Zooey Deschanel

commentary-500daysofsummer

It’s Valentine’s Day, and that means it’s time to watch a cinematic love story with your special someone. Or, it could mean it’s time to watch a cynical film skewering the concept of love if you’re a single person. Lucky for everyone, there’s a film that can cut both ways. Marc Webb describes his film (500) Days of Summer as “a coming-of-age story masquerading as a love story.” This means the romantic in you can find the love story, and the cynic in you can find the character development. After being a hit at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, (500) Days of Summer went on to become a hit with audiences and critics alike. It struck a chord with people because it was a different approach to a relationship story rather than the standard rom-com. Based in part on one of co-writer Scott Neustadter‘s former relationships, this film gets a commentary treatment by the writers, the director, and star Joseph Gordon-Levitt. And on to the commentary…

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SA/BLEAK

While the 2013 Sundance Film Festival is in full swing this weekend, we thought it would be fun to look back a decade and remember the best films of the 2003 event. The award winners that year include American Splendor, Capturing the Friedmans, All the Real Girls, My Flesh and Blood, The Station Agent, Stevie, Thirteen, A Certain Death and Whale Rider. And other major movies premiering at the fest include The Cooler, The Shape of Things, Tupac: Resurrection, Pieces of April, The Weather Underground, Northfork and the Bob Dylan disaster Masked and Anonymous. The U.S. also got its first look at 28 Days Later, In America, Bus 174, Bend It Like Beckham, Laurel Canyon, The Secret Lives of Dentists and Irreversible. To commemorate such a great Sundance (which spotlighted some filmmakers returning this year, like David Gordon Green and Michael Polish), we’re spotlighting some of our favorite scenes from some of the movies listed above. Not all have quality clips online, though, and it would be too much to include bits from all those works we love from the 2003 program, so feel free to add your own favorite moment in the comments below.

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In what sounds like a very cool (schmoopy romance can be cool right?) project, Richard Curtis is writing and directing About Time – a story focusing on a young man named Tim who finds out that he’s one in a long line of time travelers. That comes with some impressive powers, no doubt. Groundhog Day-like powers. Or the ability to go back and make sure Hitler wasn’t born or something important like knowing all the right questions in class or on dates. According to Variety, the production is looking at Zooey Deschanel as the leading love interest which means the costume department will be searching on ModCloth and she’ll get to sing a song. While we all fall in love with her manic big-eyed dreamgirlness. Right now, Tim the Time Traveler is being played by Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley in Harry Potter, Shadow Dancer and Anna Karenina). All in all, it sounds like a potentially large-hearted project with a sci-fi conceit hiding somewhere in the atria. Plus, Gleeson is a presence with range who is beginning to come into his own after the massive wand-wielding franchise, and even though New Girl is solid comedy work, it’s about time Deschanel returned to film.

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Elf

Who knows Santa? I mean personally? I bet you don’t. I don’t either, but we’re talking about you right now. Buddy the Elf knows Santa. He makes sure to tell everyone he sees when he ventures to New York City to meet his real father. Another question. Who doesn’t like Elf? You can walk away now if you said, “I don’t”, because this Commentary Commentary is not for you. The Christmas season is upon us, and we felt it was time to hear what director Jon Favreau had to say about this ginormous Christmas gem. There are two commentary tracks on Elf – thanks, Infinifilm – but we’re rolling the dice on Favreau over the film’s star. As a wise man once said to me over Twitter, “Glean his insights so we don’t have to listen; let us hear the entertaining actor ourselves. So sit back with your eggnog or your mini candy cane or your Christmas fudge – I’m rocking all three as I write this, the first indication I should get myself to a dentist pronto – and delve into all the glorious bits of information we gathered while listening to the Elf commentary track. Oh, eggnog. No one understands me like you.

