<p>Besedka Johnson and Dree Hemingway form a very odd friendship in Sean Baker's 'Starlet'</p>

Besedka Johnson and Dree Hemingway form a very odd friendship in Sean Baker's 'Starlet'

Credit: Music Box Films

Meet Dree Hemingway and Besedka Johnson in this exclusive clip from 'Starlet'

The carefully rendered character drama arrives in theaters this weekend

I'll have a review of Sean Baker's "Starlet" for you a little later, but first I want to share a clip from the film with you.  It's the story of a girl in her 20s living in the San Fernando Valley, where she meets an old woman at a garage sale.  The woman sells her a vase, and inside, the girl finds $10,000 in cash that the old woman didn't know existed.  What results is a very strange friendship, and a very charming movie.

Dree Hemingway is the star of the film, and I'm going to bet this is just the start of what we'll see from her.  She does very delicate, careful work as Jane, who is still young and still figuring out who she is, but who also seems to be possessed of a greater sense of self than most of her peers.  And, yes, she's one of those Hemingways.  Her mother is Mariel Hemingway, making her the great-granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway.  She is tall and striking and seems to made up of about 96% legs.

Read Full Post
<p>You have to go see 'Miami Connection' in the theater, or Y.K. Kim will cry, and you don't want to make Y.K. Kim cry... DO&nbsp;YOU!?</p>

You have to go see 'Miami Connection' in the theater, or Y.K. Kim will cry, and you don't want to make Y.K. Kim cry... DO YOU!?

Credit: Drafthouse Films

Review: Is the Drafthouse release of 'Miami Connection' a case of 'so bad it's good'?

HitFix
B
Readers
n/a
We look at their theatrical run of a long-lost martial arts oddity

If you genuinely enjoy the experience of watching a movie, is that the same thing as watching it ironically or making fun of it?

That's a question that's worth asking as Drafthouse Films prepares for a theatrical release of the 1987 film "Miami Connection."  The movie has languished in obscurity for years now, ever since its split-second release, and was just recently rediscovered by the programming team at the Alamo Drafthouse, who played a print as part of their Weird Wednesday screening series.  For those unfamiliar with how that works, the Alamo is in the business of building up a print archive, having even started a non-profit foundation to do so, and they are constantly buying prints of movies, many of which they've never heard of at all.  They use their late-night screening series to look at the prints and see if there are any unsung gems in there, and when they showed the first reel of "Miami Connection," they flipped for it.  They ended up making a deal with the filmmakers to give the movie new theatrical life, and this year's Fantastic Fest was the film's official coming out party.

To that end, they went all out to present the movie right on the festival's opening Friday night as the big prime-time event.  If the audience wanted to just treat the entire night as one big roast, I'm sure they could have, but I would argue that the reason to enjoy a movie like "Miami Connection" is not as simple as "laugh at the terrible movie."  There's a reason "The Room" became a sensation and other terrible films do not.  There's a reason Zack Carlson and Lars Nielsen are fanatical about "Miami Connection" and Dragon Sound and not a dozen other silly action movies they've screened.  And ultimately, I think that reason is sincerity.

Read Full Post
<p>Alex Proyas, seen here with Will Smith on the set of his film 'I Robot,' is in talks now to adapt Daniel Wilson's 'Amped'</p>

Alex Proyas, seen here with Will Smith on the set of his film 'I Robot,' is in talks now to adapt Daniel Wilson's 'Amped'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Alex Proyas and Working Title set to bring Daniel Wilson's 'Amped' to theaters

Could Wilson be the Michael Crichton of the 21st Century?

Daniel Wilson could be on the verge of a long and prosperous career as the new Michael Crichton.

After all, one of Spielberg's biggest hits was the higher-than-high concept "Jurassic Park," and next up for the director is the film adaptation of "Robopocalypse," which I wrote about a few months ago.  Like Crichton, his books posit big ideas, and the exploration of that concept is perhaps more important than character or dialogue.  That's not to say he's a bad writer… he's not.  But world-building and the big idea seem to be his strengths, and that's the sort of thing that Hollywood frequently responds to.  Wilson's got their attention, and it looks like he's got another film gearing up already.

