Category: Open Road Films



Homefront Movie

Taglines: How far would you go to protect your home?

The story centers on Phil Broker (Jason Statham), a former DEA agent who moves his family to a quiet town to escape his past. However, he discovers the town is overrun by a dangerous meth distributor named Gator (James Franco).

Homefront is an American action thriller film directed by Gary Fleder and released nationwide in theaters on November 27. Based on Chuck Logan’s novel of the same name and adapted into a screenplay by Sylvester Stallone, the film stars Jason Statham, James Franco, Winona Ryder, and Kate Bosworth. Filming began on October 1, 2012 in New Orleans.

About the Story

In Shreveport, Louisiana, DEA Agent Phil Broker (Jason Statham) is undercover in a biker gang, led by Danny T (Chuck Zito). The bikers go to a bar where they cook crystal meth. The DEA invade the bar and Broker is revealed to be a DEA agent and escapes during a shootout, along with Danny T and his son Jojo. Broker chases them and Danny T is arrested, but Jojo commits suicide by cop. A distraught Danny T swears revenge on Broker for his son’s death as he is taken away to jail. Disturbed by what has happened, Broker quits his job.

Two years later, Broker and his daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic) have moved to a small town, where Maddy’s deceased mother grew up. Broker has set up a contracting business with his friend Teedo (Omar Benson Miller). One day while Maddy is playing at school, a classmate & bully named Teddy Klum takes Maddy’s cap, makes fun of her, then pushes her to the ground. She had initially responded by twice politely asking for her hat back, but then punches him in the gut and breaks his nose with a foot to the face as he falls down.

Homefront Movie - Winona Ryder>

Broker and Teddy’s parents are called by school counselor Susan (Rachelle Lefevre). Susan tells Broker that Teddy is a special needs child, while his parents, Cassie (Kate Bosworth) and Jimmy (Marcus Hester), can be a handful. Broker tells Susan he has taught Maddy to defend herself. The local sheriff (Clancy Brown) arrives and attempts to keep the peace. Cassie convinces Jimmy to confront Broker, Broker defends himself and gains the attention of teachers, townspeople and the sheriff.

Susan warns Broker that he needs to be careful. Meanwhile, drug dealer Gator Bodine (James Franco) confronts some local teens for doing business in his area. That night, Cassie, who is Gator’s sister, goes to his home and asks him to scare Broker. It is also revealed that she has a drug problem and Gator is her main supplier.

A few days later, Broker is approached and threatened by a couple of Gator’s thugs (Stuart Greer and Owen Harn), but he defeats them in a fight at a gas station. The sheriff later stops him on the road to ask Broker ‘what he is’, and Broker tells him it is a “need to know” situation. The sheriff tells him that he now has his attention, and drives off.

The next day, while Broker is horseback riding with Maddy, Gator breaks into Broker’s house and steals Maddy’s cat and one of her stuffed animals. Looking through Broker’s personal belongings he finds a a file and photo of an undercover Broker and takes it. After going through Broker’s file, Gator realizes that Broker is responsible for Danny T’s arrest.

Homefront Movie

Scheming to acquire exclusive state-wide drug distribution rights through the biker gang, Gator tells his ex-girlfriend Sheryl Mott (Winona Ryder) about Broker, since she knows people searching for him. Sheryl warns him the whole idea is dangerous and crazy, but he insists she tell Danny T’s lawyer, who manages to get the information to Danny T, who then asks his lawyer to “take care of this for me” (to kill Broker to avenge Jojo’s death).

Broker asks Teedo about Gator and he learns that Gator is a Meth cook & local criminal badass. Gator gets away with his crimes by informing for the sheriff, eliminating the other criminal competition in town, thus making the sheriff’s job easier. In turn, the sheriff tends to look the other way when Gator cooks (despite this, the sheriff is still basically an honest man). Teedo also mentions that Gator eats breakfast every day at the same time at a local diner where Teedo does.

The next morning, Broker confronts Gator, who is having breakfast with Sheryl, and makes it clear he knows the break-in and theft was committed by Gator. Broker receives a photo of Sheryl from an old DEA colleague. He goes to Gator’s house to investigate. After setting a booby trap in the meth lab he discovers, he finds the stuffed animal and Maddy’s cat. While catching the cat, he is knocked out by Gator’s thugs. In revenge for their earlier defeat they torture him, but he manages to break free, beat down the thugs and escape. He decides that he and Maddy need to leave town immediately. Broker asks Teedo to help him.

