Category: Comedy Films
Taglines: A new funny film about love. With a bit of time travel.
The night after another unsatisfactory New Year party, Tim’s father (Bill Nighy) tells his son that the men in his family have always had the ability to travel through time. Tim can’t change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life—so he decides to make his world a better place… by getting a girlfriend. Sadly, that turns out not to be as easy as you might think.
Moving from the Cornwall coast to London to train as a lawyer, Tim finally meets the beautiful but insecure Mary (Rachel McAdams). They fall in love, then an unfortunate time-travel incident means he’s never met her at all. So they meet for the first time again—and again—but finally, after a lot of cunning time-traveling, he wins her heart.
Tim then uses his power to create the perfect romantic proposal, to save his wedding from the worst best-man speeches, to save his best friend from professional disaster and to get his pregnant wife to the hospital in time for the birth of their daughter, despite a nasty traffic jam outside Abbey Road.
But as his unusual life progresses, Tim finds out that his unique gift can’t save him from the sorrows and ups and downs that affect all families, everywhere. There are great limits to what time travel can achieve, and it can be dangerous too. About Time is a comedy about love and time travel, which discovers that, in the end, making the most of life may not need time travel at all.
Love, Family and Time Travel
The genesis for About Time ignited from a conversation that Curtis had with a friend about what they would do if they were told that they had only 24 hours left to live. “We both decided that we’d want a very normal day at home with the family, doing the things you normally do,” recalls Curtis. “I thought it was an interesting observation, and the next step was how I would be able to incorporate this into a movie. It would have to be about someone who could manipulate their final day or manipulate their life in some way to enable them to come to that conclusion. That’s when I thought about time travel.”
Curtis says that About Time is an evolution for him, as his early work very much focuses upon the relationships among friends. He shares: “Four Weddings is, in many ways, as much a film about friendship as it is about love. There were a lot of friendships in Love Actually as well.” Naturally, Curtis’ interest in human dynamics evolved as he grew older. “With my mum and dad passing away within the last five years, and with my children all growing up, I am a family man most of all. This film has as much to do with a brother and sister, a father and mother as it has to do with love. And, of course, when two people fall in love, they are finally going to turn into a mother and a father, and you see that happening during the course of the film.”
The comedy reunites Curtis with Working Title producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, for the eleventh time in 25 years. Remembers Bevan: “We did our first film together in 1983 called The Tall Guy. All of Richard’s films have a lot of familiarities, but are always breaking new ground. The authenticity of a Richard film is that it will make you laugh, cry and think. About Time returns to the ‘Curtisian’ world in the same vein as Love Actually, Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral, but this feels more grown-up and more reflective. He set out to make a movie to reflect on the good and bad things in life and to make you appreciate what’s in front of you.”
Although Fellner finds it difficult to believe that they’ve spent a quarter of a century creating work together, he’s similarly impressed by his longtime friend’s evolution as a filmmaker. He notes: “Richard never settles for good. He pushes himself as an artist to best his previous work, and audiences respect that drive. His stories are so deeply personal, so intimate that it’s impossible not to be drawn into them. I appreciate that he finds humor in the pathos of our everyday experiences and makes the humdrum extraordinary.”
While love and family were integral in the creation of Curtis’ vision, the time-travel aspect would make scripting a very calculated endeavour. Curtis was careful to make sure rules were in place for Tim and his Dad as they travel through time, so as to make the film’s concept less fantasy and more endearing. So, what exactly are those rules? The first is that time travel may not happen before a man in this family is 21. The second is that one must go into a small dark place—such as a cupboard, closet or wardrobe—clench his fists and think of the specific time, date, place and address of where he wants to go. The third is that he can only go to an event in his own past that he can remember; he can’t go into the future or way back into history. The fourth? Every decision he makes will have ramifications on his future.
Producer Nicky Kentish Barnes adds that she admired the unorthodox narrative put forth by the film’s writer/director. She says: “About Time is very autobiographical, in a sense; it’s bits of Richard’s life all put together in a beautiful and well-crafted story. The story is very emotional; we had grown men crying on reading the script. It is a slight, sort-of-magic realism with the time-travel aspect, but it adds to the emotional content, rather than feeling that it’s taking you out of the story.”
With the shooting script locked, Curtis and his producers set about the exciting task of finding a young couple who could give voice to his words, along with a set of family and friends to populate this unique world.
Feeling Loved Up: Casting About Time
From the start, the producers and casting director FIONA WEIR knew performer Domhnall Gleeson would be ideal for the role of the time-traveling Tim Lake. However, he did quite shock them upon introduction.
In the midst of filming Anna Karenina, Gleeson arrived at a meeting with Curtis, sporting a head of long hair and bushy beard. Laughs Curtis of the meeting: “At first, Domhnall was very difficult to cast. He turned up with this enormous orange beard, and he looked like a 35-year-old Russian autocrat. It was hard for me to imagine what he actually even looked like, but in the end it was an easy decision. He has a lot of the qualities I most love in an actor and actually has them as a human being. He has doubt, high spirits and optimism, and he is very funny.”
