Month: May 2015

Drinking Buddies

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Drinking Buddies Movie

Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) work together at a craft brewery. They have one of those friendships that feels like it could be something more. But Kate is with Chris (Ron Livingston), and Luke is with Jill (Anna Kendrick). And Jill wants to know if Luke is ready to talk about marriage. The answer to that question becomes crystal clear when Luke and Kate unexpectedly find themselves alone for a weekend. Drinking Buddies is written and directed by Joe Swanberg and stars Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, and Ron Livingston.

Drinking Buddies is an American film written and directed by Joe Swanberg, and starring Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston. The film is about two co-workers at a craft brewery in Chicago. The film premiered at the 2013 South by Southwest Film Festival, and also screened within Maryland Film Festival 2013.

Q & A with Director Joe Swanberg

What was the inspiration for this project?

The inspiration originally came from two places: The first was studio comedies of the early 1970’s, specifically BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE and Elaine May’s THE HEARTBREAK KID, which were both mainstream films (and big hits!) that portrayed complicated, interesting characters and adult points-of-view. The most important lesson I took from these films is that they never forgot to be funny, which earned them the space to also be complex and challenging.

Drinking Buddies Movie - Olivia Wilde

The second inspiration was the craft beer world. Craft beer is the most exciting business in America right now, if you ask me, and I wanted to get inside a world that I love. I’m a home brewer and a craft beer advocate, and as the years passed, I realized that nobody was making a movie about it.

I started talking to a friend of mine, Kate Thomas, who works for Half Acre Brewing in Chicago. She told me about her job, and about being a woman in a very male dominated industry. Through her stories, and other conversations with friends who work at breweries, I started to form the Kate character, who has learned to thrive in her surroundings. The other main character, Luke, and his girlfriend, Jill, are modeled after my wife and I at a certain point in our relationship before we were married, when we were still trying to figure things out.

As with all of my films, once I had the cast in place we started to work on the characters and the story together. Olivia had great ideas about Kate, and brought a lot of her own life to it. Jake Johnson and Anna Kendrick shared their own relationship experiences with me so that we could blend them with mine to make Luke and Jill as relatable as possible. Once we all started talking about these issues, we realized how universal they are. Everyone struggles to balance relationships and platonic friendships with the opposite sex. Everyone has doubts and questions about whether they’re with the right person, or whether they could be happier with someone else. We had fun throughout the shoot talking about these subjects and working our ideas into the film.

Drinking Buddies Movie - Olivia Wilde

How do you write your films?

I start with a few broad subjects or themes that I’m interested in and I work with my collaborators to generate specific ideas. This usually happens through phone calls and emails, in a very casual way, as opposed to writing sessions with a specific goal in mind. As certain ideas start to solidify, I will create an outline to give the film some shape. These outlines are usually a page or two long with a short paragraph describing my idea of the scene. I typically go into production with only the outline to work from, and the writing process continues on set with the actors. As we film a scene, we are writing and rewriting with each take, and also writing the next day’s scenes based on how the current day is going.

With Drinking Buddies, I needed a way to communicate with the art, wardrobe and locations departments, so I took my outline and expanded it into something much closer to a traditional script. It was mostly free of dialogue, but it conveyed in great detail the scenes in the film, where they took place, what the locations looked like, and what the actions were. This allowed us to schedule the film and incorporate the entire infrastructure without sacrificing the freedom for the actors and I to figure certain things out in the moment.

The first take of any scene I do is usually the “writing” take. Occasionally we get exactly what I’m hoping for and we only do something once, but typically we use the first take to shape the scene, keeping certain things and making adjustments to other things. The dialogue is always improvised, and there are variations from take to take, but we’re working toward a unified version of the scene that feels right. Once we have something we like, we go from there.

Drinking Buddies Movie

With this film, for the first time, you worked using a more traditional production infrastructure – how did this affect the way you made the film and why did you do this?

I wanted to tell a story about these characters, and the craft beer world, and the film naturally evolved into being the size it is. There wasn’t a concerted effort to make something “BIGGER.” We just looked at the locations we needed, the kind of crew we needed, and I pursued the actors I wanted to work with, and everything else fell into place accordingly. The size of the film is exactly what it needed to be to tell the story in the way I wanted to tell it.

The additional infrastructure required me to make many decisions during pre-production that I usually make on the day of shooting. I wanted to give my collaborators in the art, wardrobe and location departments plenty of time to do their best work, and that meant arriving at some definitive answers to big questions very early in the process. Rather than fighting the system and trying to bring the entire Hollywood production model to me, I happily embraced this new way of working and focused on carving out space for the actors and I to work out the emotional details on set. Rather than focusing on the restrictive elements of the infrastructure, I focused on my new freedom to be a director and a director only, as smart, talented, hard-working people took over most of the jobs that I had previously handled myself.

Despite the much larger crew, we still had to be able to break down and be flexible when necessary. Our main location in the film is a brewery and they were busy making beer every day that we were there. We had to be sure that we were never in their way. The brewers were suspicious of us at first, and seemed a bit territorial, but the head brewer, Jim Cibak, took Jake under his wing and taught all of us a lot about making beer. All of the employees at the brewery have cameos in the film and many times I would see them sitting at the monitor watching takes or talking to the actors and crew about filmmaking. It felt like a cultural exchange in the best way!

Drinking Buddies Movie

One thing I loved about my smaller productions, that I was fearful of losing, was the sense of fun and the spirit of togetherness. So at the first production meeting I gave a speech and declared a Fun Mandate for the film. I was sure to point out that “fun” did not mean “easy.” We were all going to be working very hard, make no mistake, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t have fun while doing it. I strongly believe that a fun film set produces better work from all involved and ultimately a better film. Thankfully there was a great team working on the film and it was the most enjoyable filmmaking experience I’ve had.

