Posted on Friday, January 18th, 2013 by Angie Han
Half a decade after Zac Efron‘s last High School Musical outing, he’s still working on the challenging transition from Disney dreamboat to serious adult actor. And while he’s not quite there, he seems to be getting a little bit closer with every passing film. Neither The Lucky One nor The Paperboy were particularly well received, but they at least allowed Efron to try his hand at more mature material, and his supporting role in Liberal Arts earned some critical appreciation.
Perhaps Efron’s best shot yet at proving his chops comes from At Any Price, the latest drama by Goodbye Solo and Man Push Cart director Ramin Bahrani. Reactions to the film were all over the place after its Telluride debut last year, but for what it’s worth, our own Peter Sciretta called it his favorite of the festival — better, even, than Argo. Dennis Quaid, Kim Dickens, Heather Graham, Maika Monroe, and Red West also star. Watch the trailer after the jump.
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Ramin Bahrani‘s most accessible film to date ends up being my favorite film of the 2012 Telluride Film Festival (yes, besting Ben Affleck‘s Argo).
Ramin has developed a cult following from his three minimalist slice-of-life micro-budget films starring non-professional actors (if you havent yet seen Man Push Cart or Goodbye Solo, put them on your “to see” list). But with At Any Price, Bahrani is gearing up to step out of the film festival shadows and find an audience beyond cinephiles. Indie filmgoers may be turned off by this but I welcome Bahrani’s attempt to tell more expansive stories.
Dennis Quaid plays a fourth generation farmer trying to survive in a time when big corporations are pushing in and devouring the American heartlands. Fighting to keep his family afloat, and losing the battle of keeping his family unit together, Henry comes face to face with the consequences of his amoral actions.
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Posted on Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 by Angie Han
Matthew McConaughey is having one hell of a year. Having already drawn praise for turns in Richard Linklater’s Bernie, Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, and William Friedkin’s Killer Joe, the onetime Failure to Launch star is now heading into fall with Lee Daniels‘ The Paperboy.
Inspired by true events, The Paperboy centers around wayward young man (Zac Efron) and his journalist brother (McConaughey). When a woman (Nicole Kidman) approaches them for help in getting her death row inmate boyfriend (John Cusack) out of jail, they investigate the murder that put him there. David Oyelowo and Macy Gray also star. The first theatrical trailer has just hit the web, and you can watch it after the jump.
With his latest film, Rock of Ages, two weeks away from release, director Adam Shankman has locked in his follow-up project. It’s a comedy called This Is Where I Leave You and will star Jason Bateman, Zac Efron, Goldie Hawn and Leslie Mann as family members who return home to sit shiva for their father. Locked in a house for seven days, they air a lot of dirty laundry. (Figuratively, of course. Though with a big family, over seven days, there’s probably some literal laundry too.) The script is written by Jonathan Tropper based on his own novel of the same name. There’s more after the jump. Read More »
An obnoxious, loud frat boy played Zac Efron will butt heads with a neighborhood family man played by Seth Rogen in an upcoming comedy called Townies. Nicholas Stoller, who directed The Five Year Engagement, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and co-wrote The Muppets, is in talks to direct. Universal bought the pitch by Andrew Cohen and Brendan O’Brien last summer. Read more after the jump. Read More »
There’s a scene in Josh Radnor’s sophomore effort, Liberal Arts, where a 35-year-old admissions officer is mathematically analyzing what it means to date a 19-year-old. No words are uttered, it’s all simple math written on screen, yet it’s filled with more humor, poise and philosophy in two minutes than some movies have in two hours. The scene spawned a round of applause mid-movie. Not bad for a writer/director who most people know as a sitcom star.
With Liberal Arts, Radnor positions himself as a mini-Cameron Crowe, mixing joy, life lessons and a love of culture into a perfect, crowd pleasing film. Co-starring Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney and Zac Efron, Liberal Arts had its world premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and received a well-deserved standing ovation. Read more after the jump. Read More »
Posted on Friday, December 9th, 2011 by Angie Han
It’s been about five years now since Zac Efron became a household name thanks to High School Musical, and for the last few of those he’s been attempting to branch out with more serious, grown-up roles. Unfortunately, he hasn’t had much luck in that department so far. Though Richard Linklater’s Me and Orson Welles received favorable reviews, it failed to draw much of an audience, and the schmaltzy Charlie St. Cloud didn’t do him any favors. I haven’t seen Garry Marshall’s New Year’s Eve yet, but it’s probably safe to guess that won’t do much to boost Efron’s career, either.
Next year’s looking a little more auspicious for the former Disney star, with Josh Radnor’s Liberal Arts, Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy, and the Dr. Seuss adaptation The Lorax all lined up — but first, he’s got one more crappy-looking drama to get out of his system. Based on a novel by (but of course) Nicholas Sparks, The Lucky One sees Efron starring as a Marine who comes across a photo of a beautiful stranger (Taylor Schilling) during a tour in Iraq. When he returns to the States, he sets about trying to find her and woo her.
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Posted on Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 by Angie Han
If last month’s trailer for The Lorax seemed surprisingly cutesy and sweet for an urgent environmental fable, perhaps the new Australian trailer will balance it out. Where the last one really played up the colorful setting and playful tone, the new video offers a much better look at the destruction the greedy Once-ler (voiced by Ed Helms) hath wrought. Seriously, the Once-ler seems to live in some Seuss-ified version of the bleak post-apocalyptic landscape from The Road.
Based on a classic children’s book by Dr. Seuss, the film sees a young boy named Ted (voiced by Zac Efron) who sets out to learn the true story of how the Once-ler came to trash the Truffula trees over the warnings of the righteous, if slightly annoying, Lorax (Danny DeVito). Watch the new trailer after the jump.
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