Mark Webber

Laggies

Quarter-life crises hit everyone differently, whether it’s paying for a bodega sandwich in change for the third day in a row and coming up short that does it, or resolving to stay in your room indefinitely because you’ve received another wedding announcement from a childhood friend the morning after an OkCupid date with a guy who wanted to sniff your hair, or just realizing that woah, high school was awhile ago and you still don’t have your shit together. It’s even happening to Keira Knightley, one of the so-called Laggies who doesn’t quite have things figured out yet, and is taking the most adult and rational approach to handling her problems: running away and ignoring them. The trailer for the Lynn Shelton film introduces us to Megan (Knightley), a 28-year-old on the verge of something not-so great when she attends her high school reunion. A proposal from her boyfriend (Mark Webber), whom she’s been dating since high school, leads to her fleeing into the night and away from that whole nightmare (ugh, can you imagine getting engaged at your high school reunion in front of a bunch of people you probably hate?) and more or less into the arms of Chloe Moretz (who, for the first trailer in a long time, is not wearing some sort of neon wig). Like an respectable gaggle of 16-year-olds, Moretz’s Annika and her buddies hit Megan up for help buying a six pack “because they left their IDs at home,” and seeing some of her old, fun self […]

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Happy Christmas Trailer

When the words “Anna Kendrick” and “Christmas” are combined, one has the pretty justified idea that they’re in for a feel good, wholesome time that they could probably share with the whole family. She’s just so darn cute, amiright? But Pitch Perfect: Holiday Edition this is not, nor is Happy Christmas seem anything remotely like the worlds that Kendrick seems happy in making hospitable for her bubbly, shortcake characters. The first trailer for the Joe Swanberg film shows a bleak holiday season devoid of singing, definitely devoid of acapella and anything that makes Kendrick peppy. Everyone gets a makeover every once in awhile. Happy Christmas follows Jenny (Kendrick), a twentysomething with a penchant for partying hard after after a particularly hard breakup knocks her down on the ground (feel you girl). With no direction and less options, she moves in with her brother (Swanberg, playing double duty as actor), her sister-in-law Kelly (Melanie Lynskey) and their baby to figure her life out. It’s the tried and true story of the dopey shlub of a dude trying to get out of arrested development, but this time, it’s been hoisted upon young Anna Kendrick’s shoulders. Will there be different results when it’s Jenny trying to cobble the pieces of her life together, and not say, an unshaven, unwashed bro in a hoodie named Jeff? Check out the trailer below:

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Ron Perlman in 13 SINS

Elliot Brindle (Mark Webber) is having a bad day. His hope for a promotion at work has instead resulted in being fired, and that doesn’t bode well for a man with a pregnant wife and a learning-impaired brother at home. A single phone call changes all of that by offering a chance at financial freedom. The catch? Complete a series of thirteen challenges without fail and without telling anyone else what’s happening. What could possibly go wrong? It starts with a deceptively innocuous challenge. The game show-friendly voice on the phone tells him to kill the fly currently buzzing around his head for $1000. Concerns over exactly how the man on the phone knows there’s a fly are brushed aside, and soon Elliot’s a grand richer. Then swallow the fly. Then make a little girl cry. Then do something involving a homeless man and an ostrich. It’s not too long before he’s moved beyond moral grey areas and started committing felonies, and the deeper he goes down the rabbit hole the harder it becomes to climb back out again. 13 Sins is a mix of dark comedy and vicious thrills, but while there are moments that surprise and sing far too much of it feels overly familiar. It’s a lesser sin to be sure, but it would surprise no one if there was a special place in hell for makers of unnecessary remakes.

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Sundance

And thus ends another Sundance Film Festival. This year’s festival provided us with plenty of feature fodder to examine for the next eleven or so months, despite the lack of any big breakout a la Fruitvale Station or Beasts of the Southern Wild. As ever, though, the festival featured some recurring trope and tricks (a few of which we identified early), but not all of them seemed rote or repetitive. In fact, there are more than a few themes and players that popped up throughout the festival that we would like to see more of – either at Sundance or out in the wide release world. So what kept showing up in this year’s Sundance selections that deserves a bigger stage? Read on, and make some notes.