How did you work with the actors?

Working with actors remains the most inspiring part of the filmmaking process for me, and Drinking Buddies allowed me to devote most of my energy to this. was lucky to have a few days with Olivia and Jake before we started shooting, and I used this time to familiarize them with the Chicago craft beer world. We brewed beer together in my basement, so they could see how it’s made, and then we took a trip to the Three Floyd’s brewery, where my friend Andrew Mason, who brews there, showed them around. I knew I wasn’t going to turn either of them into beer experts in 2 days, but I wanted them to soak up the atmosphere and get a sense of the people who work in a brewery. During this beer boot camp, we were also discussing the characters and the story and finding ways to plug Olivia and Jake’s experiences into the story.

We scheduled the film in such a way that Olivia and Jake would have a week of shooting together before Anna and Ron got to town. I wanted to give them space to play and figure some things out before we got into the meat of the story. We worked quickly the first few days, doing small, playful scenes, and then moved toward more dramatic moments. They quickly found a rhythm with each other and started to add to the story and the characters with each scene.

When Anna and Ron arrived, we had to work on the fly, building the relationships and the character dynamics while we were shooting. This is how I’m used to working, so I felt right at home. Everything was made easier by the fact that these actors are incredibly good at what they do, and things like continuity are second nature to them. So despite the improvisation, and looseness of the dialogue, the actors could always hit their marks and keep certain actions consistent in a way that made editing very easy.

In the middle of the shoot we spent 3 days filming at a beachfront cabin in Michigan, and this was the perfect way to decompress while also getting work done. After we would wrap for the day, the cast and crew would go swimming and build bonfires on the beach. It was during this period that I got to know the actors the best, and we moved into the second half of the shoot with a great level of trust and camaraderie between everyone working on the film.

Cast Q & A

Why did you want to work with Joe Swanberg and how did you like making the film?

Olivia Wilde

I wanted to work with Joe after seeing HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS and hearing fantastic things about him as a collaborator. I wanted to experiment with his unusual process of making a film (improvising the entire script) and dive into the unknown with only an open mind. I loved my first few conversations with Joe about the characters and we really just seemed to get along and jive immediately. His idea for the story was immediately intriguing.

I loved making this film. I felt inspired on an entirely new level. We were set free and dared to be honest. Joe is brilliant, because he allows the actors to feel safe while letting go of their typical process, and he is a master editor. I can’t wait to make another film with him.

Jake Johnson

I wanted to work with Joe because Joe is all about freedom. He told me when pitching the idea to me that whatever I was feeling each day would be what my character was feeling. He wants his movies to be a true collaboration. I found him to be true to his word and a true honor to work with him.

Anna Kendrick

I was excited about the idea of working with Joe because of this gorgeous honesty in his films and was equally excited by our brief and awkward first meeting over Skype where even then I got my first glimpse of his intelligence and confidence; I knew that he was someone whose instincts I could trust completely.

Signing onto the film was terrifying and I was sure I was going to end up the weakest link but the environment when I arrived was so relaxed and supportive. It was a really freeing experience. Everyone in the cast was so talented and open and on top of that you always had Joe as your safety net. You felt like you could be really brave.

Ron Livingston

I love Joe’s confidence in his storytelling. He really works without a net, and invites you to work that way, too, and it’s exhilarating. You get the feeling from him that he can make a movie out of whatever you give him, which allows you the freedom to give him whatever you want. Say what you want, do what you want, change it up every take (which is maybe two) — it’s a hell of a way to make a movie. What’s unfathomable to me is that it seems to work. Which means that those of us taking years and spending millions of dollars to make movies have a lot of explaining to do.

Drinking Buddies Movie Poster

Drinking Buddies

Directed by: Joe Swanberg
Starring: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston, Ti West, Mike Brune, Michael Gaertner, Kristin Davis, Alicia Van Couvering, Joe Swanberg, Michael Zeller
Screenplay by: Joe Swanberg
Production Design by: Brandon Tonner-Connolly
Cinematography by: Ben Richardson
Film Editing by: Joe Swanberg
Costume Design by: Amanda Ford
Set Decoration by: Jennifer Herrig
Art Direction by: Akin McKenzie
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout.
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Release Date: August 23, 2013

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Una Noche

Una Noche Movie

Taglines: Three kids. One night. No return.

Trapped in the nervous desperation of Havana, Raul dreams of escaping to Miami. When accused of assault, his only option is to flee. He begs his best friend, Elio, to abandon everything and help him reach the forbidden land 90 miles across the ocean. Elio’s commitment is tested when he is torn between helping Raul escape and protecting his twin sister, Lila. Brimming with the nervous energy of Havana’s restless youth in the crumbling sun-bleached capital, Una Noche follows one sweltering day, full of hope and fraught with tension, that burns to a shocking climax.

Review for Una Noche

A bright red sports car, a stripper and knee-length 24-karat gold chains: those accouterments define the sweet life in Miami in the feverish fantasies of Raúl (Dariel Arrechaga), a hotheaded, hormonally overcharged Havana teenager in “Una Noche.” With his best friend, Elio (Javier Núñez Florián), and Elio’s twin sister, Lila (Anailín de la Rúa de la Torre), Raúl hopes to follow countless others and navigate the straits of Florida to America on a homemade raft.

Una Noche Movie - Lucy Mulloy

The journey, which they undertake in the movie’s final third, is as perilous as you might expect. The craft, crudely assembled from wood found in a cemetery, is equipped with inner tubes, an untested motor and a GPS. Their provisions consist of food stolen from the restaurant at which Raúl and Elio used to work, supplemented by glucose.

