<p>Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones make first love hurt in 'Like Crazy'</p>

Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones make first love hurt in 'Like Crazy'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Interview: Director Drake Doremus discusses his new film 'Like Crazy'

Plus check out a new trailer and poster for the Sundance sensation

Drake Doremus is having one of those moments that indie filmmakers dream of, and if anyone deserves it this year, he does.

The first time I heard his name was when I saw his film "Douchebag" at Sundance in 2010.  I enjoyed it, but it felt like one of those movies you see on the festival circuit and know will never end up playing theaters near 99% of your readership.  This year, I saw his new film "Like Crazy" at Sundance, and it floored me.  As much as I liked his earlier film, I wasn't ready for "Like Crazy."  It's a beautiful, incredibly well-performed piece that works because of how bluntly honest it is, how carefully it avoids cliche.  I found it to be almost as powerful a punch as last year's "Blue Valentine," and in particular, it is an amazing showcase for Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones, the two young stars of the movie.

This afternoon, I got on the phone with Doremus to talk about his film and its impending release, and while it was just a short conversation, it was good to catch up with him and see how he's feeling as his film is being prepped for release by Paramount Pictures, which is very different than the fate of his last film.  I asked him if there was any difference for him in terms of process as he moves from very small films to slightly bigger films, and he took a moment to consider it.  "No, actually.  Essentially it's all about the performances and the emotions.  And this is still a tiny movie.  I try to approach it the same every time out."

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<p>Doctor Strange is one of the weirdest Marvel characters, and also a favorite of Kevin Feige's, and now it looks like he may be headed to theaters in 2013</p>

Doctor Strange is one of the weirdest Marvel characters, and also a favorite of Kevin Feige's, and now it looks like he may be headed to theaters in 2013

Credit: Marvel Comics

The Afternoon Read: Will we see 'Doctor Strange' in theaters in 2013?

Plus Lars Von Trier plans to get even more graphic with 'Nymphomaniac'

Welcome to The Afternoon Read.

What a morning.  I've already suffered one heartbreak today, and I'm not even done with my e-mail.  I can't believe it's already August.  Hopefully you guys checked out The Travis McGee Book Club this morning, which was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon here at the house.  There's so much going on this morning that it's worth diving right in to share it all with you.

For example, I love that Twitch has been giving the trades fits lately by publishing scoops before the trades can.  There have been a few public fits as a result, and the response from Twitch has just been to get better and better and to publish more.  Today's story about the possibility of a "Doctor Strange" film in 2013 from Marvel is an exciting one.  Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer have evidently turned in a draft of the film that has gotten Marvel confident enough to now go out and pick a director for the film.  I love "Doctor Strange" precisely because it's so weird to see them drag magic and demons and other realms into the "reality" of the Marvel Universe.  And since this will be one of the Marvel Studios movies, expect to see the character layered into the exact same cinematic world that the Avengers already inhabit.  There have also been rumbles lately that "Ant-Man" is finally picking up steam, with Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish still attached as writers.

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<p>This is the cover I like most out of the various paperback editions I've found of 'The Deep Blue Good-by,' the first in the Travis McGee series by John D. McDonald</p>

This is the cover I like most out of the various paperback editions I've found of 'The Deep Blue Good-by,' the first in the Travis McGee series by John D. McDonald

Credit: Fawcett Gold Medal

The Travis McGee Book Club #1 - 'The Deep Blue Good-by'

The first in a monthly series about John D. McDonald's greatest creation

"The Deep Blue Good-by"


April 1964

Chookie McCall
Cathy Kerr
The Alabama Tiger
Junior Allen
Joe True
Catherine Berry
Rollo Urthis
Lois Atkinson
William Callowell
George Brell
Angie Brell
Lew Dagg
Gerry Brell
Hack Wicker

There is only one place this series could begin.

That's onboard the Busted Flush, Slip F-18, Bahia Mar, Lauderdale.  A 52-foot barge-type houseboat, a long-term berth.  The home of Travis McGee.

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<p>I'm guessing someone's a big fan of '2001'</p>

I'm guessing someone's a big fan of '2001'

Credit: Angels and Airwaves/AVA

Science-fiction indie film 'Love' tries unconventional self-distrib event

Details on where and how to see movie and live music from Angels and Airwaves

There's a hunger out there right now, and I'm curious to see what happens when someone manages to satisfy it in just the right way.  It's coming.  It's just a matter of when and which film and what timing.  I had one conversation recently with a friend who was talking about how much he wants to have an experience with a SF film that comes out of nowhere and blows his mind, something that is about ideas instead of effects.  Another friend and I were debating about why some films get grass roots support and others don't and whether a "no-name" film can ever really get that kind of push.

