fox’s “The Exorcist” and Wgn’s “Underground.”

Full list of nominees below. Film nominations will be revealed on Jan. 10, 2017.

Regular Series for Non-Commercial Television

Game of Thrones” – “Battle of the Bastards” (Fabian Wagner)

Game of Thrones” – “Book of the Stranger” (Anette Meillmigk)

House of Cards” – “Chapter 45” (David Dunlap)

Outlander” – “Prestonpans” (Neville Kidd)

Penny Dreadful” – “The Day Tennyson Died” (John Conroy)

Regular Series for Commercial Television

Gotham” – “Wrath of the Villains: Mr. Freeze” (Christopher Norr)

Mr. Robot” – “eps2.0_unm4sk-pt1.tc” (Tod Campbell)

Manhattan” – “Jupiter” (Richard Rutkowski)

Preacher” – “Finish the Song” (John Grillo)

Underground” – “The Macon 7” (Kevin McKnight)

Movie, Miniseries
See full article at Variety - TV News »

‘Game of Thrones’ Leads 2016 American Society of Cinematographers Awards TV Nominees

‘Game of Thrones’ Leads 2016 American Society of Cinematographers Awards TV Nominees
The American Society of Cinematographers (Asc) have announced the television nominees for their 31st annual Outstanding Achievement Awards.

This year “Game of Thrones” received two nominations, more than any other show. Anette Haellmigk and Fabian Wagner are both receiving their third nominations for the HBO show. Haellmigk was previously nominated for the series in 2014 and 2015, and Wagner in 2015 and 2016.

Other notable nominees include Christopher Norr who is receiving his third consecutive nomination for his work on “Gotham,” and Richard Rutkowski gets his second nomination for “Manhattan.” New series receiving praise this year include “Westworld” and “The Exorcist.”

Read More: Sundance 2017 Announces Short Selections, With New Films From Kristen Stewart, Laura Poitras and Many More

The nominees were selected by Asc active members who voted on submissions. This year’s winners will be revealed on February 4, 2017, at the organization’s annual ceremony at the Hollywood & Highland Ray Dolby Ballroom in Los Angeles.
See full article at Indiewire »

Aspen Film Screenings Include ‘Spotlight,’ ‘Carol’

Aspen Film Screenings Include ‘Spotlight,’ ‘Carol’
Aspen Film has set the lineup for its 24th Academy Screenings at the Harris Concert Hall at the Aspen Music Festival and School, opening with “Spotlight” on Dec. 22 and closing with “Carol” on Jan. 2.

“From star-studded features directed by master filmmakers to the best independent documentaries and foreign films of the year, this big-screen celebration spotlights the highest caliber and most talked about films vying for Oscar,” said Aspen Film Artistic Director Maggie Mackay.

Other notable titles include “Amy,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Concussion,” “The Danish Girl,” “Room,” “Sicario” and “Where to Invade Next.”

Voting members of AMPAS, BAFTA and the associated guilds can receive a complimentary pass to the screenings.

24th Aspen Film Academy Screenings Program:

Tuesday, December 22

Spotlight, 7:30pm (128 min., USA)

Based on the investigation that lead to the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning expose on the Catholic Church abuse scandal, veteran filmmaker Tom McCarthy’s latest, and arguably his best,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Trumbo | Review

The Brave One: Roach Recapitulates Black List Era Hollywood

Examining the past from the safer perspective of our more enlightened period, Jay Roach’s Trumbo is a salutation to famed screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, a man who defied the blacklist following Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunt in Hollywood. Unfortunately the film doesn’t seem worthy of the talented man it’s lionizing. Some might conclude, now more than ever, a remembrance of Trumbo and those brave souls who continue to stand against a corrupt system despite personal losses, are important. But then, one would expect a much more unruly and rebellious film, something harpooning Hollywood’s greedy, superficial sugarcoating rather than just another period send-up. Despite a sympathetic and altogether enjoyable performance from Bryan Cranston, Roach dithers around with a host of stereotypes and clichés, presenting mimicry of cinematic golden days sporting a cavalcade of caricatures not unlike Sacha Gervasi
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren And Diane Lane Talk Trumbo In New Featurette

Dalton Trumbo was an American patriot, but his defense of our freedom of speech made him a traitor in some people’s eyes,” director Jay Roach says. “One of the great questions that the film asks is how we as a country got to a place where it seemed right to send someone like Trumbo to jail and prevent him from writing.”

In never before seen interviews with Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, Nikola Trumbo and Diane Lane, watch the new featurette about the legendary and infamous screenwriter from Trumbo.

In the 1940s, Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) is one of the highest paid screenwriters in the world, penning movie classics including the Oscar-nominated Kitty Foyle and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.

A fixture on the Hollywood social scene, and a political activist supporting labor unions, equal pay and civil rights, Trumbo and his colleagues are subpoenaed to testify in front of the
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Giveaway – Win A Copy of Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect 2 is a sweet, funny bit of fluff that never hits a sour note!” said Jim Batts in his review for one of the best movies of 2015.

The fabulous Bellas of Barden University are back to compete in the World Championships of A Cappella after a scandal threatens their legacy in Pitch Perfect 2.

