Adam Driver

While We

Adulthood is not the answer. Director Noah Baumbach has long played with characters who exhibit little interest or ability to just plain grow up, from the arrested development of the college grads in Kicking and Screaming, to the unrestrained emotion of Roger Greenberg in his Greenberg, to the charming immaturity of Frances Ha, but that doesn’t mean that taking on the trappings of adulthood will suddenly solve the issues of Baumbach’s characters. Being a grown up is just as impossible as refusing to do so, there are just better apartments to act out your angst in. Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia don’t really fit in with their friends anymore – even their best friends Marina (Maria Dizzia) and Fletcher (Adam Horowitz, yes, Ad-Rock) – because everyone around them has gone baby-mad and the pair remains childless. It’s not for lack of trying, however, and it soon becomes apparent that Josh and Cornelia attempted to expand their family before, and it didn’t work out (like, really didn’t work out). Distraught from that portion of their lives, and more than a bit flummoxed by the baby brains all their friends seem to exhibit, the couple decides babies aren’t for them. So where do they fit?

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Hungry Hearts

The Toronto International Film Festival boasts an extremely varied line-up of programming, but its Midnight Madness section is one of its particular darlings and a favorite of its many attendees. Midnight Madness is just that — a section about madness, usually of the genre variety, and always the kind of fare that’s best seen in a packed theater in the wee hours — and when a film plays in MM, audiences have some idea of what they’re going to get (and are appropriately prepared for the lunacy). Saverio Costanzo’s Hungry Hearts is not part of this year’s Midnight Madness offerings, instead playing in the festival’s Special Presentations section, a relatively straightforward program that isn’t exactly the right fit for the wild and wooly feature. Costanzo’s film starts out sweetly enough, with a bathroom-set meet-cute that’s perhaps better classified as a meet-gross, as angel-faced Mina (Alba Rohrwacher) becomes trapped in a tiny restaurant bathroom with Jude (Adam Driver), who is apparently suffering from gastrointestinal distress. The pair is able to laugh heartily at their situation, and once a bewildered waiter forces the door open, it’s no surprise that the next scene sees Jude and Mina in bed together. Costanzo fast-forwards their relationship, and before audiences have a chance to settle into their apparently now-serious pairing, Mina is pregnant and they’ve gone and gotten married. It’s after this happy event – the kind of ending we’d find in a traditional romantic comedy that would perhaps play around with its own meet-gross – that […]

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Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If

It’s a story we’ve heard plenty of times before. An adorable guy (Daniel Radcliffe) has been skanking around with his well-intentioned bro friends for far too long without getting action, so one of them (Adam Driver) takes the initiative to get him back in the game. He meets an equally adorable gal, the woman of his dreams, even (Zoe Kazan), but it’s just not meant to be — sister already has a boyfriend (Rafe Spall) back at home. So what’s a ruffled-hair kid to do when he’s met the love of his life and she’s under the impression that they’re best friends? He pines, that’s what he does. The trailer for What If – the romantic comedy that will surely break all rom-coms if the hit list of tropes packed into just a few minutes are any indication — paints a neat and tidy picture of Wallace and Chantry’s inevitable romance. They’re friends, but can their friendship work if there’s that electric current of chemistry running underneath all of their interactions? Clearly, the filmmakers (director Michael Dowse and writer Elan Mastai) want us to say an emphatic “no;”  these two are destined to wind up together, for their love is so pure and magical that it makes the rest of us and our dumb relationships look pathetic in comparison. Look at them play ping pong together and almost kiss about five times and share a completely avoidable intimate moment in a dressing room. And what about her perfectly acceptable, well-to-do boyfriend who doesn’t really seem to have any […]

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Oscar Isaac in The Nativity Story

