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The Playlist

Review: Joe Swanberg's Engaging, Truthful 'Happy Christmas' With Melanie Lynskey, Anna Kendrick & Mark Webber

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • July 24, 2014 12:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Happy Christmas
As perhaps the poster boy for independent cinema in the last seven to eight years, it’s crazy to realize that lo-fi filmmaker Joe Swanberg has never been in competition at the Sundance Film Festival before. While two of his films have played in Park City previously (though one was a short segment in “V/H/S”), Swanberg and his zeitgeist-defining mumblecore movement (read: indie filmmaking with a cute name and perhaps even lower budgets than audiences were used to at the time), were actually embraced by the SXSW Film Festival and not the indie-defining organizers in Utah.

Watch: First Trailer For Lynn Shelton's 'Laggies' Starring Keira Knightley, Chloë Grace Moretz & Sam Rockwell

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 16, 2014 1:00 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Laggies
Director Lynn Shelton has carved out a career of telling intimate stories driven by complex characters, with tales that toe the line between drama and comedy, and easily fall into both camps. And while most of her films had tended to stick to the indie circuit, her upcoming "Laggies" has a chance to find a bigger audience.

LAFF Review: ‘The Ever After’ Starring Teresa Palmer & Mark Webber An Unwieldy, Tense Look At A Marriage

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • June 13, 2014 4:55 PM
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  • 2 Comments
The Ever After, Teresa Palmer
A relentless self-exploration has steered actor and director Mark Webber’s filmmaking output, and increasingly it seems his preferred route of doing so is through quotation marks. Last year’s “The End of Love” starred Webber as “Mark,” an actor struggling in LA with his real-life son Isaac, and now—with a new romance and marriage to “Warm Bodies” actress Teresa Palmer—here arrives “The Ever After,” a similarly self-reflexive look at marriage hiding a dark undercurrent of anxiety and abuse.

Watch: First Trailer For ‘Happy Christmas’ Starring Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber & Lena Dunham

  • By Edward Davis
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  • May 20, 2014 3:21 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Happy Christmas
Don’t be fooled by the pristine-looking image above (hell, it’s “new” so we thought we’d use it). “Happy Christmas” is not the feel-good family comedy of the year. Hell, it’s not very shiny, slick and happy like that image would suggest. “Happy Christmas” is really a lo-fi, down and dirty family dramedy by filmmaker Joe Swanberg.

"DVD Is the New Vinyl" Podcast: Featuring David Cross, Kate Lyn Sheil & Mark Webber

  • By Aaron Hillis
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  • April 29, 2014 5:05 PM
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  • 1 Comment
"DVD Is the New Vinyl" Podcast, featuring David Cross, Kate Lyn Sheil & Mark Webber
Each month on The Playlist, critic-programmer Aaron Hillis (owner of Video Free Brooklyn, three-time "Best Video Store in NYC") highlights a handful of the latest, greatest new DVDs and Blu-rays, and asks a trio of industry guests to discuss their favorites of the month. For previous editions of the "DVD Is the New Vinyl" podcast, click here.

Watch: The Folks Behind 'Paranormal Activity' & 'The Purge' Bring You The Trailer For 'Jessabelle' Starring Mark Webber

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 24, 2014 1:42 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Jessabelle
Jason Blum has a strategy: make 'em fast, make 'em cheap, hope they stick. When you're not spending much money, that means you're not taking much risk, and that allows for a greater reward if it pays off. And so the guy behind "Paranormal Activity," "The Purge," "Sinister" and "Insidious" is rolling the dice again with "Jessabelle."

Review: Mindless And Harmless '13 Sins' Starring Mark Webber & Ron Perlman Fails To Thrill

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
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  • April 18, 2014 10:23 AM
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  • 2 Comments
13 Sins
Real human beings take a certain kind of sadistic pleasure in watching fictional human beings suffer. As long as it's from a safe distance, and it's not affecting you or yours on any level, watching man turn into beast right before your very eyes could feel almost empowering. Just think about the most popular video games for a second, if all the violent movies aren't convincing enough. This type of barbarity gets upped a notch when you throw in the theme of voyeurism; not only are we watching how low some people will go, but now we're watching them being watched, controlled, and manipulated into doing some really nasty stuff. We've seen it on taut psychological display in David Fincher's “The Game,” James Wan's “Saw” begat an entire franchise on it, and more recently E.L. Katz's “Cheap Thrills” had all sorts of delirious fun with it during the festival circuit. With Daniel Stamm's “13 Sins” however, the idea is skinned to the bone and thrown to the dogs. Trouble is, not even the dogs might enjoy this one.

Review: Apocalyptic 'Goodbye World' Starring Adrian Grenier, Kerry Bishé, Mark Webber & Gaby Hoffmann

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • April 3, 2014 6:27 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Blame it on the Mayans, maybe, but 2012 and 2013 have seen a host of films with apocalypse on the brain, from big budget action flicks to meta-comedies like “This Is The End,” to smaller, more realistic dramedies like “It’s A Disaster." Director Denis Henry Hennelly’s “Goodbye World” falls more in line with the latter, situating a group of seven college friends in a Northern California cabin in the wake of a cyber attack. While it has its funny moments, it’s definitely not a comedy, but it seeks to acknowledge the weird ways in which people react to times of crisis, especially amongst this particular group, with their complicated personal histories. Will they implode from their own internal strife or outside threats?

Exclusive: Gaby Hoffmann & Mark Webber Witness The Apocalypse In Clip From 'Goodbye World'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 25, 2014 10:06 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Goodbye World
Over the past year or so, we've seen the end of come in a variety of ways on the big screen from the outlandish comedic takes courtesy of "This Is The End" and "The World's End," to more grim takes in fare like "World War Z" that sees civilization on the brink of collapse. But in "Goodbye World," the apocalypse is viewed from afar, from the relative comfort of a cabin in Northern California.

Sundance Review: Joe Swanberg's 'Happy Christmas' Starring Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey & Lena Dunham

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • January 20, 2014 2:22 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Happy Christmas
As perhaps the poster boy for independent cinema in the last seven to eight years, it’s crazy to realize that lo-fi filmmaker Joe Swanberg has never been in competition at the Sundance Film Festival before. While two of his films have played in Park City previously (though one was a short segment in “V/H/S”), Swanberg and his zeitgeist-defining mumblecore movement (read: indie filmmaking with a cute name and perhaps even lower budgets than audiences were used to at the time), were actually embraced by the SXSW Film Festival and not the indie-defining organizers in Utah.

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