The feature directorial debut of Lucy Mulloy, a New York documentarian, “Una Noche” surges with vitality so palpable that, for its duration, you feel as if you were living in the skins of characters often photographed in such extreme close-up that they seem to be breathing in your face. You feel the sun on their bodies and get goose bumps when they shiver from the cold.

Contemporary Havana, as depicted in the film, is an impoverished, crumbling fleshpot, whose residents eke out a living the best they can, often by prostituting themselves to tourists. It’s also a barter culture; Elio exchanges his bike for the motor. You can have anything you want if you know whom to go to, observes a character. The authorities are constantly on the alert for trouble. We overhear a security guard warning a supervisor, “There’s a citizen talking to a blonde.”

The movie’s first two-thirds are a portrait of the city as experienced by these teenagers, as they frantically (and surreptitiously) prepare to leave. A narrator (Aris Mejias), assuming Lila’s point of view, muses out loud about a city where, in the words of Raúl, the only things to do are sweat and have sex.

Una Noche Movie

Because everything is filtered through a late-teenage consciousness, “Una Noche” is highly sexualized. Raúl, to celebrate his departure, picks up a streetwalker, who, to his chagrin, turns out to be transsexual. Once the three main characters set forth, the stereotypically macho Raúl repeatedly hits on Lila, who is not interested. Complicating matters, the gentle, introspective Elio is secretly in love with the homophobic Raúl.

Raúl has no choice but to flee Havana after attacking and injuring a Western tourist he catches having sex with his mother (María Adelaida Méndez Bonet), a prostitute. Harassing tourists is a serious matter in Havana, and for much of the movie, the police are in relentless pursuit.

Raúl’s father, he has been told, is somewhere in Miami, but no one has heard from him. Elio and Lila are leaving behind a mother seriously weakened by H.I.V. and her faithless, ne’er-do-well husband. Before leaving, Elio manages to scrape up a supply of H.I.V. medication to leave her.

Once they finally push off into the water, they discover that the motor doesn’t work, and they must paddle the entire 100-mile distance. They brave a thunderstorm, and a shark appears. That’s just the beginning of their troubles. But “Una Noche” doesn’t turn into a clichéd survival drama. For all its flaws, the movie, filmed with nonprofessional actors, is steadily gripping.

Una Noche Movie Poster

Una Noche

Directed by: Lucy Mulloy
Starring: Dariel Arrechaga, Anailín de la Rúa de la Torre, Javier Núñez Florián, María Adelaida Méndez Bonet, Greisy del Valle
Screenplay by: Lucy Mulloy
Production Design by: Laura Huston
Cinematography by: Trevor Forrest, Shlomo Godder
Film Editing by: Cindy Lee
Art Direction by: John Paul Burgess, Yinka Graves
MPAA Rating: None.
Studio: Una Noche Films
Release Date: August 23, 2013

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The Butler

The Butler Movie

The film revolves around the true story of an African-American butler who served at the White House. The film is based off the story A Butler Well Served By This Election, written by Wil Haygood. The story revolved around Eugene Allen, who was a Presidential butler from 1952 to 1986, and is paralleled with the election of Barack Obama.

Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of 20th century America, Academy Award® nominated director Lee Daniels’ (Precious) epic drama The Butler tells the story of Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), an African American butler who serves at the White House during seven presidential administrations between 1957 and 1986.

Inspired by Wil Haygood’s 2008 Washington Post article “A Butler Well Served by This Election” about the real life of former White House butler Eugene Allen, LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER traces the dramatic civil rights struggles that ultimately made it possible for an African American to rise to the highest position in the White House with the election of Barack Obama in 2008.

Opening in the fiercely segregated South in 1926, young Cecil Gaines works with his family in the cotton fields of Macon, GA. The tragic death of his father at the hands of his employer opens up unexpected opportunities for a young and impressionable Cecil, who is then taught the duties of a house servant under the critical eye of the plantation’s white matriarch. Armed with these new skills and concerned for his own life, Cecil sets out for a better life as a young man.

Struggling outside of the confines of the plantation, an act of desperation introduces Cecil to a much-needed father figure, who provides guidance and a job at a local hotel. Thriving under his tutelage, Cecil is encouraged to move to Washington, DC, to take a position at an elite hotel. Excelling there, Cecil is noticed by a White House administrator, who gives him the chance of a lifetime: a job as a butler at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, insuring a comfortable middle-class life for Cecil’s wife Gloria (Oscar® nominee Oprah Winfrey) and sons Louis (David Oyelowo) and Charlie (Elijah Kelley), far from the cotton fields of the South.

While Presidents come and go, from Eisenhower through Reagan, Cecil and the rest of the butler staff remain, serving in the background as firsthand but silent witnesses to history and the inner workings of the Oval Office while the civil rights movement unfolds. Regardless of his personal opinions, Cecil remains fiercely committed to his duties at the White House, but tensions grow at home as his sons become affected by the social and political upheaval that characterized the 1960s and 70s.

Louis chooses to attend college in the South so that he may become an active part of the burgeoning civil rights movement, participating in department store sit-ins and freedom rides – putting him in physical danger and widening his rift with Cecil. Charlie instead elects to work for change from within, enlisting to fight for his country in Vietnam. Facing these disruptions to her family, as well as Cecil’s neglect as he tends to his First Family, Gloria turns to alcohol and the embrace of a neighbor. As he grapples with his family’s actions and his own conscience, Cecil finds himself at the crossroads of previously unimaginable social change.

