THE TO DO LIST Review

by     Posted 1 year, 55 days ago

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As plenty of sex comedies have proved, sex acts can be hilarious when attempted by the inexperienced.  The awkwardness is overwhelming, and the trick is to find the comedy rather than just making the audience uncomfortable at watching a teenager fumble through dry humping.  The To Do List follows its close relative American Pie in pressuring its uptight protagonist to achieve sexual adequacy, but the “twist” is that the teenager is a woman because hey!  Women want sex too!  Despite writer-director Maggie Carey providing a welcome gender swap for the genre, the picture is surprisingly tame until it occasionally manages a sneak attack with some of the most shocking gross-out gags in recent memory.  Unfortunately, the overbearing 90’s setting and an unfortunately miscast Aubrey Plaza undermine the sympathy we’re supposed to feel towards our protagonist.

Green-Band Trailer for THE TO-DO LIST Starring Aubrey Plaza

by     Posted 1 year, 98 days ago

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Earlier this month, we saw the red-band trailer for The To-Do List, and now the all-audiences trailer has been released. The film stars Aubrey Plaza as a sexually inexperienced teenager with a type-A personality who decides to engage in numerous sex acts before she goes to college.  This green-band trailer is basically the red-band trailer but with all of the R-rated material removed.  There isn’t much in the way of new jokes, and the ones that are there are kind of disappointing.  Perhaps I’m just missing the humor in her ignorance of common sexual terms (it takes place in the 90s, so Urban Dictionary doesn’t exist), and the old joke about someone losing their bathing suit in the pool.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  The impressive cast also includes Alia Shawkat, Bill Hader, Donald GloverRachel BilsonAndy Samberg, Johnny Simmons, Connie Britton, Clark Gregg, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Scott PorterThe To-Do List opens July 26th.

New Red-Band Trailer for THE TO-DO LIST Starring Aubrey Plaza, Donald Glover, Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 106 days ago

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CBS Films has released a new red-band trailer for writer/director Maggie Carey‘s comedy The To-Do List.  The film stars Aubrey Plaza as a sexually inexperienced teenager with a type-A personality who decides to engage in numerous sex acts before she goes to college.  As we saw in the previous trailerThe To-Do List looks like a fantastic starring vehicle for Plaza, and the laughs don’t stop in this new red-band trailer.  It’s been a while since we’ve seen a genuinely funny sex comedy, and between the 90s setting and the incredibly talented ensemble cast (Bill Hader, unsurprisingly, is the standout in this trailer), The To-Do List looks like it could be a worthy entry in the genre.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer.  The film also stars Alia Shawkat, Donald GloverRachel BilsonAndy Samberg, Mae Whitman, Johnny Simmons, Connie Britton, Clark Gregg, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Scott Porter.  The To Do List opens July 26th.

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 202 days ago

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Coming of age movies are incredibly difficult to get right.  The film and TV marketplace is flooded with sappy and self-important stories of high school drama, angst, and ennui, and so when something comes along that captures this universally formative period in such a raw and honest way, it’s almost hard to believe it exists.  However, writer/director Stephen Chbosky’s adaptation of his own novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of those rare gems of the coming of age genre that just “gets it,” and with a sharp script, three-dimensional characters, and emotionally honest performances, the film is destined to speak to audiences for generations to come.  Hit the jump for our review of The Perks of Being a Wallflower on Blu-ray.

TOP 5: Fantastic Fest 2012 Coverage, LOOPER, THE AVENGERS Blu-ray, THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA

by     Posted 1 year, 353 days ago

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For the first time, I’m writing from the comfort of my newly remodeled “mancave” or, as my wife likes to lovingly refer to it, the “nerdcave”. For a space that used to be an attached garage/dungeon, I have to say that the end result is pretty cozy. I guess there really are no living quarters that a substantial amount of time, money, and framed movie prints can’t fix. Now, if only I could find a way to fit and/or afford a mini-fridge, classic stand-up arcade games (i.e. The Simpsons, and X-Men), theater-style seating, and a projection screen that comes down from the ceiling via hand-clap command, I may finally be able to fulfill my dream of never leaving home again.

All praises of my new space aside, this week’s incarnation of the Top 5 brings a look back at our Fantastic Fest 2012 coverage, Looper interviews with writer/director Rian Johnson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt, The Avengers Blu-ray interviews with members of the pic’s visual effects team, The Perks of Being a Wallflower interviews with Emma Watson, writer/director Stephen Chbosky and more, and Hotel Transylvania interviews with Andy Samberg and Selena Gomez just to name a few. As you might expect, a brief recap and link to each is holding down the fort after the jump.

