Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

The Playlist

‘Obvious Child’ Director Gillian Robespierre & Jenny Slate Talk Boundaries In Comedy, Naturalism, Improv, More

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
  • |
  • June 19, 2014 12:15 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Obvious Child, With Jenny Slate, Gabe Liedman and Gillian Robespierre.
Razor-sharp writing, taut direction, and a stellar central performance by Jenny Slate anchor Gillian Robespierre’s debut directorial feature “Obvious Child.” You’ve likely heard otherwise, its treatment of abortion dominating conversation and even the film’s promotional material, but while Robespierre wanted to buck convention with her narrative aims, she recognizes why the safer romantic comedy choices exist. “I watched those kind of films recently, and they’re still entertaining. We just wanted to tell the other side,” she says about the film, which follows New York stand-up comic Donna (Slate) as she discovers she’s pregnant after a drunken one-night-stand.

The Movies That Changed My Life: Amma Asante, Director Of 'Belle'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • June 12, 2014 11:20 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Amma Asante, Belle
The quiet little indie sleeper of the summer has been “Belle,” the British costume drama ignored by most of the movie blog world, but which has proven to be a real word-of-mouth hit: at present, it’s taken more than $7 million, making it the third biggest indie of the year (behind “Chef” and ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel”), and is still going strong. The true-life tale of Dido Elizabeth Belle, born to a British aristocrat and a West Indian slave, and raised in high society, but never able to fully participate in it, it’s also terrific, as our review from a month or so back said.

'The Rover' Director David Michôd On Robert Pattinson, Guy Pearce & How We're "Hurtling Toward Oblivion"

  • By Jessica Kiang
  • |
  • June 11, 2014 1:29 PM
  • |
  • 3 Comments
Bone-dry, brutal and so slender it’s almost emaciated, Australian director David Michôd’s second feature, after his terrific debut “Animal Kingdom,” premiered in Cannes to high anticipation and ultimately mixed reviews. We ourselves really liked “The Rover,” which stars Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson as unlikely companions on a bleak road trip across as collapsed and exhausted near-future Australia (review here) but can understand how Michôd’s vision of a hellish ruined world, in which the first luxury to disappear is human kindness, might have proven simply too unrelentingly bleak for some; it’s the type of film into whose deliberately empty spaces one can read everything, or nothing at all.

Interview: Dakota Fanning Talks ‘Night Moves,’ Working With Kelly Reichardt, Spielberg, Tony Scott & More

  • By Sam Adams
  • |
  • May 29, 2014 4:01 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
If you go into Kelly Reichardt's “Night Moves” cold, or knowing only that it's a drama about ecoterrorism from the director of “Meek's Cutoff” and “Wendy & Lucy,” you might wonder about her leading actress, a mousy, moon-faced brunette whose occasionally eerie stillness reflects both her character's implacable dedication to the cause and her failure to look beneath the surface of her beliefs. When I saw the movie at Toronto last fall, I didn't realize until the end credits I'd been watching Dakota Fanning the entire time. As she did with Michelle Williams, whom Fanning calls one of her favorite actresses, Reichardt peels away Fanning's youthful precocity to find an engrossing stillness underneath -- or rather, she got out of the way and let Fanning do it to herself.

Interview: James Gray Discusses Harvey Weinstein, Cinematic Influences, His Career, 'Die Hard' & More

  • By Rodrigo Perez
  • |
  • May 15, 2014 2:52 PM
  • |
  • 5 Comments
James Gray, The Immigrant
“The Immigrant” stars the terrific cast of Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner, and the 1920s-set period piece is superficially something very different for filmmaker James Gray. Gone are the genre trappings, macho-male leads with guns, stories deeply connected to the pain and sadness of family, and the shrouded Gordon Willis-like photography the filmmaker evinced on films like "The Yards," "We Own The Night" and "Little Odessa." However, “The Immigrant,” with its themes of the fallacy of the American Dream, the desire to fit in and idea that no one is beyond redemption is very much a James Gray film. It’s a further continuation of a singular pursuit told slightly differently, retaining Gray’s signature sense of emotional intelligence, intimacy and graceful restraint.

