One of my favorite movies of the year so far is coming to theaters next month. The trailer came online late last week but got buried thanks to a little event called Comic-Con.

Now I’m happy to finally share the first trailer to Mike Birbiglia‘s Sleepwalk With Me, an autobiographical romantic comedy about a man’s struggle to become a stand-up comedian. Only thing is, he has a dangerous penchant to sleepwalk. Comedian Birbiglia co-wrote, stars in and directs the film which also features Lauren Ambrose,¬†Carol Kane, James Rebhorn, Marc Maron and others. Sleepwalk With Me won the Audience Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and hits theaters beginning August 24.

Check out the trailer, as well as my Sundance video blog review, after the jump. Read More »

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There’s a running joke amongst comedians that people get into stand-up just so they can be TV stars. It works for some but for others, it seems like stand-up might be a better route to get into film directing. It worked for Woody Allen, Louis CK and now it’s worked for Mike Birbiglia, a successful touring comedian who turned his one man autobiographical off-Broadway show Sleepwalk With Me into a feature film. The movie just had its world premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

Birbiglia stars as Matt, a struggling stand-up comedian who has been with his girlfriend Abby (Lauren Ambrose) for eight years. When the couple begins to have problems, Matt uses that to finally find his voice, which in turn makes the relationship even more difficult. Then there’s the tiny matter of Matt dangerously sleepwalking every night, all of which actually happened in Birbiglia’s life.

Co-starring James Rebhorn, Carol Kane, Marc Maron and produced by Ira Glass (This American Life), Sleepwalk With Me is incredibly clever, well-directed and laugh out loud hilarious. The message isn’t all that new, but the journey there definitely¬†is.

Watch a clip from the movie as well as a video blog featuring myself and Jordan Raup from The Film Stage after the jump. Read More »


IFC Films has released the movie trailer for The Other Woman, a film adaptation of Ayelet Waldman‘s novel “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits”. The comedy/drama stars Natalie Portman and “details the story of a woman’s difficult relationship with her stepson.” The film co-stars Lisa Kudrow (Friends), Daisy Tahan (13, Nurse Jackie) and Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under). Directed and adapted by Don Roos, writer/director of two underrated movies Bounce and Happy Endings, and the man who wrote the screenplay adaptation of Marley & Me.

I find it slightly suspicious that both the poster and trailer were released on the same day it was revealed publicly that Portman is pregnant and engaged to Benjamin Millepied, who served as choreographer on Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and was Portman’s dance partner in the film. Almost seems like this indie film was trying to latch on to the gossipy news break. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and was met with slightly positive reviews. It was only recently revealed that IFC Films will release the film in limited theaters on February 4th 2011, following a Video On Demand debut on January 1st 2011.

Watch the trailer now embedded after the jump. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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In the past couple years, Christian Slater has been seen much more on TV than in films, and quite a few of the films he has made, well, have been…underexposed. (Show of hands: who saw Lies & Illusions? That’s what I thought.) But perhaps Playback will fare better than most. Or maybe not: Slater will star in Playback as “a sinister cop who is pivotal in exposing a small town’s deepest, darkest secret.”

Johnny Pacar, Toby Hemingway, Jonathan Keltz, Alessandra Torresani, Ambyr Childers, and Daryl “Chill” Mitchell also appear, and the story is kicked off when high school kids start poking into their town’s ‘mysterious past’ and expose an evil that preys upon them all. In the end, I bet Slater’s character would have gotten away with it if not for those meddling kids. Michael A. Nickles wrote the script and is directing right now in Grand Rapids, MI. [Variety]

After the break, Lauren Ambrose works for David Wain and Malin Akerman joins Ethan Hawke in a thriller. Read More »

Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under, Can’t Hardly Wait), DC Pierson (Mystery Team, Derrick Comedy), Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother), Cedric the Entertainer and Tom Arnold (True Lies) have been cast in writer-director Stephen Gyllenhaal‘s quirky Seattle-based political comedy Grassroots. They join Jason Biggs and Joel David Moore Full details after the jump.

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Where The Wild Things Are

Warner Bros has released a bunch of new photos from Spike Jonze‘s big screen adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are in USA Today. Here are some of the details we found in the article:

  • The film expands on “Max’s home life that shed light on why he felt the need to run off to a magical place.”
  • The only words in the teaser trailer (attached to Monsters vs. Aliens) is one single line spoken by the Wild Thing called Carol (seen above), voiced by James Galdofini, welcoming Max to the new world: “I didn’t want to wake you up. But I really want to show you something.”
  • Though the Wild Things are nameless in the book, Jonze decided who was who based on their personalities.
  • Other cast members include: Catherine O’Hara, who voices the Wild Thing with the rhino horn named Judith, Forest Whitaker, who voices the Wild Thing with the big nose, Lauren Ambrose who voices the Wild Thing named KW (shown after the jump in the face to face shot), Chris Cooper who voices Douglas the chicken and Paul Dano who voices Alexander the goat.

