THE SPECTACULAR NOW Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 267 days ago

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Live in the moment.  In itself, this adage is positive and helpful, but can it go too far?  Can people invest themselves so much in the present that it becomes a detriment to their future?  This is the question raised by James Ponsoldt’s (Smashed) brilliant love story film, The Spectacular Now.  Hit the jump to read my Blu-ray review of the movie.

Jason Segel to Play David Foster Wallace Opposite Jesse Eisenberg in THE END OF THE TOUR; James Ponsoldt to Direct

by     Posted 324 days ago

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Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg are attached to star in The End of the Tour, an adaptation of journalist David Lipsky‘s account of his five-day trip with David Foster Wallace during the last leg of the Infinite Jest book tour in 1996.  I picture many long conversations in hotel rooms, but the book synopsis notes a few adventures for Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies to spice up the road trip script including a dash to the airport, an encounter with a “terrible reader,” and a Baptist church dance.

Segel is attached to play Wallace—Eisenberg will play Lipsky.  According to The Wrap, James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now) is attached to direct.  Segel vs. Eisenberg and the focused biopic angle were likely enough, but signing Ponsoldt locks The End of the Tour as a project I look forward to.  Production is tentatively scheduled to begin in February or March.  Read the book synopsis after the break.

Director James Ponsoldt Talks THE SPECTACULAR NOW, the Casting Process, PIPPIN, RODHAM, Sentimentality vs. Nostalgia, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 85 days ago

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One of the best movies I’ve seen this year is James Ponsoldt‘s The Spectacular Now.  The coming-of-age film chronicles the unlikely relationship between directionless party boy Sutter (Miles Teller) and the quiet, reserved Aimee (Shailene Woodley).  It’s one of the few non-documentary films I’ve seen that honestly speaks to the teenage experience, and I encourage you to seek it out when it comes to your city (if it hasn’t already).

Yesterday, I got the chance to sit down with Ponsoldt and talk about the movie.  During out conversation, we talked about the film’s journey from Sundance to distribution, the casting process, working with his talented crew, going for nostalgia over sentimentality, his upcoming movies Pippin and Rodham, and much more.  Hit the jump to read the interview.  Click here to find out when where The Spectacular Now will be playing near you.

THE SPECTACULAR NOW Review

by     Posted 1 year, 90 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.  The Spectacular Now opens today in limited release.]

“Live in the moment” is a nice platitude and a crappy life philosophy. Vivacity is all well and good. We should appreciate the present, but we can’t live only for the present. We have to think about tomorrow because we’re probably going to be there. In his wonderful new film The Spectacular Now, director James Ponsoldt explore the live-for-the-moment mentality with an authentic and earnest look at high school emotions, anxiety about the future, and first love. Led by extraordinary performances from stars Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, The Spectacular Now is a thoroughly charming and surprisingly powerful coming-of-age story about the fear of looking ahead and the seductive safety of living in the present.

First Trailer and Poster for THE SPECTACULAR NOW Starring Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley

by     Posted 1 year, 134 days ago

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The first trailer for director James Ponsoldt’s (Smashed) drama The Spectacular Now has been released online.  The film premiered to wildly positive reviews at Sundance earlier this year, and stars Miles Teller as a young high school student who strikes up a friendship with a fellow student (Shailene Woodley) as graduation and some big life decisions loom closer.  I loved the film when I saw it at Sundance, and you should definitely go see it.  Please take my word on this, because the trailer will take you through the entire movie.  If you can’t take my word, then go ahead and watch the trailer, but consider yourself warned.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer and poster, and click here to watch Steve’s interview with Teller and Woodley from Sundance.  The film also stars Brie Larson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Kyle ChandlerThe Spectacular Now opens on August 2nd.

