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The Fitzgerald Family Christmas marks writer/director/star Edward Burns’ return to capturing the working class milieu of his earlier work in films like indie darling The Brothers McMullen. Somewhat surprisingly, the film also marks Burns’ very first foray into a making a film about the holidays. In the film, Burns plays Gerry, a grown man who still lives with his mother (Anita Gillette) on Long Island. He also lives with the burden of running his family’s bar and filling in for his father (Ed Lauter), who walked out his large Irish family – a total of seven siblings – twenty years ago. When his father announces that he’s dying and wants to spend his last Christmas with his family, the disparate siblings come together and debate whether or not they are ready to forgive their father for the transgressions of the past. Amidst all the family drama, Gerry also strikes up a romance with at-home nurse, Nora (Connie Britton). Here’s what the very prolific Burns had to say about his inspirations for the film, the benefits of working with friends, how VOD is changing independent film, and a little rumor that he might guest star on Nashville…


This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Week In DVD! Some great releases hit shelves today with two of the best hailing from the UK. Also out this week are the McG misfire This Means War, the classic TV series Route 66, the hilarious tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen Red Tails, Daniel Radcliffe’s creepy period piece The Woman In Black, and many more. Bonus points to anyone who can match the three ‘giant’ items from this week’s title above to the three characters/performers below. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Perfect Sense A chef (Ewan McGregor) and an epidemiologist (Eva Green) meet and fall in love just as a strange new disease begins to spread worldwide. People are struck with a strong emotional response immediately followed by the loss of one of their senses. It’s like Contagion but with heart and personality. This is a beautiful film about life, love and what it means to be human. It’s a must-see about mankind’s resilience in the face of loss and devastation. Just be sure to watch it before your vision and hearing fade away.


Once again utilizing his low budget sensibilities and a few friendly faces, writer/director/producer/actor Ed Burns has crafted an impressive adult dramedy that feels blissfully familiar (and awkwardly familial). Newlyweds is a semi-documentary style film that relies almost solely on the talents of its cast – a true ensemble made up of Burns as Buzzy, the cocksure fitness instructor on his second marriage; Caitlin Fitzgerald as his sweetly sarcastic wife Katie; Kerry Bishé (seen above) as his self-destructive sister Linda; Marsha Dietlein as his opinionated sister-in-law Marsha; and Max Baker as Marsha’s perverted old husband (in his second outing as a character named Max for an Ed Burns film). Buzzy and Katie are the kind of couple you want to be best friends with. They’re pragmatic and funny, obviously looking at life through the sober and absurd lens that their first marriages afforded them. They are tonal opposites of Marsha and Max whose 18 years together have given them emotional crow’s feet and an aggressive bitterness that doesn’t make them flinch when it starts gnashing its teeth in public. They could be representations of different stages and styles of relationships as a means to put on display the human fragility of latching yourself on to another human being for “the rest of your life.” Or, you know, they could just be real people. Which is more likely.


In our first show of the 2012 season, we set off the filmmaking fireworks by finding out why Innkeepers director Ti West doesn’t believe in spooks, and by talking to indie icon Ed Burns about the twitter revolution, his $9,000 budget, and his new must-see movie Newlyweds. Plus, Neil Miller stops by to dangle the hope and potential of 2012’s most anticipated movies over our noses. Will he say the movie you’re thinking of and validate his opinion to you, or will he neglect it, making everything he says in the future suspect? Be prepared to find out a metric ton about movies and their makers, because it’s our third season, and we’re only getting started. Download This Episode


Can an indie filmmaker upset the apple cart twice in a career? Evidence seems to point to Edward Burns doing just that, quietly dominating a niche audience without the aid of big budgets (or any budgets really) and without the hollow aid of buy-the-bank advertising campaigns. His first bow on the scene was in 1995 with Sundance favorite The Brothers McMullen, and now he’s capitalizing on the same social networking tool that protestors are using to overthrow dictators: Twitter. At a time when Hollywood is struggling, post-movie star, to figure out what works, Burns is exercising a formula that involves tiny bottom lines and an audience that already trusts and reveres his work. It’s almost certain that few filmmakers will be able to rise to prominence through Twitter, but since Burns is a known entity dedicated to finding his fans and engaging with him, he’s been able to make back money with ease and tell the stories he wants to tell. His latest is Newlyweds, a slice of life written/directed/produced and starring Burns as one-half of a newly married couple whose lives (much like an apple cart) are upset by a half-sister coming on the scene. As the thorough Christina Warrren over at Mashable explains, Burns shot the flick for $9k and raised massive awareness for it and for his process using the little blue bird of tweeting. He also found talent through it. Her full article deserves a read, and in a time where mature adult situations are nearly […]

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published: 12.23.2014
published: 12.22.2014
published: 12.19.2014

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