the art of self-defense trailer

If you’re reading this, that means you’ve seen The Art of Self-Defense, right? You witnessed a satire of toxic masculinity for the ages featuring a pitch-perfect Jesse Eisenberg performance, and you were blown away by that wild ending. And, for that matter, you’ve also read the other interviews /Film writers have conducted with the cast and writer/director Riley Stearns. Good. Now, bow to Grandmaster and prepare to go in-depth with Stearns on that wild ending to the film.

In case you haven’t gathered as much, there are going to be heavy spoilers for the last of act of The Art of Self-Defense from here on out. Don’t say you weren’t warned as I delve into the origin and implications of the film’s climactic scene with Stearns.

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the art of self-defense trailer

The Art of Self-Defense is not your average karate kid tale. Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) is a grown man who takes Karate classes after he survives a mugging. Sensei (Alessandro Nivola) gives him wisdom like “think German” and Anna (Imogen Poots) tries to help toughen Casey up. Things quickly go too far. 

The dark comedy from writer/director Riley Stearns may be the anti-underdog tale. There are no rousing victories, as Stearns prefers to bathe the whole movie in silence, and audiences may question who and what they’re rooting for at various points. Casey is navigating a world that champions violence, so how is a man supposed to stand up for himself? 

Stearns spoke with /Film by phone about The Art of Self-Defense, which had its premiere at this year’s SXSW Film Festival. The Art of Self-Defense is out in theaters today. 

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the art of self-defense infomercial

If you were to turn on the TV at two in the morning and stumble on this The Art of Self-Defense infomercial, you could be forgiven for calling the number immediately. The viral marketing clip from the SXSW darling perfectly imitates those classic late-night infomercials, right down to the shoddy production, the endearing visual noise, and the stiff delivery from the various “real people, not actors.” Teach us your ways, sensei.

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the art of self-defense trailer

Everyone muses about signing up for a self-defense class at one point or another, but when Jesse Eisenberg‘s terrified young man does in The Art of Self-Defense, he gets a little more than he bargained for. The black comedy that made waves at SXSW has a new trailer, and it gives us another glimpse at what happens when Eisenberg’s timid young man buys into the toxic masculinity of karate class. Watch the new The Art of Self-Defense trailer below.

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the art of self-defense trailer

Jesse Eisenberg is afraid of…well…everything in The Art of Self-Defense. Eisenberg plays a nervous nebbish who decides to sign up for a karate class in order to get over his many, many fears. But as this brief but memorable trailer shows, there’s more going on here than meets the eye. Watch The Art of Self-Defense trailer below.

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Faults

Writer/director Riley Stearns has been quietly working on his follow-up to his feature directorial debut, Faults. That 2014 film starred actress (and Stearns’ wife) Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who was most recently gave an excellent, assured performance in 10 Cloverfield Lane. Now Winstead and Stearns will collaborate once again for The Art of Self-Defense.

Below, learn more about Riley Stearns’ second film The Art of Self Defense.

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Faults trailer

In Faults, talented character actor Leland Orser takes center stage as Ansel Roth, a psychological deprogrammer who has fallen on hard times. When the movie opens, the guy is pretty much at the end of his rope, scamming meals where he can. But an old couple approaches him, requesting aid with their daughter (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who has joined a cult. The four of them hole up in a pair of hotel rooms for a few days in order to bring her back to normal society. The first Faults trailer is out, and it’s a great ride.  Read More »

The Black List 2013

Most year-end best-of lists consist of things that have already been produced, released, and consumed. But the Black List stands apart in that it’s all about the films that haven’t come out yet. Created by Franklin Leonard and Dino Sijamic, the annual compilation shines a light on the “most liked” unproduced screenplays of each year, as voted on by hundreds of Hollywood executives.

Not all of these films will get made, let alone made well, but the Black List still serves as a good indication of what projects are being buzzed about. Last year’s list included Transcendence and RodhamDjango Unchained and Saving Mr. Banks were among the highlights the year before that. Three out of the last five Best Picture winners were Black List scripts, as were seven of the past twelve screenwriting Oscar winners. Hit the jump to read titles and descriptions for the 72 that made the cut this year.

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The Cub

Lots of feature films get big buzz at the Sundance Film Festival, but it takes a special short film to start the same kind of chatter. That happened earlier this year with Riley StearnsThe Cub. The simple, gory, and hilarious short film got lots of people talking. How? By showing what happens when a couple drops their daughter in the woods to be brought up by wild animals.

Where most short filmmakers use their precious little time to showcase wild effects or crazy camera moves, Stearns focuses on tension, humor and storytelling. It’s a great short and after eight months on the festival circuit, it’s now online.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Remember, if you will, the days of Fantastic Fest 2011. One of the most buzzed about films at the Austin, TX festival wasn’t a feature from an established director. It was Cost of Living, a short written and directed by first-time filmmaker BenDavid Grabinski.

The short stars Bret Harrison (Reaper, Breaking In) and Brandon Routh (Superman Returns, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) as employees of a company that makes, or engineers… something. Or ‘somethings.’ Actually, let’s say very violent, very dangerous somethings.

Cost of Living throws a couple of more or less regular guys into a really crappy situation and then watches them fight their way out. It is a tasty blend of splattery, tense action with just enough self-awareness and humor to balance the danger. Oh, and it is beautifully shot by Morgan Susser, and features a special guest as the voice of the company computer. The full film is now online; check it out below. Read More »