Beau Bridges

trailer eden

SXSW 2013 is mere weeks away, so it makes sense that we’re getting our first trailer for a film that premiered to great acclaim at last year’s festival winning the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. Better late than never I suppose. Eden is a true story about human sex trafficking and stars Jamie Chung in the title role as a Korean-American teenager abducted in the mid-’90s and held prisoner for two years. Along with several other girls she’s forced into work as a sex slave in clubs, motels and even fraternity houses. As the hardships, torture and degradation mount she realizes that her survival may very well depend on her level of cooperation with her captors, and a decision is made that she can never fully return from. This is writer/director Megan Griffiths‘ third feature film and co-stars Beau “No, The Other One” Bridges and Matt O’Leary. Check out the trailer below…unless you don’t want to be spoiled by the film’s sole (and to be fair, fairly predictable) twist.

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Over Under - Large

In 2011, director Tate Taylor adapted Kathryn Stockett’s novel “The Help,” a story about the relationship between the wealthy whites and the poor blacks who raised their children of 60s-era Mississippi, into a feature film. When all was said and done, Taylor’s film made nearly ten times its production budget, was nominated for a truckload of awards (including 8 NAACP Image Awards and 4 Academy Awards), and had everyone’s aunts and grandmas talking their ears off about how much they wanted to go see it. To say that it ended up being a success would be something of an understatement. The Landlord is the debut of director Hal Ashby, one of the great ’70s filmmakers who, for some reason, doesn’t get the same recognition as many of his contemporaries. It earned Lee Grant a nomination for Best Supporting Actress back in the day, but it’s a film (like most of Ashby’s work not named Harold and Maude) that’s been generally forgotten over time. This is strange, because not only is it a great film that pushes some racial hot-buttons, but it also features a couple of actors who went on to do big things in Beau Bridges and Lou Gossett Jr.

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Hyun Jae (Jamie Chung) is an eighteen year old Korean-American girl who works at her parents’ store during the day and occasionally sneaks off for fun with friends at night. Her latest nocturnal jaunt sees her in a bar with a fake ID, a belly full of booze and the attention of a kind-looking off-duty fireman. She accepts a ride from him but quickly discovers her trust was poorly placed. She’s kidnapped, driven a good distance away to an undisclosed location and forced to work alongside other young women as sexual entertainment for bastards with a bankroll. This becomes her new life, and as the weeks, months and years pass she discovers a part of her willing to do just about anything to survive. More than that, she discovers that she’s willing to sacrifice others if it means her life will be made that much easier. It’s a harsh reality to face, that you’d hurt others to save yourself, and in a fictional story it makes for a fascinating character flaw. But in a true story? It’s potentially devastating.

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Back when he was getting his start torturing celebrities on the Ashton Kutcher produced MTV prank show Punk’d it would have been hard to predict that comedian Dax Shepard would get to where he is today. He’s gone from wearing silly fake mustaches and telling Justin Bieber that his dad died to starring in big Hollywood movies, getting engaged to the criminally hot Kristen Bell, and now even making features of his own. Deadline Milford is reporting that Outrun, a movie that Shepard wrote and directed himself, has been acquired for domestic release by Open Road Pictures. This isn’t just a little project that Shepard made in his backyard either, this is a big comedy with an ensemble cast. Shepard himself stars as an ex-getaway driver who must break out of jail to drive his girlfriend to L.A. so that she can get the job of her dreams, Kristen Bell is playing the girlfriend, Tom Arnold is playing a federal agent on their tail, Bradley Cooper is playing the leader of the gang Shepard used to be a part of, and somehow names like Beau Bridges, Kristin Chenoweth and David Koechner are all involved as well.

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Editor’s Note: This review was published on October 18 as part of our New York Film Festival 2011 coverage. With The Descendants hitting (limited) theaters this week, we’ve gone ahead and republished it for those of you who need further reason to check out a George Clooney film that takes place in Hawaii. After seven years of waiting, Alexander Payne finally has another feature film coming to the big screen. While the wait has been tumultuous and tedious, seven years for films like The Descendants makes the anticipation worth it. Heartfelt, sweet, funny, touching, and every other adjective that describes Payne’s movies applies to his fifth feature. Like his past work, this is another exploration of a search for manhood and meaning. Payne has a real knack for writing men who have been reduced by women. Matt King (George Clooney in another career-best performance) has a line about how all the women in his life bring him down; that applies to the thought process behind all of Payne’s leads, from Sideways to About Schmidt to Election. Both uncomfortably and honestly, the writer-director understands emasculated men who, for lack of a better phrase, are simply trying to get their shit together.

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When I heard that Alexander Payne’s next film was going to be starring George Clooney, what I was picturing didn’t look anything at all like what we get in the new trailer for The Descendants. Payne is a director who finds inspiration in the mundane. He casts regular looking people and shoots them in real life settings. There is always a relatably human element to the way he presents his characters, but there’s a sort of mocking, exploitive undercurrent as well. His films can be funny, but the humor is dark, it comes from exploring the baser nature of the human animal. Whether it’s an alcoholic Paul Giamatti drinking the spit bucket at a wine tasting in Sideways, a thrifty Jack Nicholson cutting corners on his wife’s funeral in About Schmidt, or a perverted Mark Harelik seducing a teenage girl with a Diet Mug Rootbeer in Election, Payne has always presented us with characters that you couldn’t 100% sympathize with.

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; continue? This is the weekly internet column that fails where all others succeed. Every Friday I serve up a film selection that fell way short of auteur shortly after it was greenlit, and pick apart exactly what relegates to the back shelves of your local, flatlining videostore. But then, in acknowledgment of my celebrated lack of taste, I will dopily sing the film’s praises in what can only be described as the verbal representation of an 8year-old’s sugar rush. As if that weren’t enough reason to stop reading right now and switch over to Chat Roulette, I will then pair the bad movie with an even more unhealthy snack food item to ensure that no fiber of your being goes unassaulted by my efforts. This week’s snack: The Wizard.

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Today is the 70th anniversary of a great day in our history, as you should very well know by now. If you don’t, I believe one of Chuck Norris’ beard hairs is going to impregnate your mother as penance for forgetting his birthday. On this day in 1940, Chuck Norris was born in Ryan, Oklahoma. And in honor of this great man’s date of birth, I’m using Movies We Love to celebrate one of my favorite tour de Chucks — Sidekicks.

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spinning-header

Sarah Jessica Parker tries to take acting seriously. Care to come along with us on a magical journey through this investigation of this project and watch her fail miserably?

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published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+


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