Through the eyes and emotions of the Gaines family, Daniels’ film follows the changing tides of American politics and race relations; from the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, to the Freedom Riders and Black Panther movements, to the war in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal, Cecil experiences the effects of these events as both an insider and a family man. Drawn into conflict with his headstrong sons, eager to forge their own paths in a rapidly transforming world, Cecil’s story is as universal as it is extraordinary, speaking to the way each generation attempts to define the American Dream.

With an incredible supporting cast that includes Yaya Alafia, Mariah Carey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, Elijah Kelley, Minka Kelly, Lenny Kravitz, James Marsden, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber and Robin Williams, LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER is a story about the resilience of one man, the growth of a nation, and the power of family.

About the Production

In 2008, during the weeks leading up to the historic election of Barack Obama, The Washington Post writer and former foreign correspondent Wil Haygood made a mission for himself: to find an African American who had worked in the White House and witnessed the Civil Rights movement from behind the scenes. After countless phone calls, Haygood discovered the person he was looking for right under his nose in Washington, DC. His name was Eugene Allen, he was 89 years old, and he had served under eight presidents from the 1950s through the 1980s. Meeting with Allen and his wife Helene for a number of hours, the writer was able to profile a man whose firsthand access to some of the nation’s most pivotal events – and the men in power behind them – was unprecedented.

Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal originally read the interview with Allen in the Washington Post and brought the material to the attention of producer Laura Ziskin. The Post ran the story on the Friday following Obama’s victory. Ziskin, the powerhouse behind such hits as PRETTY WOMAN, AS GOOD AS IT GETS, and the SPIDER-MAN franchise, immediately agreed that Allen’s story had extraordinary potential to be made into an epic film. Despite being approached by several other producers about the rights to Allen’s story, Haygood was convinced that ZIskin’s passion and vision for the project were unmatched and agreed that they should get the ball rolling on making the film as soon as possible.

Sony optioned rights to the project, with screenwriter Danny Strong – most recently the writer of HBO’s critically acclaimed film GAME CHANGE – in charge of creating a fictional story inspired by Haygood’s article. Ultimately Sony chose to not move forward with the film. This left Ziskin, whose passion for the project was unfailing, to return to the drawing board and round up funding independently. In hunting down potential investors, Ziskin looked to approach business people and film enthusiasts who were particularly dedicated to arts projects with a social message, like BET co founder Sheila Johnson. Eventually, others such as Michael Finley and Buddy Patrick came on board. Ultimately, it would take a village to get this movie off the ground with several different financing entities committing to bring this project to the finish line, also including Earl Stafford, Harry I. Martin, Jr., Charles Saveur Bonan, Film Partners and Al Film.

Ziskin had her eye on Lee Daniels to direct the project, who was fresh from his tremendous success with the Oscar-winning PRECIOUS. When the film that Daniels was attached to at the time, SELMA, ended up not getting off the ground, he was able to sign on with Ziskin instead. His expertise in the independent film world also proved helpful in raising money for the production. Daniels and Ziskin along with her producing partner, Pam Williams, worked closely together developing the project, even as she became more and more ill with cancer. With Ziskin’s sad and untimely death in June 2011, Williams took the reins on getting the rest of the film in place.

Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey were next to sign on in the lead roles of Cecil and Gloria Gaines. David Oyelowo, who worked with Daniels in THE PAPERBOY, also signed on to play Louis, their headstrong activist son. Soon came a list of confirmed all-star talent, including Yaya Alafia, Mariah Carey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, Elijah Kelley, Minka Kelly, Lenny Kravitz, James Marsden, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber and Robin Williams.

Many of the actors signed on with such a love for the project, they agreed to accept far less pay than usual; some even were willing to cancel previous engagements and tour dates to take part in the filming. Daniels shot the film in New Orleans, during the summer of 2012, over the course of 41 days – a relatively tight period of time considering the historical scope of the production and the size of its cast. In September of that year, while still in production, The Weinstein Company acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film.

The Butler Movie Poster

The Butler

Directed by: Lee Daniels
Starring: Forest Whitaker, David Banner, Michael Rainey Jr., LaJessie Smith, Mariah Carey
Screenplay by: Danny Strong, Wil Haygood
Production Design by: Tim Galvin
Cinematography by: Andrew Dunn
Film Editing by: Brian A. Kates, Joe Klotz
Costume Design by: Ruth E. Carter
Set Decoration by: Diane Lederman
Music by: Rodrigo Leão
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence and disturbing images, language, sexual material, thematic elements and smoking.
Release Date: August 16, 2013

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Kick-Ass 2

Kick Ass 2 Movie

Taglines: You can’t fight your destiny.

Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl and Red Mist return for the follow-up to 2010′s irreverent global hit: “Kick-Ass 2.” After Kick-Ass’ (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) insane bravery inspires a new wave of self-made masked crusaders, led by the badass Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), our hero joins them on patrol. When these amateur superheroes are hunted down by Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse)—reborn as The Mother Fucker—only the blade-wielding Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) can prevent their annihilation.

When we last saw junior assassin Hit-Girl and young vigilante Kick-Ass, they were trying to live as normal teenagers Mindy and Dave. With graduation looming and uncertain what to do, Dave decides to start the world’s first superhero team with Mindy. Unfortunately, when Mindy is busted for sneaking out as Hit-Girl, she’s forced to retire—leaving her to navigate the terrifying world of high-school mean girls on her own. With no one left to turn to, Dave joins forces with Justice Forever, run by a born-again ex-mobster named Colonel Stars and Stripes.

