Review: ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’ is Terry Gilliam’s fantastic passion project.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote 

Toby (Driver), a cynical advertising director, finds himself trapped in the outrageous delusions of an old Spanish shoe-maker (Pryce) who believes himself to be Don Quixote. In the course of their comic and increasingly surreal adventures, Toby is forced to confront the tragic repercussions of a film he made in his idealistic youth – a film that changed the hopes and dreams of a small Spanish village forever. Can Toby make amends and regain his humanity? Can Don Quixote survive his madness and imminent death? Or will love conquer all?

Decades in the making, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is finally coming to the big screen. It was worth the wait. Adam Driver plays a young director taking on his own passion project under the financial thumb of studio execs, locals, and his own ego. No doubt is the film about as metaphorical as you can get for the wild ups and downs the legendary Terry Gilliam has endured in bringing this film to fruition. Poking fun at itself and the industry at every turn, it must have been truly cathartic for Gilliam to shoot. The visuals and writing are all so satisfying you’ll want to applaud at the twists and turns along the way. Though admittedly, you’ll most likely be just as confused as both Driver and “Don Quixote” himself, Jonathan Pryce. One of the film’s best moments perfectly sums up the controlled chaos that is this epic story. “Try to keep up with the plot.’ To which Adam Driver‘s Toby replies, “There’s a plot?!”

Having watched, there is no way these roles would have been better served by other actors. Pryce walks the perfect line between madness and sadness. His commitment from beat to beat is the glue that keeps the story moving along its absurdist pace. But it is Driver who had me belly laughing every time a “FUCK” was spewed with genuine intention. I’ll have to go back and watch again if only to count the number of “F” words, each precisely placed and completely warranted. It’s sheer perfection. There is no doubt that Toby is Terry… and Don Quixote. The love that is so obviously infused within the film will be evident to anyone familiar with Gilliam and his fantastic passion project. It’s a combination of hilarity and insanity. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote and filmmakers like Terry Gilliam are the reasons we go to the movies.

Screen Media will then give the film a theatrical run starting April 19th.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote stars Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgard, Olga Kurylenko and Jordi Molla.

Review: ‘Paterson’- Adam Driver Shines in Jim Jarmusch’s Beautiful New Film

Jim Jarmusch’s new film, Paterson, is a slow, tranquil walk thru the life of an ordinary man, which is very Jarmuschian, but this calming experience is like very few of the directors predecessors, which makes the unique film an even bigger treasure to behold.

Paterson (Adam Driver) is a bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey who secretly likes to write poetry. Every day, Paterson follows a simple routine that suits his mundane lifestyle. He wakes up to his creatively ambitious wife Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) and his dog Marvin, eats his breakfast, walks the same path to work, drives the same daily bus route, eats dinner and walks the dog thru the city and takes a moment to stop at the local bar and have a beer on his way home. Life is simple and that’s the way Paterson prefers it. Each passing moment offers Paterson a chance to expand his secret book of poetry which is comprised of intimate experiences in his life. A matchbox or a thought or a simple calm breeze can spark the creative juices within this brilliant mind, however, Paterson doesn’t FEEL brilliant.

Paterson likes life with very little disruption, Laura’s world is ever changing. Each supports the other in their creative endeavors, but it’s Laura who needs to chip away at Paterson’s timid persona to help him envision a world where everyone gets to enjoy his poetry as much as he does. This is life, daily life, for Paterson, but when faced with a moment of disruption that throws off the balance of his life, it will take a soul searching event to climb back to his comfort and regain a normality to his tiny piece of the world.

Jim Jarmusch has created another masterpiece for us to treasure for decades to come. The delicate telling of this beautifully written film plays like an insiders look into one man’s existence, but the truly exceptional part of the journey is that you become engrossed within the frames of the film and begin to see life thru the eyes of this wonderful character. Adam Driver is exceptional as the titular character. There are multitudes of complicated layers within this character that you see fighting to surface, but the struggle of keeping this uneventful life on course seems to control every aspect of his existence. Golshifteh Farahani is a vision and the one counter aspect to Paterson’s life. Her performance is a peaceful, and yet, disruptive force within the film that adds humor, compassion and love that acts like a sanctuary for her counterpart.

