January Jones and Kristen Schaal Join Will Forte in Amazing-Sounding Fox Comedy LAST MAN ON EARTH

by     Posted 19 days ago

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I can’t remember the last time I was this excited for an impending TV series, but I cannot wait to see The Last Man on Earth.  The Fox comedy hails from creator Will Forte and executive producers Phil Lord & Chris Miller—you know, the geniuses behind 21 Jump Street, The LEGO Movie, and Clone High.  Forte stars in the show as Phil Miller, the literal last man on Earth who is living out his days alone on the planet.  We previously saw a teaser for the show before production began, giving us a brief taste of what we might expect from the series.  Forte subsequently grew out a massive beard before beginning production on the show in earnest, and despite the title, we now have a few new additions to the cast that include Mad Men alum January Jones and Bob’s Burgers star Kristen Schaal.  More after the jump.

Will Forte Talks LIFE OF CRIME, How THE BROTHERS SOLOMON Got Him the Job, LAST MAN ON EARTH, the MACGRUBER Sequel, and More

by     Posted 108 days ago

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Life of CrimeDaniel Schecter’s adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel The Switch, is now playing on VOD and in theaters.  The film features younger versions of the Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson characters from another Leonard adaptation, Jackie Brown, with John Hawkes and Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) filling the roles this time around.  The story features Hawkes and Bey kidnapping the trophy wife (Jennifer Aniston) of a wealthy man (Tim Robbins) only to find out he doesn’t actually want her back.  The film also stars Mark Boone JuniorIsla FisherWill Forte.  Life of Crime is loaded with juicy characters and great dialogue, and it’s definitely worth checking out.  For more on the movie, read Matt’s review or watch the trailer.

At the recent Los Angeles press day for the film I landed an exclusive video interview with Will Forte.  He talked about making Life of Crime, how quickly he said yes to the project, how The Brothers Solomon got him the job, his gigantic beard he’s growing for the Fox series Last Man on Earth, how he got Chris Miller and Phil Lord to direct the pilot, the MacGruber sequel, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

LIFE OF CRIME Review

by     Posted 114 days ago

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

I’ve never read any of Elmore Leonard’s novels, and yes, I’m ashamed. But I know from the film adaptations of his crime novels that there’s a way to do them right and wrong. They have a confidence, a swagger, a sly wink, a braggadocio, and they’re smart. They have the talk for the walk, and some directors, most notably Quentin Tarantino with Jackie Brown (based off Leonard’s Rum Punch) and Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight, are smart enough to bring that confidence to the screen. Those films make the uninitiated feel embarrassed that they haven’t joined the club. Even with Daniel Schechter’s cautious adaptation of Life of Crime (based on the novel The Switch) the audience can hear the author’s voice. Schechter’s direction is serviceable enough to not get in the way, he wisely trust his strong cast, accents the comedy, and lets Leonard do the talking.

MACGRUBER 2 Update: Will Forte Talks Script Progress and Promises, “If Somebody Will Let Us Do It, Then We’ll Do It”

by     Posted 114 days ago

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Will Forte is asked about MacGruber 2 whenever he makes the press rounds to promote another movie.  Last we checked, Forte said he met with MacGruber director/co-writer Jorma Taccone and they hammered out “a really solid first act.”  At a junket for Forte’s new movie Life of Crime, Steve asked Forte straight up if the inquiries about a MacGruber sequel ever get old.  Forte responded graciously, saying “it is very exciting because it means that people liked the first MacGruber.”

Forte went on to provide a status update about where he and Taccone are in the script process and reiterated their commitment to making MacGruber 2—if somebody will fund it.  We’ll have the full Life of Crime interview up next week, but hit the jump for Forte’s  MacGruber 2 update.

Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, Will Forte, and Director Daniel Schechter Talk LIFE OF CRIME, Their Chemistry Onscreen, Forte’s Giant Beard, and More

by     Posted 114 days ago

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Life of Crime is a wonderfully wicked tale filled with outrageously eccentric characters, sly comedy and surprising twists based on Elmore Leonard’s darkly funny novel, The Switch.  When a couple of low-level criminals kidnap the wife of a corrupt real estate developer, they get both more and less than they bargained for in this cool crime caper adapted for the screen and directed by Daniel Schechter.  The film stars Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, Yasiin Bey, Mark Boone Junior, Isla Fisher, Will Forte and Tim Robbins and will be released in theaters and VOD on August 29th.

