Judy Greer

John Slattery as Howard Stark

For months, the mystery of who would take the reigns from Edgar Wright and direct Ant-Man dominated all coverage of the Marvel flick. But ever since the baton was passed to Peyton Reed, focus has been able to switch back to the good ol’ casting frenzy. Today, Marvel sent out a press release announcing that production has officially started in San Francisco on the much-anticipated film. That in itself is exciting enough news, with Reed also tweeting “LET’S. GET. small.” early this morning. He’s a man with a plan, and it’s on a teensy tiny scale. Good things come in small packages, haven’t you heard? But the press release contained something even more amazing: a barrage of cast members to round out the film’s core ensemble. The new additions are Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire), Judy Greer (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Michael Pena (End of Watch), Abby Ryder Fortson (Togetherness), David Dastmalchian (Prisoners), Gregg Turkington (The Comedy), Wood Harris (The Wire), rapper T.I. (Identity Thief) and John Slattery (Mad Men).

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Playing for Keeps

The romantic comedy genre is a very forgiving place for performers and filmmakers. Rom-coms are relatively cheap to produce, and like horror films (which are far cheaper) they usually get a guaranteed audience on opening weekend, so it’s not uncommon to see actors and actresses on the downward slide in Hollywood find a home there. (The reverse works too, with actors on the rise getting a bump from a successful but otherwise low-key rom-coms.) The point is it’s always interesting to see who turns up in a romantic comedy that hits theaters with no expectations. George (Gerard Butler) was a big time soccer (the football kind) player once upon a time, but an ankle injury saw an end to his career and his stardom. His family also fell by the wayside at some point, but now he’s moved to the same town as his wife Stacie (Jessica Biel) and son Lewis (Noah Lomax) in the hopes of reconnecting with them both. He’s working towards a sportscasting career but takes a gig coaching Lewis’ soccer team while he waits for a call from ESPN. George tries to rekindle a life with his wife and son, but his recurring reckless behavior, the horn-dog soccer moms and Stacie’s Baxter of a fiance (James Tupper) may just derail his dream.

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Director George Clooney

What is Casting Couch? Proof that not everyone’s tracking Hurricane Sandy’s path on Twitter. Some are still out there casting movies. The big casting news over the weekend was all of the big names that were announced for George Clooney’s next project as a director, The Monuments Men. Deadline had the scoop that this period drama about a group of art historians and museum curators trying to recover important and historical works from the clutches of the Nazis is going to star names like Bill Murray, Daniel Craig, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban. As far as I know none of these people can even speak German, but you’ve still got to look at that list and be impressed. You could cast this crew as an office full of telemarketers and everyone would still watch the movie, making them heroes during the dying days of the Nazi regime is just icing on the cake.

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Editor’s Note: This review was published on October 18 as part of our New York Film Festival 2011 coverage. With The Descendants hitting (limited) theaters this week, we’ve gone ahead and republished it for those of you who need further reason to check out a George Clooney film that takes place in Hawaii. After seven years of waiting, Alexander Payne finally has another feature film coming to the big screen. While the wait has been tumultuous and tedious, seven years for films like The Descendants makes the anticipation worth it. Heartfelt, sweet, funny, touching, and every other adjective that describes Payne’s movies applies to his fifth feature. Like his past work, this is another exploration of a search for manhood and meaning. Payne has a real knack for writing men who have been reduced by women. Matt King (George Clooney in another career-best performance) has a line about how all the women in his life bring him down; that applies to the thought process behind all of Payne’s leads, from Sideways to About Schmidt to Election. Both uncomfortably and honestly, the writer-director understands emasculated men who, for lack of a better phrase, are simply trying to get their shit together.

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The title of Jay and Mark Duplass’ latest film, Jeff, Who Lives at Home, may imply that the film will center primarily on leading loser Jeff, well, living at home. When we first meet Jeff (Jason Segel), he’s smoking weed in his mother’s basement, but though that setting (and that particular action) would, at first puff, seem to lay the stage for what the rest of the film portrays, Jeff gets out of the house and out in the world pretty swiftly. Jeff, Who Lives at Home may ostensibly focus on Jeff’s journey to a greater understanding of himself and the world he lives in (and, yes, that journey comes with much less weed-smoking than one would expect), the Duplass brothers have actually crafted a charming film that is, at its heart, about the influence of everyday magic in the lives of an off-kilter family. The Duplass men have long been concerned with issues of family and disaffection, and finding humor in the tragedy that is inherent (and sometimes inherited) in both. The Puffy Chair and Cyrus both have plots that center on daddy issues, to some extent, and Jeff, Who Lives at Home is no different. Segel’s Jeff is a thirtyish slacker who is unable to complete even the most mundane of tasks (early on in the film, his mother asks him to simply procure some wood glue and fix a broken shutter). He lives at home with said mother Sharon (played amusingly by Susan Sarandon, complete with her […]