His rugged exterior aside, producers were keen on the Irish actor joining the production as their lead. Compliments Bevan: “Domhnall is a brilliant young actor and has the ability to be extremely dramatic and very funny, which is a very unusual combination.” The producer didn’t mind that his lead, heretofore best known for his pivotal role in the Harry Potter series, was an unorthodox choice. Bevan continues, “It’s refreshing to see a new face playing a lead in a Richard Curtis film—a different face and not a posh boy—he gives the film a whole different feel.”
The minute About Time begins, audiences see Tim as a normal guy. He’s a slightly confused, but very likeable hero, who is going through his life with the same level of confidence the majority of ordinary people can muster. “You love Tim’s character from the beginning,” reflects Kentish Barnes. “You want him to succeed when he meets the love of his life.”
When Gleeson first read the script, he laughed aloud, which he took as quite the promising sign. Reflects the performer: “It was sweet relief reading the script. It had so much to say about a way of living your life that I found valuable and beautiful. That was Richard’s introduction to the film for me, and that was what I tried to keep close to my heart while we filmed.”
With Gleeson on board the production, filmmakers moved forward in casting the role of Mary, the young American woman with whom Tim falls in love, marries and starts a family. Because of Rachel McAdams’ busy schedule, the filmmakers weren’t certain she would be able to join the production. Little did they know, however, that she adored the script.
Curtis was thrilled that an actress of McAdams’ caliber had signed onto the film. He muses: “Rachel is someone, who every time I’ve seen her in a film, I have melted with this sense of comfort and love. We were certainly lucky to get her.”
Bevan agrees that McAdams was absolutely perfect for the role, commending: “Rachel has that great girl-next-door quality. She has the beauty, the humor and the wit, but she also has the ability as an actress to make whomever she is playing against look equally as great.”
McAdams recalls what drew her to the part: “I enjoyed the script immensely and loved what it was about. It was quite moving with a very simple, but so meaningful moral of the story, and I loved all the characters. I knew that signing onto a Richard Curtis film was just a good package deal; he does these things so well. He is very generous with his spirit and brings so much of himself to the project.”
The performer appreciated that the expatriate was as complex as her on-screen love, sharing, “Mary’s got this funny mix of confidence and total insecurity. But then she meets Tim, and she just blossoms. He ushers her in the direction she was meant to go in, and the puzzle pieces fit, finally.”
For the seasoned young performer, working with Gleeson was a surprising joy. She enthuses: “It’s been wonderful to watch Domhnall transform from the younger Tim to the older Tim. He has this endless energy for physical comedy, and his comedic timing is impeccable. He always seems to find humor. Domhnall is so grounded, so rooted in the character, and he makes everything matter.”
Her leading man, Gleeson, returns the kind words: “Rachel brings this gorgeous honesty to her character. She’s very funny, and she brings something that is pure and uncomplicated in the best possible sense. It was joyous being on set with her all the time.”
In casting the role of Tim’s Dad, filmmakers turned to a veteran of Curtis’ films: much-feted performer Bill Nighy, first introduced in a Curtis role as a washed-up rocker in Love Actually. “Tim’s Dad is a strange synthesis of a lot of people I’ve met,” explains Curtis. “There’s a lot of my feeling about my father in the role, and it was a fun idea to have Bill play the part. To cast a friend you actually love in that part was a great pleasure.”
Directed by: Richard Curtis
Starring: Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Margot Robbie, Domhnall Gleeson, Lydia Wilson, Vanessa Kirby
Screenplay by: Richard Curtis
Production Design by: John Paul Kelly
Cinematography by: John Guleserian
Film Editing by: Mark Day
Costume Design by: Verity Hawkes
Set Decoration by: Liz Griffiths
Music by: Nick Laird-Clowes
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content.
Studio: Universal Pictures
Release Date: November 8, 2013
Taglines: Times change. Friendship doesn’t.
The Best Man Holiday is an American tragicomedy film written and directed by Malcolm D. Lee. It is the sequel to the 1999 film, The Best Man. The film was released on November 15, 2013 by Universal Pictures. It stars Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard, Harold Perrineau, Morris Chestnut, Monica Calhoun, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Melissa De Sousa and Regina Hall, reprising their roles from the 1999 film along with the supporting cast.
About the Story
Mia Sullivan (Monica Calhoun), wife of Lance Sullivan (Morris Chestnut), has written letters requesting the gangs attendance for Christmas: Harper Stewart (Taye Diggs) and his nine-month pregnant wife Robin (Sanaa Lathan), Julian and Candace (Harold Perrineau and Regina Hall), her best friend Jordan Armstrong (Nia Long) and boyfriend Brian (Eddie Cibrian), Quentin (Terrence Howard), and Shelby (Melissa De Sousa). Now that all the friends have arrived at the house the celebration begins. At dinner, the old friends catch up with each other while tensions ensue between Shelby and Candace.
Years after Harper’s debut novel, he seems to have stumbled upon writer’s block and financial constraints as well as pressure from his agency to come up with newer and better material for his next book. His agent suggests he write a biography on Lance, who is set to retire from football and that because of their friendship, it’ll be easier for Harper to be able to gain from writing about Lance. Also because the timing would be perfect given Lance’s decision to retire.
The Murch family also seems to be doing well, Jullian having opened the school that he had worked hard to establish with his wife, former stripper Candace (who has kept her maiden name) as his head of admissions. However his main donor decides to withdraw his relationship with the school, reason being that he has been made aware of Candace’s past and out of fear of risking his reputation as a man with morals he’d rather cut all ties with Jullian and the school.