The high-spirited sequel to the movie that sparked a worldwide phenomenon is coming to Digital HD on September 1st and Blu-ray™, DVD and On Demand September 22 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Pitch Perfect 2 is packed with more original musical arrangements, memorable one-liners and offbeat romance as the original’s most beloved characters fight to regain their former glory on a worldwide stage facing off against the toughest competition on the planet. Hysterical behind-the-scenes bonus features, never-before-seen deleted footage, all-new musical performances and a hilarious gag reel make Pitch Perfect 2 a must own on Blu-ray™ and DVD.
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Interview with Will Scheffer : HBO’s 'Getting on' Co-Creator, Co-Executive, Producer and Writer

Will Scheffer speaks candidly with Susan Kouguell about the Getting On series, adapting material, collaborations, and more.

With their fingers on the pulse -- actually ten steps ahead of -- societal happenings and hot button topics, co-creators, executive producers, and writers on their Emmy and Golden Globe-winning HBO series Big Love, Will Scheffer and his partner Mark V. Olsen are fearless when tackling “difficult” subject matters in their television and film projects. With humor and pathos, Scheffer and Olsen continue to confront timely and challenging issues with their new series for HBO’s Getting On.

Will Scheffer is a playwright, writer/producer and filmmaker. His plays have been produced and developed across the country, including Playwright's Horizons, Naked Angels, The Public Theatre and Ensemble Studio Theater, where he’s had four plays in The Marathon. His first screenplay In the Gloaming, starring Glenn Close and directed by Christopher Reeve, was produced by HBO in 1997, and won many awards, including five Emmys. An attorney and member of the New York Bar, Mark V. Olsen has created, written, and produced several screenplays, teleplays, pilots and miniseries. For HBO, he wrote Mary Chesnut’s Civil War, Cabrina USA. In 2010, after being published in Best Plays of 1999, Olsen’s play Cornelia opened at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. Together, Scheffer and Olsen produced the independent feature based on Scheffer’s play by the same name, Easter in 2002, and that same year they created HBO’s acclaimed drama Big Love.

Kouguell: The HBO Web site synopsis describes Getting On: ‘The show follows the daily lives of overworked nurses and doctors as they struggle with the darkly comic realities of tending compassionately to their aging charges in a rundown, red-tape-filled hospital extended-care wing, blending outrageous humor with unexpected moments of tenderness.’ Anything else you would add to this description?

Scheffer: The show is about relationships -- as all our shows are -- the power struggles that come out of marriages between couples, or among small groups of individuals that work together out of choice or necessity. Getting On is about healthy and unhealthy codependence. It’s about love. It’s about how women in largely patriarchal systems learn to take their own power. It’s about class struggle and how it goes largely pushed into unconsciousness in our society and it’s about how the elderly, illness and the death experience is also compartmentalized in our society.

Getting On is largely about how we all deal with the process of aging and how we all care for the elderly. Like taxes and death, Mark and I think eldercare is becoming an unavoidable reality in our lives whether we like to deal with it or not. It’s becoming a shared fact of our existence, and Getting On tries to create a funny, safe place where an audience can find humor and compassion in that reality.

Kouguell: British television series like The Office have been successfully adapted for American TV. Getting On ran in Britain from 2009 – 2012. How did you come upon this show?

Scheffer: Mark and I had seen it in London while we were taking a vacation from our last season of Big Love and we were both dealing with caring for our aging mothers. We fell madly in love with the series and coincidentally had been working up a show of our own, set in the world of American eldercare. When we saw it we thought we should just adapt this series for American television. It’s an easier way to pitch an idea, and of course it gives us all this glorious material to work with.

Joanna Scanlon, Vicki Pepperdine, Jo Brand and Peter Capaldi, created an amazing show about the healthcare system in Great Britain and we felt it docked in perfectly with the kind of dark comedy we had in our heads about managed care in America and all the firsthand experiences we were going through with our moms.

Kouguell: What challenges and inspirations have you found while adapting this series?

Scheffer: The largest challenge, of course, is how to reimagine the characters and situations of the British version for an American audience and not to just “do a translation.” I think it was harder to translate a British show into American English than it might be to translate a Danish format such as The Killing or an Israeli format, such as In Treatment or Homeland.

You can be deceived into thinking you can just Americanize the dialogue and that is a huge trap when you love the original material. We had to fight that impulse. Also, we had to take the style of the British version, which is extremely “jump-cutty” and roughly assembled and improvised, and work backwards, almost to create our own “docu-comedy” style. We knew we weren’t going to do The Office but we didn’t know how challenging it would be to structure a script and a season the way we do and then make it look rougher. We love the result but it was extremely challenging for us as writers and for our entire creative team to discover our own style.

Our inspiration was largely drawn from our own ongoing experiences and then the actors we cast and the creative team we assembled. Adapting for these actors became a sublime treat and working with artists like Migel Arteta, Pam Martin, Tami Reiker, Jim Denault, Heather Persons, and also a lot of our Big Love team also was invaluable. And we had Jane Tranter, Julie Gardner, and Amy Hodge from BBC Worldwide as producing partners and they were incredible to work with. We got so much creative support from them.

This show (more than any other we’ve worked on) was a collaborative effort. Michael Lombardo, Casey Bloys and Francesca Orsi were very involved in our editorial process and I think this (sometimes uncomfortable) creative mix of smart people actually made the show different and better than what our vision alone foresaw. This was a rare instance of a lot of chefs in the kitchen actually producing a better stew.

Kouguell: How have you made it your own?

