Melanie Lynskey

Tribeca Films

We all handle grief in our own ways. Where one person may seek to drown their sorrows in busy work or the bottle, someone else might just shut down and bury themselves in bed for a few weeks. And then there’s Andrew (David Krumholdtz). His mother’s death from cancer has been increasingly hard on his mental state, and in an effort to heal he and his girlfriend Hannah (Melanie Lynskey) invite four of their closest friends to a rental house in Arizona to celebrate his birthday. Owen (Jason Ritter) and Emily (Gillian Jacobs) are dating, and Dave (Zachary Knighton) and Zoe (Ahna O’Reilly) are pre-engaged. It’s expected to be a week of relaxation, conversation and libation, but Andrew has a special request — the fulfillment of which he believes with heal his soul. He wants to have group sex with Hannah, Emily and Zoe. Andrew poses that question in the opening minutes of The Big Ask, and the fallout that follows explores both the fragility and strength of the relationships we form with lovers, friends and even ourselves.

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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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Goodbye to All That Casting

Schneider. Lynskey. Sedaris. Weston. Sold! Variety reports that indie film MVPs Paul Schneider, Melanie Lynskey, Amy Sedaris, and Celia Weston have all joined the cast of Angus MacLachlan‘s feature debut, Goodbye to All That. Additionally, other newly-announced cast members include Heather Lawless, Heather Graham, Anna Camp, and Ashley Hinshaw. That’s one heck of a wonderful cast but, considering that MacLachlan’s feature screenwriting debut was the critically lauded Amy Adams career-launcher Junebug, it’s no surprise that so many great talents would want to hitch their wagons to MacLachlan’s star. The film centers on “what happens to a man who’s unexpectedly divorced by his wife and forced to adapt to a new life, balancing the well-being of his daughter with his newly-complicated sex life.” While official casting notes on who is playing who have not yet been reported, it’s probably safe to say that Schneider will star in the central role (and the man knows his complicated sex, see: All the Real Girls). Perhaps Lynskey is set for the difficult role of unexpected ex-wife? Sounds wonderful. The film is set to start lensing in Winston-Salem, N.C. later this month.

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Hello I Must Be Going

On the surface, Todd Louiso’s Hello I Must Be Going feels apiece with a familiar American indie formula, as the film features at its narrative center a thirtysomething woman from an upper-middle class home suffering through a personal and emotional crisis. And to be fair, the film encounters more than a few moments in which it comes across like a direct continuation of this recent “Sundance formula.” At the same time, Hello I Must be Going is a sincerely personal take on its subject matter, opting for three-dimensional leads and earned pathos over quirky character traits, cynical humor, or an invasively stylized visual approach. Amy (Melanie Lynskey) is living with her parents in overbearingly quaint suburban Connecticut while enduring a stage of extended limbo after a divorce with her hotshot NYC lawyer husband cheated on her with an associate. Amy’s father, Stan (John Rubinstein) is attempting to woo a client whose business would ensure retirement and trips around the world, while Amy’s mom Ruth (the wonderful Blythe Danner) grows increasingly tired of Amy’s aimless occupation of the house. At a business dinner, Amy meets and falls for her father’s client’s 19-year-old son Jeremy (Christopher Abbott) and a mismatched rebound quickly morphs into a complicated emotional journey that forces Amy to learn what love is and establish her self-worth.

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower Review

In attempting to write a review for Stephen Chbosky‘s cinematic adaptation of his own novel of the same name, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I ran into a problem (a problem big enough that I’d feel the need to use frequent “I” statements in said review, a big no-no in my book). It’s impossible for me to write a review of Perks that would, in any way, be able to masquerade as an objective take on the material (and, of course, no review is ever wholly objective, and you’d do well to remember that straight away), because Chbosky’s book made an indelible mark on me as a teenager, one that I’ve never been quite able to shake. Chbosky’s book was published on February 1, 1999. I got a copy of the book as a gift from my first boyfriend about two weeks later. For those of you not keeping track on my personal biography, I was fifteen in the winter of 1999, a sophomore in high school who, though lucky enough to have a ton of friends and great parents and good grades, still felt a bit awkward (being a bookworm and a movie buff and a modern art freak didn’t help — these weren’t cool things to be, yet). I’ll stop you there — yes, everyone felt awkward in high school, but the experience of being a teenager is a profoundly insular one, so most of us don’t know (often for quite some time) that everyone else felt […]

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Hello, I Must Be Going

Sundance 2012 chose Hello, I Must Be Going as one of its opening night films, putting it in the company of numerous films that have gone on to become critical and commercial darlings. The likes of In Bruges (2008), Happy Endings (2004) and Project Nim (2011), just to name a few. Needless to say, you don’t get chosen by Sundance to open the festival if your film is terrible. So that bodes well for this story of a recently divorced woman (Melanie Lynskey) and her rediscovery of her sense of purpose via her affair with a 19-year old boy. Directed by Todd Louiso (yes, the one from High Fidelity), Hello, I Must Be Going has a lot of great buzz coming out of the festival toward its release in September.