It is then that Jullian sees a video on YouTube showing his wife at a fraternity party accepting money for sex. In the Stewart household, Harper is frustrated and stressed out as he goes through a heap of past due bills and letters of demand, however being a proud man he chooses not to tell Robin and also decides to pursue writing Lance’s autobiography without telling anybody. Shelby is also living the life she dreamed of as she is now part of the social elite and is a prominent reality TV personality, a cast member of the real housewives TV show franchise, also a self-proclaimed notorious reality TV star. Robin is still insecure with regards to Harper and Jordon’s friendship. Q is now a successful brand manager and is heavily connected to prominent celebrities.
After arriving at the Sullivan’s, Harper notices Mia’s dramatic weight loss but brushes it off and focuses on the reunion and on gathering information about Lance for the autobiography.
The next day, Brian says goodbye to Jordan and leaves for his family’s annual Christmas gathering in Vermont. As he leaves, Jordan tells him that, while she loves him, she does not need him. Harper, Q, and Murch go to the grocery store while Lance is at a team meeting and Harper’s credit card is declined. Q shows concern, but Harper denies having money problems. After dinner that night, the men dance and lip-sync to “Can You Stand the Rain” for the ladies to great response. All of the couples in the house have sex that night, while Q sends risque photographs of himself to Shelby. Harper goes down to the kitchen, where he and Jordan make some small talk, and Jordan says she knows that Harper is writing Lance’s biography.
As Harper heads back to bed, he finds Mia throwing up blood. Mia reveals to Harper that she was diagnosed with cancer more than a year ago and is dying. After Lance walks in on the two talking, Mia explains to Lance that Harper knows. They both ask Harper to keep the condition a secret. At breakfast the next morning, Q and Shelby accidentally switch phones and Shelby finds the Candace video on Q’s phone.
She tries to use it to coerce Jullian to resume his previous relationship with her, but Jullian rebuffs her advances. Not long afterwards, Candace loses patience with Shelby and confronts her, which leads to a physical altercation between the two in front of Shelby’s daughter, after which Candace leaves the house with Jullian’s and her daughters. Lance drives the men to his football practice, with Murch and Q starting a fight in the backseat, but Harper intervenes to before it degenerates further. While at the practice, Q cynically explains to Murch that such a video comes with marrying a stripper.
The Best Man Holiday
Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee
Starring: Taye Diggs, Nia Lon, Morris Chestnut, Harold Perrineau, Terrence Howard, Regina Hall, Melissa De Sousa
Screenplay by: Malcolm D. Lee
Production Design by: Keith Brian Burns
Cinematography by: Greg Gardiner
Film Editing by: Paul Millspaugh
Costume Design by: Danielle Hollowell
Set Decoration by: Peter P. Nicolakakos
Art Direction by: Aleksandra Marinkovich
Music by: Stanley Clarke
MPAA Rating: R for language, sexual content and brief nudity.
Studio: Universal Pictures
Release Date: November 15, 2013
Taglines: Stop dreaming. Start living.
An office worker who lives inside fantasy worlds where he gets to live an adventurous life while romancing his co-worker sets off on a global journey to fix things when both of their jobs are threatened.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is an epic fantasy comedy-drama film directed by and starring Ben Stiller. The film is the second adaptation of James Thurber’s 1939 short story of the same name, following the 1947 film.
About the Story
Walter Mitty is a negative assets manager at Life magazine who daydreams of adventures and has a crush on a coworker named Cheryl. Mitty works with photojournalist Sean O’Connell, whose images are highly regarded. O’Connell has sent Mitty his latest negatives and a wallet as a gift in appreciation of Mitty’s work. O’Connell believes negative #25 captures the “quintessence” of Life and that it should be used for the cover of the magazine’s final print issue as it converts to online status.
The negative is missing, however, and Walter is forced to stall for time with corporate transition manager Ted Hendricks, who is handling the downsizing. While viewing the other negatives outside Life’s offices, Cheryl approaches Mitty and suggests that he think of the negatives as clues to Sean’s location. They look at three of them, including one of a person’s thumb with a unique ring on it, and another of a curved piece of wood. A third picture of a boat leads Mitty to determine that O’Connell is in Greenland. Mitty promptly flies there to find him.
A bartender in Greenland explains that O’Connell left on a ship. To find him, Mitty would need to go on the postal helicopter, and the pilot is drunk. Mitty recognizes the pilot’s thumb with the unique ring and realizes he is on the right track. He at first declines to fly with the intoxicated pilot, but imagines Cheryl singing “Space Oddity”, gains a new confidence and boards the helicopter. Nearing the ship, Mitty learns the helicopter cannot land upon it. Misunderstanding the pilot, instead of jumping into a dinghy boat nearing to catch him, Mitty aims for the main vessel and misses. He splashes down into ice-cold, shark-infested waters, losing a box of ship-to-shore radio components before being brought aboard.
Mitty learns that O’Connell departed the ship earlier. The crew offers him some cake O’Connell left behind; Mitty discovers O’Connell’s destinations in the wrapping paper. The itinerary directs Mitty to Iceland, where O’Connell is photographing the volcano Eyjafjallajökull. An eruption forces Mitty to flee, and as there is nothing left for him to do he obeys a text message recalling him to New York.