Homefront Movie Poster


Directed by: Gary Fleder
Starring: James Franco, Jason Statham, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth, Rachelle Lefevre, Nicole Andrews, Christa Campbell, Izabela Vidovic
Screenplay by: Chuck Logan, Sylvester Stallone
Production Design by: Greg Berry
Cinematography by: Theo van de Sande
Film Editing by: Padraic McKinley
Costume Design by: Kelli Jones
Set Decoration by: Cynthia La Jeunesse
Music by: Mark Isham
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, pervasive language, drug content and brief sexuality.
Studio: Open Road Films
Release Date: November 27, 2013

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Justin Bieber’s Believe


Justin Bieber's Believe

Taglines: Behind the headlines, beyond the spotlight, lies the real story.

The sequel to Never Say Never continues to focus on Bieber’s rise to international fame as he embarks on his Believe Tour. The film features interviews by his mother Pattie Mallette, his mentor Usher Raymond IV, his manager Scooter Braun as well as others.

Rumors of a sequel to Never Say Never began surfacing the media around May 2012, when Bieber himself hinted a possible sequel for some time. It wasn’t until January 2013 when the project was confirmed by Bieber himself tweeting about it. Concert footage was filmed during Justin’s Believe Tour on January 26–27, 2013 at Miami’s American Airlines Arena. Two months later, in March 2013, a $15 million budget was appointed for the production of the sequel.

On October 11, 2013, it was confirmed that Jon M. Chu reprised his role as director for the biopic and will be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival later in the month. Meanwhile, Justin Bieber released a teaser trailer on his kidrauhl YouTube channel for the sequel to Never Say Never with the tagline “There’s more to his story” and the hashtag “BelieveMovie” confirming the sequel title as “Believe”, to be released on Christmas day in 3D. The official trailer was released on Yahoo! Movies on November 15, 2013.

Justin Bieber's Believe Poster

Justin Bieber’s Believe

Directed by: Jon M. Chu
Starring: Justin Bieber, Scooter Braun, Ryan Good, Usher Raymond, Pattie Mallette
Screenplay by: Sarah Landman
Production Design by: Tom E. Marzullo
Film Editing by: Jillian Twigger Moul, Avi Youabian
Music by: Nathan Lanier
MPAA Rating: PG for brief language and mild thematic material.
Studio: Open Road Films
Release Date: December 27, 2013

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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


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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The Host


The Host Movie

Taglines: Choose your destiny.

A riveting story about the survival of love and the human spirit in a time of war. Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact. Most of humanity has succumbed.

Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.

When Melanie, one of the few remaining “wild” humans is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

About the Production

Stephenie Meyer was driving through the seemingly endless desert that stretches from Phoenix to Salt Lake City when she came up with the idea for her best-selling novel, The Host. Meyer, whose record-breaking Twilight series was just becoming a worldwide phenomenon, passed the long hours by telling herself stories. “I came on the idea of two personalities in one body,” she says. “They are both in love with different people, which creates a great deal of conflict. I like messy relationships. They’re fun to work through.”

The Host Movie

The popular author also enjoys exploring the idea of love, but in this case, not just romantic love. “There’s maternal love, which is such a big part of my life,” says Meyer. “There’s love of community and the people you belong with. I asked myself, what happens when you love someone and that makes you a traitor to your people? Love makes you do things you wouldn’t do otherwise. It creates conflict and disorder.”

As the story began to take shape, it rooted itself in the desert she was travelling though. “I kept thinking about the things we take for granted: that we can see, how we can walk around, how we taste and hear.”

As Meyer expanded on her original concept, she began constructing a more serious, deeper story than she had in any of her previous novels. “The Twilight books are about romantic love and the way it makes you feel at 17 or 18,” she notes. “There’s nothing else in the world. You would do anything and be anything for love. That’s a fun place to visit as a fantasy.

“The Host is about finding balance in life,” she continues. “Certainly there’s romance, but it is a much more grown-up and realistic story, aside from the science-fiction elements.”

