Month: April 2015

Begin Again

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Begin Again Movie

You’re as strong as your next move.

Begin Again is a soul-stirring comedy about what happens when lost souls meet and make beautiful music together. Gretta (Keira Knightley) and her long-time boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own.

Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performing on an East Village stage and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. From this chance encounter emerges an enchanting portrait of a mutually transformative collaboration, set to the soundtrack of a summer in New York City.

About the Story

Dan Mulligan (Mark Ruffalo) is a struggling record label executive living in New York City. One night, while drinking at a bar in the East Village, he encounters Gretta (Keira Knightley), a young and fiercely independent songwriter whose music captivates him. Certain that he can make her into a star, Dan offers to sign her to his company’s label. But Gretta, determined not to compromise her principles as an artist for the sake of fame, turns him down and he walks away. However, when she leaves the bar, Dan is waiting for her and convinces her to join him for a drink.

Begin Again Movie

Through flashbacks, it is revealed that Dan is estranged from his wife Miriam (Catherine Keener) and was recently fired from his job, having not signed any new artists in over seven years. After a heated argument with his wife over their teenage daughter Violet (Hailee Steinfeld), Dan goes on a drinking binge which ultimately brings him into the bar that night. Likewise, Gretta has just broken up with her long-time boyfriend and songwriting partner Dave Kohl (Adam Levine), a successful musician who had an affair with one of his producers while away in Los Angeles. Angry and heartbroken, Gretta intends to leave New York for good, but Dan suggests that she take some time to think about his offer.

After a change of heart, Gretta calls Dan the next day and agrees to let him produce her music. They meet with Saul (Mos Def), Dan’s business partner and co-founder of the independent music label Distressed Records, but unfortunately he does not see the same potential in Gretta and turns her away. Undeterred, Dan proposes that he and Gretta produce their own album together, to be recorded live during the summer at various public locations around New York City.

Recruiting a team of talented musicians, including Gretta’s best friend Steve (James Corden), Dan sets out to make an album worthy of being published by his label. During this time, Dan and Gretta bond both personally and professionally, and Gretta takes Dan’s daughter, a fledgling guitarist, under her wing and encourages her to play on the album.

Begin Again Movie - Keira Knightley

When Gretta sees Dave accepting an award on television, she criticizes him for selling out to the music industry. Sick of his betrayal, she expresses her grievances with him in a song which she records on his voice mail. A remorseful Dave, who is back in New York to promote his new album, returns her call and asks to see her, but Gretta does not respond.

With the album finished, Dan and Gretta meet again with Saul. While he is very impressed with their collaboration, Gretta demands a bigger share in the deal for Dan, herself, and her bandmates. They leave without reaching an agreement, but Dan feels confident that Saul will eventually sign Gretta to the label.

After some consideration, Gretta decides to meet with Dave and they critique each other’s albums. However, Gretta feels betrayed by Dave’s heavily commercialized rendition of Lost Stars (a love ballad she had written for him as a Christmas gift when they were still together), believing that the true meaning of the song has been lost. Nevertheless, Dave invites her to come and hear him play the song at the Gramercy Theatre that weekend (partly as an attempt to make up with her) so that she can see the impact it has had on his fans.

Gretta arrives at the venue just in time to watch him play her arrangement of the song. Though he invites her to come on stage and perform with the band, she declines, but as Gretta watches Dave play, she realizes how much his priorities have changed, and that music and fame will always take precedence in his life. Faced with this newly discovered truth, Gretta leaves the concert and bikes through the city with a newfound acceptance of closure and a dawning smile on her face.

Afterwards, Gretta visits Dan at his apartment as he prepares to move back home, having made amends with his wife. She tells him that she does not want him to publish her album, instead preferring to distribute it online. Reluctantly, Dan agrees and contacts Troublegum (CeeLo Green), a popular rap musician who helps to promote the release via Twitter. The next day, Dan is informed by Saul that Gretta’s album sold 10,000 copies in its first day.

Begin Again Movie Poster

Begin Again

Directed by: John Carney
Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener, Sheena Colette, Adam Levine, Aya Cash
Screenplay by: John Carney
Production Design by: Chad Keith
Cinematography by: Yaron Orbach
Film Editing by: Andrew Marcus
Costume Design by: Arjun Bhasin
Set Decoration by: Kris Moran
Music by: Gregg Alexander
MPAA Rating: R for language.
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Release Date: July 4, 2014

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Tammy

Tammy Movie

Taglines: Life’s a bitch… And then you go on a road trip.

Tammy, who was recently fired from a Toppy Jacks fast food restaurant, returns home only to find her husband enjoying a romantic meal with the neighbor. She quickly packs her necessities, and travels down three houses to her parent’s home. Upon denied use of her mom’s car to drive to Niagara Falls, she quickly resorts to an “ailing” grandmother, who also lives in the home… Only instead of traveling alone, Grandma Pearl wants in on the road trip.

After realizing Grandma Pearl has the funds, they hit the road. Pearl soon proves to be quite the alcoholic despite her diabetes, and Tammy quickly turns into the “baby-sitter.” From finding love in a bar to robbing a Toppy Jack’s in order to bail Pearl out of jail,the quirky adventure will have you finding yourself riding along for the misadventures of Tammy.

About the Production

Tammy: I lost my job, my car’s on fire and Greg is screwing our neighbor. I’m getting out of this stupid town for good.

Road trips are a tradition of comedy films, but in the hands of married duo Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy, their new movie, “Tammy,” is anything but a traditional road trip.

Falcone and McCarthy have been writing comedy material together since their early days as Groundlings, where they met. “Tammy” marks the couple’s first collaboration on the big screen as writers. It is also Falcone’s feature directorial debut, and McCarthy’s first foray into producing.

Tammy Movie

“I guess you could say it was literally a dream come true,” says Falcone, who reveals that the idea sprang from a dream he described to McCarthy about going on a crazy road trip with her grandmother. “I always love writing with Melissa, but to get to direct her was incredible because she’s so talented and, of course, funny.”

McCarthy shares, “Ben and I had always talked about writing a movie about real people who mess up and have to decide if they are going to keep making mistakes or change things. Since Ben has been directing theatre and comedy videos for years, we felt it was a natural progression for him to direct “Tammy.”

