Martin Starr

Martin Starr Kickstarter

What is the best way to get your crowdfunding campaign showcased on Film School Rejects? Cast Martin Starr (Freaks and Geeks; Knocked Up). What’s the second best way? Make a sales video that’s clever, original, basically something unlike everything else on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Seed & Spark and the rest of those sites. The effort for a new narrative feature called I’ll See You In My Dreams, which just launched yesterday with a goal of $60K, has done both. The film will feature Starr as a pool boy who has an affair with the main character, played by Blythe Danner — yes, still-gorgeous 70-year-old co-star of the Meet the Parents franchise and real-life mom to Gwyneth Paltrow and Jake Paltrow. That plot with that duo has me hooked enough as it is. But Starr and director Brett Haley (The New Year) have made a pitch trailer that shows none of that. Instead, their video is basically a little documentary in which a bunch of elderly folk are interviewed about “the golden years” and asked for advice to the younger generations on how to live a full life before you get there. 


Sundance: The Lifeguard

Editor’s Note: Allison’s review of The Lifeguard originally ran during this week’s Sundance Film Festival, but we’re re-posting it now as the film opens in limited release today. Everyone has those moments when they question where their life is going, but hitting the pause button can end up doing more damage than good. When The Lifeguard‘s Leigh (Kristen Bell), a reporter for the Associated Press, covers a story about a tiger who had been kept in a cramped Manhattan apartment, Leigh’s overly emotional reaction to the scratch marks on the windowsill make it clear Leigh is struggling with her own anxieties about being trapped in a life she did not see for herself. Without a second thought, Leigh hops on a train and returns to her parent’s home in Connecticut, the lush landscape a stark difference to the harsh New York metropolis she is looking to escape.



Halfway through the 2012 Borscht Film Festival, a documentary screened titled Rising Tide: A Story of Miami Artists. In the film, which offers a basic guide to the growing art scene in the city, local paper sculptor Jen Stark acknowledges the way the digital world allows contemporary artists to flourish outside of major art centers. “Ever since the Internet came out,” she says, “ I never thought I had to be in New York or wherever.” It was a resonating quote to hear in the middle of an event so devoted to both regional communities and how they can come together as a broader, networked collective of filmmaking scenes. The central occasion for Borscht, which was held last weekend, is a screening of shorts either made by local filmmakers or commissioned by the Borscht Corporation and at least shot in Florida. Many of the films involve an overlapping of talent, and by the end you’ve seen 20 works that have given you a good sense of what’s happening with the underground “Miami New Wave.”


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 […]



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.


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.


Poster for 6 Month Rule

Rules are made to be broken. At least, so learns Blayne Weaver‘s Tyler in the multi-hyphenate’s latest production, 6 Month Rule. Weaver stars in the new film (which he also wrote and directed) about an unattached heartbreaker who lives by a complex set of rules when it comes to his dating life – the purpose of all them is to keep Tyler unattached (and thus, un-hurt). The rules work for Tyler, but they’re about to be bent (or even broken) when he meets Natalie Morales‘s stunning Sophie, a free spirit that doesn’t give a damn about those rules. If you think you’ve heard this story before, you probably haven’t, as Weaver continues to exhibit a real knack for crafting characters that are believable and well-rounded (even if the audience wants to shake them into some sense) and swirling them up in situations that cleverly subvert rom-com tropes. The film also features a solid supporting cast, including Martin Starr, Patrick J. Adams, Dave Foley, and Jaime Pressly. After the break, check out an exclusive look at the brand new theatrical poster for Blayne Weaver’s 6 Month Rule, along with release date information! You can also refresh your memory with a look back at the film’s trailer, which we posted in October.


6 Month Rule

Rules are made to be broken – especially stupid, self-imposed rules that apply giant blanket statements to something as unique and weird and changeable as love itself. In Blayne Weaver’s 6 Month Rule, writer and director Weaver also stars as Tyler, dude about town, rakish ladies’ man, (somewhat) drunk photographer, and a steadfast believer in a set of rules that he thinks keep their followers from romantic heartbreak. The most important of those rules? There’s no woman so perfect that you can’t get over her in six months. That’s a snappy rule, right? Great way to gird yourself from emotional upheaval? Of course. Tyler really thinks he’s got it all figured out. Until he doesn’t. In the film, Tyler inevitably falls in love (with the very charming Natalie Morales), but their “spooky synchronicity” is made complicated by her douchebag musician boyfriend (Patrick J. Adams) and the albatross that is his heartbroken best friend (Martin Starr). Will Tyler toss out his own rules in the face of true love or continue to cat around town? Learn how to get over (or under, as it were) a woman, and check out the trailer for 6 Month Rule after the break.



