Rainn Wilson

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Kids. You can’t live with them, and you can’t bash their head in with a fire extinguisher. But what this movie presupposes is… maybe you can. In fact, sometimes you have to if you want to live. Clint (Elijah Wood) is starting his first day as a substitute teacher, but in his mind it’s only a temporary way station on the way to the bestseller lists. Sure he’s living back at home and drives a beaten up Prius with “Eat my cock” scrawled into the dusty grime, but if he can just nail his horror novel’s opening line (“The boat was evil…”) he’ll be on his way. But when an outbreak infects the kids and turns them into little carnivorous bastards, Clint and a gaggle of other teachers are forced into the second biggest fight of their lives (after trying to survive on teacher salary and lack of respect). Cooties is horror comedy done right. It’s laugh out loud funny but never shies away from the gory, violent bits involving adults and children. See it with a child you love.

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Backstrom

A year removed from his iconically weird role as Dwight Kurt Schrute III on NBC’s The Office, 47 year old Rainn Wilson is returning to network television in 2014, starring in the off-kilter crime drama, Backstrom. Fox jumped on the series, originally developed for CBS by Bones creator Hart Hanson and for a time in pilot limbo, ordering 13 episodes of the show based on Swedish novelist Leif G.W. Persson’s series of books featuring the prickly, self-destructive detective.

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Recently, director Jason Reitman has been doing a special series of script readings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Basically what he does is he takes the script for a beloved film, recasts the whole thing with new actors, and does a stage reading in front of a live audience. Rights issues being what they are, something like this can’t be recorded, so getting to experience one of these events is a très exclusive honor. Reitman has already given this treatment to five universally loved movies (The Breakfast Club, The Apartment, Shampoo, Reservoir Dogs, and The Princess Bride), and tonight he’s set to cap off his series with a reading of everyone’s favorite film, The Big Lebowski. Who does he have on tap to bring legendary characters like The Dude and Jackie Treehorn to life on stage? Inside Movies has the scoop, and some of his decisions sound like they’re ripe with fun-time possibilities. For the part of The Dude (or El Duderino, if you’re not into that whole brevity thing) Reitman has chosen Seth Rogen, the man with the best stoner laugh in Hollywood. His best friend and security expert, Walter Sobchak, will be played by The Office star Rainn Wilson, a man not unfamiliar with bluster. As the other Jeffrey Lebowski, the millionaire (and a fucking goldbricker if I’ve ever seen one), is Jason Alexander, a man used to spinning unbelievable yarns. And for Lebowski’s red-headed and inappropriately sexual daughter Maude, they’ve tapped Mad Men star […]

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Super isn’t tied to the world of comics. Writer/director James Gunn didn’t make a satire or a spoof; instead Super is its own extremist beast. The Taxi Driver-inspired religious tale is a gritty, dirty, and dark comedy that just so happens to have the leads sporting superhero costumes. These aren’t your fluffy and perfect men-in-tights leads, but some seriously damaged individuals. There’s a jarring dichotomy to the film and its characters, which is something that split both critics and audiences back in April. Frank D’Arbo, a.k.a The Crimson Bolt, is a sympathetic and understandable protagonist, but you question his sanity. Libby, a.k.a. Boltie, gains great glee from slicing up goons in the bloodiest ways possible, and yet has an endearing charm to her psychopathic and wish-fulfillment ambitions. These are repellant characters on the outside, but understandably unstable in the inside. Here’s what James Gunn had to say about the fluctuating tone, writing a character driven film versus a set-piece driven film, and making possible psychotics sympathetic in Super:

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Culture Warrior

Episodes and seasons and weeks after its inspiration and its humor have peaked, I still continue to watch new episodes of The Office week in and week out. I don’t know why – I never do this with dramatic shows, only with comedies – but I tend to stick with comedy shows whose legacy I appreciate even if their time has passed, either out of respect, blind hope, or simply the desire to have some noise in the room while I take a break to eat a meal or fold laundry. While The Office certainly isn’t what it used to be, even before Steve Carell left, it’s still an inoffensive and enjoyable way to pass some time. I can’t deny that the affinity I developed for the show’s characters early on in the series has carried me through a lot of its creative droughts (in other words, I hardly watch it only for its comedy) even as more recent network sitcoms like Modern Family, Community, and (especially) Parks and Recreation have made me LOL significantly more often. But in the bizarre cameos leading up to a strange and dry seventh season finale, The Office seems to have encountered much greater problems than a rudimentary lack of inspiration typical for the (possibly cyclical) lifespan of a long-running television show. The Office seems to have rejected the defining characteristics that made it unique in the first place.