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Channel Guide: A Column About TV

On the Zooey Deschanel-led New Girl, titular character Jess Day is an aloof, offbeat, and (let’s face it) awkward twenty-something, forced to move in with three random guys after a tough breakup. She wears thick-framed glasses, watches Dirty Dancing on a loop, and even weaves Lord of the Rings quotes into regular conversation at the blink of an eye. On paper, well, she’s not that far from myself- another Woody Allen-loving, Star Wars-quoting, sometimes bespectacled gal. So why is it that week after week, I find myself increasingly annoyed with her overly twee behavior?

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Our Idiot Brother floats by on the genial charms of Paul Rudd, an apparently nice guy in real life who’s playing just about the nicest, most pleasant guy in the world. That sounds like a recipe for ho-hum disaster, but Rudd happens to be ridiculously adept at selling you two bags of goods at once, imbuing that geniality with a fount of deep tangible feeling. Audiences accustomed to Judd Apatow-era Rudd might forget that he’s acted in Neil LaBute plays and films (before LaBute turned into a director-for-hire) and once played F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Nick Carraway in a Great Gatsby adaptation made for TV. The guy has dramatic chops, and he’s one of the few actors in Hollywood who can naturalistically flow them into a deceptively low-key framework. Here, Rudd stars as Ned — or Nedley, as mom calls him — a lovable, trusting hippie farmer who sells a cop some weed and winds up in jail. After his release, with nowhere to go, Ned moves in first with mom and then with his three high-strung sisters in succession.

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The fact that a major studio made Your Highness is both reassuring and baffling. The commercial appeal is there, obviously, but this isn’t your standard comedic fare. David Gordon Green’s 80s fantasy throwback is filled with crudeness and audacity. This is a film with a child molesting puppet; isn’t that such a thing of genius which defines ambition? I believe so. A film like Your Highness is, as stated before, reassuring because we’re witnessing such talents as Green and co-writer/star Danny McBride getting to further explore their divisive sensibilities in a rather sizable studio film. Danny McBride didn’t just set out to make a parody or a satire, but a genuine adventure film that, which he admits, isn’t for everyone. Your Highness is not the pot comedy one expects, but a road movie about lovable and immature idiots. McBride’s Thadeous is a moron in all senses of the word, except an actual self-aware moron. There’s a charm to his baboon-like nature. Your Highness is almost a coming of age story, but about a grown, pot-smoking, and crude man. Here’s what Danny McBride had to say about getting a comedy with a large scope, not making a spoof, crafting lovable idiots, and the difficulty of practical effects:

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Let’s play a game. I’m going to tell a joke, you decide if it’s funny. Ready? Why did the chicken cross the road? Balls. If you chortled at that, then have I got a movie for you. It’s called Your Highness, and in addition to a once ambitious director and a cast filled with actors who really should know better it features a script that never met a punchline it couldn’t replace with a swear word or a drug reference. Why build complicated gags when you can just say ‘fuck?’ Why give depth to your characters when you can just have them wear a severed cock around their neck? All the dirty words and phallic props in the world aren’t going to ruin a movie, but using them in place of real comedy, actual jokes, and smart writing sure as hell isn’t going to help. A king has two sons of opposite worth who could only be related in Hollywood. Fabious (James Franco) is heroic, righteous, and fabulously coiffed while his brother Thadeous (Danny McBride) is foul-mouthed, portly, and socially retarded. One of Fabious’s many adventures nets him a fair maiden named Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel, speaking barely a line or two more than she spoke in Avatar) who he plans to marry. Their happy day is spoiled when the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux) kidnaps her with plans to use her virginal vagina as a dragon egg incubator. The two brother set off on a quest to rescue the maiden […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr spends a long day in the multiplex, checking out a variety of films from alcoholic romantic comedies to nature documentaries with elephants and orangutans. He drinks himself silly and hits on Greta Gerwig in Arthur, narrowly escapes being killed by ass-kicking teen assassin Hanna, narrowly escapes getting his arm bitten off by a tiger shark in Soul Surfer and peeps in on Natalie Portman undressing for a swim in Your Highness. Too bad she’s pregnant now, ‘cause Kevin just ain’t into that scene.

