Dramedy

The Best Short Films

Why Watch? It’s Kevin Spacey. And a dummy. With a mind of its own. This short from writer/director Benjamin Leavitt shows off Spacey’s incredible talent – placing the drama and comedy firmly on his shoulders while working with a piece of wood with a face. It’s shot and scored well, but it’s the great physical work on display that shines brightest. What will it cost? Only 10 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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The Royal Tenenbaums Wes Anderson Commentary Track

Wes Anderson loves family dramas dressed as fantasies, and this notion is no less palpable with The Royal Tenenbaums, the film that essentially set him on the map. A lot of us remember finding Bottle Rocket in video stores or trekking out with friends to see Rushmore, but that was mostly because of Bill Murray. The Royal Tenenbaums was the movie that made people realize this voice in the world of independent film making had arrived. 11 years later, and Anderson’s latest, Moonrise Kingdom, another light-hearted drama made to look like a fable, is upon us. However, we felt it was time to go back and see exactly what the writer/director had to say about his pinnacle film, The Royal Tenenbaums. There’s sure to be references of French movies and anecdotes about writing with Owen Wilson, but that’s the obvious stuff. We’ve got 28 more items beyond that. So help yourselves with what we learned from the commentary for The Royal Tenenbaums. Cue the Elliott Smith.

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Channel Guide - Large

In 1985, John Fogerty was sued for plagiarizing himself. It was a bizarre courtroom situation that arose because Fogerty had forfeited the rights to his old Creedance Clearwater Revival hits to a former record label that went after him when a song he wrote on his new album “Centerfield” sounded too much like his own work. Copyright law is complicated. What can you do. In the last week, a script surfaced that’s purportedly the pilot to The Newsroom, the new HBO show from Aaron Sorkin, and it feels a bit like Fogerty all over again. Sorkin is cribbing off of Sorkin. Of course there are a million grains of salt to throw with this. The primary one being that random scripts on the old internet could be from anywhere. For some reason, writers believe they can fake leaked scripts in order to gain a name through the back door (like writers did on Studio 60 when they weren’t being heard in the room), but it’s actually the writing equivalent of suicide by cop (which a troubled man did on an episode of The West Wing). The internet can be an unforgiving place and pretending to be another writer automatically creates a comparison that no one can survive against. However, this particular script (which you can find if you search for it) seems legit. But there’s a funny thing there, when you’re reading a curious script that can be from anyone. In the back of your mind, you’re imagining that someone […]

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Whiskey is effectively Super Beer. It’s made of the same stuff – fermented grains like rye and barley, but there are no hops and it’s made in a much longer process. That process includes sticking that sweet substance into a wooden barrel long enough for it to at least get a driver’s license, but no matter what, something around 2% of the whiskey evaporates over that time. That missing 2% is the angel’s share. As it turns out, the Heavenly Host likes a good sniff once in a while too. A trailer for The Angels’ Share – the new film from the iconic Ken Loach – shows a delightful comedic story like English dramedies that have been big over the past two decades (only this one’s from Scotland). The Full Monty connection seems clear, but it’s got a lot going for it. Loach? Whiskey? Hell of a good recipe for movie-making. Click on the image of the trailer to play it:

