Rob Epstein

Lovelace

Editor’s note: Kate’s review of Lovelace originally ran during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but we’re re-posting it now as the film opens in limited theatrical release this weekend. For whatever reason, the story of adult film legend Linda Lovelace has proven to be particular enticing material as of late, with Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s Lovelace only the first of two Lovelace biopics to hit screens this year. Epstein and Freidman’s film is the one that stars Amanda Seyfried as Lovelace (or Boreman, or Marchiano, depending on the particular period of her life you are referring to) and Peter Sarsgaard as her bastard husband/Svengali, Chuck Traynor (because, really, who better to play the necessary bastard/Svengali role than Sarsgaard?). A generally straightforward and uninspired biopic (beyond a somewhat interesting storytelling conceit that pops up about midway through the film), Lovelace tracks Lovelace’s unlikely rise from regular girl to America’s most famous porn star, thanks to her starring role in 1972’s seminal hardcore pornographic film, Deep Throat. Like a lot of porn, Lovelace is often aimless, basically boring, and dead unsexy.

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Lovelace Amanda Seyfried

“We’re all gonna win Oscars.” Linda Lovelace’s life is ripe fruit for the biopic plucking, and with this first trailer for Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s Lovelace, it looks like Amanda Seyfried truly owns the role and the spotlight as the porn star turned icon turned anti-porn advocate. You see, Lovelace’s life is filled with some truly heinous stuff (including films called Peeverted and Dog Fucker), that could be brutal on screen given the context of her relationship with the abusive Chuck Traynor (played by Peter Sarsgaard). The problem is that if the cut is the same as it was at Sundance, it could still be a pretty bland affair. Seyfried looks kind of adorably stupid here, but there’s no doubt her Lovelace will wise up once the flash bulbs are all thrown away. The question is how well this particular take will portray a story so full of potential. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Christopher Nolan at Sundance

The Sundance Film Festival is one of the largest independent fests in the country, but it probably has the best reputation for launching filmmaking careers and being the only thing in January that will be remembered around Oscar time 13 months later. It’s debatable just how “indie” it is — especially with studio shingles routinely picking up audience favorites for distribution — but it’s difficult to deny the raw directorial power that’s moved through Park City over the years. Names like Christopher Nolan, Kevin Smith, The Coen Brothers and Steven Soderbergh can count themselves amongst the Sundance ranks, but there are many, many more. In that (independent) spirit, here’s a double-size list of tips (for fans and filmmakers alike) from 12 directors who made a name at Sundance.

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There are a couple biopics about famed porn actress Linda Lovelace in the works, so let’s not get confused. Lovelace isn’t the one that was supposed to star Lindsay Lohan but then picked up Malin Ackerman because Lindsay Lohan is Lindsay Lohan; that one is the Matthew Wilder-directed Inferno. Lovelace will be directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (Howl), and has Amanda Seyfried replacing the originally-rumored Kate Hudson as the titular performer. I’ve seen these two movies have actors that are appearing in one being attributed to the other or downright get referenced as being the same film before, so I want to be clear. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s look at the casting news. Way back during this project’s humble beginnings, James Franco was rumored as being the choice to play Chuck Traynor, a pornographer and Lovelace’s longtime husband. That probably had something to do with his experience working with the directors in Howl. That bit of casting didn’t work out though, and the role eventually went to the equally-as-sleazy-as-Franco, Peter Sarsgaard (see An Education, yuck). Apparently that wasn’t the last of the Franco on Lovelace rumors, however, because Variety’s Showblitz is now reporting that the actor may be making a cameo in the film as Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. That sounds like the sort of fun, low commitment gig that I could see Franco being into, so I’d say the chances of him appearing in this film are once again good.

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James Franco in Howl

Today Oscilloscope Laboraties announced that you will be able to see Howl this year, as per my recommendation after seeing it at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

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The interpretation of art is tricky. In fact, most great works of art are the trickiest because what makes them great is that they can mean different things to different people. Such is the overwhelming theme of Rob Epstein’s excellent film, Howl.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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