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Usually when I go to a Live Read, I know the movie like the back of my hand. Ghostbusters, Pulp Fiction, The Usual Suspects, American Beauty, these are all movies I’ve seen dozens of times and know backwards and forwards. However, the November reading was a film I’d never seen until this week: Barry Levinson‘s Diner. It totally deserves to be mentioned among those films, but it somehow fell through the cracks in my years as a film fan. It’s as timeless, funny and poignant as any movie I’ve ever seen.

Watching the film, I began to worry about the Live Read. Sure this was a movie with dynamic characters based on a razor sharp script, but Levinson’s film also created such a perfect atmosphere. The movie was 1959 Baltimore, from the weather to the locations, outfits and the music. Oh, the music. Diner is a jukebox full of awesome tunes and the Live Reads don’t play music during the read. Was it going to work out?

Presenter and director Jason Reitman had an answer for that. To make the script move at a clip worthy of its amazing original cast, and to make the audience forget there was no music or settings to enhance it, he’d need actors who are incredibly familiar with each other. Actors with an ability to deliver filthy dialogue very fast, have perfect chemistry, talk a ton of crap and dish about football. How about the cast of FXX’s The League?

Yes, almost the entire cast of The League read Barry Levinson’s Diner at latest Jason Reitman Live Read, presented Film Independent at LACMA. Below, read what the cast brought to the script and what the script revealed about itself.  Read More »

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Togetherness

Brothers Jay and Mark Duplass have been apart more than not lately, with Jay killing it on Amazon’s Transparent and Mark doing the same on FXX’s The League. But come January, they’ll be re-teaming for a brand-new show on HBO called Togetherness.

The half-hour series centers around four people in their late 30s who all live under one roof. Mark Duplass and Melanie Lynskey play Brett and Michelle, a married couple struggling with parenthood, Steve Zissis is Brett’s underemployed best friend Alex, and Amanda Peet is Michelle’s free-spirited sister Tina. Watch the first Togetherness trailer after the jump.

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abcs-of-death-2

Keep the lights on, because today’s edition of Sequel Bits is unusually horror-heavy. After the jump:

  • Karl Urban wants to do Star Trek for 25 more years
  • Avatar 2 is probably going to shoot in early 2015
  • Transformers 4 is now the 18th biggest film ever
  • Mark Duplass wants to make Creep 2 and 3 right away
  • Tremors 5 finally has a director and a star
  • Hey, Chicagoans: Sinister 2 is looking for extras
  • ABCs of Death 2 is arriving just in time for Halloween
  • Leprechaun: Origins is coming to theaters after all
  • … and so is Sharknado 2: The Second One!
  • Jarhead 2: Field of Fire not only exists, it has a trailer

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The One I Love trailer

At first glance, Sundance drama The One I Love seems ordinary in every way. Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass play a pretty typical couple whose marriage is suffering from pretty typical problems, like boredom and resentment. Then their couples counselor prescribes a romantic getaway, and things take a turn for the bizarre.

To say more would be venturing into spoiler territory, but you can at least get a sense of the off-kilter tone with the first The One I Love trailer. Watch it after the jump.

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Creep mark duplass

On the eve of one potential horror franchise from Jason Blum, the producer has just inked a deal for yet another. Creep, produced by Blumhouse and co-written and co-starring Mark Duplass, has just been picked up by Radius/The Weinstein Company with an eye on creating a trilogy. The film premiered at South by Southwest 2014 to solid buzz. It follows a filmmaker who answers a mysterious online ad, only to have his expectations completely shattered. Patrick Brice co-stars, co-wrote and directs. Read More »

Tammy header

Melissa McCarthy co-wrote and stars in Tammy, a road-trip comedy opening July 2. The actresss’ husband, Ben Falcone, directed the film, which finds the main character on basically the worst day ever. She tries to get out of town, but has no car, so ends up on the road with her grandmother (Susan Sarandon). On paper, it sounds a little underwhelming but the prime Summer release date, and McCarthy’s last few hit films, definitely scream confidence. Does the trailer? Find out below. Read More »

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Maybe this is the Twilight Zone, where mundane beginnings lead to extraordinary situations. In The One I Love, a married couple played by Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass are having problems. Nothing outlandish, just garden-variety issues such as resentment, boredom, and an erosion of respect. So: off to couples therapy. Their analyst advocates a retreat which, he promises, has worked wonders for many others.

What happens next is… well, something people associated with the film have tried to keep quiet. Frankly, that’s a bit absurd, as the material in question is the premise of the film, not a spoiler. Trailers will eventually give some of it up. But I’ll play along, because doing so is a fun exercise.

To be circumspect: This isn’t a romantic comedy, nor a weepy drama. Unusual, clever, and bitterly funny, The One I Love seeks to expose the impulses that can stall a relationship, or foster growth. While the idea’s deepest potential is not exploited, Duplass and Moss — very nearly the only actors in the movie — perform with nicely-pitched intensity and utter command of their craft. If this had premiered earlier in the Sundance schedule it might have become the must-see film of the fest; the late debut doesn’t change the fact that it is among this year’s early standouts.  Read More »

Usual Suspects

For Jason Reitman‘s final live read of the 2012-2013 season, he chose a revered, Oscar-winning screenplay: Christopher McQuarrie‘s The Usual Suspects. When that title was announced I was initially skeptical. I thought, “The Usual Suspects is so well known for its surprise ending, and that ending is so incredibly visual, how would it come across in a live read setting?” The answer was revealed in two ways. First this read suggests that Bryan Singer‘s direction in the original film is powerful and underrated. Also, as great as the ending to McQuarrie’s script is, some of his true poetry isn’t even on the screen.

Presented by Film Independent at LACMA, read more about the star-studded cast (which included Dexter‘s Michael C. Hall, The League‘s Mark Duplass and original cast member Kevin Pollak) below. Read More »

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