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Seeing as he served as a writer/producer on Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Matthew Weiner is considered something of a TV god. Also, I hear that he has some new show called Mad Men that’s showing some promise; so he’s got the TV game locked down. But a transition into feature films has eluded him up to this point. Weiner wrote a dramedy called You Are Here back in the early 2000s. It’s about a freewheeling weatherman who goes on a road trip with his bi-polar best friend. The friend is kind of a man-child, but he’s in line to inherit some big responsibilities, which causes complications between the two. It sounds like something of a coming-of-age movie, but for grown-ass men. Over the years several incarnations of the film have almost made it into production with names like Matt Dillon, Jack Black, and Matthew McConaughey attached in various roles, but up to this point it’s never completely worked out. That’s all set to change though, because – dang it – this guy wrote on Andy Richter Controls the Universe, and if he wants to make a goofy comedy, then he’s allowed to. THR has news that Weiner is determined to put the project in front of the camera sometime around April, and if that doesn’t sound official enough for you, he’s already signed Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis to star.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Powerpoint is undoubtedly a bizarre thing to become obsessed with, but this new short from Keller Davis shows poignantly how it can destroy a man and his ability to communicate. Quiet, reflective, and glossy on top of an absurd base, there’s humor here amongst the long faces. Plus, his main character gets to physically do to an Apple product what many, many people fantasize about doing. Enjoy it vicariously. What will it cost? Only 7 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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Way back in January of 2011, we wrote up the possibility of Tina Fey taking on Admission – an adaptation of a novel with middling reviews about an Ivy League admissions officer who is shaken out of her rut when she runs into an old schoolmate and meets a young genius. Obviously development was slow-going, but the LA Times is announcing that the film is attempting to shoot this May after Fey concludes her work on 30 Rock. Plus, director Paul Weitz is looking to cast Paul Rudd as the co-lead. That’s a hell of a combination. In fact, it’s the kind of combination that all but ensures that the better parts of the book will be plucked out for use while the lesser parts will be blurred over by improvisation. The script itself comes from Karen Croner (who wrote One True Thing, a movie that earned Meryl Streep one of her many Oscar nominations). All in all, it sounds like a winning team behind an average concept, but it’s just exciting to see it close to getting off the ground.

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Why Watch? The formidable Kevin Pollack shows off his drama and dead pan as a psychologist whose life is about to shift – which just might be the best thing for him and his troubled clients (a long list of faces you’ll recognize). The sessions ebb and flow through each other with sharp dialogue, and the solutions are as cathartic as they are funny. Should it be seen purely for Lost‘s Hurley (Jorge Garcia) playing a pot-enthusiast gardener? Yes, but it should also be seen because it’s a full human story told with humor, humility, and head cases. What will it cost? Only 14 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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Jonathan Levine‘s 50/50 bares many similarities to a Hal Ashby film. Many writers/directors have attempted to emulate the Harold and Maude director’s style, capturing both the tragedies and odd humor of life, and most of the time they all come off as lazy homage. Like a bad film student trying to ape a filmmaker he or she loves, it’s embarrassing and clumsy. However, writer Will Reiser, co-star/producer Seth Rogen, and director Jonathan Levine managed to make a film inspired by the legend, and yet make their own personal and heartfelt story. A part of that heart comes from the honesty that the filmmakers captured. 50/50 had to jump over some big tonal obstacles, which, as our own review points out, it did so without a hitch. Here’s what Will Reiser and Seth Rogen had to say in our brief chat about Hal Ashby, real life not working on the page, and finding Jonathan Levine:

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If anyone out there wants to see Will Smith’s house knocked down, his body covered in boils, and his sanity loosening from his grip as he scrapes at his raw skin with broken bits of pottery, the opportunity might be on the horizon. The Oscar-nominated screenwriter team of Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson (The Fighter) wrote the script for Joe – a modern retelling of the Job story that you may have learned about in Sunday school while wondering why the teacher was telling you all those horrible, terrible, disgusting things. Tamasy went on Eric Snider and Jeff Bayer’s Movie B.S. Podcast and spoke a bit about the movie. In his own words, “It’s about a man [living] the American dream. He’s got the nice house, white picket fence, great kids, great wife, nice cars. God and the Devil get together every thousand years to bet on a man’s life, and the fate of the world is at stake. What all of us get hit with in a lifetime, this man gets hit with in a week, and it’s about whether or not he can still pick himself up from that and survive it. It’s a dramedy. At its heart, it’s a comedy, but it’s got, obviously, a real dramatic core to it.” Sony will be developing this, but Will Smith is attached to a lot of flicks right now, and no single attachment really means anything anymore. This would be an insane return to acting for the Fourth of […]

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. This week, Print to Projector presents the story of a young man joining an ad agency in the early 1960s, but instead of drinking scotch, chain smoking, and wearing nice suits all day, he stumbles upon the Milgram Experiment, a mysterious suicide of a close friend and is haunted by his true murderous nature.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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