Scheffer: It was impossible not to make it our own. We lived a lot of what is seen on the show. Mark’s mom was in a small boarding care facility, which we were lucky to land her in when she developed dementia, and we had to bring her out to Pasadena to be near us. The caregivers and women there infuse our show. That was where we found tenderness and compassion. My mom was in the New York City healthcare system. She lived in a great assisted living apartment building, but when she got kicked out of hospitals and into Medicare “Rehabs” or what they call “skilled nursing facilities” the experience wasn’t so compassionate.

We used all of our personal knowledge of hospital life (which is considerable) and researched the hell of American geriatric care. We also imbued the show with our style and taste, which I would call simply: “Laughing and crying is good to do at the same time.” We cast actors who were vivid and real and very un-tv. They were all so talented and fiercely brave. We shot each episode in only three days. It’s unlike any TV show or film we’ve ever done.

Kouguell: Talk about your adaptation process.

Scheffer: We definitely started with all of the original material. We had no scripts though, so we had to first transcribe all the episodes from film (or video, as it were). We then picked and chose the material we knew was gold and worked endlessly on how we could compose a season structure -- knowing we had to compress their first two seasons of nine episodes into our first season of six.

We had some strong ideas of what we needed to do in order to achieve an American version as we had our ‘make someone happy campaign,’ which was based on our research of the Disneyfication of hospitals. We also knew we wanted to shake up the pilot and create a real dramatic reason of why there was a new head nurse (Patsy) coming into the ward and why Dr. Jenna James was stuck over here.

The British show has all these gold nuggets but since they worked in a more improvisational mode and we’re much more scripted, we had to take their nuggets and weave them into our structural considerations. Also, once we saw how the pilot worked with our cast, we identified a kind of idea of what each episode should have in it, to fulfill what we saw as a winning episode structure.

Our cast was so talented we knew we could always have a physical slapstick element and real emotional stakes side-by-side. We wanted each episode to have a laugh out loud scene that played against the dark comedy and realities of what happens in an extended care wing.

Also, the show was rebuilt in the editing room. We actually took more time to edit an episode than we did to shoot it. We had plenty of material but we essentially rewrote the show many, many times from before production, through rehearsals, and then in the editing room. When we completed the first episode I turned to Mark and said, “Oh my God, we actually made a black comedy.” Something which we knew was really hard to do and we made one that had a heart.

Kouguell: How do your characters in Getting On depart from the original British series?

Scheffer: The characters are very similar to the original ones except of course they are completely different. Jenna James is Doctor Moore in principal, but Laurie Metcalfe brings a fierceness and virtuosity to the role that makes the character’s inner life more roiling with insecurity. We began to see that in the world of the show, all the other characters saw Dr. James as imperious and incompetent at the same time, but failed to see what the audience saw -- a woman who is falling apart inside.

Nurse Dawn, as played by the multi-talented Alex Borstein, became more co-dependent, needing to always please Jenna, and also blatantly psychologically immature. Her core is the same as Joanna’s wonderful Den, a woman without an inherent self-esteem but I think our Dawn became more outrageously confused.

All our characters are less constrained and polite than the British cast. I would say that you see “America versus our British cousins” in the way all the characters become more visceral. Didi differs the most. In the British show she’s played by the amazing comedienne Jo Brand, as a retiree coming back into the workforce. Niecey, in what I think is a transformative role for her, is younger and of color. I think she retains what Kim (Jo Brand) is to the show, its tender heart, but somehow Niecey manages to bring her comedy skills yet delivers such a subtle earthiness to her performance; she is the beating heart at the center of the show.

It’s a hard question when I answer it, because in a way I see that the characters essentially are the same but completely different at the same time. It’s in the writing but it’s what these actors brought to all their roles. There was only one right actor for each of these roles and they all give award-worthy performances in my book. They just made the characters their own, which is what you want from an actor and we began to write to who we saw they were becoming in the parts. I think the old saying about casting being 99 percent of a successful production was what we knew we had to achieve for this show. It was really hard to cast, but we held out for the perfect actor for each role and they delivered.

Kouguell: What drew you to this material and why did you feel that it could be ‘translated’ for an American audience?

Scheffer: The British show is about the “National Health” and three women who are “getting on” in years, and also together. Our show translated that into eldercare, a women’s ward. It’s a subtle but profound translation. If you compare the shows they look like -- well sisters.

We just knew that we had to do this show. We wanted to create a place where our friends and family, our audience who we knew was aging and dealing with dementia and death in their loved ones, could come and laugh. Even if they were afraid to watch us, we knew once they did, they would want to be in our world with these characters. It’s scary but it’s life. And it can be funny and sad at the same time. It hits close to home and that’s a good thing.

Kouguell: This is the second HBO series you and Mark have collaborated on as executive producers and writers. Describe your work process and collaboration.

Scheffer: We are a married team so when we do a show we are with each other 24/7 365 days a year. Mark and I talk everything through but don't actually write together. We take turns on drafts, passing them back and forth for multiple revisions. Sometimes I'll write the first draft and he'll revise and sometimes he'll write the first draft. On set it's looser and we'll have to revise together but we prefer to actually write in our own space. The "fantasy" image of having desks facing each other and tossing lines back and forth doesn't work for us.

We definitely complement each other and make a good team. And we’ve survived thus far. The marriage seems to get stronger in the roil of collaboration. It does test our mettle, though.

