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The Playlist

Review: 'Million Dollar Arm' With Jon Hamm, Lake Bell, Alan Arkin & Bill Paxton

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • May 14, 2014 6:02 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Million Dollar Arm
In terms of in-house branding, the "Disney sports movie" has almost as much instantly recognizable cachet as something like their animated princess movies or Marvel superhero flicks. Movies like "Cool Runnings" up through "Remember the Titans" and "Miracle" have the same general, crowd-pleasing formula of being based on a true story, set in the past (either immediate or distant) and featuring a truly likable lead who, against all odds, triumphs at the end. These movies are as warm and comforting as your favorite old sweatshirt. And usually they're just as surprising. With "Million Dollar Arm," the awkwardly titled new Disney sports movie, the studio mixes up the formula with mostly winning results; the unpredictability does them some good.

10 Strong Directorial Debuts From Actors-Turned-Directors

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • August 13, 2013 5:05 PM
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  • 41 Comments
Debuts From Actors-Turned-Directors
This week, after a limited but promising initial release, Lake Bell’s directorial debut “In A World” is due to expand and distributors Roadside Attractions have good reason to hope that it will mirror the success of other Sundance breakouts like “Fruitvale Station” and “The Way, Way Back.” Regardless of how it performs financially it’s already firmly a critical favorite, with our own [A-] review suggesting that “while the film is hysterical, its real strength lies in the way it is able to deal with an issue like sexism in the [Hollywood voiceover] industry and work it out in a funny, honest and very real way.” And 34-year-old triple threat writer/director/star Bell can count it as a more or less unmitigated triumph on all three fronts, most impressive considering that after just a couple of short films this is her very first directorial feature.

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

  • By James Rocchi
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  • May 14, 2013 5:10 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Black Rock, Katie Aselton, Lake Bell, Kate Bosworth
There is, ultimately, something to be said for the pleasures of a simple, sleek and well-shot run-or-kill-or-die thriller. The sort of film where the heroes are trapped in the middle of nowhere and find themselves threatened by hostile locals, and must then strike back to survive. That's what "Black Rock," the second directorial effort from Katie Aselton, is at heart, 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 with a Y-chromosome inflected plot and script, 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.

Interview: Lake Bell On Her Love Of Movie Trailers & Her Directorial Debut 'In A World...'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 2, 2013 2:25 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Lake Bell
Sundance London was something of a homecoming for actress/writer/director/producer Lake Bell. Though born in New York, Bell began her career studying acting at London's Rose Bruford College, a stone's throw away from the O2 complex where the festival was taking place. And what better place could there be for the international premiere of the feature directorial debut from the star, who's consistently impressed both in TV roles like "How To Make It In America" and "Children's Hospital," and on the big screen in the likes of "It's Complicated" and "Pride & Glory."

Exclusive: Lake Bell Joining Jon Hamm & Suraj Sharma In Disney's 'Million Dollar Arm'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 29, 2013 10:16 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The trouble with being multi-talented is that you can't be in more than one place at once. And so it is with Lake Bell. The actress has been a reliable scene-stealer over the last decade or so, but she's been mostly absent from our screens of late, having spent much of the last few years prepping her thoroughly enjoyable directorial debut "In A World..." (she was even missing from much of the last season of the excellent "Children's Hospital," although she directed a couple of episodes).

Watch: Jason Sudeikis Plays A Horndog, Again, In 'A Good Old Fashioned Orgy' Trailer

  • By Sam Price
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  • July 22, 2011 2:41 AM
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  • 16 Comments
Orgies, generally speaking, tend not to be most riveting stuff on film, as anyone who suffered through Tom Cruise’s winding, nonsensical journey to see wife Nicole Kidman Julienne Davis get violated by strangers in a country house whilst wearing a mask in “Eyes Wide Shut” will no doubt agree. You'd think the "raunchy" trailer for the Apatowian “A Good Old Fashioned Orgy” – which sounds like it was a good title before it was a good screenplay - would aim to explode this notion quicker than you can say “Fidelio” with an onslaught of middle-class thirty-somethings disrobing and engaging all kinds of bad behavior. As it is, there's little of that on display here: Tyler Labine takes his shirt off a couple of times and the principal cast have a round of tequilas. Wild.

Katie Aselton To Direct & Star In Thriller 'Black Rock' With Kate Bosworth & Lake Bell

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 11, 2011 6:45 AM
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  • 0 Comments
If you don't know the name Katie Aselton, don't be too worried, but you'll likely be hearing more of it very soon. The actress has knocked around the indie world notably in the films of her husband Mark Duplass, and she was also a regular on the series "The League." But she took a big step with her directorial debut "The Freebie" last year, a comedy starring herself and Dax Shepherd that was not unlike this year's "Hall Pass" -- at least in its premise -- focusing on a couple who give each other one night off from their relationship. However, for her next gig behind the camera, Aselton is switching up directions big time.

Tribeca Review: 'A Good Old Fashioned Orgy' Is A Good New-Fashioned Slob Comedy

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 1, 2011 6:20 AM
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  • 4 Comments
The slob comedy, an invention of the American counterculture of the sixties and seventies that tore down movies’ perception of onscreen propriety, has miraculously survived in various forms since Bill Murray and his “Saturday Night Live” cronies started smirking on the big screen. Every time someone thinks that the influence of “National Lampoon’s Animal House” can no longer be felt, a film like “The Hangover” emerges, tapping into the zeitgeist and pulling in record-breaking numbers, further establishing the modern onscreen male as proprietor of snark, juvenile tomfoolery, and general bad behavior.

Sony & Samuel Goldwyn Plan 'A Good Old Fashioned Orgy' With Jason Sudeikis

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 9, 2011 6:40 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Jason Sudeikis seems to have arrived out of nowhere to become one of the hottest comic actors in film right now. The "Saturday Night Live" veteran pretty much was the only redeemable factor (along with Charlie Day) in last year's Drew Barrymore rom-com "Going the Distance" and this year he's already set to star in a trio of comedic vehicles: the open relationship pic "Hall Pass," the Black List-approved "Horrible Bosses" and the ensemble comedy omnibus "Movie 43." Well, you can now add one more film into the mix.

Rumor: Kristen Stewart, Jessica Biel, Rachel McAdams & More In The Running For Lois Lane

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 1, 2011 1:53 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Malin Akerman, Dianna Agron, Mary Elizabeth Winstead Also Mentioned With one of the big casting questions of 2011 answered on Sunday, with the announcement that "The Tudors" veteran Henry Cavill will be playing Clark Kent/Superman in Zack Snyder's reboot of the iconic hero, questions immediately turn to who will be joining the British actor in the film, and specifically, who will play the Man Of Steel's better half, spunky reporter Lois Lane. Natalie Portman had been vaguely linked to the role before Christmas, but if there was ever any truth to the rumor, the recent announcement of her pregnancy surely puts paid to that, and otherwise, word has been fairly quiet. Until now.

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