Read Full Post
<p>Jeff Bridges, seen here with Julianne Moore and John Goodman at a recent anniversary celebration for 'The Big Lebowski,' may play the title character in a film version of Lois Lowry's 'The Giver'</p>

Jeff Bridges, seen here with Julianne Moore and John Goodman at a recent anniversary celebration for 'The Big Lebowski,' may play the title character in a film version of Lois Lowry's 'The Giver'

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Philip Noyce may direct 'The Giver' starring Jeff Bridges

Will this finally be the attempt that brings this popular young adult novel to the big screen?

It was only a matter of time until Hollywood finally got around to "The Giver."

After all, published in 1993, it is a major influence on the genre known now as "young adult literature," and fans of "The Hunger Games" probably owe no small debt to the existence of Lois Lowry's novel about a boy named Jonas and the way he alters the dystopian world in which he lives.  I would also bet that M. Night Shyamalan was at least familiar with the book when he came up with "The Village."  It is a lovely piece of writing, a Newberry Award winner, and it has sold millions and millions of copies.  Like I said, it was inevitable that Hollywood would get to it at some point, and with Lowry finally publishing "Son," the final novel in the "Giver Quartet," this year, it seems like the book is back on people's radar again.

Earlier this year, there were reports that Jeff Bridges would star in the film for director David Yates, who has been reportedly attached to something like thirty-seven million different movies now that his work on the "Harry Potter" series is finished.  Yates would certainly bring a very specific young adult-friendly weight to the table as a directorial choice, but now it appears he's circling "Tarzan" for Warner Bros.

Read Full Post
<p>Spielberg's 'Lincoln' has a haunted quality that I found engaging, and a burnished faded photo look that is very striking.</p>

Spielberg's 'Lincoln' has a haunted quality that I found engaging, and a burnished faded photo look that is very striking.

Credit: Dreamworks/20th Century Fox

Review: Spielberg and Kushner craft an important and emotional 'Lincoln'

HitFix
A
Readers
A-
Daniel Day-Lewis finds the soul of the icon in a great lead performance

So far, one of my favorite strange digressions of Steven Spielberg's career has been his collaboration with Tony Kushner.  I love it because it is so very unlikely, and because both of the films that have resulted from this creative conversation are so unlike the rest of Spielberg's work. 

Kushner blew me away with "Angels In America" when it first opened on stage, and I think he's got a very specific, very beautiful voice as a writer.  "Munich" is a film that I like more as I return to it, and I think Spielberg's sentimental streak has found a perfect antidote in the frank and observational voice of Kushner's words.  While I'm not a fan of biopics in general, I was curious to see what these two would make of Abraham Lincoln as a subject.  It's about a big a canvass as there is in terms of American characters.  He has passed the point of icon and become a mythic figure at this point, and so making a film about him requires a point of view, a reason beneath the history, and Kushner and Spielberg found a pretty tremendous way into the film.

Read Full Post
<p>This is what Harrison Ford said to me when I asked him if he was serious about playing Han Solo again.</p>

This is what Harrison Ford said to me when I asked him if he was serious about playing Han Solo again.

Credit: 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm

Signs of interest from Harrison Ford send 'Star Wars' fandom into hyperspace

Will we see Han Solo again? It's a safe bet, but maybe too safe.

We're going to see Luke Skywalker again… right?

I'm not sure how old you were in 1999, but for those of us who were first generation "Star Wars" kids, there has never been anything like it in terms of hype.  The crazy part is that a good 50% of the hype had nothing to do with the studio and everything to do with our own expectations and a powerful sense of nostalgia.  By the time "The Phantom Menace" opened, I'm convinced that even the single greatest movie ever made would have been a disappointment simply because of the weight of expectation.

One thing that made it hard to accept the prequels as real "Star Wars" films was the lack of familiar faces.  Sure, the characters were related to other characters or they were younger versions, but for the most part, you're talking about a brand-new cast, and one of the basic mandates of a sequel is giving the audience more of the thing they've already enjoyed.  As a result, there is a chance that all of that crushing, vocal "Phantom Menace" frenzy is just going to look like a warm-up to the deafening buzz as we build to the release of a true sequel to the original trilogy, complete with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and, yes, Han Solo.

Read Full Post
<p>John C. Reilly is front and center in the charming new Disney animated feature, 'Wreck-It Ralph'</p>

John C. Reilly is front and center in the charming new Disney animated feature, 'Wreck-It Ralph'

Credit: HitFix

John C. Reilly gets animated about 'Wreck-It Ralph'

We talk to the star of this weekend's biggest movie

The first time I remember seeing John C. Reilly was in Brian De Palma's film "Casualties Of War," and right away, he seemed fully defined. That's a movie full of big performances, with Sean Penn and Michael J. Fox going head to head, and even so, Reilly stood out as Hatch, a giant man-child who seemed to follow whoever was the biggest alpha male regardless of the direction of his own moral compass.  It was a great introduction to the particular skill set of this actor, and in the years since, he has re-confirmed his gifts over and over again.