Falcone and McCarthy mined their own Midwest backgrounds to create a string of colorful characters and situations that revolve around a working-class woman who gets trapped on an interminable road trip with her rather atypical grandmother.

Producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay were already fans of Falcone and McCarthy and were eager to work with the pair.

McKay states, “Melissa is one of the funniest people on the planet and Ben is a super-talented, hilarious guy. As a producer, this meant two things: we would have a very funny and unique movie, and I would not have to work as hard because they are so good.”

Ferrell adds, “Melissa has made me laugh hard for a long time, so when I heard it was her and Susan Sarandon in a car having wild adventures, I wanted in.”

Sarandon, who stars opposite McCarthy as Tammy’s irrepressible grandma, Pearl, was drawn to the raucous road trip that Tammy and her grandmother take, which, surprisingly, becomes an emotional journey. “The script had such energy and was flamboyant in its freedom,” she conveys. “I liked that all the absurd things they go through give Pearl and Tammy the opportunity to look at where they are in their lives and take it up a notch.”

McCarthy and Sarandon are just two pieces of what turned into an all-star ensemble, including Allison Janney, Gary Cole, Mark Duplass, Sandra Oh, Dan Aykroyd and Kathy Bates. Falcone also brought fellow Groundlings Nat Faxon, Steve Little and Sarah Baker to the mix. With such a deep talent pool, he encouraged improvisation from his entire cast to extract even more humor from Tammy and Pearl’s misadventure.

As the two women take to the highway, everything that can go wrong does, and then some, forcing them to face each other’s flaws as well as their own…and put out a few fires along the way.

McCarthy says, “If you’re having a terrible day and something ridiculous makes you laugh, that’s the best. We wanted to capture that feeling.”

Falcone adds, “Tammy is not only having a terrible day, she’s having one huge, epic bad day and a whole lot of ridiculousness ensues. We had a lot of fun with that.

Behind the Dash

Pearl: Would you like a beer?
Tammy: No.
Pearl: Oh my god, you’re knocked up.
Tammy: No. I’m driving a car. Duh.

Nothing says ridiculous like mouth-to-mouth with a deer. That’s exactly how Tammy’s epic bad day starts out after colliding with the unfortunate creature on a deserted highway on her way to work. The deer isn’t the only impact on her day. Her creepy boss at Topper Jack’s burger joint also blindsides Tammy by firing her.

Falcone notes, “We’re immediately clued into the fact that Tammy usually takes the easy road, does the minimum required to get by. And that ripples throughout the rest of her world.”

McCarthy describes Tammy as “underdeveloped, stunted, and immature. She’s a train wreck. But with a good heart.”

Echoing that sentiment, Falcone says, “Tammy does have a good heart and so does Melissa. I think that quality is what makes Melissa so appealing to audiences. It really shines through her character.”

“My inspiration for Tammy came from an amalgamation of regular people I’ve known or observed just living their lives. Only jacked-up a little,” McCarthy admits. “Tammy hates her life, or lack thereof, but instead of changing it, blames everyone else. She just can’t get out of her own way.”

If Tammy thought her crappy day couldn’t get any worse, she’s sadly mistaken. When she finally drags through the door of her house, she finds her husband, Greg, played by Nat Faxon, having a romantic interlude with her neighbor, played by Toni Collette.

Falcone observes, “This is already the worst day of her life. We wanted to slam Tammy with enough to make her have to physically leave. There’s nowhere left for her to hide from her problems.”

So Tammy tries to get out of town, turning to her mom for comfort-and a loaner car.

Falcone and McCarthy both pictured Allison Janney for the role of Tammy’s mother, Deb. Falcone says, “We love Allison’s work and knew she would be perfect so we wrote the part with her in mind.”

“Allison is brilliant. We weren’t sure she’d do it so we plied her with several margaritas,” McCarthy jokes.

“They could have had me at one,” Janney counters, laughing. “Deb is a complicated, lovely woman, and can’t catch a break with her mother or her daughter. She’s frustrated that she doesn’t understand them and they don’t understand her, so she’s at a point where she’s going to try tough love with Tammy.”

Deb’s husband, Don, would rather get tough with Tammy’s cheating husband. Falcone cast Dan Aykroyd in the role of Tammy’s father. Falcone comments, “As a comedian, I’ve always looked up to Dan, so it was a thrill to work with him.”

Aykroyd says, “I loved working with Ben and Melissa. They’re a great team-genuinely gifted, true professionals.” Aykroyd also relished working with Janney, noting, “Allison is a veteran, a pro who immediately conveyed with simple gestures a feeling of affection and that we’d known each other for the decades Don and Deb have been married.”

“I have to thank Ben and Melissa for giving me Dan,” says Janney. “He’s the best on-screen husband I’ve ever had.”

Deb’s new tough love program begins with denying Tammy transportation. Knowing her granddaughter won’t get far without wheels, Pearl then seizes upon the opportunity to blackmail Tammy with the keys to her Buick sedan. And since Pearl controls the car and cash, she also controls the destination: Niagara Falls.

Starring as Pearl, Susan Sarandon says she loved the grandma-with-a-past role. “Pearl is smart but she’s wild, definitely a product of the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll generation. She had a baby really young, and then her daughter had a baby really young. But she disappeared from Tammy’s life at a critical time, and Tammy resented it. So now they’re stuck in a car together and will finally have to work all that out.”

Falcone comments, “It was amazing to watch Susan bring these layers to Pearl. Pearl has definitely partied and had her fun, but she is also really smart and grounded.”

“Susan is just cool,” says McCarthy. “She came in with no judgment of Pearl and her wild past. She said, ‘It is what it is,’ and I think that approach is what makes Pearl so interesting, vibrant, and sexy.”

Pearl packs light, bringing only the bare necessities on the road: cash, booze and her crocheting.

“Pearl is always carrying around her booze and her rugs and trying to score,” attests Sarandon, who learned to make rugs like her own grandmother for the role. The rug Sarandon was actually making in the scenes kept getting bigger and bigger.

Sarandon felt that McCarthy provided an equally layered character to work off. “Melissa commits so completely,” she remarks. “She’s great with silly physical humor but she doesn’t patronize her characters. You recognize some of your own frailties in the mistakes that Tammy makes.”

The most recent mistake is going in the wrong direction, which takes them far afield. Tammy is ready to throw in the towel almost immediately and head home but Pearl challenges her to stop whining about missing life and get one.