Check out more photos after the jump.

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2009 Sundance Film Festival Competition Films Announced

The Sundance Institute has announced the first half of the line-up for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Included in the first press release are the films in competition in the Drama and Documentary segments. 3,661 feature-length films were submitted this year, which is 37 more films than last year. For the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, 118 feature-length films were selected including 87 world premieres, 19 North American premieres, and 4 U.S. premieres representing 21 countries with 42 first-time filmmakers, including 28 in competition. Before we get into the full list, I would like to point out some of the films that particularly interest me. Also, now should be the time for me to admit that I focus more on English-language films, so my foreign picks will probably be lacking.

The Wrestler screenwriter Robert Siegel makes his directorial debut with Big Fan, which stars Patton Oswalt as a parking garage attendant and hardcore New York Giants football fan who struggles to deal with the consequences when he is beaten up by his favorite player. Michael Rapaport also stars. I loved the humor that Siegel brought to The Wrestler, and with Oswalt in the lead – this one is a no brainer.

The Office star John Krasinski makes his directorial debut with a big screen adaptation of David Foster Wallace‘s book Breif Interviews with Hideous Men. The story follows Julianne Nicholson as a doctoral candidate in anthropology who “tries to remedy the heartache” of being dumped with little explanation, by interviewing men about their behavior. Krasinski, Dominic Cooper and Timothy Hutton also star.

In Cold Souls, Paul Giamatti stars as a famous American actor who in the midst of an existential crisis, “explores soul extraction as a relief from the burdens of daily life.” Okay, doesn’t have the best plot description but Giamatti is involved, as well as David Strathairn, Emily Watson, and Lauren Ambrose.


Emmy Rossum stars in Adam Salky‘s feature directorial debut Dare, about “three very different teenagers discover that, even in the safe world of a suburban prep school, no one is who she or he appears to be.” IMDB also provides a different teaser synopsis: “The good girl, the outsider and the bad boy…like you’ve never seen them before.” This is a feature length adaptation of Salky’s 2005 short film which was met with acclaim at film festivals. I’m a sucker for coming of age films.

Everyone is talking about Paper Heart, the film that Michael Cera made under the raydar with his girlfriend Charlyne Yi. The film is apparently a meta-love story with the stars playing themselves (?). The pre-festival hype aside, I would see this film based on Cera’s involvement alone.

Teeth star Jess Weixler returns to Sundance opposite Jason Ritter in a big screen adaptation of Peter and Vandy, the Drama Desk Nominated Best Play that was lauded for its “almost embarrassing intimacy and killer comic timing.” The film tells the story of a contemporary Manhattan love story, told out of order, with no beginning and no end. Festival programer Geoffrey Gilmore says that “One of the themes” of this year’s festival is “the kind of new-generation love story,” … a new “way of telling love stories right now by a new, younger generation that’s different, that’s fresh, that’s original.” This and the Cera film Paper Heart seems to fit into this statement.

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Jeff Daniels stars as the title character Arlen Faber, a reclusive author of a groundbreaking spiritual book awakens to new truths when two strangers enter his life. The film also stars Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah), Olivia Thirlby (Juno, Wackness), and Lauren Gram. The film was formerly titled “The Dream of the Romans“, which is a much better title if you ask me.


In Good Hair, Comedian Chris Rock turns documentary filmmaker when he sets out to examine the culture of African-American hair and hairstyles. I’m not sure if it will be good, like many of Chris Rock’s films, but I’ll always be there for anything the guy creates.

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Documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler was given unprecedented access for a film titled “The September Issue“. Cutler and crew shot Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and her team over the corse of nine months as they prepared the 2007 VogueSeptember issue, widely accepted as the “fashion bible” for the year’s trends. I’ve always been interested in the world of journalism, even if the Fashion world might be a very different realm. And I must admit that The Devil Wears Prada has me very interested to catch this one.

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You can read the full press release (which includes a listing of all the films announced today) after the jump.

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Where the Wild Things Are

Lauren AmbroseLauren Ambrose has signed on to voice one of the title roles in Spike Jonze’s big screen adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s fantasy book Where the Wild Things Are.

Ambrose is replacing Michelle Williams in the role of KW, one of the giant creatures in the land of the Wild Things. In the classic story, a young boy named Max who is transported to a land with mythical creatures. KW and the group of “Wild Things” turn him into their king.

According to Hollywood Reporter:

“…the filmmakers enjoyed working with Williams, but her voice didn’t match their original vision of how the Wild Thing should sound.”

Call me cynical, but doesn’t that sound like the definition of “PR spin”?

The cast also includes Catherine Keener, Max Records, James Gandolfini, Angus Sampson, Forest Whitaker, Catherine O’Hara, Rachel Rivera, Melissa Davis and Paul Dano. Where the Wild Things Are is scheduled to hit theaters on October 3rd 2008.

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