Emile Hirsch

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David Gordon Green‘s Prince Avalanche is a small, simple film with a pair of recognizable faces in Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch. It wasn’t seen by many people in theaters, and that’s a real shame because it remains one of the year’s best films. Audiences will get a second chance starting next Tuesday though when it comes to Blu-ray and DVD. It’s the story of two men, Alvin and Lance, who discover a friendship and some unexpected self-realizations during an isolated summer spent working rural back roads after a devastating fire. They have nothing in common but loneliness, and while that sounds like a setup for drama the film finds joy in their conversations, disagreements, and personalities. After four acclaimed indie dramas and a mixed-bag of three studio comedies, this is easily Green’s best and purest film in years. Don’t let that scare you off though… it’s also incredibly funny. Keep reading to see what I heard during David Gordon Green’s commentary for Prince Avalanche.

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When it got reported last week that there was new movement on a potential John Belushi biopic that was going to be put together by writer/director Steve Conrad, everyone’s initial reaction was to brainstorm what working actor would be the best choice to hire to play Belushi. The reports were that Conrad had met with Emile Hirsch and Adam Devine, and that there may have been some interest in Joaquin Phoenix. These were interesting choices that pointed to the fact that Conrad was more interested in hiring an actor who could convey the dramatics of Belushi’s private moments rather than one who could recreate the unique power and physicality of his comic performances, and they gave us a hint as to what to expect in regards to what this Belushi biopic will be all about. The new development in the story is Borys Kit’s report that Emile Hirsch has beat out the competition and has been hired for the Belushi role. On the surface, this seems like a completely fine choice that’s pretty hard to complain about. Hirsch is one of the most talented young actors in the business, he’s shown a good deal of versatility to date, and he’s likely a better choice than going with whatever chubby comedian is currently the most en vogue (Maybe Galifianakis? Could he stop winking long enough to play a role like this?) like most productions would. But once you actually picture him in the part, it starts to become clear that it’s […]

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The Motel Life

While the premise of Gabe and Alan Polsky’s The Motel Life isn’t anything revolutionary – two attractive brothers (Stephen Dorff and Emile Hirsch) on the run from the law, struggling with whether or not they should own up to their misdeeds – the way in which their conflicts are framed is something to talk about. Hirsch and Dorff star as brothers who grew up depending on each other for everything, including now, when Dorff is involved in a fatal car accident and needs that fact not to be known. In order to cope with this situation, and presumably many of the other hardships they’ve had to endure, the brothers spin their reality into the kinds of adventures you’d read about it little boys’ storybooks. They’re sailors of the sea and fighter pilots, not transients living out of motels trying to make it to the next week. The stories are represented through animated sequences, shown in the trailer between grim shots of burning cars and bleak Reno, Nevada. What’s going to happen when they’re forced to face reality and snap out of their dream world? Or will they go down fighting on their imaginary ship? – I’d kind of like to see their take on an animated prison. Check out the trailer here:

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It’s like they always say – if you can’t beat ‘em, try anyway and fail miserably. People might not actually say that, but that doesn’t mean the words don’t fit the upcoming Bonnie & Clyde to a T. Starring Emile Hirsch as Clyde Barrow and Holliday Grainger as Bonnie Parker, the newest attempt to surpass Arthur Penn’s 1967 classic is a TV movie that will undoubtedly fall short. Watch the trailer below to find out why.

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Editor’s note: Rob’s review of Prince Avalanche originally ran during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but we’re re-posting it now as the film opens in limited theatrical release this weekend. There are two David Gordon Greens. But this is news to no one, so I won’t bother breaking down the differences between the Green who directed the bleak, dramatic and emotionally oppressive Snow Angels and the one who made The Sitter, but let’s all just acknowledge the massive rift in quality, character and narrative and move forward from there. His first move away from serious dramas, Pineapple Express, was surprisingly funny and exciting, and Your Highness was a highly inconsistent mix of chuckles and misfires, but by the time The Sitter hit theaters in 2011, even his most ardent and highest supporters were silently slinking away. Hopefully they booked a return trip, though, as Green’s latest film, Prince Avalanche, is one of his best and manages a fantastic blend of big laughs and affecting characters with an honest look at an unlikely friendship between two very different men.