In production we do everything -- from writing, to casting, to directing, to editing, to selling the show -- we’re there and uber-controlling. But we’re also extremely collaborative. We want to create a “safe set” and work environment where everyone wants to be. When people enjoy coming to work they do their best work. We make sure that condition is met. We treat everyone the same, including ourselves. Even though we get to be the auteurs, as it were, we treat our PAs the same way we treat our Dp, and we submit ourselves to the same conditions we expect from our team. We give ourselves over completely to a show. I credit Mark with expecting a standard of excellence. We depend on each other for different aspects of the work, but Mark’s ability to focus and dig is one of the things that make our collaborations successful. He’s my “closer.”

Kouguell: You describe the show as a ‘docu-comedy’ – please detail.

Scheffer: The British version was so raw and the camera just followed the actors and it was all done 360 degrees, with natural light and there was no worry about continuity and we loved that feel. So in principal, we tried to recreate that. We shot the same way in a real location. We used only two cameras and our Dp’s operated one and moved constantly around a 360 space with natural lighting. We felt that the show’s essence was in that “seed.” It felt like a documentary. We wanted the audience to feel like they were observers of life.

It turned out that we had to do a lot of “reverse engineering” to make our show. It became a different beast. Our show still is very gritty and it jump cuts -- but we learned we had to write in the jumps. We had to structure them. That was really hard to figure out because the British show was more “assembled.” We had to write in those moments when the scene was jumping and we began to have a principal that the jumps furthered the dramatic action of the scene. We did this in the editing room, too.

Our show had to become its own animal, and the “docu-comedy” style that we identified in the original became a different kind of “docu-comedy.” I think the two versions complement each other. In a way, we did with the British show what we do together as writers. We collaborated with it. We make a good team.

“Docu-comedy” is not The Office; it’s not an imposed, hand-held camera style. It’s an ethic. It’s more about trying to capture the truth of what it feels like to be in the midst of the insanity of crisis. What it feels like to be in that world that lives between life and death all the time. It’s about surrendering to it and reveling in the surreal quality of it all. Finding death as being a vital part of life. Not shying away from it. Living into it.

To learn more about Getting On go to: http://www.hbo.com/getting-on

Award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker, Susan Kouguell teaches screenwriting and film at Tufts University and presents international seminars. Author of Savvy Characters Sell Screenplays! and The Savvy Screenwriter, she is chairperson of Su-City Pictures East, LLC, a consulting company founded in 1990 where she works with over 1,000 writers, filmmakers, and executives worldwide. www.su-city-pictures.com .
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

UK quad poster & three new clips from ‘The Campaign’

Warner Bros UK. have released a new UK quad poster and three clips from director Jay Roach‘s political-comedy The Campaign, which stars Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as rival politicians in a small congressional district in South Carolina. Ferrell plays a congressman who becomes embroiled in a public scandal, opening the door to a challenge from an unlikely Beltway outsider (Galifianakis). The film also stars Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Josh Lawson, Gary Grubbs, P.J Byrne, and Dan Aykroyd,

The Campaign is set for a UK release on September 28th.

When long-term congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) commits a major public gaffe before an upcoming election, a pair of ultra-wealthy CEOs plot to put up a rival candidate and gain influence over their North Carolina district. Their man: naïve Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), director of the local Tourism Center. At first, Marty appears to be the unlikeliest possible choice but,
See full article at Blogomatic3000 »

Win Passes To The Advance Screening Of The Campaign In St. Louis

When long-term congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) commits a major public gaffe before an upcoming election, a pair of ultra-wealthy CEOs plot to put up a rival candidate and gain influence over their North Carolina district. Their man: naïve Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), director of the local Tourism Center. At first, Marty appears to be the unlikeliest possible choice but, with the help of his new benefactors’ support, a cutthroat campaign manager and his family’s political connections, he soon becomes a contender who gives the charismatic Cam plenty to worry about.

As Election Day closes in, the two are locked in a dead heat, with insults quickly escalating to injury until all they care about is burying each other, in this mud-slinging, back-stabbing, home-wrecking comedy from “Meet the Parents” director Jay Roach that takes today’s political circus to its logical next level. Because even when you think campaign ethics have hit rock bottom,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Four new TV spots for ‘The Campaign’ starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis

Following the recent poster releases, Warner Bros have debuted four new TV spots Jay Roach‘s political-comedy The Campaign, which stars Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as rival politicians in a small congressional district in South Carolina. Ferrell plays a congressman who becomes embroiled in a public scandal, opening the door to a challenge from an unlikely Beltway outsider (Galifianakis). The film also stars Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Josh Lawson, Gary Grubbs, P.J Byrne, and Dan Aykroyd

The Campaign is set for a Us releases on August 10th and September 28th here in the UK.

When long-term congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) commits a major public gaffe before an upcoming election, a pair of ultra-wealthy CEOs plot to put up a rival candidate and gain influence over their North Carolina district. Their man: naïve Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), director of the local Tourism Center. At first,
See full article at Blogomatic3000 »

Will Ferrell And Zach Galifianakis Wrap Production On Jay Roach Comedy The Campaign

Filming has concluded on “The Campaign,” starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as competing candidates in a no-holds-barred race for congress. The new comedy from “Meet the Parents” director Jay Roach is scheduled to open in theaters on August 10, 2012. The film also stars Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott and Katherine Lanasa, with John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd and Brian Cox.

