Posted on Monday, December 16th, 2013 by David Chen
When Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World debuted in 2010, I’ll admit it: I didn’t quite know what to make of it. Wright’s Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz were clearly send-ups of their respective genres, but Pilgrim defied my expectations. Part videogame movie, part comic-book movie, and part coming-of-age story, Pilgrim, based on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s award-winning graphic novel series, was a bold, singular creation that unfortunately never truly found its audience during its theatrical release.
In the intervening years, my appreciation of the film has grown considerably. After the jump, you can see my newest video essay analyzing the film and pointing out some of its hidden gems. Feel free to share your thoughts on Scott Pilgrim vs. The World in the comments.
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Is Sebastian Silva‘s Crystal Fairy a drug film? A road trip film, or a comedy? Maybe a drama, or an experimental film? In fact, the movie is all of those things. Filmed on a shoestring budget while waiting to make another movie called Magic Magic, Crystal Fairy stars Michael Cera as Jamie, an American traveling in Chile hoping to trip on the psychedelic chemical in the San Pedro cactus. Along the way he picks up a crazy American girl named Crystal (Gaby Hoffman) and with three brothers in tow they all go on a very awkward journey of discovery. Basically, it’s a film that defies any real classification beyond “captivating.”
That nature is why I was so excited to talk at length with the writer/director and star of the film. We spoke to Cera and Silva about the film and talked about its eccentricities, its different tones, strong female representation, and the idea of Cera playing a total ass. (OK, we touched on Arrested Development, too.)
The film is now playing in select cities and on-demand. Read our interview below. Read More »
Sebastián Silva‘s first film at Sundance this year was the road trip/drug trip experiment Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus, or simply Crystal Fairy. Michael Cera stars as a somewhat clueless and boorish American on extended holiday in Chile. All he really wants to do is find a San Pedro cactus that he can boil down so that he can trip balls thanks to the hallucinogenic properties of the plant. But there’s a snag — along the way he and his friends pick up Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffman), a free spirit who provokes some very unwelcome self-examination on Cera’s part.
The first trailer for the film is out, and it has a lot of the weird humor that keeps the movie spinning. This footage also makes the film seem a bit more conventional than it really is — and since this isn’t exactly a conventional trailer, that should tell you something about the film. But damn, Hoffman’s performance is really something in this movie, and it’s great to see Cera take his own screen persona pretty far out on a limb, too. Read More »
The weirdest double-feature at Sundance this year was the pair of films from Sebastián Silva and Michael Cera. While in a holding pattern waiting to shoot one film, Magic Magic (see a trailer for that movie here) they improvised a second film, Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus. IFC picked up Crystal Fairy during the fest, and while we don’t yet have a trailer, we can show you the first poster for the film now.
While Cera is the “star” of both films, in truth each movie really comes to life thanks to the performance of an actress antagonized by Cera. Here, that’s Gaby Hoffmann, whose vibrant performance may be the most bracingly fearless turn you’ll see this year. It’s quite a thing to see.
Cera, Hoffman, and Juan Andrés Silva, José Miguel Silva, and Agustín Silva play an unlikely group of kids in search of the hallucinogenic San Pedro cactus. As you’ll see in the poster image, they definitely find one, and it’s effect of ingesting the distilled essence of the cactus that pushes things into the realms of the weird and deeply confessional. Check out the poster below. Read More »
Posted on Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 by Angie Han
Since breaking out on Arrested Development a decade ago, Michael Cera has gotten a lot of flack for his tendency to stick to the George-Michael Bluth type — awkward, timid, but fundamentally sweet. But just as George-Michael has matured into a more confident, independent young man in the new fourth season of the series, Cera’s started to branch out into darker, stranger material.
Among his intriguing recent work is Sebastián Silva‘s psychological thriller Magic Magic, in which he plays one of several jerks that poor fragile Alicia (Juno Temple) has the misfortune of getting stuck with during a Chilean vacation. Emily Browning, Agustín Silva, and Catalina Sandino Moreno also star. Watch the new trailer after the jump.
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All that’s missing is the voice of Ron Howard’s narrator, but otherwise everything you want from Arrested Development is here in the first trailer for the show’s fourth season. The primary cast (Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale, David Cross, Jeffrey Tambor, and Jessica Walter) all make appearances, and there are some great jokes.
Actually, while the trailer stars slow, it builds a good head of steam fast, and there are a lot of great jokes. As soon as Buster hits the screen, it’s all systems go. Can it be May 26 now? (And also, seriously, where’s Ron Howard?) Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 by Angie Han
It seems like every major film or TV campaign now includes at least one set of character posters, but trust Arrested Development to have a little fun with theirs.
Nine new posters have dropped for the highly anticipated fourth season of the comedy, but they don’t show the Bluth clan’s handsome mugs. Instead, they showcase a series of objects that should look very familiar to anyone who’s followed the first three seasons of the show. Check ’em out after the jump.
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This week’s second trailer for This Is The End once again features what’s sure to be one of the better trailer moments this year: Michael Cera slapping Rihanna on the butt, and then her punching him in the face. In the red band trailer, that’s followed up with more of Cera’s true colors. In this all-ages version, things feel decidedly more tame, but no less funny. Both trailers together give us a great of idea of what to expect on June 12 when directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg bring together many of their funny, famous friends for a hard-R rated comedy about the end of the world.
Check out the green band trailer for This Is The End below. Read More »
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Magic Magic is the second of two Sundance 2013 films from writer/director Sebastián Silva and star Michael Cera. This is the one that features Cera performing much of his dialogue — quite credibly, I believe — in Spanish. But Cera isn’t actually the lead here. That role belongs to Juno Temple, who very impressivly plays a young woman who goes completely out of her mind while visiting a cousin in Chile.
Programmed as part of the Midnight series at Sundance, there’s the implication that Silva’s film is a horror picture. And it is, to a certain extent, but it’s of the sort seen in Roman Polanski movies such as Repulsion and The Tenant. As with Stoker, this is a horror film where the monsters are simply people; here, they’re too selfish and short-sighted to see what damage they’re doing.
In its best moments, Magic Magic has far more power to unnerve than most horror. The disintegration of one girl’s psyche is rendered in such familiar, insistent terms that you might feel your own sanity crack slightly while the film runs.
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Michael Cera has crafted a recognizable outsider persona since his breakout gig on Arrested Development, and this latest role hones the edge of his gawky, lovelorn screen ego from brightly earnest towards something more viciously awkward. In Crystal Fairy Cera looks like Gene Wilder playing Abbie Hoffman, and he gives his funniest adult performance by dropping all self-conscious comic pretense.
At a house party somewhere in Chile, Jamie (Cera) takes drugs and retreats into the bathroom, where he comes face to face with ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights‘ by Hieronymus Bosch. The wild triptych points to the few days ahead, in which a quest for an elusive psychoactive cactus will lead Jamie to understand what an ass he can be. That might not sound like a lot of fun, but the odd, meandering Crystal Fairy has a loopy honesty paired with the uncomfortable laughter Cera provokes throughout. And Gaby Hoffmann, known to fans of Uncle Buck, Field of Dreams, and Sleepless in Seattle, gives an all-out provocative performance.
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