At the film’s recent press day, Schechter, Aniston, Hawkes, and Forte talked about making a film set in the 70s, what appealed to Schechter about Leonard’s The Switch and made it perfect for adapting to the screen, the brilliance of Leonard’s dialogue, Aniston’s duo role as actor and executive producer and her future plans to direct, how Hawkes found the right balance playing a lovable criminal, the chemistry between the actors, their preparation for the physical scenes, what they learned from each other, and Forte’s upcoming role in his new Fox TV series Last Man on Earth directed by Phil Lord and  Christopher Miller.  Check out the interview after the jump.

Andy Samberg, Kit Harington, Lena Dunham, and More to Lead HBO Sports Mockumentary 7 DAYS IN HELL

by     Posted 149 days ago

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HBO is putting together a sports mockumentary project, and the network has pulled together a rather promising comedic ensemble.  Girls writer/co-executive producer Murray Miller is teaming up with Andy Samberg to create 7 Days in Hell, which is described as a mockumentary send-up of professional tennis.  Per THR, the one-off HBO Comedy Event will star Samberg as a superstar tennis “bad boy” who becomes embroiled in a seven-day tennis match at Wimbeldon with an Andy Murray-type prodigy and certified truck driver, played by Game of Thrones star Kit Harington.  The current roster also includes Fred Armisen, Lena Dunham, Will Forte, Karen Gillan, Howie Mandel, Michael Sheen, Mary Steenburgen, June Squibb, and Soledad O’Brien, who will play herself.

This sounds like the kind of delightfully goofy project that’s perfect for Samberg, and I’m very curious to see how Harington’s comedic skills stack up.  No word on when the project may air, but one assumes Samberg will have to fit the filming schedule into his hiatus from Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Phil Lord and Chris Miller Talk Will Forte’s “Crazy and Wonderful” Fox Series THE LAST MAN ON EARTH; Reveal It Will Consist of 10 Episodes

by     Posted 190 days ago

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Though directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have gained considerable notoriety in recent years with excellent films like 21 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie, the duo actually got their start in television with the short-lived animated series Clone High.  They dipped their toes back into the TV waters last year by helming the pilot for Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but they’ll have a more hands-on role in the ambitious upcoming Fox comedy The Last Man on Earth.  Lord and Miller hatched the idea for the series with Will Forte, who stars as the literal last human being on Earth.  The teaser trailer promised something unlike anything else on network TV, and that’s exactly what Lord, Miller, and Forte are crafting.

While speaking with Lord and Miller in anticipation of the upcoming 22 Jump Street, Steve also asked the two about their involvement with The Last Man on Earth.  They revealed that the season will likely consist of just 10 episodes, they’re directing the first few, and they’ve been in the writers room working on the first set of scripts.  Hit the jump for more.

John Hawkes Kidnaps Jennifer Aniston in the First LIFE OF CRIME Trailer

by     Posted 214 days ago

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The first Life of Crime trailer has been released for director Daniel Schecter’s adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel The Switch.  The film features younger versions of the Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson characters from another Leonard adaptation, Jackie Brown, with John Hawkes and Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) filling the roles this time around.  The story kicks into gear when Hawkes and Bey kidnap the trophy wife (Jennifer Aniston) of a wealthy man (Tim Robbins), only to find out her husband doesn’t actually want her back.  The pic looks to be a fun criminal-centric comedy with strong performances from the leads, and Leonard’s authorial voice comes through loud and clear.

Hit the jump to watch the Life of Crime trailer, and click here to read Matt’s review from TIFF.  The film also stars Isla Fisher, Will Forte, and Mark Boone JuniorLife of Crime opens in theaters on August 29th.

First Trailer for Will Forte’s New Fox Series THE LAST MAN ON EARTH; Pilot Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller

by     Posted 221 days ago

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Fox has released the first The Last Man on Earth trailer for the incredibly promising new comedy series created by and starring Will Forte.  Though we previously shared a collection of trailers for upcoming Fox shows, this one deserves special treatment because A.) it’s hilarious and B.) it has an insane premise.  Forte stars as Phil Miller, the literal “last man on Earth” who is living out his days alone on the planet.  This debut trailer is atypical in that it’s not simply a collection of jokes, but is instead a pair of extended scenes that show Forte’s day-to-day routine.  It looks fantastic, and the show boasts The LEGO Movie and 21 Jump Street directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller as executive producers; they also directed the pilot.  I have no clue how this conceit can fill out an entire TV series, but even if this just ends up being “The Will Forte Show”, I am wholeheartedly in.

Hit the jump to watch the The Last Man on Earth trailer.  The series will premiere on Fox in 2015.

