ROSEWATER Review

by     Posted 5 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my Rosewater review from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.  The film opens today in limited release.]

Gael Garcia Bernal plays incarcerated journalist Maziar Bahari in Rosewater, but writer-director Jon Stewart is the true lead. For fans for The Daily Show, his personality shines through every episode, and it’s one that has become wearied over the years as news coverage has declined at an exponential rate. His hopes for a better world have become a life raft, and his refusal to give into cynicism is what keeps his directorial debut afloat even if it veers into being earnest to the point of cheesiness. Rosewater may not have much depth, but Stewart’s personal connection to the story—both professional and ideological—give it an abundance of heart.

John Oliver Shoots Salmon at Jon Stewart, David Letterman, J.J. Abrams on the STAR WARS Set, and Many More in Excellent LAST WEEK TONIGHT Clip

by     Posted 9 days ago

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The first season finale of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver aired last night on HBO, wrapping up a fantastic debut run of John Oliver’s comedic news program.  While I was initially a tad skeptical of The Daily Show alum Oliver striking out on his own with an HBO series in the vein of The Daily Show, I think he did a wonderful job of carving out his own kind of series that proved to be both incredibly funny and also enlightening.  Instead of just riffing on the week’s news stories, Oliver’s Last Week Tonight went one better and ventured into a kind of investigative journalism that saw his team doing in-depth research on topics ranging from payday loans to the suspect “non-profit” nature of the Miss America program.

During last night’s finale episode, Oliver ended things with a bit on a salmon shooter (a real thing) that was featured on CBS.  Oliver and the Last Week Tonight team put together their own “salmon shooter”, resulting in a glorious series of cameos from faces both familiar and unexpected—including a certain Star Wars appearance.  Watch the Last Week Tonight salmon shooter clip after the jump, and if you’ve never seen the show, I highly suggest checking it out on HBO Go.

ROSEWATER Review | TIFF 2014

by     Posted 70 days ago

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Gael Garcia Bernal plays incarcerated journalist Maziar Bahari in Rosewater, but writer-director Jon Stewart is the true lead.  For fans for The Daily Show, his personality shines through every episode, and it’s one that has become wearied over the years as news coverage has declined at an exponential rate.  His hopes for a better world have become a life raft, and his refusal to give into cynicism is what keeps his directorial debut afloat even if it veers into being earnest to the point of cheesiness.  Rosewater may not have much depth, but Stewart’s personal connection to the story—both professional and ideological—give it an abundance of heart.

TOP 5: Joaquin Phoenix in Final Talks to Lead DOCTOR STRANGE, WHIPLASH, Warner Bros. Superhero Pics Are No Joke, ROSEWATER, KIRK CAMERON’S SAVING CHRISTMAS

by     Posted 81 days ago

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One of the best documentaries I’ve seen this year is the Netflix original The Battered Bastards of Baseball. Directed by brothers Chapman Way and Maclain Way, the doc premiered at Sundance back in January where Matt gave it a glowing review and debuted on Netflix last month where you can still instant stream it today. The film follows the Portland Mavericks, an independent baseball team created by actor and lifelong baseball enthusiast Bing Russell in 1973. In addition to being the only professional team in America to operate without a Major League affiliate at the time, the Mavericks held open tryouts and built a roster that was made up almost entirely of players who had long been forgotten by the world of organized baseball. The result was a team that played with a supreme chip on their shoulder that not only lead to wins but also record setting attendance numbers that stand to this day. Whether you grew up wanting to be a big leaguer or simply appreciate a fantastic underdog story, The Battered Bastards of Baseball is an affecting doc that’s not to be missed.

Recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 features word that Joaquin Phoenix is in final negotiations to star in Marvel’s Doctor Strange, a new trailer for Whiplash that will detour you from ever wanting to study jazz performance, the rumor that Warner Bros. has a “no jokes” mandate for its upcoming Superhero movies, the first trailer for Jon Stewart‘s directorial debut Rosewater, and a disturbing trailer for Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

ROSEWATER Trailer: Jon Stewart’s Directorial Debut Looks Impressive and Earnest

by     Posted 83 days ago

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It was just announced this morning that Jon Stewart’s directorial debut Rosewater would be playing the Telluride Film Festival, so it makes sense that Open Road would choose today as a launching pad for the film’s trailer.  The film is an adaptation of BBC journalist Maziar Bahari‘s memoir, Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival.  Bahari, who was born in Tehran, went to Iran in 2009 to interview Mir-Hossein Moussavi, but was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard, and then interrogated and beaten for 118 days by a man known only as “Rosewater”.

Early word on the film is mixed, but I like this trailer so perhaps I’ll fall into the camp of people who dig the movie.  I love Stewart’s satire, but it’s refreshing to see another side of him in this earnest piece.  The pic stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Kim Bodnia.  Hit the jump for the Rosewater trailer.  Open Road releases the film in theaters on November 7th.  [Update: We've added the official poster for the film.]