If you saw today’s Star Wars: Episode VII casting news and said “who?” more than once, this guide is for you. But even if you saw the names and were mostly familiar with them, this guide is also for you. Sure, everyone knows Andy Serkis, but has everyone seen the movie that makes him best suited to work with director J.J. Abrams on a Star Wars movie? Especially if, as I would wish, he isn’t just doing another motion-capture character? And yeah, yeah, there’s the whole Inside Llewyn Davis reunion going on with Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac, but there are other more appropriate, if not better, movies to see in anticipation of the big one. For each of the newcomers, I’ve selected one movie that you can watch right now and one movie that will (hopefully) be out between now and the December 2015 release date for Episode VII. That gives you plenty of time and a fairly small pile of titles to get through. Of course, if you have some extra room for more, you can always add at least 20 more necessities for Max von Sydow. That guy has been in a lot of great stuff. And a lot of bad stuff that’s at least pretty cool.

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Star Wars Episode 7 Cast

Alright everybody, you can breath a deep sigh of relief — the official Star Wars: Episode VII cast list has just been announced after months — no, years — of speculation and rumor patrol. The roster for the franchise’s newest incarnation is intriguing, if not downright spectacular. The press release  confirmed what so many already knew (especially after they were spotted cavorting around London together this week), that the saga’s original stars, the holy trilogy of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher will be back in action, as will their old pals Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2). 

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Girls

The third season of Lena Dunham‘s Girls was put to bed this past Sunday night, and we’re already speculating about what the next run has in store for those eponymous girls (and, more importantly, their awesome boys). The series’ love for ending things on a cliffhanger only heightens anticipation — there’s nothing like some good old-fashioned “will she? won’t she?” to keep people on board — and the third season didn’t back down from putting some possible big changes into motion. What will the fourth season look like? Who will be there? How much of it will we get? Will we get to meet Caroline’s spawn? Is is still going to be in Brooklyn? Loud yelling about Adam Driver! Everyone, get ahold of yourselves. We might not know the answers to all of those questions, but we sure do know a lot. Take a look.

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Girls Two Plane Rides

Do you remember how last season’s Girls run ended? The running? The romance? The OCD reveal? It was a heady time in our lives, back when there was still some hope for Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver), Marnie (Allison Williams) hadn’t lost another boyfriend, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) was trying to spread his wings, and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) had gone MIA. Think of it now! No Caroline! No GQ! No rehab! The good old days! “Two Plane Rides” effectively ends the series’s third season — and probably a whole mess of relationships, too — with the revelation of something just as unexpected as Hannah’s OCD: she applied to the country’s best grad school. And she got in. Elsewhere, Adam bombs his Broadway debut (by his approximation), Marnie goes after another bad boy, Shosh sees her partying come to its logical end, and Jessa tries to kill an old lady. No, really. The series closed out with a truly excellent finale — one packed with fun details like Elijah’s formal shorts, Shoshanna’s sad hair and wholly expected college flunk out, Adam’s “bad” performance, Marnie’s inability to stay away from “emotional property,” Jessa having to face some real consequences, and Hannah proving herself to be some kind of intellectual titan.

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Girls I Saw You

In most cases, when one half of a seemingly happy couple moves out while still claiming to be dedicated to the relationship, it’s not a good sign – but “most cases” don’t appear to apply to the romance of Girls’ Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver). The duo have been through more ups and downs than your local Six Flags rollercoaster, and although our own Rob Hunter and myself have spent most of the show’s third season prepping for their inevitable demise, it sure is taking longer than we expected. Not that Hannah is helping – amid cries from Adam for her to “relax!” and assuring her that his moving in with Ray (Alex Karpovsky, finally back) is just to get his head right for his Broadway debut, she’s still being overemotional and untrusting. Hey, girl, we get it, but that doesn’t account for the rest of her behavior in this week’s episode, “I Saw You,” which soon spirals out to see Hannah setting fire to every aspect of her life. Elsewhere, Marnie (Allison Williams) and Beardy McSingsalot (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) hit their first open mic night, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) does something with her hair and her face that’s great, and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) gets a job. No, really. Patti LuPone also returns to drop some knowledge, and Elijah (Andrew Rannells) reacts spectacularly. Also, Ray and Adam hang out together in a bathroom.

