Manchester by the Sea

Note: With Manchester by the Sea opening in theaters this weekend, we’re re-running our review from the Sundance Film Festival.

This year’s Sundance slate is positively jam-packed with tales of family tragedy, from Other People to The Hollars to The Fundamentals of Caring to Hunt for the Wilderpeople. But grief has rarely been explored as deeply and as beautifully, at Sundance or elsewhere, as in Kenneth Lonergan‘s Manchester by the Sea. This film wrecked me, to the point that I started crying all over again while working on this very review.

Casey Affleck, giving a career-best performance in a career-best role, is the devastating heart of this exquisitely wrought drama. Surrounding him are a rock-solid cast that also includes Kyle ChandlerLucas HedgesMichelle Williams, and C.J. Wilson. Collectively, they’ve put together a film that I strongly suspect will turn out to be the very best of this year’s Sundance crop, at least in my personal estimation. Read More »

Manchester by the Sea final cut

Producer Matt Damon has a history with playwright, writer, and director Kenneth Lonergan. Over 14 years ago, Damon starred in a London production of one of Lonergan’s plays, This is Our Youth, alongside Manchester by the Sea star Casey Affleck. Years later, Damon had a supporting role in Lonergan’s second film, Margaret, a troubled and long-delayed drama caught up in legal troubles. After that movie, Lonergan’s reputation as a filmmaker took a hit. That led to Damon taking final cut on Manchester by the Sea, which he knew he’d never need.

Below, learn more about why the Manchester by the Sea final cut went to Damon.

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manchester by the sea trailer

When Manchester by the Sea premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, it was met with near universal acclaim from all who saw it. Many attendees declared it an early frontrunner for the best film of 2016. It started the 2017 Oscar conversation before the 2016 awards could even occur. The film was quickly purchased by Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions. Director Kenneth Lonergan, whose Margaret famously endured all kinds of hell on its way to release, was now responsible for a movie that looked like it could play far beyond an audience of faithful cineastes and critics.

The first Manchester by the Sea trailer has arrived and it’s full of drama and bittersweet laughs and glimpses at complex performances from the likes of Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams. Oh, and there are Massachusetts accents. Oh boy, are there Massachusetts accents.

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The Black List 2014

The Black List 2014 has been released. The annual list is compiled with a poll of over 250 development executives and high-level assistants, and contains a ranking of the hot screenplays making the rounds in Hollywoodland, which were written in, or are somehow uniquely associated with, 2014 and will not be released in theaters during this calendar year. Basically, The Black List is a list of the hottest projects in Hollywood that you haven’t heard of yet.

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Matt Damon Manchester-by-the-Sea

Matt Damon is about to shoot The Martian with director Ridley Scott, and now he’s got a follow-up project set. Damon worked with Kenneth Lonergan on Margaret (above) and now the two are going to reunite for the Lonergan-scripted Manchester-by-the-SeaRead More »

It’s been a very long road for You Can Count on Me director Kenneth Lonergan‘s movie Margaret, which stars Anna Paquin as a girl who becomes the center of a web of people impacted by a fatal traffic crash. The film was announced in 2003, shot in 2005 and has been in legal and editing room hell ever since.

Scott Rudin, the late Sydney Pollack (who also appears in the film), Martin Scorsese and his editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, have all had a hand in trying to shape and edit the film over the years, as Lonergan struggled to cut the film into what he deemed acceptable form. That endless tinkering led to lawsuits and plenty of speculation about whether the film, which also stars Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, and Jean Reno, would ever see the light of day.

Now it is being released, finally, in a fashion that is more akin to limping into a few theaters than triumphantly striding down the red carpet. Along with that long-delayed release plan is a trailer, which you can see below. Read More »

Way back when, we reported on a film called Margaret by You Can Count on Me director Kenneth Lonergan. At that point — 2009 — the film had already been delayed for years, and our post was an explanation of the various reasons why. Now, three years after that, the film is finally set to get a release.

Starring Anna Paquin, Mark Ruffalo and Matt Damon, Margaret revolves around a young woman dealing with guilt and grief in the wake of a tragic bus accident. The film marks a reunion for Ruffalo and Lonergan, who previously worked together on the excellent You Can Count on Me. Read more after the jump.

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What’s the Matter With Margaret?

margaret

Kenneth Lonergan is the playwright behind This is Our Youth, The Waverley Gallery and Lobby Hero; the script-fixer that lent a hand to Gangs of New York and – incredibly – Rocky and Bullwinkle; and the writer-director of You Can Count on Me and Margaret. Not to put too fine a point on it, Lonergan is a very accomplished writer and, as displayed by You Can Count on Me, a fine director.

What, then, has happened to Margaret? Filmed in late 2005, Lonergan’s second film was to star Anna Paquin, Mark Ruffalo and Matt Damon. The shoot seemed to go very well, and early signs were fantastic. Then, Lonergan stepped into the editing room and things started to wobble somewhat. Thanks to a series of legal documents that have come into the possession of The LA Times, the horror stories of what seems to be one of the most absurdly protracted post production nightmares, can finally come to light.

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