Tag Archives: fox searchlight

New Featurettes From ‘The Descendants’-SPOILERS!

It seems like rather than wait for the home video release (which I am sure will have longer versions and other goodies), some studios are releasing so-called “featurettes” (I maintain that this is not a word, but I digress) as part of their ad campaigns. Fox Searchlight has released 2 (or three, depending on which list you look at) of my top 10 films of the year, including #1, The Descendants, a likely multiple Oscar nominee.

Alexander Payne’s film grabbed me from the open and never let go. I consider it a modern American masterpiece of cinema and am happy to debate you on it, too!

At any rate, here are two of their behind-the-scenes clips, with the first featuring a look at the life on set and the second a dialog between George Clooney and Alexander Payne about the balance between comedy and drama.

 

Ok, so they aren’t the deepest insights into life on a set or the directing process and ok, in the second one Clooney’s wrong about how many Oscars The More the Merrier won (it won 1 for Charles Coburn, best supporting actor and was nominated for 5 others) but they go further than a 30 second commercial does and they’re more interesting that the trailers. That said, please don’t watch them until you’ve seen the film, as spoiler’s abound!

 

Theatrical Review: The Wrestler

Ever since it won the Golden Lion at this year’s Venice Film Festival, Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler has beet hotly anticipated and those not lucky enough to catch it in Toronto or at the NY Film Festival should now understand why. While The Wrestler is continually being referred to as the filmmaker’s return to form or other such hogwash from people who didn’t see the beauty in his last film, The Fountain. Thankfully, his latest has no such barriers to its success and this exceptional film is one of the best-reviewed films of the year.
The Wrestler is being compared to Rocky and while it is similar in a few superficial ways, its core message and lead character are distinctly different. Rocky was a bum. He wasn’t a had been, he was a “never was.” He’d never been close to a contender and was more like On the Waterfront‘s Terry Molloy (except that Rocky eventually became “somebody,” of course). On the other hand, The Wrestler‘s Randy “The Ram” Robinson (achingly played by a resurgent Mickey Rourke) was a superstar.
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Review Redux: Juno Opens Today

The following is an excerpt of, update to and further thoughts on, a review that originally ran on September 13th, as part of our Toronto International Film Festival coverage. Needless to say, since I wrote that review fresh off the film’s bow in Telluride, Fox Searchlight’s Juno Juggernaut’s been going full steam and I fully expect it to have a smash 5 day opening. I’ve since seen it a second time (and soon will a third, I am sure) and every person I mention the film to, and I mean every one, is looking forward to seeing it, ages 16-60. At AFI a table of 3 male film writers who were probably pushing 200 years old combined were all gushing about it. A typical “teen” film, this is not. That’s not to say it’s not appropriate for teens, it most certainly is, but it’s far more than that.
From my original review:
While the tendency might be to lump Juno, the sophomore feature from director Jason Reitman (Thank You For Smoking) and first-time writer Diablo Cody into the group (new genre?) of quirky comedies, a la I *Heart* Huckabees, Napoleon Dynamite and Rushmore, don’t. The thing is, while it contains elements of those oddball-laden films, Juno is its own animal in that it’s smart, funny and above all, real. The film should mark the coming out of several major talents, including writer Cody and Juno herself, Ellen Page. While I won’t shoot myself if Cody doesn’t get an Oscar nomination, I will be gobsmacked. While we’re at it, how about one for Page, too?
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The New York Times’ A.O. Scott writes that Juno “respects the idiosyncrasies of its characters rather than exaggerating them or holding them up for ridicule. And like Juno herself, the film outgrows its own mannerisms and defenses, evolving from a coy, knowing farce into a heartfelt, serious comedy.” That hits the nail on the head just about as well as any other review out there and relates to something I wrote in my original piece. In short, there are teenagers this smart and smart-mouthed, there are parents as cool and understanding, eventually, as Juno’s dad and stepmom and there are indeed teenage pregnancies that don’t end in utter disaster. That said, don’t think this film shies away from portraying that everything is not hunky dory in pregnant Juno land. Juno describes herself as a “cautionary whale” and while it’s a clever line, it also speaks to the point behind the laughs. Being pregnant at 16 is no joke and as Scott remarks in his review “Kids, please! Heed the cautionary whale. But in the meantime, have a good time at Juno. Bring your parents, too.”
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Photos TM and © 2006 Fox and its related entities. All rights reserved.

AFI Fest 07: On The Road Again!

102011592,52C1DF427992D0ECF18.jpgOn the road again….. Yes indeedy. I am, as they say, on the road again. Or at least I will be a scant 35 hours from now, winging my way Westward towards AFI Fest and the American Film Market. After AFI comes the Starz Denver Film Festival and after that, a liver transplant, more than likely. Maybe I should call the trip the Rabbi Report’s “Ruin the Liver” tour… with opening act Bacon ‘n Onions? Nah, too meta and WAY too off the track.
Back on point, AFI Fest has grown in stature and size over the past several years to the point where I feel like I can’t cover it adequately by myself, such is the fact at so many festivals these days. Next year I am thinking I need a 2nd reporter but this year it’ll have to be solo. At any rate I figure I owe you guys a little bit of a primer on what to expect, should you choose to attend AFI Fest (and I strongly urge you to do so). I’ve seen several of the films on offer and am looking forward to seeing quite a few more, so without further ado, here’s a look at a (very) small selection of what’s on offer in Hollywood for the first 11 days of November.
A Pair of Pages: Juno and The Tracey Fragments
Do yourself a favor and catch this double shot of “The Tiny Canadian,” as she’s been dubbed (according to IMDb). Maybe you’ve read my thoughts on upcoming Fox Searchlight release Juno (more coming, to be sure) and perhaps you’ve heard that Juno scribe Diablo Cody is a possible best original screenplay Oscar nominee, well let me put the “possible” to rest. She’s a mortal lock and as soon as the Academy and critics groups get a load of Ellen Page’s performance as the titular Juno, she’s going to start pulling down kudos, too. The thing is, she’s no fluke.
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Photo © 2007 Twentieth Century Fox

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Shakin’ That Ass: Two Dancers @ The Day Watch Party In Berlin

As the Tom Paxton song goes, wasn’t that a party? Hell yes, that was indeed a party. So much so that there’s not a lot of it I remember, what with the flowing Möet and chilled vodka shots. It was for a Russian film screening at Berlin, Day Watch (Fox Searchlight, June), written and directed by Timur Bekmambetov but beyond that, I can’t tell you much. Although there did seem to be a few Russian mafia-looking types around. Then again, I’ve never really seen one, so what do I know? Oh, and then there were the dancers. I figured since I am about to post some stills from the party @ Flickr.com, I might as well put up a little video, too!