It’s time to crank up the Ol’ Dirty Bastard, imbibe in your favorite – LEGAL – activity, and start the baby making. In this week’s Commentary Commentary, we’re hitting up one of the best comedies of the past 10 years, Knocked Up. Aside from being one of the dozen films that have made Judd Apatow a vigintillionaire, apart from being the film that landed Seth Rogen on the A-list, the movie is just damned funny. Heart-warming, of course. What would an Apatow movie be without heart? Well, it would probably be You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, but we’re not even going to mention that abomination here. Just ignore that previous utterance of the title. Anyway, back to Knocked Up, Apatow has amassed a solid line-up for his commentary track. Rogen and co-star Bill Hader are on board to deliver their own stories and insight into the making of the film. Something tells me the commenting under the influence didn’t stop with last week’s movie. That Rogen sure likes to partake. He’s always stoned. And funny. Mostly funny. But one might have a hand in the other. So here’s what we learned from the commentary track to Knocked Up. Cue the ODB!



Seeing as it was on the Starz network and only lasted for two seasons, there are probably a lot of people out there who haven’t heard of the TV show Party Down. But seeing as it was one of the best shows on recent television, there are also a lot of people who hold it very dear to their hearts. That tends to happen when something is good, and kept away from the mainstream, and ended prematurely. Traditionally, a TV show reaching cult status has always been a good recipe for strong DVD sales, and then talks of a film adaptation. Shows like Arrested Development and even Party Down creator Rob Thomas’ Veronica Mars have gone through the same process. Also traditionally, despite the fact that the DVD sales raise a lot of studio eyebrows, the film version never comes to fruition. Could Party Down change all of that? Probably not, but they’re going to try.



There’s a new romantic comedy in the works, and the cast that it’s assembled so far is an awesome mix of people I love from Judd Apatow shows, people I love from Party Down, and girls that I have crushes on (with some Mad Men connections thrown in for good measure). Save the Date is based on characters from the graphic novels of Jeffrey Brown. Brown’s comic work is smaller, more autobiographical than the super hero stuff that typically gets adapted from the world of sequential art. This story is about two sisters, one who is relatively unconcerned about the future and is therefore dating a musician, and another who is obsessed with planning her upcoming wedding down to every detail. Michael Mohan will be co-writing with Brown and directing. But that’s not really the exciting part of this news for me. The exciting part is the cast.



Remember a few years ago when we reported on Jason Sudeikis planning a flick called A Good Old Fashioned Orgy? Well, we do. Why? Because Publisher-in-Chief Neil Miller forces us to memorize the site and read it to him as he falls asleep. It doesn’t ever come in handy until a day like today. A bit over two years later, Sony and Samuel Goldwyn have teamed to snag US distribution rights for the movie. That gets this story of one final party (which Sudeikis’s character hopes to turn into a giant orgy) one step closer to getting made. Sudeikis is a great, underrated talent from an otherwise dreary SNL line-up. Plus, according to The Hollywood Reporter, he’ll be joined by Leslie Bibb, Will Forte, Lake Bell, Martin Starr (Bill!), Nick Kroll, Lindsay Sloane (The Other Guys), Lucy Punch (Dinner For Schmucks), Michelle Borth (TiMER), and David Koechner. This will be the first feature film as writer/directors for television veterans Peter Huyck and Alex Gregory.



When only 74,000 people watch your second season finale, you can’t exactly count on being renewed. Such is the case for the creators of Party Down, the latest in a long line of great comedy shows canceled before they were able to reach their prime. After two gloriously offbeat seasons, Starz has decided not to renew the Adam Scott and Ken Marino-led show. And while it disappoints me, as a fan of the show, to see it go, it’s clear that this was the inevitable endgame.



Tuesday of this year’s Sundance Film Festival (otherwise known as today) will be forever remembered as the day the 80s made an assault on my critical sensibilities. It all began with Adventureland, a coming of age teen comedy set in the summer of 1987.



Remember that other film that Kristen Stewart is in? You don’t? Then it’s a good thing we’re looking past Twilight to catch a glimpse of Greg Mottola’s Adventureland.

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published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015

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