Overall, Paterson is one of Jim Jarmusch‘s finest moments and a movie that offers many interpretations for it’s viewers. This movie is one of the best films of the year and one the best films this decade.

Stars

4 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

No

Trailer:

Review: ‘Silence’- The Journey of Faith is a Rough One

Martin Scorsese returns to cinemas with Silence, a passion project that’s been in development for over 25 years. This epic historical drama is based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Shūsaku Endō follows two 17th century Jesuit priests who travel from Portugal to Japan in order to locate their missing mentor and spread the word of God. A film about those who have questioned their faith from time to time and those who would sacrifice their lives in the name of it. A powerful movie that is anything but silent.

Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson) has been spreading the word of God under threats of his life in Japan when his communication runs silent. His two pupils Father Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver) set out to Japan to dispel the notion that Father Ferreira committed apostasy and learn of his fate. On their travels they meet Kichijiro (Yosuke Kubozuka), an alcoholic fisherman who has fled Japan and now begs to return. Kichijiro agrees to become their guide and help them find sanctuary in the hostile land while they learn of the location of their mentor. The priests arrive to Japan to learn that the local Christian population has been driven into hiding for fear of their lives.

Seeing that their influence is needed, Fathers Rodrigues and Garupe begin helping the natives reclaim their faith in the Lord until the inquisitor arrives at the village and demands information about any suspected Christians. Seeing first hand the brutality that the countrymen face for their faith, The two priests split up in hopes to find Father Ferreira, but they face the harsh conditions of living in secret which leads Rodrigues into imprisonment. While under the guard of the Samurai, he is expected to denounce his faith and set an example for those imprisoned for believing in Christianity that they must also denounce God. Rodrigues begins to question the motives of God for the suffering of the Japanese people. Soon, it is his own faith that will be tested and his will to do what’s right over what he believes the Lord would want.

Silence is a tale of choice, of sacrifice and of self preservation. It’s a film deeply woven into the history of Catholicism that highlights the trials and tribulations that these priests and their followers endured. Martin Scorsese’s brilliant storytelling delicately parallels the suffering of the Jesuit priests and those of the apostles of Christs time and delves into the psyche of the faithful and those questioning theirs. Andrew Garfield is brilliant as Fathers Rodrigues and brings an intense, emotional performance to the film that truly encapsulates the emotional journey the young priest endures. Adam Driver is a wonderful supporting performance and creates a moral reference point for which all other characters in the film can be judged. Yosuke Kubozuka’s character is a brilliant representation of humanity and it’s struggle with faith. Kubozuka is chilling and delivers a truly thought provoking performance. Liam Neeson‘s presence is otherworldly and commands the screen when he’s present. The actor says more in his expression and delivers some astonishingly personal dialogue that capture the true essence of the situation they are all facing.

Overall, Silence is a treasure. It’s a film that will leave you deep in thought and questioning the strength of your own faith. Scorsese does it again.

Stars:

4 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

No

Trailer:

The first trailer for Martin Scorsese’s ‘SILENCE’ is here

silenceonlinepayoff1-sheet

The first trailer for Martin Scorsese’s SILENCE is here and we have it for you below!

The film tells the story of two Christian missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor (Liam Neeson) – at a time when Christianity was outlawed and their presence forbidden. The celebrated director’s 28-year journey to bring Shusaku Endo’s 1966 acclaimed novel to life.

SILENCE is in select theaters December 23rd and expanding wide January 6th

Poster for Martin Scorsese’s ‘SILENCE’ arrives

silenceonlinepayoff1-sheet

Martin Scorsese’s SILENCE tells the story of two Christian missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor (Liam Neeson) – at a time when Christianity was outlawed and their presence forbidden. The celebrated director’s 28-year journey to bring Shusaku Endo’s 1966 acclaimed novel to life will be in theaters this Christmas.

See the trailer tomorrow in theaters on Allied and everywhere Saturday!

