WISH I WAS HERE Review

by     Posted 99 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my Wish I Was Here review from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.  The film opens in limited release this weekend.]

It’s been ten long years since Zach Braff directed a feature film.  Those that fell hard for Garden State—myself included—looked forward to seeing another directorial effort from Braff, and now the time has finally come with Wish I Was Here.  Written by Braff and his brother Adam Braff, the story explores late-blooming maturity through the eyes of a struggling actor living in L.A. with his wife and two children.  Braff weaves in plenty of themes about loss, marriage, and parenthood throughout the film, but he throws so much into the pot that not all of it sticks.  The result is a disappointing mixed bag, with some of the film hitting just the right note while the rest of it falls completely flat.  Read my full review after the jump.

Zach Braff Visits Temple, Gets Nostalgic in 3 New WISH I WAS HERE Clips; Plus New Images

by     Posted 107 days ago

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Focus Features has released a trio of Wish I Was Here clips and a batch of new images from co-writer/director Zach Braff’s long-awaited Garden State follow-up.  Braff also stars in the film as a struggling actor, father, and husband who is seeking purpose in life and trying to come to terms with the impending death of his father (Mandy Patinkin).  I saw the pic at Sundance (read my review here), and I’d say these three clips are indicative of the film as a whole: really funny, occasionally touching, but also saccharine and a tad pretentious at times.  We see a great scene between Braff and Patinkin, another of Braff taking his children out in the desert to get philosophical, and a third where he visits his temple and has a frank discussion with a rabbi.  The pic is worth seeing (Kate Hudson is fantastic), but I found myself coming away rather disappointed.

Hit the jump to check out the new Wish I Was Here clips and high-resolution images.  The film also stars Joey Lucas, Josh Gad, Pierce Gagnon, Ashley Greene, Jim Parsons, and Donald FaisonWish I Was Here opens in limited release on July 18th.

WISH I WAS HERE Clip: Zach Braff and Donald Faison Go for a Spin

by     Posted 122 days ago

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Focus Features has released a new Wish I Was Here clip from co-writer/director Zach Braff’s upcoming comedic drama.  Braff also stars in the film as a struggling actor, father, and husband who is seeking purpose in life and trying to come to terms with the impending death of his father (Mandy Patinkin).  This new clip features a scene between Braff and his Scrubs co-star/friend Donald Faison, who plays a high-end car salesman.  It’s a funny scene, and it’s indicative of some of the goofier moments from the film.  I caught the pic and Sundance and found it to be rather disappointing, but it’s not without merit.  The humor is mostly spot-on and Kate Hudson is genuinely great as Braff’s supportive wife.

Hit the jump to watch the new Wish I Was Here clip and click here to read my full review.  The film also stars Joey KingJosh GadPierce GagnonAshley Greene, and Jim Parsons.  Wish I Was Here opens in limited release on July 18th.

New Trailer for Zach Braff’s WISH I WAS HERE Starring Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, and Mandy Patinkin

by     Posted 159 days ago

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Focus Features has released a new Wish I Was Here trailer.  Braff co-wrote, directed, and stars in the film as a struggling actor, father, and husband who is seeking purpose in life and trying to come to terms with the impending death of his father (Mandy Patinkin).  This trailer seems pretty much in line with the mixed reviews the movie received when it was screened at Sundance (you can click here to read Adam’s review).  There are funny moments, moments that look like they’re forcing emotions, and some unnecessarily quirky bits (Wigs! Space helmets!) thrown in for good measure.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  The film also stars Kate Hudson, Joey King, Josh Gad, Pierce Gagnon, Ashley Greene, Jim Parsons, and Donald FaisonWish I Was Here opens in limited release on July 18th.

First Trailer for Zach Braff’s WISH I WAS HERE Starring Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin, and Josh Gad

by     Posted 199 days ago

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Focus Features has released the teaser trailer for director Zach Braff’s comedic drama Wish I Was Here.  Braff co-wrote, directed, and stars in the film as a struggling actor, father, and husband who is seeking purpose in life and trying to come to terms with the impending death of his father (Mandy Patinkin).  I am in no way surprised that this trailer is set a song by The Shins (they provided two of the tracks on the Garden State soundtrack) and plays like a music video minus the musicians.  It’s a montage of clips from the movie, and based on the tone, it’s not going to change anyone’s mind about how much they want to see this flick.

Hit the jump to watch the Wish I Was Here trailer, and click here to read Adam’s review from Sundance.  The film also stars Kate Hudson, Joey King, Josh Gad, Pierce Gagnon, Ashley Greene, Jim Parsons, and Donald FaisonWish I Was Here opens in limited release on July 18th.

