Michael Cera

Gregg Turkington in The Comedy

In 2012, Tim Heidecker stepped out of his Tim and Eric bubble to make The Comedy with writer and director Rick Alverson. It’s a strange and powerful film that finds humor in the uncomfortable and pathetic depiction of an aging hipster and his friends galavanting around Williamsburg to avoid their responsibilities. While a far departure from the Awesome Show, Great Job! aesthetic, the film features some of the usual suspects alongside Heidecker, like Eric Wareheim, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, and Gregg Turkington (aka comedian Neil Hamburger, Heidecker’s cohost at On Cinema At The Cinema). Now, according to Deadline, Heidecker and Alverson are teaming up again to create a vehicle for Turkington. Called Entertainment, the movie will have Turkington play a struggling and aging entertainer known only as “The Comedian,” who travels across the Southwest on a long and winding road trip to track down his estranged daughter and rekindle his failing career along the way. The constant barrage of unsuccessful shows and meet-ups with weirdo locals on his journey cause him to sink further and further into some sort of weirdness himself. After all, he’s just a comedian, right? For anyone familiar with Turkington’s work under his Neil Hamburger persona, this is the perfect showcase for the anti-comedian. Hamburger is a greasy, combover-ed remnant of some standup era that has been long forgotten, and he’s none too pleased about it. Painfully slow and nasal, his jokes are more lists of things he hates. If anyone understands playing to an empty room, it’s this man.

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Crystal Fairy

Editor’s note: Our review of Crystal Fairy originally ran during this year’s L.A. Film Fest, but we’re re-posting it as the film opens in limited theatrical release this Friday. We all want to lose ourselves sometimes. To find those perfect moments where you do not have a care in the world and you feel close and in harmony with all those around you. But rarely can you manufacture or plan for these moments, they simply happen. Uptight and pretentious Jamie (Michael Cera) is a person who definitely needs a moment like this to loosen him up, but he is so desperate to achieve what he believe will be a transformative high, he is missing the possibly more meaningful moments leading up to it. Jamie is living abroad in Chile and his boorish behavior is the epitome of a “rude American.” He is entitled and says everything he is thinking, but his good natured roommate puts up with it, despite the fact that Jamie clearly only wants one thing from him – to drive him to the beach to finally imbibe in some San Pedro cactus.

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magic-magic2

If there’s any one reason for you to give Magic Magic a chance, it’s that it’s the new thriller from Chilean director Sebastián Silva, who turned a lot of heads with 2009’s The Maid, but hasn’t really had the chance to break through to the mainstream yet. Fortunately for all of us though, there isn’t just one reason to give Magic Magic a chance. There are many. Not the least of which is that its cast includes ethereal beauties like Juno Temple and Emily Browning, as well as perennial weirdo Michael Cera, who seems to be using his usual penchant for social awkwardness to go in a totally fresh, dangerous direction in the trailer for this new film. Looking for that rare movie that’s beautifully shot and wonderfully acted, but is still just a good, old-fashioned horror tale that’s going to creep you the heck out? Then Magic Magic might be just the thing for you. Cera’s blank creep face is enough to give you the willies alone. Click through to give the trailer a gander.

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Arrested Development George-Michael

Resurrected like a dead dove by Netflix, there’s no doubt that Arrested Development 4.0 is a beast made specifically for the internet. It’s no longer bound by commercial breaks (only answering to the internal metrics for how the streaming service defines commercial success) or the act structure and 22-minute length traditional TV entails. With the same bulk-drop mentality that Netflix started with House of Cards (which gets its own AD shout out), viewers can choose whether they want to watch one episode per week, a handful at a time, or all in one sitting. These are the two major structural differences that streaming provides, but there’s also the instantaneousness of social media that was largely missing when the show originally ran on FOX between 2003 and February 2006, ending its third season almost exactly a month before Twitter launched. It’s also not hard to imagine that it was the internet that brought the show back. With fan pages dedicated to connecting all of its dots and collecting all the quotes, the cult aspect of AD flourished on message boards and in memes alike, and its popularity within Netflix’s own walls must have been an enticement to push for a fourth season. All of that makes it feel a bit like the show once dubbed “too smart” for TV was an orphaned child who’s found the home she was always meant to live in. But like all families, there’s a bit of disfunction. The original run of the show was marked by clever turns of […]

