Mark Pellington

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr hunkers down and braces for award season. He also prepares for an onslaught of celebrity guest stars in New Year’s Eve, which features a poster that looks like a “Friends available to chat” sidebar on Facebook. In order to watch all the movies for the week, Kevin hires the only babysitter available… Jonah Hill. What could possibly go wrong with that? Fortunately this frees him up to see some of the smaller releases, like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, W.E. and I Melt with You. And he wraps up the week wondering why everyone needs to talk about him.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Ben Solovey explains why he’s personally restoring a 16mm print of Manos: The Hands of Fate, one of the worst movies ever made. Plus, I Melt With You director Mark Pellington talks drugs and demons, and it’s Fat Guy Kevin Carr versus Geek Tyrant editor-in-chief Jim Napier in a Movie News Pop Quiz that will change everything forever and ever. Download This Episode

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What happens when four grown men get together for a weekend away from their families and jobs? They turn into drugged-up, sexed-up frat guys! (Naturally?) College buddies Richard (Thomas Jane), Jonathan (Rob Lowe), Ron (Jeremy Piven), and Tim (Christian McKay) come together for a weekend not just away from their lives, but apparently also away from their own minds. As soon as Doctor Jon shows up with his medical bag full of enough pills, powders, and injections to make you the most popular person at an NA meeting, the boys jump down the rabbit hole of excess and never look back. Mark Pellington‘s I Melt With You will make you thankful that most frats (or guys that age) do not have access to expensive toys like cars, boats, cliffside vacation homes, and more drugs than Michael Jackson would even know what to do with (sorry, MJ). I understand escapism and wanting to indulge every so often, but I Melt With You crosses the line from self-destruction into just plain destruction so quickly that it will leave you feeling as if you are reeling from your own all-night bender.

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As it turns out, I’ve been slightly remiss when it comes to praising this year’s 25th edition of AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi. I’ve tossed off comments about how the festival gets better with every passing year, but in the wake of today’s announcement of the festival’s Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings, I’ve realized that I have not gone far enough. AFI FEST has not just gotten better this year, the festival has made a dramatic jump to top-tier status, rolling out titles that play like a cinephile’s Christmas list for 2011. Today’s lineup announcement is essentially a “best-of” list of this year’s festival favorites, including Michel Hazanavicius‘s The Artist, Steve McQueen‘s Shame, Oren Moverman‘s Rampart, Lynne Ramsay‘s We Need to Talk About Kevin, Roman Polanski‘s Carnage, Simon Curtis‘s My Week with Marilyn, Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, Gerardo Naranjo’s Miss Bala, and Wim Wenders‘s Pina. 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. The best part? Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting October 27). After the break, check out the full list, including descriptions and showtimes, of the films to be featured as AFI FEST Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings.

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Sundance trainwrecks are of particular interest to me. You would think that a film being accepted into Sundance would somehow guarantee that it would be of of a certain quality – yet, sometimes, that “certain” quality just means “bad.” Or, at least in the case of Mark Pellington‘s I Melt With You, it means divisive and different. At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, a few films became infamous almost immediately, thanks to mass walkouts during screenings – the two most publicized examples were The Son of No One and I Melt With You. Pellington’s film reportedly saw a large number of walkouts during its first press screening at the fest (the number bandied about said to include fifty people, and I can vouch for knowing a number of people who did walk out, though not nearly fifty). I didn’t catch the film at Sundance, but our own music guru Allison Loring did, and said of the film, “it’s like a really long, really fucked up music video, just lots of fast cuts – booze, sex, drugs, booze, craziness, drugs, LOUD MUSIC.” The film centers on four middle-aged buds (Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven, Christian McKay, and Rob Lowe) who go on a boys’ weekend at Big Sur to blow off some major steam. But there’s a twist. Check out the new red band trailer for I Melt With You after the break. Be ready to prove your age (by way of a very sophisticated drop-down menu).

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After initially enjoying the quiet dramatic concept of I Melt With You as well as the directorial work of Mark Pellington, it was inevitable that we’d keep a close eye on any news that came out about the project. After all, four college friends reuniting because of a death/murder pact is interesting territory, and Tom Jane, Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe, and who we’ve heard is playing the fourth friend are all names to keep on the radar. Now here’s another. Sort of. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sasha Grey is in close talks to co-star in the film as a “free spirit who helps one of the men realize that nirvana can only be achieved by death.” I’ll have to assume that the article meant “interracial gang bang” instead of “death.” This will be a second shot at an acting world that doesn’t involve double penetration, but Grey didn’t exactly wow the pants off of me when she starred in The Girlfriend Experience. She had some moments, but overall her acting skills leave a lot to be desired. The production has also gained television’s Zander Eckhouse as Grey’s character’s writer boyfriend, Abhi Sinha from The Social Network, and Arielle Kebbel.

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If you got a chance to see Henry Poole is Here, then you know how talented director Mark Pellington is and you know how dangerous he is with a low budget. He’ll get a chance to put those talents on display now that Jeremy Piven and Thomas Jane have both signed on to co-star in his latest film, I Melt With You. According to the director, the film is “about four guys and deals with mortality, aging and friendship. It is very dark and very low budget.” Clearly, it sounds like he’s rebooting Grownups. Both actors will be spending time between successful television shows where they use their mouth and member (respectively) to take care of business in order to shoot what looks disappointingly not like a Modern English biopic. Judging by past work and the first cast announcement, I’ll stop the world and go see this one. [Deadline Ft. Lauderdale]

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published: 10.30.2014
B-
published: 10.29.2014
D+
published: 10.27.2014
C-
published: 10.24.2014
C-


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