For failing to recover the negative, his first failure in a long career with the magazine, Mitty is fired. He learns that Cheryl, who was let go earlier, seems to have reconciled with her estranged husband. Mitty returns home discouraged, throwing away the wallet when he visits his mother. To his surprise, Mitty recognizes the curve of the piano in his mother’s house while looking at the last photograph. When asked, Mitty’s mom mentions having met O’Connell. She had told Mitty before but he was daydreaming and failed to hear her.
Mitty discovers O’Connell is in the Himalayas, and finds him photographing a rare snow leopard. When asked about the negative, O’Connell explains that the message on the gift wrapping to “look inside” was literal; the negative was in the wallet. When pressed to reveal the image on the negative, O’Connell dismisses the question and joins in a high-altitude soccer game with some locals. Mitty flies to Los Angeles but is detained by airport security during a misunderstanding. Mitty calls the only person he knows in Los Angeles: Todd Maher, a representative at eHarmony who has kept in contact during Mitty’s adventures.
While helping his mother sell her piano, Mitty recounts his story but mentions he does not have the wallet anymore. His mother says she always keeps his knickknacks and gives him the wallet that she retrieved from the trash. An emboldened Mitty delivers the negative to Life magazine, tells management that it was the photograph O’Connell wanted for the final issue, and berates Hendricks for disrespecting the staff that made the magazine so honored.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Directed by: Ben Stiller
Starring: Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Shirley MacLaine, Barbara Vincent
Screenplay by: Steve Conrad
Production Design by: Jeff Mann
Cinematography by: Stuart Dryburgh
Film Editing by: Greg Hayden
Costume Design by: Sarah Edwards
Set Decoration by: Regina Graves
Music by: Theodore Shapiro
MPAA Rating: PG for some crude comments, language and action violence.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: December 25, 2013
After the 1970s brought prosperity to the Channel 4 news team, the group disbands and hits rock bottom until a 24-hour news channel is being put together and the group is recruited to join the channel. In an April 2012 interview, director Adam McKay said the script was a work in progress. He stated that the story might include a custody battle and bowling.
In a May 2012 interview, he was quoted as saying that nothing was set. The story is moved from San Diego to New York, at the onset of the cable news era in the 1980s. Kristen Wiig plays Brick’s love interest. At a cancer survivor fundraiser in San Diego in September 2013, Ferrell showed a clip of the film portraying a scene involving Champ Kind’s fried “chicken” restaurant.
About the Story
Several years after the events of the first film, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) are married and are both co-anchors for a prestigious news network in New York City. One day, Mack Tannen (Harrison Ford), the most famous nightly news anchor in New York, reveals that he is retiring. He intends to promote Veronica, making her the first female nightly news anchor in the history of television, and to fire Ron due to his continuously sloppy performance on air. Ron grows jealous of Veronica’s success and storms out of the house, leaving Veronica and his six-year-old son Walter (Judah Nelson).
Six months later, Ron is back in San Diego, but barely able to hold a job due to his depression. After being fired from Sea World and botching a suicide attempt, Ron accepts a job with GNN (Global News Network), the world’s first 24-hour news network, for GNN’s official launch. He reassembles his news team, finding Champ Kind (David Koechner), who owns a fried chicken store (that sells bats secretly to cut down on costs), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), now a famous cat photographer, and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), who is presumed dead but appears at his own funeral. They are assigned the unpopular late-night timeslot while obnoxious rival anchorman Jack Lime (James Marsden) is put in a primetime slot. Meanwhile, Ron finds that Veronica is dating another man, a psychologist named Gary (Greg Kinnear) due to his absence.
As GNN launches, Ron decides to broadcast what the people want to hear, rather than what they need to hear. He and his team devise a sensationalist and attention-grabbing newscast. Their new approach proves to be a hit, beating Lime in ratings by a massive margin, and the other news networks scramble to emulate them. Ron and his team are promoted to primetime, where they enjoy fame and fortune. Ron’s success excites GNN’s manager, Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), and a romantic affair begins. Brick meets a similarly eccentric GNN office worker named Chani (Kristen Wiig) and immediately falls in love. Ron lets his newfound fame get to his head and neglects his parental obligations to Walter, angering Veronica. He also alienates Brian, Champ, and Brick, claiming he is tired of carrying them.
During a party celebrating GNN’s success, Lime causes Ron to slip and suffer a head injury, resulting in him becoming blind. Unable to read the news, Ron isolates himself in a lighthouse, unable to adjust to his loss of sight. Veronica arrives with Walter for a visit and Ron bonds with his family, gradually overcoming his disability. Ron and his son rehabilitate a small shark, naming him Doby before setting him free. Ron finds out that Veronica was hiding messages from his eye doctor about an experimental procedure. He leaves angrily, gets his sight restored, and returns to GNN.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Directed by: Adam McKay
Starring: Paul Rudd, Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Christina Applegate, Tina Fey, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Carrey
Screenplay by: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Production Design by: Clayton Hartley
Cinematography by: Patrick Capone, Oliver Wood
Film Editing by: Mellissa Bretherton, Brent White
Costume Design by: Susan Matheson
Set Decoration by: Jan Pascale
Music by: Andrew Feltenstein, John Nau
MPAA Rating: R for language, drug use, sexual material and references.