Zach Braff’s WISH I WAS HERE Set for July 18th; GOOSEBUMPS Will Spook Theaters on March 23, 2016

by     Posted 240 days ago

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A couple of release dates have been announced.  First up, Zach Braff’s long-awaited Garden State follow-up Wish I Was Here will open in limited release this summer on July 18th, after which it will be expanding into 20 cities on July 25th and even more cities on August 1st.  Braff co-wrote, directed, and stars in the film as a struggling actor, father, and husband who is seeking purpose in life and trying to come to terms with the impending death of his father (Mandy Patinkin).  I caught the film at its Sundance debut and was rather disappointed.  While it’s quite funny and features some really solid and interesting moments, it also has a fair share of scenes that simply do not work and stop the film cold.  That said, Kate Hudson turns in her best performance since Almost Famous as Braff’s supportive wife.  Josh Gad, Ashley Greene, and Joey King also star.

Hit the jump for release date news and more info on the upcoming Goosebumps movie.

Sundance 2014: WISH I WAS HERE Review

by     Posted 279 days ago

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It’s been ten long years since Zach Braff directed a feature film.  Those that fell hard for Garden State—myself included—looked forward to seeing another directorial effort from Braff, and now the time has finally come with Wish I Was Here.  Written by Braff and his brother Adam Braff, the story explores late-blooming maturity through the eyes of a struggling actor living in L.A. with his wife and two children.  Braff weaves in plenty of themes about loss, marriage, and parenthood throughout the film, but he throws so much into the pot that not all of it sticks.  The result is a disappointing mixed bag, with some of the film hitting just the right note while the rest of it falls completely flat.  Read my full review after the jump.

Zach Braff’s WISH I WAS HERE Added to Sundance 2014 Premieres Lineup [Updated with Images]

by     Posted 311 days ago

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The 2014 Sundance Film Festival just recently announced its programming slate, but the fest adding another title to its Premieres lineup: Zach Braff’s long-awaited directorial follow-up to Garden State.  Braff’s new film, Wish I Was Here, revolves around a struggling actor, father, and husband who is struggling to find purpose in life and come to terms with the death of his father.  Braff co-wrote the film with his brother, Adam Braff, and he also stars in the pic alongside Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin, Josh Gad, Ashley Greene, and Joey King.  The pic drew considerable attention earlier this year because it was financed by a Kickstarter campaign, and its Sundance screening will mark Wish I Was Here’s world premiere.

Additionally, Sundance announced that the upcoming festival will play host to a 20th anniversary screening of Clerks, followed by a Q&A with writer/director Kevin Smith.  To catch up on all of our Sundance 2014 coverage thus far, including first-look images and synopses, click here. [Update: We've added a couple of images from Wish I Was Here after the jump.]

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 135 days ago

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Although Walt Disney never got a chance to see his own version of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz stories brought to the screen before his death in 1966, director Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful makes a valiant attempt at recreating Disney’s vision.  The big-budget, 3D reimagining of Baum’s collection of stories introduces small-time magician turned prophecy-fulfilling wizard, Oscar Diggs (James Franco) as he’s swept up into the magical world of Oz where must sort out the intentions of three very attractive witches (Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz).  Accompanied by a flying monkey and a china doll (voiced by Zach Braff and Joey King respectively), Diggs must discover the goodness within him if he’s to save the people of Oz from the tyranny of the wicked witch.

Now available on Blu-ray, Oz the Great and Powerful is a visually dazzling addition to the Oz films that acts as a prequel to 1939′s The Wizard of Oz.  While it comes nowhere near the caliber of that classic tale, this new imagining is a welcome journey back into the Emerald City and the unique lands that surround it.  Hit the jump for my Blu-ray review.

Zach Braff Launches Kickstarter for GARDEN STATE Follow-Up WISH I WAS HERE

by     Posted 1 year, 184 days ago

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When creator/writer Rob Thomas announced that he and his cast were going to raise the funds to make a Veronica Mars movie on Kickstarter, the response was decidedly mixed.  The experiment was an enormous success, with the total topping out at over $5 million, but some were uneasy about the fact that Warner Bros. was essentially making fans assume all the risk by funding a film that they would in turn distribute.  Many wondered what this meant for independent financing going forward, and now another major star is turning to the fundraising service to get his next film made: Zach Braff.

Though Braff hasn’t directed a feature film since 2004’s Garden State, he’s hoping to secure financing for his follow-up Wish I Was Here with an eye towards a Sundance 2014 debut.  Unlike Veronica Mars, though, Braff’s Kickstarter is 100% independent with no studio involved.  Hit the jump for much more. 

