Jack Black / Tim Robbins

After chronicling the 2000 Bush-Gore debacle with 2008′s Recount and John McCain’s failed 2008 presidential run with last year’s Game Change, Jay Roach is once again diving into the world of politics for HBO. But this time, the crisis being depicted is totally fictional.

Roach has just cast Jack Black and Tim Robbins in the HBO comedy pilot The Brink, about three “disparate and desperate” men facing the possibility of World War III. More plot details after the jump.

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spoils-of-babylon-trailer

While the mainstream is fetishizing the ’90s, a crew is still looking back at the forgotten corners of ’80s pop culture. IFC mini-series The Spoils of Babylon is from exec producers Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Matt Piedmont, Andrew Steele and Nate Young. (Steele and Piedmont wrote.) It is designed as a spoof of ’80s event television, and skewers stuff like The Thorn Birds; beach lit stories that, in their small-screen incarnations, are forgotten by most people who weren’t around to watch them the first time.

The series is about the Morehouse oil tycoon family, with Tobey Maguire, Tim Robbins and Kristen Wiig among the leads. (Jessica Alba, Jelly Howie, Val Kilmer, Michael Sheen, and Steve Tom also show up.) Below, watch a trailer in which Maguire narrates a brief history of the family, culminating with the ominous memory of the Morehouse son Winston. Read More »

Thanks for Sharing

In The Avengers, Mark Ruffalo played a seemingly mild-mannered man waging a constant internal battle against his predilection for anger. In the upcoming Thanks for Sharing, he plays a guy who’s a lot like that, only he’s fighting sex addition, not anger issues. And Pepper Potts — I’m sorry, Gwyneth Paltrow — is along for the ride.

Adam (Ruffalo) is five years sex-sober when he meets and falls for beautiful Phoebe (Paltrow). Encouraged by his pals at the sex-addiction group (including Tim Robbins), he pursues a relationship with her, struggling to maintain a healthy romance without spiraling into self-destructive behavior.

Thanks for Sharing was directed by The Kids Are All Right scribe Stuart Blumberg, so it’s no surprise that there’s a sweet, honest feel to the proceedings. Check out the new trailer after the jump.

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Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids

Produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, Welcome to Me features Kristen Wiig as a lady with multiple personalities. She then wins the lottery and spends the money on a TV show that’s about herself. It’s written by Eliot Laurence, directed by Shira Piven and starts production in August. Three actors were just added to the group, all of which add to the layered feel of the comedic drama. They are Tim Robbins, Linda Cardellini and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Read the full press release below. Read More »

Thanks for Sharing

Despite sharing a theme and a location — sex addiction and New York City, respectively — Stuart Blumberg‘s Thanks for Sharing couldn’t look more different from Steve McQueen’s Shame. Whereas the latter was a dark, depressing portrayal of one man’s downward spiral, the former looks like a lighter, more hopeful affair about a group of sufferers helping each other get better.

One of the afflicted is Adam (Mark Ruffalo), an environmental consultant tentatively wading back into the dating pool after five years sober. He quickly meets Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow), a pretty foodie with issues of her own. Tim Robbins, Josh Gad, and Alecia Moore (you probably know her as Pink) play other members of Adam’s support group, and Joely Richardson and Patrick Fugit round out the cast. Hit the jump to watch the first trailer.

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Will-Ferrel-Spoils-of-Babylon-Teaser-Trailer

Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are living in the past. The modern TV “event series” has its roots in, well, Roots, and other mini-series adaptations of popular epic fiction. The late ’70s and early ’80s saw a rash of highly-touted adaptations of historical novels and family sagas, with the runaway success of Roots followed by Jesus of Nazareth, Shogun, The Thorn Birds, The Winds of War, and many more.

The basic format has changed little today — you’ll still see mini-series novel adaptations with a high-profile cast and a budget that outstrips some television. but there’s a way of advertising these events that has changed a little bit.

For their IFC mini-series The Spoils of Babylon, Ferrell and McKay are taking aim at those TV events, and they’ve appropriated the old ’80s ad style to go along with it. Or a comic version of it, at least. I don’t know if this will work on people under 30, but anyone who was watching TV in the late ’70s and early ’80s will chuckle at this spot. (The series features Ferrell, Kristin Wiig, Tobey Maguire, Jessica Alba, Michael Sheen, Val Kilmer, Tim Robbins and Haley Joel Osment, but none of them show up in this teaser, just warning.) Read More »

Fifteen years after Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown hit theaters, Dan Schechter is making plans to travel back fifteen years before that movie took place. The writer-director has been amassing quite a cast for his sorta-prequel The Switch, including John Hawkes, Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), Jennifer Aniston, and Isla Fisher. But now he’s making a few tweaks to that lineup. Dennis Quaid and Ty Burrell have now departed the project, to be replaced by Will Forte and Tim Robbins. Read more after the jump.

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If you were perhaps looking for a companion piece to The Flowers of War, in which a big western star (Christian Bale) played in a film about Chinese history, then Back to 1942 might be it. Here Adrien Brody and Tim Robbins are two men caught up in social and political upheaval in China’s Henan province, which in the film’s timeline is enduring the worst famine in modern Chinese history.

There’s a gritty look to much of the footage here that looks great; this is the sort of giant film that Chinese directors such as Feng Xuigang — who directed here — have been able to put together lately with increased funding at home. But there’s also an earnestly serious tone here that almost veers towards the unintentionally comic that I can’t tell if the film will play well. Regardless, check out the trailer below. Read More »

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