August 19, 2010

Continuing on the journey of new images from movies playing at upcoming film festivals, after the jump you can check out the first images from first time writer-director Dan Rush’s Everything Must Go, which stars Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Michael Pena, Christopher C.J. Wallace, Glenn Howerton, Stephen Root, and Laura Dern.  In addition, you can see the first images from writer-director Jacob Tierney’s Good Neighbours, which stars Jay Baruchel, Scott Speedman, Emily Hampshire.  Tierney was at TIFF last year with the very well received The Trotsky – which also stared Jay Baruchel.

Look for more new images everyday for the next week.  And if you missed our previous first look images articles, here’s a few links:

Everything Must Go (synopsis and images via TIFF’s official site)

After 16 years devising motivational speeches that promise certain success, Nick Porter (Will Ferrell) is abruptly fired. He returns home to discover his wife has left him, changed the locks on their home and dumped all his possessions on the front yard. Nick puts it all on the line – or, more properly, on the lawn – with an absurdly escalating garage sale that becomes a unique strategy for survival. Nick comes face-to-face with a life turned inside out and discovers in total exposure an unexpected path to renewal.

  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2010
  • Language: English
  • Producer: Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey
  • Executive Producer: Scott Lumpkin, Celine Rattray, Martin Bowen, Bill Hallman, Marc Erlbaum, J. Andrew Greenblatt
  • Screenplay: Dan Rush
  • Runtime: 96
  • Principle Cast: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Michael Pena, Christopher C.J. Wallace, Glenn Howerton, Stephen Root, Laura Dern
  • Director: Dan Rush
  • Producer: Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey
  • Executive Producer: Scott Lumpkin, Celine Rattray, Martin Bowen, Bill Hallman, Marc Erlbaum, J. Andrew Greenblatt
  • Cinematographer: Michael Barrett
  • Editor: Sandra Adair
  • Sound: Michael “Koffy” Koff
  • Production Designer: Kara Lindstrom

Full official description:

Everything Must Go – at once a sales pitch and a surrender to fate – is a perfectly apt title for this melancholic yet entertaining film that dismantles the structures, behaviours and relationships we have come to consider normal.

Nicolas Halsey (Will Ferrell) is not having a good day. Not only has he been fired from his sales-manager job of sixteen years, but he returns home to find the locks changed and his belongings strewn outside, the spoils of his failed marriage scattered across the lawn for all the world to see.

So starts Everything Must Go, a wryly humorous drama starring Ferrell, which examines five endless days in the life of a man who believes he has lost everything. Deciding to both fight and give up, Nick appropriates the object-laden lawn as his living room; he stations himself in a recliner and entertains himself with neighbour-watching, while steadily chipping away at his six-month sobriety. When the police show up to shut down the illicit spectacle, he invokes a legal loophole that buys him four more days of lawn-time: residents of Plano, Texas are permitted to hold private yard sales for a maximum of five consecutive days.

That first-time screenwriter and director Dan Rush succeeds in crafting a feature-length film from Raymond Carver’s understated prose (the script is an adaptation of his short story “Why Don’t You Dance?”) is a testament both to the evocative power of Carver’s minimalism and to the imaginative expertise of Rush. The story represents only a short span of time and space, yet it is consistently engaging, tracking Nick’s schizophrenic oscillations of grief, sorrow, hope and liberated inebriation as he befriends a lonely teenager, offers unsolicited advice to his new, pregnant neighbour (Rebecca Hall) and comes to terms with saying goodbye to a life he is unlikely to reclaim.

Ferrell’s nuanced portrayal of Nick elicits gut-wrenching empathy one moment, disappointed repugnance the next. He wears his pain visibly – but never melodramatically – even as he fights through it with deadpan humour and self-deprecation.

Good Neighbours (synopsis and images via TIFF’s official site)

Director Jacob Tierney (The Trotsky) returns with an innovative and unsettling thriller about some very strange people living in the same apartment building in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood. The film stars Scott Speedman, Emily Hampshire and Jay Baruchel.

  • Country: Canada
  • Year: 2010
  • Language: English
  • Producer: Kevin Tierney
  • Executive Producer: Krik D’Amico, Joe Iacono
  • Screenplay: Jacob Tierney
  • Runtime: 98
  • Principle Cast: Jay Baruchel, Scott Speedman, Emily Hampshire
  • Director: Jacob Tierney
  • Producer: Kevin Tierney
  • Executive Producer: Krik D’Amico, Joe Iacono
  • Cinematographer: Guy Dufaux
  • Editor: Arthur Tarnowski
  • Sound: Claude Hazanavicius, Thierry Morlaas-Lurbe, Pierre-Jules Audet, Gavin Fernandes
  • Production Designer: Anne Pritchard

Full official description:

Set in 1995 in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, a decidedly rundown Montreal neighbourhood with some very unusual inhabitants, Good Neighbours is Jacob Tierney’s witty and twisted follow-up to last year’s Festival hit The Trotsky.

Louise (Emily Hampshire), a waitress in an always empty Chinese restaurant, has a rather unhealthy attachment to her cats. Her relationships with her apartment mates aren’t much better. Her only friend, Spencer (Scott Speedman), is a caustic widower with a supercilious smirk who’s confined to a wheelchair. Meanwhile, newly arrived Victor (Jay Baruchel) is an overly friendly elementary school teacher who’s desperate for human contact. Victor’s painfully obvious interest in Louise upsets the routine that Louise and Spencer have developed – as does a string of unsolved homicides in the area, a subject that Louise takes an unseemly interest in.

Good Neighbors may sound like a thriller, but its relationship to the genre is quite complicated. While the conventional hero of a thriller typically wants to re-establish order and re-affirm his or her status in the eyes of society, Tierney focuses instead on characters that have, at best, only a nominal interest in other people. This raises troubling (and often hilarious) questions about just how connected we actually are. (The film is also related to the cool, grimy thrillers of the late eighties and early nineties, and shares obvious affinities with Danny Boyle’s Shallow Grave.)

Despite having only three features under his belt, Tierney has already mapped-out strong thematic territory as a director. Twist and The Trotsky concentrated on protagonists with tenuous connections to society and their attempts to integrate themselves. But here he ups the ante. Both Louise and Spencer seem willfully self-obsessed, while Victor is strangely needy. The narrative is cleverly set against the backdrop of the 1995 sovereignty referendum, an event which only underscores the characters’ sense of disconnect.

Featuring fine performances from the principals as well as smart turns from Micheline Lanctot, Anne Marie Cadieux, Gary Farmer and Xavier Dolan, Good Neighbors is a sharp, acerbically funny work by one or our finest young filmmakers.

Latest News