Not one to back down from a dare, Tammy finds herself at a happening country-western bar. But instead of getting lucky, Tammy is lucky if she’ll be able to pry Pearl away from Earl, a random guy who ends up locked in the Buick with Pearl, fogging up the windows.

Gary Cole, who stars as Earl, says he jumped at the chance to work with both Sarandon and McCarthy. “You put Melissa in a situation where her character’s going to get in trouble, with a lot of obstacles, and you know some gold is going to happen. That, and making out with Susan Sarandon,” he laughs. “It was really a no-brainer to say, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll come to that party.'”

Falcone observes, “Gary brought a lot of fun to the character and punch to his storyline. Earl is a guy who is a good time and trouble all at once.”

Cole calls Earl “an alcohol enthusiast. Some people may say he has a problem; he would say it’s a hobby.”

Pearl is also an avid “enthusiast,” so she and Earl hit it off immediately, which is a problem for his son, Bobby, played by Mark Duplass.

Like Tammy, who has her hands full with Pearl, Bobby has the thankless-and impossible-task of keeping Earl in line. Duplass offers, “Pearl and Earl have this electric connection of debauchery, so Tammy and Bobby are caught in the middle of that dynamic as it explodes, trying to get a handle on their elders. It’s a fun role reversal.”

The dynamic between Bobby and Tammy, however, is something of a hot mess. McCarthy explains, “Their eyes don’t meet across a crowded room; it’s more sloppy. She hits on him and makes an ass of herself. It’s the perfect imperfect springboard Ben and I wanted, so these subtle changes can transpire in Tammy as she and Bobby keep getting thrown together.”

Falcone adds, “Mark is a very expressive actor and infused Bobby with a simple honesty and sweet energy. He and Melissa played off each other so well. He brought nuances that helped build an organic progression and make you really root for the relationship between Tammy and Bobby.”

Things can only go downhill from the bar and Pearl enlists the help of her cousin Lenore to mitigate some of the collateral chaos that follows. The part was written for Kathy Bates.

Bates liked the strong, positive character, noting, “Lenore is very down-to-earth, a self-made woman. She has worked hard to achieve success both personally and professionally. But when she sees that Tammy has no aspirations for her life on either front, Lenore just wants to shake her a little so she’ll wake up.”

“I walked around New York City in my twenties with a copy of the play ‘Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune,’ with a picture of her on the back, so I had to pinch myself in scenes with her,” McCarthy shares. “Kathy’s so amazing, she can send lightning bolts through you.”

“Melissa was inspiring, she’s funny as hell, and she’s emotionally full every single take,” says Bates. “And Ben created an easy environment. It was effortless, like those great friendships that are uncomplicated from the very beginning.”

Falcone states, “Kathy is all in. She didn’t even flinch at some of the crazy physical stuff, like lighting a Molotov cocktail or throwing a flaming tiki torch as a javelin. She is an exceptional talent.”

Sandra Oh joined the ensemble as Lenore’s partner Susanne. The two had previously worked together on “Six Feet Under,” though on opposite sides of the camera, with Bates directing Oh. Now, in front of the camera, their chemistry flourished.

Falcone says, “Kathy and Sandra are so great together. They just make you want to hang out at Lenore and Susanne’s house. A lot.”

“When they approached me to play opposite Kathy, I jumped at it,” says Oh. “I have great respect for her. I was excited about the opportunity to perform in scenes with her this time around because we already had such a strong connection.”

Bates agrees. “It’s always a treat working with Sandra. And from our first scene, it was like she had been my partner for years. I told her later she really gave us our on-screen relationship; her little details brought so much heart.”

“We were fortunate to have an incredible cast,” says Falcone. “Melissa and I love these characters. You could tell the cast did, too, and I think the audience will feel that love.”

Detour

Pearl: Where’s the dance floor and the bar? Not in that order.

Filming took place primarily in and around Wilmington, North Carolina, which doubled for the Midwest look of Murphysboro, Illinois. At Falcone’s request, director of photography Russ Alsobrook implemented cross-shooting throughout the film, with cameras simultaneously on each actor, a method Falcone had observed on previous films in which he had worked. “It helps people keep that reaction in the moment, because later it’s really hard to go back and remember what you said if you were improvising,” the director relates.

Falcone notes that although not everyone in the cast was used to improvisation, they all ultimately embraced the opportunity. “Melissa and I both come from a background of improv, so we know it’s a great tool.”

One memorable improvisation took place between Melissa and “Stuffy,” the deer Tammy hits with her car. Made at Creature Effects, the animatronic deer was controlled by two puppeteers who could make its eyes, ears and mouth move. The props department made a double for Stuffy which could be thrown at the car to simulate Tammy hitting it. In a completely unscripted and unexpected moment, Melissa suddenly started giving Stuffy mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Falcone recalls, “It was so hot and she was down on that asphalt, and she started ‘saving’ Stuffy. I was having a hard time not laughing and ruining the takes.”

Sarandon agrees, “It was fabulous to improv scenes with Melissa. It may seem like it’s off the-cuff but she is very present; a consummate professional who never loses sight of what needs to be accomplished in the scene.”

She continues, “For me, Ben’s directing style also helped make it possible for us to go off script. He created a solid structure, and then within that structure, there was freedom, which enabled a looseness and fluidity to the performance.”

Bates also found the improvisation environment stimulating, admitting, “I told Ben to make me part of his rep company. He gave us room, and because it always comes from such a natural, real place, you really want to try things.”

Another key decision was the use of practical locations to achieve a grounded look. Falcone turned to production designer Jefferson Sage, who had previously worked with McCarthy on “The Heat” and “Bridesmaids,” to transform the locations into Tammy and Pearl’s world.

Sage started with designing Topper Jack’s burger chain, the fictional franchise that recurs throughout the film. Inspired by a now-defunct chain McCarthy remembers growing up, Sage says, “The look and corporate identity of this restaurant chain needed to feel local and dated, like they were overdue for an image re-set, but hadn’t done it yet. We used the signature yellow and red color scheme to identify with a jarring 1970s palette, emphasizing the tiredness of the place, which also reflects the dead-end nature of Tammy’s job.”