SILENCE is in theaters December 23rd

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/silencemovie

#SilenceMovie

‘BLUEBIRD’ is the newest title available from WE ARE COLONY with behind-the-scenes extras!

we are colony logoThe newest digital release from We Are Colony is from first-time director Lance Edmands (editor of Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture) titled BLUEBIRD.  BLUEBIRD-iTunes-Full-Key-Art

Starring Mad Men’s John SlatteryThe Leftovers’ Emily MeadeThe Good Wife’s Margo Martingale plus a cameo from Girls’ Adam Driver, Bluebird will available to rent and buy in the US from Monday 25th July with exclusive behind-the-scenes extras.

Synopsis:

In the northern reaches of Maine, a local school bus driver becomes distracted during her end-of-day inspection, and fails to notice a sleeping boy in the back of the bus. What happens next shatters the tranquility of her small Maine logging town, proving that even the slightest actions have enormous consequences.

BLUEBIRD Amy Morton & Emily Meade & John Slattery Photo by Jody Lee LipesJeremy got the incredible oportunity to see Bluebird at the Indy Film Fest last year. In his review, he outlines the gutwrenching and effecting emotional hold the film has on it’s audience. I could not have said it better myself, so here are a few quotes from Jeremy’s review:

“…at this year’s Indy Film FestLance Edmands’ Bluebird was far and away my favorite of those that I saw and certainly worthy of the Grand Jury Prize, tops of the fest, as well as the American Spectrum Prize for the best film made by an American director…”

BLUEBIRD Amy Morton Photo by Jody Lee Lipes

“Bluebird is not a heartwarming story and thus not for everyone. It mirrors the bleakness and harshness of the landscape and the season in which it was shot so deftly by Jody Lee Lipes (also known for the great photography of Martha Marcy May Marlene). It echoes Atom Egoyan‘s The Sweet Hereafter, a film I would easily put in the top ten best of the 1990s, in tone and even bears some narrative resemblance, yet it stands on its own and makes us take notice.”

You can read Jeremy’s review in it’s entirety as well as his interview with director Lance Edmands. Take a look at the trailer below.

In renting or owning Bluebird through We Are Colony’s digital platform, you are treated to exclusive behind-the-scenes extras.

For more information on this unique platform: We Are Colony Colony-platform

Review: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ *MINOR Plot Spoilers*

Star_Wars_Episode_VII_The_Force_Awakens

It’s been a decade since the world has been graced with a Star Wars film and over thirty years since the original cast has been on screen, so to say that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the most highly anticipated film of the year would be an understatement. Now under the Disney brand, the film begins a new trilogy that will hope to capture the wonder and admiration of the original films while helping to heal the wounds of that the prequels left. Director J.J. Abrams takes the helm of the nostalgic walk  thru the galaxy with a cast of old friends and some new ones. Ladies and gentlemen the Force is indeed awakened.

Star Wars 1

****From this point on I must caution to a few plot points that may be seen as mild spoilers. Proceed with caution*****

Taking place thirty years after the events of Return of the Jedi, the First Order has risen from the ashes of the defeated Empire and are looking to once again take aim at destroying the Republic. Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) controls the First Order with General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) controlling the fleet and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), his powerful apprentice knowledgeable in the ways of the Force, leading the search for a map that can spell the end of the Jedi forever. The Resistance is also looking for this map as well as General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) sends her best pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) to the planet of Jakku in hopes to find the coveted map. After encountering the First Order and fearing capture, Poe puts the recovered map into BB-8 and sends his far from the fight.

Star Wars 3

Rey (Daisy Ridley), a young scavenger from the planet, finds BB-8 and agrees to help the droid get back to it’s master. With the help of Finn (John Boyega), a defected First Order Stormtrooper, and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), the mission to get the map to the Resistance has begun. Many mysteries surround this group of companions and the fate of the galaxy is in their hands, with the First Order hot on their tails, can the group complete their mission and save the Republic, while securing the future of the Jedi?

Star Wars 5

Nostalgia aside, Star Wars: The Force Awakens stands on it’s own as a wonderful addition to the Star Wars universe. Director J.J. Abrams captures the magic of the original trilogy and adds a wonderful mix of humor, action and drama to complete his sci-fi masterpiece. Newcomers Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and John Boyega have staked their place as fan favorites in this vast collection of memorable characters and leave you excited for future installments in their stories. Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis and Adam Driver awaken the dark side with intense precision and capitalize on all that was great about the Empire and add their unique personalities to enhance the First Order and it’s villainous ways. The franchise is truly in good hands with this new guard. My one and only grip was with Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma. The character was set up to be a complete badass in this storyline but was underutilized. Let’s hope we see more of this unique character in the future.

