Chris Messina

Alex of Venice review

Mary Elizabeth Winstead has the “one to watch” thing down pat. The former teen actress has now blossomed into one of independent film’s most reliable and relatable leading ladies and her steady rise up the cinematic ranks – from the drunken darkness of Smashed to the dark humor of Faults, with a little The Thing and A Good Day to Die Hard thrown in for a touch of blockbuster fun– has long been someone worth watching, and now. For his directorial debut, actor Chris Messina has quite wisely built a story around Winstead’s charms, setting her up as the eponymous Alex for his Alex of Venice, an amiable outing that serves as yet another reminder that Winstead is more than enough of a draw on her own. The duo star in the domestic drama as a long-time couple fractured and felled by apparently normal grievances. Alex (Winstead) is a hardcore workaholic, and her career as an environmentally minded attorney both fills the time and doesn’t quite pay the bills. George (Messina) is stuck with home-bound duties, from getting their son Dakota (Skylar Gaertner) off to school, maintaining the house, and even caring for Alex’s dad (Don Johnson, potentially playing himself). Alex may be exacting when it comes to her job, but George appears to be the truly pragmatic one – or, at least, that seems to be the role he’s been shoved into by Alex and the demands of their home life – and when he starts exploding around Alex, their son, […]

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28 Hotel Rooms Trailer

Editor’s note: One of Allison’s favorites from this year’s Sundance hits theaters this week, so please get hot and heavy with her original review, first posted on January 29, 2012. What starts off as a seemingly innocent conversation between two strangers in a hotel restaurant quickly devolves into those same two strangers (played by Chris Messina and Marin Ireland) falling into bed together. It is not a new idea – two people, away from home, deciding to vacate their real lives for a night of anonymous pleasure – but director/screenwriter Matt Ross’ 28 Hotel Rooms begins to paint two characters who are a bit more interesting than they might seem at first blush, and who become increasingly so as their relationship twists and turns. After their first night together, Ireland’s character is revealed to be a newlywed and, while Messina’s character does not seem thrown by that fact, it also makes you wonder why someone so new to her marriage would be willing to cheat on it. It is revealed that Ireland is less than comfortable with the indiscretion she just gave in to and one would think things would end here, but despite her tears and seeming regret, this does not end up being the last time these two reach out to each other.

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Aural Fixation - Large

Piano driven and almost jaunty, the score for 28 Hotel Rooms brings you right into that moment of falling for someone for the first time – the excitement and giddiness that come from getting to know someone new who lights you up inside. An ironic feeling from a track titled “I’m Never Gonna Call You,” but 28 Hotel Rooms is not your average love story – it is the story of an affair. The almost dangerous and daring piano refrain starts to hint at this truth, but it is “Elevator” that dives right in to this feeling of a different world, one that can only live in the various hotel rooms our two leads (played with fire and passion by Chris Messina and Marin Ireland) constantly find each other in. But in the same way we never learn these character’s names, their love story is also doomed to ever be fully realized because they are each tied to relationships and lives outside of their few nights here and there with one another with the score working to take us through their various feelings and emotions. I spoke with Will Bates, one half of Fall On Your Sword and the composer behind 28 Hotel Room’s vibrant score, to find about more about his process and what inspired him to create the music for this unique story in which neither lead is painted in the most favorable light. Messina and Ireland each deliver raw and stripped down (both metaphorically and physically) performances as two […]

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Argo John Goodman Alan Arkin Ben Affleck

The November 4th, 1979 takeover of the American embassy in Iran by students and other revolutionaries was front page news around the world as 52 American hostages were held captive. Negotiations were attempted and military strikes were considered, but the crisis didn’t end until well over a year later when they were all finally released. Lesser known, and in fact unknown to the public until 1997 when it was declassified, is the story of six Americans who escaped the embassy that November day to risk capture and possible execution as they awaited an unlikely rescue. It turned out to be a very unlikely rescue indeed. Argo is Ben Affleck‘s third film as director, and while it lacks the darkly emotional impact of Gone Baby Gone and the kinetic shoot ‘em up action of The Town it stands tall as his best and most entertaining film yet. Brilliant character actors swirl through the constantly surprising true story alongside wonderful period details, humor, humanity and the most suspenseful thirty minutes of the year.