The first Topper Jack’s is the scene of an argument between McCarthy and her boss that involves throwing both insults and food. Falcone plays the boss from hell. Of her nightmare on-screen boss, McCarthy says, “We all know that guy, we’ve all worked for that guy. I have been fired by that guy for sure.” She adds, “It was fun throwing food at Ben.”

As Topper Jack’s keeps popping up on the road, they become the site of some bad decisions, which only compound Tammy’s troubles.

While Topper Jack’s color scheme pushed the envelope, Tammy’s home was specifically designed to avoid kitsch and evoke a contained feeling. “Her world needed to feel kind of small,” explains Sage. “It’s cluttered, there’s no cohesive sense of design. We crowded enough in to make it feel cramped and a bit oppressive, using a dour, dark, dingy color palette.”

Two houses down is Tammy’s mother’s house. Sage says, “Deb’s reflects a successful, happy relationship. The flowerbeds are tended, it’s comfortable inside. There is happiness here.” Fortunately, Sage found one neighborhood with the houses located right near each other on the same street, which enabled Falcone to establish Tammy’s problems quickly, and shoot her ensuing escape in a continuous sequence.

Falcone designed Tammy’s post-escape car scenes “to force the intimacy between Pearl and Tammy, whether they welcome it or not.”

“It was hot and there was weather and dust and a lot of hours in the car, but those were actually some of my favorite scenes,” says Sarandon.

McCarthy also enjoyed them. In addition to trading barbs with Sarandon’s character, she got to do the real driving. Stunt coordinator Peter King details, “Melissa was fearless. She has enormous endurance and a sense of natural timing, but she is also one of the best drivers I’ve ever worked with. She can hit a difficult mark, nailing it even without practice. She outdrove my stunt drivers more than once, which was fun to watch.”

“It was pretty cool,” McCarthy smiles. “Look out NASCAR.”

Their first real stop, The Blue Post, is a location that will change the course of Pearl and Tammy’s road trip. For the bar sequence, Sage added a stage and lots of neon to an existing converted downtown warehouse. The last touch for the bar was the real bluegrass band Possum Creek. Executive Producer Rob Cowan took Falcone and McCarthy to hear them at the local bar Satellite on a Sunday night and they hired the band on the spot, including using original music by the band in the scene.

Filmmakers also hired local outer banks artisans and brothers Skip and Bob Raymo, whose forte is sculpting by chainsaw, to create a piece for a seminal scene at Snow’s Cut Park, located on the inland waterway. Falcone and McCarthy wanted an iconic American theme, which the artists delivered in the form of a very unique American eagle.

Several pit stops on Tammy and Pearl’s trek also involve lakes, which posed a challenge to filmmakers as there are none in Wilmington.

To accomplish the Sea Doo sequence-where Tammy attempts to ride the power water craft but only digs herself and Pearl into more trouble-Sage built a wharf with a dock and huts where vendors are selling wares.

Once again, McCarthy wanted to execute as much of the stunts as possible. The stunt coordinator recalls how fast McCarthy picked it up. “It’s 99 percent Melissa on that Sea Doo ‘coming in hot,'” King states.

Falcone scheduled plenty of time for practice. “I figure we’d get Melissa oriented to the Sea Doo, and take it slow, but she just got on and immediately took it up to almost 50. She did a hard turn and stopped…but the Sea Doo just kept going without her. There was no stopping her from getting back on and doing it again. She’s a trouper.”

As Tammy’s troubles increase in size after her Sea Doo debacle, so does the getaway vehicle. Pearl calls her cousin Lenore, who shows up with an enormous RV so they can ditch Pearl’s Buick sedan in a big way and lay low at Lenore’s house on the lake.

On the inland waterway outside of Wilmington, filmmakers found a large Nantucket-style residence surrounded by giant oak trees with a private dock to use as Lenore’s house. A generous wraparound deck gave way to a sizeable pool area. The landscaping was so inviting Falcone moved scenes from indoors to outdoors on the property and had Sage and his team create a dance floor over an entire section of the pool.

They redressed the interior of the house, for a mountain lodge motif. Some of the key pieces of furniture were custom upholstered using antique quilts and vintage silk coverlets from the Depression era. The art was all locally sourced. Although Pearl and Tammy are hoping to hide out at Lenore’s during her annual Fourth of July party, there are more fireworks than expected.

There were some unexpected behind-the-scenes surprises as well. During an important shot that not only involved most of the main cast and lots of extras, but pyrotechnics, too, a storm came in. Falcone relates, “We were on a camera barge and suddenly lightning struck and the barge lost power. We just started to drift off out into this inlet with the storm picking up. That’s when my director of photography, Russ, looked at me and said, ‘It’s been great knowing you.'”

Tammy Movie Poster

Tammy

Directed by: Ben Falcone
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Dan Aykroyd, Sandra Oh, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Kathy Bates
Screenplay by: Ben Falcone, Melissa McCarthy
Production Design by: Jefferson Sage
Cinematography by: Russ T. Alsobrook
Film Editing by: Michael L. Sale
Costume Design by: Wendy Chuck
Music by: Michael Andrews
MPAA Rating: R for language including sexual references.
Studio: New Line Cinema
Release Date: July 2, 2014

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Transformers: Age of Extinction

Transformers: Age of Extinction - Nicola Peltz

This is not war. It’s extinction.

Transformers: Age of Extinction is a science fiction action film based on the Transformers franchise. It is the fourth installment of the live-action Transformers film series and stars Mark Wahlberg in the lead role. A sequel to Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the film takes place five years later, after the Decepticon invasion of Chicago. Like its predecessors, the film is directed by Michael Bay and executive produced by Steven Spielberg.

Ehren Kruger is the film’s screenwriter, having written every Transformers film since Revenge of the Fallen. The film features an entirely new cast of human characters and is the first in the series to feature the Dinobots. Returning Transformers include Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Leadfoot, Brains, and Megatron (now known as Galvatron). The film was released on June 27, 2014, in IMAX and 3D.

As humanity picks up the pieces, following the conclusion of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Autobots and Decepticons have all but vanished from the face of the planet. However, a group of powerful, ingenious businessman and scientists attempt to learn from past Transformer incursions and push the boundaries of technology beyond what they can control – all while an ancient, powerful Transformer menace sets Earth in his crosshairs. The epic adventure and battle between good and evil, freedom and enslavement ensues.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

About the Story

Sixty-five million years ago, during the Cretaceous period, beings known as the “Creators” detonate “Seeds”, bombs that cyberform large areas of land, wiping out most life on Earth. In the present, a geologist named Darcy Tyril discovers a dinosaur corpse covered in a strange metal in the Arctic.

