Toni Collette

A Long Way Down

Author Nick Hornby has a good track record with this movie stuff. The bestselling writer has been responsible for the source material – a little thing called “books” – for a number of beloved films that continue to endure as favorites in a crowded movie marketplace. Basically, the man writes good books, and then they become good movies. Hornby’s jump to the big screen so far includes films like About A Boy (which has now spawned its own television series), Fever Pitch (which got both a British and an American version in the span of eight years), and High Fidelity. (Hornby, it must be noted, is also a screenwriter who has found a niche adapting the work of others for the big screen – including An Education and the upcoming movie version of Wild.) But is Hornby’s next film going to hit with fans – both of his movies and of his books, and of any intermingling therein – or has the era of Hornb-tation run its course? Let’s try this – how do you feel about stories about suicide? What if they involve Imogen Poots? Are you interested in seeing Aaron Paul not yelling “bitch” a lot? Are you opposed to crying in movie theaters? Do you need a fairy tale ending?

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Hector

If you were, say, a psychiatrist treating severely depressed people, it would probably be slightly concerning when several or none of those patients reported getting any happier. It might even make you a little depressed yourself. In the case of Simon Pegg and his floundering practice in Peter Chesholm‘s Hector and the Search for Happiness, it’s enough to have him questioning every little bit of his increasingly draining existence. Naturally, the remedy for undoing the blues when you’re well to-do and can apparently take that much time off work is to get out of London for awhile and find yourself. It’s not just a sense of self he’s looking for while he’s traveling around the world, but the real key to happiness itself — presumably so he can take that knowledge home with him and share it with his gloomy patients.

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THE WAY, WAY BACK

Editor’s Note: My review of The Way, Way Back originally ran during its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens theatrically. You should really make a point of going to see this one. Coming-of-age films are almost as ubiquitous as rom-coms and Resident Evil sequels these days, and it’s not often that one of them manages to stand out in the crowded field. The ones that do succeed usually feature a combination of star power to get their foot in the door, a smart and funny script to keep the audience’s attention and a lead who embodies the joy, frustrations and awkwardness of teen life with equal spirit and veracity. The Way, Way Back succeeds on pretty much all of those counts. Duncan (Liam James) is heading to the East Coast for the summer with his mom Pam (Toni Collette), her boyfriend Trent (Steve Carrell) and Trent’s teen daughter Steph (Zoe Levin). A summer spent at the beach should be any teen boy’s idea of awesome, but Duncan is shy and no fan of the overbearing Trent, so the next three months promise to be hell. But when he crosses paths with an immature and odd water park manager named Owen (Sam Rockwell), he dares to think that the summer may not be so bad after all.

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The retread is both retro for being from the 80s and hip for being about vampires, and it just got a strong lead actor.

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maryandmax_filmstill5

The first trailer for Adam Elliot’s brilliant claymation film Mary and Max, which was chosen as the opening film for this year’s Sundance Film Festival, has arrived online.

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Sundance 2009

If there is one thing that I love about the coming of the cold and the snow in the late fall here in Ohio, it is that it reminds me that the Sundance Film Festival is just around the corner.

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TV News: Fringe, United States of Tara, Terminator

There is, like, tons of TV-related news happening in the wee hours of the morning, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to get all out of the way in one article.

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Neil Miller

Review: Towelhead

Features By Neil Miller on September 12, 2008 | Comments (2)

Alan Ball goes back to his American Beauty form with a story of a young girl’s struggle to understand her own sexual obsessions.

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Toni Collette and Maggie Gyllenhaal

Having already exploited one topless Gyllenhaal in his movie Jarhead, director Sam Mendes will soon be doing the same with Gyllenhaal twin #2.

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Towelhead

Reelz Channel has released the first trailer for American Beauty director Alan Ball’s film Towelhead, which has been making its way around the festival circuit. It premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Festival under the title Nothing is Private, but was then retitled and played considerably well at Sundance this year.

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