Dreamworks Animation announced Turbo a while ago; the animated film features Ryan Reynolds as the voice of a garden snail who dreams of being a racing champion.

Today the rest of the major voice cast has been announced, and it features some excellent names. Paul Giamatti, Luis Guzman, Maya Rudolph and more are part of the lineup. And Robert Siegel (The Wrestler, Big Fan) has been announced as a co-writer, which is also a welcome detail. Read More »

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Big Fan

First Independent Pictures has supplied us with an exclusive clip from Big Fan, the feature directorial debut of Robert Siegel, screenwriter of Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler and former editor of The Onion. You probably know the film better as the Patton Oswalt obsessed football fan movie. As I have warned previously, this film is not a comedy, but instead a character study. If you know that going in, you’ll be a lot better off. Watch the clip after the jump.

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Big Fan Movie Trailer

Big Fan

One of the most anticipated films of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival was Big Fan, the feature directorial debut of Robert Siegel, screenwriter of Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler and former editor of The Onion . The film was met to mixed reviews, not because its a bad movie, but because most everyone I talked to walked into the screening expecting something else entirely. The film stars comedian Patton Oswalt as a 35-year-old parking garage attendant from Staten Island, who is the self-described “world’s biggest New York Giants fan.

He lives at home with his mother, spending his off hours calling in to local sports-radio station 760 The Zone, where he rants in support of his beloved team, often against his mysterious on-air rival, Eagles fan Philadelphia. His family berates him for doing nothing with his life, but they don’t understand the depth of his love of the Giants or the responsibility his fandom carries. One night, Paul and his best friend Sal spot Giants star linebacker Quantrell Bishop at a gas station in their neighborhood. They impulsively follow his limo into Manhattan, to a strip club, where they hang in the background, agog at their hero. Paul cautiously decides to approach him, stepping into the rarefied air of football stardom — and things do not go as planned. The fallout of this chance encounter brings Paul’s world crashing down around him as his family, the team, the media and the authorities engage in a tug of war over Paul, testing his allegiances and calling into question everything he believes in. Meanwhile, the Giants march toward a late-season showdown with the Eagles, unaware that sometimes the most brutal struggles take place far from the field of play.

With Oswalt in the lead, most festival-goers were expecting a flat out comedy, but were shocked to find a dark dramedy. Big Fan is a character study much in the same vein of Siegel’s The Wrestler. It is a profile of an obsessed sports fanatic who has invested too much of himself into a past time. You might not like the twists and turns, and you probably won’t have any idea where this story will conclude, but you’ll walk out of it with an all new respect for Oswalt — who proves he has dramatic chops on top of the comic timing. Watch the trailer after the jump.
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2009 Sundance Film Festival Competition Films Announced

The Sundance Institute has announced the first half of the line-up for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Included in the first press release are the films in competition in the Drama and Documentary segments. 3,661 feature-length films were submitted this year, which is 37 more films than last year. For the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, 118 feature-length films were selected including 87 world premieres, 19 North American premieres, and 4 U.S. premieres representing 21 countries with 42 first-time filmmakers, including 28 in competition. Before we get into the full list, I would like to point out some of the films that particularly interest me. Also, now should be the time for me to admit that I focus more on English-language films, so my foreign picks will probably be lacking.

The Wrestler screenwriter Robert Siegel makes his directorial debut with Big Fan, which stars Patton Oswalt as a parking garage attendant and hardcore New York Giants football fan who struggles to deal with the consequences when he is beaten up by his favorite player. Michael Rapaport also stars. I loved the humor that Siegel brought to The Wrestler, and with Oswalt in the lead – this one is a no brainer.

The Office star John Krasinski makes his directorial debut with a big screen adaptation of David Foster Wallace‘s book Breif Interviews with Hideous Men. The story follows Julianne Nicholson as a doctoral candidate in anthropology who “tries to remedy the heartache” of being dumped with little explanation, by interviewing men about their behavior. Krasinski, Dominic Cooper and Timothy Hutton also star.

In Cold Souls, Paul Giamatti stars as a famous American actor who in the midst of an existential crisis, “explores soul extraction as a relief from the burdens of daily life.” Okay, doesn’t have the best plot description but Giamatti is involved, as well as David Strathairn, Emily Watson, and Lauren Ambrose.


Emmy Rossum stars in Adam Salky‘s feature directorial debut Dare, about “three very different teenagers discover that, even in the safe world of a suburban prep school, no one is who she or he appears to be.” IMDB also provides a different teaser synopsis: “The good girl, the outsider and the bad boy…like you’ve never seen them before.” This is a feature length adaptation of Salky’s 2005 short film which was met with acclaim at film festivals. I’m a sucker for coming of age films.

Everyone is talking about Paper Heart, the film that Michael Cera made under the raydar with his girlfriend Charlyne Yi. The film is apparently a meta-love story with the stars playing themselves (?). The pre-festival hype aside, I would see this film based on Cera’s involvement alone.