Star Wars 4

It was such a pleasure to see Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels and Mark Hamill back on screen reprising their iconic roles. No matter if they were on screen for a moment or for the duration of the film, each added to the enjoyment of the film in their unique way and brought back memories of my childhood that I was so happy to revisit. I am so very much looking forward to the next chapter in their stories.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the movie event of the year and one not to be missed by Star Wars fans and novice alike.

Stars:

4 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

No

Trailer

New International Trailer for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Featuring New Footage is Here!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has completed principal photography. ..#TheForceAwakens #StarWarsVIIThe Japanese trailer has debuted for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and we have it for you below!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens  is set 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and features a new generation of swashbuckling heroes and shadowy villains, as well as the return of fan-favorite smugglers, princesses, and Jedi.

Directed by J.J. Abrams, the highly-anticipated movie stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max Von Sydow. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18, 2015

Character Posters for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Featuring Han Solo and More!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has completed principal photography. ..#TheForceAwakens #StarWarsVII Lucasfilm‘s has released character posters for the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens featuring Harrison Ford’s Han Solo, Carrie Fisher’s Leia Organa, Daisy Ridley’s Rey, John Boyega’s Finn and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, you can check them out in the gallery below!

Tickets to the highly anticipated cinematic event are now on sale everywhere tickets are sold. For more information, visit http://StarWars.com.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters on December 18th

tfw-posters-01 tfw-posters-02 tfw-posters-03 tfw-posters-04 tfw-posters-05

Empire Reveals Their Upcoming ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Covers

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has completed principal photography. ..#TheForceAwakens #StarWarsVIIEmpire magazine has released a look at their two covers for their upcoming winter preview issue which will feature Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Each cover features the warring sides of the force with the first showing the dark side featuring Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux and Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma and the second featuring Daisy Ridley’s Rey, John Boyega’s Finn and Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron.

Check em out below!

EMPIRE_OCT15Cover_Newsstand1 star-wars-empire-cover-1

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Comic-Con Reel is here!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has completed principal photography. ..#TheForceAwakens #StarWarsVII

Fans at San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H were treated to a special look behind the scenes of Star Wars:The Force Awakens by director J.J. Abrams, producer and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and writer Lawrence Kasdan. The filmmakers were joined on stage by cast members Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford to the surprise and delight of fans.
At the end of the Hall H presentation, the entire Hall H audience of more than 6,000 fans were all invited to continue the celebration and join cast and filmmakers at a surprise Star Wars Fan Concert. The San Diego Symphony performed the classic Star Wars music from John Williams at the Embarcadero Marina Park South.
Stay connected with StarWars.com and the official Star Wars app. All Star Wars, All the Time, Anywhere.
Download Star Wars for FREE from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is in theaters December 18th, 2015!

Melissa’s Review: ‘Hungry Hearts’ creeps up slowly, grabs you & doesn’t let go

Hungry Hearts poster

Written and directed by Saverio Costanzo, Adam Driver and Alba Rohrwacher star as Jude and Mina, in Hungry Hearts, a drama which has the slow-burning stamina of Rosemary’s Baby. A young couple, just starting out, fawn over each other and are blissfully happy. Once a child comes into the picture, the mother slowly changes and the father must determine what’s best for the child.

Hungry Hearts_4698The opening scene is an adorable meet-cute in the bathroom of a Chinese restaurant, in one long, mesmerizing shot and reflect how the characters are completely in-sync. As the film progresses, different camera lenses underline the distortion in perspective of each of the characters. It’s quite effective and very unnerving.

Hungry Hearts_8190The intentions of a mother are not something that are easily questioned. What makes this story strong is how that bias keeps with you. Just like Jude, I wanted Mina to be misunderstood. I wanted to believe she knew what’s best for her child. But it keep nagging me. I just couldn’t shake the doubt.