In “The Campaign,” when long-term congressman Cam Brady (Ferrell) commits a major public gaffe before an upcoming election, a pair of ultra-wealthy CEOs plot to put up a rival candidate and gain influence over their North Carolina district. Their man: naive Marty Huggins (Galifianakis), director of the local Tourism Center. At first, Marty appears to be the unlikeliest possible choice but, with the help of his new benefactors’ support, a cutthroat campaign manager and his family’s political connections, he soon becomes a contender who gives the charismatic Cam plenty to worry about.
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Dinner for Schmucks Review

Director: Jay Roach Writers: David Guion, Michael Handelman Cinematographer: Jim Denault Starring: Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Zach Galifianakis, Jemaine Clement, Stephanie Szostak Studio: Paramount Pictures You may say he’s a dreamer, but he’s not Dinner for Schmucks is pure, sharp, unrelenting cheese. Based on the classic French comedy Le Diner de Cons written by Francis Veber, the idea of a group of high-powered execs holding a monthly competition for who can find the “most special person” promises straight-forward hilarity. Tim (Paul Rudd), a financial analyst aspiring to the 7th floor at his firm, is dating a gorgeous art museum curator...
See full article at PasteMagazine »

Director Jay Roach Exclusive Interview Dinner For Schmucks; Would Like to do Austin Powers 4 in 3D, and a Lot More

Unlike some directors that crave the spotlight, Jay Roach (Austin Powers, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Meet the Fockers, Recount) is more man of mystery. That’s because even though he’s directed some of the biggest comedies of the last decade, I’ve rarely seen him do interviews and you don’t read his name in the trades everyday like some of his peers. So when I found out I’d landed an exclusive interview for his new movie Dinner For Schmucks, I wasn’t sure if Roach would be guarded, or if he’d be willing to talk about anything.

Thankfully, Roach couldn’t have been nicer and you can read or listen to the interview after the jump. During the almost thirty minutes we talked about why he makes so few films and why he’s so selective, how does he find his projects, he
See full article at Collider.com »

She's Out Of My League Review

Release Date: March 12 Director: Jim Field Smith Writer: Sean Anders and John Morris Cinematographer: Jim Denault Starring: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, T.J. Miller, Krysten Ritter Studio/Runtime: Dreamworks, 104 mins. Fresh takes on stale storyline add up to slightly above average comedy If there ever was a movie to deserve a rating, She’s Out Of My League is the one. After all, the whole premise revolves around the theme of a rating system—and, no matter how he calculates it, Kirk (Jay Baruchel) keeps coming up short....
See full article at PasteMagazine »

4 Movie Clips from She’S Out Of My League Starring Jay Baruchel and Alice Eve

With She’s Out of My League opening on March 12, Paramount has provided us with 4 clips from the film. The movie stars Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, T.J. Miller, Mike Vogel, Nate Torrence, Krysten Ritter, Geoff Stults and Lindsay Sloane.

The premise is Baruchel plays an average Joe - with not much going for him - when out of the blue a successful and gorgeous woman falls for him. He’s stunned. So are his friends. The question then becomes how does he keep the girl.

Hit the jump to check out the clips and the full synopsis. Here’s the trailer and the red band trailer.

As always, are the clips are in the player below. Once you push play you might have to watch a pre-roll ad and then all the clips will play in order. Sorry about the pre-roll, it pays for the bandwidth.

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Here’s the
See full article at Collider.com »

Hounddog

Hounddog
PARK CITY -- "Hounddog" is the bete noire at this year's Sundance Film Festival. But as is often the case, most of the protests were coming from people who haven't seen it. There is nothing exploitive or sensationalized about the story of a 12-year-old girl's rape in the rural South in the late 1950s. Starring Dakota Fanning in an absolutely riveting performance, the film, directed by Deborah Kampmeier, is a cautionary tale of what happens to all too many young girls. It's a courageous film, and subject matter and controversy will undoubtedly create some curiosity at the boxoffice.

Prefestival buzz about the danger of exposing poor 12-year-old Fanning to this kind of material proves unwarranted and disingenuous in a society that is constantly sexualizing young girls. The character's sexual awakening just happens to be in 1958, triggered in part by the eroticism of Elvis Presley's music. As Lewellen, a jewel among the rotting cars and run-down shacks in rural Alabama, Fanning projects a strange mix of innocence and awareness. The triumph of her performance is her ability to turn it on and off in the same scene, sometimes even in the same shot.

Lewellen shuttles back and forth between living with her abusive, alcoholic father (David Morse) and her strict, God-fearing grandmother (Piper Laurie, reprising her role from "Carrie"). For a young girl just hitting puberty, the mix of repressiveness and permissiveness (she sips from her father's beer bottle) has to be confusing. Her mother long out of the picture, she desperately wants a female role model, a role that her father's sometime girlfriend Robin Wright Penn) is in no shape to provide. As a child, she was probably raped, too.

Lewellen is pretty much left to figure things out for herself. Her only friend is Buddy (Cody Hanford), a sweet neighborhood boy for whom she has a normal sexual curiosity. The sole adult looking out for her is Charles (Afemo Omilami), a horse trainer for the rich people. As an embodiment of the female spirit and the injustice women endure, Lewellen has an instinctive bond with Charles, the oppressed black man.

The only thing that keeps Lewellen sane is singing, which is ironically what gets her in trouble. When she sings and gyrates to "Hounddog", she is both aware and not aware of what she's doing. Unfortunately, the kid who delivers the milk (Christoph Sanders) catches her act and is turned on. When he lures her to the woods with the promise of a ticket to see Elvis and does the deed, we see little of the gory details; the scene is shot matter-of-factly without excess.

