How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor made his feature writing and directorial debut with Happythankyoumoreplease. The film is charming and “cutesy” and while it won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival that year, I didn’t love it (the film was later critically panned, receiving a 40% on Rotten tomatoes).
Radnor’s second feature Liberal Arts premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and impressed me much more. The film stars Radnor as a 35-year old bookworm who develops a relationship with a College sophomore played by Elizabeth Olsen. The movie also features Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, John Magaro, and Elizabeth Reaser. It was met with a long standing ovation at the premiere. Germain Lussier, who was at the festival with me, compared Radnor to Cameron Crowe. High praise, eh? Good enough to earn a quote in the official trailer, which is now online and can be consumed embedded after the jump.
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Posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 by Angie Han
Dating can be a tricky proposition under even the best of circumstances, but in The Oranges, Hugh Laurie‘s divorced dad David Walling finds himself in a particularly sticky situation when he falls for the much younger daughter (Leighton Meester) of his best friend (Oliver Platt). Toss in a jealous ex-wife (Catherine Keener) and a son (Adam Brody) who’s also crushing on the same girl, and “clusterfuck” doesn’t even begin to describe it.
There are a number of different directions that premise could go, from wacky sitcom to soapy melodrama to psychological thriller. Fortunately for David Walling, The Oranges doesn’t seem to be the kind of movie that ends with him getting buried in a shallow grave by his former BFF. Instead, it looks like a modest but well-acted character piece that mines the situation for both humor and pathos. Allison Janney and Alia Shawkat round out the excellent cast. Watch the trailer after the jump.
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Posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 by Angie Han
After a decade of false starts on the big screen, an adaptation Jonathan Franzen‘s The Corrections looked to finally be making some headway on the small screen. HBO began developing it as a series with producer Scott Rudin last fall, and quickly signed director Noah Baumbach as well as a high-profile cast including Ewan McGregor, Rhys Ifans, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest. The novel, which won the National Book Award in 2001, centers around an elderly couple and three adult children as they gather for “one last Christmas” near the turn of the millennium.
But alas, it seems this incarnation of the project isn’t going anywhere, either. After viewing the pilot, the premium cable has chosen to pass on the series. While HBO apparently liked the episode and the performances, it was concerned about the long-term sustainability of the premise. The book’s plot jumps back and forth through time, filling in the characters’ backstories, and HBO worried that it would be difficult for viewers to follow. The decision was not related to this week’s straight-to-series order of True Detective; with Luck off its plate, HBO would have had the resources to do both. [Deadline]
After the jump, the West Wing gang prove they’ve still got their walk-and-talk skills.
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Posted on Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 by Angie Han
Rachel Berry may be the Glee character known for her outsized dreams of superstardom, but it’s Kurt Hummel who’s taking Hollywood by storm at the moment. Or Chris Colfer, the actor who plays him, is, at any rate. Not content with simply earning a Golden Globe, two Emmy nominations, and a spot on the Time 100 for his role on the hit Fox series, Colfer has spent his time away from McKinley High penning feature screenplays, selling a Disney pilot, and landing a book deal — all by the age of 21.
The first of those scripts, Struck By Lightning, shot this past summer with Brian Dannelly (Saved!) at the helm, and we have an early trailer now. Colfer stars as an ambitious high school senior who blackmails his peers into contributing to his literary magazine before he is, you guessed it, struck by lightning and killed. The dark comedy also boasts some other notable stars, including Christina Hendricks, Allison Janney, Sarah Hyland, Angela Kinsey, Dermot Mulroney, and Rebel Wilson. Watch the trailer after the jump.
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There’s a scene in Josh Radnor’s sophomore effort, Liberal Arts, where a 35-year-old admissions officer is mathematically analyzing what it means to date a 19-year-old. No words are uttered, it’s all simple math written on screen, yet it’s filled with more humor, poise and philosophy in two minutes than some movies have in two hours. The scene spawned a round of applause mid-movie. Not bad for a writer/director who most people know as a sitcom star.
With Liberal Arts, Radnor positions himself as a mini-Cameron Crowe, mixing joy, life lessons and a love of culture into a perfect, crowd pleasing film. Co-starring Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney and Zac Efron, Liberal Arts had its world premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and received a well-deserved standing ovation. Read more after the jump. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, August 4th, 2011 by Angie Han
Way back when, we reported on a film called Margaret by You Can Count on Me director Kenneth Lonergan. At that point — 2009 — the film had already been delayed for years, and our post was an explanation of the various reasons why. Now, three years after that, the film is finally set to get a release.
Starring Anna Paquin, Mark Ruffalo and Matt Damon, Margaret revolves around a young woman dealing with guilt and grief in the wake of a tragic bus accident. The film marks a reunion for Ruffalo and Lonergan, who previously worked together on the excellent You Can Count on Me. Read more after the jump.
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Posted on Tuesday, July 26th, 2011 by Angie Han
Jason Bateman has won the lead role in We’re the Millers, a stoner comedy to be directed by Rawson Thurber. The two worked together previously on 2004′s Dodgeball, which featured Bateman as spacey color commentator Pepper Brooks.
Bateman and Thurber are just the latest names to board the film, which has been in development for nearly a decade — John Morris, Sean Anders, Steve Buscemi and Bateman’s Arrested Development co-star Will Arnett have all been attached to the project at various points. Bateman seems to be on a hot streak with comedies right now, though, so here’s hoping the project actually gets made this time around.
The script follows a drug dealer who decides he wants out of the business. But before he quits, of course, he has to take one last job which involves traveling to Mexico and creating a fake family in order to smuggle 1,400 pounds of marijuana back into the U.S. I haven’t read the script myself, but based on what I’ve heard it’s sharp, dark, and very funny. [Pajiba]
After the jump, new stars for Pacific Rim and Struck by Lightning.
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Posted on Monday, July 18th, 2011 by Angie Han
Three more have signed on for What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Kirk Jones‘ adaptation of the classic pregnancy manual. The comedy follows several different couples, Love Actually-style, as each experiences pregnancy and the miracle of childbirth. Bridesmaids actress Wendi McLendon-Covey will play a colleague and friend of Jennifer Lopez‘ character; True Blood‘s Joe Manganiello will be a single guy whose carefree, glamorous lifestyle is the envy of all the local dads; and Glee star Matthew Morrison has won the part of Evan, who teams up with Cameron Diaz‘ character on a celebrity dance show (really) and eventually gets her pregnant.
In addition to the actors named above, What to Expect will also feature Elizabeth Banks, Chris Rock, Brooklyn Decker, Anna Kendrick, Rodrigo Santoro, Chace Crawford, Rob Huebel, and McLendon-Covey‘s Bridesmaids co-star Rebel Wilson. The film will begin shooting this summer for a Mother’s Day 2012 release. [The Playlist, The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline]
More ensemble comedy news after the jump: Robert Smigel and Annie Mumolo board Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up spin-off, while Christina Hendricks, Sarah Hyland, and Dermot Mulroney sign up for Struck by Lightning.
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