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The End of Love Trailer

If tearing up at a trailer is cool, consider me Miles Davis. With the onslaught of Sundance 2013 upon us, it seems more than appropriate to highlight one of the hits of Sundance 2012 — an intimate drama from Mark Webber called The End of Love that hits close to home by shooting where Webber lives. Namely, he wrote, directed and starred in the film as a struggling actor alongside his real-life baby boy. Webber’s character (named Mark Webber) parties with actors like Michael Cera and Aubrey Plaza, but his career has stalled out. Reaching the end of his rope with a toddler in his arms, he meets a young woman (Shannyn Sossamon) who he starts a promising relationship with. Allison loved it, and now that the film is hitting theaters on March 1st, there’s a polished trailer available. Check it out for yourself:

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Save the Date trailer

Editor’s note: Save the Date arrives in theaters this Friday. RSVP now with a re-run of our Sundance review, originally posted on January 25, 2012. It would be foolish to deny that there is a certain kind of “Sundance romance” film – minor affairs that chronicle the beautiful and directionless as they stumble through the motions in an attempt to find something real. Most of the time, these films take place somewhere in East Los Angeles (Echo Park, Silverlake, Los Feliz), and usually there’s someone in a band. There is always a bevy of navel-gazing that occurs. Meeting those criteria for this year’s festival is Michael Mohan‘s Save the Date. The film centers on a pair of sisters (Lizzy Caplan and Alison Brie, charmers both) who have very different expectations of and desires for love. Caplan’s Sarah is a commitment-phobe who is about to move in with her long-term boyfriend (Geoffrey Arend as Kevin), while Brie’s Beth is about to marry Kevin’s best friend and bandmate, Andrew (Martin Starr). Cue conflicts.

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Save the Date trailer

Will film audiences ever tire of watching indie romances about twenty-somethings struggling to find love set against the backdrop of their struggling to break into creative fields? Or is there something just so satisfying about wallowing in other people’s struggles and acknowledging that you’re not the only one who’s completely confused about life that we’ll continue to line up for these movies time and time again? Filmmaker Michael Mohan is clearly betting on the latter notion, because his latest project, Save the Date, looks like every romance about confused young people that you’ve ever seen. There are a few big reasons why his work could be a step above the last couple you’ve seen though, a few reasons that look a lot like Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, Geoffrey Arend, and Mark Webber. Caplan has been putting in strong supporting performances for years now, so the chance to see her step up and take the lead should be a pleasant one. And Alison Brie, this girl is so beloved that an entire Internet subculture has sprung up around celebrating just how amazing she is. Strong casting there, indeed.

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The End of Love Trailer

While indie filmmaking is often thought of as one of the big frontiers of artistic experimentation, the uncomfortable truth is that formula has crept into the world of the indie drama over the last decade or so. If you’re going to see an indie film, expect for it to be about a creative twenty-something and their struggle to face an uncertain future all the while stumbling into what may be their life’s greatest love, and expect it to be quirky. At first glance, Mark Webber’s new film, The End of Love, looks like it fits neatly into this little box. A film about a single father trying to juggle the responsibilities of raising a son with his dream of becoming an actor and the glamour of hanging out at Hollywood parties seems like just the sort of thing that would sell a lot of tickets at that local arthouse theater in the hip neighborhood. It doesn’t take long for The End of Love’s trailer to sell you on the idea that it’s something different, however. Not only does this story turn the typical tropes on their heads by taking place after the loss of that great love instead of during the opening phases of it, it also injects far more open wound vulnerability into its proceedings than we’re used to seeing on the screen. Indie actors are often quirky, sometimes bumbling. Zooey Deschanel would even have us believe that she’s “adorkable.” But the sort of pained, lonely yearning that Webber […]