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It’s been a rough few years for David Gordon Green. The once revered indie darling began to explore new territory as a filmmaker, making studio comedies with mixed results. Pineapple Express was met with a lot of love, but his two followups Your Highness and The Sitter were either dismissed or outright loathed. For those that shook their heads at his recent output, Prince Avalanche will be a welcome return to form for the director, and not only because it’s free of the studio system and a large budget. For Green, it’s a logical extension to the more under-the-radar work he’s been doing lately. The movie (which stars Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd as two sparring highway road workers) didn’t get a major press release when it began filming, it’s presented a low profile marketing-wise, and according to Green, there’s a reason for that.

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lonesurvivor

Mark Wahlberg is continuing his grand tour of racking up macho roles by now playing a Navy SEAL in Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor. Did you know that these men are heroes? Because the very literal, somber rendition of David Bowie’s “Heroes” playing in the background of the trailer that seems to be stuck on the part where he says “heroes” will remind you if you’ve forgotten. Lone Survivor tells the true story of the failed 2005 Navy mission “Operation Red Wings,” in which a four-man team headed to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to hunt down Taliban leader Ahmad Shah. I hate to be the one to point out a spoiler, but I’m pretty sure only one of them survives. The foursome is played by scruffed-up versions of Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster. Eric Bana also stars. For fans of war tales or male bonding to the sweet, dulcet sounds of Peter Gabriel (who isn’t?), Lone Survivor is probably going to be a hit. But otherwise, it seems like just another war movie to add to the pile.

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avalanche

If you’ve been dying for David Gordon Green to stop making broad studio comedies and go back to making more interesting and unique projects like he did earlier in his career, then the new trailer for his upcoming indie dramedy Prince Avalanche is likely going to be a real treat for you. Because man does it look weird. The movie is a remake of an Icelandic comedy called Either Way, and basically it just involves Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch playing a couple of eccentrics who are forced to spend way too much time together while spending the summer painting lines on a long stretch of isolated roads. In many people’s hands that sort of non-story could potentially bore, but when it’s being handled by actors as charismatic as Rudd and Hirsch and it’s being shot by a filmmaker with an eye for photography as strong as Green’s, there’s really no need to worry. As you’ll see if you click through and watch the ad.

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Filmmaker David Gordon Green (thankfully) shied away from his recent spat of studio comedies (like the wonderful Pineapple Express and the dismal The Sitter) for his latest feature, a lo-fi affair starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch that’s based on, of all things, an Icelandic comedy titled Either Way. It does not get more lo-fi than that. The film centers on a pair of highway repairmen who are stuck spending the summer, well, repairing highway and hanging out with each other – so it’s too bad that they don’t like each other so much. Straight-laced Alvin (Rudd) is more concerned with doing his work and relaxing in the woods, while oddball Lance (Hirsch) is interested in…well, slightly different pursuits. It’s a bit more complicated than that, as the two also have a personal link that guarantees that even surviving the summer together doesn’t spell the end of their relationship, but Prince Avalanche certainly looks an unexpectedly amusing slice of life. Let’s do some highway repair with Rudd and Hirsch after the break.

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Eric Bana in Lone Survivor

Though there weren’t many people out there who appreciated Peter Berg’s recent board game cash-in, Battleship, he was generally a well-regarded director before he laid that one on us, so there should still be interest out there for what he’s doing next. Especially since he’s already assembled a fairly impressive cast for it. The film is called Lone Survivor, and it tells the true story of a Navy SEAL mission in Afghanistan gone bad, as adapted from the biography of soldier Marcus Luttrell. While on a reconnaissance mission along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Luttrell and three of his fellow SEALs made a fatal error. After showing a bit of compassion and letting an old man and three boys who came upon them walk away, they soon became victims of a Taliban ambush, which took the lives of every member of the team other than Luttrell, the titular lone survivor.

