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The Playlist

Kevin Smith Decides He Does Need Distributors After All, SModcast Pictures Inks Deal With Phase 4 Films

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 24, 2012 11:23 AM
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  • 3 Comments
“We’re starting over. It’s not just about making the movie, it’s about releasing the movie. True independence is not about handing your work over to some jackass,” Kevin Smith proclaimed to a room full of distributors last year at the Sundance Film Festival, following the contentious premiere of "Red State." With grand plans to do it on his own and damn the man, Smith relented on his grandiose talk of shaking up the system when later in the same year, he inked a deal with those jackasses at Lionsgate to handle digital distribution of the film. And it looks like the filmmaker, who has already said he'll accept studio money to make his hockey epic "Hit Somebody," is done forging his own path and is handing the reins to somebody else.

Sundance: Aubrey Plaza Talks 'Safety Not Guaranteed,' Her Pervy Role In 'The To-Do List' & Working Opposite Charlie Sheen In 'Charlie Swan'

  • By John Lichman
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  • January 24, 2012 11:06 AM
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  • 1 Comment
If you had the chance to go back in time--weapons provided--would you? Before you answer, ask yourself: is going to another point in time really better than cleaning out the toilet at your internship and not having other options? Well, you'd be in the same boat as "Parks And Recreation" star Aubrey Plaza in “Safety Not Guaranteed,” which premiered to near-universal praise at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday. Based on the fake ad that spawned the legendary YTMND meme, the first feature from writer Derek Connolly and director Colin Trevorrow takes us to a world where time travel may be possible. So could the fact that Kenneth (Mark Duplass), the would-be time traveler, is as crazy as he sounds.

Fox Searchlight Land Buzzworthy Sundance Drama 'The Surrogate' With John Hawkes & Helen Hunt

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 24, 2012 10:45 AM
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This year's Oscar nominations are something of an anomaly as for the first time in a while, there's no Sundance breakout among them. The expansion of the possible nominees two years back meant that the field had room for films like "Precious," "An Education," "The Kids Are All Right" and "Winter's Bone," movies that would have previously fallen by the wayside. Whereas the new system of a flexible number of nominees means that Sundance fare gets shut out of the big prize from now on (the only film anywhere near close was "Martha Marcy May Marlene," and that wouldn't have made even a field of ten this year) remains to be seen, but one film already seems to have emerged out of Park City as a potential 2013 awards hopeful.

'The Walking Dead' Star Jon Bernthal Eyeing The Lead Of Frank Darabont's TNT Series 'L.A. Noir'

  • By Benjamin Wright
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  • January 24, 2012 10:26 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Much like the characters that wonder aimlessly through the barren wastelands of the world following a zombie apocalypse, “The Walking Dead” has had a difficult journey from the page of the Robert Kurtzman-penned comic books to “Mad Men” home AMC. While the strong ratings certainly don’t reflect the behind-the-scenes turmoil that’s been aired quite publicly since the show’s debut on October 31, 2010, as you know things downhill fast when “The Shawshank Redemption” helmer Frank Darabont shocked many by quitting as showrunner of the series. A dream project he had been trying to get off the ground for years before AMC took a chance, Darabont walked away from the popular series due to clashes with the network over budget cuts and left behind a cast of many, that like a lot of viewers, signed on to the project based on Darabont’s name alone.

Sundance: Aaron Paul Says Any Potential 'Die Hard 5' Involvement Would Likely Conflict With 'Breaking Bad'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 24, 2012 10:05 AM
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  • 1 Comment
While Bryan Cranston has used his "Breaking Bad" acclaim and fame to take roles in, well, everything, his equally talented co-star Aaron Paul (aka Jesse Pinkman), hasn't been so quick to rush the big screen. But judging by the reaction to the alcoholism drama "Smashed," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews (including ours), it's likely he's soon going to be reaping some big rewards for the talent he's shown that he can carry from the AMC series into feature films. Indeed, he's already been linked as a contender to play as John McClane's son in the brewing "A Good Day To Die Hard." We caught up with Paul in Park City and while he acknowledges there were some talks, it looks like Jesse Pinkman is still taking priority.

