Over the last 16 months, Disney+ has unleashed a slew of original films and TV shows, but few have felt like throwbacks to the days when Walt Disney Pictures released one low-budget, low-stakes comedy into theaters after another, in the hopes of translating into moderate box-office success. Though Disney+ has had a fair amount of new films, most of them – either because of the pandemic or through sheer luck – feel bigger than their streaming home. Flora & Ulysses, based on the graphic novel of the same name, is exactly the right size for Disney+, a cute and light film that manages to not be weighed down even by familial strife.
And that kind of strife is the backbone of the film. Flora (Matilda Lawler) is a young girl with comic books on her mind, not only because her dad George (Ben Schwartz) creates them for a living. When her dad and mom (Alyson Hannigan) separate for reasons that are less due to romance and more to professional frustrations, Flora is adrift until she encounters an odd squirrel named Ulysses, who seems to gain superpowers after a nasty run-in with a vacuum cleaner. Read More »
There are so many superheroes all over movies, TV, video games, and comic books, but there are few as unique as the one at the center of the new Disney+ movie Flora and Ulysses. That’s because Ulysses is a squirrel who just so happens to have superpowes, and he’s about to bring a little adventure and excitement into the life of a young girl obsessed with superheroes. Watch the Flora and Ulysses trailer below to see this squirrel in action. Read More »
2020 will go down as an awful year in global history, but if we put the pandemic aside, comedian/actor/writer Ben Schwartz is actually having a pretty solid year career-wise – and it just got even better. Schwartz will write the screenplay for a mysterious new comedy for Disney’s Searchlight Pictures, which he’ll also executive produce and star in alongside Oscar winner Sam Rockwell. Read More »
(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Series: Middleditch & Schwartz
Where You Can Stream It: Netflix
The Pitch: Middleditch & Schwartz is a two-person improvised show. Based on a short audience Q&A where someone in the crowd tells the duo about something they’re exciting about or dreading in the future, Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) and Ben Schwartz (Sonic the Hedgehog, Parks and Recreation) create characters, scenes, and storylines off the cuff, not knowing where they’ll end up, all based on what they’ve just hear from the audience. No hooks, no gimmicks, no scripts, and no props besides two chairs. It’s two great friends with incredible comedic instincts making everything up in front of your eyes. Every show is totally different, and you never know what’s going to happen next.
Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: Right now, you could probably do with an extended period of hearty laughter as the we continue to tread the boiling waters of hell on Earth. Look no further than three completely improvised comedy specials from Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz, partners in comedy who have each starred in a variety of movies and TV shows you know and love. The two actors also happen to be expertly trained comedians who went on tour over the past couple years, doing long-form improv shows for sold out audiences across the United States. Three of those were recorded at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, and they’re now available in perpetuity on Netflix. Read More »
The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, learn how ILMxLAB created the immersive Star Wars virtual reality quest Vader Immortal for the Oculus Quest. Plus, find out about the differences between Netflix’s Locke & Key series and the comic series that inspired it, and Sonic the Hedgehog voice actor Ben Schwartz plays Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and answers questions about the movie and more. Read More »
Jim Carrey had a meteoric rise to fame in the 1990s thanks to a string of comedy hits like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb & Dumber, not to mention a campy villainous turn as The Riddler in Batman Forever, all in the span of a year and a half. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Jim Carrey get that silly, but as a new Sonic the Hedgehog featurette shows us, that changes this weekend.
Sonic the Hedgehog, based on the Sega video game of the same name, brings in Jim Carrey to play the evil genius Dr. Robotnik, who wants to use his technologically advanced machines to take over the world and control humanity. But in order to do that, he needs to harness the power that gives the speedy hedgehog Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz of Parks and Recreation) his super speed. And so begins a game of cat-and-mouse, where Jim Carrey gets to ham it up as a bad guy once again. Read More »
One would have thought that after starring in the Easter-themed family comedy Hop, James Marsden would be done acting opposite entirely computer generated characters. But maybe the paycheck for a big blockbuster family film is just too good to pass up nowadays, because he’s back starring in Sonic the Hedgehog and a silly new clip has just debuted. Thankfully, this isn’t as horrifying as it could have been thanks to the character redesign that pushed the movie back from November last year…but it’s still not great. Watch the Sonic the Hedgehog clip below. Read More »
If you put Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) and Billy Crystal (When Harry Met Sally) in a room together, comedic magic will happen. A new film called Standing Up, Falling Down bets big on this basic idea, and according to our review from last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, the film succeeds largely because of their standout performances. Check out the trailer for the indie comedy below.
Read More »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
The homecoming comedy is the bread and butter of the indie circuit, and as poignant and humanist as the genre can be, it can also get old fast. It falls then, on the shoulders of the stars to keep the film from stumbling; thankfully in Standing Up, Falling Down, Ben Schwartz and Billy Crystal are more than up to the task.
Read More »
It took almost 30 years, but Sonic the Hedgehog is finally racing onto the big screen. The Sega video game character gets the CGI treatment in Sonic the Hedgehog, a live-action animated hybrid film starring James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Jim Carrey, and Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic himself. The first trailer for the movie is online, and you’ll have to decide for yourself how good an idea this entire endeavor is. Watch the Sonic the Hedgehog trailer below.
Read More »