Carey Mulligan Frontrunner to Play Hillary Clinton in RODHAM

by     Posted 1 year, 148 days ago

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Following some casting rumors last week that claimed that Jessica Chastain, Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon, and Amanda Seyfried were in the running to play Hillary Clinton in the biopic Rodham, it appears that a different actress entirely may come away with the role.  THR reports that Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan is the top choice to play Clinton in the film, which focuses on the politician’s formative years as she juggled a path to the White House and feelings for her former boyfriend Bill Clinton, all the while being chosen as the youngest lawyer for the House Judiciary Committee to impeach Nixon.

Smashed and The Spectacular Now director James Ponsoldt is set to helm the pic, and he will be having a sit down with Mulligan soon to discuss the project.  Hit the jump for more.

THE SPECTACULAR NOW Director James Ponsoldt to Helm Hillary Clinton Biopic, RODHAM

by     Posted 1 year, 185 days ago

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Hillary Clinton is currently gearing up for her 2016 Presidential run (I don’t care if it’s not official at this point; we all know it’s coming), but we may be getting a biopic about her before her campaign even begins.  Last year, we reported that Young Il Kim‘s script Rodham hit #4 on The Black List (a list of the best unproduced screenplays).  Per the synopsis, “During the height of the Watergate scandal, rising star Hillary Rodham is the youngest lawyer chosen for the House Judiciary Committee to Impeach Nixon, but she soon finds herself forced to choose between a destined path to the White House and her unresolved feelings for Bill Clinton, her former boyfriend who now teaches law in Arkansas.”  Today, James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now) has come on board to direct the sure-to-be-controversial film.

Hit the jump for more.

James Ponsoldt to Adapt the Broadway Musical PIPPIN and Write/Direct an Adaptation of Matthew Quick Novel FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK

by     Posted 1 year, 198 days ago

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After a successful Oscar campaign for The Weinstein Company’s Silver Linings Playbook, TWC is already lining up author Matthew Quick’s upcoming novel, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock.  Writer/director James Ponsoldt (Smashed, The Spectacular Now) has been tapped to both pen and direct the adaptation.  It tells the tale of a boy who, on his birthday, plans to take a gun to school and kill his former best friend and himself.

Keeping it all in the family, TWC has also signed Ponsoldt to draft a screenplay of the 1970s Broadway musical Pippin, from Roger O. Hirson and Stephen Schwartz.  The play features a mysterious performance troupe who narrate the story of a young prince on his quest for meaning in his life.  Hit the jump for more on both projects.

SMASHED Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 208 days ago

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In films, alcoholism is rarely treated as the crippling, devastating disease that it is.  It’s oftentimes romanticized or portrayed as some quirk for comedic aspects.  A lot of diseases and mental illnesses are treated this way on screen.  There are some great films about alcoholism that take it seriously, like Lost Weekend and Under the Volcano.  But for the most part films tend to leave out the lies, shame, and heaps of ruin laid on the alcoholic and their family.  James Ponsoldt‘s Smashed manages to find the perfect balance between a romantic comedy and a compelling study of a relationship fueled by booze.  More on Sony Pictures Classics’ Smashed Blu-ray after the jump.

Sofia Coppola’s THE BLING RING Set for Release on June 14th; Sundance Darling THE SPECTACULAR NOW Opens August 2nd

by     Posted 1 year, 245 days ago

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Release dates have been announced for a couple of anticipated 2013 features from A24 Films.

  • The Bling Ring – Writer/director Sofia Coppola’s film about the group of teenagers who robbed the homes of the rich and famous between 2008 and 2009 will hit theaters in limited release on June 14th. The film stars Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, and Leslie Mann.
  • The Spectacular Now – Director James Ponsoldt’s (Smashed) excellent teen drama made a big splash at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and A24 has set the film for an August 2nd release.  The pic stars Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley and centers on the relationship between two teenagers who are struggling with some serious issues.  Read Matt’s highly positive review here.

