It’s a Disaster

discs its disaster

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. It’s a Disaster Four couples get together for their monthly brunch, but today’s gathering includes a few surprises. Tracy (Julia Stiles) has brought along a new boyfriend (David Cross), one of the couples is heading towards a separation, and a mysterious incident in the city has left them trapped in the house with little in the way of reliable information. A lack of certainty, loyalty and sanity quickly overcomes the group leading to even more trouble. Writer/director Todd Berger‘s ensemble comedy is easily the funniest disaster film in ages. Most of the cast are (fairly) fresh faces, but in addition to the two names above America Ferrera gets to show a decidedly different side of herself. It’s a simple film, essentially set in a single location, but sharp writing and a lively cast collectively imbued with fantastic comic timing make it a hilarious and energetic romp. [Blu-ray extras: Commentary, behind the scenes, Comic Con panel, viral videos, trailer]

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review its a disaster

You wouldn’t think large-scale death and destruction would be good fodder for comedy, but last year’s Seeking a Friend For the End of the World proved otherwise with its sweet mix of laughs and heart. This year sees two higher profile attempts at the formula with Seth Rogen’s This Is the End and Edgar Wright’s The World’s End, but the odds are both of these will lean far heavier on the comedy aspect. Unfairly allocated to the limited release indie circuit though is a little film that may just be the best of the bunch. Or should I say, the best of the brunch… (don’t worry, I didn’t write the movie). Pete and Emma (Blaise Miller & Erinn Hayes) host a regular “couples” brunch for their favorite fellow couples, but today’s get together won’t be going entirely to plan. Judging by how some of the regular attendees despise the mundane nature of the gathering that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Except in this case it totally is a bad thing. In addition to Pete and Emma’s real motive for the brunch, issues arise between the others as well. There’s a reason Shane and Hedy (Jeff Grace & America Ferrera) have been engaged for five years, Buck and Lexi (Kevin M. Brennan & Rachel Boston) have made some questionable choices when it comes to infidelity equality, and Glen and Tracy (David Cross & Julia Stiles) are just trying to get through their third date unscathed. Oh, and there’s a man at […]

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Video on Demand: Life of Pi

You may be asking yourself, what is the Video On Demand Power Ranker? It’s quite simple, really. Every week, more and more films are coming to your home entertainment systems prior to hitting the shelves of Blu-ray and DVD. Sometimes even before or during their theatrical run, you can get at this films on your cable box, your Roku, your Apple TV, your iPad, whatever other tablets exist that aren’t the iPad, and plenty of other devices. With that in mind, we’ve built a space-age supercomputer chip and implanted it into my brain. Combined with my brain’s higher film-loving function, this silicon-based hyper-drive calculates which Video On Demand titles are best each week, complete with a handy 1-10 ranking. Video On Demand. Power. Ranker. Got it? Great. Let’s get to it…

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Its a Disaster

There’s nothing like the end of the world to mess up a Sunday brunch. The only way to make up for it is to ask David Cross politely for a three way. In the movie, four couples get together for a delightful afternoon only to find out that they might all be killed. Considering all of their interpersonal drama, that might just be the third worst thing to happen all weekend. Todd Berger’s It’s a Disaster had a big premiere on Vine 6 seconds at a time, and it thrilled Kate at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and now we get to see what happens when you try to share Cross sexually in this exclusive clip.

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Todd Berger

One of our very favorite festival hits from last year, Todd Berger‘s side-splitting It’s A Disaster, is due to hit theaters (and VOD for all you shut-ins out there) in the next few weeks, so we’re pleased the production has debuted a new trailer. Berger’s film centers on the domestic catastrophe that is brunch amongst couple friends. Kidding. Well, sort of. Starring a large ensemble (including Julia Stiles, David Cross, America Ferrera, and many more), It’s A Disaster starts off with a tough enough situation – Stiles’ character is tasked with bringing her new paramour, played by Cross, to meet all of her friends at their traditional Sunday brunch – and then ratchets that up significantly. Oh, how significantly? Apocalyptic significantly. With an apparent worldwide disaster knocking on their front door (along with Berger himself, who makes an amusing cameo), the group must begin to deal with all kinds of fallout (emotional and possibly nuclear). It’s the funniest apocalyptic film you’ll see all year. After the break, ready your mimosas for the new It’s A Disaster trailer.

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Austin Cinematic Limits

A New Orleans native, writer-director Todd Berger moved to Austin to attend The University of Texas. After graduating from UT’s Radio-Television-Film program, Berger was quickly swept away to the always sunny shores of Los Angeles. With The Scenesters (2009) and It’s a Disaster (2012), Berger has become yet another success story to come out of UT’s film program; and even though he did not spend very much time in Austin, Berger has maintained very strong ties with the Austin film community. So, when we heard that Berger was coming to Austin for the regional premiere of his latest directorial effort, It’s a Disaster, at the 2012 Austin Film Festival we thought it would be fun to get his outsider perspective on the Austin…

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Austin Film Festival 2012

The first five days of the 2012 Austin Film Festival have been a challenging frame. For a festival with such a rich history and strong commitment to promoting the work of great storytellers, the overall line-up has been anything but noteworthy. The fest’s biggest (and arguably best) film, Silver Linings Playbook, is an obvious stand-out. But I’ll have more on that later. For now, we’re going to take a look at three comedies that have emerged as clear reasons why there’s hope for the Austin Film Festival programming staff. While much of the rest of their line-up underwhelms, they’ve provided their audience with a number of gems, all of which are sure to make us laugh.