The Host Movie

But the sci-fi elements do set the stage for the story in The Host. “The world has been invaded Body Snatcher-style,” explains Meyer. “These new entities, who call themselves the Souls, are a very peaceful, harmonious, homogenous group. They fix many of the problems of our world. There’s no more hunger, no more disease or fear or violence. No one lies or cheats or steals. The idea that a stranger might harm you doesn’t even exist anymore.”

The handful of humans who have not been taken over by the Souls are understandably unable to see the beauty in a utopia in which most of their loved ones are gone. “They’ve lost everything, including the people most important to them,” Meyer says. “But this story is told from the perspective of Wanda, one of the aliens, which is rarely the way it has been approached before.”

The Host was published in 2008 and spent 26 weeks at No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list and 36 weeks on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list.

Producer Nick Wechsler recalls getting a call from Meyer’s agent asking if he was interested in putting together a film based the material. “I’m an avid sci-fi fan, so I jumped at the chance to read it. The theme, the characters and the conceit of the book leaped out at me. What I didn’t understand was why a best-selling book by Stephenie Meyer hadn’t already been bought.”

What he discovered was that conventional wisdom in the film industry dictated that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to make a realistic film in which two characters shared one body. “It never seemed like a huge challenge to me or to Nick,” says Meyer. “We figured all we needed was a really fantastic actress.”

The Host Movie

Based on Wechsler’s history of making acclaimed adaptations of other novels, including Requiem for a Dream, The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Road, Meyer believed he could be counted on to make the best possible movie version of the book. “Just look at his track record,” she says. “He finds books that he loves and translates them as meticulously as he can to the screen. He was a dream to work with because he wanted the same things I wanted.”

Wechsler approached Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz of Chockstone Pictures to partner with Meyer and him as the film’s producers. “When Steve, Paula Mae and I do a project together, we develop it with our own money,” he says. “That gives us more creative control, which was extremely appealing to Stephenie. We agreed that we would treat this property with care and make an epic adventure, not just a popcorn movie.”

The Schwartzes were excited by The Host’s delicate balance of romance and speculative fiction. “There’s a human element to this story that we felt we don’t often see in sci-fi,” says Paula Mae Schwartz. “The relationship between Melanie and Wanda explores love and jealousy and the difficulty of change. Forced to share a body, each one gains something from the other and ultimately becomes a better version of herself.”

When the producers began the process of selecting a screenwriter and a director, Wechsler asked Meyer about her favorite science fiction movies. “I told him that my number one is Gattaca,” she says. “I love that it’s not about gadgets and lasers and fighting robots. It’s about humanity, not how cool a space ship can be designed in CGI. We are transported into a world other than our own, but one that we can imagine ourselves in because of the performances and the story.”

As it happened, Wechsler has a longstanding relationship with Andrew Niccol, Gattaca’s writer and director. “Stephenie liked the rhythm of the way the characters spoke and the style in which Gattaca is directed,” he says. “I love Andrew’s taste and his vision.”

The Host, with its seething inner conflict, seized the director’s imagination right away. “You can talk about characters in roles having inner conflict, but in this case it is literally true,” says Niccol. “Our main character has been inhabited by an alien being. The two personalities go to a war with one another. It’s a great concept.”

Niccol observes that science fiction offers a subtle way to deliver a message to an audience. “It’s almost easier to say something about today by going into a future period,” he notes. “It’s a Trojan Horse of sorts. The audience is thinking that if it’s about the future it has nothing to do with them and then you slip an idea to them.”

Niccol agreed to direct the film, as well as to write the screenplay based on Meyer’s novel. “Obviously I was aware of the popularity of Twilight,” he says. “But I simply wanted to do justice to the book and its fans. Any pressure I felt was more creative than commercial. The idea of catching lightning in a bottle twice is a little much to expect. On the other hand, I wouldn’t bet against Stephenie.”

Having been through the adaptation process several times before, Meyer came to the table with strong opinions about what the final script should look like. “Any adaptation is 95 percent compromise and 5 percent frustration,” she says. “I believe that everyone on the creative side of filmmaking wants the best result they can get. We want the best because we care about how the story’s told, not who our market is and how we position this at the box office.”

