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The Playlist

Sundance: 'Liberal Arts' Director Josh Radnor Talks The Influence Of Richard Linklater, Working With Elizabeth Olsen & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 24, 2012 1:04 PM
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While it's fairly easy (and somewhat lazy) to toss Josh Radnor into the Zach Braff category of sitcom-actor-turned-screenwriter-and-filmmaker, the association is reductive of the talents required on both the small and big screen. As the star of "How I Met Your Mother," Radnor has displayed a very different set of tools than those utilized for his debut feature "Happythankyoumoreplease." And while that Sundance Audience Award-winning film didn't quite break out the way one might expect, Radnor has soldiered on, and now, two years later, has arrived with "Liberal Arts." Starring rising actress Elizabeth Olsen, the film centers on Jesse (Radnor), a 35-year-old man who can’t leave his college life behind as he comes to grips with the responsibilities of adulthood. Olsen plays Zibby, a 19-year-old college student who falls for Jesse over their mutual love of music and literature, but their difference in age starts to get in the way as Jesse moves farther away from a hedonistic lifestyle.

Sundance: Stephen Frears & Rebecca Hall Talk Bringing The Gambling Tale 'Lay The Favorite' To Life

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • January 24, 2012 12:03 PM
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Over the weekend in Park City, Utah, “Lay the Favorite” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, drawing mixed reactions from audiences and critics with its colorful portrait of an ex-stripper who discovers an unexpected aptitude for legal gambling (you can read our review here). Amazingly, however, the film is based on a true story, using the memoir by Beth Raymer as a jumping off point, and as Rebecca Hall puts it, her performance as Beth gives the character a believability they might not have if they were in a regular, fictional film.

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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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.

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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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.

Sundance Exclusive: Spike Lee Says 'Brooklyn Loves MJ' Might Be His Next Film; Trio Of Biopics, Including James Brown Film, Might Be Dead

  • By The Playlist
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  • January 23, 2012 9:46 PM
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The talk of the slopes, cold huddled buses and inebriated parties so far at Sundance 2012 has arguably been Spike Lee’s latest film, “Red Hook Summer” (read our review here). Evidently a polarizing film (some seem to love it, some hate it; our reviewer dug it), it’s nonetheless lit up the town with passionately divided yay or nay conversations and good films should always provoke at least some discussion.

Sundance: 'Hello I Must Be Going' Director Todd Louiso On Working With Melanie Lynskey, Quitting Acting & The Influence Of Judd Apatow

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • January 23, 2012 6:40 PM
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One of the better underdog stories from this year's Sundance Film Festival is "Hello I Must Be Going," from filmmaker (and sometime actor) Todd Louiso. After making 2009's "The Marc Pease Experience" for Paramount Vantage, the director found his movie marooned after the dismantling of the studio, appearing on a handful of screens before going (virtually) straight-to-DVD. This was a rather inglorious follow-up for the filmmaker, who had previously made the critically lauded Philip Seymour Hoffman vehicle "Love Liza." "Hello I Must Be Going" is not only a comeback for the director, but also a coup for its star, Melanie Lynskey, who is finally awarded her first starring role after her splashy debut in Peter Jackson's "Heavenly Creatures" with a role in a challenging, layered film. The story centers on Amy, a divorced and down-on-her-luck 35 year-old woman who is forced to move back in with her parents, and winds up in an unconventional relationship with a teenage boy. We spoke to the director about what it was like working with his wife on the film's script, his return to Sundance, the influence of Judd Apatow, and toll "The Marc Pease Experience" experience took on him.

Sundance: Andrea Arnold Talks Using Mumford & Sons For 'Wuthering Heights' & Her Intuitive Approach To Filmmaking

  • By John Lichman
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  • January 23, 2012 2:07 PM
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  • 2 Comments
There are as many adaptations and variations on Emily Brontë's "Wuthering Heights" as there are theories about how Heathcliff gains his wealth and maturity before enacting his revenge. Thankfully, for Brontë-philes, that is still up for debate in "Fish Tank" director Andrea Arnold's adaptation of the Brit-Lit classic that tracks the mournful love triangle of Catherine, Heathcliff and Edgar over the years in the north of England at the titular farmhouse. This adaptation spent a while in development , being tossed from John Maybury (“The Edge of Love”) to Peter Webber (“Girl With The Pearl Earring”), until it came to her attention. The Playlist sat down with Arnold at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival the day after the first major snowstorm of the fest and discussed why she doesn't storyboard, her use of Mumford & Sons over the credits and why she chose to focus on the first half of the book (you can read our review of the film here).

Sundance: Rashida Jones & Will McCormack Discuss Subverting The Rom-Com In 'Celeste and Jesse Forever' & Next Project 'Frenemy Of The State'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 23, 2012 1:26 PM
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If you're an actor, and not getting the kind of roles you want (or indeed, any roles at all), the best way out is to create your own material. From Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to Brit Marling, legions of actors over the years have turned screenwriters, and seen their careers skyrocket as a result. And so it is with Rashida Jones and Will McCormack.

Sundance: Stephen Frears Confirms He's Considering An American Remake Of 'The Hit,' But It's Not Quite Ready To Roll Just Yet

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • January 23, 2012 10:04 AM
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Stephen Frears, director of the upcoming film “Lay the Favorite,” told The Playlist that one of his next projects may be a remake of his own film, the 1984 underworld thriller “The Hit,” with development of the film first surfacing late last year. “Well, if [the pieces come together,]” he said in an interview Sunday afternoon in Park City, Utah. “I’d like to do a remake of it, yeah. It’s such a good story, and I would happily do it again. I’d be curious to see if I could do it better, or maybe I’d do it worse.”

Sundance: Stacy Peralta Talks Returning To The '80s For 'Bones Brigade' & His Desire To Make Feature Films

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • January 20, 2012 10:00 AM
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Prior to 2001, Stacy Peralta was “just” known as one of the young luminaries of skateboarding, a wunderkind skater who turned his sense of civil disobedience into some of the most influential tricks and techniques in the sport’s history. But after “Dogtown and Z-Boys,” Peralta became something of an official biographer for skateboarding as a whole, not just creating a riveting documentary but spawning the fictionalized version of his younger days, “Lords of Dogtown.” At the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Peralta is back with another skating documentary, “Bones Brigade: An Autobiography,” in which he chronicles the rise of Powell-Peralta skateboarding company, which he co-owned, and the transformation of the sport into an international industry.

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