Will Forte Talks NEBRASKA, Working with Bruce Dern and June Squibb, His Personal Takeaway from the Production, MACGRUBER 2, and More

by     Posted 291 days ago

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Will Forte is an incredibly charming actor, and while he’s known mostly for his comedic work, he turned in a subtle, moving performance in Alexander Payne‘s dramedy, Nebraska.  For those who haven’t seen the film, the story centers on Woody Grant (Bruce Dern), who believes he’s won a million dollars in a sweepstakes.  His son David (Forte), unable to convince his father that it’s a scam reluctantly drives with Woody to Nebraska to pick up the “winnings”.  It’s a wonderful picture, and because it was recently released on Blu-ray/DVD/digital download, I got the chance to talk about it with Forte.

During our conversation, Will Forte talked about getting comfortable working alongside his talented co-stars, the freedom to find the character, what he personally took away from working on the film, and more.  He also provided a brief update on the status of MacGruber 2.  Hit the jump to check out the interview.

Dwayne Johnson Comedy BALLERS Gets Series Order at HBO; Fox Picks Up Will Forte’s LAST MAN ON EARTH

by     Posted 310 days ago

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The TV comedy landscape just improved by two.  Firstly, THR reports that HBO has picked up to series the half-hour comedy/drama Ballers starring Dwayne Johnson.  The show hails from executive producer Stephen Levinson (Entourage) and revolves around the lives of a group of former and current football players, with Johnson playing the lead.  Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg are also onboard as executive producers, and the show marks Johnson’s first foray into the series regular TV world.  This comes on the heels of HBO recently picking up to series the political comedy The Brink, with Jack Black and Tim Robbins starring.

Hit the jump for series order news of a new comedy on Fox starring Will Forte and executive produced by the directors of The LEGO Movie, marking a Clone High reunion of sorts.

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 313 days ago

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It’s a shame that some still feel like animated films are primarily made for children.  The advent of Pixar and films like Shrek and The Fantastic Mr. Fox have more than proved otherwise, and in 2009 directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller delivered a wonderfully goofy animated take on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs that appeals to adults and kids alike.  That film reveled in its offbeat sense of humor, and while Lord and Miller stepped back into executive producer roles for the sequel, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is a worthy follow-up that delivers a hefty dose of adorable buoyed by colorfully inspired designs and a heartfelt theme of friendship.  Read my review of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 on Blu-ray after the jump.

THE LEGO MOVIE Review

by     Posted 317 days ago

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I loved LEGO when I was a kid.  I discovered a bag of LEGO bricks on a high shelf, and my collection expanded from there.  I was always an “instructions” kid, although I did try to combine sets from time to time.  But I always liked the minifigures the best.  I liked using them to come up with stories and adventures.  I mention all of this because The LEGO Movie is the best of all worlds.  Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have shown their genius once again through their unique blend of wit, humor, and heart to go far beyond what others would have boiled down to a crass, exploitative toy commercial.  While the movie will undoubtedly sell toys, it manages to respect the “instructions” kids while encouraging them to go beyond the box, build their own worlds, and discover their own creativity and personality through these adorable little toys.  But rather than aim for cheap sentiment, The LEGO Movie earns every emotion in a story that’s unabashedly silly and constantly hilarious.

Oscar Beat: Best Supporting Actor – Is Jared Leto on His Way to an Oscar Win?

by     Posted 1 year, 6 days ago

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As we continue our in-depth look at the coming awards season, it’s now time to delve in the Best Supporting Actor race.  It’s a tough category this year, with a number of impressive turns from a variety of actors.  The two big standouts emerged at the Toronto Film Festival this past September with Jared Leto earning extremely high praise for his turn as a transsexual opposite Mattthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club, and Michael Fassbender turning heads as a ruthless slave owner in the highly emotional 12 Years a Slave.  But there are plenty of other contenders as well, with both Jonah Hill and James Franco firmly in the race for a pair of more comic performances.

Hit the jump to read the latest edition of Oscar Beat, in which we examine the Best Supporting Actor category.

National Board of Review Names HER Best Film of the Year; GRAVITY, PRISONERS, and WOLF OF WALL STREET Land in Top 10

by     Posted 1 year, 16 days ago

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The critics awards are off and running after the New York Film Critics Circle announced its picks for the best of the year yesterday, and today the National Board of Review has named Her the best picture of 2013.  Spike Jonze was also named Best Director for the film, while the acting honors went to Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks), Will Forte (Nebraska), and Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station).  Always an eclectic list, the NBR’s Top 10 includes The Wolf of Wall Street, Gravity, Lone Survivor, and Prisoners.  Wholly absent from the Top 10 is the NYFCC’s pick for Best Film, American Hustle.

The NBR winner for Best Picture has failed to match up with Oscar since 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, as last year’s award went to Zero Dark Thirty, but for the past 13 years every NBR winner has landed a Best Picture nomination, so this bodes well for Her‘s Oscar prospects.  Read the full list of NBR winners after the jump.

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