2011 Sundance Film Festival Short Films Announced

The 2011 Sundance Film Festival is shaping up quite nicely. The films in competition, and out of competition, have already been announced and each has some incredibly exciting entries. Monday brought the announcement of the 81 short films, chosen out of 6,467 entries, that will play in Park City, Utah this January. And while the majority of them are by currently unknown filmmakers, there are a few that jump out featuring names like Elijah Wood, Danny McBride, Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Jack Black. Actually, those guys are all in the same short. Other notables include Neil LaBute, Tim & Eric and Isabella Rossellini. After the jump, we’ll highlight those films and show you the full list. Read More »

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Just about the last person I’d expect to see making a short film to promote a video game is Neil LaBute, the theater director who has made films like In the Company of Men, Your Friends and Neighbors and the remake of The Wicker Man. But the team behind Sony’s game Heavy Rain hired LaBute to make a film that explores one of the themes of the game, which is ‘how far would you go to save someone you love?’

So here is How Far Would You Go?, in which we see LaBute and directors like Peter Bogdanovich, Stephen Frears, Nicolas Roeg and Chris Weitz talk about the lengths to which they’d go for someone they love, and about the nature of love and creativity in general. Actors like Samuel L. Jackson, Nicholas Hoult and Ben Chaplin chime in as well. It’s an odd collection of talent, and an unusual piece of film. Read More »

The Vicious Kind Movie Trailer and Clip

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Here’s a little indie starring Adam Scott, J.K. Simmons, and I guess I should continue, Brittany Snow, that a growing number of people are on the lookout for. Entitled The Vicious Kind and executive produced by sometime-gangster Neil LaBute, the film sees the irreverent, dry-witted Scott in a more serious role compared to those in Step Brothers and the addictive Starz series Party Down. (That said, fans of Party Down witnessed a glowing coal rock of dramatic potential during the actor’s debut season.)

The movie recently nabbed two Independent Spirit Awards, one for Best Screenplay, and one for Scott’s performance, placing him—with some surprise—alongside other notable noms/Oscar locks Jeff Bridges and Colin Firth. Find out what Vicious is about and watch Simmons commit attempted murder in the encouraging, amusing, if hipster-hirsute trailer below.

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Death at a Funeral

Screen Gems has released the first trailer for Chris Rock-produced re-imagining of Frank Oz‘s 2007 British comedy Death at a Funeral. Although Oz’s original was well-received by many critics, it didn’t get very much traction with theatergoers, drawing only a niche audience. The new film has a primarily African-American cast and focuses on a funeral that “devolves into a debacle of misplaced cadavers, indecent exposure and family secrets.” Basically, they have decided to remake an English-language film, dumbing down the jokes, in an effort to attract a more black audience (and to clarify: this comment is a statement on Hollywood chooses to treat ticket-buying African-Americans, and not a statement on the intelligence of that audience). It seems completely unnecessary. If you think that sounds horrible, watch the trailer — it’s much worse.

The remake was directed by Neil LaBute (In The Company of Men, The Wicker Man, Lakeview Terrace), was written by Dean Craig (Caffeine), and stars Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan, Danny Glover, Regina Hall, James Marsden, Zoe Saldana, and Columbus Short. Watch the trailer now embedded after the jump. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Neil LaBute Adapting Novel The Burnt Orange Heresy

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Neil LaBute will re-team with his Death at a Funeral producer William Horberg to direct an adaptation of Charles Willeford‘s art world crime novel The Burnt Orange Heresy, according to Variety. This isn’t the first time Willeford’s work has made it to the screen; he scripted Cockfighter (Monte Hellman! Warren Oates!) from his own novel, and Horberg previously produced an adaptation of Willeford’s Miami Blues, starring a young Alec Baldwin. Read More »

wattsNaomi Watts will star in an adaptation of Amy Sutherland’s Kicked, Bitten and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World’s Premiere School for Exotic Animal Trainers for First Look Pictures. Todd Louiso (Love Liza) and Jacob Koskoff are scripting it into a romantic comedy.

fey and poehlerFormer SNL Weekend Update duo Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will co-star in the comedy Baby Mama. Fey will play a single executive whose desire to have a child and keep her career leads her to hire a surrogate mother, played by Poehler. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me co-writer Michael McCullers will make his directorial debut.

Rob SchneiderRob Schneider is in talks to join frequent collaborator Adam Sandler in You Don’t Mess With the Zohan. The script by Judd Apatow, Robert Smigel and Sandler centers on a Mossad agent (Sandler) who fakes his death so he can move to New York and become a hair stylist. Schneider would play an East Yistannen cab driver.

bustaRapper Busta Rhymes’ new movie Order of Redemption started shooting yesterday WITHOUT Rhymes. Apparently the NYPD scared the rapper away: “The production agreed that Busta Rhymes would not be participating in the scenes shot here after the Police Department raised public safety concerns.” Director Jeff Celentano is pissed: “This is tremendously unfair to Busta, who has been nothing but professional during this project. This is a bigger loss for the city of New York.”

Ashton KutcherNeil LaBute (In the Company of Men) is in negotiations to direct and Ashton Kutcher is in talks to co-star in Screen Gems’ thriller Lakeview Terrace, which follows an LAPD officer (Samuel L. Jackson) who will stop at nothing to force out the interracial couple (Kerry Washington & Kutcher) that moved in next door.

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