Ezra Miller, Johnny Simmons and Mae Whitman Talk THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER at TIFF

by     Posted 1 year, 364 days ago

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Opening this weekend, in limited release, is Stephen Chbosky’s fantastic movie The Perks of Being a WallflowerChbosky actually wrote the adaptation of his own novel and also directed the feature.   In the film, Logan Lerman plays an introverted high school freshman who finds acceptance in two senior students, played by Emma Watson and Ezra Miller.  The film also stars Mae Whitman, Kate Walsh, Dylan McDermott, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Rudd.  Over the past few years I’ve seen a number of coming of age movies.  Usually they play out the same way and touch on the same themes.  What makes Perks so special is that it tackles serious issues with honestly and believability.  In addition, all the actors are great and it’s Lerman’s best work to date.  I strongly recommend checking it out.

Last week Perks premiered at the Toronto Film Festival to glowing reviews.  Shortly before the premiere I spoke to Ezra Miller, Johnny Simmons and Mae Whitman.  We talked about their reaction to the script, what makes this film special, what do they remember the most about filming in Pittsburgh, the junket game, and Miller reveals how he was cast even though he wasn’t in Scott Pilgrim.  Hit the jump to watch.

Hilariously Dirty Red-Band Trailer for THE TO DO LIST Starring Aubrey Plaza, Donald Glover, and Rachel Bilson

by     Posted 2 years, 19 days ago

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The debut red-band trailer for the R-rated comedy The To Do List (previously titled The Hand Job) has landed online, and it’s wonderfully filthy.  The film stars Aubrey Plaza as a sexually inexperienced teenager with a type-A personality who decides to engage in numerous sex acts before she goes to college.  The trailer is very explicit about said acts, but never veers into “too awkward to watch” territory.  Plaza is spot-on as the lead, and she’s buoyed by a ridiculously amazing supporting cast that includes Donald Glover, Rachel Bilson, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, Alia Shawkat, Mae Whitman, Johnny Simmons, Connie Britton, Clark Gregg, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Scott Porter.  Seriously, this ensemble is stacked and they all look to be bringing their A-game.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer, then make your Valentine’s Day plans accordingly.  Written and directed by Maggie Carey, the film opens on February 14th, 2013.

21 JUMP STREET Review

by     Posted 2 years, 192 days ago

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21 Jump Street is cocky as hell.  Usually, when a movie clearly lays out a set-up for an eventual payoff, we groan, lament the story’s predictability, and all the impact is diminished because we saw the hit coming.  21 Jump Street comes up to the line of turning directly to the camera and saying, “This will come back later,” and the joke still manages to hit like a sucker punch.  The set-up-pay-off humor is just one weapon in the film’s arsenal.  Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller effortlessly move between the cartoonish, the absurd, the darkly comic, the vulgar, and almost every time the jokes absolutely kill.  But the excellent lead performances from Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum elevate the film from a raucous comedy, and they make 21 Jump Street not just a film where two bike cops mime having sex with an apprehended perp.  It’s a film with a heart, a soul, and two bike cops miming having sex with an apprehended perp.

Set Photos from THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER Starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson

by     Posted 3 years, 101 days ago

Logan Lerman has been tweeting photos from the set of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Author Stephen Chbosky wrote the script and is directing the adaptation of his 1999 novel of the same name.  The coming-of-age story stars Lerman as “15-year-old Charlie (Lerman), an endearing and naive outsider, coping with first love (Emma Watson), the suicide of his best friend, and his own mental illness while struggling to find a group of people with whom he belongs.”  The film also stars Mae Whitman, Johnny Simmons, Ezra Miller, Nina Dobrev, and Dylan McDermott.

Hit the jump to check out the set photos.

Johnny Simmons Cast in 21 JUMP STREET and THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER

by     Posted 3 years, 146 days ago

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Johnny Simmons (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) has scheduled the rest of his 2011 slate — the babyfaced 24-year-old will, like he has for most of his career, continue to play teenagers.  Up first is the 21 Jump Street movie, where Simmons acts opposite Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Scott Pilgrim co-star Brie Larson.  Next, Simmons will shoot the The Perks of Being a Wallflower adaptation with Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Nina Dobrev and Scott Pilgrim co-star Mae Whitman.  Later in the year, Variety confirms Simmons is on board the naughty comedy The Hand Job with Andy Samberg, Donald Glover, Connie Britton, Alia Shawkat, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Scott Porter, Dominic Dierkes, DC Pierson.  Oh, and Scott Pilgrim co-stars Mae Whitman and Aubrey Plaza, not to mention “The Voice” of Scott Pilgrim, Bill Hader.  (Can we take a brief second to re-marvel at the amazing Scott Pilgrim supporting cast?  Ripples for decades!  Okay, back to the piece.)