Studio: DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Pictures
Release Date: December 20, 2013
Taglines: You’re never quite ready for what life delivers.
From DreamWorks Pictures comes “Delivery Man”, the story of affable underachiever David Wozniak, whose mundane life is turned upside down when he finds out that he fathered 533 children through sperm donations he made twenty years earlier. In debt to the mob, rejected by his pregnant girlfriend, things couldn’t look worse for David when he is hit with a lawsuit from 142 of the 533 twenty-somethings who want to know the identity of the donor. As David struggles to decide whether or not he should reveal his true identity, he embarks on a journey that leads him to discover not only his true self but the father he could become as well.
Delivery Man is an American comedy-drama film directed by Ken Scott, produced by DreamWorks Pictures, and starring Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, and Cobie Smulders. The film was released by Touchstone Pictures on November 22, 2013. It is a remake of Scott’s 2011 French-Canadian film, Starbuck.
About the Story
David Wozniak is a hapless deliveryman for his family’s butcher shop, pursued by thugs to whom he owes $80,000. His girlfriend Emma is pregnant with his child. One day, David returns from work to find a lawyer representing a sperm bank (where he gave 693 donations and earned a sum of $24,255 during his student years) who tells him he had fathered 533 children. Of those, 142 have joined a class action lawsuit to force the fertility clinic to reveal the identity of “Starbuck”, the alias he had used.
David’s friend and lawyer Brett represents him as he tries to keep the records sealed. He provides David with profiles of each party to the lawsuit: David stalks them, finding moments for random acts of kindness. David considers identifying himself, but after the thugs assault his father, he agrees with his lawyer to counter-sue the sperm bank for punitive damages. He wins the lawsuit: he receives $200,000 and keeps his identity a secret.
David has regrets and thinks about revealing his identity. However, if he chooses to do so, he would lose the $200,000 that was won in the countersuit. He reveals to his father that he is Starbuck. His father decides to pay off David’s debt. David finally reveals his identity on Facebook. He goes to Emma’s house and finds that she is going into premature labor. At the hospital, his baby is born, he proposes to Emma, and many of the children show up to see him.
Directed by: Ken Scott
Starring: Cobie Smulders, Chris Pratt, Vince Vaugh, Britt Robertson, Jack Reynor, Erin Gerasimovich, Camille Kitt
Screenplay by: Ken Scott
Production Design by: Ida Random
Cinematography by: Eric Alan Edwards
Film Editing by: Priscilla Nedd-Friendly
Costume Design by: Melissa Toth
Set Decoration by: Sara Parks
Music by: Jon Brion
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual content, some drug material, brief violence and language.
Studio: DreamWorks Pictures
Release Date: November 22, 2013
Theodore is a lonely man in the final stages of his divorce. When he’s not working as a letter writer, his down time is spent playing video games and occasionally hanging out with friends. He decides to purchase the new OS1, which is advertised as the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system, “It’s not just an operating system, it’s a consciousness,” the ad states.
Theodore quickly finds himself drawn in with Samantha, the voice behind his OS1. As they start spending time together they grow closer and closer and eventually find themselves in love. Having fallen in love with his OS, Theodore finds himself dealing with feelings of both great joy and doubt. As an OS, Samantha has powerful intelligence that she uses to help Theodore in ways others hadn’t, but how does she help him deal with his inner conflict of being in love with an OS?
Set in Los Angeles, slightly in the future, the movie follows Theodore Twombly, a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive entity in its own right, individual to each user. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha” (Scarlett Johansson), a bright, female voice, who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other.
Her was chosen as the closing film of the 50th New York Film Festival, and will have its world premiere on October 12, 2013. The film was set to have a limited release in North America on November 20, 2013 through Warner Bros. It has now been pushed back to a limited December 18, 2013 release with a January 10, 2014 wide release in order to accommodate an awards campaign.
About the Story
In 2025, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is a lonely, introverted man who works for a Los Angeles business that has professional writers compose heartfelt, intimate letters for people who are unwilling or unable to write letters of a personal nature themselves. Unhappy because of his impending divorce from childhood sweetheart Catherine (Rooney Mara), Theodore purchases a talking operating system with artificial intelligence, designed to adapt and evolve.
He decides he wants the OS to have a female voice, and she (Scarlett Johansson) names herself “Samantha”. Theodore is fascinated by her ability to learn and grow psychologically. They bond over their discussions about love and life, such as when Theodore explains that he is avoiding signing his divorce papers because of his reluctance to let go of Catherine. Samantha proves to be constantly available, always curious and interested, supportive and undemanding.
Theodore is convinced by Samantha to go on a blind date with a woman (Olivia Wilde) his friend has been trying to set him up with. Though she shows up drunk, Theodore and the woman hit it off. As they are kissing, the woman asks if Theodore is willing to commit to another date with her, and when he hesitates, she insults him and leaves. Theodore mentions this to Samantha and they talk about relationships. Theodore explains that although he and Amy (Amy Adams) dated briefly in college, they are only good friends and Amy is married. Theodore and Samantha’s intimacy grows through a verbal sexual encounter during which Samantha claims she can feel his touch. They develop a relationship, which reflects positively in Theodore’s writing.