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tracks-mia-driver

Director John Curran’s Tracks had solid showings at both Telluride and Venice film festivals, and with The Weinstein Company having snagged the epic Aussie adventure for US distribution rights, a theatrical drop date should be forthcoming. For now, we at least get our first look in a new trailer. The movie is adapted from Robyn Davidson’s autobiography of the same name, telling the story of her solo trek through almost two thousand miles of Australian desert, from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean. With only the companionship of four camels and her dog, Diggity, during her adventure she met the unique folk you’d only find making a home of the desert and also, eventually, National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan, who documented her journey. Screenwriter Marion Nelson handled screen adaptation duties.

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Listen, I know that there’s been a lot of Star Wars apathy lately. J.J. Abrams has kept that damn mystery box shut for close to a year and a half now, and in that year and a half we haven’t gotten a single solid name to attach to Episode VII (at least as far as actors are concerned). It’s put a bit of a damper on the rumor mill, recently. Gary Oldman gets a Star Wars phone call from J.J. Abrams? Shrug. Benedict Cumberbatch rumored for Oldman’s part, with both actors somehow playing the same character? Yawn. Well, allow this sentence to (hopefully) clear away some cobwebs: “Driver, 30, is the first cast member to be revealed for Walt Disney Studios and LucasFilm’s highly-anticipated “Star Wars” installment.”

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Girls Only Child 1

After starting off the third season of Girls with such a solid bang, it was perhaps inevitable that Lena Dunham‘s series would have to stall out at some point, and the fifth episode of the season (“Only Child”) is that stall out. While things start off extremely promisingly – with Hannah (Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver) attending the funeral of her recently departed weirdo editor, David Pressler-Goings (John Cameron Mitchell) – things go downhill extremely quickly. Bugged out both by the appearance of a Mrs. Pressler-Goings (the divine Jennifer Westfeldt) and the news that all of her editor’s books are now “dead,” Hannah reacts, well, like Hannah – by pressing the widow for publishing contacts. Despite the interest of a new publisher, things aren’t exactly coming up Hannah, and when she kicks Caroline (Gaby Hoffmann) out of the apartment, it looks like a fight with Adam is on the horizon. Elsewhere, Marnie (Allison Williams) adopts a kitten, asks Ray (Alex Karpovsky) to detail her faults, and rewards him with some table-set loving. Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) continue to swirl around on the far reaches of the Girls galaxy, though Jessa’s newly hatched idea to work in a kiddie store just might thrust her back into the fray. As ever, your faithful Girls servants – myself and Rob Hunter – are here to pull this thing to pieces, cute kittens not included.

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Girls Females Only

Lena Dunham’s perennially popular and continuously controversial HBO series Girls is back, thanks to last night’s two-episode double-whammy, an entire hour of lady-centric television that reintroduces us to the lives, loves, and horrible horrible oh my god terrible mistakes of our eponymous girls-not-yet-women. And they’re not the only ones back for more! Yes, our own Rob Hunter and I have returned to discuss, dissect, and dismantle each episode of Girls as the season winds on – so let’s see get down to it while we’re still young. The third season of the series picks up an indeterminable number of days? weeks? probably not months? since we last left off with Hannah (Lena Dunham), Marnie (Allison Williams), Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet), Jessa (Jemima Kirke), Adam (Adam Driver), and Ray (Alex Karpovsky), and while plenty has shifted in their lives, it doesn’t seem as if that much has actually changed. Hannah and Adam are playing house, Marnie is mourning the death of her relationship with the departed Charlie (Christopher Abbott), Shoshanna has dedicated her life to dudes, and Jessa is laughing hysterically at her problems (and rehab itself). Yes, this all sounds pretty damn familiar, but the world of Dunham and her cohorts appears to be on the cusp of something very new and very scary, and if everything appears to be surprisingly status quo, we’ve got a sneaking suspicion that’s going to change quite soon – and quite spectacularly. 