Just as they start to make a real difference on the streets, the world’s first super villain, The Mother Fucker, assembles his own evil league and puts a plan in motion to make Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl pay for what they did to his dad. But there’s only one problem with his scheme: If you mess with one member of Justice Forever, you mess with them all.

Kick Ass 2 Movie

Write It to Make It: Kick-Ass Is Reborn

“Kick-Ass,” the revolutionary creator-owned comic that Mark Millar launched with artist John S. Romita Jr. in 2008, challenged curious readers with one simple question: “Why has nobody ever tried to become a superhero?” The two men answered that query with a barrage of violence, memorable characters and quotable dialogue.

Freshly buoyed by the blockbuster success of the Universal actioner Wanted— based on his same-titled book—Millar began to explore the possibility of bringing “Kick-Ass” to the big screen. Because “Kick-Ass” was an independent comic, this allowed the creators greater freedom in approaching production partners who would appreciate the series’ bracingly unique storylines.

Around that time, director Matthew Vaughn was looking for his next project and had recently been introduced to Millar by Stardust co-writer Jane Goldman and her husband, Jonathan Ross. Millar later pitched Vaughn a number of ideas, but it was Kick-Ass that resonated most. Vaughn was determined to apply the same anarchic spirit of the comic to the filmic version—even if that meant including scenes in which an 11-year-old Hit Girl mows down dozens of heavily armed men with an arsenal of weaponry and a string of expletives. When turned down by Hollywood’s major studios, Vaughn decided to finance Kick-Ass independently.

Kick Ass 2 Movie - Chloe Grace Moritz

Scripted by Goldman and Vaughn, Kick-Ass brought to the screen the wild story of Dave Lizewski, an ordinary Manhattan teenager who sets out to become a real-life superhero. Donning a green-and-yellow wet suit and calling himself Kick-Ass, he captures the imagination of the public and becomes an online phenomenon. Kick-Ass soon discovers he is not the city’s only superhero when he meets a fearless and highly trained father-daughter crime-fighting duo—the cowl-draped Big Daddy and ninja assassin Hit Girl. As Kick-Ass becomes entangled in their quest to take down the criminal empire of local ma ioso Frank D’Amico, our hero gains a nemesis of his own: Frank’s teenage son, Chris, who has taken to calling himself Red Mist.

The movie was nothing short of a huge gamble, but one that the filmmakers were prepared to take. Kick-Ass was lensed in 2008, with Vaughn showing it to potential distributors a year later. He subsequently sealed deals with Lionsgate and Universal Pictures to release it in the U.S. and internationally, respectively, in 2010. Kick-Ass was met with astonishing reviews such as Richard Corliss’ Time magazine rave: “It soars, jet-propelled, on its central idea of matching a superhero’s exploits with the grinding reality of urban teen life and on the aerodynamic smoothness of thefilm’s style.”

Although the groundbreaking film caused some critics to raise their eyebrows in dismay, it was adored by audiences who understood Vaughn’s strong desire to upend the genre. In turn, the movie pulled in almost $100 million globally, proved enormously successful on DVD/Blu-ray metrics and gained a passionate following along the way.

All the while, Millar and Romita continued the work on their homegrown saga. The first chapter of their follow-up comic series, “Kick-Ass 2, Issue 1,” debuted on October 20, 2010. Set several months after the events of the first run, the books reconnect us with Mindy and Dave as they struggle to keep their identities as Hit Girl and Kick-Ass a secret—while she trains him to be a better hero who can take a much-less forgiving punch. Meanwhile, Red Mist returns with an increasingly psychotic new attitude and an unprintable name change to match. Forming a group of super-villains, Chris takes the deadly game to the next level as he attempts to exterminate the duo that killed his reprobate father.

Twenty-four hours after its release, “Kick-Ass 2, Issue 1” sold out, and the “Hit Girl” companion title has since become the most popular comic book with a female lead in more than a decade. The irst two chapters of the “Kick-Ass 3” series are currently in release, completing the trilogy and bringing Dave Lizewski’s story to an exciting finish later this year.

Millar walks us through the evolution of this signature property: “Kick-Ass was about a guy deciding to become a superhero and influencing others to do the same. Kick-Ass 2 takes that idea and runs with it. Now we have this group of people who, inspired by the heroics of Kick-Ass, have formed a crime-fighting gang, Justice Forever. At the same time, Chris is embarking on the opposite journey. He has decided to become a self-proclaimed super-villain and is recruiting his own army. It takes something that was singular in the first movie and makes it into something more exciting. It’s that sense of escalation, of expansion, that you always want with a sequel.”

As Millar and Romita created the characters and own the rights to them, the two men take the fate of our everyday superheroes very seriously. Romita explains that he and Millar have just as much invested in the fate of Dave, Mindy and the other members of Justice Forever as the diehard fans do, and it is tough to create bad situations that happen to them. The artist says: “All of the interesting characters that are in Justice Forever, you want them to win. Here I am, a comic book artist, and I want these characters to be superheroes because I don’t want anything bad happening to them. I like all of them.”

Kick-Ass’ unexpected success, set the stage for a sequel; however, it would take a couple years for the next chapter to begin production. Kicking off in 2011, Vaughn met with Cry_Wolf director Jeff Wadlow to discuss a project known as Bloodshot. Wadlow had written the screenplay, and Vaughn was attached to direct.

Other commitments resulted in Vaughn’s inability to continue with Bloodshot, but he remained interested in working with this intriguing young director. When Vaughn’s obligations to the X-Men franchise wrapped him up for the foreseeable future, the filmmaker pondered abdicating both writing and directing duties to Wadlow, which would allow Vaughn to remain involved as a producer.

