How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor made his feature writing and directorial debut with Happythankyoumoreplease. The film is charming and “cutesy” and while it won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival that year, I didn’t love it (the film was later critically panned, receiving a 40% on Rotten tomatoes).

Radnor’s second feature Liberal Arts premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and impressed me much more. The film stars Radnor as a 35-year old bookworm who develops a relationship with a College sophomore played by Elizabeth Olsen. The movie also features  Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, John Magaro, and Elizabeth Reaser. It was met with a long standing ovation at the premiere. Germain Lussier, who was at the festival with me, compared Radnor to Cameron Crowe. High praise, eh? Good enough to earn a quote in the official trailer, which is now online and can be consumed embedded after the jump.

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While Beasts of the Southern Wild was the movie everyone was talking about out of Sundance 2012, one of the movies we were really talking about was Josh Radnor‘s Liberal Arts, a joyus, fantastic follow-up to happythankyoumoreplease. The film, co-starring Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney and Zac Efron got picked up by IFC who has just announced a September 14 release date.

Mark it down, it’s a great movie and I cannot wait to see it again. Read my full review here. [Film Stage]

The Best of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival

For ten days each January, in the snowy town of Park City, Utah, the year in independent cinema is set. The 2012 Sundance Film Festival was true to that promise and provided attendees with a slew of films that are sure to be not only among the year’s best, but in the hunt for awards come Oscar time next year.

Along with Peter Sciretta, I was once again deep in the trenches of Park City –  battling bus schedules, lack of sleep, snow, slush and more – to see as many movies as possible to try and get an idea of what the rest of 2012 holds. And it’s looking good.

We all know that the next few months hold an unprecedented offering of big budget blockbusters but companies like Fox Searchlight, Sony Pictures Classics, IFC, Magnolia and more all bolstered their upcoming release schedules by purchasing some of the best films of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The official awards have been handed out, but what were our favorites?

After the jump read about the best films of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Read More »

There’s a scene in Josh Radnor’s sophomore effort, Liberal Arts, where a 35-year-old admissions officer is mathematically analyzing what it means to date a 19-year-old. No words are uttered, it’s all simple math written on screen, yet it’s filled with more humor, poise and philosophy in two minutes than some movies have in two hours. The scene spawned a round of applause mid-movie. Not bad for a writer/director who most people know as a sitcom star.

With Liberal Arts, Radnor positions himself as a mini-Cameron Crowe, mixing joy, life lessons and a love of culture into a perfect, crowd pleasing film. Co-starring Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney and Zac Efron, Liberal Arts had its world premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and received a well-deserved standing ovation. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Not going to brave the icy roads and chilling winds of Park City, Utah this January for the Sundance Film Festival 2012? No matter. The festival is once again going to bring the films to you if you live in Ann Arbor, MI; Boston, MA; Brooklyn, NY; Chicago, IL; Houston, TX; Nashville, TN; Orlando, FL; San Francisco, CA; or Tucson, AZ.

Those are the cities that will be getting special screenings of some of Sundance 2012′s most promising films in a program called Sundance Film Festival USA. Last year, films like Cedar Rapids, Like Crazy, Win Win and Our Idiot Brother all played as part of this program, months before their regular release dates, and this year’s films feature stars like Susan Sarandon, Elijah Wood, Chris Rock, Kirsten Dunst, Tim Roth, David Duchovny and many more. All the screenings take place on January 26. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Three radically different comedies are filling up with a bevy of well-known actors. Johnny Knoxville, Josh Pence and many more have joined the cast of Fun Size, a kid comedy described as a Halloween-set blend of Superbad and Adventures in Babysitting. Allison Janney has been cast by Josh Radnor for Liberal Arts, which the How I Met Your Mother star will star in, write and direct. Also Seth Green and Michelle Trachtenberg will appear along Katee Sackhoff in the dark comedy Sexy Evil Genius. Read more about all of these projects after the jump. Read More »

The latest addition to the cast of Dexter‘s sixth season is a great one: Edward James Olmos has signed on to play “a brilliant, charismatic professor of religious studies.” Colin Hanks and Mos Def are other recent additions to the core cast of the show, which begins shooting on May 25 and will premiere in the fall, likely in mid to late September. Being the definition of a good sport, Mr. Olmos tweeted right after the news broke: “It’s true… I’m coming for you Dexter….” [Deadline]

After the break, the ever-great Richard Jenkins joins Elizabeth Olson in an indie, and we catch up with the extensive casting of Crooked House. Read More »

Ed Harris has joined HBO’s Game Change, to play the John McCain to Julianne Moore’s Sarah Palin. The film is an adaptation of the bestselling nonfiction book Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime by political journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, about the 2008 presidential race. Game Change reunites director Jay Roach and screenwriter Danny Strong, who previously won Emmys for their work on HBO’s Recount.

I liked the casting of Moore as Palin, and Harris as McCain seems like a good fit too. Not only is Harris an excellent actor, he actually does kind of look like the movie-star version of McCain, don’t you think? This project is sounding better and better as more names get attached. Casting for other major roles, including that of eventual victor (SPOILER ALERT) Barack Obama, have yet to be announced. [EW]

After the jump, How I Met Your Mother star and budding director Josh Radnor picks up a love interest for his new project.

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