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Mark Webber

According to Variety, Mark Webber (Scott Pilgrim vs The World, The End of Love) is in talks to star in Daniel Stamm‘s (The Last Exorcism) remake of 13: Game of Death. With the prospect of getting a shiny new lead, the movie has been picked up by Dimension Films and is being called Angry Little God. Stamm is an exciting new talent that delivered a great twist on found footage and exorcisms, but its his first film – A Necessary Death – that really proves how incendiary his vision is. The movie he’ll be remaking came from Thailand (and was distributed by Dimension Extreme appropriately enough). It features a young man who answers his phone and is drawn slowly into a violent game show which tests his personal and ethical limits. As previously mentioned – it’s a flick whose themes will mesh well with American sensibilities, particularly the joy of “real people” becoming celebrities and/or doing outrageous things for money. With Webber, the project now has an excellent anchor. Unfortunately, the danger with Dimension is that they could see it to the finish line only to place it on a shelf and dust it off every so often. Let’s cross our fingers that this one has the freedom to make it to theaters in all its twisted glory.

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It is hard enough to be a single father, but when you are trying to juggle those responsibilities along with pursuing your dream of being an actor, things are made all the more complicated. The End of Love opens with Mark (Mark Webber) and his son, Isaac (played by Webber’s real-life son), waking up. The camera focuses in on Isaac and sets up the focus of the film on the little boy in the first few frames. As Mark and Isaac start their day, the absence of a mother (or a partner) in Mark’s life becomes clear, with Mark having to take Isaac with him on a big audition. While the casting director seems understanding about Isaac’s presence in the room, the actress Mark is reading against, Amanda Seyfried (playing herself), seems less than pleased and it quickly becomes clear that Mark’s dreams of becoming an actor may be over. Losing roles no longer just means Mark may not get a good part, it means he is losing money to support himself and Isaac. Although Mark lives with two roommates (who seem more than understanding about living with a two-year-old), he is not pulling his weight in rent, which sends Mark asking one of his friends (yet another “cameo” by Jason Ritter) for help.

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This year’s Sundance Film Festival will likely go down in history as “the one with all the cult films,” meaning literal cult films, like films about cults, not box office flops that later gain traction with college kids who are into dress-up. But in between the more buzzed-about titles like Martha Marcy May Marlene and Sound of My Voice, Sundance 2011 also provided a proving ground for films focused on the intricacies of intimacy – namely, how honesty (and the lack of it) between partners can make or break a relationship. Miranda July’s The Future did it with a twee sweetness, and Joshua Leonard’s The Lie did it with a much darker bitterness. And that doesn’t quite explain the first poster for the film (which Leonard also directed from a T.C. Boyle story and some material from Jeff Feuerzeig that Leonard, Jess Weixler, and Mark Webber cobbled into their own screenplay), which makes the film looks like a new version of The Hangover, starring one man and one “soul crusher” baby. Check it out, along with a mini rant by me about it, after the break.

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For those who remember Mark Webber as Stephen Stills from Scott Pilgrim, this next move might seem strange. For those who remember him in indie fare like Just Like the Son and Dear Wendy, it might seem fantastic. For those who mistake him for Michael Weston (the guy on House for a few episodes), none of this will make any sense at all. Webber, according to The Hollywood Reporter, has cast Michael Cera and Amanda Seyfried to play slightly altered versions of themselves for an upcoming, as yet untitled, movie about a father raising his son after the mother’s death. He’s also cast Shannyn Sossamon and Jason Ritter in smaller, but similarly styled, roles. He’s friends with all the actors in real life. He also shares a connection with the co-star: his two-year-old son. In trying to achieve the strictest version of a real father-son relationship, Webber (who will direct as well) will act alongside his own child. The concept sounds far too character-based to judge, but the actors he’s gotten to work with him is a talented group, and Webber has been around the acting block for well over a decade, so this definitely has some potential to be a solid mix of drama, comedy, and reality.

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Mark Webber’s directorial debut may have won the big award in Austin, but was it a fair contest? After reading this, you may not think so.

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