Frank

CALVARY discs

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Calvary Father James (Brendan Gleeson) is a small town priest in rural Ireland who receives an oddly unwelcome confession one morning from someone who calmly promises to murder him by the week’s end. The priest goes on with his business, trying his best to do right, but the next seven days are filled with frustration, eccentricity and an unsettling energy in those around him. Writer/director John Michael McDonagh‘s second feature is a slowburn character piece that weaves black comedy and mystery through a soulful rumination on the power of forgiveness. Gleeson is a quietly rumbling powerhouse and gives an immensely affecting lead performance, and the supporting cast is a stellar mix of aggressively engaging friends, strangers and suspects including Chris O’Dowd, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, M. Emmet Walsh, Domhnall Gleeson (Brendan’s son) and Kelly Reilly. The script is filled with wisdom and wit, and it leaves you feeling drained and reflective on those who’ve passed through your own life. It’s my favorite film of the year. It’s the best film of the year. It will stay with you well into next year. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]

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Maggie Gyllenhaal in FRANK

Frank is full blown indie quirk. That heightened sensibility is often insufferable to sit through, but what makes potentially grating quirks work is what director Lenny Abrahamson and screenwriters Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan say with each of the film’s eccentricities. While certain oddities may appear fun and harmless at the start, they turn into real pain by the end. Our eyes and ears in Frank is Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), a young musician who may not have the talent to make a career out of it. He dreams of making it big, so when he’s asked to play the keyboard for the band Soronprfbs, he jumps at the chance. No money is involved, just the chance to play music with a group Jon thinks could be the next big thing. The problem is, Soronprbs is made up of a group of unreliable hipsters, led by the charming, kind, and likable Frank (Michael Fassbender), who happens to wear a big paper mache head, which he never takes off. The other members of the band, besides Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal), aren’t given much personalities, beyond their annoyance of Jon.

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frank-movie

This is Frank. He’s the lead singer of the band Soronprfbs. He’s played by Michael Fassbender in the film of the same name. And he’s based on an actual person (or character – depending on how you see things). A man who never takes off a papier-mâché head is a situation that seems made for the big screen, especially when that same man lives his life in the spotlight (rather than staying the shadows). Fassbender’s Frank in Frank is based on the real-life creation of comedian and musician Chris Sievey – Frank Sidebottom. While both Franks are aspiring musicians, they attempt to capture success in very different ways.

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Veronica Mars

We spent an entire week talking about movies at SXSW 2014. Between Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Letterboxd and our published reviews on the very site which you are currently reading, myself and the team of Film School Rejects covered a solid swath of the 130+ feature films that played this past week in Austin, TX. Some of them are still playing (and still to be reviewed, so stay tuned). But those are just the ones that we made it to. Which ones did you, the fans and attendees of SXSW, talk about most? Wonder no further, as the folks from Way to Blue have invested some time and energy into researching the buzz around the 10 most discussed films of this year’s festival. “We’ve broken down not only how many mentions the movies have secured as a result of their screenings at SXSW,” they explain. “But also what proportion of the conversation has resulted in social chatter expressing a desire or excitement to see the films themselves. We call this Intent To View.”

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frank-movie

Sundance 2014 had a loaded schedule of top notch films, Lenny Abrahamson’s pleasantly weird dark comedy Frank, among them. Frank is the story of Jon, played by Harry Potter alumn Domhnall Gleeson, a young songwriter brought into the fold of a quirky noise rock band called Soronprfbs, led by singer Frank (Michael Fassbender), who perpetually wears a giant papier-mâché head. Quirky and whimsical as he is, the talented Frank is saddled with some pretty heavy issues. Jon moves to Ireland to record an album with the band, posting rehearsal videos on social media, with the aim of getting Frank and his musical cohorts a spot at Austin’s South by Southwest. Check out the trailer below.