The truth is, no film succeeds on its own, and there's no such thing as a "no-name" film once you start showing it to audiences and press.  Films can be engineered as carefully as you want, but the truth is that they end up having lives of their own once they're out there in the wild, and all a filmmaker can do is hire the right publicist, cut a great trailer, enter the right festivals, and pray.

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<p>The new film 'Red Tails' will tell the story of the real-life Tuskegee Airmen of WWII</p>

The new film 'Red Tails' will tell the story of the real-life Tuskegee Airmen of WWII

Credit: 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm Ltd.

Watch: George Lucas finally pilots 'Red Tails' onscreen, first trailer revealed

Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr. star in ensemble historical action drama

I feel like I'm publishing a photo of Bigfoot or an interview with JD Salinger here.  When I woke up this morning and saw that there was allegedly a trailer online for the new film "Red Tails," I laughed at the mere idea of it.  There can't be a trailer for "Red Tails" because there's no way George Lucas will finally wrap up work on "Red Tails" at any point in my lifetime.  He's been talking about making this film since sometime in the early 1900s, it seems like.  Okay, maybe it was the '80s when he first started talking about it, right around the same time he produced "Tucker: The Man And His Dream," and the script was in development for about 20 years.

I'll let you consider that for a moment.  20 years to develop a script.

In other words, "Red Tails" must be the greatest produced work of screenwriting of all time if they took that long nailing it down, right?  Anthony Hemingway is the director who finally got picked to bring the film to life, and he's a TV vet with a pretty impressive background.  "Treme."  "Community."  "True Blood."  "Battlestar Galactica."  "The Wire."  He's done his time, and he's worked his way up from 2nd AD to AD to director, and "Red Tails" looks like his reward at the end of that trip.

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<p>&nbsp;Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson co-star in the sly, violent new comedy 'The Guard'</p>
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 Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson co-star in the sly, violent new comedy 'The Guard'


Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Review: Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle team up for darkly hilarious 'The Guard'

If you love smart character comedy, this is your best weekend bet

"What a beautiful fookin' day."  

With that greeting, Brendan Gleeson kicks off the dry-as-a-bone wicked Irish comedy written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, a film that lays its traps quietly, expertly performed and with a strong sense of voice and location.  "The Guard" gives Brendan Gleeson one of the best roles he's ever had, and he plays it perfectly.  "The Guard" is one of the highlights of the year so far, and the sort of thing that could easily get lost in a weekend like this one.

That would be a shame.

Gleeson plays Sergeant Gerry Boyle,  a guy who has found his place in life and who enjoys what he's carved out for himself.  He likes his community.  He likes his place in it.  He likes who he works with, and he likes the work itself.  When there's a murder in his town on the same day he's breaking in a new guy, Garda McBride (Rory Keenan), it's the kick-off to a strange, twisted string of collisions and misunderstandings and calculated betrayals, and the way McDonagh orchestrates it all is masterful.  His brother Martin McDonagh was the writer/director of "In Bruges," and he's a gifted playwright. 

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<p>Miranda July is the writer, director, and star of 'The Future,' a quirky, personal vision of responsibility and love</p>

Miranda July is the writer, director, and star of 'The Future,' a quirky, personal vision of responsibility and love

Credit: Roadside Attractions

Review: 'The Future' offers up a personal, quirky view of late-30s relationships

Miranda July's second film crystallizes her filmmaking voice

Miranda July has become a polarizing figure among the film fans who know her work, and I understand why.  She is eccentric, both as a writer/director and as a performer, and it's such an organic, complete part of her personality that I can't imagine her ever shutting that off and making more "conventional" films, and I think that's just fine.  The voice she's developing as a filmmaker is sweet and funny and odd, and it feels like she's grown in the six years since she made her first film, "Me and You and Everyone We Know."

The film opens with a voice-over by a cat named Paw-Paw who is wasting away in a shelter, dying, praying for someone to take him home.  Her salvation comes in the form of Sophie (July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater), a couple who have been rolling along in a state of inertia for years.  They're determined to change things, experience new things, and try to accept some new responsibilities.  They haven't accomplished much, and they're at that point in life where they have to start thinking that maybe they won't, and it's obvious that the thought scares them.

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<p>Dominic Cooper plays both Uday Hussein and Latif Yahia in the new film 'The Devil's Double'</p>

Dominic Cooper plays both Uday Hussein and Latif Yahia in the new film 'The Devil's Double'

Credit: Lionsgate

Review: Dominic Cooper gives amazing dual-performance in perfunctory 'Devil's Double'

A mediocre film is elevated by two great performances from the same actor

There is no denying that the dual performances at the heart of "The Devil's Double" are impressive, and Dominic Cooper will, I'm sure, be duly rewarded with more work and acclaim, and he deserves it.

