As a flurry of white snowflakes fall on a pitch-black sky, the word TYREL is superimposed over them in bold black font. It’s writer/director Sebastian Silva’s first attempt of many to underline the differences between this film’s black protagonist, played by Jason Mitchell (Mudbound, Straight Outta Compton), and the group of all-white bros he’s staying with during a weekend trip to the Catskills to celebrate one of their birthdays. The thing is, Mitchell’s character’s name isn’t even Tyrel, it’s Tyler – the title comes from a misunderstanding from one of the white guys, just one of the endless micro-aggressions (and physical aggressions) Tyler endures during this trip. But while Silva’s exploration of cultural isolation sounds like it could be the heir apparent to last year’s Get Out, Silva doesn’t do enough with the premise to give this movie the same lasting impact. Read More »
Posted on Monday, September 21st, 2015 by Angie Han
At first, Nasty Baby looks like a pretty typical Sundance indie. Kristen Wiig stars as a woman trying to get pregnant with the help of her best friends, gay couple Freddy (Sebastián Silva) and Mo (Tunde Adebimpe) in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. There’s some raunchy banter, some interpersonal tension, a self-consciously quirky cast, and the usual themes of friendship, family, and growing up.
But Silva, who also directed, isn’t really interested in being typical. He likes the dark and unexpected, as he’s shown in films like The Maid, Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus, and Magic Magic, and now in the first Nasty Baby trailer. By the end, Nasty Baby starts to feel like a horror film, even if it’s not exactly clear what we’re supposed to be afraid of. Watch the Nasty Baby trailer after the jump. Read More »
Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we try to get our best friend pregnant, think about what it means to own a Mustang, get in the ring with little luchadores, jump off a cliff with nothing but a squirrel suit hugging our nether regions, and get real with some little girls.
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Is Sebastian Silva‘s Crystal Fairy a drug film? A road trip film, or a comedy? Maybe a drama, or an experimental film? In fact, the movie is all of those things. Filmed on a shoestring budget while waiting to make another movie called Magic Magic, Crystal Fairy stars Michael Cera as Jamie, an American traveling in Chile hoping to trip on the psychedelic chemical in the San Pedro cactus. Along the way he picks up a crazy American girl named Crystal (Gaby Hoffman) and with three brothers in tow they all go on a very awkward journey of discovery. Basically, it’s a film that defies any real classification beyond “captivating.”
That nature is why I was so excited to talk at length with the writer/director and star of the film. We spoke to Cera and Silva about the film and talked about its eccentricities, its different tones, strong female representation, and the idea of Cera playing a total ass. (OK, we touched on Arrested Development, too.)
The film is now playing in select cities and on-demand. Read our interview below. Read More »
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The weirdest double-feature at Sundance this year was the pair of films from Sebastián Silva and Michael Cera. While in a holding pattern waiting to shoot one film, Magic Magic (see a trailer for that movie here) they improvised a second film, Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus. IFC picked up Crystal Fairy during the fest, and while we don’t yet have a trailer, we can show you the first poster for the film now.
While Cera is the “star” of both films, in truth each movie really comes to life thanks to the performance of an actress antagonized by Cera. Here, that’s Gaby Hoffmann, whose vibrant performance may be the most bracingly fearless turn you’ll see this year. It’s quite a thing to see.
Cera, Hoffman, and Juan Andrés Silva, José Miguel Silva, and Agustín Silva play an unlikely group of kids in search of the hallucinogenic San Pedro cactus. As you’ll see in the poster image, they definitely find one, and it’s effect of ingesting the distilled essence of the cactus that pushes things into the realms of the weird and deeply confessional. Check out the poster below. Read More »
Posted on Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 by Angie Han
Since breaking out on Arrested Development a decade ago, Michael Cera has gotten a lot of flack for his tendency to stick to the George-Michael Bluth type — awkward, timid, but fundamentally sweet. But just as George-Michael has matured into a more confident, independent young man in the new fourth season of the series, Cera’s started to branch out into darker, stranger material.
Among his intriguing recent work is Sebastián Silva‘s psychological thriller Magic Magic, in which he plays one of several jerks that poor fragile Alicia (Juno Temple) has the misfortune of getting stuck with during a Chilean vacation. Emily Browning, Agustín Silva, and Catalina Sandino Moreno also star. Watch the new trailer after the jump.
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Magic Magic is the second of two Sundance 2013 films from writer/director Sebastián Silva and star Michael Cera. This is the one that features Cera performing much of his dialogue — quite credibly, I believe — in Spanish. But Cera isn’t actually the lead here. That role belongs to Juno Temple, who very impressivly plays a young woman who goes completely out of her mind while visiting a cousin in Chile.
Programmed as part of the Midnight series at Sundance, there’s the implication that Silva’s film is a horror picture. And it is, to a certain extent, but it’s of the sort seen in Roman Polanski movies such as Repulsion and The Tenant. As with Stoker, this is a horror film where the monsters are simply people; here, they’re too selfish and short-sighted to see what damage they’re doing.
In its best moments, Magic Magic has far more power to unnerve than most horror. The disintegration of one girl’s psyche is rendered in such familiar, insistent terms that you might feel your own sanity crack slightly while the film runs.
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Michael Cera has crafted a recognizable outsider persona since his breakout gig on Arrested Development, and this latest role hones the edge of his gawky, lovelorn screen ego from brightly earnest towards something more viciously awkward. In Crystal Fairy Cera looks like Gene Wilder playing Abbie Hoffman, and he gives his funniest adult performance by dropping all self-conscious comic pretense.
At a house party somewhere in Chile, Jamie (Cera) takes drugs and retreats into the bathroom, where he comes face to face with ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights‘ by Hieronymus Bosch. The wild triptych points to the few days ahead, in which a quest for an elusive psychoactive cactus will lead Jamie to understand what an ass he can be. That might not sound like a lot of fun, but the odd, meandering Crystal Fairy has a loopy honesty paired with the uncomfortable laughter Cera provokes throughout. And Gaby Hoffmann, known to fans of Uncle Buck, Field of Dreams, and Sleepless in Seattle, gives an all-out provocative performance.
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Topher Grace has joined the cast of Gently Down the Stream, which already has some prominent actors on board: Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Katherine Heigl and Amanda Seyfried. Justin Zackham wrote and will direct the story of a slightly awkward family romance. Specifically, De Niro and Keaton are a couple and father to Topher Grace’s character. But he’s also got an adopted brother, and that guy has a sister, and Topher Grace falls for her. Oops. [Deadline]
After the break, 50 Cent gets his best role ever, and the indie thriller Magic, Magic lands three young actresses. Read More »
The last year has been pretty quiet for Michael Cera. Scott Pilgrim vs the World was released last summer (you might remember that we liked it quite a bit) and the actor hasn’t been seen in much since then. He shot a part in an indie project from Scott Pilgrim co-star Mark Webber, but aside from some smaller comedy work, that’s been it in the past few months.
Now Sebastian Silva (director of The Maid) has written and will direct Magic, Magic, a thriller set in Chile, and Michael Cera is polishing up his Spanish language skills for a role. Read More »