John Krasinski directing

John Krasinski remains best known for his on-camera work, particularly his long-running role as Jim Halpert on NBC’s The Office. But over the past couple of years, he’s been showing more interest in writing and directing as well. Now he’s lined up his next feature directing project, The Hollars.

Krasinski himself will star in the film, alongside Anna Kendrick, Margo Martindale, and Richard Jenkins. Hit the jump for plot details and more.

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At the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, Lionsgate acquired an enjoyable little indie sports drama called The Winning Season, directed by James C Strouse. We havent heard much about the film since. Lionsgate is planning to release the film in New York City and Los Angeles on September 3rd 2010, and has finally released poster artwork and an official movie trailer.

The movie stars Sam Rockwell as an asshole alcoholic busboy who is given a chance to coach his local girl’s high school varsity basketball team. He has a strained relationship with his daughter (Emma Roberts), and only gets to see her once a week. Rockwell has described the movie as Bad News Bears meets Half Nelson meets Hoosiers, and that is a very accurate comparison. You can read my short festival review here.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer and see the poster. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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Sundance Movie Review: The Winning Season

At Sundance in 2005, I fell in love with a little movie called Lonesome Jim, which was directed by Steve Buscemi and starred Casey Affleck. The film wasn’t necessarily incredible, but the screenplay by newcomer James C Strouse really connected with me, even though my life is nothing similar to anything shown in the film itself. I connected to the authenticity behind the characters and the story. I told one of my friends at the time that Strouse was going to be a screenwriter in demand five years down the line.

Strouse decided to direct his next screenplay effort, 2007′s Grace is Gone, which was a Sundance hit, and a record breaking sale at the time. I really loved the film but felt that it was a bit too melodramatic. Not necessarily the screenplay, but some of the performances were a bit over the top. The fact that the film contained undertones of the Iraq war resulted in a disappointing box office return (it’s also worth mentioning that The Weinstein Co couldn’t sell shit to a manure factory). I think I wrote in my review that Strouse should probably stick to writing the scripts instead of directing them. Boy was I wrong.

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Sundance Video Clip: The Winning Season

James C. Strouse’s second feature film The Winning Season stars Sam Rockwell as an adult alcoholic misfit brought on to coach his local girl’s high school basketball team. Rockwell has described the movie as Bad News Bears meets Half Nelson meets Hoosiers. Emma Roberts, Rob Corddry, Shareeka Epps and Emily Rios co star. Festival director Geoffrey Gilmore calls the film “a completely gratifying cinematic drama marked by sharp dialogue and perfectly toned performances.” Watch the first clip from the film after the jump.
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The Winning Season Added to Sundance 2009 Line-Up

It’s not unusual for last minute selections to be added to the Sundance Film Festival line-up in the weeks leading up to the Park City Festival. Last year it was Hamlet 2, and this year it is screenwriter turned director James C. Strouse‘s second feature film The Winning Season (note: this news has been rumored elsewhere, but this is the first time Sundance has officially confirmed the report).

The film stars Sam Rockwell as an adult alcoholic misfit brought on to coach his local girl’s high school basketball team. Rockwell has described the movie as Bad News Bears meets Half Nelson meets Hoosiers. It’s worth mentioning that Strouse’s semi-autobiographical first screenplay Lonesome Jim involved a story line where Jim (played by Casey Affleck) has to take over his brother’s girls youth basketball team.

The film’s cast also includes Emma Roberts, Rob Corddry, Shareeka Epps and Emily Rios. Festival director Geoffrey Gilmore calls the film “a completely gratifying cinematic drama marked by sharp dialogue and perfectly toned performances.”

Rockwell’s Sci-fi Thriller Moon also premieres at the festival. Roberts’ Lymelife is also screening at the festival. The Strouse penned Lonesome Jim premiered at Sundance in 2005, and his directorial debut Grace is Gone played at the 2007 festival.

James C Strouse has yet to hit the mainstream, but I’m sure that audiences will someday find his relate-able indie dramas. After writing the 2005 Casey Affleck indie Lonesome Jim (netflix it), he went on to direct John Cusack in Grace is Gone. The big sale and hit of the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, was dumped into theaters during a time when movie-goers were tired of Iraq-war related films.

MTV has word that Strouse has signed Sam Rockwell to star as a alcoholic girls high school basketball coach, in a dramatic film Rockwell describes as Bad News Bears meets Half Nelson meets Hoosiers. It’s worth mentioning that Strouse’s semi-autobiographical first screenplay Lonesome Jim involved a story line where Jim (played by Casey Affleck) has to take over his brother’s girls youth basketball team.

Clint Eastwood to Score Grace is Gone

Grace is GoneA great movie has just gotten even better. Clint Eastwood has agreed to composing a new musical score for James C. Strouse’s Grace is Gone. According to The Envelope [via: HE], Clint Eastwood was so taken by the film which premiered at Sundance 2007, and was quickly snapped up by The Weinstein Co. Many people were calling it the best movie of this year’s festival. Eastwood’s score won’t be laid down “until close to the movie’s Oscar-season debut at the New York Film Festival in September.”

The movie follows a recently-widowed father and his two daughters on a road trip to Disneyland (or a Florida theme park much like it). John Cusack plays a father who is unable to tell his daughters about their Mother’s death in Iraq. And the knowledge of what the children don’t know hangs silently behind every scene. It’s a heart-wrenching film which has some relevant political undertones. In my mini-Sundance Review, I said that it was Cusack’s “best performance in years.” Some people have compared this to Little Miss Sunshine in the fact that it’s another little indie that will probably gain award recognition come early next year.

Eastwood has composed the score for Million Dollar Baby (nominated for a Golden Globe and a Grammy), Flags of Our Fathers (nominated for a Satellite Award), Mystic River and Space Cowboys. I personally think Mystic River is one of the best movie scores of the past 10-years.

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