Blythe Danner

Martin Starr Kickstarter

What is the best way to get your crowdfunding campaign showcased on Film School Rejects? Cast Martin Starr (Freaks and Geeks; Knocked Up). What’s the second best way? Make a sales video that’s clever, original, basically something unlike everything else on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Seed & Spark and the rest of those sites. The effort for a new narrative feature called I’ll See You In My Dreams, which just launched yesterday with a goal of $60K, has done both. The film will feature Starr as a pool boy who has an affair with the main character, played by Blythe Danner — yes, still-gorgeous 70-year-old co-star of the Meet the Parents franchise and real-life mom to Gwyneth Paltrow and Jake Paltrow. That plot with that duo has me hooked enough as it is. But Starr and director Brett Haley (The New Year) have made a pitch trailer that shows none of that. Instead, their video is basically a little documentary in which a bunch of elderly folk are interviewed about “the golden years” and asked for advice to the younger generations on how to live a full life before you get there. 

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Hello I Must Be Going

On the surface, Todd Louiso’s Hello I Must Be Going feels apiece with a familiar American indie formula, as the film features at its narrative center a thirtysomething woman from an upper-middle class home suffering through a personal and emotional crisis. And to be fair, the film encounters more than a few moments in which it comes across like a direct continuation of this recent “Sundance formula.” At the same time, Hello I Must be Going is a sincerely personal take on its subject matter, opting for three-dimensional leads and earned pathos over quirky character traits, cynical humor, or an invasively stylized visual approach. Amy (Melanie Lynskey) is living with her parents in overbearingly quaint suburban Connecticut while enduring a stage of extended limbo after a divorce with her hotshot NYC lawyer husband cheated on her with an associate. Amy’s father, Stan (John Rubinstein) is attempting to woo a client whose business would ensure retirement and trips around the world, while Amy’s mom Ruth (the wonderful Blythe Danner) grows increasingly tired of Amy’s aimless occupation of the house. At a business dinner, Amy meets and falls for her father’s client’s 19-year-old son Jeremy (Christopher Abbott) and a mismatched rebound quickly morphs into a complicated emotional journey that forces Amy to learn what love is and establish her self-worth.

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The latest cinematic adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks romance novel, The Lucky One is a messy, tone-deaf, and laughable movie outing, an embarrassment to director Scott Hicks (Shine, The Boys Are Back), a black mark against Zac Efron‘s attempts at becoming a romantic lead, and an unsurprising continuation of Sparks’s ceaseless attack on what passes for a love story these days. Let’s put it this way – The Lucky One is so dismal, so off-kilter, so nonsensical that even the ever-ready charms of Zac Efron cannot redeem it in the slightest. At its heart, the film hinges on one of Sparks’s most ludicrous conceits yet – Marine Logan Thibault (Efron, more bulked up than ever, yet still unable to even resemble a professional solider)  is “rescued” by a picture of an unknown woman during his third tour of Iraq, a laminated picture of a pretty girl that catches his eye and pulls him away from a structure that blows up right behind him. If he hadn’t gone for the picture, he would be dead – the girl in the photograph saved him. At least, that’s what Logan thinks and what The Lucky One rests on. Convinced he owes some debt to the girl in the picture, Logan embarks on a quest to find her once he returns to the States.

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Last year’s Sundance Film Festival saw an uptick in films regarding, weirdly enough, cults and cult-like sensibilities. This year’s theme has turned to an appropriate cousin to the dangers of indoctrination – the crumbling of the American dream. Characters that bought into what they thought they could (and should) get out of life have faced copious crises throughout the festival’s films, and Todd Louiso‘s lovely Hello I Must Be Going distills those big ideas and issues down to focus on just one victim of the American nightmare. Perpetual supporting standout Melanie Lynskey leads the film as directionless thirtysomething Amy Minsky. Amy’s happy (in her eyes) marriage to David (Dan Futterman) has recently ended, and she’s left with one place to go – back to her parents’ home in chi-chi suburban Connecticut. Without a job, a finished degree, friends, or most of her belongings, Amy is forced to acclimate to Ruth (Blythe Danner) and Stan (John Rubinstein) as they embark on the next step of their lives. In Louiso and screenwriter Sarah Koskoff‘s spin on a “one last job” film, Stan has one more big fish client to land before retiring – an engagement that could be ruined when Amy takes up with the client’s stepson, Jeremy (Christopher Abbott), who just happens to be only nineteen-years-old.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in a big red suit and sneaks into people’s houses. The only difference is that he sneaks into the houses of all the naughty girls. But before he can manage that undertaking, he sets his sights on the last wash of movies hitting the multiplexes this season. He travels with Jack Black to the Bermuda Triangle in Gulliver’s Travels then heads out west to catch a killer with True Grit. Finally, he brings his Christmas movie watching to a close by stabbing himself in the face with Little Fockers. Ho ho ho, the humanity!

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Here we are back again in Focker-dom, that wonderful place of crushing comic awkwardness, painful slapstick and the no less excruciating specter of great actors slumming for paychecks. Surely, the world did not need Little Fockers, this second sequel to the somewhat overrated Meet the Parents, but like an obligatory stocking-stuffer it has arrived – to cash in for Christmas – and must be dealt with.

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In what sounds a bit like Chalk meets Dangerous Minds meets Half Nelson, newcomer Carl Lund’s script for Detached has an absurd amount of acting talent currently stapled to its cover sheet. “Mad Men” firecracker Christina Hendricks, Lucy Liu and William Peterson (who some remember from “C.S.I.” but no one seems to remember from Young Guns 2) have signed onto a cast that already includes Adrien Brody, James Caan, Blythe Danner, Marcia Gay Harden, Bryan Cranston, and Tim Blake Nelson. Doug E. Doug is also involved – in case you had any doubts left.

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Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro are at it again. They are once again at odds in the world of family politics polluted by oft poorly timed puns about the name of a male nurse named Greg. And this time, there are Little Fockers involved in the shenanigans. And Harvey Keitel. It’s hard to say what Keitel is doing in that equation, but it’s beyond me to question this franchise. Twice now this franchise has spewed forth films that don’t exactly look right upon first glance, and twice now it’s delivered the funny. I give up trying to fight it.

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littlefockers

The actress has just signed on for the third installment of the Meet the Parents franchise, and she’ll have a few things to teach her co-stars.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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