The first major challenge was turning a 600-plus-page book into a 120-page script. “That’s a challenge for any filmmaker, especially when you have an author whose books are so beloved,” says Wechsler. “But the whole process went fairly quickly and we got a script that we really believe in.”

It was, by all accounts a satisfying and productive collaboration. “Stephenie definitely has her opinions, but she doesn’t impose them,” Niccol says. “She’s very savvy. She cares, but she’s not precious about her ideas. She’ll accept changes that seem quite sweeping without any kind of handwringing. Some elements and characters had to be sacrificed. I love soccer, but there’s a soccer game in the book that I knew was never going to make it into the movie. You have time for that kind of digression in a novel, but not in a film.”

“Working with Andrew was a lot of fun,” Meyer says. “He is so much more visual than I am. I really like to delve into the words and how people interact. Andrew concentrated on the physical world. He brought in elements that take it to a level I hadn’t envisioned. There were things he came up with that made me kick myself a little bit because I liked them so much better than what I’d done.”

For example, in the novel, the Souls use human weapons, turning the earthlings’ guns and explosives against them. “Alien beings are usually depicted as the enemy,” says Niccol. “We thought, what if the aliens are more humane than humans? With Stephenie’s blessing, I used that idea and replaced the guns with a futuristic spray called Peace that gently immobilizes its target.”

The final script for The Host still contains a compelling romance, according to Niccol, but it also encompasses a good deal more for audiences to think over. “I like that at its core it still is a love story, but it does have these broader themes,” he says. “We’re dealing with the survival of humanity. We’re also asking if a species that actually heals the planet has a place on Earth. These are themes that are far more profound than any in Stephenie’s previous work. It’s hard to say what each person will take from it, but I do hope it entertains and gives them something to chew over.”

The Host Movie Poster

The Host

Directed by: Andrew Niccol
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, Jake Abel, Max Irons, Bokeem Woodbine, Phil Austin, Chandler Canterbury
Screenplay by: Andrew Niccol, Stephenie Meyer
Production Design by: Andy Nicholson
Cinematography by: Roberto Schaefer
Film Editing by: Thomas J. Nordberg
Costume Design by: Erin Benach
Set Decoration by: Cynthia La Jeunesse
Music by: Antonio Pinto
Studio: Open Road Films
Release Date: March 29, 2013

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Side Effects


Side Effects Movie

Taglines: One pill can change your life.

”Side Effects” is a provocative thriller about Emily and Martin (Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum), a successful New York couple whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by Emily’s psychiatrist (Jude Law) – intended to treat anxiety – has unexpected side effects.

Emily (Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara) and Martin Taylor (Channing Tatum) are a young, beautiful, wealthy couple living the good life, with a mansion, a sailboat and every luxury money can buy—until Martin is sent to prison for insider trading. For four years, Emily waits for him in a tiny apartment in upper Manhattan, but his release is just as devastating as his incarceration and Emily sinks into a deep depression.

After a failed suicide attempt, psychiatrist Jonathan Banks (Academy Award nominee Jude Law) is called in to consult on Emily’s case. Desperate not to be hospitalized, Emily agrees to a regimen of therapy and antidepressants, a decision that will change the lives of everyone involved. When Emily’s symptoms don’t improve, Banks prescribes a new medication that quiets her demons.

But the side effects of the drug have chilling consequences: marriages are ruined, Banks’ practice is decimated and someone is dead—but who is responsible? Devastated by this professional setback, Banks becomes obsessed with finding an answer. But the truth he uncovers threatens to destroy whatever is left of his career and his private life.

Side Effects - Rooney Mara

About the Production

Over a decade ago screenwriter Scott Z. Burns spent several weeks doing research at New York’s famed Bellevue Hospital psychiatric facility. Burns, who was then writing for the acclaimed television medical drama Wonderland, spoke with the psychiatrists on staff and watched them at work with mentally ill patients, including many who had a criminal past.

“It was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life,” says Burns. “There were people there who were truly terrifying criminals. There were also people who were so ill they were unable to understand the rules of society and couldn’t possibly be expected to play by them.”