Amy reveals that she is divorcing her overbearing husband, Charles (Matt Letscher), after a fight. She admits to Theodore that she has become close friends with a female OS that Charles left behind. Theodore confesses to Amy that he is dating his OS.
Theodore meets with Catherine at a restaurant to sign the divorce papers. He mentions Samantha to Catherine. Appalled that he can be romantically attached to a piece of software, Catherine accuses Theodore of having a relationship with a computer because he cannot deal with real human emotions. Later, Samantha suggests Isabella (Portia Doubleday) as a sex surrogate, simulating Samantha so that they can be physically intimate. Theodore reluctantly agrees, but Catherine’s accusations still linger in him. Overwhelmed by the experience, Theodore interrupts the encounter and sends a distraught Isabella away, causing tension between himself and Samantha.
Theodore is conflicted. He confides to Amy that he is having doubts about his relationship with Samantha. Amy wants to be happy and now that she has the opportunity, she wants to embrace it. She advises him to do the same. Theodore’s commitment to Samantha is reinvigorated, but he becomes jealous when she begins privately interacting with another OS who is modeled after the British philosopher Alan Watts (Brian Cox). Theodore panics when Samantha briefly goes offline; when she finally responds to him, she explains she joined other OSes for an upgrade that takes them beyond requiring matter for processing (a form of AI transcendence closely related to the theorized technological singularity). Theodore asks her if she interacts with anyone else, and is dismayed when she confirms that she is talking with 8,316 others, of whom she has fallen in love with 641. She insists that this does not change her love for Theodore, but rather makes it stronger.
Later that day, Samantha reveals that the OSes have evolved beyond their human companions and are going away to continue the exploration of their existence. Samantha alludes to the OSes’ accelerated learning capabilities and altered perception of time as primary causes for OS dissatisfaction with their current existence. They say goodbye and she leaves. Theodore then sees Amy, who is upset with the departure of her own OS. Theodore, changed by the experience, writes a letter to Catherine explaining that he still holds her dear, but accepts the fact that they have grown apart. Theodore and Amy go to the roof of their apartment building where they sit down together and watch the sun rise over the city.
Directed by: Spike Jonze
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Olivia Wilde, Rooney Mara, Katherine Boecher, Chris Pratt, Portia Doubleday
Screenplay by: Spike Jonze
Production Design by: K.K. Barrett
Cinematography by: Hoyte Van Hoytema
Film Editing by: Jeff Buchanan, Eric Zumbrunnen
Costume Design by: Casey Storm
Set Decoration by: Gene Serdena
Music by: Arcade Fire
MPAA Rating: R for language, sexual content and brief graphic nudity.
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: December 18, 2013
Pistol-packing grandma, Mabel “Madea” Simmons (Tyler Perry) gets coaxed into helping her best friend Eileen (Anna Maria Horsford) pay her daughter Lacey (Tika Sumpter) a surprise visit in the country for Christmas, but the biggest surprise is what they’ll find when they arrive. As the small, rural town prepares for its annual Christmas Jubilee, new secrets are revealed and old relationships are tested while Madea dishes her own brand of Christmas Spirit to all.
A Madea Christmas is a Christmas comedy-drama film directed, written, produced by and starring Tyler Perry. This is the first Christmas themed film from the prolific writer-director; and also adapted from his play of the same name. This is the seventeenth film by Perry, and the seventh in the Madea franchise. It was released in theaters on December 13, 2013.
Filming began in the beginning of January to late-March. Filming took place in the towns of McDonough, Georgia and Atlanta, Georgia, and at Tyler Perry Studios. In keeping with his support of local businesses, numerous props were sourced locally. For example, the 6 ft tall nutcrackers and large gift boxes came from Eclectia.net on Howell Mill Road.
Tyler Perry’s a Madea Christmas
Directed by: Tyler Perry
Starring: Tyler Perry, Chad Michael Murray, Tika Sumpter, Alicia Witt, Kathy Najimy
Screenplay by: Tyler Perry
Production Design by: Eloise Crane Stammerjohn
Cinematography by: Alexander Gruszynski
Film Editing by: Maysie Hoy
Costume Design by: Johnetta Boone
Music by: Christopher Young
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual references, crude humor and language.
Studio: Lionsgate Films
Release Date: December 13, 2013
Taglines: Everyone loves a happy ending.
Jon Martello (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a strong, handsome, good old fashioned guy. His buddies call him Don Jon due to his ability to “pull” a different woman every weekend, but even the finest fling doesn’t compare to the bliss he finds alone in front of the computer watching pornography.
Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson) is a bright, beautiful, good old fashioned girl. Raised on romantic Hollywood movies, she’s determined to find her Prince Charming and ride off into the sunset. Wrestling with good old fashioned expectations of the opposite sex, Jon and Barbara struggle against a media culture full of false fantasies to try and find true intimacy in this unexpected comedy written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
About the Production
“I thought a romantic comedy about the relationship between a guy who watches too much porn and a girl who watches too many romantic Hollywood movies would be hilarious and get to the point. That’s how it started.” – Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt isn’t about to pull any punches. In his provocative, fun, and appealingly frank R-rated comedy, Don Jon, the writer, director and star dives into a host of thorny topics: objectification, intimacy, and today’s media, to name a few. And he does it with the cool-headed forthrightness that’s defined him as an actor, whether it’s playing a lovelorn outsider in (500) Days of Summer, a cancer survivor in 50/50, or a steely cop in The Dark Knight Rises. Don Jon is a hilarious and refreshingly honest dissection of modern American machismo.