Teeth star Jess Weixler returns to Sundance opposite Jason Ritter in a big screen adaptation of Peter and Vandy, the Drama Desk Nominated Best Play that was lauded for its “almost embarrassing intimacy and killer comic timing.” The film tells the story of a contemporary Manhattan love story, told out of order, with no beginning and no end. Festival programer Geoffrey Gilmore says that “One of the themes” of this year’s festival is “the kind of new-generation love story,” … a new “way of telling love stories right now by a new, younger generation that’s different, that’s fresh, that’s original.” This and the Cera film Paper Heart seems to fit into this statement.

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Jeff Daniels stars as the title character Arlen Faber, a reclusive author of a groundbreaking spiritual book awakens to new truths when two strangers enter his life. The film also stars Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah), Olivia Thirlby (Juno, Wackness), and Lauren Gram. The film was formerly titled “The Dream of the Romans“, which is a much better title if you ask me.


In Good Hair, Comedian Chris Rock turns documentary filmmaker when he sets out to examine the culture of African-American hair and hairstyles. I’m not sure if it will be good, like many of Chris Rock’s films, but I’ll always be there for anything the guy creates.

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Documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler was given unprecedented access for a film titled “The September Issue“. Cutler and crew shot Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and her team over the corse of nine months as they prepared the 2007 VogueSeptember issue, widely accepted as the “fashion bible” for the year’s trends. I’ve always been interested in the world of journalism, even if the Fashion world might be a very different realm. And I must admit that The Devil Wears Prada has me very interested to catch this one.

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You can read the full press release (which includes a listing of all the films announced today) after the jump.

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Darren Aronofsky to direct The Wrestler

aronofskythefighter.jpeg

Last week we told you that Nicolas Cage was in talks to star in Robert Siegel’s The Wrestler, which is in development at Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures. ComingSoon is now reporting that Aronofsky is actually going to direct this film, which is targeted for a January 2008 start.

I had actually heard that Aronofsky’s The Fighter is scheduled to go into production early next year. So it’s likely that Aronofsky will film the movies back-to-back. The big Hollywood strike was the best thing to happen to Aronofsky, who is coming off a box office failure with The Fountain (which to be fair, was one of the best movies of last year, but a hard film to market). Aronofsky is one of the best visual directors of this new generation of filmmakers.

The Wrestler follows a 1980s-era pro wrestling star named Randy “The Ram” Robinson who has become a burnt-out shell of his former self. Ram has a heart attack in a small-time match, and his doctor warns him that if he ever fights again, he would be risking his own life. In an effort to build a new life, Robinson takes a job at a deli, moves in with an aging stripper and tries to build a relationship with her son. But the prospect of a rematch with his old nemesis the Ayatollah proves too tempting to resist, even if it means risking his life.

Nicolas Cage is The Wrestler

Nicolas Cage  as Hulk Hogan

Nicolas Cage is in talks to star in The Wrestler, written by Robert Siegel. The film, which is in development at Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures, follows a 1980s-era pro wrestling star named Randy “The Ram” Robinson who has become a burnt-out shell of his former self. Ram has a heart attack in a small-time match, and his doctor warns him that if he ever fights again, he would be risking his own life.

In an effort to build a new life, Robinson takes a job at a deli, moves in with an aging stripper and tries to build a relationship with her son. But the prospect of a rematch with his old nemesis the Ayatollah proves too tempting to resist, even if it means risking his life.

Cage has yet to sign a contract, and it is unknown if Requiem For A Dream and The Fountain helmer Darren Aronofsky will personally direct this project, or sit on the sidelines and produce. Aronofsky is hard at work on a pre-strike film for Paramount called The Fighter, which stars Mark Wahlberg as boxer “Irish” Micky Ward in the mid-80′s. So I do find it a bit strange that Aronofsky would be making two films inside the squared circle.

Long before I ever thought of becoming a movie blogger (or knew what a “blogger” was), I ran a popular pro wrestling news website called WrestleNet. In the late-90′s, wrestling was back in style (or at least as far as it was going to get), and I found the behind the scenes dealings to be insanely interesting. I haven’t watched “sports entertainment” in years, and no longer have the craving while I come across the USA Network while channel flipping. Although I do firmly believe that Hogan Knows Best on VH1 is one of the best reality shows on television.

Most wrestling movies out there (No Holds Barred and Ready to Rumble quickly come to mind) treat the business and its fans with such disrespect. I would also like to recommend two great documentaries which show you the real side of pro wrestling: Barry W. Blaustein’s Beyond the Mat and Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows. I highly recommend both of these documentaries, even if you (and especially is you) haven’t ever been a pro wrestling fan. Both of the docs show the real life gritty behind the scenes world of pro wrestling, which I’m sure you too will find fascinating. But my point is this: There is a whole unexplored world behind the scenes, and I hope that someone will write a good film set in that world.

source: HollywoodReporter

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