Occasionally, Kampmeier lays on the southern Gothic too heavily. Snakes are crawling everywhere in the movie, and after Lewellen is raped, she is visited in bed by a bunch of reptiles. The tone of the story veers from the naturalistic to the mythical, but it is sometimes inconsistent, and a couple of plot points are overplayed. Still, in spite of a few missteps, the cumulative impact of the film is undeniable.

Shot beautifully by Ed Lachman, Jim Denault and Stephen Thompson, the darkness and light in the forest conjures up the lair of a fairy tale princess, which is the kind of archetypal power Kampmeier is aiming for. After the incident, which threatens to destroy her life, Lewellen is rescued not by a prince but by Charles, who forces her to exorcise her demons by singing the blues. Her now hesitant and soulful rendition of "Hounddog" is both heartbreaking and life-affirming.

A bluesy score by Me'shell Ndegeocello and period songs, including Big Momma Thorton's original version of "Hounddog", evoke the mournful undertone of life in the South. It is from this kind of suffering that artists are born. Lewellen might not be well or cured, but she is on the mend, which is a start.

HOUNDDOG

The Motion Picture Group in association with Full Moon Films and Deerjen Prods.

Credits:

Director-screenwriter: Deborah Kampmeier

Producers: Deborah Kampmeier, Jen Gatien, Raye Dowell, Terry Leonard, Lawrence Robbins

Executive producers: Robin Wright Penn, Scott Franklin, Henri Kessler, Rebecca Cleary, Stacey Bakula

Directors of photography: Ed Lachman, Jim Denault, Stephen Thompson

Production designer: Tim Grimes

Music: Me'shell Ndegeocello

Costume designer: Leigh Leverett

Editor: Sabine Hoffman

Cast:

Lewellen: Dakota Fanning

Grammie: Piper Laurie

Daddy: David Morse

Stranger Lady: Robin Wright Penn

Charles: Afemo Omilami

Buddy: Cody Hanford

Wooden's Boy: Christoph Sanders

Grasshopper: Isabelle Fuhrman

Big Momma Thorton: Jill Scott

Running time -- 98 minutes

No MPAA rating

Hounddog

PARK CITY -- "Hounddog" is the bete noire at this year's Sundance Film Festival. But as is often the case, most of the protests were coming from people who haven't seen it. There is nothing exploitive or sensationalized about the story of a 12-year-old girl's rape in the rural South in the late 1950s. Starring Dakota Fanning in an absolutely riveting performance, the film, directed by Deborah Kampmeier, is a cautionary tale of what happens to all too many young girls. It's a courageous film, and subject matter and controversy will undoubtedly create some curiosity at the boxoffice.

Prefestival buzz about the danger of exposing poor 12-year-old Fanning to this kind of material proves unwarranted and disingenuous in a society that is constantly sexualizing young girls. The character's sexual awakening just happens to be in 1958, triggered in part by the eroticism of Elvis Presley's music. As Lewellen, a jewel among the rotting cars and run-down shacks in rural Alabama, Fanning projects a strange mix of innocence and awareness. The triumph of her performance is her ability to turn it on and off in the same scene, sometimes even in the same shot.

Lewellen shuttles back and forth between living with her abusive, alcoholic father (David Morse) and her strict, God-fearing grandmother (Piper Laurie, reprising her role from "Carrie"). For a young girl just hitting puberty, the mix of repressiveness and permissiveness (she sips from her father's beer bottle) has to be confusing. Her mother long out of the picture, she desperately wants a female role model, a role that her father's sometime girlfriend Robin Wright Penn) is in no shape to provide. As a child, she was probably raped, too.

Lewellen is pretty much left to figure things out for herself. Her only friend is Buddy (Cody Hanford), a sweet neighborhood boy for whom she has a normal sexual curiosity. The sole adult looking out for her is Charles (Afemo Omilami), a horse trainer for the rich people. As an embodiment of the female spirit and the injustice women endure, Lewellen has an instinctive bond with Charles, the oppressed black man.

The only thing that keeps Lewellen sane is singing, which is ironically what gets her in trouble. When she sings and gyrates to "Hounddog", she is both aware and not aware of what she's doing. Unfortunately, the kid who delivers the milk (Christoph Sanders) catches her act and is turned on. When he lures her to the woods with the promise of a ticket to see Elvis and does the deed, we see little of the gory details; the scene is shot matter-of-factly without excess.

Occasionally, Kampmeier lays on the southern Gothic too heavily. Snakes are crawling everywhere in the movie, and after Lewellen is raped, she is visited in bed by a bunch of reptiles. The tone of the story veers from the naturalistic to the mythical, but it is sometimes inconsistent, and a couple of plot points are overplayed. Still, in spite of a few missteps, the cumulative impact of the film is undeniable.

Shot beautifully by Ed Lachman, Jim Denault and Stephen Thompson, the darkness and light in the forest conjures up the lair of a fairy tale princess, which is the kind of archetypal power Kampmeier is aiming for. After the incident, which threatens to destroy her life, Lewellen is rescued not by a prince but by Charles, who forces her to exorcise her demons by singing the blues. Her now hesitant and soulful rendition of "Hounddog" is both heartbreaking and life-affirming.

