Louis C.K.

Korengal Mountains

Filmmaker Sebastian Junger launched a Kickstarter campaign earlier today for a follow-up to his Oscar-nominated documentary Restrepo. And it’s already about a third of the way funded. The new film, titled Korengal: This Is What War Feels Like, is basically a sequel to that 2010 effort, for which he and co-director Tim Hetherington were embedded with a U.S. platoon in Afghanistan for a look at a year on the front lines of the war. Hetherington later died covering another dangerous conflict, the Libyan civil war, and became the subject of Junger’s subsequent film, Which Way Is the Front Line From Here. Korengal takes us back with the duo to the titular valley for events that happened either following or alongside those in Restrepo. Junger says in his campaign statement that it had been an idea during the editing of the earlier film that they’d come back and make another doc out of the unused footage. That makes it sound almost like what they did with the Anchorman movies, but of course this is reality and also this second film is said to pick up where the other one left off, not be merely a collection of deleted scenes.

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Blue Jasmine

The first thing you’re likely to hear from a fan of Woody Allen’s new film, Blue Jasmine, is that star Cate Blanchett is amazing (because she is) and that the perpetually Oscar-worthy actress turns in yet another Oscar-worthy performance in the auteur’s black as night comedy. The second thing you’re likely to hear from that same fan is that co-star Sally Hawkins is also amazing and that she proves herself adept at supporting the work Blanchett does while also imperceptibly straddling the line between comedy and drama with her own performance. Blue Jasmine, on a whole, lives and dies at the hand of its two central female performances – so it’s good news that Blanchett and Hawkins are both more than up to the task at hand, but it’s even better news that the film’s male-dominated supporting cast is also tremendous. A fairy tale about the 1%, Blue Jasmine sees Blanchett as the eponymous Jasmine, disgraced Park Ave. housewife and social gadfly, who decamps from Manhattan after her husband (Alec Baldwin) hits her with the one-two punch of “I’m leaving you for the nanny” (not even their nanny! Someone else’s nanny!) and “Also, I was running a Ponzi scheme and am now going to jail and, oops, now you’re impoverished.” Unskilled, mortified, and slipping into psychosis, Jasmine heads west to the only family she has left, her sister Ginger (Hawkins), who has more than enough problems of her own. The film unfolds thanks to a back-and-forth narrative that flits between […]

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Channel Guide - Large

Watching an award show is the closest I’ll ever come to experiencing the kind of thrill that sports fans feel when they’re watching the Super Bowl or the World Series. When Peter Dinklage won his Emmy last year, I cheered audibly as if that award had some kind of impact on my life. It’s a strange reaction to have but you watch these shows and these actors every week, you buy the DVDs, you grow attached, and you want to see this thing or person that you adore honored. It’s fandom and we’re helpless to resist its hold on us. The 64th annual Primetime Emmy nominations were announced Thursday morning and there really weren’t any surprises or huge controversies both because many of these actors and shows are nominated every year (30 Rock, Modern Family, Mad Men, Jim Parsons, Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin) and also because most of the nominees are deserving of the recognition (Breaking Bad, Homeland, Downton Abbey, Boardwalk Empire, Bryan Cranston). As usual, the snubs, omissions, the inability of the members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to acknowledge something that isn’t widely celebrated by critics—whatever you want to call it—were the most interesting parts of yesterday morning’s announcement.

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Years before Woody Allen became basically the most prolific filmmaker to ever exist, he was making his way through the entertainment industry as a stand-up comedian, so he knows the art of crafting a joke, and he should have a good idea of how to best utilize the talents of those weird weekend warriors who travel from town to town projecting their neuroses onto random strangers in seedy nightclubs. That’s why it is so exciting that it’s just been announced that two of the most successful stand-up comedians of all time have signed on to be a part of his latest film. Woody’s new project doesn’t have a title yet, but what’s known about it is that it’s being filmed in New York and San Francisco over the summer. Also, we now know the names that make up its cast. In a press release put out earlier today ,it was announced that big names like Alec Baldwin and Cate Blanchett made the list, as well as some solid but lesser-known names like Michael Emerson, Sally Hawkins, and Peter Sarsgaard; but the most interesting part of the casting announcement was the inclusion of comedians Louis C.K. and Andrew Dice Clay.

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Culture Warrior

Veteran filmmaker Paul Schrader, notorious author Bret Easton Ellis, and indie producer Braxton Pope want you to audition for their new film. They’re assembling a microbudget feature for the digital distribution market called The Canyons, and they’re looking for some fresh new faces to star in it. Is your lack of an agent or non-Los Angeles residence preventing you from getting a fair chance at auditioning for legit films? There’s no need to worry, for we live in the 21st century my friend. The Canyons is holding its audition process through Facebook. On the one hand, The Canyons‘s unique production process makes complete sense. We are no longer, after all, in 2006 when studio producers had an overinvested, experimental Snakes on a Plane-level-interest in Internet culture. In this case, even on a small-budget independent film, the visible gatekeepers still possess power over the participants within the supposedly “democratized” framework of social networking. For a while it seemed that cinema – largely an object particular to 20th century logic – could not adapt to the boundary-destroying, power-shifting implications of the 21st century. Now this seems to no longer be the case. Web distribution (which was little more than a fantasy or an overblown threat to theatrical cinema’s hegemony just over a decade ago) is now seen as a conceivable and potentially profitable alternative to traditional film exhibition.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly news thingy, that publishes link thingies, some of which are sort of interesting. You should really read on, as it can only get better from here. We open tonight with television, and one of the big stories out of the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour happening this week. Glee and Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy debuted a first look at his upcoming FX pilot, American Horror Story. Word from NPR’s Monkey See is that it’s a “sex-filled gorefest” and subsequently “flat-out crazy.” The image above is a first look. Nothing too crazy yet, especially for the seasoned horror fan or the sexually liberated.

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That Thing You Do! is the kind of movie only a man with a particular amount of clout can get made. An off-beat comedy about a fake rock band from the ’60s starring a bunch of unknowns and unfamiliar songs to boot? Maybe if it was a comic book first. But thank the powers that be for Tom Hanks and his odd sensibilities. He may be a two-time Oscar winner and an impassioned producer of WWII serialized dramas, but when it came to his directorial debut, the end product was something closer to his Bosom Buddies/The Man with One Red Shoe days. When That Thing You Do! hit theaters it bombed, barely making back its budget and putting Hanks’s directing career in question. Not even Tom Freakin’ Hanks could get his passion project to play with audiences. That very well could have been the end of the actor behind the camera. But lo and behold, a decade and a half later, Hanks returns this weekend with another oddball flick, Larry Crowne. Whether the new comedy (sporting plenty of familiar faces) can counter-program Transformers 3 and survive the competitive summer isn’t the point — we should be happy enough he made something. With Larry Crowne, Hanks has succeeded in doing what so few of his actor-turned-director friends have managed: to make a second movie. Here are a few thespians who took the plunge into filmmaking, only to return to their day jobs after one outing.

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Louis CK

If you’re a fan of raunchy stand-up comedy, then you’re familiar with the name Louis C.K. What you may not know is that he has a new show, Louie beginning tomorrow on FX. I had the opportunity to sit down with the comic and the get the skinny on the new show.

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