Five years have passed since the Battle of Chicago and humanity has grown fearful of Transformers. The U.S. military has severed joint combat operations with the Autobots. While officially the Autobots are granted sanctuary, secretly, even without the U.S. President’s knowledge, Cemetery Wind, an elite CIA unit headed by paranoid agent Harold Attinger and team leader James Savoy, tasked with hunting down the remaining Decepticons, is also secretly hunting down Autobots, believing them to be a threat, and have murdered most of them. With the aid of the Transformer bounty hunter Lockdown, they ambush and brutally kill Ratchet. Their primary target, however, is Optimus Prime, whom Lockdown personally wants alive.

Meanwhile in rural Texas, Cade Yeager, a struggling inventor, and his friend Lucas buy an old truck to strip it for parts in hopes of sending Cade’s daughter Tessa to college. Cade soon discovers that the truck is an injured Optimus Prime and repairs him. After locating Optimus in Texas, Cemetery Wind and Lockdown travel there and confront Cade, Tessa, and Lucas. Optimus comes out of hiding and attacks the operatives, allowing Cade and his friends to escape.

Transformers: Age of Extinction - Nicola Peltz

They are saved by Tessa’s secret boyfriend, Shane Dyson, with whom they escape, though Lucas is killed by Lockdown’s grenade. While in hiding, tensions between Cade, his daughter and Shane rise due to the fact that the two teenagers kept their relationship secret. Optimus, meanwhile rallies the last remaining Autobots: Bumblebee, Hound, Drift, and Crosshairs. Cade hacks into a drone he took from the attack in Texas, and learns that Cemetery Wind is working with a corporation called KSI. They decide to infiltrate KSI headquarters in Chicago for information.

Meanwhile, Joshua Joyce, the head of KSI, shows Tyril that he has perfected transformium, the codeable, molecularly unstable metal that the Transformers are composed of. He has imprisoned Brains to decode dead Transformers’ brains and utilize their data for human-created Transformers. He shows Tyril his prized creation, Galvatron, who was created using data from Megatron’s brain. Optimus and the Autobots storm the facility, free Brains, and start to destroy the facility. Joyce stops them, and when he explains that humans don’t need the Autobots anymore, now that they can create their own Transformer soldiers, the Autobots leave.

Transformers: Age of Extinction Poster

Transformers: Age of Extinction Poster

Transformers: Age of Extinction
Directed by: Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Stanley Tucci, T.J. Miller, Sophia Myles, Kelsey Grammer, Melanie Specht
Screenplay by: Ehren Kruger
Production Design by: Jeffrey Beecroft
Cinematography by: Amir Mokri
Film Editing by: Roger Barton, William Goldenberg, Paul Rubell
Costume Design by: Marie-Sylvie Deveau
Set Decoration by: Rosemary Brandenburg, Missy Parker
Music by: Steve Jablonsky
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: June 27, 2014

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Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer Movie

Fight your way to the front.

An adaptation of the French graphic novel, the story takes place aboard the titular train as it travels around in an endless circle, filled with the remnants of humanity after a devastating war. There are separate sections for the separate classes, and obviously all is not harmonious within.

Set in 2031, the entire world is frozen except for those aboard the Snowpiercer. For 17 years, the world’s survivors are on a train hurtling around the globe creating their own economy and class system. Led by Curtis, a group of lower-class citizens living in squalor at the back of the train are determined to get to the front of the train and spread the wealth around. Each section of the train holds new surprises for the group who have to battle their way through. A revolution is underway.

Snowpiercer is a 2013 South Korean science fiction action film based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette. The film is directed by Bong Joon-ho, and written by Bong and Kelly Masterson. The film marks Bong’s English-language debut; approximately 80% of the film was shot in English.

The film stars Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, and Ed Harris. The movie takes place aboard the globe-spanning Snowpiercer train which holds the last remnants of humanity after a manufactured attempt to stop global warming created a new ice age. Evans stars as Curtis Everett, a member of the lower-class tail section passengers as they lead a revolution against the elite of the front of the train. Filming was done on train car sets mounted on gimbals at Barrandov Studios in Prague to simulate the motion of the train.

Snowpiercer Movie Poster

Snowpiercer

Directed by: Joon-ho Bong
Starring: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, Alison Pill, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, Luke Pasqualino
Screenplay by: Joon-ho Bong, Kelly Masterson
Production Design by: Ondrej Nekvasil
Cinematography by: Kyung-pyo Hong
Film Editing by: Steve M. Choe, Changju Kim
Costume Design by: Catherine George
Set Decoration by: Beatrice Brentnerova
Music by: Marco Beltrami
MPAA RatingB R for violence, language and drug contentb
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Release Date: June 27, 2014

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They Came Together

They Came Together Movie

He came. She came. They both came.

From the director of Wet Hot American Summer, Wanderlust and Role Models comes a hilarious and irreverent subversion of the romantic comedy genre.

When Joel (Paul Rudd) and Molly (Amy Poehler) meet, it’s hate at first sight: his big Corporate Candy Company threatens to shut down her quirky indie candy shop. Plus, Joel is hung up on his sexy ex (Cobie Smulders). But amazingly, they fall in love, until they break up about two thirds of the way through, and Molly starts dating her accountant (Ed Helms). But then right at the end…well you’ll just have to see. (Hint: Joel makes a big speech and they get back together.)

They Came Together is an American comedy film directed by David Wain and written by Wain and Michael Showalter. It is a parody of romantic comedies infused with Showalter and Wain’s absurd approach. The film had its world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, and was released theatrically (with a simultaneous release on iTunes) on June 27, 2014.

They Came Together Movie

The film was written by David Wain and Michael Showalter. Rudd and Poehler participated in a table read of the script at the SF Sketchfest in January 2012. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2014., the film went on to screen at the Sundance London Film Festival on April 26, 2014., and went on to screen at the Chicago Critics Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, BAMcinema Fest., The film was released in the United States on June 27, 2014 in a limited release and through video on demand by Lionsgate.

