Zach Braff

Wish I Was Here

In spite of the Kickstarter hoopla and general hype surrounding Zach Braff’s return to feature filmmaking following a decade-long absence, Wish I Was Here is just about the movie you’d expect. It’s not technically a sequel to Garden State, but this is Braff exploring the same ideas in nearly-identical fashion. Imagine Braff’s Andrew Largeman ten years later but stuck-in-the-mud as ever and there’s Aidan Bloom, his protagonist here. Throw in the trademark Braff blend of fast, broad humor and unabashed sentimentality, plus a soundtrack packed with indie rock and lots of slow motion, and you can pretty much fill in the blanks. There’s nothing inherently wrong with returning to a familiar template, especially when it worked so well the first time around. There are considerable pleasures to be had in experiencing this story centered on a crisis-ridden moment in Largeman’s Bloom’s thirties, where a whole lot of negative news converges at once. It’s simply to say that when it comes to tone, structure and dialogue-construction, the picture seems awfully familiar.

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Glory Movie

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Wish I Was Here

First of all, you won’t be surprised by the band included in the trailer for Wish I Was Here. Second of all, you won’t be surprised by the raw quirkiness at work. It’s very Braffian. Which is remarkable considering that Zach Braff has only directed two features. He’s already nailed down a signature style as a sophomore. Here he follows up Garden State with the next step in adult existential crisis and a hint of Walter Mitty. Braff plays Aidan Bloom, an unsuccessful actor who ends up having to home school his children. It’s an even money guess on who learns the most out of the deal.

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Kickstarter Last Resort

Recently, the act of donating to or promoting a Kickstarter campaign has become a highly politicized and moralized one for movie fans, an act brimming with questions, crises, and conundrums about systemic economic disadvantages normalized by dominant industries of filmmaking. Suspicion has been directed in droves toward legitimate-seeming yet vastly-supported projects like the studio-release Veronica Mars movie or Zach Braff’s directorial follow-up to Garden State, whose constellation of multiple funding sources perhaps says more than we’d like to admit about the complex process of realizing even the most distinctly above-the-line indie projects. While frustration directed at a feature adaptation of a canceled UPN show or Braff’s seemingly boundless ability to produce haterade may appear legitimate when accounting for Kickstarter’s role as the possible final refuge for American alternative filmmaking, fingers should instead be pointed to the reasons that a resource like Kickstarter has become necessary in the first place.

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Zach Braff Wish I Was Here

It’s unknown whether the 38,377 people pledging to Zach Braff‘s Kickstarter campaign will now get their money back, but The Hollywood Reporter has announced from Cannes that the actor/filmmaker’s controversially crowdfunded film, Wish I Was Here, will receive funding from Worldview Entertainment (Killer Joe).* This is a very big deal, although it’s not clear what it means for the $2.6 million raised from fans on the Kickstarter site. According to THR, “Worldview will provide most of the financing for the drama” and “the budget is less than $10 million.” A couple weeks ago, Braff told the Los Angeles Times that the budget was about $5 million and that the money not funded through the drive would come from his own pocket and foreign distribution pre-sales. In the same interview, Braff was asked whether he’d take money from “industry types” that now see the film as a hot commodity and want on board. “I think that would be in bad taste for all the people who are backing this” he replied. “It wouldn’t be in the spirit of the thing.”

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Zach Braff Wish I Was Here

After all the hand-wringing and pearl clutching and doomsdaying about celebrities utilizing Kickstarter, the crowdfunding site is reporting that both the Veronica Mars movie and Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here helped raise $400,000 for 2,200 other projects. How did they do it? By attracting more people to the site — 63% of their backers had never backed a project before, and many went on to find other worthwhile projects to give money to. The rising tide lifted all boats. Obviously this doesn’t dismiss other concerns about famous people and corporations mitigating their risk by asking their potential audience to pay what amount to inflated upfront ticket prices. However, this set of numbers is a powerful one that blasts any gut-notion that “blockbuster” projects take away money from the “true indies.” In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. As a for-profit company, these large projects are in Kickstarter’s best interest, but there’s also something amazing going on at that site. Great work is being done, people are finding new art to support and creators are getting the funding they need. If larger-profile appeals like these help everyone, then more power to them.

