Lola Versus

Culture Warrior

It’s nothing new to say that the term “independent filmmaking” has come to no longer reference the actual practice of making films outside the studio system, and alerts more directly to an aesthetic of hipness. That the cute-and-quirky consecutive multi-Oscar nominees Little Miss Sunshine and Juno were similarly marketed by Fox Searchlight as “independent films” despite the fact that the former was actually produced independently and the latter was funded by studio dollars, effectively put the nail in the coffin for actual independent filmmaking to have any meaningful visibility. Meanwhile, first-time directors who make their name at Sundance like Marc Webb, Doug Liman, and Seth Gordon quickly reveal themselves to be aspiring directors-for-hire rather than anti-Hollywood renegades. Tom DiCillo, Hal Hartley, and Jim Jarmusch seem ever more like naïve, idealist relics each passing year. It’s clear what the blurring of the lines between independence and studio filmmaking has meant for the mainstream: as my friend and colleague Josh Coonrod pointed out last week, it renders “platform release” synonymous with “independent,” it means that movies featuring Bradley Cooper and Bruce Willis are the top competitors at the “Independent” Spirit Awards (see the John Cassavetes Award for actual independents), and it means that Quentin Tarantino is, for some reason, still considered an independent filmmaker. American independent filmmaking has lost its ideological reason for being. But when it comes to films that are actually independently financed – films for whom the moniker is less an appeal toward cultural capital and more an accurate […]

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! Lots of new releases hitting shelves today, but only two of them are worth buying! Which ones are they? Keep reading to find out along with the skinny on sixteen other titles including Andy Garcia’s epic For Greater Glory, Fox’s Terra Nova series, Greta Geriwg’s Lola Versus, the unfinished horrors of Munger Road and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Loved Ones Months after a teenager (Xavier Samuel) loses his father in a car accident his efforts to put the past behind him are interrupted by madness. It seems Lola (Robin McLeavy), a quiet and unassuming classmate, has developed a crush on him and she won’t take no for an answer. What follows is a brutal, suspenseful and unpredictable thriller as he’s forced to find a strength he didn’t know he possessed if he wants to survive. This Australian thriller from writer/director Sean Byrne gets just about everything right including a wonderful cast, sharp editing and wonderfully twisted narrative. Good on Paramount for releasing it unrated, but they suck for the lack of Blu-ray. If you have a region-free Blu-ray player skip this edition and pick up the import Blu from AmazonUK instead. If not, buy this now and enjoy the hell out of it. [Extras: Interviews]

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Guillermo Del Toro

What is Movie News After Dark? It ain’t playin’, yo. This is about movin’ news, slingin’ editorial quips and makin’ bank. Whatever ‘bank’ is… Tonight we begin with some lovely artwork from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, a gothic retelling of the classic fairy tale about a puppet who just wanted to be a real boy. If any of you have watched the Disney animated version of Pinocchio recently (or in general, with adult eyes), you’ll know that there’s some seriously spine-tingling creepitude in that story. It’s got puppets from The Jim Henson Company and co-direction from Fantastic Mr. Fox animation director Mark Gustafson. Get excited about this one, kids.

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“Being single builds character.” At least that’s what Lola Versus‘s ostensible heroine (Greta Gerwig) wants to believe as she stumbles and shuffles through life post-break-up and pre-thirtieth birthday in Daryl Wein‘s girl-on-the verge hipster rom-com, so it’s too bad that it takes her too long to form what one would call character (or even just plain old backbone). The film’s plot is simple to the point of absolute cliche – twenty-nine-year-old Lola is unexpectedly dumped by her beloved fiancee Luke (Joel Kinnaman) just weeks before their wedding, a blow that sends her into a tailspin and makes her reevaluate her entire life. Boom. The end. That’s it. Yes, you’ve seen it before and you’ve probably seen it done better. But, what Lola Versus really presupposes is that maybe you’ve also seen it done worse.

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Aural Fixation - Large

Ever since Napster hit the scene and forever changed the way we distribute music, the music industry has been fighting a slow death over the past few years and while record labels still exist, they are quickly becoming a dated way to “make it” with YouTube, at home ProTools rigs and countless social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Soundcloud) available for artists to truly DIY their careers rather than wait for the elusive record contract to “change their lives.” While established artists like The Chemical Brothers, Phoenix and Daft Punk have taken to the conductor’s podium to create scores for films such as Hanna, Somewhere and Tron: Legacy (can someone also get Muse attached to a project, please?), bands that are not yet well-known are taking their music out of local clubs and putting them onto the silver screen for better (and bigger) exposure. One band, a multi-media group based out of Brooklyn called Fall On Your Sword, caught people’s ears (and attention) with their score for Another Earth and are following that up with their score for the upcoming Lola Versus (due in theaters this Friday, 6/8) as well as 28 Hotel Rooms and Nobody Walks (which both premiered at Sundance this past January.) Rather than getting lost in the shuffle as just another “band from Brooklyn,” FOYS took matters into their own hands and began to diversify themselves by not just looking to release albums of their music, but explore other outlets for potential exposure.

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It’s deeply distressing to see an actress such as Greta Gerwig, whose work I enjoy so immensely since she popped up in Hannah Takes the Stairs, end up in so many films that I didn’t like. Namely 2011’s The Dish & The Spoon and Arthur. That said, it sure won’t stop me from being hopeful that she will break out big in 2012, with Whit Stillman’s  Damsels in Distress hitting this week, a spot in Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love in the summer and this film, Lola Versus. Fox Searchlight has released the first trailer for Lola Versus, in which Ms. Gerwig plays the titular gal, who finds herself dumped by her boyfriend just three weeks before their wedding. In response, she sets out with a group of her closest friends on and adventure through life and love that will hopefully help her deal with coming up on 30 as a single woman. It’s not exactly targeted at bearded 20-something men like myself, but I’ll be damned if Greta isn’t super charming in this trailer. Consider me an optimist on this one. You may find yourself in a similar position after watching the trailer.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of movie news and editorial links that will certainly be living long and prospering. Both because it is what our super hip Commander-in-Chief commands of us and because of you, the faithful reader. We begin this evening with a shot of President Obama and Star Trek‘s Nichelle Nichols in the Oval Office, giving up  the “live long and prosper”  salute that originated in the first episode of Star Trek: The Original Series’ second season. The two racial barrier-breakers met recently, with the photo following from Ms. Nichols’ Twitter feed. It’s room for hope, you know, that the Star Trek future will eventually come true. Also, Obama’s a nerd.

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Earlier this week, our own Cole Abaius announced the first wave of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival‘s film lineup. That assault was impressive enough, complete with lots of compelling picks in the World Narrative Feature Competition, World Documentary Feature Competition
, and Viewpoints sections, but today’s release of the final feature film sections is a whole other volley of firepower. With today’s announcement of their Spotlight, Cinemania, Special Screenings, and the 2012 Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, the fest has completed their feature announcements – and made me start to wonder if I should try to hit Gotham for the festival, running April 18 – 29. Picks that stand out to me already include the delightful 2 Days in New York, Chicken With Plums, Don’t Stop Believin': Everyman’s Journey, The Giant Mechanical Man, Headshot, Lola Versus, Take This Waltz, Your Sister’s Sister, and Sleepless Night. Check out the full list of films (along with Tribeca-provided synopses) after the break.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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