They Came Together Movie Poster

They Came Together

Directed by: David Wain
Starring: Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Cobie Smulders, Christopher Meloni, Max Greenfield, Bill Hader, Ellie Kemper
Screenplay by: Michael Showalter, David Wain
Production Design by: Mark White
Cinematography by: Tom Houghton
Film Editing by: Jamie Gross
Costume Design by: Dana Covarrubias
Set Decoration by: Theo Sena
Music by: Matt Novack, Craig Wedren
MPAA Rating: R for language and sexual content.
Studio: Lionsgate Films
Release Date: June 27, 2014

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Think Like A Man Too

Think Like A Man Too Movie

In the highly anticipated sequel, which was inspired by Steve Harvey’s best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man, all the couples are back for a wedding in Las Vegas. But plans for a romantic weekend go awry when their various misadventures get them into some compromising situations that threaten to derail the big event.

About the Story

Cedric and his friends are all in Las Vegas for the wedding of Michael (Terrence J) and Candace (Regina Hall), with her son Duke (Caleel Harris) and mother (Angela Gibbs) joining them. Zeke (Romany Malco) and Mya (Meagan Good) arrive, with Zeke’s womanizing past constantly being brought up by old friends and former flames, including the concierge at the hotel, who throws her drink in his face.

Bennett (Gary Owen) and his wife Tish (Wendi McLendon-Covey) are trying to get a spark back in their marriage. Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) and Kristen (Gabrielle Union) have married and are now trying for a baby. Dominic (Michael Ealy) and Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) are reunited after spending time away from each other, and they make out in the limousine. Finally, Cedric pulls up to the hotel in a gaudy sports car, happily getting away from his wife Gail (Wendy Williams).

Think Like A Man Too Movie

The men and women separate to enjoy their day. Cedric books himself a lavish suite and intends to go all out for a wild weekend. Michael’s overbearing mother Loretta (Jenifer Lewis) doesn’t approve of his engagement with Candace, still thinking no woman is good enough for her son. Loretta even takes over the bachelorette party duties, even though Lauren is the maid of honor. The women start to have a party for Candace, complete with their own blow-up doll (named Idris), until Loretta makes up her own party, which is boring. This, along with Candace’s desire to have the perfect wedding, heaps on the stress.

Among other problems plaguing the couples include Lauren being called by her boss Lee (Kelsey Grammer), who tells her she is being considered for a C.O.O. position in New York, meaning she will be separated from Dominic. Kristen tries to get Jeremy to have sex with her and by roleplaying “Game of Thrones” characters, but Jeremy has reservations about becoming a father. Mya is ready to marry Zeke, but Zeke shows hesitation. He’s also not thrilled about having to give up smoking weed, and he instead brought weed breath strips.

Think Like A Man Too Movie Poster

Think Like A Man Too

Directed by: Tim Story
Starring: Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Romany Malco, Terrence Jenkins, Michael Ealy, Gary Owen
Screenplay by: Keith Merryman
Production Design by: Chris Cornwell
Cinematography by: Christopher Duskin
Film Editing by: Peter S. Elliot
Costume Design by: Salvador Pérez Jr.
Set Decoration by: Dena Roth
Music by: Christopher Lennertz
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material.
Studio: Sony Pictures
Release Date: June 20, 2014

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Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys Movie

Taglines: Everybody remembers it how they need to.

Clint Eastwood’s big screen version of the Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of the four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic `60s rock group The Four Seasons. Their trials and triumphs are accompanied by the hit songs that influenced a generation, and are now being embraced by a new generation of fans through the stage musical.

In 1951, in Belleville, New Jersey, Tommy DeVito, narrating the story, introduces the audience to himself, Tommy’s brother Nicky, and their friend Nick Massi, who perform together as The Variety Trio, and to a barber’s son, 16-year-old Frankie, already well known in the neighborhood for his singing voice. Frankie has the admiration of gangster Gyp DeCarlo, who takes a personal interest in him.

One night, the group attempts a robbery of a safe, for which the police later arrest them. In court, Frankie is let off with a warning but Tommy is sentenced to six months in prison. After his release, Tommy reunites the group and adds Frankie as lead singer. Frankie changes his professional name to Frankie Valli. At a performance, Frankie is entranced by a woman named Mary Delgado. He takes her to dinner, and they are soon married.

The group, now called “The Four Lovers,” is in need of a songwriter after Nicky leaves. Tommy’s friend Joe Pesci tells him about a talented singer-songwriter, Bob Gaudio, and invites him to hear the group perform. Gaudio, now narrating, is impressed with Valli’s vocals and agrees to join.

The band, having recorded several demos, attempts to attract interest, with little success. One day in New York City, producer Bob Crewe signs them to a contract. However, they quickly realize that it only allows them to perform back-up vocals for other acts (as The Romans and The Topix). Crewe says that the group does not have a distinctive image or sound yet. Inspired by a bowling alley sign, the guys rename themselves “The Four Seasons,” and sing a new song Gaudio has written, “Sherry”, to Crewe, who agrees to record it.

Jersey Boys Movie Poster

Jersey Boys

Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Christopher Walken, Francesca Eastwood, Freya Tingley, Mike Doyle, James Madio, Kathrine Narducci
Screenplay by: Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice
Production Design by: James J. Murakami
Cinematography by: Tom Stern
Film Editing by: Joel Cox, Gary Roach
Costume Design by: Deborah Hopper
Set Decoration by: Ronald R. Reiss
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout.
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: June 20, 2014

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How to Train Your Dragon 2

How to Train Your Dragon 2

The thrilling second chapter of the epic How To Train Your Dragon trilogy brings back the fantastical world of Hiccup and Toothless five years later. While Astrid, Snotlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.

Five years after the Viking village of Berk has made peace with the dragons, dragons now live amongst the villagers as working animals and companions, and even take part in racing sports. Hiccup goes on adventures with his dragon, Toothless, as they discover and map unexplored lands and territories. Having come of age, he is being pressed by his father, Stoick the Vast, to succeed him as chieftain, although Hiccup remains unsure if he is ready for this responsibility.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

While investigating a wildfire, Hiccup and Astrid discover the remains of a fort encased in a colossal blue ice formation and encounter a dragon trapper named Eret, who blames them for the destruction of his fort and attempts to capture their dragons for an insane conqueror called Drago Bludvist. The two riders return to Berk to warn Stoick about the dragon army that Drago is amassing, and Stoick orders the villagers to fortify the island and prepare for battle. Stoick explains that he once met Drago at a gathering of chiefs and found him to be an unreasonable madman, but Hiccup refuses to believe that war is inevitable. After Stoick interrupts their plan to get Eret to take them to his master, Hiccup flies off with Toothless in search of Drago, to try and reason with him.

