The first trailer for The Descendants, Alexander Payne‘s first feature film as director since Sideways in 2004, set up a lot of story: George Clooney is a relatively uninvolved dad who has to step up and take care of his two daughters when his wife suffers an accident, only to learn that there are things about his wife’s life he didn’t know.

This second trailer is more of a teaser that puts the movie across as a more gentle, perhaps even quirky story than we saw in the full trailer. It tells us that the fact that the story takes place in Hawaii shouldn’t lead us to expect something cheery and easy, but then offers up a relatively cheery and easy look at the film. Oh, and the trailer is propped up in the middle by a nice two-part quote from some guy named Peter Sciretta. Check it out below. Read More »

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It has been seven long years since Alexander Payne last had a film in theaters. He’s done a lot of work since Sideways, producing some films (Cedar Rapids) and television (Hung) and working to develop quite a few projects. He spent some significant time on the film Downsizing, which was shelved late in development; that’s when he jumped at making The Descendants with George Clooney. This one is right in Payne’s wheelhouse: the story of a father dealing with his two daughters after an accident leaves his wife terrible injured. While trying to get back into being a proper father, he discovers that his wife had been having an affair, and things get emotional from there.

The first trailer has landed, and fans of Alexander Payne’s previous films will probably love it. Everyone else should check it out just for a brief bit featuring Robert Forster. Read More »

How does Sebastian Gutierrez keep getting these actors to appear in his films? So far just about all of his work has been laden with impressively star-studded casts, but nothing he’s produced has even come close to finding any sort of success at the box office — or with critics, for that matter. I guess that’s of no consequence for his next effort though, since the film is being released exclusively on the Internet. For free.

That film is Girl Walks Into a Bar, and it brings together an ensemble cast including Carla Gugino, Zachary Quinto, Josh Hartnett, Danny DeVito, Rosario Dawson, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Robert Forster, Alexis Bledel and many more. That roster of actors is incentive enough to check out the film. That you won’t have to pay to do so is the cherry on top. Learn more about the film and check out the trailer after the break. Read More »

There is a rather rare, very specific film subgenre that we rarely have a chance to discuss: Single-Actor Films Based on One-Man Stage Plays About US Presidents. There is Secret Honor, for instance, in which Philip Baker Hall did a magnificent job as Richard Nixon for director Robert Altman. And there is Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!, in which James Whitmore played Harry S Truman.

Now the producers of that film, David Permut and Mark Travis, are assembling a stage play about Ronald Reagan, called The Lifeguard: Ronald Reagan and His Story. They’ve hired Robert Forster to play the one and only role, and he’ll carry that forward into a screen version, too. Read More »

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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, sans New Moon, that offer proof. Weekend Weirdness takes a look at such films, whether it’s via a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini-review, or news of an excavated cult classic. The works discussed herein tend to make cinema a little more interesting, and in the best cases do the same for life or at least a blown weekend.

The year, 2009, delivered a number of knockout documentaries that were better made and more meditative than their premises let on. For over a year, The Rock-afire Explosion has popped-and-fizzled on my radar, until a screener finally arrived in the mail last week underneath a hate letter from my ex, Sallie Mae. Pop Candy’s Whitney Matheson—a cool guest on the /Filmcast—also received one, a screener that is, and she promptly called Rock-afire the best film of the year for a documentary or otherwise. I wouldn’t go that far, but Rock-afire Explosion makes for true-life entertainment every bit as tasty as a slice and a cold beer to a divorced, thankless, balding dad tolerating a Showbiz Pizza in the late ’80s. In other words, this isn’t some  Chuck E. Cheese shit.
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