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For such an unrelentingly graphic and blood-spattered NC-17 thriller, William Friedkin‘s Killer Joe is more romantic than one would expect. The filmmaker behind The Exorcist and Sorcerer (a movie he’s currently fighting to get back out to the public) has crafted, as he puts it, a romantic comedy for the new age. That title isn’t a whole lot different than his previous collaboration with playwright/screenwriter Tracy Letts, the even more claustrophobic and humanistic Bug. They’re stories of characters wanting more, but mainly love, which Dottie (Juno Temple) finds in the titular psychopathic (Matthew McConaughey). Here’s what director William Friedkin had to say about making Cinderella for the 21st century, the importance of reading between the lines, and how one of cinema’s finest chase scenes was completely unscripted:

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Killer Joe

Exploitation cinema is good for the id. Because the great majority of us are not thieves, murderers, sociopaths, or people with problematic sexual instincts, exploitation cinema provides a safe space and an opportunity to view characters who may be any of the combinations noted above without having to experience the debilitating guilt, life-ending consequences, or moral panic that would incur if we ever engaged in such activities ourselves. In other words, exploitation cinema is a brief respite from a reality mostly determined by standards of law and order, rational behavior, stability, and long-term thinking. Exploitation cinema provides the exhilaration of chaos that is enthralling to witness onscreen, but that one wouldn’t want to encounter in anything resembling reality. While William Friedkin’s Killer Joe is a film that fully earns its NC-17 rating with its portrayals of abject cruelty, predatory sex, and strange and unusual acts of punishment, it’s never a film that asks audiences to take the events onscreen all to seriously as Killer Joe doesn’t even seem to even take itself at face value. The movie’s mood and ending will certainly polarize audiences, but if one is willing to accept and go along with the esoteric tone Friedkin strikes (and there are perfectly legitimate reasons not to do so), then Killer Joe is likely one of the more engaging films of the year if for no other reason than its sheer audacity.

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We learned not too long ago that David Gordon Green has made a movie that’s so low budget and has so much indie cred, nobody even heard about it until it was already finished shooting. It’s called Prince Avalanche, it stars Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch as a couple of road workers painting the lines on isolated and little used roads, and it’s a remake of a 2011 Icelandic film called Either Way. Since most everyone is in agreement that the David Gordon Green who makes small, experimental films is the best David Gordon Green there is, said news was generally accepted as being good news. But things get even better. Now there’s word that this new film will be bringing back memories of Green’s earlier, indie-r work even more so than we may have imagined. Consequence of Sound is reporting that Austin, Texas band Explosions in the Sky have agreed to make some time to score the film once their current tour wraps up in August. The guys from Explosions in the Sky and Green have all known each other for quite a while, as he’s already used a bunch of their music in his earlier works All the Real Girls and Snow Angels.

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While we were all busy lamenting the fact that David Gordon Green has given up making interesting indie films in favor of dumb comedies and arguing about whether or not his remake of Dario Argento’s Suspiria is a good idea or sacrilegious, he went and made a new movie without even telling us about it. The nerve! And turns out, not only does it sound like his new film is going to be a return to smaller, more interesting storytelling, but it’s also going to be a preview of what it looks like when he takes a foreign film and adapts it. Green’s new project is called Prince Avalanche, but it’s a remake of an Icelandic film from 2011 called Either Way. In the original, two men played by Hilmar Guðjónsson and Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson spend their summer painting lines on the roads that stretch into remote parts of northern Iceland and end up meeting danger and experiencing personal growth. In Green’s remake the two men are played by Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch, and apparently they’re going to be painting lines on roads that exist somewhere that looks a lot like Austin, Texas; because Twitch confirms that the film was shot there last month.

