THE SKELETON TWINS Review

by     Posted 73 days ago

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[Note: This is a re-post of my The Skeleton Twins review from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.  The movie opens in limited release this weekend.]

Comedic actors moving into dramatic territory is not a new concept.  Many make the transition with ease, while some have trouble crossing over or getting audiences to buy into them doing “serious” things.  SNL veterans Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig make a striking move to drama with excellent results in The Skeleton Twins, a darkly comic drama from director Craig Johnson.  This isn’t a “look how serious I can be” performance from Hader or Wiig; the film does have some very funny moments, but the two bring a formidable amount of weight to the characters, with Hader in particular turning in a stellar performance as one half of the troubled sibling pair.

WELCOME TO ME Review | TIFF 2014

by     Posted 78 days ago

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Don’t get me wrong: I like making fun of the mentally ill as much as the next person.  There’s nothing quite like reducing human suffering down to a handful of quirks and laughing at the patient.  Shira Piven’s awful Welcome to Me is the modern-day equivalent of visiting an asylum, mocking the patients, and then calling their behavior “quirky”.  Not content with merely being cruel, Piven also reaches for a smug, self-satisfied critique of how society uses the mentally ill for entertainment even though she’s constantly using every clichéd indie trick in the book to belittle her protagonist.   The film is an ugly, smarmy piece of work that never ceases to pander for laughs, pathos, and plaudits.

Jessica Chastain and Kristen Wiig Circling Ridley Scott’s THE MARTIAN Opposite Matt Damon

by     Posted 82 days ago

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As Ridley Scott completes post-production on this December’s Biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings and continues to work on that Blade Runner sequel, the 76-year-old filmmaker is also busy prepping to direct his next feature film, The Martian.  Scripted by Drew Goddard, the sci-fi pic is based on Andy Weir’s e-book of the same name and will star Matt Damon as an astronaut who is stranded on Mars and must find his way back home.  While the Cast Away slash Gravity-esque story suggests that Damon will be commanding most of the screentime solo, two intriguing choices have surfaced as possibilities to take on supporting roles in the film: Jessica Chastain and Kristen Wiig.  More after the jump.

THE SKELETON TWINS Trailer: Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig Go Dramatic as Suicidal Siblings

by     Posted 147 days ago

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Roadside Attractions has released the first The Skeleton Twins trailer for director Craig Johnson’s comedic drama.  The film stars Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig as the titular siblings, who are drawn back together after Hader’s character tries to commit suicide. I caught the film at Sundance this past January and it’s excellent.  Hader in particular shines in a dramatic role that could easily have veered into over-the-top territory, imbuing the character with subtle shades of insecurity underneath a confident façade.  Though the film is a drama, Johnson doesn’t shy away from the fact that Hader and Wiig are both really, really funny, and the film ends up as something more darkly comedic than a straight-faced drama.  This trailer does a nice job of conveying the film’s tone, though it does provide a glimpse at one of the funniest scenes of the entire film that I wish had remained a surprise.

Hit the jump to watch the Skeleton Twins trailer and click here to read my full review.  The film also stars Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell, Boyd Holbrook, and Joanna GleesonThe Skeleton Twins opens in theaters on September 19th.

Kristen Wiig to Make Directorial Debut with New Comedy; Reuniting with BRIDESMAIDS Co-Writer Annie Mumolo

by     Posted 166 days ago

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Directly after the smashing success of Bridesmaids, star/co-writer Kristen Wiig was inundated with questions about a sequel.  Instead of rushing into a follow-up that would have no doubt done massive business, Wiig decided to wait until the right project came together before writing another screenplay.  It appears that the waiting is now over, as the New York Times reports that Wiig is reuniting with Bridesmaids co-writer Annie Mumolo to write and star in a new comedy for TriStar, which will also mark the SNL alum’s directorial debut.  Hit the jump for more.