New ROSEWATER Images: Gael Garcia Bernal Is Blindfolded in Jon Stewart’s Directorial Debut

by     Posted 92 days ago

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A couple of new Rosewater images have been released for comedian and The Daily Show host Jon Stewart’s directorial debut as the film’s World Premiere looms closer.  Written and directed by Stewart, the pic stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Kim Bodnia and is an adaptation of BBC journalist Maziar Bahari’s memoir Then They Came for Me.  Bahari, who was born in Tehran, went to Iran in 2009 to interview Mir-Hossein Moussavi, but was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard and then interrogated and beaten for 118 days by a man known only as “Rosewater.”  Stewart had a personal connection to the story, as Bahari’s previous Daily Show appearance was used as “evidence” that he was a spy.  This has been high on my most anticipated list for some time, and I’m extremely eager to see what Stewart has put together when the film screens at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Hit the jump to check out the new Rosewater images.  The film will likely make its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival before screening at TIFF, and is scheduled to open in theaters on November 7th.

TIFF 2014 Adds James Franco’s THE SOUND AND THE FURY, ST. VINCENT Starring Bill Murray, Conversations with Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall and More

by     Posted 92 days ago

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The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival lineup is complete!  With the event now just a little over two weeks away, the Discovery Program, the Kids Program and additional selections for other festival sections have been announced.  James Franco’s The Sound and the Fury will have its North American premiere and the Bill Murray-starrer, St. Vincent, will get a world premiere in the Special Presentations section, ’71 featuring Jack O’Connell will play in the Discovery Program and Martin Scorsese’s The 50 Year Argument will screen in the Mavericks Program, just to name a few.

On top of that, Mavericks is now also loaded with iconic talent set to take part in discussions including Denzel Washington, Antoine Fuqua, Juliette Binoche, Robert Duvall and more.  Hit the jump to check out all of the new additions to the TIFF lineup.

First Images From Jon Stewart’s ROSEWATER Convey Film’s Bleak Tone

by     Posted 110 days ago

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Yesterday Jon Stewart’s directorial debut Rosewater got a release date and now we have a look at the first images released from the film.  If anyone was expecting a comedy, this definitely isn’t one.  Written and directed by Stewart, the film stars Gael Garcia Bernal and is an adaptation of BBC journalist Maziar Bahari‘s memoir, Then They Came for Me.  Bahari, who was born in Tehran, went to Iran in 2009 to interview Mir-Hossein Moussavi, but was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard, and then interrogated and beaten for 118 days by a man known only as “Rosewater”.  Stewart had a personal connection to the story as Bahari’s previous The Daily Show appearance was used as “evidence” that he was a spy.

I’m eager to see Rosewater, not just for the subject matter but out of personal curiosity to see if Stewart has directing chops.  He puts a lot of care into what he does (and is good at admitting past mistakes like Playing By Heart), so I’m confident his compass was true when he chose to take this on.  Hit the jump for the Rosewater images.  Open Road releases the film on November 7th.

Jon Stewart’s ROSEWATER Release Date Set for November 7th; James Wan-Produced DEMONIC Finally Dated for December 12th

by     Posted 111 days ago

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A Rosewater release date has finally been set, and it’s in the heart of awards season later this fall.  Jon Stewart’s highly anticipated directorial debut will open in select theaters on November 7th, the same date as Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.  However, Open Road Films will likely take good care of rolling the film out slowly over the course of the month, so no one’s expecting it to give Interstellar a run for its money.  Written and directed by Stewart, the film stars Gael Garcia Bernal and is an adaptation of BBC journalist Maziar Bahari‘s memoir, Then They Came for Me.  Bahari, who was born in Tehran, went to Iran in 2009 to interview Mir-Hossein Moussavi, but was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard, and then interrogated and beaten for 118 days by a man known only as “Rosewater”.  Stewart had a personal connection to the story as Bahari’s previous The Daily Show appearance was used as “evidence” that he was a spy.

Rosewater is slated to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival in September where I’m eager to finally see it, but it will likely have its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival one week prior.  Hit the jump for news concerning a slightly delayed horror film called Demonic.

COMEDIANS IN CARS GETTING COFFEE Season 4 Trailer Teases Jon Stewart, Aziz Ansari, and George Wallace

by     Posted 181 days ago

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A new season of Jerry Seinfeld’s excellent web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee will debut this summer, and a trailer for the upcoming episodes has now landed online.  For those unfamiliar with the series, it’s essentially Seinfeld’s version of a talk show with each episode featuring a new interview with a fellow comedian.  The loose nature of the series makes for both insightful and extremely funny installments, and this new trailer shows that season four participants will include Jon Stewart, Aziz Ansari, George Wallace, Robert Klein, and Sarah Jessica Parker.  The trailer also features a really funny button involving Wallace.  As a big fan of the show, I’m looking forward to checking out the new episodes.

Hit the jump to watch the Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee season 4 trailer, and click here to catch up on all of the past episodes.  The new season kicks off on Crackle June 19th.