Hungry Hearts_7265Adam Driver is amazing and heart-wrenching as the terrified and desperate father. The pain behind his eyes at not only seeing his child suffer, but seeing his wife suffer, was heart-breaking. Alba Rohrwacher is warm, yet cold at the same time. Her body gets progressively thinner and adds another layer to an already troubled mother.

This movie will lose something if you’re not watching it 100% and really follow these characters. Make sure you see it in the theater or with complete attention at home. You’re gonna love it or hate it, there’s not much room in between.

 

 

 

Trailer of the Day: The Anti-Romance – ‘Hungry Hearts’ with Adam Driver

Hungry Hearts_4698

***WILL BE RELEASED THEATRICALLY IN NEW YORK ON FRIDAY, JUNE 5***

New York City newlyweds Jude (Girls’ Adam Driver) and Mina (I Am Love’s Alba Rohrwacher) have a seemingly perfect relationship. But things take an unsettling turn with the birth of their son. Convinced that the baby must be kept free of all contaminants, Mina develops fanatical obsessions with veganism, cleanliness, and purity that may kill the child unless Jude can stop her. With stunning performances from Driver and Rohrwacher, this intense psychological drama suggests that sometimes a parent’s love can be the scariest thing of all.

DIRECTED & WRITTEN BY: Saverio Costanzo
STARRING: Adam Driver, Alba Rohrwacher
RUN TIME: 118 MINUTES

Best of the Fest: Liz & Melissa’s 22 Favorite Narratives & Documentaries from the Tribeca Film Festival!

tribeca film festival 2015 logo

It was a fabulous eleven days filled with movies and interviews, and now it’s time for us to reflect on our favorites. Enjoy!

Favorite Comedies

Grandma_Press_1 TribecaGrandma – releasing August 21st

Reeling from a recent breakup and still mourning the loss of her longtime partner, once-famous poet Elle Reid (Lily Tomlin) is surprised to find her teenage granddaughter on her doorstep in need of $600 and a ride. The two embark on an all-day road trip that ends up rattling skeletons and digging up secrets all over town. Co-starring Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, Laverne Cox, and Sam Elliott.

We’ve only gotten a tease of Tomlin over the past few years, but she’s back with a comedic performance that rivals any dramatic one. So wrong, yet so perfect, her delivery gives the dialogue an extra edge that almost makes you feel guilty as you laugh out loud. I can’t wait to see her and Jane Fonda in Grace and Frankie on Netflix. – Melissa

 

Tomlin is an indisputable legend. Her comic timing is like watching Mozart create a symphony. This film is an absolute gem that tackles so many relevant issues without one ounce of preachiness. I have always been a huge fan and I am crossing my fingers this garners her an Oscar nod. -Liz

Jack (Simon Pegg) and Nancy (Lake Bell) in Ben Palmer’s Man UpMan Up – releasing May 29th in the UK, no US release set

When perpetually single Nancy (Lake Bell) is mistaken for a charming stranger’s (Simon Pegg) blind-date, she just goes with it, leading to a series of escalating adventures for the two mismatched lovebirds in Ben Palmer’s hilarious romantic comedy.

This could have been another boring rom-com, but the trifecta of story, dialogue and performances make it my new favorite “meet cute.” – Melissa

 

Pegg and Bell are an unlikely duo but let me say this is perfect casting. Their chemistry is super believable and laugh out loud funny from start to finish. Do not pigeon hole this flick, it is a riot for everyone. -Liz

OVERNIGHT_Press_2 TribecaThe Overnight – releasing June 19th

Alex and Emily have just moved to LA with their young son. Eager to make new friends, they accept an invitation to a party from the father of their son’s playground mate. After the kids fall asleep, the “playdate” takes a bizarre turn in this racy and hilarious romp. Featuring Judith Godrèche, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, and Adam Scott.

Filled with many twists and turns, you won’t know where the next laugh will take you as these two couples get to know each other. Sharing their hopes, fears and extracurricular hobbies, it all happens so naturally and with the utmost hilarity. – Melissa

 

This crazy funny adult comedy puts to rest the notion that hyper-sexual has to be boring or slapstick. This is actually a really thoughtful script and with a cast like this, you cannot go wrong. -Liz

Sleeping With Other People_Press_1 TribecaSleeping With Other People – releasing August 21st

Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie star as two romantic failures whose years of serial infidelity and self-sabotage have led them to swear that their relationship will remain strictly platonic. But can love still bloom while you’re sleeping with other people? Writer/director Leslye Headland’s (Bachelorette) sexy romantic comedy co-stars Amanda Peet, Adam Scott, and Natasha Lyonne.