But aside from those performances, I'm not really sure what the point of "The Devil's Double" is.  It's based on the true story of Latif Yahia, an Iraqi soldier who went to boarding school with Uday Hussein, where the tremendous similarity between the two of them was noticed by everyone.  Years passed, and Uday finally sent for Latif, ordering him to undergo plastic surgery and dental work to make the appearance even more similar so that Latif could appear in public as his fiday, his double.  Latif tried to resist, but when his family was threatened, he finally agreed and spent several years in the role, horrified by Uday's cruel and brutal excesses.  He finally escaped in 1992, and became an author, eventually writing about his experiences.

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<p>Neil Patrick Harris plays Rock Band with The Smurfs in a scene from my own personal nightmares.</p>

Neil Patrick Harris plays Rock Band with The Smurfs in a scene from my own personal nightmares.

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Review: 'The Smurfs' offers harmless, self-aware family laughs

Latest example of a relatively new genre is review-proof

Yep.  There is a movie called "The Smurfs" and it exists.

Is there really nostalgia out there for these characters?  If you grew up in the '80s watching the cartoon on Saturday mornings, are you really hoping to see a new film with the little blue creatures?  Somehow, I doubt it.  This has struck me as one of the strangest miscalculations of this era of nothing but pre-existing properties since it was first announced, and now, finally, the film will be in theaters this Friday and we'll see what kind of appetite people actually have for the Smurfs.

One thing is clear, though, having taken both of my children to see the movie last night:  this is not a movie that is aimed at grown-ups.  It was written young, it plays young, and for a six year old and a three year old, it seemed to play just fine.  I'll give it credit for making the two of them belly laugh every time Hank Azaria, chewing scenery with aplomb as Gargamel, evil wizard foe to the Smurfs, got hurt in some dramatic fashion.  Listening to them laugh like that is exactly why I took them, and it worked well enough on that level.

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<p>Lukas Haas plays witness to a rock star's breakdown in 'The Perfect Age of Rock'n'Roll'</p>

Lukas Haas plays witness to a rock star's breakdown in 'The Perfect Age of Rock'n'Roll'

Credit: Red Hawk Films

Watch: Lukas Haas on the curse of 27 in exclusive clip from 'The Perfect Age Of Rock'n'Roll'

Unfortunate timing underscores the sadness behind a rock'n'roll superstition

When I was approached about publishing an exclusive clip from the new film "The Perfect Age Of Rock'n'Roll" here on the blog, I was interested because of the cast.  But then the events of the last week, as we were looking for a place to schedule the clip, made it a little bit more interesting and, frankly, difficult, and we had some conversations about how to handle it before we agreed to premiering it this morning.

I suspect you'll understand why once you read the following synopsis for the film:

According to rock ‘n’ roll lore, age 27 is a fateful milestone.  From Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison to Kurt Cobain, all stars we lost at this very age.

World famous rock star Spyder (Kevin Zegers – Transamerica, Frozen) has achieved fame and fortune with a smash hit debut album. This blinding success however, is built on the Faustian pact that capitalized on the genius of his long lost childhood best friend and band mate, Eric Genson (Jason Ritter – NBC’s The Event, Good Dick). Now Spyder retreats to his small hometown after his sophomore effort flops. Reconnecting with Eric after a seven year estrangement, the two recall their youthful ambitions and reexamine the choices they’ve made. Accompanied by the band’s ambitious, fiery manager (Taryn Manning – ABC’s Hawaii 5-0, Hustle & Flow, 8 Mile), the legendary music impresario August West (Peter Fonda – Easy Rider, 3:10 to Yuma) and a raucous crew of musicians, they set off on a cathartic journey along historic Route 66 that brings them closer to each other, their history and their destiny. Fueled by a stellar rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack that includes songs by Nirvana, Bob Dylan, Iggy & The Stooges, Alice in Chains, Muddy Waters, The Violent Femmes, Howlin’ Wolf, Jane’s Addiction, and many more, The Perfect Age of Rock ‘N’ Roll fully captures the energy, rebellion, and thrills of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.

Last week, Amy Winehouse died at the age of 27, and as soon as that number got reported, I braced myself for it to trend on Twitter. And it did, as did Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain.  It is a sad and unfortunate coincidence, but as with any artistic field, there are superstitions and folklore that build up, and for this film to make that a jumping-off point is one of those strange synchronicities of timing that happens occasionally.

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