Wadlow was so adamant that Vaughn pass the mantle on to him, he set to work on a script without a deal yet in place. The filmmaker recalls: “I wrote it to direct it, and I wasn’t going to let anyone else do it. That’s the upside of taking on the risk of writing the script without a deal in place, initially. Even though Matthew and I talked a lot, I jumped before there was any real plan in place. I wanted to make the movie, and so I wrote it to make it.”

Vaughn offers that Wadlow was just the director to take the reins. He commends: “Je ’s pitch or Bloodshot was damn impressive, and then his script came in. It was exactly what his pitch was, which in Hollywood is very rare. I liked him, and he had a passion for comics, especially or ‘Kick-Ass.’” Still, the passing of the torch wasn’t immediate. Re lects Vaughn: “Even though I want to give people breaks, it was a weird decision to hand this over to a director. I thought I have to find the right person who is hungry, but has experience and is passionate. As well, I like writer/directors because it means they can know how to write a screenplay. Sometimes, you can have a great script then you hire a director who does something totally di erent with it.”

Kick-Ass 2 Movie Poster

Kick-Ass 2

Directed by: Jeff Wadlow
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Morris Chestnut, Claudia Lee, Amy Anzel
Screenplay by: Jeff Wadlow, Mark Millar, John Romita Jr.
Production Design by: Russell De Rozario
Cinematography by: Tim Maurice-Jones
Film Editing by: Eddie Hamilton
Costume Design by: Sammy Sheldon
Set Decoration by: Sophie Newman
Music by: Henry Jackman, Matthew Margeson
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and brief nudity.
Studio: Universal Pictures
Release Date: August 16, 2013

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Jobs

Jobs Movie

Taglines: Some see what’s possible, others change what’s possible.

It only takes one person to start a revolution. The extraordinary story of Steve Jobs, the original innovator and entrepreneur who let nothing stand in the way of greatness. The film tells the epic and turbulent story of Jobs as he blazed a trail that changed technology — and the world — forever.

The film opens in 2001 with Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) introducing the iPod at an Apple Town Hall meeting. It then flashes back to Reed College in 1974. Jobs had already dropped out due to the high expense of tuition, but was still auditing classes with the approval of Dean Jack Dudman (James Woods) who took him under his wing. Jobs is particularly interested in a course on calligraphy. He meets up with his friend Daniel Kottke (Lukas Haas) who is excited to see that Jobs is holding a copy of Be Here Now by Baba Ram Dass. Influenced by this book and his experiences with LSD, Jobs and Kottke spend time in India.

Jobs Movie

The film then moves forward to 1976 where Jobs is back in Los Altos, California living at home with his adoptive parents Paul (John Getz) and Clara (Lesley Ann Warren). He is working for Atari and develops a partnership with his childhood friend Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad) after he sees that Wozniak has built a personal computer (the Apple 1). They name their new company Apple Computer, though there already is a company called Apple Records that is owned by The Beatles (Wozniak then teases Jobs that this is symbolic of his preference for Bob Dylan).

Wozniak gives a demonstration of the Apple 1 at the Homebrew Computer Club, where Jobs receives a contract with Paul Terrell (Brad William Henke). Jobs asks his mechanic/carpenter father Paul for permission to use the family garage (set up as a carpentry/tool center) for his new company. His father agrees and Jobs then adds Kottke, Bill Fernandez (Victor Rasuk), Bill Atkinson (Nelson Franklin), Chris Espinosa (Eddie Hassell), and later Rod Holt (Ron Eldard) to the Apple team to build Apple 1 computers. Terrell is disappointed by what they produce which forces Jobs to seek capital elsewhere. After many failed attempts by Jobs to gain venture capital, Mike Markkula (Dermot Mulroney) invests in the company which allows them to move forward.

Jobs and Wozniak develop the Apple II and introduce it at the 1977 West Coast Computer Faire. The Apple II is a remarkable success and suddenly, the company (and Jobs) are very successful. Jobs thus begins to distance himself from old friends such as his housemates Kottke and his high school girlfriend Chris-Ann Brennan (Ahna O’Reilly) who tells him that she is pregnant with their child. Brennan eventually gives birth to Lisa Brennan-Jobs whom Jobs continues to deny is his daughter.

Jobs Movie - Ashton Kutcher

He also brings in John Sculley (Matthew Modine) to become the CEO of the company. As his behavior becomes more erratic (for example firing an employee for not appreciating his investment in using fonts), Jobs is moved away from The Lisa to the Macintosh Group where he works with Bill Atkinson, Burrell Smith (Lenny Jacobson), Chris Espinosa, and Andy Hertzfeld (Elden Henson). He also forces the original team leader of the Macintosh group, Jef Raskin, out of it. Though the Macintosh is introduced with a great deal of fanfare in 1984, Jobs is forced out of the company by Sculley in 1985.

The film jumps forward to 1996. Jobs is married to Laurene Powell Jobs (Abby Brammell) and has accepted Lisa (Annika Bertea) as his daughter (she now lives with them). He has a son, Reed (Paul Baretto) and is also running the company NeXT which Apple decides to buy. He is asked by then CEO-Gil Amelio to return to Apple as a consultant. Jobs does so and eventually fires Amelio and Markkula (who did not support him when he was forced out of Apple 11 years prior) when he is named the new CEO. Jobs becomes interested in the work of Jonathan Ive (Giles Matthey) and works to reinvent Apple. The film ends with Jobs recording the dialogue for the Think Different commercial in 1997.