Paul Feig To Direct HBO Comedy Pilot 'The Viagra Diaries' Starring Goldie Hawn

  • By Benjamin Wright
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  • January 24, 2012 9:53 AM
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  • 0 Comments
While many continue to speculate whether or not this past summer’s breakout comedy “Bridesmaids” deserves a sequel, stars like Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are lining up far more interesting projects than a rehash of that great comedy, and so is their director Paul Feig.

Ben Stiller Heads To HBO To Produce, Direct & Star In Jonathan Safran Foer-Penned Comedy Pilot 'All Talk'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 24, 2012 9:32 AM
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  • 0 Comments
We're reaching something of a watershed moment when it comes to the divide between TV and film. While the likes of "The Sopranos" and "The Wire" have seen the small screen gain more and more prestige over the last decade, and names like Martin Scorsese and Michael Mann have lent their names to projects, the big directors tend to helm the pilot, take an executive producer credit and move on, while the shows tend to be lead either by rising, relatively unknown stars (see Michael Pitt, Jon Hamm, Aaron Paul) or veteran character actors eager for a more substantial role (see James Gandolfini, Steve Buscemi, Peter Dinklage). Dustin Hoffman is probably the biggest name to head to TV to date, as the star of Mann's HBO show "Luck" which starts on Sunday, but while he's enormously respected, he's hardly an A-lister anymore -- he's not led a bona-fide hit himself since 1995's "Outbreak."

Shocks Abound As Oscar Noms Are Announced; 'Hugo' Leads With Eleven, 'Tree Of Life' Gets Picture & Director Nods

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 24, 2012 8:58 AM
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  • 45 Comments
It's Oscar nomination morning! You know, like Christmas morning, if you spent most of the rest of Christmas Day bitching that you didn't like your presents. And if your presents were chosen by a group of elderly sound mixers. And if an entire industry developed around guessing what you were going to get.

Sundance Review: Controversial & Upsetting 'Compliance' Is Still Affecting & Real

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • January 24, 2012 6:59 AM
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  • 2 Comments
If there’s a thin line between presenting unpleasant material to an audience and openly antagonizing them with it, there are going to be a lot of people accusing “Compliance” of the latter, when really what it’s doing is the former. Craig Zobel, the promising writer-director who made “Great World of Sound” in 2007, returns to the big screening with his deeply unsettling second feature, the fictional account of a real incident in which a caller impersonating a police officer contacted a fast food restaurant manager and enlisted her in enacting a sexual assault under the pretense of a criminal investigation. After immediately provoking intense feelings both positive and negative among audience members at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, “Compliance” seems destined to become a lightning rod for controversy, but its success is so great in depicting the damage that can be done through complicity and inaction that the movie’s takeaway message may eventually be confused with the technique used in order to create it.

Sundance Review: 'Black Rock' A Back-To-The-Wilds Slasher With Brains & Bonding Along With The Blood

  • By James Rocchi
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  • January 24, 2012 6:42 AM
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  • 1 Comment
There is, ultimately, something to be said for the pleasures of a simple, sleek and well-shot run-or-kill-or-die thriller where our heroes, trapped in the middle of nowhere and confronted by hostile locals, strike back to survive. And that, at heart, is what "Black Rock," the second directorial effort from Katie Aselton is, no more, no less. If you're hoping for a transcendent reinvention of the form, keep moving. If you're looking for a film like Aselton's erotic, neurotic and superbly acted "The Freebie," pass along. If you're looking for a well-executed example of a sub-genre, not as good as "Deliverance," but far better than a host of similarly-constructed films with bigger budgets and smaller IQs, you'll probably appreciate what "Black Rock" offers with its Y-chromosome inflected plot and script.

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