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28 Hotel Rooms Trailer

Here’s the difficulty in writing about a truly great trailer: it’s almost impossible to do. What can writing about something that is sexy, powerful, dreamy, intense, and wrenching possibly add to the experience of just simply watching it? Not much, so we’ll stick to facts before rolling out the main event. Writer and director Matt Ross makes his feature debut with 28 Hotel Rooms, a Chris Messina- and Marin Ireland-starring Sundance film that takes a high concept (two traveling professionals meet, fall into bed with each other at a hotel, and continue doing it over the course of years, and always just within various hotel settings) and elevates it to something truly special. We’ll leave the rest of it to the film’s stunning first trailer, after the break.

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Remember when Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Richard Kind, Scoot McNairy, Chris Messina, Michael Parks, Kerry Bishe, Kyle Chandler, Rory Cochrane, and Tate Donovan all got together to make a movie about a fake movie being made in order to rescue hostages being held in Iran? This trailer is one more slice of proof that Affleck knows what the hell he’s doing behind a camera, especially when it comes to the slightly funny world of serious issues. Instead of crime-riddled Boston, this time it’s the Iranian Hostage Crisis, a fake script called Argo and a crazy attempt at rescuing 6 people. It’s Ocean’s Eleven except the stakes are real, and they’re life-or-death. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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This contest is now closed. All winners will be receiving an email. Thanks! In filmmaker Lee Kirk‘s directorial debut, The Giant Mechanical Man, a love story unfolds between two directionless thirtysomethings whose unhappy lives are only exacerbated by their professional failures. Jenna Fischer‘s Janice has just taken on yet another dead-end job selling concessions at a local zoo, where Tim (Chris Messina) has also recently had to take a job as a janitor, seeing as how his main job (being that titular “giant mechanical man” as part of a street performance) doesn’t pay the bills. The film recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and we’re pleased to present an exclusive clip from the film here on FSR. In this scene, the two cross paths on the job and begin to form a bond. In celebration of The Giant Mechanical Man‘s Tribeca premiere and subsequent theatrical release, we are also giving away five (5) signed posters from the film. To win one (1) signed poster, all you have to do is jump down into the comments section and let us know about the worst job you’ve ever had. Please also provide your email address in your comment so that we can email winners. This contest is only open to U.S. residents. The contest will close Sunday, April 29th, at 9:00PM EST. The winners will be chosen at random from those who reply in the comment section, and they will receive a signed poster from The Giant Mechanical Man, as described […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr is stuck in an elevator reviewing movies, but he realizes that being in there with the Devil isn’t nearly as bad when you’re also stuck in there with faux-slut Emma Stone. To pass the time, he robs a few banks in The Town of Boston with Ben Affleck and embroiders a scarlet Easy A on his chest. Sigh… if only he had worn a shirt when he did that…

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The name of M. Night Shyamalan may have been greatly tarnished by M. Night Shyamalan, but there’s no denying that this trailer for Devil makes the film that he produced (but didn’t direct, if that helps) look engaging and deadly. It begs the classic question of what you’d do if you were trapped inside an elevator and, instead of a porn star played by Carla Gugino, it’s the great Satan himself hiding amongst your crew. Answer the question yourself, and take a look at the trailer after the jump.

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kevin-reportcard-header

This week, chubby man about town Kevin Carr takes a look at How to Train Your Dragon, Hot Tub Time Machine (which sounds right up his alley) and Greenberg. You may want to wear a helmet.

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Greenberg

‘Greenberg,’ Noah Baumbach’s latest, is a mixed bag, with an enormously likable character battling a deeply reprehensible one for screen time.

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shyamalan-header

M. Night Shyamalan is going back to the horror genre. Only this time, he’s just coming up with the idea and letting others run with it…

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julieandjulia-review1

By the end of the movie you’ll probably find yourself hungry, and not just for that delicious looking bruschetta from earlier in the film. The movie itself fails to satisfy or feel complete in any way, and will probably leave you craving something more substantial. They learn to cook. They cook. The end.

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