On day two of the 38th annual Telluride Film Festival and I caught the amazing new Pixar film LA Luna, Wim Wenders 3D documentary Pina about the famous modern dance choreographer, and the first surprise premiere screening of the festival, Jim Field Smith‘s dark dramedy Butter, a top Black List screenplay about a midwest butter carving championship which stars Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, Ashley Greene, Alicia Silverstone, Rob Corddry and Hugh Jackman.
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If you’re more interested in the typical fall slate of festival entrees than summer’s glut of tentpole action fare, this is a great week. The Toronto International Film Festival announced the first wave of films that will play the fest in September. This is a batch of about 50 titles, which makes up only a small chunk of the programming. Usually TIFF features between two and three hundred films. But these are some of the highest-profile entries.

Below you’ll find rundowns on the new films from George Clooney, Bennett Miller, Jay & Mark Duplass, Todd Solondz, Francis Ford Coppola, Cameron Crowe, Sarah Polley, Fernando Meirelles, Lars von Trier, Marc Forster, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, and Lynne Ramsay. No announcement yet of the Midnight Madness programming choices, always some of my faves, but this is a great start. Read More »

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We’ve talked a lot about the casting for Butter, the Black List script by Jason Micallef that Jim Field Smith directed starring Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Ty Burrell, Rob Corddry, Ashley Greene, Olivia Wilde, Alicia Silverstone and Yara Shahidi. The film takes place in Iowa among an interrelated group of people, with championship butter carving being the event that brings them all together. But the film is also a political satire, which makes it a much more interesting prospect.

Now there’s a five-minute clip of interviews, footage and behind the scenes video that will give you a taste of what the film offers. Read More »

Directors Guild of America

It’s about time we got some really overt (and good) satire about the political events of the last couple years. The Jason Miscallef script Butter, which placed high on the 2008 Black List, may be the ticket. It tells the story of the contestants of an Iowa butter-carving competition, but as an allegory for recent political maneuvering. Sort of.

Now Rob Corddry is set to take the male lead, opposite Jennifer Garner. Read More »

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British sketch comedian and lauded short film director Jim Field Smith has just seen his debut feature She’s Out of My League open to a respectable $9 million or so. Meanwhile, he’s already at work on his follow up, the Black List approved Butter.

It might be a spoiler – though also, very possibly not – to reveal that Butter is structured as some kind of parallel to the 2008 Iowa Democratic Caucus that saw Hilary Clinton in competition with Barack Obama. For a good while now, Jennifer Garner has been signed on to play the Hilary role; today, news has started to break about who will be playing the Bill Clinton and, I suppose, Monica Lewinsky roles (obviously, this allegory plays fast and loose with strict chronology).

Rumoured for a turn as the Bill analogue is Jim Carrey with Kate Hudson in the frame for the role of his mistress. How flattering.

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