Terri

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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This Week in DVD

Comedy is probably the most subjective genre of all, and what makes one person shoot milk from their nose in laughter may make another person yawn. To that end I’m happy to point out that two of the year’s funniest movies are hitting DVD today. They’re both perfectly cast and filled with plenty of laugh out loud moments, and that’s a guarantee. Whether or not you respond appropriately to them is your business… but I recommend soy milk as the nasal spurting liquid of choice. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Erik the Viking (UK) Erik (Tim Robbins) is a really nice guy, but he’s a pretty shitty viking. Weary of looting and pillaging, and having never really discovered a taste for rape, Erik convinces his fellow vikings to head to sea in search of the legendary Rainbow Bridge. In addition to featuring the funniest “rape” scene ever filmed, Terry Jones’ mash-up of ridiculous comedy and adventure is a lot of fun. It sits comfortably somewhere between Jabberwocky and Time Bandits, and fans of the Monty Python boys should give it a chance if they haven’t yet. Arrow Video’s new (re)release includes both the original theatrical cut and a much faster moving director’s son’s cut plus tons of extras. **NOTE – This is a region2 DVD which requires either a region-free player or the willingness to watch on your PC.**

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Azazel Jacobs‘ film, Terri, is for and about the rejects of the world. It’s for the outsiders whose goodness — and possible awesomeness — goes unrecognized. Terri is a film about your average weirdo kids in High School that really aren’t that different. Like everyone else, they’re just flawed. Jacobs’ drama is more of a character driven film rather than a plot driven one. It moves at a deliberate place, and it isn’t afraid to show the oddball and less flattering aspects of these people. Jacobs never pokes fun at his characters as a director, but that may not have always been the case during his days of being a pretentious film school student immersed in a potentially snobby world. Here’s what director Azazel Jacobs had to say about film school, pretension, and finding humility in filmmaking:

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Don’t we all know John C. Reilly by now? Does he still need a long introduction? Reilly seems to pride himself on being one of the “that guys,” but in the film community, he couldn’t be further from simply being a face you vaguely recall from one of his many films; if you’re reading this, you probably know him. So what’s the point of listing off Magnolia, Gangs of New York, Boogie Nights, The Good Girl, Casualties of War, The Year of the Dog, Cyrus, Sydney, and Step Brothers? There is no reason, even though I just did. I talked to Reilly about a year ago for Cyrus, and I found him to be both thoughtful and subtlety funny. He’d take time with his responses and put things in a new perspective, like the possible laziness digital cameras provide a crew. And as for the funny part, he’d do little things that some could easily misunderstand as seriousness, like moving blinds to look intensely out a window as if he’s stuck in a paranoia thriller or discussing how the hotel smelled like a mixture of puke and cheese (it did…) This time around, he expressed the same thoughtfulness from that interview we did last year. It was a pleasant chat about the honesty he strives for with his characters, bringing yourself to material, and the intense specificity of Roman Polanski.

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One of my own personal areas of expertise, beyond being a guy who writes about movies for a living, is being chubby. I’ve been pretty chubby since I was in the 4th grade and lets face it, movies generally get it right when it comes to the plight of the fat kid. He’s got it rough. So I can’t imagine not somehow connecting to Azazel Jacobs’ new film Terri, one of Sundance 2011’s breakout hits. It follows the odd bromance between a vice principle (John C. Reilly) and an overweight 15-year old (Jacob Wysocki) as they both try to navigate the horrors of high school. The film drops into theaters in limited release on July 1, and today we’ve got for you an exclusive gallery of photos.

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Thinking back on most of the teen dramas I’ve seen I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered a personality like Terri. He’s the social outcast, he’s poor, he’s fat, he gets picked on, he’s a pushover, he isn’t particularly good at anything beyond showing up late to school and he goes everywhere in his pj’s. He isn’t just ripe for brutal ostracization, he’s the tree that bears all the types of fruit that get eaten by it.

However, what makes Terri different from the represented amalgamation of almost every other outcast characteristic you may have ever seen is his indifference towards everything. He doesn’t get particularly angry particularly often. He holds no pure grudges when he has every right to. He doesn’t bother anyone by drawing further attention to himself. He’s shy and he wants friends and he wishes he could fit in, but he can’t really figure himself out beyond knowing that he really just doesn’t care much about anything.

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Editor’s Note: In a fevered rush to get straight to the movies he loved, intrepid reviewer Robert Levin didn’t write an intro. In fact, he might not even believe in them. Maybe he believes you’d rather dig into the movies than read one. So without any ado, here’s Robert’s list of the best movies he saw at Sundance. Look out for a few of them coming to a theater near New York and LA and On Demand throughout the year.

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There is perhaps no more fertile storytelling ground than high school. Countless movies have mined the depths of awkward despair to which interesting, offbeat teens descend during those trying years. One could program an entire satellite Sundance Film Festival comprised entirely of offbeat, whimsical films centered on secondary school dysfunction that have premiered in Park City. So, it’s reasonable to wonder whether there’s anything left to say, and why Azazel Jacobs – director of the acclaimed, innovative Momma’s Man and son of avant-garde filmmaker Ken Jacobs – turned to the proverbial setting for his new film Terri.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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