Hit the jump for more on each project.

THE CONSPIRATOR Review

by     Posted 3 years, 156 days ago

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Robert Redford is an activist and that’s all well and good, but he’s awful at balancing his political viewpoints with storytelling.  His previous film, Lions for Lambs, was a pedantic, simpleminded bore.  With his latest film, The Conspirator, Redford at least has the courtesy to provide a story, but it may as well be prefaced with “Hi, I’m Robert Redford.  I’m going to give you an allegory for how we treat military detainees.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back to my other job as worn leather.”  Despite solid performances and the promise of a complex narrative, Redford undermines his message of “Justice for All” by making the criminal a victim.

Scott Porter, Dominic Dierkes, and DC Pierson Join THE HAND JOB; Plus Role Descriptions of Previously Announced Cast

by     Posted 3 years, 192 days ago

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Yesterday, we reported that a stellar cast was joining the outstanding Aubrey Plaza in Maggie Carey’s comedy The Hand Job.  A cast that includes Plaza, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, Donald Glover, Connie Britton, Mae Whitman, Alia Shawkat, Johnny Simmons, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse is already a must-see.  But now Variety is reporting that more talented actors have signed on.  The cast will now include Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights) and Mystery Team co-stars and co-writers Dominic Dierkes and DC Pierson.

For those unfamiliar with the plot, The Hand Job stars Plaza as a valedictorian who wants to become more sexually experienced before she heads to college.  While we reported the majority of the current cast yesterday, we now know which roles they’ll be playing.  Hit the jump for more.

Bill Hader Says Andy Samberg, Donald Glover, Connie Britton, and More are Attached to THE HAND JOB – UPDATED

by     Posted 3 years, 193 days ago

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Steve recently spoke with actor and writer Bill Hader about his upcoming projects.  One movie he might try to shoot while he’s on hiatus from Saturday Night Live is his wife’s Maggie Carey’s script, The Hand Job.  The script landed on the 2009 Black List (a list of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood) and we reported back in October that Aubrey Plaza was attached to play the lead role of a 17-year-old who wants to learn about various sexual activities before she goes to college.  Hader says that he, Andy Samberg, Donald Glover, Connie Britton, Alia Shawkat, Mae Whitman, and Johnny Simmons are attached to co-star, and if that cast doesn’t make you excited, then you must not recognize these actors by name.  You should work on that.

Hit the jump for what Hader told Steve about the project as well as a more dramatic film he may do called The Skeleton Twins with Anna Faris and Mark Duplass.  Click here for what Hader had to say about his SNL character “Stefon”, and be sure to check back later today for more of Steve’s interview with Hader.

UPDATESteve here.  Just spoke to Bill Hader again and he told me that Chris Mintz-Plasse is now attached to Hand Job as well!  Hope this thing gets made this summer.

SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 3 years, 311 days ago

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How does one reinvent the romantic comedy? The formula for them is simple: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, happy ending. But finding a new or exciting way to tell that story is always the challenge. And yet Edgar Wright has done it successfully three times now – even if he’s not known as a romantic comedy director (the label used to be for Lubitsch and Wilder, now it’s for Nora Ephron). But in Shaun of the Dead, Shaun must salvage his relationship while the world is on the brink of a zombie apocalypse; in Hot Fuzz he tweaks the action movie genre to show a platonic love story about how sometimes you need a partner to complete yourself; and in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World it’s about fighting the baggage of old relationships while starting a new one made literal. Michael Cera stars as the titular Pilgrim, who meets Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), the girl of his dreams – literally. They start dating, but her evil exes have formed a league to defeat Pilgrim and end their relationship. My review of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World on Blu-ray follows after the jump.

SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD Vs. British Accents

by     Posted 3 years, 314 days ago

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With the DVD/Blu-ray of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World set to be released tomorrow, co-writer and director Edgar Wright has released a fun, previously unseen behind-the-scenes clip.  As Wright explains:

So check this out. A rough rehearsal video of the first scene of the movie, shot on my LUMIX stills camera with one twist. Because I didn’t want to jinx the first day of the movie by already shooting the scene, I asked my actors to do the opening scene in British accents.

Since Scott Pilgrim turned out to be great, I think it’s safe to say that the jinx was avoided.  Hit the jump to check out the amusing clip and go buy Scott Pilgrim vs. The World on DVD/Blu-ray tomorrow.

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