The experience planted a seed in Burns’ imagination. “I wanted to write a noir-style thriller that took the audience in and spun it around, like Double Indemnity or Body Heat, set in the world of psychopharmacology,” says Burns. “I was inspired by films that involve crafty, clever scams, set against the society the audience is really living in. People seem to have stopped making those, but I have always loved the genre.”

Bardey too had always been intrigued by the idea of a thriller involving psychiatry. “Once we came up with the backbone of this story, Scott did the writing, and I provided the context.”

Side Effects - Marin Ireland

The combination of Burns’ prodigious storytelling skills and Bardey’s expertise resulted in an eye-opening thriller. “It looks at the idea of where reality ends and mental illness begins,” says Bardey. “You don’t know if things are what they appear to be. In that sense, it’s got a Hitchcockian feel to it. And the ending is fantastic, a great lesson and a lot of fun.”

As he constructed his narrative, Burns also conducted extensive research on the growing use of anti-depressants in this country with the help of Dr. Bardey, who ultimately served as on-set adviser and co-producer.

Burns found evidence in the news stories of the day that the same medications used to treat depression, anxiety and other psychological ailments were also creating inexplicable behavior in a small but significant number of patients. Commonly prescribed drugs were being blamed for crimes ranging from vehicular homicide to physical assault. A man in California was acquitted of charges in a non-injury vehicular accident while under the influence of a popular sleep remedy.

One widely prescribed antidepressant was even implicated in a shocking kidnapping and rape. Just as fascinating to Burns were stories he uncovered about the misbehavior of respected doctors. “There was a story in the news about a psychiatrist who tried to hire one of his patients, a convicted criminal, to kill his mistress,” says Burns. “When the patient went to the police, they didn’t believe him because he’s obviously a crazy person. Our story is completely different than that one, but it’s full of plot twists and turns that have you constantly questioning what actually happened and who is telling the truth.”

Side Effects Movie

Producer Gregory Jacobs, who also worked with Soderbergh and Burns on The Informant! and Contagion, notes that Side Effects is perhaps the first thriller set in this milieu. “I hadn’t seen anybody do something about the drug industry or the prevalence of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication in our society,” he says. “At the same time, it’s just such an entertaining thriller.”

As his script continued to evolve, Burns turned to a pair of trusted collaborators: Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. “Lorenzo hired me to write The Informant! for Warner Bros. at a time when I wasn’t qualified to lead a tour at Warner Bros.,” says Burns. “But he trusted me and believed in me. He had just started his production company, so I called him first. He was there when the movie had no home. He was open to casting ideas. This is a man who has made some giant movies, but he just loves filmmaking and he wants to make a lot of different kinds of movies.”

Di Bonaventura threw his full support behind the project. “I loved the idea of making an authentic thriller,” he says. “Hollywood has sort of abandoned the genre, so this is somewhat different in the marketplace. We developed it together. Scott wrote I don’t know how many drafts, but he always stayed true to his original vision. It was a long road, but a fun one.”

Over the period he was writing Side Effects, Burns worked with Soderbergh on The Informant! and Contagion, as well as PU-239, which Burns wrote and directed, and Soderbergh executive produced. He shared the script with Soderbergh as it developed and the director closely followed his progress.

“Scott is very adept at identifying interesting issues and wrapping them in a commercial skin,” Soderbergh says. “I like movies that try to do more than one thing at a time. Like Contagion, Side Effects can be described as a thriller, but both have an undercurrent of reality that reflects the contemporary world. If you can do that gracefully, the audience always appreciates it.”

Soderbergh says Burns is also very good at what he calls the “mathematics of a story.” “How many elements need to be in play? How you can play off the audience’s expectations? How do you navigate your way around clichés? He’s very good at the architecture, as well as creating intriguing characters and writing great dialogue.”

Burns had always planned to direct Side Effects himself, but when Soderbergh asked if he could direct, it didn’t take the screenwriter long to agree. “Steven had a window and Side Effects was the film he was most interested in making,” Burns recalls. “We had a very similar take on the material. It was hard to make an argument for me doing it, other than my ego, which is not a great place from which to make artistic decisions. I thought, if there were two minutes left in the game and either I could play quarterback or Drew Brees could play quarterback, what would be better for the team?”

