Mistress America review

Noah Baumbach’s movies have never been easy to describe. Each one blends so many different tones, sensibilities and genres that simply describing his movies as one thing doesn’t work. Calling The Squid and the Whale a family drama doesn’t seem right. Frances Ha isn’t just a coming of age story and Greenberg isn’t just a movie about self-discovery.

That lack of easy categorization is probably the only thing Baumbach’s latest film, Mistress America, shares with the director’s other films. Well, that and his co-writer and star Greta Gerwig. Mistress America is by far Baumbach’s funniest film, anchored by a completely new sort of performance from Gerwig, and blessed with a script so smart and sharp, many of the film’s jokes don’t land for a few seconds because A) you’ve never heard anyone say anything like that and B) it’s just so damn intelligent.

Mistress America had its world premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and you can read the rest of our Mistress America review below. Read More »

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While We're Young

If Noah Baumbach‘s last film, Frances Ha, was a pitch-perfect examination of young adulthood, his next one, While We’re Young, looks like an equally astute look at middle adulthood. Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts star as a 40something married couple who befriend a 20something hipster couple (played by Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried). Watch the first While We’re Young trailer after the jump.

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Lake Bell Emperors Children

Lake Bell‘s debut directorial effort In a World… was a little indie gem, but it looks like she’s got her sights on something a bit higher profile for her follow up. She’s set to helm The Emperor’s Children, based on the 2006 novel by Claire Messud.

Noah Baumbach wrote the script, and Brian Grazer is producing. The plot follows three college friends in New York City around 9/11. Hit the jump for more details.

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‘The Act of Killing’ Tops Sight & Sound 2013 Poll

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End of year lists can be great for highlighting stuff you may have missed, and the annual poll from UK film magazine Sight & Sound, one of the first 2013 year-end lists out of the gate, has a number of films included that are worth tracking down. The magazine polls over 100 “international critics, curators and academics,” taking a top-five list from each. The magazine’s list of top films (with some tied for a couple berths) is generated from those votes.

Documentary The Act of Killing, which follows as men responsible for genocidal killings in Indonesia confront and recreate their crimes as film scenes, took first place by a margin of five votes. Gravity and Blue is the Warmest Colour are the second and third place choices.

The full list is below, complete with trailers for each film, so you can be introduced to whatever films on the list are unfamiliar. Read More »

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Noah Baumbach‘s last film, Frances Ha, was shot and finished without many people knowing about it; the director’s involvement was only revealed just before the film premiered at Telluride. He’s currently in production on the film While We’re Young, about which we also know little.

Now it seems like the Greenberg and The Squid and the Whale director is taking a similar approach with another film; the difference is that this is an animated project, for a major studio. Even better, the film, Flawed Dogs, is based on recent work by cartoonist and author Berkley Breathed. The adaptation was announced a couple years ago, but this is the first we’ve heard of Baumbach’s involvement. Read More »

Amanda Seyfried

Frances Ha is earning rave reviews in its limited rollout, but Noah Baumbach isn’t about to rest on his laurels. Instead, he’s already busy getting his ducks in a row for his next directorial effort, While We’re Young.

Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, and Adam Driver are already set to star in the film, and now Baumbach is rounding out the lead quartet with Amanda Seyfried. The Les Miserables actress started moving in on the role several weeks ago and has since entered final negotiations. Hit the jump for plot and character details.

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What is Frances Ha about? I’ve watched this trailer a couple times, and can’t quite tell you. Not because this is an Upstream Color situation, where the trailer is rather obscure, and the film it advertises is hardly typical. Rather, this Noah Baumbach film co-written by and starring Greta Gerwig looks like a pretty standard old-school indie, as it follows a young woman (Gerwig) who can’t quite get her life together.

There’s a synopsis below that will tell you a bit more, but really it’s just better to watch the trailer, which is spilling over with Gerwig’s winning charm, and the beat of David Bowie’s ever-infectious ‘Modern Love.’ Read More »

After a decade of false starts on the big screen, an adaptation Jonathan Franzen‘s The Corrections looked to finally be making some headway on the small screen. HBO began developing it as a series with producer Scott Rudin last fall, and quickly signed director Noah Baumbach as well as a high-profile cast including Ewan McGregor, Rhys Ifans, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest. The novel, which won the National Book Award in 2001, centers around an elderly couple and three adult children as they gather for “one last Christmas” near the turn of the millennium.

But alas, it seems this incarnation of the project isn’t going anywhere, either. After viewing the pilot, the premium cable has chosen to pass on the series. While HBO apparently liked the episode and the performances, it was concerned about the long-term sustainability of the premise. The book’s plot jumps back and forth through time, filling in the characters’ backstories, and HBO worried that it would be difficult for viewers to follow. The decision was not related to this week’s straight-to-series order of True Detective; with Luck off its plate, HBO would have had the resources to do both. [Deadline]

After the jump, the West Wing gang prove they’ve still got their walk-and-talk skills.

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