Director James Ponsoldt and Brie Larson Talk THE SPECTACULAR NOW, the 21 JUMP STREET Sequel, and Ponsoldt’s YA Adaptation PURE

by     Posted 1 year, 282 days ago

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One of my favorite movies at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was director James Ponsoldt (Smashed) and writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber’s (500 Days of Summer) coming of age drama The Spectacular Now.   Led by fantastic lead performances from Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, the film is about two High School seniors that are going in opposite directions.  Sutter Keely (Teller) is the life of the party and loves to drink, while Aimee Finicky (Woodley) is pretty, but shy and removed from the popular crowd.  When Sutter wakes up on Aimee’s lawn after being dumped by his girlfriend, what starts off as a rebound quickly turn into something more.  The film also stars Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Kyle Chandler.

The day after the world premiere I sat down with Ponsoldt and Larson for an exclusive video interview.  We talked about being at Sundance, why they wanted to make the film, how things changed during production, how the characters looked and felt real, deleted scenes and more.  In addition, I asked Larson if she’s going to be in the 21 Jump Street sequel and Ponsoldt talked about why he wanted to write and direct the young adult adaptation of Pure.  He compared it to The Wizard of Oz and Pan’s Labyrinth and says he’s already started writing it.  Hit the jump for more.

Sundance 2013: THE SPECTACULAR NOW Review

by     Posted 1 year, 286 days ago

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“Live in the moment” is a nice platitude and a crappy life philosophy.  Vivacity is all well and good.  We should appreciate the present, but we can’t live only for the present.  We have to think about tomorrow because we’re probably going to be there.    In his wonderful new film The Spectacular Now, director James Ponsoldt explore the live-for-the-moment mentality with an authentic and earnest look at high school emotions, anxiety about the future, and first love.   Led by extraordinary performances from stars Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, The Spectacular Now is a thoroughly charming and surprisingly powerful coming-of-age story about the fear of looking ahead and the seductive safety of living in the present.

SMASHED Director James Ponsoldt to Write and Direct YA Adaptation PURE

by     Posted 1 year, 287 days ago

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Director James Ponsoldt, who helmed last year’s Sundance hit Smashed with Mary Elizabeth Winstead, has landed a pretty high profile property on the eve of the Sundance debut of his next film.  Ponsoldt’s Smashed follow-up, The Spectacular Now, is one of the more highly anticipated films set to debut at the Sundance Film Festival this weekend, and now Heat Vision reports that he’s been tapped by Fox 2000 to write and direct an adaptation of the YA novel Pure.  Written by author Julianna Baggot, Pure is the first book in a proposed trilogy that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world divided into two societies: the Pures who live healthily under a dome, and the Wretches who are forced to live amongst the ruins.

Pure centers on a young Wretch who runs away and teams up with the son of one of the Pure leaders.  Obviously the success of The Hunger Games and Twilight has made studios more eager to adapt Young Adult novels, but the involvement of Ponsoldt with this project gives me hope that character development won’t be shafted in favor of action sequences or forced romances.  Hit the jump to read a full synopsis of the book.

First Trailer and Poster for SMASHED Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul

by     Posted 2 years, 49 days ago

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The first trailer and poster for the indie drama Smashed have been released.  The film stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) as a married couple who are brought together by booze.  Things get complicated when Winstead’s character decides she wants to be sober.  The trailer plays things pretty light, and its effective in making this drama about a struggle with alcoholism seem appealing.  That said, Smashed isn’t exactly a comedy.  The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year to positive reviews, with Matt noting that Winstead gives the best performance of her career thus farNick Offerman (Parks and Recreation), Megan Mullaly (Will & Grace), Mary Kay Place, and Octavia Spencer round out a promising supporting cast for what looks to be a solid character drama.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer and poster.  Directed by James Ponsoldt, Smashed opens on October 12th.

Jon Bernthal Joins THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, Miles Teller Boards THE SPECTACULAR NOW

by     Posted 2 years, 133 days ago

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Two casting bits for you today.  Here they are in brief:

Hit the jump for more on both roles and more information on each film.

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