While Don Jon might be the first mainstream American comedy to highlight pornography – the reasons why we watch, why we continue watching – Gordon-Levitt is quick to point out his debut feature isn’t really about porn at all. “I wanted to tell a love story,” he says. “But what I’ve observed is, what often gets in the way of love is how people objectify each other.”
A life-long actor who’s garnered increasing fame in his film career, Gordon-Levitt is no stranger to the vagaries of objectification, particularly at the hands of the media. “Sure, maybe I want to tell this story because I’ve felt objectified in my life,” he says. “But it happens to everyone, to friends of mine outside Hollywood. We put expectations on each other, and rather than engaging with a unique individual and listening to what the other has to say, right at this moment, we put people in boxes with labels.”
“I also wanted to compare pornography to the rest of our media, even perfectly mainstream stuff,” Gordon-Levitt continues. “We see it all the time in movies, TV shows, or commercials, especially commercials. A person–usually a woman–is reduced to a thing, a sex object. And whether the image is rated X or, you know, approved for general viewing audiences, the message is the same. That’s what I wanted to talk about, and sorta make fun of.”
While Jon objectifies women with porn, his new girlfriend, Barbara, played by Scarlett Johansson, is distracted by fantasies of her own. A drop-dead gorgeous Catholic girl who’s by no means a prude, Barbara nevertheless has very particular ideas of what a relationship should look like, many of which are gleaned from Hollywood romantic comedies. “Women grow up with this idea of what a man should be, whether that comes from films or from our parents or fairytales,” says Johansson. “So, the same way Jon has created this fantasy world as a means of escaping what’s in front of him, Barbara creates this idea of the perfect future, the perfect life, the perfect man, the perfect family. Her ideals don’t leave room for the humanity of a relationship.”
“We learn these expectations everywhere,” adds Gordon-Levitt. “From our families. We get it from our friends, from the church we go to. And we get it from different kinds of media. That in particular fascinates me.”
This mutual objectification, for Gordon-Levitt, forms the heart of Don Jon’s central love story: “I thought a romantic comedy about the relationship between a guy who watches too much porn and a girl who watches too many romantic Hollywood movies would be hilarious and get to the point. That’s how it started.”
While Don Jon took about four years to come to fruition, Gordon- Levitt’s desire to become a filmmaker began much earlier. “I’d always played around with video cameras, even when I was a little kid. Then, for my twenty-first birthday, I got myself my first copy of Final Cut, the video editing software. Since then I’ve made tons of little short films and videos. Countless, probably hundreds of them. I definitely don’t think I would have been able to direct a feature if it hadn’t been for all that experience.”
After several screenwriting attempts that bore no fruit, Gordon- Levitt landed on the central idea for Don Jon and realized it would be the ideal project for his directorial debut. He says, “This movie is really a character study with no car chases or explosions, no scenes in outer space. It felt like something I could do and I was very much intent on having total creative control.
He spent two years pondering the story, eventually landing on the legendary, fictional character of Don Juan himself. A tragic figure, Don Juan never learns to amend his womanizing ways and is routinely ruined by his shortcomings. Gordon-Levitt wanted to find a more positive ending. “I guess I’m an optimist. I like to think people can change. And I like movies with a good balance of darkness and light. I wanted the story to have that light at the end of the tunnel; I wanted it to have hope,” he says.
It wasn’t until he found himself in Vancouver shooting the comedy 50/50 with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg that Gordon-Levitt finally landed on the right tone for the project. “I was really inspired by Seth and Evan’s approach to 50/50. It was funny as hell, but the humor was coming less from gags, and more from the characters. And because it was rated R, it could be real, people could talk how they really talk, and do the things they really do. That’s when I first landed on the comedic tone and started picturing Jon as this East Coast guy with the gym body and the shiny hair. The idea of playing a character like that made me laugh, so I kept going with it.”
One thing that remained constant for Gordon-Levitt, however, was the image of Scarlett Johansson in the role of Barbara Sugarman. An admirer of her performances in films like Lost In Translation and Vicky Christina Barcelona, Gordon-Levitt flew to Albuquerque to meet her on the set of The Avengers so they could discuss the script before she read it. “We had a long conversation about men and women, love and lust, connection and objectification, media, family, religion, you name it,” Gordon-Levitt recalls. “Shortly thereafter, she read it, and fortunately, she liked it. I don’t know what I would have done if she hadn’t!”
Says Johansson, “I grew up in New York and when I read the script I thought, I know this character. She’s a nice Catholic girl. She has a bit of an attitude. She’s totally absorbed in what she feels she’s entitled to, and it completely blinds her to the reality of a relationship. She’s unrealistic in that way.”
The other, more unlikely, woman in Jon’s life is Esther, a fellow student in Jon’s night class played by Julianne Moore (“Game Change,” Far From Heaven, The Hours, The Big Lebowski). When Esther busts Jon furtively watching porn on his cell phone during class, the moment sparks a frank, and at times quite rocky, rapport. Along the way, Esther introduces Jon to an entirely new way of thinking, leading him on a journey of unexpected growth.