Interview: Director James Gray Talks ‘The Immigrant,’ Working With Marion Cotillard, The Late Harris Savides & Much More

  • By Rodrigo Perez
  • |
  • May 14, 2014 2:22 PM
  • |
  • 5 Comments
As we recently noted, filmmaker James Gray has only made five films in 20 years. That’s a positively low number, but Gray has had many hardships that distracted from his body of work. His debut “Little Odessa” won a major prize in 1994 at the Venice Film Festival and that jumpstarted his career, but obstacles both minor and major threatened to derail that momentum. For “The Yards,” he ran into the might of Harvey Weinstein and a compromised ending saw him booed at Cannes (Miramax subsequently dumped the film into a few theaters with barely a regular release).

Nicholas Stoller Talks Third Muppet Movie, A Return To The Aldous Snow Universe & Seth Rogen/Kevin Hart Buddy Comedy

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • May 12, 2014 12:11 PM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
After this weekend's shockingly huge haul for "Neighbors," his Seth Rogen/Zac Efron frat comedy, director Nicholas Stoller can probably do anything that he wants to next. So when we sat down with the director in New York recently, we couldn't help but pick his brain as to what projects would follow this very funny film—including his upcoming comedy with Rogen and Kevin Hart, the possibility of a third Muppets movie for Disney, and another film in the same universe as "Get Him to the Greek" and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (Stoller also reveals how "Neighbors" is connected to these movies).

Interview: 'Neighbors' Star Seth Rogen Talks Making It Relatable, Improv With Zac Efron And The Movie's Distinctive Look

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • May 8, 2014 3:03 PM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne, Neighbors
This weekend's big, R-rated studio comedy "Neighbors" is funny in the way that big, R-rated studio comedies rarely are (read our review here). In the movie Seth Rogen plays a man in his thirties, who is happily married (to a flawless Rose Byrne) and with a new baby. Of course his suburban idyll is disrupted when a rampaging fraternity (led by Zac Elfron, his malevolent charisma turned all the way up) shows up and moves into the house right next door to theirs. That leads to an all out war between the boring suburbanites and the hard partying frat brothers that have invaded their neighborhood. While at South by Southwest, where the movie first premiered (it received a riotous response), we sat down with Rogen and chatted about the movie, what the appeal of the script was for him, what Byrne brought to the role, and how the distinctive look of the movie was developed.

Interview: 'Neighbors' Duo Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg Talk 'The Interview,' Developing 'Preacher,' Crazy 'Sausage Party' & More

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • May 7, 2014 12:26 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg in This Is the End
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have the kind of career that young comedy writers look upon with envious eyes. The two writer/producers have had an unprecedented streak, nimbly shifting from one hit R-rated comedy to the next, while occasionally stopping to expand their focus and bring in new collaborators (like "Warm Bodies" filmmaker Jonathan Levine, who they worked with on "50/50"). And for the most part these guys have stuck to their guns, honed their craft, and had tremendous success. We got a chance to speak with them at the South by Southwest Film Festival, where they debuted "Neighbors" to a thunderous response (read our review), and the unusually frank duo let us in on a whole battery of upcoming projects.

Interview: 'Belle' Director Amma Asante On Her Charged & Groundbreaking Period Drama

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • May 1, 2014 2:01 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
A good candidate for the unexpected sleeper indie crossover of the summer looks to be Fox Searchlight's "Belle," which hits theaters this week. The film tells the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, born in the West Indies in 1761 to an aristocrat, Admiral Sir John Lindsay, and an African slave. She was brought back to England and, as her father's sole heir, albeit an illegitimate one, was raised among great privilege, though not allowed to participate in all aspects of society (she had to dine separately from the rest of her family for instance).

Email Updates

Recent Comments