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hannah-en-couple-avec-adam

Tomorrow night, while you’re tuned into the 71st Golden Globes, the HBO series Girls (which is again nominated for a couple of those awards) will be kicking off its third season with an excellent therapy-filled episode featuring the guest-starring talents of Richard E. Grant (wise and weaselly), Bob Balaban (hilariously mumbly), Kim Gordon (magnificently meth-y) and Danielle Brooks of Orange Is the New Black (I almost want to believe she’s the same character here). You’ll want to DVR it. And make sure to subscribe to the whole season while you’re scheduling that recording. If you got rid of HBO or don’t have it, borrow someone’s HBO Go password. Stick with it for another round. Even if you’ve already made up your mind that you’re not going to bother with the show anymore, not after a fairly mediocre and miserable sophomore season, rethink that decision. So far, having gotten the chance to dip halfway in with the first six episodes, I think this is the most entertaining season yet. Maybe not the most consistently interesting, I’ll give its critics that, but still very smart and funny and relevant. And most importantly I think it’s the most likable it’s ever been. Perhaps after the midway point the characters will start being really shitty or pathetic again, which I’m sure is what some of its audience actually wants anyway. For now, I think it’s nice to not hate these people for a while. Because it’s the third season, I’ve appropriately limited myself to only three reasons for […]

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adam driver archangel

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. Even though he’s only in the film for a few minutes, Adam Driver is one of the most talked-about actors in the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis. Of course he is, because when he’s on screen you can’t look at anything else. It’s that combination of rugged handsomeness and gigantic freakishness that captures your attention, and a lot of it has to do with our familiarity with him being almost solely from his role on Girls. This year he also got to break out a little more with Frances Ha, but he’s still fairly new to acting, having been a United States Marine just over a decade ago. Really, he’s had a fast rise to a scene stealing bit part in a Best Picture hopeful (and I might actually be referring to last year’s Lincoln, or maybe the previous year’s J. Edgar?), since he only graduated from Julliard in 2009. It was that year that he scored his first screen credit in an episode of The Unusuals. In 2010, he acted in a pilot for an HBO series called The Wonderful Maladys, which wasn’t picked up. But he did wind up on the channel with the movie You Don’t Know Jack, his first feature. Not his first film, though. That would be a short that debuted a few months earlier titled Archangel.

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Tracks

Some people go on vacation to find themselves. They start writing their novel, or get a makeover or eat/pray/love their way to self acceptance. But in 1977, Robyn Davidson took things in a slightly bigger direction when she gathered up some camels and trekked across the Australian outback from Alice Springs to the west coast — you know, just because. Davidson’s story is chronicled in Tracks, the adaptation of her revered “National Geographic” article turned memoir that stars Mia Wasikowska as the fearless adventurer and Adam Driver as the NatGeo photographer she picks up along the way to document the journey. Though Davidson’s trek begins as the grandest declaration of “ugh everyone just leave me alone please,” the inclusion of the photographer and the many lively human and non-human companions she meets during those 2000 treacherous miles out on the road allow her to open up to a new mindset about what she wants out of her walkabout. Maybe it’s not so bad to have a little company besides the camels?