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Earlier this morning, my partner in LA film festival crime, the lovely Ms. Allison Loring, posted her list of Most Anticipated Films from this year’s upcoming AFI FEST presented by Audi. Of course, many of our choices overlap (Shame, Butter, Rampart), but we part ways when it comes to some of the smaller films at the festival. For all the big, Oscar bait flicks (J. Edgar) or the wang- and soul-baring Fass-outings (Shame again, always Shame), there are a few films that I’ve been positively rabid to see (Alps, Michael) that might not yet have the cache value and audience awareness of those other films. From the festival’s incredible list of 110 films, I’ve narrowed down my list to ten films that are my bonafide Most Anticipated Films of the festival. Like any list, I am sure that some of you perusing it will be displeased, weighing in on titles I’m a fool to miss. But hold your wrath for a few days, because many of the best titles of the fest are ones I’ve already seen, and those films might just crop up in an unexpected place (like, oh, another list). AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting today, October 27, right HERE). The complete schedule grid is now online for the festival, which you can check out HERE. After the break, […]

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Do you like genuinely funny movies that tell character stories in earnest as fuse humor and heart? Films that are not one-note, one-joke or one-testicled? Films that compliment rock solid acting with quality writing and a filmmaker intent on telling you a multi-dimensional story, even if that story is about a less than likable guy who gets his balls whacked off by an angry father with a trumpet? Good, because so do I. Enter Barry Munday, the directorial debut of Chris D’Arienzo, a director you should keep an eye on. Especially if you like the aforementioned quality films, namely those that will give you laughter. As I mentioned in my review from SXSW, this one’s well stocked with two wonderfully charismatic leads — Patrick Wilson and Judy Greer — and plenty of meticulously placed supporting players — the likes of Malcolm McDowell, Chloe Sevigny, Christopher McDonald, Billy Dee Williams and Kyle Gass, as seen delivering an uncomfortable moment in the trailer. It’s one of the few movies I’ve seen this year that I’d insist you see. At the very least, do me a favor and watch the trailer after the jump.

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Marmaduke Trailer

There’s only one way for this Marmaduke trailer to be any more unbearable than it already is — if it ended with “in IMAX 3D.” Aside from wondering why it is we continue to subject America’s impressionable youth to such low-brow humor and less-than-impressive CGI work, I’m also curious to know what the appeal of such a property is.

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SXSW Film 2010

Barry Munday was the first film I saw for SXSW, and it could have only been one of my favorite films of the festival for maybe another day or so. However, we are now on our seventh day of coverage for the fest…and Barry Munday is still one of my favorites.

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SXSW Film 2010

Starring in my SXSW sweetheart, Barry Munday, is the very funny and gorgeous Judy Greer. Judy plays Ginger Farley, a recently impregnated woman who seeks paternity from her one night stand, Mr. Munday. See what she had to say about things and stuff..

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Barry Munday

With an energetic opening that signals an upbeat and well-soundtracked tone, Barry Munday introduces us to its title character, played by Patrick Wilson. He’s a guy you’ve met before, around the office (if you’ve ever worked in one). The guy who hits on every woman in site, spends most of his lunchtimes alone and is constantly making imbecilic, inappropriate remarks. You may know him as a tool.

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Just this morning I was watching the trailer for Chris D’Arienzo’s comedy Barry Munday on the YouTube, and it had me wondering if I should share it with you as part of our SXSW preview today. Then an email came in with not only the trailer, but a gallery of images and an official synopsis from the fine folks handling the film’s publicity. It was destiny, leaving me no choice but to share it with all of you.

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wilson-marmaduke

What is it with Owen Wilson and movies about dogs?

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Californication: No Way to Treat a Lady

On Hank’s first day as biographer to Lew Ashby, he’s re-introduced to Trixie, the hooker with a heart of gold, who stirs up trouble by claiming that Hank is better in bed than Ashby.

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