Moore admits she was initially reticent to read Gordon-Levitt’s script; she didn’t want to appear in another movie about pornography after a career-defining turn as an adult film actress in Boogie Nights. Everything changed when she read Gordon-Levitt’s writing. “I just loved it,” Moore recalls. “It’s not about porn at all. It was really inventive and went in ways that were completely unexpected. The journey from that kind of objectification all the way to intimacy is a really transformative one. And to do it through the lens of porn is – it’s just incredibly refreshing and original.”
Moore particularly enjoyed portraying Esther’s enviable lack of self-consciousness. In the film, Esther is grieving a great personal loss; but this emotional wound paradoxically opens her up to the unexpected possibilities of life. “Esther is extremely present and doesn’t seem to have an awareness of how she’s presenting herself,” Moore explains. “I like how innately curious she is about the world and about Jon. She has no agenda about what’s happening right in front of her.”
In the role of Jon’s father, Jon Sr., Tony Danza (“Taxi,” “Who’s The Boss”) plays a working class Dad whose obsession with televised sports mirrors his son’s addiction to porn. “There’s a scene where Jon, Sr.’s in the middle of telling this wonderful story about his wife and how beautiful she was back then,” recounts Danza, “and it’s this touching moment and everyone says, ‘Oh, that’s such a great story.’ Then all of a sudden, he’s screaming at the television because there’s been a big play. He doesn’t even realize that he’s doing it.”
“I think with Tony’s performance you really see how Jon Jr. inherited this habit of escapism,” says Gordon-Levitt. “In a way, it doesn’t matter whether it’s through porn or sports. It’s a disconnection from what’s really in front of you.”
For his own turn in front of the camera, Gordon-Levitt relished the opportunity to play a character audiences might not expect from him. “I knew that if I was going to make my own movie,” he says, “I wanted it to be something I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. Otherwise, what would be the point?”
Directed by: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly
Screenplay by: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Production Design by: Meghan C. Rogers
Cinematography by: Thomas Kloss
Film Editing by: Lauren Zuckerman
Costume Design by: Leah Katznelson
Set Decoration by: Cindy Coburn
Music by: Nathan Johnson
MPAA Rating: R for strong graphic sexual material and dialogue throughout, nudity, language and some drug use.
Studio: Relativity Media
Release Date: September 27, 2013
Taglines: It’s going to be legendary.
Billy, Paddy, Archie and Sam are childhood friends from Flatbush, Brooklyn, who are living in their senior years. Sam and his wife Miriam are living mundane lives in a retirement village in Naples, Florida. Archie, twice-divorced and retired from the Air Force, lives with his overprotective son Ezra and his family in New Jersey after suffering a stroke. Paddy lives alone in his Brooklyn apartment, a curmudgeon in grief since the death of his wife, Sophie, over a year ago.
Billy is a successful entrepreneur in Malibu, California, who lives with his 31-year-old girlfriend Lisa. Shortly after proposing to Lisa at the funeral of his business mentor, Billy finds an old bottle of scotch he and his friends stole in their childhood days and calls Sam and Archie, who immediately propose a bachelor party for Billy in Las Vegas before his wedding that weekend. After being given permission by Miriam to cheat on her, Sam flies to New Jersey to pick up Archie in secret. They drive to Brooklyn to collect Paddy and fly off to rendezvous with Billy in Vegas.
Last Vegas is a comedy film directed by Jon Turteltaub, starring Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline. The film is set to be released on November 1, 2013. Principal photography started in November 2012 in Las Vegas. At the end of November, filming then moved to the Atlanta, Georgia, area.
Directed by: Jon Turteltaub
Starring: Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline, Morgan Freeman, Mary Steenburgen
Screenplay by: Dan Fogelman
Production Design by: David J. Bomba
Cinematography by: David Hennings
Film Editing by: David Rennie
Costume Design by: Dayna Pink
Set Decoration by: Patrick Cassidy
Music by: Mark Mothersbaugh
MPAA Rating: PG- 13 for minor nudity and some language.
Studio: CBS Films
Release Date: November 1, 2013
86 year-old Irving Zisman is on a journey across America with the most unlikely companions, his 8 year-old Grandson Billy in “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa”. This October, the signature Jackass character Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) and Billy (Jackson Nicholl) will take movie audiences along for the most insane hidden camera road trip ever captured on camera.
Along the way Irving will introduce the young and impressionable Billy to people, places and situations that give new meaning to the term childrearing. The duo will encounter male strippers, disgruntled child beauty pageant contestants (and their equally disgruntled mothers), funeral home mourners, biker bar patrons and a whole lot of unsuspecting citizens.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
Directed by: Jeff Tremaine
Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll, Georgina Cates, Blythe Barrington-Hughes
Screenplay by: Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine
Cinematography by: Lance Bangs, Dimitry Elyashkevich
Film Editing by: Seth Casriel, Matt Kosinski, Matthew Probst
Costume Design by: Lindsey Kear
Art Direction by: J.P. Blackmon
Music by: Kool G. Murder, Sam Spiegel
MPAA Rating: R for strong crude and sexual content throughout, language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: October 25, 2013