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Austin Film Festival 2012

As the leaves begin to turn (not really) and the temperature begins to cool (again, not actually happening), it’s clear that fall is upon us here in Central Texas. But even more so than the slightly reduced electric bills due to being able to turn your AC off for one day, there’s no better sign that fall is here than to see the Austin Film Festival and Conference roll into town. It’s the third of the major festivals on Austin’s yearly film calendar, and like its brethren SXSW and Fantastic Fest, has a unique appeal. It is first and foremost a conference for industry folk, namely screenwriters, that often brings the likes of Mitch Hurwitz, Shane Black and this year, Sopranos creator and Not Fade Away director David Chase in to talk to crowds of industry hopefuls. They also do show a number of films, which is ultimately what has our interest. Sure, there may be a lot to learn in the “Improving Your Logline” panel, but we’re not sure that too many of you would want to read the resulting article. So we’ll stick to the films, as we’ve done since 2006 when AFF became the first festival we ever covered as a site. As we look down the line-up of AFF 2012, it’s hard not to think that we’re seeing the festival equivalent of a rebuilding year. The entire line-up of films is undoubtedly lean, with only a few hot titles. What once was a refuge for Toronto Film Festival hold-overs has become a mish-mash of […]

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Austin Cinematic Limits

I have been anxiously awaiting Fantastic Fest 2012 (September 20-27) ever since the carnivalesque tomfoolery of the Fantastic Fest 2011 closing party. Year after year, Tim League and the Fantastic Fest programmers have totally blown me away with their impeccable curating of genre films. And the parties… Oh, the parties! If my liver could talk, the stories it would tell… If history serves, Fantastic Fest 2012 will continue to expand upon its awesomeness, so this year will probably be ten times more amazing than last year’s festival. The announcements that Fantastic Fest has made so far with the first wave and second wave of programming have already solidified the fact that this will be the best damn Fantastic Fest of them all. First off, Tim Burton will be in attendance at the world premiere of Frankenweenie on the opening night of Fantastic Fest 2012. Sure, I have not been a fan of most of his recent work, but that makes him no less of a cinematic genius in my mind. And, while on the subject of this year’s festival guests, I pretty much peed my pants with excitement when I heard that Rian Johnson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt will be coming to Fantastic Fest with their film Looper. Color me thrilled!

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Todd Berger

Though it might often seem as if most of the wheeling and dealing that goes into the acquisition of festival films happens actually during festivals, there are plenty of worthy titles that end up getting snapped up months after their premieres (just look at John Dies at the End). Though Todd Berger‘s It’s A Disaster premiered back in June at the Los Angeles Film Festival and we’re just getting word of the film being bought now, there was never any question that the LAFF favorite (and major crowdpleaser) was going to get picked up, distributed, and totally loved by anyone who has the good sense to watch it. IndieWire reports that Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired North American rights to the film and is planning to release it both theatrically and digitally in early 2013. Written and directed by Berger, the film stars Julia Stiles, David Cross, America Ferrera, Erinn Hayes, Rachel Boston, Kevin M. Brennan, Jeff Grace, and Blaise Miller in a fresh and funny spin on the worn-out apocalypse film trope. It centers on a group of friends who gather for a Sunday brunch and, too consumed with their own (quite funny) dramas, utterly fail to notice that the world is literally ending around them. Oscilloscope’s David Laub said of the film, “It’s A Disaster is a real gem, one of those great discoveries that you don’t come across very often…Todd has combined a perceptive, Woody Allen-esque relationship comedy with a unique take on the apocalypse film, and in the […]

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The jokes write themselves – It’s a Disaster is, in fact, not a disaster at all (though a brief glitch during the film’s final screening at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival did result in half of the audience tittering “it’s a disaster!” to a temporarily blank screen). Todd Berger‘s film takes some familiar ingredients – an end-of-the-world plot, a cast of characters who are stuck with each other, suburban brunch at its absolute worst – and mixes them up into one heck of a funny and acutely realized comedy stew (quiche?). Amusingly acted, incredibly well-written, and surprisingly adept at mixing and mingling disparate tones, It’s a Disaster is the exact kind of fresh comedy that audiences hope to find at film festivals. The film centers on a Sunday brunch that is already going to get a bit weird – hosts Pete (Blaise Miller) and Emma (Erinn Hayes) have an ulterior motive for bringing together their best pals for their traditional couples brunch, and it’s not just to meet Tracy’s (Julia Stiles) latest boyfriend, Glenn (David Cross). Likewise, it’s also not watch the Kivels (Kevin M. Brennan and Rachel Boston) go at it when they’re not talking about their latest adventures with drugs and music. And it’s not even to dance around the delicate topic of just when Hedy (America Ferrara) and Shane (Jeff Grace) are going to tie the knot. Of course, all that will happen – along with the most unplanned event of all: a decidedly unnatural disaster […]

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