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inside-llewyn

It’s fitting that awards season comes during winter – after all, the more dramatic-skewing fare we tend to get come November and December all but blots out the sunny memories of yet another blockbuster-filled summer season – but that doesn’t mean that every big gun hitting screens near you has to be (or even is) an emotional downer. While Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave may have scared off a few viewers because of repeated cries that the film was brutal and wrenching and highly upsetting, the film is also very rewarding and, we daresay, well worth the emotional upheavals that happen within it (and, conversely, the emotional upheavals that happen to its audience while watching). The Coen Brothers’ latest, Inside Llewyn Davis, may fall victim to that same “it’s hard!” talk, and its muted color palate, wintry setting, and focus on a struggling folk singer (Oscar Isaac) who never makes it at his chosen craft might not appeal to those with drama fatigue – but it should. Especially because, in true Coen fashion, Inside Llewyn Davis is very, very funny. Sure, most of the film’s biggest chuckles come care of the crushing inevitability of life, terrible chance encounters, and drug abuse (this film really is funny, we swear), but that’s what makes it relatable. It’s what makes it ring true (and sing true). Yet, there’s nothing as funny, catchy, and plucky in the film than a little ditty called “Please Mr. Kennedy.”

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Tracks

Robyn Davidson tells it plain – “I just want to be by myself” – but the budding nomad’s idea of solitary experience is an extreme one. Based on the true-life tale of Australian native Davidson, Tracks stars Mia Wasikowska as Davidson, who embarked on an extraordinary journey in 1977 that took her from Alice Springs (in the center of the continent) west to the Indian Ocean. On foot. It is a two thousand mile journey that, at best, can take six months. For someone who wants to be alone, it’s a hell of a way to do it. Robyn doesn’t do so well with people – at one point, she and her beloved dog Diggity literally hide behind her squatted home in an attempt to avoid contact with a pack of Robyn’s friends that she actually seems to like – so it’s not surprising that even though her trip across the desert is done with express purpose of being alone, Robyn eventually discovers that her desire to be solitary isn’t the safest thing for her (or, honestly, anyone).

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Not Waving But Drowning Movie

After some strongly positive audience reactions from a handful of festivals, the team behind Not Waving But Drowning has chosen to make the film available online for free starting at the end of August. Written and directed by Devyn Waitt, it opens with a brief prologue focusing on a pair’s relationship after one of their mothers commits suicide, but the bulk of the story revolves around two best friends who head in two different directions. Adele sprints from a small town in Florida to experience New York City while Sara stays put, dealing with a depressive father and obtaining a new view of the tiny town that diminishes the urge to follow in her friend’s bit city-seeking footsteps. Starring Vanessa Ray and Megan Guinan, it also features performances from Girls‘ Adam Driver and veteran actress Lynn Cohen (The Station Agent, Munich). The trailer feels indie to the core, and the trail of praise (not to mention the price tag) definitely make this one to watch.

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Girls

The second season of Lena Dunham‘s Girls wrapped up with a humdinger of an episode, tantalizingly titled “Together.” Let’s just say that things ended on a far different note than they did last time around. When we open, Hannah is still struggling with her OCD, Adam is still struggling with his new girlfriend, Marnie is trying to get Charlie back (still?), and Shoshanna is trying to get rid of Ray (maybe). Oh, how things can change in just a matter of months. After the break, Rob Hunter and I continue to bemoan Adam’s happiness level, plot Marnie and Charlie’s yuppie future, and wonder just who thought a conventional rom-com ending was what anyone wanted (or deserved) for the season finale.

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Girls On All Fours

Editor’s note: Apologies on this late post of our most beloved Girls column, as editors Kate Erbland and Rob Hunter have been tied up with equally important endeavors – Kate moved cross country and Rob is eating veggie breakfast tacos at SXSW. It will never happen again. Onward with the embarrassment and sadness! Discomfort and embarrassment were the order of the day in the latest episode of Lena Dunham‘s Girls, the appropriately-titled “On All Fours,” as Hannah continued to spiral downward into her newly-revealed OCD, Marnie shamed every white girl who thought she could sing Kanye West in the middle of a crowded tech party, Shoshanna almost revealed her biggest mistake to Ray, and Adam attempted to live a happy life (emphasis on the “attempted to”). Were you sad last week? Yeah, meet this episode and recalibrate your depression appropriately. After the break, Hunter and I explore Adam’s inability to be happy, Dunham’s major acting step-up, and the worst party in the history of parties.

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