A bluesy score by Me'shell Ndegeocello and period songs, including Big Momma Thorton's original version of "Hounddog", evoke the mournful undertone of life in the South. It is from this kind of suffering that artists are born. Lewellen might not be well or cured, but she is on the mend, which is a start.

HOUNDDOG

The Motion Picture Group in association with Full Moon Films and Deerjen Prods.

Credits:

Director-screenwriter: Deborah Kampmeier

Producers: Deborah Kampmeier, Jen Gatien, Raye Dowell, Terry Leonard, Lawrence Robbins

Executive producers: Robin Wright Penn, Scott Franklin, Henri Kessler, Rebecca Cleary, Stacey Bakula

Directors of photography: Ed Lachman, Jim Denault, Stephen Thompson

Production designer: Tim Grimes

Music: Me'shell Ndegeocello

Costume designer: Leigh Leverett

Editor: Sabine Hoffman

Cast:

Lewellen: Dakota Fanning

Grammie: Piper Laurie

Daddy: David Morse

Stranger Lady: Robin Wright Penn

Charles: Afemo Omilami

Buddy: Cody Hanford

Wooden's Boy: Christoph Sanders

Grasshopper: Isabelle Fuhrman

Big Momma Thorton: Jill Scott

Running time -- 98 minutes

No MPAA rating

Maria Full of Grace

Maria Full of Grace
Sundance Film Festival

PARK CITY -- "Maria Full of Grace" is a modern-day version of "The Bicycle Thief". In this gripping competition entry, a desperate 17-year-old girl travels as a mule, smuggling drugs to the United States to pay for her mother and sister's upkeep.

Maria Catalina Sandino Moreno) is a likable, spirited Colombian girl. To bring money to her family, she risks becoming a mule for a drug ring: Maria swallows packets of cocaine, traveling to New York. It's a harrowing journey and a frightful experience for small-town Maria.

An inherently intense story, "Maria" is told with a sympathetic eye. Although it's somewhat predictable, writer-director Joshua Marston has crafted a compelling portrait of the desperation of poverty. Throughout, we're constantly rooting for Maria, aware of her underlying decency and protective of her missteps. Ultimately, the ending is a bit of a cop-out, but that's a small criticism for a film with such decent perspectives.

This HBO Films presentation (in Spanish with subtitles) jells largely because of Moreno's endearing, forceful performance. Bolstering our involvement are the succinct technical contributions: Jim Denault's vivid cinematography as well as editors Anne McCabe and Lee Percy's pulsating cuts heighten this humane story's considerable jeopardy.

Maria Full of Grace

HBO Films presents in association with Tucan Producciones Altercine

Credits:

Screenwriter-director: Joshua Marston

Producer: Paul Mezey

Co-producer: Jaimes Osorio Gomez

Associate producers: Orlando Tobon, Rodrigo Guerrero

Line producer: Becky Glupczynski

Director of photography: Jim Denault

Production designers: Monica Marulanda, Debbie De Villa

Editors: Anne McCabe, Lee Percy

Costume designers: Lauren Press, Sarah Beers

Composers: Jacobo Lieberman, Leonardo Heiblum

Music supervisor: Lynn Fainchtein

Casting directors: Maria E. Nelson, Ellyn Long Marshall

Cast:

Maria: Catalina Sandino Moreno

Blanca: Yenny Paola Vega

Juan: Wilson Guerrero

Franklin: Jhon Alex Toro

Javier: Jaime Osorio Gomez

Lucy: Guilied Lopez

Carla: Patricia Rae

Running time -- 110 minutes

No MPAA rating

City of Ghosts

City of Ghosts
Sundance Film Festival

PARK CITY -- "City of Ghosts" drips with atmosphere.

For his feature debut as a writer-director, Matt Dillon heads into the heart of Southeast Asian darkness previously explored by such novelists as Joseph Conrad and Graham Green, not to mention a host of old movies. Dangers lurk in every shadow and down every dark passageway. Westerners connive to make a buck, but Asians outfox them at every turn. While the film was shot in Cambodia, in reality the story takes place in a mystical world spun out of old literary and cinematic works.

This is not a boring movie, though. The Asian intrigue thickens the tension as strange, often decaying sites, seedy expatriates, local eccentrics and hostility toward foreigners stoke the thriller's fire. If rolled out properly, UA should be able to cross the film over from specialty venues into mainstream theaters. You just wish there were more to the story.

Dillon, who wrote the script with Barry Gifford, plays the central role of Jimmy, a New Yorker who sells bogus insurance policies to homeowners on the East Coast. When a hurricane causes hundreds of claims to pour in against the phony policies, Jimmy becomes the focus of an FBI investigation. He has deniability on his side, but once he gets the chance, he slips away to track down the man who set up the scam, his mentor, Marvin James Caan), who is laying low in Southeast Asia.

Two things are never clear: why Jimmy takes off for Asia and what he expects to achieve when he meets up with Marvin. As a consequence, Jimmy drifts through the movie, reacting to people and events but never the film's driving force.

Jimmy arrives first in Bangkok, Thailand, where he learns that Marvin is in Cambodia. With the help of one of Marvin's "associates," Kasper (Stellan Skarsgard), he sneaks across the border and comes to Phnom Penh. He takes a shabby room in the misnamed Bellevue Hotel, run by a rough European expat, Emile Gerard Depardieu).