Jobs Movie Poster

Jobs

Directed by: Joshua Michael Stern
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Matthew Modine, John Getz, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, Ann Warren, Ahna O’Reilly, Pınar Yemez
Screenplay by: Matt Whiteley
Production Design by: Freddy Waff
Cinematography by: Russell Carpenter
Film Editing by: Robert Komatsu
Costume Design by: Lisa Jensen
Set Decoration by: Linda Lee Sutton
Music by: John Debney
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some drug content and brief strong language.
Studio: Open Road Films
Release Date: August 16, 2013

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Haute Cuisine

Haute Cuisine Movie

Taglines: He runs the country. She runs the kitchen. Together they serve with excellence.

Hortense Laborie is a celebrated chef living in the Perigord region. To her great surprise, the President of the Republic appoints her as his personal cook. She accepts reluctantly but once she has accepted her nomination, Hortense works her heart and soul to produce both a stylish and authentic cuisine. For a while, she manages to impose herself thanks to her sturdy character and despite the jealousies she arouses among the other chefs. For a while only, unfortunately for her and for… the President.

Haute Cuisine is a French comedy-drama film based on the true story of Danièle Mazet-Delpeuch and how she was appointed as the private chef for François Mitterrand. The original French title is Les Saveurs du Palais.

Hortense Laborie (Catherine Frot), a renowned chef from Périgord, is astonished when the President of the Republic (Jean d’Ormesson) appoints her his personal cook, responsible for creating all his meals at the Élysée Palace. Despite jealous resentment from the other kitchen staff, Hortense quickly establishes herself, thanks to her indomitable spirit. The authenticity of her cooking soon seduces the President, but the corridors of power are littered with traps…

Haute Cuisine Movie Poster

Haute Cuisine

Directed by: Christian Vincent
Starring: Catherine Frot, Arthur Dupont, Jean d’Ormesson, Hippolyte Girardot, Jean-Marc Roulot
Screenplay by: Etienne Comar, Christian Vincent
Production Design by: Patrick Durand
Cinematography by: Laurent Dailland
Film Editing by: Monica Coleman
Costume Design by: Fabienne Katany
Art Direction by: Fanny Stauff
Music by: Gabriel Yared
Music by: Gabriel Yared
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language.

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The Patience Stone

The Patience Stone

Taglines: She achieved her independence by telling stories filled with forbidden secrets.

Somewhere, in Afghanistan or elsewhere, in a country torn apart by a war… A beautiful woman in her thirties watches over her husband who has fallen into a coma. After ten years of living under his control, with no voice of her own, she finally has the upper hand. And with that, the safety to reveal to him her deepest desires, pains and secrets, stories she could never share with anyone for fear of retribution. And it is an extraordinary confession, without restraint, about love and her anger against a man who never understood her, who mistreated her, who never showed her any respect or kindness.

This paralyzed man unconsciously becomes syngué sabour (the patience stone), a magical black stone that, according to Persian mythology, absorbs the plight of those who confide in it. It is believed that the day it explodes, after having received too much hardship and pain, will be the day of the Apocalypse.

The Patience Stone Poster

Patience Stone

Directed by: Atiq Rahimi
Starring: Golshifteh Farahani, Hamid Djavadan, Hassina Burgan, Massi Mrowat, Mohamed Al Maghraoui
Screenplay by: Jean-Claude Carrière, Atiq Rahimi
Production Design by: Erwin Prib
Cinematography by: Thierry Arbogast
Film Editing by: Hervé de Luze
Costume Design by: Malek Jahan Khazai
MPAA Rating: R for sexual content, some violence and language.
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: August 16, 2013

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Demon

Demon Movie

After being cleared in an internal investigation, FBI Special Agent Nicole Diaz is reinstated and sent back home to the town of Oro Negro to help solve the bizarre murders of two agents. She’s met with disdain by the local Sheriff, a good ol’ boy who doesn’t believe they are being taken seriously and is insulted they sent a woman.

At first, it’s thought the killings are random acts committed by smugglers or drug dealers, that is until the resident Tribal Ranger realizes the bodies have been drained of blood and suspects it is something more, but his beliefs are dismissed.

Soon after, a mysterious woman and her aide appear during an autopsy and claim responsibility for creating the perfect killing machine. A creature designed specifically for desert warfare to be used by the military. It has escaped and they need help reacquiring it. Unsure who to believe or trust, Nicole assembles a team and they set out to capture the creature.

Demon Movie Poster

Demon

Directed by: Rob Walker
Starring: Jasmine Waltz, Michael Placencia, Bill Houskeeper, Joel D. Wynkoop, Michele L’Amourt
Screenplay by: Bernie Felix Jr.
Production Design by: Erwin Prib
Cinematography by: Pete Hansen
Film Editing by: Percy J. Blest, Peter Graham, David Zietz
Music by: Alexander Tovar
MPAA Rating: None.
Studio: Brian Damage Films
Release Date: August 16, 2013

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Austenland

Austenland Movie

A romantic comedy about 30-something, single Jane Hayes (Keri Russell), a seemingly normal young woman with a secret: her obsession with all things Jane Austen. But when she decides to spend her life savings on a trip to an English resort catering to Austen–crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency–era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined.

Austenland is a British-American romantic comedy film directed by Jerusha Hess. Based on Shannon Hale’s 2007 novel of the same name and produced by author Stephenie Meyer, it stars Keri Russell as a single thirty-something obsessed with Jane Austen’s 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice, who travels to a British resort called Austenland, in which the Austen era is recreated. JJ Feild, Jane Seymour, Bret McKenzie, and Jennifer Coolidge co-star.

About the Story

Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) is a single 30-something American woman obsessed with Colin Firth’s portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice who wishes for a nice Englishman of her own. After yet another failed relationship, Jane decides to blow her savings on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to a Jane Austen–themed resort in England.

