At the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, I was blown away by a film called (500) Days of Summer. When I interviewed director Marc Webb in Park City that year, he exclusively revealed that he was working with the 500 Days writing team of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber on a adaptation of Tim Tharp‘s The Spectacular Now. Then, hot off the success of Summer, Webb got pulled away to do some little superhero movie reboot.

Cut to the 2010 Sundance Film Festival: Smashed became one of the top buzz films of the festival with a critically acclaimed tour de force performance from Mary Elizabeth Winstead and an incredibly raw filmmaking style that put director James Ponsoldt on our must-watch list. So when it was announced that Ponsoldt would be taking over as director on The Spectacular Now, we were excited. And the movie does not disappoint.

The Spectacular Now is everything I hope a Sundance movie to be. It has heart, many laughs, story twists that will jolt you from your seat, and most importantly, the film speaks to a deep truth. It is an honest coming of age film about growing up and facing the great unknown that comes after high school, something we can all remember and relate to. But it tells that story without the forced nostalgia of other Hollywood films.

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There’s a load of brief TV news to offer up today, so let’s get right to it:

  • Real-life pols will cameo in Parks & Recreation‘s fifth season
  • Mindy Kaling will reprise her role as The Office‘s Kelly Kapoor
  • Speaking of which, here’s a poster for her new show The Mindy Project
  • Downton Abbey‘s third season trailer hints at the twists to come
  • Aaron Sorkin fires a lot of The Newsroom‘s writing staff
  • Patton Oswalt and Det. Kima Greggs (a.k.a. Sonja Sohn) head to Burn Notice
  • Clea Duvall joins American Horror Story‘s second season
  • Revenge casts Jennifer Jason Leigh as a presumed-dead character

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Focus Features has released a new three and a half minute featurette for Noah Baumbach‘s new comedy / drama Greenberg. Titled “Behind the Scenes: Brave At Our Age”, the featurette has sit down interviews with the stars, Ben Stiller, Rhys Ifans, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Greta Gerwig, talking about the story, movie, and director. It also touches on the original score created by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem. Watch the featurette now, embedded after the jump.
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Greenberg Movie Trailer: Noah Baumbach Returns


A song can make all the difference to a trailer. This first footage from Noah Baumbach‘s new comedy / drama Greenberg could be seriously depressing, were it not for the bouncy ‘All My Friends’ by LCD Soundsystem. Ben Stiller, Rhys Ifans, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Greta Gerwig star in the film that was called Greenberg, then was untitled, and is now apparently called Greenberg once more. Check it out after the break. Read More »

WEEDS (season 5)

In our latest wrap-up and discussion of Weeds—a show where it’s increasingly rare to see characters puffing the titular herb, mind you—we take a look at season cinco’s third episode, “Su-Su-Sucio.” After we found ourselves not so much stunned as exhausted and turned-off by the previous ep’s k-hole of casual misery (and forced entry), we were glad to kick back with a breezier follow-up. “Sucio” was filled with hugs, laffs, morning sex, and welcome family admission and reconciling between the MILFy sisters above. (Wait, we didn’t mean they had sex.) Sure, there were a few splotches of mysterious blood, but as with Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), any blood in this ep came to symbolize relief (her blood) and a fast break (that dude’s). Spoiler alert from here on. I’ve included the plot synopsis for next week’s ep, “Super Lucky Happy,” at the bottom…

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WEEDS (season 5)

Two episodes deep into the fifth season of Weeds, let’s take a look at where Nancy Botwin is headed—it’s disturbing and bleak, and involves being forcibly bent over a table. And what of her dysfunctional brood? Spoilers ahead. /Film will consider posting regular Weeds wrap-ups if there is enough reader interest. Let us know.

Over the last three days, I’ve read complaints online from a number of Weeds viewers who feel that the second episode, “Machetes Up Top,” is simply too dark. To be honest, I’m surprised I haven’t come across more of these sentiments; but we’re now in the fifth season, and the majority of viewers who have stuck around expect such testy slaps. For many, pleasurable guilt is part of the show’s appeal: Weeds is famously a love/hate series in and outside the tube. Since its debut in 2005, the series has embraced the modern, twisted anti-hero, one named Nancy Botwin molded in the fresh and hot shape of a drug-peddling MILF. Four years later, the television landscape is peppered with all kinds of charming killers, drug-pushers, gluttons, and sex fiends. And for better or worse, Weeds has confronted the trend and its anti-hero competitors by playing likability limbo hardcore. In 2009, the show’s writers appear dead-set on subjecting her to masochistic, highly self-destructive behavior and situations. How low can a mom get.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Recreating Hitchcock

Hitchcock Recreations in Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair decided to recreate some of the classic scenes from the films of Alfred Hitchcock using modern day actors and actresses. Imagine Charlize Theron in Dial M For Murder, Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr. in To Catch a Thief, Seth Rogen in North by Northwest, Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem in Rear Window, Niomi Watts in Marnie, Keira Knightley and Jennifer Jason Leigh in Rebecca, Emile Hirsch and James McAvoy in Strangers on a Train, Rene Zellweger in Vertigo, Jodie Foster in The Birds, or Tang Wei, Josh Brolin, Casey Affleck, Eva Marie Saint, Ben Foster, Omar Metwally and Julie Christie in Lifeboat.

Well stop imagining, the photos are after the jump. As always, click to enlarge. Pick up the Vanity Fair Hollywood issue for the full sized photo-spreads.

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