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Who would you want to be with when the world ends? While we here at FSR have been bringing you the various movies you should watch before the world is set to end come this December, writer/director Lorene Scafaria takes on the idea of who you would want to stand with in those final moments. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World follows Dodge (Steve Carell), an insurance salesman (oh, the irony) who seems lost as the rest of the world is falling apart around him. One night, while watching the grim news (anchored with class by Mark Moses), Dodge encounters his quirky neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley) and they bond over the unspoken need to have someone to spend time with, even if it means just sitting and watching television together. When Penny gives Dodge a stack of his mail (which she’d been accidentally receiving for months), he finds a letter from an ex-girlfriend (one he considered the love of his life) which prompts Dodge to find her and spend his last days with his one true love. After a terrifying riot breaks out around their apartment building, Dodge grabs Prius-driving Penny to save her (and bum a ride.) Promising to bring her to one of his friends who has a plane (which could get her to England to see her family one last time), the duo (and Dodge’s inherited dog, Sorry) embark on a road trip to get to those people they realize are most important to them.

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After his break-out performance in We Need to Talk About Kevin, it looked as if Ezra Miller would be permanently doomed to creeper status, haunting the edges of our collective cinematic nightmares forever, so I was predictably cagey about his casting as Patrick in Stephen Chbosky‘s The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. Author Chbosky has adapted his own (beloved) novel for the film (which he also directs), and while so much of the film’s other casting – namely Logan Lerman as protagonist Charlie – seemed spot-on, Miller bothered. Patrick is one of the first people who makes Charlie feel accepted in high school – a profound feat once you’re aware of how much young Charlie has already endured and how much Patrick himself is going through – and Miller hasn’t previously seemed to be the type of actor who could pull off such a kind-hearted character. Wrong. In the first trailer for Perks, Miller steals the show as Patrick – he’s hilarious, zingy, vibrant, and about as far removed from his We Need to Talk About Kevin character as humanly possible. Everyone else looks totally radical, too (after all, the book is set in the ’90s), but Miller is the main attraction here. Check out the first trailer for The Perks Of Being A Wallflower after the break!

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Last year’s Sundance Film Festival saw an uptick in films regarding, weirdly enough, cults and cult-like sensibilities. This year’s theme has turned to an appropriate cousin to the dangers of indoctrination – the crumbling of the American dream. Characters that bought into what they thought they could (and should) get out of life have faced copious crises throughout the festival’s films, and Todd Louiso‘s lovely Hello I Must Be Going distills those big ideas and issues down to focus on just one victim of the American nightmare. Perpetual supporting standout Melanie Lynskey leads the film as directionless thirtysomething Amy Minsky. Amy’s happy (in her eyes) marriage to David (Dan Futterman) has recently ended, and she’s left with one place to go – back to her parents’ home in chi-chi suburban Connecticut. Without a job, a finished degree, friends, or most of her belongings, Amy is forced to acclimate to Ruth (Blythe Danner) and Stan (John Rubinstein) as they embark on the next step of their lives. In Louiso and screenwriter Sarah Koskoff‘s spin on a “one last job” film, Stan has one more big fish client to land before retiring – an engagement that could be ruined when Amy takes up with the client’s stepson, Jeremy (Christopher Abbott), who just happens to be only nineteen-years-old.

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Movies We Love

“We have decided how sad it is for others that they cannot appreciate our genius.” In 1954, a murder is committed by two girls who have formed a deadly friendship. The movie opens with the pair running for help while Pauline’s mother lies on a garden path, her head smashed in. Juliet Hume and Pauline Parker became each other’s entire world almost from the time they met when Juliet moved to Christchurch, New Zealand. The two girls, both outsiders, are obsessed with singer Mario Lanza and attracted to the dangerous Third Man character played by Orson Wells. Hollywood is their Mecca. They retreat into a fantasy called the Fourth World fueled by their stories of the mythical kingdom Borovnia. In Borovnia they are royalty, living with the figures in their imaginations. In the Fourth World their favorite movie actors are worshiped as saints.

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Just when you thought you were safe, or that I’d forgotten about our SXSW 2010 preview. I come flying in and hit you with a preview of another little film — this time, one that is in competition — that has my interest going into this year’s festival.

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kevin-reportcard-header

Kevin Carr takes a look at this week’s movie releases, including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Informant! and Jennifer’s Body.

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