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dunham-graff

Lena Dunham basically blew up out of nowhere after the release of her second feature, Tiny Furniture. The film had a minuscule budget, it employed a couple of her real family members as actors, and it was largely filmed in her family’s real life apartment. That’s a damned thrifty approach to filmmaking, and generally you’re going to have to add a good deal of talent to a presentation like that if it’s going to catch the attention of the powers that be in the entertainment industry—but catch their attention it did. After Dunham released Tiny Furniture, HBO came calling and essentially opened up their pocket books so that she could create her own television show, the similarly-themed Girls, which is now one of the most buzzed about things in popular culture. Zach Braff’s career path moved in the opposite direction. His first exposure to the public’s eye came from his starring in one of the most popular series on television, Scrubs, and by the time he decided to make his own feature film, Garden State, he was already an established name. Unlike Tiny Furniture, Garden State brought fairly respectable production value to the table, its cast was full of respected actors, and in general it just felt much more like a marketable movie than Dunham’s work. And yet, despite the fact that it was generally greeted with favorable reviews upon its release, Garden State didn’t seem to do Braff’s career any favors. To say that a big entertainment company didn’t […]

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Zach Braff Wish I Was Here

The next step in our post-Veronica Mars world has just been mounted by Zach Braff. The Scrubs actor and Garden State writer/director/musicologist has turned to crowdfunding to attempt to secure $2m for a follow-up called Wish I Was Here, citing an inability to score financing that would offer him final cut and a number of other authorial freedoms. The movie itself will focus on a 30-something man (played by Braff) who is struggling with a non-starter acting career and ends up having to home school his children, leading him to craft a different kind of curriculum for them. Now, there are some notable differences between this and what Rob Thomas did with Veronica Mars last month:

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review oz great powerful

Hollywood trend #74 goes like this. Pick a classic children’s tale that hasn’t been adapted in the past few years, say Alice in Wonderland or Snow White maybe, then build a new film around it that substitutes excessive CGI for imagination and physical comedy for characterization. Oh, and be sure to improve upon the source material by throwing in a big third-act battle between armies too. Anyway. Oz the Great and Powerful is a new look at a land we are all too familiar with thanks to L. Frank Baum’s books and a little movie called The Wizard of Oz. Director Sam Raimi‘s film predates Dorothy’s classic adventure to show how the wizard actually became the wizard in the first place, but just because it takes place in a magical world doesn’t guarantee a magical experience.

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It’s been three years since a Sam Raimi film graced theaters and five since he’s had a box office hit (sorry, Drag Me to Hell), but he returns to the big screen next year with something substantially different than his usual fare. In fact, if the lead were Johnny Depp instead of James Franco you might be forgiven for thinking this was a Tim Burton joint. Oz the Great and Powerful is an upcoming Disney film that posits the origin of L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz (the man, not the story). Oscar Diggs (Franco) begins as a mediocre magician in the dustbowl of a black and white Kansas before boarding a hot-air balloon for an ill-fated ride into a tornado. The journey lands him in Oz where he comes face to face with creatures, people, three witches and technicolor. Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams play the three witches, and that’s really all the reason one needs to want to see the movie… Check out the trailer for Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful below.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news round-up column that didn’t mean to take the night off last night, but was forced into it by some “internet connectivity issues.” Which means, plainly, that its internet provider sucks sometimes. And things happen. Like trains — sometimes they get blown up in small town in Ohio, unleashing unknown terrors upon small-town, late-70s folk. Shit happens, y’know? My confession of the evening is that I was able to see Super 8 this morning. Reviews are under embargo for now, so I can’t share too much, but know this: whatever level of excitement you hold for it, you’re probably on the right track. Moving on, but not too far, Empire has a great interview with producer Steven Spielberg and Spielberg Jr., director J.J. Abrams. You can check it out after the jump. It’s not spoilery, as Abrams is a good keeper of secrets. But if you want to go in completely untainted, skip ahead and there’s plenty of other news to read.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a sad Doctor Who fan tonight, that’s for sure. With the premiere of a new season less than a week away, tragedy has struck. We must press on, but we must also remember fondly Elisabeth Sladen. There will also be a slew of interesting news, but first, some sadness… Elisabeth Sladen — best known as Sarah Jane Smith of Doctor Who fame — has passed away this week at the age of 63. For those who are not familiar with her work, she was one of the most famous companions in the long history of Who. She was the show’s heart and soul for a time, and reprised the character many times over the course of 38 years. That’s one hell of a run. She will be missed.

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Sitcoms by definition are interested almost exclusively in making the audience laugh. Comedy is the core of their existence, but the best ones are capable of adding something more to the mix. Something a bit more serious, a bit more emotional, and a bit more concerned with their characters’ hearts. Scrubs is one of the best examples of a show that earned an audience for being both incredibly humorous and capable of working the tear ducts with storylines and characters that connect with our own hopes, fears, and emotions. And yes, I am talking about seasons one through seven only… we can all agree the final two seasons (8/9) need never be mentioned again.

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zach-braff-1

Variety reports that Braff is in negotiations to direct and star in the new comedy Swingles. He would also rewrite the script about a man who gets dumped by his wing-man and is forced to team up with a woman he hates in order to meet new ladies.

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reese-witherspoon

Will we ever see a new Cameron Crowe film? The answer’s yes but according to Reese Witherspoon it may take some time.

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I know vampires are supposed to be quasi-metrosexual, but the amount of gels and creams used in the guys’ hair these days is getting to be a bit much.

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The newest episode of the online-only Speechless ads has premiered, and it stars Zach Braff talking dirty!

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The sixth season of Scrubs will go down as a lot of things in the minds of fans.

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