TOP 5: IRON MAN 3, OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL Interviews, First Trailer for THE HANGOVER PART III, Giant-Sized JUSTICE LEAGUE Rumor, AFTER EARTH

by     Posted 1 year, 230 days ago

collider-top-5-sliceI realize that it’s a little too March to be discussing my favorite holiday gifts, but I only recently had the opportunity to dive into one of mine and, as a result, I feel the need to share it’s greatness with our readers. The ESPN 30 for 30 Collector’s Set Blu-ray is an outstanding collection of sports documentaries that is rife with social commentary and almost sure to have something for sports and/or documentary fans alike. Before I get accused of paid programming, I’ll disclaim that all thirty of its films aren’t home runs (that’s right, a sports pun). Moreover, I’m fairly sure that all of the series’ entries are available to watch instantly on Netflix right now making the physical collection redundant for some. Regardless of how you partake, I encourage you to sift through the series, find a topic that interests you, and give it a shot.

All recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 features a healthy portion of Iron Man 3 coverage (including the new trailer), Oz the Great and Powerful interviews with Sam Raimi, James Franco, Mila Kunis, and more, the first trailer for The Hangover Part III, a sizable Justice League movie rumor, and the new trailer and poster for Will Smith and Jaden Smith‘s After Earth. As you may be expecting, a brief recap and link for each of the above waits after the jump.

Zach Braff Talks OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL, 3D, the Yellow Brick Road, and WISH I WAS HERE; Which He Plans to Direct This Year

by     Posted 1 year, 232 days ago

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Opening this weekend is Disney and director Sam Raimi’s fantastic prequel to The Wizard of OzOz The Great and Powerful.  The film centers on a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics (James Franco) who finds himself transported to Oz and drawn into a battle between the three witches Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams).  Loaded with incredible visuals, amazing 3D, and a beautiful world created by production designer Robert Stromberg (Alice in Wonderland, Avatar), Oz is the type of movie that definitely should be seen on a movie screen and it’s absolutely worth the extra charge to see it in 3D.  Oz The Great and Powerful also stars Zach Braff and Joey King.

Recently, I got to speak with Braff.  We talked about what it was like to walk on the yellow brick road for the first time, his reaction to the finished film, 3D, the unusual way he brought his character to life, and more.  In addition, Braff talked about his upcoming film, Wish I Was Here, which he wrote with his brother and plans to direct later this year.  Hit the jump to watch.

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL Review

by     Posted 1 year, 232 days ago

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We can find truth in deception.  We find the deeper truth beneath the artifice.  Sam Raimi‘s Oz the Great and Powerful makes no secrets of its deception, and shows how deception can be used for good or evil.  We just don’t call it deception when it’s used for good.  Then it’s an illusion, not a trick.* Oz creates a beautiful illusion that we can get lost in not because of the visual effects wizardry or the size of the canvas, but because of the honesty of the characters and Raimi staying true to his oddball style.

2 New Clips and 13 Minutes of Behind-the-Scenes Footage from Sam Raimi’s OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

by     Posted 1 year, 239 days ago

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Two new clips and 13 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage have been released from Sam Raimi‘s Oz the Great and Powerful.  The film centers on a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics (James Franco) who finds himself transported to Oz and drawn into a battle between the three witches Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams).  We previously saw a clip showcasing the conflict between Theodora and Evanora, as well as Oz and his cohorts “traveling by bubble”, which should be impressive on the big screen in 3D.  The new clips showcase the film’s attempt at comedy by showing Oz’s frustration with his traveling companions, Finley (voiced by Zach Braff) and China Girl (voiced by Joey King).

Hit the jump to check out the previously released clips and the new ones as well as the behind-the-scenes footage.  Also, click on the respective links for Steve’s set visit: 30 things to know about the film plus a video blog, and his interviews with Sam RaimiJames FrancoMichelle WilliamsZach Braff, and Joey KingOz the Great and Powerful opens March 8th.

First Featurette for OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL Goes Behind the Scenes of Sam Raimi’s Epic

by     Posted 1 year, 254 days ago

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Disney has released the first featurette for director Sam Raimi’s Wizard of Oz prequel Oz the Great and Powerful.  It’s actually a fairly in-depth look behind the scenes of the film, as we’re treated to interviews with Raimi and many of the cast members including James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Zach Braff.  The focus is on how Raimi brought the world of Oz to life with the help of production designer Robert Stromberg and costume designer Gary Jones, and it’s clear that this was an absolutely massive production.  Jones and Raimi also provide insight into designing the iconic Wicked Witch, with Raimi noting that he wanted “a big, scary green witch,” instead of taking a more subtle approach to the character.

Hit the jump to watch the featurette.  If you missed any of Steve’s set visit coverage, check out 30 things to know about the film plus a video blog, and his interviews with Sam RaimiJames FrancoMichelle WilliamsZach Braff, and Joey King.  Oz the Great and Powerful opens in 3D on March 8th.

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