Natural Selection

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Nitro Circus: The Movie Nitro Circus is a group of friends who routinely perform dangerous stunts for their own entertainment, and the roster includes folks with names like ‘Street Bike’ Tommy, ‘Special’ Greg Powell and Arron ‘Wheelz’ Fotheringham. They’re like the Jackass crew, but instead of stapling frogs to their nut sacks or seeing who can fart the biggest fireball these guys (and one gal) do actual stunts involving motorcycles, cars, modified Big Wheels and more. It’s a massive difference, because instead of wanting them to get hurt you’re wanting to see them succeed. They also truly appreciate each other before, durring and after the stunts as opposed to trying to humiliate each other on camera. This is a fun and suspenseful watch, but as a reminder Pick of the Week status doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a recommended buy, just that it’s a release worthy of attention. Also available on Blu-ray. [Extras: Deleted scenes, featurettes, interview]

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Natural Selection opens with a birth, of sorts, and ends with another. Kind of. A landscaper is working the grounds outside a prison, but when he takes a break and walks away from his riding lawnmower the clippings bag begins to move. A seam rips open and out pours a scrawny, filthy, mulleted man clearly thrilled to have escaped from jail. A few states away Linda (Rachael Harris) and her husband Abe (John Diehl) are waking in bed. She makes moves of a seductive nature, but he shuts her down with a reminder that God would not approve. She’s barren and unable to conceive, and God only approves of fornication in the service of procreation. It’s a struggle that she accepts without complaint, but when Abe suffers an ironic stroke that puts him in a coma while “donating” at a sperm bank she discovers he’s been doing so since they were married over twenty years ago. Double standard? Maybe, but when she’s informed he has a son named Raymond she sets off to find the young man and unite them before Abe passes.

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Remember all the way back to last night when the Gothams announced their annual awards and thus declared that awards season was like, so totally on? No? Really? It was just last night, come on. In that vein, the Film Independent Spirit Awards have just announced their nominations for their annual awards (held in February, on the beach, as ya do in Los Angeles), and their picks come with their own surprises. Remember (no, seriously, I need you to remember back less than twenty-four hours) how the Gothams didn’t give squat to Take Shelter or 50/50 or Martha Marcy May Marlene? Or Drive? Or The Descendants? Well, the Independent Spirit nominations are here to ease that pain. Leading the nominations pack are just those very films, along with Gotham darling Beginners and black and white sensation The Artist, with Take Shelter and The Artist tied for the most nominations, with five each. Following the lead, with four nominations each are Beginners, Drive, The Descendants, and Martha Marcy May Marlene, with 50/50 logging three noms. And, coincidentally, it’s those top nomination-getters (save MMMM) that are all nominated for Best Feature. Funny how that works out, right? Other nominations of note include Best First Feature (Another Earth, In the Family, Margin Call, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Natural Selection ), Best First Screenplay (Another Earth, Margin Call, Terri, Cedar Rapids, 50/50), and the John Cassavetes Award, which is given to the best feature made for under $500,000 (Bellflower, Circumstance, Hello Lonesome, Pariah, The […]

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SXSW 2011 may be coming to a close, but we’ll be sharing more interviews and reviews as the week rolls on. All of which will have barbecue stains. It’s a big night tonight. Neil is standing in line for Hobo With a Shotgun, cleverly putting his hat out and asking for money to buy a lawnmower. Rob has been lured into a vegan screening of a low-budget Asian pink film. Brian is wandering around town trying to figure out just how much he loved Attack the Block. Luke and Adam are luring people into Asian pink film screenings, and Jack hasn’t been seen since last Thursday. We’ll be earning a few awards for our coverage, no doubt, but SXSW has crowned a few winners this evening – the most awarded being the Rachel Harris comedy Natural Selection. You thought for a second they were posthumously celebrating Charles Darwin, didn’t you? Congratulations to all the winners, and to all the films at SXSW. Here are the winners as listed in the official press release:

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This isn’t an in-depth exploration, and to be honest, there’s not much of a Libyan movie market. However, there’s one production company that won’t be delivering 20 promised films now. It’s the production company owned by embattled Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi‘s son. Al-Saadi Gadhafi is co-head of Natural Selection, the production company that delivered the Adrien Brody/Forrest Whitaker low-budget thriller The Experiement. They were moving forward on at least 20 films – all floating around the $15 million range in a market starved for films not under $10 million or over $100 million. Now, with government sanctions and all of the family assets frozen, those projects are on hold indefinitely. At least one of those projects might be a biopic about mafia assassin Richard “Ice Man” Kuklinski. The production company was just getting off the ground, and it’s an understatement to say that Gadhafi has far more pressing concerns, but it’s effectively the death of a company that had plans to finance almost two dozen films. [THR]

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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