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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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When I first heard about Sebastián Silva’s next movie, Magic, Magic, I had yet to see any of the director’s work, but I was excited at the cast he had assembled, because it was made up mostly of hot young actresses. Since then, some of that has changed. If you’re not yet familiar with Silva, go check out his 2009 film The Maid. It’s a movie that managed to be tense and dramatic just by telling the story of an aging maid worried about losing her position in a prominent Chilean household because of the presence of a new, young au pair. In my opinion, it proved the man to have a sure hand behind the camera, and it put him firmly on the list of directors to watch. Go ahead, I’ll wait… Okay, now that we’re all on the same page, let’s start getting excited for his new (and apparently newly untitled) thriller that stars some more familiar Hollywood names like Michael Cera, Juno Temple, Emily Browning, and Maria Full of Grace’s Catalina Sandino Moreno.

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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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Since its cancellation in 2006, fans of the extremely cult-hit Arrested Development have been clamoring for a film continuation to their beloved series. In the years since, the project has been off and on more times than Edward and Bella’s wedding plans, but today series creator Mitch Hurwitz, along with the rest of the cast at The New Yorker Festival dropped some news that should send all fans into a tail spin. If the announcement is to believed, it has been confirmed that the series is set to return for a 9-10 episode mini-series that would lead directly into a motion picture. The mini-series would serve the purpose of explaining what all the various lead characters have been doing for the last five years and each episode would focus on a single character. In addition to this, Deadline was able to obtain information that Showtime and Netflix were in talks with 20th Century Fox Television (who owns the property) to broadcast the mini-series which is supposedly set for an early 2013 air date. Got all that? Good, because here’s the hitch…

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Criterion Files

When I write this column, I typically don’t get the opportunity to write about movies from my teen years. I, like many, came into a cinephilic love for art and foreign cinema during college, and in that process grew to appreciate The Criterion Collection. Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused (1993), however, is a movie that’s followed me through various changes in my life for (I’m just now realizing as I write this) about half of my time thus far spent on Earth.

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When I hear that there’s a movie in the works called Magic, Magic I instantly think that it’s probably a movie about young witches, something going after all of that mystical-teenagers in love money. Well, despite the fact that it has just cast three hot, young actresses in key roles, Magic, Magic doesn’t appear to be that at all. According to Variety, “The pic revolves around a girl vacationing with her friends in a remote area of Chile who slowly starts losing her mental faculties.” Joining the already announced Michael Cera is Suckerpunch’s Emily Browning, Jack and Diane’s Juno Temple, and Maria Full of Grace’s Catalina Sandino Moreno. That’s one lucky Michael Cera. Magic, Magic is being directed by Sebastien Silva, a Chilean director who has seen success with small films La vida me mata, The Maid, and Old Cats. I haven’t seen any of Silva’s work myself, so I can’t vouch for its quality, but casting three gorgeous actresses for his new one is a pretty good strategy at getting my attention from here on. Production is scheduled to start late in the summer, so presumably we’ll be hearing more about this one soon. Until then I’m going to make it a point to stop thinking that I’m going to be seeing a movie about teenage witches every time I read the title.

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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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Drinking Games

Geeks everywhere can rejoice now that Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is out on DVD and Blu-ray. (And per director Edgar Wright, anyone outside of the U.S. can order the region-free Blu-ray and “import away.”) While it may not have been the hit that everyone hoped, it is now available in its full glory for home viewing. So grab your drink of choice – whether it be beer, wine or Scott Pilgrim’s Coke Zero – and toast to the seven evil exes.