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Disney’s July release Winnie the Pooh is shaping up to become a cross-demographic juggernaut. First off, you have the fact that it’s hand drawn, which is going to draw in a bunch of nostalgia sales from people looking to get a break from the Hannah Montana era of Disney product. Secondly, it’s a new Winnie the Pooh movie, which means everyone is going to take their kids to see it. And now, Zooey Deschanel and her She & Him bandmate M. Ward have been added to the soundtrack, which should send hipsters in their early twenties running to the theaters to have a half ironic, half too precious to pass up time at the movies with Pooh Bear.

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My Idiot Brother will premiere at Sundance later this month, bringing its sunny disposition to the cold of Utah. The movie features Paul Rudd as the eternal optimist with an uncanny beard-growing ability who springs back into the lives of his three sisters – played by Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth Banks, and Zooey Deschanel. There are 9 new images from the film which mostly show off the hippie rug covering Rudd’s face, as well as the strong, aforementioned talent pool playing his siblings.

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Slimy puppets with water pipes! Natalie Portman channeling Xena The Warrior Princess! An evil magician! This is definitely not the typical Medieval action adventure (except for the evil magician. That’s sort of par for the course). David Gordon Green is a director that takes chances, which should always be applauded. The trailer here for Your Highness is sort of a mixed bag, but the good parts are great, and the average parts aren’t exactly bad. Plus, it’ll be great to see Danny McBride attempt something out of his normal wheelhouse playing characters whose main motivations are scratching crotches and being mildly offensive. That last line of the trailer kills. Your Highness hits theaters April 8th, 2011, and you can see the trailer in even higher def at Apple.

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Director David Gordon Green has come a long way in three years. 2007 marked his last indie drama before turning completely to the dark side with more popular, humorous, and immature fare like Pineapple Express and HBO’s Eastbound & Down. Next year sees his latest feature, Your Highness, and based on the trailer (seen after the jump) it looks like he plans on sitting in this niche for awhile longer.

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While the project is miles off from hearing the starting gun, Amy Adams is now attached to star as Janis Joplin in the Fernando Meirelles directed film Get It While You Can. With the script unfinished and no studio backing, we won’t hear about it rolling cameras anytime soon, but the production staff needs to get cracking on finding the absolute best make-up team out there as well as the person most talented in Hollywood at pouring bleach down an actress’s throat. You were probably hoping that Jenna Maroney would finally get her shot at Joplin, but this casting should challenge those with even the largest trust in Adams. Not to mention Adams herself. Anyone who’s endured karaoke night at their local watering hole knows how impossible it is come close to the genius of Janis. Maybe Joss Stone still has a shot? Still, Adams seems better suited than Zooey Deschanel, who was attached previously. Be on the lookout in a few months for more details as they emerge, but this one will be in the incubator for a while. [Moviehole]

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500days3

Some of our loves have ended, some are still going strong, and some were never meant to be. If we’re lucky though, we might just get a memorable dance number or two along the way.

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FSR

Kevin Carr reviews this week’s new movies: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and (500) Days of Summer.

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500daysofsummer-header

Fox Searchlight has unleashed this weekend the full release schedule for one of my favorite films of the year, the Sundance darling 500 Days of Summer, which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel as a not-so-ordinary ordinary couple whose story is told in a very unique way.

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zooey-header1

Zooey Deschanel and Natalie Portman will be coming together for the first time (or third if you count the dream I had last night) in the new film, ‘Your Highness.’

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gigantic-review1

Cole Abaius goes open letter style on Gigantic, “a truly bland movie parading around like it’s interesting and high brow when in fact it’s leading a silent parade with no clothes on.”

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FSR

Kevin Carr reviews this week’s new movies: Fast & Furious, Adventureland and Gigantic.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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