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Meat Loaf and a member of the KISS Army in STAGE FRIGHT

Seems like just two months ago we were knee deep in Sundance coverage, but already we’ve moved on to the next big thing in film festival coverage. SXSW is the annual film/music/interactive extravaganza that draws film, music, and interactive(?) fans from all around the country to descend into Austin, TX for one hell of a good time. We here at FSR come for the movies (and the food and the friends), and this year our team is four strong and ready to rock. And by rock we mean sit in theater seats of varying levels of comfort, enjoy the culinary wonderland that is Austin’s food scene, and hang out with other like-minded characters. This year’s fest features a lot of titles we’re excited to devour with our eyes, but of the dozens of films we’ll be seeing this coming week we’ve narrowed down our top fourteen below. Neil Miller had to be talked out of putting The Raid 2 on here multiple times, Christopher Campbell moved outside his comfort zone to show interest in some narrative films, and Jack Giroux failed to realize that “anticipated” should really refer to movies he hasn’t seen yet. Keep reading to see which fourteen films we’re anticipating most at SXSW 2014.

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frank

When it was first announced that everyone’s favorite actor, Michael Fassbender, would be appearing in an Irish indie film called Frank, it was said that he would be playing an “eccentric front man” who leads a band that gets joined by an aspiring musician played by Domhnall Gleeson. While that sounded interesting enough on its own, it turns out that description undersold the film a bit as far as its weirdness factor goes. You see, when the title character that Fassbender is playing here was initially described as being “eccentric,” what they really meant is that he’s a complete lunatic who wears an absolutely bonkers mascot head everywhere he goes while waxing on philosophically about music and the universe and whatnot. Fassbender is basically the most charismatic man ever, but can even he give an engaging performance while having his head completely covered by such an outlandish distraction? Of course he can. Duh. Click through to watch a clip from the film [via The Playlist] which proves just that.

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Maggie Gyllenhaal

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that’s been out of work since casting agents seem to be treating the week between Christmas and New Years as one prolonged food coma. If there’s one thing that Jurassic Park taught us, it’s that nature finds a way. Well, casting finds a way too. In a week where there isn’t any news getting leaked to the trades, leave it to Albuquerque Business First to break a new scoop. The eagle eyes over at The Film Stage noticed that, in an article about how that Michael Fassbender-starring rock and roll comedy called Frank is coming to town to shoot, the local source managed to break the news that Maggie Gyllenhaal is coming to town with it. Her involvement in the film sees her joining a cast that includes not just Fassbender, but two of the young MVPs of 2012, Domhnall Gleeson and Scoot McNairy, as well. Which, you know, makes her one of the luckiest ladies in the world.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that’s ready for the weekend. Colin Firth is kind of a sneaky hunk. At first glance he’s pretty handsome, but not the most attractive dude in the world, and then he’s got this charm to him that just grows on you until you’ve scrawled his name on all of your Trapper Keepers. He’s such saucy dish that it looks like he can make even a big name star like Nicole Kidman develop a schoolgirl crush. THR is reporting that she liked playing his wife in the recent World War II drama The Railway Man so much that she’s now actively recruiting him to join her in her next project, Before I Go to Sleep. Apparently, Before I Go to Sleep is an adaptation of a S.J. Watson novel about an amnesiac woman whose husband must reintroduce himself to her every morning. Early attempts at titling the film The Rich Man’s 50 First Dates were reportedly rejected by the studio.

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Michael Fassbender

The upcoming year looks like it’s going to be a busy one for Michael Fassbender, which probably has something to do with the fact that he’s the greatest (and handsomest) actor currently residing on the planet. He just got done filming Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, he’s now working on the Ridley Scott directed and Cormac McCarthy written The Counselor, he’s been linked to Natalie Portman’s next project, Jane Got a Gun, and there’s always his reprisal of the classic X-Men villain Magneto looming in the future, for the X-Men: First Class sequel Days of Future Past. When you’re a complete stud and acting machine like Fassbender, however, you don’t let something silly like a full schedule stop you from piling more on, so it should come as no surprise that Variety is reporting the übermensch has added another project onto his plate. The latest is an Irish indie called Frank. Coming from a script by Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan, and to be directed by Lenny Abrahamson (whose latest, What Richard Did, is about to debut at TIFF), Frank is the story of an aspiring and naive young musician who gets in over his head after he joins a band led by an eccentric front man. And it turns out Fassbender can carry a tune:

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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.12.2014
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published: 12.05.2014
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