WHAT IF Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 10 days ago

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The challenge in making a romantic comedy is the thing that keeps the couple apart.  Most people who meet cute in real life don’t have that many obstacles in front of them, and the genre has suffered from too many starlets attempting to find new ways to keep the obvious from happening.  What If, which stars Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan as the people destined to be together, finds a novel spin on the genre, and as directed by Michael Dowse tries to find ways of avoiding the obvious pot holes of the genre.  It makes it a film that mostly succeeds by what it doesn’t do, and my review of the Blu-ray follows after the jump.

THE POLITICIAN: Vince Vaughn Could Be on the Upswing in New Comedy

by     Posted 110 days ago

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It looks like Vince Vaughn is willing himself out of a career rut with some of the projects he’s been signing onto recently, which is something I’m pretty happy about.  I’ve always loved his comic timing and have found him to be a relatable, charismatic and funny screen presence more often than not.  But the shine started to come off of him over the past few years as his comedies grew more formulaic (in my opinion this fallow period stretches from Fred Claus up until Delivery Man).  But with a role in Season 2 of True Detective and what sounds like a darker film coming up in Term Life, maybe Vaughn truly is taking back his career á la Matthew McConaughey.

The Politician could be another step back in the right direction.  At first glance, it appears possible that this studio project could be another paycheck gig, but with the addition of What If writer/director Michael Dowse behind the camera, its prospects brighten.  Also, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are two of the producers.  Another encouraging sign.  Hit the jump for more on Vince Vaughn as The Politician.

WHAT IF Review

by     Posted 135 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.  What If opens today in limited release.]

Being a platonic friend sucks. It just does. No matter how much chemistry you have with a person, the relationship dynamic inevitably pushes you into a Hobson’s choice: take the less-than-ideal relationship you have or lose it entirely. There’s not much middle ground unless the platonic relationship finally becomes romantic, and that tends to be in the realm of wish fulfillment, especially when the one you want to be with is in a healthy relationship with someone else. What If takes on this familiar story, and while it does keep the wish fulfillment intact, director Michael Dowse obliterates the selfishness and single-sided nature of these stories to create a rich, full, and painfully funny ensemble piece that offers sweet sentiment with salty comedy.

WHAT IF: Watch 6 Clips and a Behind-the-Scenes Featurette for the Terrific Rom-Com Starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan

by     Posted 138 days ago

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CBS Films has released six What If clips along with a behind-the-scenes featurette.  The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as a medical school dropout who strikes up a friendly relationship with a young animator (Zoe Kazan), but they start to wonder if the chemistry between them outweighs her relationship with her longtime boyfriend (Rafe Spall).  I really enjoyed the film when I saw it at TIFF last year (back when it had the better title “The F Word“), and I look forward to seeing it again when it opens later this month.

Hit the jump to check out the What If clips and featurette.  The film also stars Adam Driver, Mackenzie Davis, Megan Park, and Oona Chaplin.  What If opens in limited release on August 8th and expands nationwide on August 22nd.

ANT-MAN Drama Continues as Director Rawson Marshall Thurber Passes on Offer from Marvel; Nicholas Stoller in the Mix [Updated]

by     Posted 201 days ago

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Ant-Man appears to be Marvel’s on-going orphan property as the directorial drama continues.  Let’s rewind.  Though Edgar Wright had been working on the adaptation of the size-changing comic book hero since 2006, Marvel gave him the ant-ax almost two weeks ago citing disagreements over script changes.  A trio of potential replacements was quickly established, with Adam McKay entering into talks and quickly turning down the offer.  Zombieland director Ruben Flesicher was also in the mix, but is likely considering the director’s chair for Ghostbusters 3.  That left us with Rawson Marshall Thurber as the lone director in contention.  At least that was the case until earlier today when he reportedly passed on the offer [Update: Or perhaps wasn't even offered it at all?].  Hit the jump for more.

[Update #2: In a report on a different film altogether, Deadline still says Thurber is "the favorite" for Ant-Man but adds that Nicholas Stoller (Neighbors) and Michael Dowse (Goon) are names that are "making the rounds."]

