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.
by Jason Barr Posted: September 29th, 2012 at 1:19 pm
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.
Opening this weekend, in limited release, is Stephen Chbosky’s fantastic movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Chbosky 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.
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 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.
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 (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.
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.
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.
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.
UPDATE: Steve 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.
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.
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.
Call it a rematch. The filmmakers and cast of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World are hitting the road again, this time to celebrate the film’s release on Blu-ray and DVD. You may remember that the film made an impressive tour when the movie was released back in August (they may have even appeared on your local news). Said co-writer and director Edgar Wright: “To say thank you to the fans who have supported us, I am very excited to bring special screenings and autograph signing events with me and the cast to Los Angeles, Toronto, Boston and New York.”
Be sure to say thank you for the great film if you live in those cities, or just say thanks by picking up the movie on Blu-ray or DVD when it hits on November 9th. Hit the jump for more details on the upcoming tour.
So that new Scott Pilgrim vs. The World trailer that hit the net today was pretty badass, right? The 100,000 fans on Facebook must be happy that they helped get it online. But it’s pretty fast-paced and frenetic and so I’ve grabbed over 40 HD screencaps for your viewing pleasure. Little things I noticed going frame-by-frame include:
- The aspect ratio varies depending on the shot
- Scott has a sweet wardrobe of t-shirts
- We get a look at Kieran Culkin as Wallace Wells and Ellen Wong as Knives Chau that we didn’t really see in the teaser trailer. We also get our first look at Aubrey Plaza as Julie Powers and briefly glimpse Brie Larson as Envy Adams.
It’s just an amazing trailer and any of these shots would make a sweet desktop wallpaper. Hit the jump to check out the screencaps. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World hits theaters on August 13th.
Before coming on board Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Mark Webber had already written and directed his own feature, the 2008 drama Explicit Ills. He’s also previously co-starred in a variety of films including Woody Allen’s Hollywood Ending and Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers. In Scott Pilgrim, he’ll be playing Stephen Stills, the lead singer and guitarist of Sex Bob-omb, the struggling rock band that includes Scott (Michael Cera) on bass and Kim Pine (Alison Pill) on drums.
Speaking with Webber on the set of Scott Pilgrim last July, we talked about various topics like him learning to sing and play guitar, what he’s learned about directing from Wright, the pain/thrill of doing stunt work, and his future projects.
Hit the jump to check out the interview. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World hits theaters on August 13th.