They are captured by a dragon rider named Valka, who is revealed to be Hiccup’s long lost mother. She explains that she, like her son, was unable to kill dragons, and so, after being carried off during a dragon raid, spent twenty years rescuing dragons from Drago’s traps and bringing them to an island haven created out of ice by a colossal Alpha dragon called a Bewilderbeast, to whom all dragons answer. Stoick tracks Hiccup to the island where he discovers that his wife is still alive. Simultaneously, Astrid and the other riders kidnap Eret to find Drago, but they are also captured and Drago learns of Berk’s dragons.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 Poster

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Directed by: Dean DeBlois
Starring: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchett, Kristen Wiig, Gerard Butler, Kit Harington
Screenplay by: Dean DeBlois, Cressida Cowell
Production Design by: Rebecca Huntley
Animation Department: J.C. Alvarez, Michael Amo, Julien Bocabeille
Music by: John Powell
MPAA Rating: PG for adventure action and some mild rude humor.
Studio: DreamWorks Pictures
Release Date: June 13, 2014

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22 Jump Street

22 Jump Street Movie

Taglines: They’re not 21 anymore.

After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) when they go deep undercover at a local college. But when Jenko meets a kindred spirit on the football team, and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, they begin to question their partnership. Now they don’t have to just crack the case – they have to figure out if they can have a mature relationship. If these two overgrown adolescents can grow from freshmen into real men, college might be the best thing that ever happened to them.

22 Jump Street is an American action comedy film directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, produced by and starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, and written by Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, and Rodney Rothman. It is the sequel to the 2012 film 21 Jump Street, based on the television series of the same name. The film was released on June 13, 2014, by Columbia Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film received generally positive reviews and earned over $331 million at the box office. 23 Jump Street is in development, with Lord and Miller acting as producers.

22 Jump Street Movie

About the Story

Following their success in the 21 Jump Street program, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are back on the streets chasing narcotics. However, after failing in the pursuit of a group of drug dealers led by Ghost (Peter Stormare), Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) puts the duo back on the program to work for Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) – now located across the street at 22 Jump Street. Their assignment is to go undercover as college students and locate the supplier of a drug known as “WHYPHY” (Work Hard Yes Play Hard Yes) that killed a student photographed buying it on campus.

At college, Jenko quickly makes friends with a pair of jocks named Zook (Wyatt Russell) and Rooster (Jimmy Tatro), the latter being a prime suspect of the investigation. Jenko starts attending parties with the jocks who do not take as kindly to Schmidt. Meanwhile, Schmidt gets the attention of an art student, Maya (Amber Stevens), by feigning an interest in slam poetry. The two sleep together, to the disapproval of Maya’s roommate Mercedes (Jillian Bell), and it is revealed that Maya is the daughter of the vehemently disapproving Captain Dickson. Despite sleeping together, Maya tells Schmidt not to take it seriously, and he starts to feel left out as Jenko bonds more and more with Zook who encourages him to join the football team.

When Schmidt and Jenko feel as if they have no clue to who the dealer is because they have no leads, they decide to pay a visit to Mr. Walters (Rob Riggle) and Eric (Dave Franco) in jail for advice on how to look for the WHYPHY supplier. Walters tells the two to look more closely as he notices a unique tattoo on the arm of the dealer in the photograph showing it is a guy shooting a bazooka with the big boldest part of the tattoo that reads “BOOM!”. He insists that if they find the tattoo, they will have found their man.

Whilst hanging out with Zook and Rooster, Jenko notices that Rooster does not have the tattoo but sees it on Zook’s arm. Schmidt and Jenko are invited to join the fraternity led by the jocks but Schmidt refuses, furthering the tension between the two. At a counselling session, they realise that maybe Zook isn’t the dealer but was buying the drugs rather than selling them, and soon afterwards they find Ghost and his men on campus. A chase ensues and Ghost again evades the pair. Jenko reveals to Schmidt that he’s been offered a football scholarship with Zook and is unsure whether or not he wants to continue to be a police officer. Schmidt decides for him by telling officers on the scene that Jenko had nothing to do with the melee caused by the chase. Immediately afterwards, Schmidt moves out of the dorm and Maya finds out who he really is.

Spring Break arrives and Schmidt prepares to go after Ghost alone. Jenko asks to help so that the two can have one final mission together, and the pair head to the beach where Ghost is likely to be dealing WHYPHY. Inside a bar, they find Mercedes, revealed to be Ghost’s daughter, giving instructions to other dealers. The pair, backed up by Dickson, ambush the meeting and give chase as they flee. Mercedes is able to handcuff Dickson and take him hostage, pursued by Schmidt. Meanwhile, Jenko goes after Ghost. After a fist fight with Mercedes, Schmidt is held at gunpoint by her but Maya sneaks up and knocks her out. Schmidt goes to help Jenko who is now on the roof of the college in pursuit of Ghost, who shoots Jenko in the shoulder. Ghost attempts to escape in a helicopter and Jenko jumps across to it but struggles to hold on with his injured arm. Schmidt makes the same jump and the two fall into the sea, but not before Jenko is able to throw a grenade into the helicopter, killing Ghost.

22 Jump Street Movie Poster

22 Jump Street

Directed by: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Dave Franco, Peter Stormare, Amber Stevens, Libby Blanton
Screenplay by: Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel
Production Design by: Steve Saklad
Cinematography by: Barry Peterson
Film Editing by: Keith Brachmann, David Rennie
Costume Design by: Leesa Evans
Set Decoration by: Tracey A. Doyle
Music byB Mark Mothersbaugh
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence.
Studio: Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures
Release Date: June 13, 2014

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The Double

The Double Movie

Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) is a timid office clerk working in an ominous government organization. He is overlooked by his boss (Wallace Shawn) and colleagues, scorned by his mother, and ignored by Hannah (Mia Wasikowska), the lovely copy room girl he pines for. Undermined and undervalued everywhere he turns, it seems that his directionless life couldn’t get any worse—until the arrival of James Simon, his new co-worker. James is both Simon’s exact physical double and his opposite—confident, charismatic and seductive with women. To Simon’s horror, James slowly starts taking over his life.