Austenland Movie

The resort seems like the perfect escape from 21st-century life. The guests at Austenland, which is run by the prickly Mrs. Wattlesbrook (Jane Seymour), are called by imaginary names, dress in period costume, and conduct themselves like ladies and gentlemen of the Regency era. They live without modern conveniences (though the plumbing is modern). Activities offered at the resort include needlepoint, riding, reading, shooting, and entertaining the other guests through musical performances or theatrics. At the conclusion of each guest’s stay, a ball is held… romance guaranteed!

Upon her arrival, Jane realizes that, while she could only afford the inexpensive “copper” package, the other guests — including Ms. “Elizabeth Charming” (Jennifer Coolidge) — have all purchased the most expensive “platinum” option. Although she quickly befriends Martin, the resort’s chauffeur, Jane is treated with disrespect and disdain by Mrs. Wattlesbrook, who prefers the resort’s wealthier guests. While the other guests are given a wide choice of costumes and shown to luxurious rooms, Jane is given a plain dress and a sparsely-decorated chamber in the “creepy tower” of the servants’ quarters.

At dinner on their first night, Jane and Elizabeth are introduced to the gentlemen of the house: Colonel Andrews (Callis), an eccentric man to whom Elizabeth takes an instant liking, and Mr. Henry Nobley (Feild), Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s handsome — albeit unenthusiastic — nephew. They are also introduced to another, exceedingly wealthy guest, who has been given the name Lady Amelia Hartwright (King). Amelia and Elizabeth flirt openly with Nobley throughout dinner, while Jane finds him rather disagreeable. Their argument ultimately mirrors the one had by Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy upon their first meeting in Pride and Prejudice. Ultimately, Jane is humiliated by Mrs. Wattlesbrook and leaves the table.

Austenland Movie

Jane again feels left out the following morning during a walk around the grounds. After leaving the group to seek solace with a book in the stables, she is discovered by Martin (McKenzie). Martin flirts with her, but the two are interrupted by Elizabeth, Nobley, and Colonel Andrews, who arrive with news of an upcoming hunt. Martin’s attentions to Jane during the pheasant shooting incites Nobley’s jealousy; Jane’s surprising skill in turn incites Amelia’s.

When Jane is forced to walk back to the house in the rain, she is rescued by Nobley. That evening, Jane becomes bored of the group’s card games and leaves the house for a walk around the grounds. She runs into Martin; after flirting and witnessing the birth of a foal in the stables, they kiss. The following afternoon, Jane convinces Martin to break the rules: they take a rowboat out on the canal and spend the afternoon together.

The following day, the party is disrupted by the sudden arrival of another actor, the handsome Captain East. Everyone except Nobley is impressed by the Captain, who in turn seems taken with Jane. Martin witnesses the Captain making a pass at Jane from a distance. When Jane comes to visit him in the stables, he rebuffs her for “parading around” with the actors. When she asks if he is breaking up with her, he replies that they were never “going steady.” Jane is left alone, angry and confused.

Austenland Movie Poster

Austenland

Directed by: Jerusha Hess
Starring: Keri Russell, JJ Feild, Jennifer Coolidge, Bret McKenzie, Georgia King, Jane Seymour, Silvia Crastan
Screenplay by: Jerusha Hess, Shannon Hale
Production Design by: James Merifield
Cinematography by: Larry Smith
Film Editing by: Nick Fenton
Costume Design by: Annie Hardinge
Set Decoration by: Jacqueline Abrahams
Art Direction by: Patrick Rolfe
Music by: Ilan Eshkeri
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some suggestive content and innuendo.
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: August 16, 2013

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Abandoned Mine

Abandoned Mine

Five small-town school friends celebrate Halloween with an overnight adventure into the legendary “haunted” Jarvis Mine. Local legend tells of the angry spirits that have occupied the mine since a family was murdered for still mysterious reasons exactly 100 years ago. But that doesn’t stop these young adrenaline junkies from exploring the unknown – and bringing mini-cameras to capture their every move.

Yet once deep into the mine their best-laid Halloween plans go awry, leaving the adventurers trapped without escape. Are their misfortunes purely accidental or is the legend true and something more lurks in the darkness? Nothing is what it truly seems as the past and present collide in this psychological thriller written and directed by Jeff Chamberlain and starring Alexa Vega (Spy Kids, Machete Kills), Reiley McClendon, Saige Thompson, Adam Hendershott, Charan Probhakar, Cody Walker, and Valerie C. Walker.

Abandoned Mine

Abandoned Mine is a 2013 horror film written and directed by Jeff Chamberlain. The film was originally titled The Mine, before the title was changed to Abandoned Mine. Filming occurred in Utah and California. The first clips from the film were revealed on August 7, 2013.

The first poster was revealed on June 18, 2013. The film distributed by Gravitas Entertainment. The trailer was released on June 17, 2013, along with information about the release date. The film will have a simultaneous theatrical and video on demand release.[5] It will be released theatrically in fifteen cities.

Abandoned Mine Movie Poster

Abandoned Mine

Directed by: Jeff Chamberlain
Starring: Alexa Vega, Reiley McClendon, Saige Thompson, Charan Prabhakar, Adam Hendershott
Screenplay by: Jeff Chamberlain, Scott Woldman
Production Design by: Adam Henderson
Cinematography by: Brian Sullivan
Film Editing by: Michael R. Fox, Steve Haugen
Costume Design by: Shantell Guy-Bailey, Amy Jean Roberts
Music by: Russ Howard
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and some scary images.
Studio: Gravitas Ventures
Release Date: August 15, 2013

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