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The other day, I labeled Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter as the “wild card” of the summer, and if there’s any other film which comes close to its riskiness (or more so?), it’s Oliver Stone‘s adaptation of Don Winslow‘s book of the same name, Savages. Stone’s pic is an unconventional summer movie: an R-rated, hard-edged movie for adults. Based on what I’ve heard from the positive test-screenings, which led to the film getting bumped up to a summer release, Savages lives up to that riskiness, with Salma Hayek and John Travolta possibly being the two standouts. Now, with over a month until release, some terrific behind-the-scenes pics from the film have been released (via Oliver Stone’s website and the film’s Facebook page). Take a peak of a bloodied up Blake Lively and Benicio Del Toro‘s lovely evil ‘stache after the break:

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Killer Joe

William Friedkin’s (The Exorcist, Bug) latest thriller, Killer Joe, looks gritty, greasy, and gross, the sort of crime movie that makes you feel like you have to take a shower after you watch it. It’s full of bad people making evil decisions; which, according to noir morality, is going to spell certain (and likely bloody) doom for everyone involved. Sometimes watching a movie like that can be a masochistic experience, but when the film in question stars names like Thomas Haden Church, Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon, an adorable-while-spinning Juno Temple, and a seemingly motivated Matthew McConaughey, more likely than not the experience is going to be fascinating. Killer Joe’s new trailer has violence, matricide, deep shadows, rain storms, Southern accents, dilapidated pool halls, people putting their sister up as collateral, and I think someone gets killed with a can of pumpkin pie filling. It looks moody, and dangerous, and it warns us that the film has an NC-17 rating.

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Oliver Stone’s adaptation of the oppressively hip Don Winslow novel Savages’ has been making a lot of waves on FSR today. First we showed you the teaser for the film, something like the trailer for the trailer (a new marketing trend that could get hilariously annoying if it becomes more pervasive), and now we’ve got the the full length trailer for the film; which adds some actual plot description to the loud noises and sexy imagery of the teaser.

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Killer Joe

After walking out of Killer Joe, one of my favorite films of SXSW, the NC-17 rating was one of the first things that hit me. It’s easy to see why the MPAA slapped it with that box-office death rating. When William Friedkin‘s film gets nasty, it gets nasty. The film is about the rough and real kind of violence, not the goofy fun type. However, Killer Joe‘s violence and sex is still plenty steps down from a handful of R-rated releases. We’ve seen violence of this magnitude done on-screen before, so it’s most likely a tonal issue the MPAA has with Friedkin’s stage adaptation. LD Entertaiment recently attempted to appeal the NC-17 rating, but it has now been denied. Rumors are that they’ll appeal again soon. David Dinerstein, the president of LD Entertainment, and the film’s screenwriter Tracy Letts both gave statements to the appeals board, and I happened to have interviewed Letts the other day at SXSW.

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Killer Joe is trash. Not bad trash. Not pretentious trash. Just plain old ugly, funny, and sophisticated trash. William Friedkin‘s stage adaptation of Tracy Letts stage play is not as accomplished as their previous collaboration, Bug, but it’s definitely more unhinged and surpasses many of its fellow genre brethren. If you thought Bug was “crazy,” just wait until you get to Killer Joe‘s final minutes of magical brutality. Before we get there, however, what we’re served is a fairly conventional story that only makes that final act all the more satisfying. As with Bug, Killer Joe does not follow the cleanliest of people. Chris Smith (Emile Hirsch), a young and annoying hick, wants to do what all good sons aspire for: kill his mother who sold his drugs. Said mother, a woman Chris and his sister despise, holds a life insurance check that would payoff 50,000 dollars, so the young lead and his family decide to claim it.

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I wish I got this interview on video. Emile Hirsch was acting like he just came off a late night of drinking countless Red Bulls. The actor couldn’t have been more energetic and enthusiastic about everything he was saying. It threw me at times, for sure, but it was refreshing on some level. Here is a young actor that does not take himself seriously at all and that does not come off pretentious, at least that’s the impression I got. Hirsch was at Comic-Con promoting the under-the-radar alien-invasion film, The Darkest Hour. The film had no Hall H presence, but a press event was held at the pain-in-the-ass Hard Rock Hotel. The concept art I saw presented the film as an atmospheric and small invasion film set in Mother Russia. The aliens decided not to stop by Los Angeles or New York for the thousandth time. Here’s what Emile Hirsch had to say about the scope of the film, how it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and how Speed Racer was ahead of its time:

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