Open Road Films to Distribute Jon Stewart’s Directorial Debut ROSEWATER; Set to Be Released This Fall

by     Posted 191 days ago

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I’m incredibly excited to see Jon Stewart‘s Rosewater.  Although Stewart is known for political satire, he took a hiatus from The Daily Show to make his directorial debut on Rosewater.  The film is an adaptation of BBC journalist Maziar Bahari‘s memoir, Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival.  Bahari, who was born in Tehran, went to Iran in 2009 to interview Mir-Hossein Moussavi, but was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard, and then interrogated and beaten for 118 days by a man known only as “Rosewater”.  Stewart had a personal connection to the story as The Daily Show continually covered Bahari’s ordeal and then had him on the show after he was released.

Open Road Films has announced that they will distribute the movie in the U.S. and release it this fall.  Presumably, they plan to put it on the fall festival awards circuit, and I hope they do because I want to see it as soon as possible.  Hit the jump for the Stewart’s interview with Bahari and the press release.

Larry Wilmore to Succeed Stephen Colbert with Comedy Central’s THE MINORITY REPORT

by     Posted 193 days ago

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Comedy Central has settled on a replacement series when The Colbert Report goes off the air this December following Stephen Colbert’s move to The Late Show, and unsurprisingly it will see another The Daily Show correspondent taking the helm.  Deadline reports that “Senior Black Correspondent” Larry Wilmore will host The Minority Report with Larry Wilmore in the post-Daily Show 11:30pm slot on Comedy Central.  Though Wilmore wasn’t the obvious choice given that his appearances on The Daily Show are more irregular than others (my money was on Samantha Bee), he’s incredibly funny and will bring some welcome diversity to the late night landscape.

Wimore is attached as showrunner on the just-picked-up ABC comedy Black-ish, but he’ll work to get that show off the ground before segueing to The Minority Report, which will launch in January 2015.  Jon Stewart will serve as executive producer on the new series, just as he does on The Colbert Report.  Hit the jump to check out a couple of Wilmore’s more memorable Daily Show segments.

Gael Garcia Bernal’s Salary Demands Could Complicate Jon Stewart’s Low-Budget ROSEWATER

by     Posted 1 year, 160 days ago

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Jon Stewart has gone on hiatus from The Daily Show to make his low-budget drama Rosewater, but the production is already running into problems.  We previously reported that Gael Garcia Bernal was in talks to lead the picture, which is based on BBC journalist Maziar Bahari’s 118-day captivity in Iran’s most notorious prison after leaving London in June of 2009 to cover the country’s presidential elections.  The title is derived from the fact that Bahari knew only one thing about his brutal interrogator: he smelled of Rosewater.  Today, THR is reporting that Bernal is demanding a higher salary than what the production is willing to offer.  The $10 million film is trying to save money in order to shoot on location in Jordan starting in mid-July, although most of the movie will take place in interior settings.

Personally, I think they should let Bernal go and hire up-and-coming actor Riz Ahmed (Four Lions, The Reluctant Fundamentalist).  He’s only a few years younger than Bernal (Ahmed is 30, Bernal is 34), and Ahmed is of middle-eastern descent.  You could also go with Amr Waked (Syriana, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen), who is middle-eastern as well as closer to Bahari’s age (Waked is 40, Bahari is 46).  No matter whom they choose, the film is going to be sold on Stewart’s name, not the lead actor.

John Oliver Set to Take Over THE DAILY SHOW June 10th; Jon Stewart Will Return September 3rd

by     Posted 1 year, 202 days ago

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Comedy Central has announced the transition dates for The Daily Show while host Jon Stewart goes off to make his directorial debut.  We learned a couple of months ago that Stewart would be taking a break from the comedy news show this summer to direct the feature film Rosewater, which tells the true story of a BBC journalist’s 118 captivity in Iran’s most notorious prison.  At the time it was announced that frequent correspondent John Oliver would be filling in for Stewart during his absence, and now the network has announced that Oliver’s hosting duties will begin on June 10th with guest Seth Rogen.  Stewart won’t return to the show until September 3rd, making for quite the extended hiatus.

While there’s simply no substitute for Stewart’s whipsmart sense of humor, Oliver should do fine in the Daily Show chair.  The comedian recently filed a brilliant three-part series on gun control that aired last week, and I’m interested to see what The Daily Show looks like in his hands.

Jon Stewart Taking Extended Break from THE DAILY SHOW to Make Feature Directing Debut with ROSEWATER

by     Posted 1 year, 259 days ago

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Well here’s the definition of bittersweet: Jon Stewart will be taking a hiatus from hosting The Daily Show this summer in order to make his feature directing debut.  Stewart wrote and will direct Rosewater, an adaptation of Maziar Bahari’s book Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity And Survival.  Though Stewart is best known for his comedic chops on The Daily Show, the past five years or so have seen the host make some brilliantly dramatic—and at times angry—turns on the comedy news program, solidifying himself as one of the most respected, sharp, and eloquent personalities on television.

Hardly a comedy, Rosewater chronicles BBC journalist Bahari’s 118 day captivity in Iran’s most notorious prison after leaving London in June of 2009 to cover the country’s presidential elections.  The title is derived from the fact that Bahari knew only one thing about his brutal interrogator: he smelled of Rosewater.  Hit the jump for more, including how The Daily Show plans to cover Stewart’s absence. [Update: We've updated the article with the press release along with video of Bahari's appearance on The Daily Show]

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