One of my favorite moments in his career was when he suddenly revealed, after breaking hearts for so many years, that he is also hilarious.  I should have known that innately, though.  You look at his work in "Boogie Nights," which is as crushingly sad a film as I can name, and it's tempered with some great comedy, especially between him and Mark Walhberg.

Read Full Post
<p>Bruce Greenwood was about as relaxed as you can be while still technically being considered awake during the press day for 'Flight'</p>

Bruce Greenwood was about as relaxed as you can be while still technically being considered awake during the press day for 'Flight'

Credit: HitFix

Bruce Greenwood on helping Denzel in 'Flight' and returning to 'Star Trek'

A quick conversation with the veteran character actor reveals nothing new about next year's sequel

I'm not sure he can bluff at poker, but when it comes to diplomatically not answering a direct question, Bruce Greenwood can hang with the best of them.

I've interviewed him before, I've watched him work on sets, and I've had the opportunity a few times to just chat with him informally.  He strikes me as really down-to-earth, a decent guy who projects a certain kind of charisma.  There's a reason he got tapped to play JFK in "Seven Days," and there's a reason JJ Abrams cast him as Commander Pike, who had such a great couple of scenes with Chris Pine as Kirk in "Star Trek."

I wanted to find a more graceful segue into "Star Trek Into Darkness," next year's sequel, than you'll see in this interview.  It's because everything at the "Flight" press day was running off-schedule, and midway through this interview, the count went from "three minutes left" to "wrap it up" in what felt like about 45 seconds.  When we wrapped, I wasn't satisfied with the answer I got from him on-camera, so I tried another tactic.

"So, listen… I talked to JJ Abrams, and he told me to tell you that it's okay to tell me everything."

He smiled.  "I doubt that."

Read Full Post
<p>This is not a deleted scene from 'Adaptation,' oddly enough.</p>

This is not a deleted scene from 'Adaptation,' oddly enough.

Credit: AP Photo/Thibault Camus

Sylvester Stallone says Nicolas Cage is officially 'Expendable'

Who else will join the party for the third film in the series?

I think it's time we face the inevitable.

They will be making "Expendables" movies for the next 20 years.  At least.  It's one of those things where now that it exists, I can't imagine it took this long for it to exist.  It's a pretty much effortless franchise.  There's no formal reason why any actor who is part of the series now has to stay part of the series forever.  I have a feeling Chuck Norris was in for just the second one, and we'll never see him again.

Today's big news gives the third "Expendables" movie a huge boost, since Nicolas Cage is joining the movie.  Or at least, Sylvester Stallone says he's joining it.  Stallone has certainly reached out to the fans before, most notably through the various Ain't It Cool articles he participated in, and he likes that interaction.  He likes reaching out to the fanbase and hearing directly from them about what they like and what they don't.

Read Full Post
<p>Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann co-star in Judd Apatow's heartfelt and hilarious 'This Is 40'</p>

Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann co-star in Judd Apatow's heartfelt and hilarious 'This Is 40'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: Judd Apatow's 'This Is 40' is honest and hilarious

HitFix
A
Readers
A-
The writer/director trades high-concept for grounded laughs and scores big

"Forty can suck my d**k!"

With that emphatic birthday-morning proclamation, Judd Apatow's "This Is 40" kicks off a rude, rowdy, occasionally brutal look at aging, marriage, family, and love, and while it may be the most personal thing he's ever made, it is also the most universal.  It would be hard to not recognize yourself in some part of this film, and while your specifics may not exactly match what you see onscreen, this is as honest and observational as mainstream comedy gets these days.

Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) were first featured as supporting players in Apatow's "Knocked Up," and they stole pretty much every moment they were in.  Part of what made them fascinating was how much further Apatow let their arguments go than what we're used to seeing in films where we're worried about "liking" the leads.  They didn't have to carry the film, and so Apatow seemed free to push things with them as much as possible.  Now that they are the leads, I was worried he would defang them, but if anything, moving them to the center of the film gives him more room to paint a painfully accurate picture of just how hard it can be to hold things together.

Read Full Post