Di Bonaventura also gave a thumbs up to the change in plans. “Steven brings a singular perspective to whatever he does,” the producer says. “He makes each movie feel unique, with its own set of strengths. And his sets are great to work on. They’re really professionally run and surprisingly quiet, which gives actors the room to do what they do.”

Burns and Soderbergh had already proven themselves a winning team on The Informant! and Contagion, adds the producer. “They are a good match. Steven’s films always include some kind of social commentary. This story is built on the underlying notion that we don’t really know what these medications are doing to us, but our society has come to rely on them. We leave it to the viewer to decide if it’s good or bad in the end.”

That’s just one of the questions audiences are confronted with in Side Effects, a tightly plotted thriller rife with moral ambiguity and human frailty. “I believe that what draws you into a thriller is humanity,” says Burns. “You get twisted around as much by your own heart and your own perception as by the plot mechanics. It’s great to pull the rug out from people and I think that’s a really fun thing that can happen in a movie theater. But what Steven and I wanted, beyond that, was for audiences to have the rug pulled out from under them in terms of their own experiences.”

The movie is intended to pack a one-two punch that will first entertain and then spark a discussion. “We hope that the audience will come out of the theater saying, I didn’t see that coming,” says di Bonaventura. “And then we hope they’ll realize how deeply the issue of pharmaceuticals has permeated our society.”

Side Effects Movie Poster

Side Effects

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Channing Tatum, Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mamie Gummer
Screenplay by: Scott Z. Burns
Production Design by: Howard Cummings
Cinematography by: Steven Soderbergh
Film Editing by: Steven Soderbergh
Costume Design by: Susan Lyall
Set Decoration by: Rena DeAngelo
Music by: Thomas Newman
MPAA Rating: R for sexuality, nudity, violence and language.
Studio: Open Road Films
Release Date: February 8, 2013

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A Haunted House


A Haunted House

Taglines: This $*%! ain’t paranormal!

Young couple Malcolm and Kisha who have just moved in to their dream house. As they settle in, they quickly find they’re not alone. But it’s not the house that’s haunted, it’s Malcolm’s girlfriend who is possessed by a demon. Malcolm hires everyone from a priest to modern day ghostbusters to rid her of this unwelcome intruder, determined not to let the evil spirit ruin his relationship… or, more importantly, his sex life.

A Haunted House is a 2013 American spoof comedy film directed by Michael Tiddes and starring Marlon Wayans. It was released on January 11, 2013. The film is a parody of the “found footage” genre, such as the Paranormal Activity franchise and The Devil Inside. During interviews to promote the film, Wayans explained “it’s not exactly a parody” but rather a movie with funny characters doing the opposite of what typical white people do in similar horror films. A sequel titled A Haunted House 2 was released on April 18, 2014.

The movie begins with the opening text stating that in October 2012, the footage was found at the home of Malcolm Johnson and that the recordings are still unexplained.

In August 2012, a young couple, Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) and Kisha (Essence Atkins), move in together to start a new happy life. On the first night, Malcolm is waken by Kisha’s noisy flatulating that drives him out of the room. When Kisha notices her keys on the floor she tries to tell Malcolm that they might have a ghost. To prove to Kisha that they do not have a ghost Malcolm calls over some camera men, Dan the man Curnney (David Koechner) and his brother Bob (Dave Sheridan).

On the fourth night Malcolm tries to have sex with the camera on, but Kisha tells him to turn it off. Before they really started, Malcolm turns the camera back on and records the whole thing. In the morning Malcolm and Kisha watch the video and notice that the door moved. Malcolm tries to convince Kisha that it had something to do with the vortex in which he moved his hips during sex last night.

A Haunted House Movie Poster

A Haunted House

Directed by: Michael Tiddes
Starring: Marlon Wayans, Nick Swardson, David Koechner, Alanna Ubach, Dave Sheridan
Screenplay by: Rick Alvarez, Marlon Wayans
Production Design by: Fred Andrews
Cinematography by: Steve Gainer
Film Editing byB Suzanne Hines
Costume Design by: Ariyela Wald-Cohain
MPAA Rating: R for crude and sexual content, language and some drug use.
Studio: Open Road Films
Release Date: January 11th, 2013

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