British director Richard Ayoade returns with this darkly comic adaptation of Dostoevsky’s novella, featuring a tour de force dual performance from Jesse Eisenberg and co-starring Mia Wasikowska, alongside a strong ensemble cast including Wallace Shawn, Noah Taylor and Cathy Moriarty.

The Double Movie - Mia Wasikowska

About the Production

Robin C Fox and Amina Dasmal operate their Alcove Entertainment on the basis that the creative talent leads the process – always. Their partnership with Harmony Korine as producers on 2009‘s Trash Humpers came about because, as Fox has it, “we hunted him down, and told him that whatever film he wanted to make, we’d do it!”

In 2007, Fox and Dasmal met Harmony’s brother, Avi Korine, who was working on a script adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novella The Double. It struck the producers that this story of a solitary, troubled man whose life is upended by his over-confident alter-ego might appeal to another name on their creative wish-list – the British writer, director and performer Richard Ayoade, then yet to make his debut as a feature director.

“We’d been stalking Richard,” Fox ruefully recalls, “using every method we could think of to get him interested in something… but it was difficult, because he’s got taste! With this script, we thought at last we might have something on which he might not go so cold and quiet. We saw that it would suit his sensibility – both his sense of humor, and his understanding of the subject matter.”

They also saw, however, that the project would need time to evolve: “Richard wasn’t just going to come in and shoot someone else’s script.” But, says Dasmal, “if we feel excited, we go at the pace the talent needs. It’s about supporting the process, if you want the best. Of course there are days when you want to be shooting rather than waiting – but it’s incredibly fulfilling when you do read that next draft.” It helped that co-producers Film4 also “believed in Richard’s ability to deliver what was in his imagination”, Dasmal says. “They’re in a different category and rightly so. They were genuinely brilliant to work with.”

The Double Movie - Jesse Eisenberg

The result of letting Ayoade pursue his vision to the hilt is a film that resists obvious commercialism, and genre categorization. Fox points out that concern for the supposed demands of the market is reduced by “spending time around people who talk about market conditions, and seeing the abject failures that spawn from that!”

Dasmal notes that the producers use themselves as a guide: “This is a film we want to watch, so there’s an audience out there.” If the world in which The Double takes place is an unfamiliar one – claustrophobic; jittery; at once futuristic and redolent of a non-specific, dusty past – its emotions are accessible. “Loneliness and feeling undervalued are universal,” says Fox “as is romance”. “The love story is very beautiful,”

Dasmal adds. “Richard really surprised us with how he captured it.” Ayoade also impressed with his confidence in making his imagined environment into a real space. “He can go into a room,” says Fox, “and completely capture what he’s trying to create.”

Australian rising star Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre; Stoker; The Kids are All Right), who plays Hannah, was interested in Ayoade having seen his feature debut Submarine, which she describes as “brilliant”. Her interest in his second directorial outing was further stimulated by her friendship with Harmony Korine, who encouraged her to look out for his brother’s script when it came her way. Working with Ayoade was, she says, “really amazing. I haven’t had an experience that’s been this fulfilling in all areas. His direction is so clear, and he has a really sensitive way of dealing with actors and getting the best out of us.”

Moreover, Ayoade’s treatment of the material, and the clarity of his vision of the atmosphere of the piece, surprised her. “He’s elevated the material in a way that I didn’t really expect – he had a really unique way of seeing things,” she says. “It’s not completely specified what kind of world we live in here, and Richard’s brought such a strong vision to it.” The ambiguity of the story’s time and place, she feels, reflects a story that says different things to different people. “There are so many ways of seeing the idea of someone who’s exactly the same as you. It’s subjective – so everyone who sees the film will have a different view of what it means.”

That’s a sentiment echoed by Ayoade’s lead actor: Golden Globe, BAFTA and Academy Award nominee Jesse Eisenberg. Working on The Double was “the most interesting experience I’ve ever had”, says the star of Zombieland, The Social Network and Now You See Me. “The stuff Richard was doing was amazing. Every room, every scene was located in this ambiguous place and time. And he never wanted anything to be standard. Often, an actor comes with his own strange ideas, and the director takes them and shapes them into a normal movie scene. Richard takes actors’ strange inclinations… and pushes them farther. It’s an approach that brings rewards. Something about the way he works makes it impossible not to engage completely. That applied to all of the actors, even those who came in for one day.”

The actor’s own interest in working with Ayoade stemmed from his own uncharacteristic response to Submarine, which was sent to him as background before The Double had a completed script. “I don’t watch movies,” Eisenberg laughs, “so I just put it in to watch the first five minutes. Not only did I watch the whole thing – I watched it two times in a row. I thought it was the greatest thing I had ever seen. Every moment was full of emotional richness, and funny, and real – it was just unique. Then I met him and realized why. He has this unique sensibility, this aesthetic that is totally his own.”

The Double also presented Eisenberg with a challenge: that of playing two characters in one film. “I thought it was a really interesting acting opportunity,” he says. “Richard’s goal was not to create a traditional comic dichotomy between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters, but something much more psychologically complicated.” Shy, dysfunctional, resentful Simon and his cocksure mirror image James are, says Eisenberg, “not so much different people as different manifestations of the same psyche. So for me it was about coming up with different gestures and voices to convey the visceral experience of each character. Once I figured out the emotional tone of Simon, James came more quickly.

Simon isn’t traditionally hapless and well-meaning, he’s emotionally fraught and inept; and James isn’t evil and malicious, he’s charming and capable. Simon’s emotional response is histrionic, so he lives in a dystopian world. James lives in the same world, but for him it’s utopian.”

The Double Movie Poster

The Double

Directed by: Richard Ayoade
Oyuncular: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Sally Hawkins, Noah Taylor, Cathy Moriarty, Paddy Considine
Screenplay by: Richard Ayoade
Production Design by: David Crank
Cinematography by: Erik Wilson
Film Editing by: Chris Dickens, Nick Fenton
Costume Design by: Jacqueline Durran
Set Decoration by: Barbara Herman-Skelding
MPAA Rating: R for language.
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Release Date: May 9, 2014

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