TIFF Video Review: Drew Barrymore’s Whip It

Whip It poster close-up

I’m sure I’ll get mocked for admitting this but… one of the films I was most looking forward to seeing at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, was Drew Barrymore‘s directorial debut Whip It. Yeah, a rather unusual choice, but I’m a sucker for coming of age films, Ellen Page, and for that matter, most of the cast involved. The soundtrack listing was kinda awesome, and the concept of a teenager entering the world of roller derby screamed of potential.

So to say I was disappointed by the film, you must understand I went in with higher expectations than anyone realistically should. The film is what you might expect from Barrymore, and definitely feels like it was written and directed by first timers. The characters, for the most part, seem one-dimensional. We’ve seen this family before, in 100 movies and television shows. The roller derby team consists of cliches – the rocker girl, the stoner hippy chick…etc. And rarely do any of these characters transcend these pre-built molds. But this film does have heart.

Barrymore is a great producer, and put together an incredible ensemble cast, visually and musically stunning moments she’s been saving in her back pocket for over a decade. But most of it, for me, rang unauthentic. That said, it has a bunch of laughs, hits the right emotional notes, and is worth seeing.

I recorded a video blog with Liam from EmpireMovies, discussing the movie. You can watch that video blog after the jump.

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Whip It Featurette

Whip It poster close-up

Drew Barrymore‘s directorial debut Whip It premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival later this month. In anticipation of the big screen debut, Fox Searchlight has released a new behind the scenes featurette.

I actually want to see this film, for a variety of reasons which I’ve listed previously on the site , but listening to Barrymore discuss the empowerment theme of the movie, “Be Your Own Hero”, almost makes me not want to see it. I’m not sure why I’m so turned off by the discussion of that theme. It might be because it’s so obvious, and the trailer and footage I’ve seen thus far looks far more subtle than Barrymore’s pitch. Watch the video for yourself after the jump.

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Whip It Movie Poster and A Couple New Photos

Whip It poster close-up

It’s a slow news day and Fox Searchlight has sent us the poster for Whip It, the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore. Based on the book Derby Girl by Shauna Cross, the film stars Ellen Page as Bliss Cavendar, “an indie-rock loving misfit” who finds a way of dealing with her small-town misery after she discovers a roller derby league in nearby Austin Texas. Check out the poster after the jump.

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Whip It Movie Trailer

whip it

Last week we posted the first photos from Drew Barrymore‘s directorial debut Whip It. Today Fox Searchlight has released a movie trailer for the dramedy. Based on the book Derby Girl by Shauna Cross, the film stars Ellen Page as Bliss Cavendar, “an indie-rock loving misfit” who finds a way of dealing with her small-town misery after she discovers a roller derby league in nearby Austin Texas.

The trailer feels like a mix of Adventureland, Juno and Bring It On, which to me is an interesting mashup. I’m a sucker for coming of age films, and its always great to see a story with a female lead which isn’t a paint by numbers romantic comedy. And not to mention its good to hear Weezer being used in a trailer. Watch the trailer after the jump and leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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Photos From Drew Barrymore’s Whip It

whip it

Fox Searchlight has released the first photos from Drew Barrymore‘s directorial debut Whip It in today’s issue of USA Today. Based on the book Derby Girl by Shauna Cross, the film stars Ellen Page as Bliss Cavendar, “an indie-rock loving misfit” who finds a way of dealing with her small-town misery after she discovers a roller derby league in nearby Austin Texas. More photos after the jump.

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Angelina Jolie in Wanted

Forbes Magazine has released their list of the highest earning actresses, once again proving that Hollywood is sexist. Angelina Jolie tops the list with $27 million, almost two and a half times less than the highest earning male actor (Harrison Ford with $65 million – remember, Crystal Skull was a huge payday). The top 10 actresses earned $183 million, less than half of the $393 million total that makes up the top 10 actors. Check out the top 15 after the jump.

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steven spielberg e.t.

Is Steven Spielberg secretly developing a sequel to E.T.? The National Enquirer is reporting that Spielberg and actress Drew Barrymore have met to discuss the project, that would supposedly show E.T. returning to Earth to rejoin the now-adult Gertie. A source told the tabloid that “Steven and Drew are being very secretive about this baby. But they want to do this project and work together. Steven has an incredible story in mind for the sequel that will bring E.T. back to earth.”

So is it true? Don’t believe anything you read in the tabloids.

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whip it! - not a photo from the movie

Ropes Of Silicon has received word that Fox Searchlight has picked up Drew Barrymore‘s directorial debut Whip It!, and will release it on October 9th 2009. Searchlight is the best possible distributor for a film like this. And while October isn’t the best month to be released, the mid-October slot has done well for the studio in the past: Boy’s Don’t Cry and Sideways.

Based on the book Derby Girl by Shauna Cross, the film stars Ellen Page as Bliss, “an indie-rock loving misfit” who finds a way of dealing with her small-town misery after she discovers a roller derby league in nearby Austin Texas. Marcia Gay Harden plays Bliss’ disapproving mother, Jimmy Falon plays a cheesy hungover announcer named Hot Tub Johnny, while Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, Zoe Bell and Eve play roller-derby stars.

eclipsefakelogo

Drew Barrymore might not be a lock to direct the third Twilight film. THR is reporting that Guillermo Del Toro protege Juan Antonio Bayona is now rumored to be one of the top finalists to direct The Twilight Saga’s Eclipse. But then again, reps are saying that they are still looking at a number of candidates. James Mangol had been previously rumored to be in talks, and earlier today Twilight fansites were claiming that New Moon director Chris Weitz’s brother Paul Weitz might direct the third film.

While I was a huge fan of Bayona’s The Orphanage, I would much rather see him make his American debut with something more original and a property that could better test his skills. The filmmaker is also signed on to direct an adaptation of the David Moody novel Hater for Universal. I still like the idea of Summit hiring a woman filmmaker for the project as the source material is so female-targeted in nature.

Discuss: Who should Summit hire to direct Eclipse?

Disclaimer: The mock logo above was created by me, and is not official movie art.

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eclipse barrymore

When it was revealed that Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke would not be returning to helm The Twilight Saga’s New Moon, people were up in arms that Summit Entertainment was going to replace her with a male director (which came to pass). The theory is that the Twilight series is a great opportunity for female directors since the source material is targeted towards women. Also, replacing the highest grossing female director in history after the series became a success seems like a really bad political move.

Now Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Drew Barrymore is one of “a select group of directors” in talks to helm the third film in the series, The Twilight Saga’s Eclipse. I’m not sure what to think of this considering we still haven’t seen Barrymore’s directorial debut Whip It!, but the actress turned director has made some interesting (Donnie Darko) and scary (Duplex) choices with her production company Flower Films. I do like the idea of Summit giving some women filmmakers a chance, because Hollywood’s director’s club is a sausage-fest. Too bad it has to be a project that will most likely be critically slammed.