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Tuesday night, fans of all things Scott Pilgrim were treated to not only a showing of the film at the Egyptian Theater in celebration of the release of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World on Blu-Ray and DVD on the 9th of this month, but a fantastic Q&A session hosted by Guillermo del Toro featuring the director himself, Edgar Wright. Accompanying him were Michael Cera, and Scott Pilgrim creator Brian Lee O’Malley. Being that this was my first time in the presence of the greatness that is Guillermo del Toro, I didn’t know what to expect — but it’s very clear this is the guy I want doing pretty much every Q&A for every event from here on out — ever, including the presidential debates. Before the film began, del Toro took the time to mention the difference between effortless directing, and the talent to pull it off using porn star boners as an example. Clearly, Edgar Wright is the pornstar boner of directing in the eyes of Guillermo del Toro. Who knew? It only got better from there.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr takes a gander at the demographically delineated movie selection this weekend. The ladies have Julia Roberts finding herself in Eat Pray Love. The dudes have Sly and the action family Stallone with the much anticipated The Expendables. And the fanboys fresh from Comic-Con have the high-concept slug-fest Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Sorry to all the teenage girls out there. You’ll just have to go see Eclipse at the dollar theater this weekend.

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As I mentioned to my beloved followers on Twitter late last week, I exited my own screening of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World convinced that director Edgar Wright’s style was perfectly matched with my own tastes. Wright’s films — everything from his work on Spaced to Shaun of the Dead to my very favorite buddy cop comedy Hot Fuzz — have all the right pieces to play perfectly to my own moviegoing disposition. His films have undeniable energy. This is oft referred to by people who don’t know any better as his ability to “play to the ADD generation,” but is more in line with Hitchcock’s knack for suspense. It’s just always there. Wright’s films are brisk and consistent because he doesn’t allow much room for downtime. The jokes are meticulously strung together to create not beats, but a constant stream of style and tone. I adore this in his films. I also love the way he casts the things. So to say that Scott Pilgrim — based on a series of books filled with wry observations about culture as I’ve experienced it in my 26 years on the planet — is built for someone like me is an understatement. To me, it’s the perfect marriage of filmmaking style (Wright) and razor-sharp writing without the loss of character depth (comic creator Bryan Lee O’Malley). This may be the case for many of you. But what does it offer to the rest — the millions of folks not familiar with the […]

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Scott Pilgrim Movie

The world that Scott Pilgrim faces off against is not our own. It’s a world where a man can be thrown against a building without being all that hurt, a world where a girl can pull a giant sledge hammer out of her purse before fighting the remnants of her experimental phase in college, a world where the comic book-style letters R-I-N-G float from the telephone when a call comes in. Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a slacker who plays bass in a band, sleeps in the same bed as his roommate and dates a high schooler named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). Then, the girl of his dreams (literally) Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) roller skates into his life and inexplicably falls for him. Unfortunately, dating her means facing off against her seven evil exes in seven evil battles to the death.

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Scott Pilgrim Movie

Now that Inception is upon us, nothing can stop the world of fandom from turning toward the summer’s final treat, Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Based on the wildly popular Scott Pilgrim comic series by Brian O’Malley, this one looks to be the energetic kick that we’ll need just before the fall movie season starts up. Universal today released a new featurette for the film focused on explaining just what makes up the world of Scott Pilgrim (played by Michael Cera) and why he must endure so much torture in order to win the heart of the girl he loves, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). After the jump you will find the film’s official synopsis, the new featurette and assured bliss.

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Scott Pilgrim

What do you expect from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World? Seriously. Do you expect that it will be as fresh and full of wit as the first time you read through Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comic series? Will it be as ripped with energy and inventive humor as Edgar Wright’s first few films? One can only hope that it will be both. One can only feel confident — at least based on what we’ve seen so far — that it will deliver on these promises. But what if our expectations carry beyond that point? Is there a point where one can expect too much from such a property? I have a feeling that we’re about to find out.

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chris-evans-scott-pilgrim

The MTV Movie Awards are happening this evening. Am I watching them? Don’t be silly. Of course I’m not. There’s a really big hockey game on — Chicago Blackhawks, Stanley Cup Final, this is major. That said, I am taking an intermission break from the hockey game to bring your attention to this brand new clip from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, from director Edgar Wright.

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Summer Movies: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Another day, another reason to talk about Edgar Wright’s spitfire comic adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. For the most part, we avoid posting every little TV spot released for a given movie. But this one’s fun, so it gets a pass.

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