First WHAT IF Trailer; GOON Director Michael Dowse’s Romantic Comedy Stars Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan

by     Posted 206 days ago

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CBS Films has released the first What If trailer for director Michael Dowse‘s (Goon) romantic comedy.  Daniel Radcliffe plays a med school dropout who strikes up a friendship with an animator (Zoe Kazan).  They start to wonder if the chemistry between them outweighs her relationship with her longtime boyfriend (Rafe Spall).  Adam Driver, who plays Radcliffe’s character’s friend in the picture, absolutely steals the first few seconds of this trailer, but there’s plenty to go around in the three minutes that follow.  While I understand it’s difficult to inform audiences about your film and set yourself apart in the world of rom-coms, this first look gives away a tad too much of the plot for my liking.  Charming nonetheless.

Hit the jump to watch the What If trailer and click here to read Matt’s review.  Mackenzie Davis, Megan Park, and Oona Chaplin also star.  What If opens August 1st.

TIFF 2013: THE F WORD Review

by     Posted 1 year, 104 days ago

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Being a platonic friend sucks.  It just does.  No matter how much chemistry you have with a person, the relationship dynamic inevitably pushes you into a Hobson’s choice: take the less-than-ideal relationship you have or lose it entirely.  There’s not much middle ground unless the platonic relationship finally becomes romantic, and that tends to be in the realm of wish fulfillment, especially when the one you want to be with is in a healthy relationship with someone else.  The F Word takes on this familiar story, and while it does keep the wish fulfillment intact, director Michael Dowse obliterates the selfishness and single-sided nature of these stories to create a rich, full, and painfully funny ensemble piece that offers sweet sentiment with salty comedy.

TIFF 2013 Lineup Adds THE F WORD Starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, Denis Villeneuve’s ENEMY with Jake Gyllenhaal, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 136 days ago

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The 2013 Toronto International Film Festival has added a few more films to its already stellar lineup.  Here’s a brief look at some of the Canadian productions that have been added:

  • Enemy – Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners), the thriller features Jake Gyllenhaal pulling double duty as two characters and tells the story of a man who is torn between his mistress and his wife.
  • The F Word – A romantic comedy from director Michael Dowse (Take Me Home Tonight) that stars Daniel Radcliffe as a young man who, upon finding out that the girl he just met lives with her long-term boyfriend, resigns himself to being “just friends.”  Adam Driver also stars.
  • Tom at the Farm – A dark new thriller from director Xavier Dolan that tells the story of a man returning home for a funeral, only to find himself embroiled in a twisted game.

Hit the jump to check out the full list of additions.  The Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 5-15th.

Jay Baruchel Tweets GOON 2 Update; Will Co-Write with Jesse Chabot and Michael Dowse Will Return to Direct; Evan Goldberg Will Produce

by     Posted 2 years, 87 days ago

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We haven’t talked much about the under-the-radar hockey picture, Goon, since earlier this year, but writer/star Jay Baruchel lit up the Twitterverse today with talk of a sequel.  The original starred Sean William Scott (American Pie) as Doug Glatt, the black sheep of his brainy family who works as a bouncer until an opportunity arises for him to be an enforcer on an underdog semi-pro hockey team. There is no word yet as to the plot of the sequel, but Baruchel will return to write the script with Jesse Chabot, director Michael Dowse will also return to direct the sequel; Evan Goldberg, who co-wrote the original, will return as a producer.  Hit the jump to hear from Baruchel himself.

Daniel Radcliffe to Star Opposite Zoe Kazan in Indie Rom-Com THE F WORD

by     Posted 2 years, 156 days ago

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Daniel Radcliffe’s current career trajectory is screaming, “I will not be Harry Potter forever!”  The actor has been taking on an admirable diversity of roles ever since hanging up his wand last year.  Earlier this year, he starred in the gothic horror flick The Woman in Black, he’s playing Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings, and several days ago we reported that he would lead the supernatural fantasy-thriller, Horns.