Kristen Wiig Joins Zach Galifianakis Comedy; Aaron Paul and Helen Mirren Join EYE; Dave Franco Leads INTERN’S HANDBOOK, and More

by     Posted 192 days ago

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We’ve got a number of casting stories to attend to.  Briefly:

  • Kristen Wiig has joined Zach Galifianakis and Owen Wilson in an untitled Relativity comedy from Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess.
  • Aaron Paul and Helen Mirren are joining Colin Firth in the military drone drama Eye in the Sky.
  • Sony is developing an adaptation of The Intern’s Handbook as a star vehicle for Dave Franco.
  • Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: Days of Future Past) and Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) will play Bonnie and Clyde in Go Down Together.

Hit the jump for more on the casting.

Writer Evan Goldberg and Executive Producer James Weaver Talk R-Rated Animated Film SAUSAGE PARTY; Pixar Movies Will Get “Ripped Apart”

by     Posted 203 days ago

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We rarely get R-rated animated films, and while that’s a shame, it’s also understandable.  In addition to the genre always being considered as something for kids, the cost of animation also means it needs to bring in the widest audience possible, i.e. families.  But the upcoming animated comedy Sausage Party sounds like it will be anything but family-friendly.  Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and directed by Conrad Vernon (Shrek 2) and Greg Tiernan, the story follows a group of supermarket foods trying to get back on their shelves before the biggest shopping day of the year, the 4th of July.  Their Lord of the Rings-type quest has them considering the great beyond, the meaning of their existence, and trying to fuck buns.

During the press day for Neighbors, Steve spoke with Goldberg and executive producer James Weaver about Sausage Party, and learned that their movie isn’t just coasting on being animated and R-rated.  It has a very specific target: Pixar and Disney movies.  Hit the jump to learn more about the film including details about the plot, the characters, and more.  The film is due out in 2015 and features the voices of Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, Michael Cera, Edward Norton, David Krumholtz, Anders Holm, and Salma Hayek.

Watch the First 5 Minutes of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

by     Posted 217 days ago

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DreamWorks Animation has released the first five minutes from How to Train Your Dragon 2 online.  The long-awaited DreamWorks Animation sequel picks up five years after the events of the first film, as Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless are exploring new territories while the rest of their friends are enjoying dragon races.  During one of Hiccup and Toothless’ journeys, they discover a secret ice cave, hundreds of new wild dragons, and the mysterious Dragon Rider.  I assume this clip is for one of two groups: 1) People who can’t stand the four-year wait for the sequel any longer, and just need to get another glimpse right now (two clips have already been released); or 2) People who plan on being super late to the movie.

Hit the jump to check out the new How to Train Your Dragon 2 clip.  The film opens in 3D on June 13th, and features the voices of Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard ButlerKit HaringtonCraig FergusonAmerica FerreraJonah HillChristopher Mintz-PlasseT.J. MillerDjimon Hounsou, and Kristen Wiig.

New Trailer and Poster for HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

by     Posted 228 days ago

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DreamWorks Animation has released a new How to Train Your Dragon 2 trailer and poster.  Director Dean Deblois’ animated sequel takes place five years after the first installment, as Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless are exploring new territories while the rest of their friends are enjoying dragon races.  During one of Hiccup and Toothless’ journeys, they discover a secret ice cave, hundreds of new wild dragons, and the mysterious Dragon Rider.  This trailer has the blend of humor and drama I was hoping the movie would provide, and I’m surprised and encouraged that they’re leaning more heavily on the emotional side than the comedy even though the jokes are still funny.  The first How to Train Your Dragon set a high bar.  The sequel could very well meet it.

