Good things are happening to good people in today’s TV Bits, which sees new sitcoms in the works for Conan O’Brien, Judy Greer, and Mandy Moore, among others. After the jump:

  • TBS orders a sitcom from Conan O’Brien
  • ABC develops new projects with Judy Greer, Mandy Moore, and Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry
  • The CW buys a thriller from Easy A scribe Bert V Royal
  • CBS yanks the already-cancelled How to Be a Gentleman from its Saturday lineup
  • Watch the first 9 minutes of ABC’s Once Upon a Time

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This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.

Buy It

A SERIOUS MAN
Some films rely on your willingness to invest a great deal of time and energy to analyze their themes and explore what they’re trying to say in order to appreciate them. Better films allow you the privilege of having no idea what the point is without detracting from the overall enjoyment of the experience. A Serious Man is the latter. Between the thematic mirroring of the otherwise unrelated opening Yiddish folktale, the lingering question of a greater power, and the endless perplexing mysteries that plague the character’s lives, it’s a movie with a lot going on under the surface, and one that interested parties will find themselves greatly rewarded by if they decide to dissect it further. Casual viewers, meanwhile, will find just as much to love, with the Coens yet again injecting in every scene their wonderful idiosyncratic touches (see: dialogue, visual style, character mannerisms, etc.), transforming what easily could’ve been a simplistic, ponderous story and turning it into one that’s at once compelling, puzzling and hilarious.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – 3 featurettes (“Becoming Serious”, “Creating 1967″, “Hebrew and Yiddish for Goys”).

BEST DVD PRICE
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BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
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$24.99 $26.99 $24.77
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Dare Movie Trailer

Adam Salky‘s feature directorial debut Dare premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. The movie is based on Salky’s 2005 short film which was met with acclaim at film festivals. The feature length version stars Emmy Rossum in a story about what happens when “a pompous actor tells good girl Alexa (Rossum) that she hasn’t lived, she embarks on a bold journey that takes her to mysterious bad boy Johnny (Zach Gilford). Envious, her shy best friend Ben (Ashley Springer) also dares to pursue Johnny, complicating Alexa’s romance and pushing the boundaries among the three friends.” Watch the trailer embedded after the jump.

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VOTD: Adam Salky’s 2005 Short Film Dare

Adam Salky‘s feature directorial debut Dare premieres at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival (photos seen below).


The movie is based on Salky’s 2005 short film which was met with acclaim at film festivals. The feature length version which premieres at Sundance stars Emmy Rossum in a story about “three very different teenagers discover that, even in the safe world of a suburban prep school, no one is who she or he appears to be.” IMDB also provides a different teaser synopsis: “The good girl, the outsider and the bad boy…like you’ve never seen them before.”

Salky’s original short seems to be very different – “High school senior Ben secretly lusts after bad boy classmate Johnny. After Ben gives Johnny a ride home one night, the boys end up in Johnny’s swimming pool and have an encounter that breaks the rules and blows Ben’s mind.” I’m guessing that this might be one of the stories told in Salky’s film.

Michael Cassidy, who plays Johnny in the short, went on to have reoccurring roles in The O.C., Smallville and Privileged. The “Alexa” that Johnny mentions in the short film is played by Emmy Rossum in the feature. Zach Gilford plays Johnny in the expanded film and Alan Cumming co-stars. You can watch the original short film below:

Video removed by request of Strand Releasing

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2009 Sundance Film Festival Competition Films Announced

The Sundance Institute has announced the first half of the line-up for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Included in the first press release are the films in competition in the Drama and Documentary segments. 3,661 feature-length films were submitted this year, which is 37 more films than last year. For the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, 118 feature-length films were selected including 87 world premieres, 19 North American premieres, and 4 U.S. premieres representing 21 countries with 42 first-time filmmakers, including 28 in competition. Before we get into the full list, I would like to point out some of the films that particularly interest me. Also, now should be the time for me to admit that I focus more on English-language films, so my foreign picks will probably be lacking.

The Wrestler screenwriter Robert Siegel makes his directorial debut with Big Fan, which stars Patton Oswalt as a parking garage attendant and hardcore New York Giants football fan who struggles to deal with the consequences when he is beaten up by his favorite player. Michael Rapaport also stars. I loved the humor that Siegel brought to The Wrestler, and with Oswalt in the lead – this one is a no brainer.

The Office star John Krasinski makes his directorial debut with a big screen adaptation of David Foster Wallace‘s book Breif Interviews with Hideous Men. The story follows Julianne Nicholson as a doctoral candidate in anthropology who “tries to remedy the heartache” of being dumped with little explanation, by interviewing men about their behavior. Krasinski, Dominic Cooper and Timothy Hutton also star.

In Cold Souls, Paul Giamatti stars as a famous American actor who in the midst of an existential crisis, “explores soul extraction as a relief from the burdens of daily life.” Okay, doesn’t have the best plot description but Giamatti is involved, as well as David Strathairn, Emily Watson, and Lauren Ambrose.


Emmy Rossum stars in Adam Salky‘s feature directorial debut Dare, about “three very different teenagers discover that, even in the safe world of a suburban prep school, no one is who she or he appears to be.” IMDB also provides a different teaser synopsis: “The good girl, the outsider and the bad boy…like you’ve never seen them before.” This is a feature length adaptation of Salky’s 2005 short film which was met with acclaim at film festivals. I’m a sucker for coming of age films.

Everyone is talking about Paper Heart, the film that Michael Cera made under the raydar with his girlfriend Charlyne Yi. The film is apparently a meta-love story with the stars playing themselves (?). The pre-festival hype aside, I would see this film based on Cera’s involvement alone.

Teeth star Jess Weixler returns to Sundance opposite Jason Ritter in a big screen adaptation of Peter and Vandy, the Drama Desk Nominated Best Play that was lauded for its “almost embarrassing intimacy and killer comic timing.” The film tells the story of a contemporary Manhattan love story, told out of order, with no beginning and no end. Festival programer Geoffrey Gilmore says that “One of the themes” of this year’s festival is “the kind of new-generation love story,” … a new “way of telling love stories right now by a new, younger generation that’s different, that’s fresh, that’s original.” This and the Cera film Paper Heart seems to fit into this statement.

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Jeff Daniels stars as the title character Arlen Faber, a reclusive author of a groundbreaking spiritual book awakens to new truths when two strangers enter his life. The film also stars Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah), Olivia Thirlby (Juno, Wackness), and Lauren Gram. The film was formerly titled “The Dream of the Romans“, which is a much better title if you ask me.


In Good Hair, Comedian Chris Rock turns documentary filmmaker when he sets out to examine the culture of African-American hair and hairstyles. I’m not sure if it will be good, like many of Chris Rock’s films, but I’ll always be there for anything the guy creates.

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Documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler was given unprecedented access for a film titled “The September Issue“. Cutler and crew shot Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and her team over the corse of nine months as they prepared the 2007 VogueSeptember issue, widely accepted as the “fashion bible” for the year’s trends. I’ve always been interested in the world of journalism, even if the Fashion world might be a very different realm. And I must admit that The Devil Wears Prada has me very interested to catch this one.

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You can read the full press release (which includes a listing of all the films announced today) after the jump.

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