Today, Variety reports that Radcliffe is adding an indie romantic comedy to his slate by signing on to star opposite Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks) in The F WordMichael Dowse (Goon) will direct from a Black List script by Elan Mastai (The Samaritan), which has “Radcliffe venturing to be the first male to have a successfully platonic relationship with a girl he likes (Kazan), only to find out she’s already in a relationship.”  I have no idea what this means because I’m not exactly sure how the story is measuring success.  Is he trying to escape from the friend zone?  Is he trying to be at peace living in the friend zone?  Damn you and your vagueness, loglines.  Damn you to hell.

International Trailer for GOON Starring Seann William Scott, Magnolia Picks Up Film for Distribution

by     Posted 3 years, 99 days ago

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The international trailer for the hockey comedy Goon has gone online. The film is currently screening as part of the Toronto Film Festival, and centers on a bouncer with a penchant for fighting who joins a downtrodden hockey team. The trailer is decidedly goofy, with the flick looking a bit like an R-rated version of The Mighty Ducks. The cast of Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Liev Schreiber and Alison Pill is impressive, with Pill getting the bear’s share of laughs from this trailer. Matt caught the film at TIFF and was a fan, calling it “just the right mix of sweetness, vulgarity, and offbeat humor.”

Hit the jump to watch the trailer. Magnolia’s Magnet Pictures recently picked up the film for distribution (via Heat Vision). Michael Dowse (Take Me Home Tonight) directs from a script by Baruchel and Evan Goldberg.

TIFF 2011: GOON Review

by     Posted 3 years, 101 days ago

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Hockey, as viewed through the eyes of Michael Dowse’s Goon, is 60 minutes of fighting occasionally interrupted by moving a puck around on an icy surface.  It shouldn’t bother hockey aficionados or anyone else too much since the film is delightfully crass, painfully funny, and grounded by a cuddly performance from Seann William Scott.  The movie has a big place in its heart for George Roy Hill’s Slap Shot but it’s not trying to upstage its predecessor or make itself the heir-apparent.  It’s just trying to make you hurt from laughing so hard.

Canadian Features and Canada First! Line-Ups Announced for 2011 Toronto International Film Festival

by     Posted 3 years, 134 days ago

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The 2011 Toronto International Film Festival has announced the films playing in their Canadian Features line-up and the seven films from first-time filmmakers in the “Canada First!” line-up.  Notable movies in the Canadian Features program include Edwin Boyd (starring Scott Speedman, Kevin Durand, and Brian Cox), Goon (starring Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, and Liev Schreiber), and Guy Maddin’s new film Keyhole (starring Jason Patric and Isabella Rossellini).  Previously announced films A Dangerous Method and Take This Waltz will play as part of the Canadian Galas program.

Hit the jump to check out the full line-up for the Canadian Features and Canada First! programs.  Click here for the Galas and Special Presentations and click here for the Documentaries, Midnight Madness, and other TIFF programs.  The 2011 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8 – 18th.

TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT Review

by     Posted 3 years, 292 days ago

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Do you remember the 80s?  Of course you do.  Everyone remembers the 80s even if you didn’t live through them.  It was pop-art made flesh and then made neon.  There were bright colors, exuberant clothes, and if your song didn’t feature at least one synthesizer, then it wasn’t worth listening to it.  We’ve been to the 80s and it’s tough to find a reason to go back.  Take Me Home Tonight certainly can’t find one and it drowns its affable leads and their charming performances in a sea of nostalgia and iconography.

Check Out a Behind the Scenes Featurette for TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT

by     Posted 3 years, 300 days ago

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A behind the scenes featurette for the upcoming comedy Take Me Home Tonight has landed online. Directed by Michael Dowse, the film stars Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer, and Chris Pratt. The comedy is set in 1988 and features a recent MIT grad (Grace) who makes a move on his high school crush (Palmer), steals a car, and embarks on numerous other misadventures all in the course of one night. While it very well may have a lot more going for it, I plan on catching the film for no other reason than its nostalgia-ridden 80s soundtrack. Here’s to hoping A-ha’s classic “Take on Me” makes an appearance.

Hit the jump to check out the featurette. Take Me Home Tonight hits theaters next week on March 4th.

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