Hit the jump to watch the new How to Train Your Dragon 2 trailer and to check out the new poster.  The film opens in 3D on June 13th and also features the voices of Cate Blanchett, Gerard ButlerKit HaringtonCraig FergusonAmerica FerreraJonah HillChristopher Mintz-PlasseT.J. MillerDjimon Hounsou, and Kristen Wiig

Trailer for HATESHIP LOVESHIP Starring Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce, Hailee Steinfeld, and Nick Notle

by     Posted 257 days ago

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A trailer has gone online for the indie drama Hateship Loveship.  Per the film’s Toronto International Film Festival description, “Johanna Parry (Kristen Wiig) moves to a new town to work for Mr. McCauley (Nick Nolte) and his granddaughter, Sabitha (Hailee Steinfeld). Sabitha and her friend trick Johanna (Liza Johnson) into a one-way epistolary romance with Sabitha’s father Ken (Guy Pearce). Johanna lights on fire, and commits a criminal act to get to her lover, who barely knows she exists.”  Hateship Loveship passed through TIFF mostly unnoticed despite its cast, and watching this trailer, it’s not hard to see why.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  Hateship Loveship will be released on VOD and in theaters on April 11th.

ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES (“Super-Sized R-Rated Version”) Review

by     Posted 269 days ago

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I thought Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues was hilarious, and it was no surprise that there was an alternate cut featuring different jokes.  There was plenty of riffing on set, and director Adam McKay had a wealth of choices when trying to find the right jokes.  Even at two hours, the original breezed by, and while I didn’t like it quite as much on a second viewing, it was still quite enjoyable.  Now a “Super-Sized R-Rated” version has been released, and in many ways it improves the original by showing that McKay made the right call on which jokes to use and which ones to leave on the cutting room floor.  Although there are some additions in the new version that are superior to the original, the new cut is plenty of bloat to the point where some of the jokes don’t even make sense.  The comic timing is completely off as it seems like the goal of the new version was to add more and make it slightly different, but not better or even as good as the original.

New Posters for HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, NEED FOR SPEED, and POMPEII

by     Posted 297 days ago

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Today, we’ve got new posters for How to Train Your Dragon 2, Need for Speed, and Pompeii.  The Dragon poster features siblings Ruffnut (Kristen Wiig), Tuffnut (T.J. Miller), and their two-headed dragon on a poster that clearly doesn’t have enough room for all of them.  Then there’s Need for Speed, which is seriously abusing the blue-orange poster cliché.  Finally, there’s the Pompeii poster where Kit Harington has apparently discovered something even more horrifying than the exploding volcano behind him.  Also, I don’t know if this is a foreign poster or not.  Everything is in English except “Pompeii” is spelled with a “J”.  Go figure.

Hit the jump to check out the posters.  How to Train Your Dragon 2 opens in 3D on June 13th.  Need for Speed opens March 14th.  Pompeii opens in 3D on February 21st.

Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Kristen Wiig, Edward Norton, and More to Voice R-Rated Animated Film SAUSAGE PARTY

by     Posted 300 days ago

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The This Is the End gang is getting back together—and then some.  Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Evan Goldberg have been developing a hard-R animated film called Sausage Party for some time, and when Sony Pictures agreed to produce the pic alongside Annapurna Pictures last year, we assumed that Rogen, Hill, and some of their regular collaborators would be leading the voice cast.  We assumed correctly, as The Wrap now reports that Rogen, Hill, and James Franco will lead the voice cast for the film, with Michael Cera, Kristen Wiig, Edward Norton, Nick Kroll, and David Krumholtz also lending their voice talents to the pic.  Hit the jump for more.

Sundance 2014: THE SKELETON TWINS Review

by     Posted 309 days ago

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Comedic actors moving into dramatic territory is not a new concept.  Many make the transition with ease, while some have trouble crossing over or getting audiences to buy into them doing “serious” things.  SNL veterans Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig make a striking move to drama to excellent results in The Skeleton Twins, a darkly comic drama from director Craig Johnson.  This isn’t a “look how serious I can be” performance from the Hader/Wiig duo, as the film does have some very funny moments, but the two bring a formidable about of weight to the characters, with Hader in particular turning in a stellar performance as one half of the troubled sibling pair.  Read my full review after the jump.

Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgard Join THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL; Jeffrey Dean Morgan Set for DESIERTO; Rebel Wilson Joins HE’S F-ING PERFECT

by     Posted 318 days ago

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Here’s today’s latest casting news:

Hit the jump for more on each casting announcement.

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