Aziz Ansari

Today’s major casting press release might be the first I’ve heard of Twentieth Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios’ upcoming 3D CG “action-adventure comedy,” Epic, but it’s just about all I need to get certifiably pumped over whatever the heck is going to get tossed at the screen with this one. Why? Let’s just take a look at the cast, shall we? Epic will star Beyonce Knowles, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Knoxville, Aziz Ansari, Pitbull, Jason Sudeikis, Steven Tyler, Blake Anderson (who?), and Judah Friedlander. Because why the heck not, right? The only thing that is disappointing about this cast is that Epic is not live-action, so there’ s no guarantee that any of these giant, hilariously-cast talents will ever be in the same room together. Pity. I suppose you want to know what Epic is actually about, right? Apparently, the film comes to use from the creators of Ice Age and Rio, and it “tells the story of an ongoing battle deep in the forest between the forces of good and the forces of evil.  When a teen age girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe, she must band together with a rag-tag team of fun and whimsical characters in order to save their world…and ours.” So, it’s FernGully?

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Culture Warrior

Veteran filmmaker Paul Schrader, notorious author Bret Easton Ellis, and indie producer Braxton Pope want you to audition for their new film. They’re assembling a microbudget feature for the digital distribution market called The Canyons, and they’re looking for some fresh new faces to star in it. Is your lack of an agent or non-Los Angeles residence preventing you from getting a fair chance at auditioning for legit films? There’s no need to worry, for we live in the 21st century my friend. The Canyons is holding its audition process through Facebook. On the one hand, The Canyons‘s unique production process makes complete sense. We are no longer, after all, in 2006 when studio producers had an overinvested, experimental Snakes on a Plane-level-interest in Internet culture. In this case, even on a small-budget independent film, the visible gatekeepers still possess power over the participants within the supposedly “democratized” framework of social networking. For a while it seemed that cinema – largely an object particular to 20th century logic – could not adapt to the boundary-destroying, power-shifting implications of the 21st century. Now this seems to no longer be the case. Web distribution (which was little more than a fantasy or an overblown threat to theatrical cinema’s hegemony just over a decade ago) is now seen as a conceivable and potentially profitable alternative to traditional film exhibition.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr makes big plans to publish a best-selling book that women across the nation will read in hoity-toity book clubs. Step one: Move to the deep south and get raised by an African American maid. While Kevin tries to figure out how to move past that step, he gets a job delivering pizzas and lives in constant fear he’ll be used in a bank heist. Then he cheats death by avoiding the Glee concert movie, but lives in even more constant fear that the flick will hunt him down and make him watch it.

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30 Minutes or Less is a movie that takes risks. In a flat landscape of studio movies that seem mostly to be shoved into a formula that doesn’t quite work anymore, watching this film is like drinking an ice cold lemonade on a hot summer day that’s been spiked with stuff that would put hair on your chest. For all the laughs and gore of Zombieland, director Ruben Fleischer seems to have taken this comedy about a pizza boy forced to rob a bank simply to further prove he can get away with anything he wants. And he gets away with it, because the movies he makes are damned funny. This is a film for adults that grabs its anatomy, goes about its business, and doesn’t care to cater to any particular sensibility. It’s because of that attitude that it all works so well. The direction, the actors, and the writing commit fully to the premise, and sells us on the bit by sheer willpower (and a healthy amount of adult language and situations).

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Director Ruben Fleischer seems to have cashed in all his chips from Zombieland and made a small, dark, action comedy. Underneath its obvious commercial appeal, chances are taken with the humor of 30 Minutes or Less. Whether it be with Michael Pena‘s performance or being unafraid to have actual stakes, the film doesn’t always play it safe. One would think Fleischer would jump right away into the world of tent-pole filmmaking, but he decided to wisely follow-up his hit film with a project that’ll allow his sensibilities to show. Fleischer won’t be staying in the comedy world forever, though. With his next film, The Gangster Squad, the director will be tackling an epic L.A.-set gangster picture through a digital camera lens. The director was kind enough to make the time to talk while prepping The Untouchables-esque epic, where we discussed the darkness of 30 Minutes or Less, grounding comedies, and his love for digital filmmaking:

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In 2003 a man walked into a bank in Erie, PA with a bomb strapped to his chest. He claimed he was being forced to wear the explosive device and that if he didn’t succeed in robbing the bank his captors would detonate it. The police caught up with him in nearby parking lot, handcuffed him, and waited around (at a safe distance) for the bomb squad to arrive. They waited too long. As the man pleaded with police as to why no one was coming to remove the bomb it exploded, blew a hole through his chest, and killed him instantly. Sounds like ripe material for a comedy to me! 30 Minutes Or Less is the new film from Zombieland director, Ruben Fleischer, and while it isn’t actually based on the real life incident it has potential to be a very dark comedy indeed. Jesse Eisenberg plays a pizza delivery driver who has a bomb forcibly attached to his body and is then instructed to rob a bank. Aziz Ansari plays his best friend who tries to help him through this fairly difficult situation, and Danny McBride and Nick Swardson play the diabolical masterminds behind the plan. Check out the trailer and share your thoughts below.

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They’ll most likely have to change the name to Cop Out, but Danny McBride is announcing that he’ll re-team with his 30 Minutes or Less co-star Azis Ansari for a film about an Olympic athlete who “bangs” their characters’ girlfriends and the revenge that is brought down upon his head like a shot thrown by gold medalist Randy Barnes crashing down to earth. Simple premise. Men on a mission. But if Danny McBride’s character is anything short of a meek man who gets bullied a lot, count me uninterested. Seeing McBride play a crude loud mouth has gotten stale. Ansari’s involvement changes the game a bit, and fortunately we’ll get a sneak peek at the pair’s chemistry when they deliver pizzas together in 30 Minutes or Less. [MTV]

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No one knows what it is, so you have to judge whether or not it’s a good idea based on who’s involved.

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Our man on the scene Kevin Kelly reports in with his Funny People junket report, including interviews with Judd Apatow, Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and more.

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Universal Pictures, along with the folks over at Funny or Die, has released the first part of a two-part documentary about a special comedian named Randy…

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With Neil kidnapped by a madman who hunts down The Most Dangerous Game, Cole is left to his own devices. Luckily, we’ve got special guest co-host Eric Vespe from Aint It Cool News to partake in the mid-show dance break. It’s called the Rumpshaker, friends. Also, we talk about movies at some point.

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Judd Apatow’s, Adam Sandler starring, Funny People is nearing release, and as such, the online presence is stepping up. In this case we have a website.

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You may have heard that some people think IMAX is ripping them off. Well Robert Fure is here to tell you they’re doing it in more ways than one.

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see some group action with the Olsen twins and Will Arnett? Well, here’s your chance… sort of.

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Warner Bros. has released a brand new redband clip from their upcoming release Observe and Report, from The Foot Fist Way director Jody Hill. It features a show-stealing performance from Aziz Ansari.

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published: 04.18.2014
C-
published: 04.18.2014
C
published: 04.18.2014
B+
published: 04.18.2014
A

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