At the Bellevue bar across the street, Jimmy meets all sorts of characters. One steals his passport. Another -- a monkey, in fact -- steals his dark glasses. Natascha McElhone's Sophie, an archeologist who looks like a fashion model, steals his heart. Rather improbably, he finds an easygoing cyclo driver, Sok (Sereyvuth Kem), who speaks English well enough to help him navigate the capital's dangerous streets and identify the "bad people."

After a fight, a beating and other incidents never fully explained, Jimmy is summoned by Marvin. Marvin is up to his eyeballs in mischief, having run out on his Russian mob backers -- who vow to hunt him down like a dog -- and scheming with an ex-general to use the money to open a casino. This makes little sense because Cambodia is hardly a tourist Mecca (nor is this movie likely to help matters). The point of it all is to confront Jimmy with his criminal self, as reflected in Marvin's disreputable dealings, and force Jimmy to decide what kind of man he wants to be. In movie terms, does he go with Caan or McElhone? Guess how that works out?

The film makes other revelations about its characters, but given how remote they remain from us, few viewers are likely to care. The movie's genre trappings swamp the final third of the film, shoving most character concerns into the background.

At the very least, Dillon has rediscovered a great movie location. "City of Ghosts" claims to be the first Western feature to film almost entirely in Cambodia since "Lord Jim" in 1964. His technical support in what must have been arduous locations is very strong, especially David Brisbin's art direction of crumbling interiors, Jim Denault's moody cinematography and Tyler Bates' score, which incorporates Eastern elements into the music.

CITY OF GHOSTS

United Artists

A United Artists, Mainline Prods. and Banyan Tree presentation in association with Kintop Pictures

Credits:

Director: Matt Dillon

Screenwriters: Matt Dillon, Barry Gifford

Producers: Willi Baer, Michael Cerenzie, Deepak Nayar

Director of photography: Jim Denault

Production designer: David Brisbin

Music: Tyler Bates

Costume designer: Moji Sangi

Editor: Howard E. Smith

Cast:

Jimmy: Matt Dillon

Marvin: James Caan

Sophie: Natascha McElhone

Emile: Gerard Depardieu

Sok: Sereyvuth Kem

Kaspar: Stellan Skarsgard

Sabrina: Rose Byrne

Robbie: Shawn Andrews

Running time -- 117 minutes

No MPAA rating

Film review: 'Getting to Know You'

PARK CITY, Utah -- Bleak and unsettling but compulsively watchable, Lisanne Skyler's Sundance competition drama "Getting to Know You" marks her as a dynamic young talent.

Her confident adaptation of a Joyce Carol Oates collection binds the stories of loss and anguish into an expressive vision.

The film offers no easy solutions, no sentimental resolutions to smooth out the uncomfortable moments ensnaring its characters. Its dour mood is a probable turn-off to distributors though this is a muscular, free-form work that deserves exposure.

The film's setting, a bus terminal in Asbury Park, N.J., is a stylized environment, a holding ground for starry-eyed dreamers, loners, castoffs and marginal figures, all escaping from the tragedies or disappointments underlying their lives.

The movie's key figures, Judith (Heather Matarazzo), a tentative, emotionally bruised 16-year-old, and her brother Wesley (Zach Braff), a math genius preparing to leave for college, are dealing with the emotional fallout of their uprooted lives. Their mother, Trix (Bebe Neuwirth) is hospitalized; their father, Darrell (Mark Blum) has disowned them.

Judith befriends another lost soul, Jimmy (a very strong Michael Weston). He tells her the emotionally devastating tales of the terminal inhabitants: the cop and basketball coach (Bo Hopkins) who has retreated from life following the death of his partner; an attractive brunette (Tristine Skyler, who collaborated with her sister on the script), whose longing for adventure occasions her dangerous affair with a high-stakes gambler (Chris Noth) in Atlantic City; and a sad, childless woman (Mary McCormack) fleeing from a marriage to a religious zealot (Leo Burmeister).

A former documentarian, Skyler has a penetrating grasp of character and mood, locating torment in off-handed gestures and inflections. Working with the excellent cinematographer Jim Denault, Skyler finds expressive possibilities in the sculpted lighting of faces.

Despite its literary source, "Getting to Know You" is in fact an intensely cinematic work. Skyler has a trenchant sense of the elliptical possibilities of time and space. The flow between the past and present is continually alive to feeling, temperament and desire.

The picture ends with a moment of optimism, tempered by the knowledge that Judith and Wesley are never fully free. Vivid and intense, "Getting to Know You" is not easily forgotten.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

ShadowCatcher Entertainment and SearchParty Films

A Gabbert/LaVoo production

Producers: George Lavoo, Laura Gabbert

Director: Lisanne Skyler

Executive producers: Scott Rosenfelt, Larry Estes, David Skinner

Screenwriters: Lisanne Skyler, Tristine Skyler

Based on short stories by: Joyce Carol Oates

Director of photography: Jim Denault

Editors: Julie Janata, Anthony Sherin

Music: Michael Brook

Production design: Jody Asnes

Costume design: Astrid Brucker

Casting: Jordan Beswick

Color/stereo

Cast:

Judith: Heather Matarazzo

Wesley: Zach Braff

Jimmy: Michael Weston

Trix: Bebe Neuwirth

Darrell: Mark Blum

Caminetto: Bo Hopkins

Irene: Tristine Skyler

Sonny: Chris Noth

Leila Lee: Mary McCormack

Running time -- 94 minutes

No MPAA rating
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