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Hesher (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a character that represents almost all different sides of life, and mainly, childhood. He’s reckless, narcissistic, always looking for fun, and you never know whether or not he’s your friend or your greatest enemy. Hesher is a cypher, someone that you can never truly understand or grasp. Many will love him and many will hate him. A character such as Hesher can’t be easy to write. If he becomes too extremist, he can lose any hints at humanity and could become a total cartoon. But director Spencer Susser and co-writer David Michôd (the director behind last year’s tremendous Animal Kingdom) managed to find an authentic grounding in this coming-of-age film that chronicles the extreme emotions of childhood. Hesher isn’t the star of the film, but he represents everything about childhood and what the lead, T.J., is going through. Here’s what Susser had to say about writing a jarring tone, the max levels Hesher goes to, and writing spontaneity:

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Everywhere you look there’s another superhero movie these days. Countless studio dollars, a stream of big stars and endless articles have been expended on the subject. Thor, Captain America and the Green Lantern headline an upcoming summer movie season that’s chock-full of various forms of masked avengers. Concurrently, there’s arisen a far less prolific counter-industry of satirically oriented films, such as Kick Ass, that attempt an indie-friendly examination of the questionable sanity and real world practicality of these figures. It’s these latter films that I’ve personally flocked to, having long-grown tired of the formulaic non-Christopher Nolan big-budget superhero aesthetic. Thus, James Gunn’s Super is – in the same vein as protagonist Frank’s heavenly calling to justice – a gift from above. In framing the birth of a real-life superhero as a disturbed man’s religious awakening, the Slither filmmaker gets to the heart of the grandiose self-absorption at the core of superherodom. To don a mask and tights, formulate a nickname and spend your nights prowling the streets, seeking out drug dealers and other unsavory elements, you’d have to be, well, more than a little bit crazy. Frank (Rainn Wilson), the luckless, depressed everyday schlub central figure here fits the bill, driven to unhinged rage when his wife Sarah (Liv Tyler) leaves him for scuzzy drug kingpin Jacques (Kevin Bacon).

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Peep World is an excruciating assemblage of one-dimensional nags, linked under a sub-par quasi-Wes Anderson family dysfunction narrative umbrella. It’s a portrait of estranged narcissistic siblings, a high-society Los Angeles architect’s grown sons and daughter, who misbehave and alienate everyone around them amid convoluted circumstances drawn exclusively from the long tradition of stories about the intelligentsia’s human failings.

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There are certain expectations that come with any filmmaker’s work based off the movies that have come before. Their styles, attitudes, and overall creative skill-set are usually visible to some degree throughout their career. James Gunn is no different. His last feature, Slither, was an incredibly fun and gross monster movie that maintained a good balance between the laughs and the horror. That combined with his previous efforts should leave you unsurprised that his latest would include copious amounts of bodily fluids, a complete disregard for good taste, and a face made of fecal matter floating in a bowl. What you don’t expect to see are scenes of real beauty, wit, and sincerity floating in a sadly disjointed mess of a film.

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The film I’m by far the most excited to see at the upcoming SXSW is James Gunn‘s dark superhero tale, SUPER. Everything about it sounds like the perfect film for nerds that crave divisive dark humor. Rainn Wilson as a wrench-wielding, head-busting vigilante? Awesome. Ellen Page as his annoying and narcissistic sidekick? Even better. The best part, though? Kevin Bacon as a slimy looking drug dealer. It’s been quite sometime since Bacon has done some solid scenery chewing and played the bad guy, which he rarely often does. I mean, who would have thought that kid from Footloose would one day be playing a charming wife-stealing drug dealer? Check out the trailer below.

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One of the few minor highlights of Comic-Con this year was the charming and charmingly foul-mouthed Super from the totally well-adjusted mind of James Gunn. The film stars Rainn Wilson as a man who loses his wife to drugs and another man and straps on the spandex in order to get her back. Because, as we all know, every hot woman (including Liv Tyler) is helpless to resist even the schlubbiest of men if they’re skin tight in red tights and a cape. Brace yoursef. You, too, may not be able to resist sliding your tongue against the computer screen in an inappropriate manner when you see Dwight Schrute ready to fight for justice.

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The real-life superhero movie is becoming a genre unto itself. With Special, Defendor, Kick-Ass and now James Gunn’s Super – the premise of regular men and women putting on costumes and fighting crime seems to be steadily growing. There hasn’t been a lot of information about the film, and without that information, it’s seemed a little generic. However, with the footage shown at Comic-Con this morning, James Gunn took a monkey wrench to that idea’s forehead and then shoved its grandmother out of her wheelchair. After all, if you’re going to make a film, why not make an “F’d up, low rent Watchmen“?

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Sometimes all it takes is for a director of a film to step in and shield us from all the bad news that comes out these days.

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I can hear the conversation in the pitch meeting now. “This is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s film. But he isn’t going to be the charming, clean-cut, charismatic Joe that the world has seen. He’s going to be fucking crazy, man.”

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Writer/Director James Gunn has done many things. Most recently, he’s become a beloved Twitter celebrity and delivered the uber-popular web series PG Porn. But beyond that, he makes movies.

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FSR

Kevin Carr reviews this week’s new movies: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and My Sister’s Keeper.

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transformers2-optimusheader

More Shia LaBeouf talking about how this isn’t his war, more Megan Fox yelling “Sam!” and looking rather attractive and more Optimus Prime telling us that there’s a lot that has been kept from us. It must be Wednesday, it must be Transformers 2.

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office-companypicnic

The company picnic offers a chance for Michael (Steve Carell) to win back Holly and the Scranton branch to go for volleyball glory.

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office-dreamteam

Michael has to mediate a dispute within his new sales team. Meanwhile, trouble brews in the office when several employees take the term “casual” Fridays too loosely.

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earlyedition-header

Like LL Cool J said, “Don’t call it a comeback. The Early Edition’s been here for weeks.” Or something like that.

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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
D+
published: 04.17.2014
B-
published: 04.16.2014
B+

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