The “platonic friends” comedy is so overdone, but it’s been reborn with Jason Sudekis and Alison Brie. With over-the-top intimate dialogue, honesty is the best policy when it comes to modern relationships. One of the funniest movies of the year. – Melissa

 

This film may appear to be formulaic at first glance, but I assure you, you have no idea what you’re in for. One of the best and most honest pieces of dialogue since This is 40, Sudeikis and Brie kill it with the funny as two people with some serious intimacy issues. -Liz


Favorite Dramas

ANESTHESIA_Press_2 TribecaAnesthesia

On a snowy night in New York City, a Columbia professor is brutally mugged on the doorsteps of an apartment building. Director Tim Blake Nelson’s haunting meditation of city life traces the chain of events that precipitate the attack, examining the inextricable and unforeseen forces that bring a group of disparate individuals together. Featuring a star-studded ensemble including Sam Waterston, Kristen Stewart, Glenn Close, and Cory Stoll.

Make sure you pay attention and get ready for dialogue that is a hyper-intellectual mental workout. It’s heavy but hopeful and filled with brilliant performances.- Melissa

 

This film’s multiple narrative style is something reminiscent of Traffic or Third Person. Beautifully based on philosophical notions, the audience is treated to a peak inside the lives of a handful of New Yorkers. With a jam packed cast of superb talent, Tim Blake Nelson brings everything to the table and succeeds, wildly. – Liz

Bare_Press_1 TribecaBare

Sarah’s (Dianna Agron) mundane life in a Nevada desert town is turned upside down with the arrival of Pepper (Paz de la Huerta), a mysterious female drifter, who leads her into a life of seedy strip clubs and illicit drugs. Their passion inspires Sarah to break free of her past and seek out a new life of her own.

It’s a story that could be told of any small town. It never attempts to explain anything, which actually gives it much more credibility.  – Melissa

 

In Agron’s first truly adult role, she shines as a small town girl trying to find her escape. Big dreams and little self esteem lead to a complex script and a stellar performance.   -Liz

The Driftless AreaThe Driftless Area

Pierre Hunter (Anton Yelchin), a bartender with unyielding optimism, returns to his tiny hometown after his parents’ death. When he falls for the enigmatic Stella (Zooey Deschanel), Pierre is unknowingly pulled into a cat-and-mouse game that involves a duffel bag full of cash, a haphazard yet determined criminal (John Hawkes), and a mystery that will determine all of their fates. With Alia Shawkat, Frank Langella, Aubrey Plaza, and Ciarán Hinds.

To say that The Driftless Area is cryptic is an understatement. I’m still not quite sure what happened, but the characters are so complex and interwoven that even though you’re confused, you can’t wait to see what happens next. – Melissa (read full review here)

Meadowland_Press_1 TribecaMeadowland

Sarah and Phil’s son goes missing, shattering their life together and forcing each to find their own way to cope. Cinematographer-turned-director Reed Morano presents a masterfully crafted contemplation on a relationship strained to the breaking point. Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson capture the unraveling emotions with remarkable power, alongside Kevin Corrigan, John Leguizamo, Elisabeth Moss, Giovanni Ribisi, Juno Temple, and Merritt Wever.

This emotionally heavy story will kick you in the gut. How does one cope after the loss of a child? Do marriages survive? Can we be saved? These are all questions in an intense script lead by a masterful performance from Wilde. Following up her insane roller coaster role in Third Person, Wilde proves once again that she’s way more than a pretty face. Cast her in all the things, immediately! – Liz

Tumbledown_Press_1 TribecaTumbledown

Years after the accidental death of her folk-singer husband, Hannah (Rebecca Hall) has yet to fully accept her small-town life without him. Then she is approached by a charming New York writer (Jason Sudeikis) intent on penning a biography of her late husband’s life, and Hannah finds herself opening up again. Also featuring performances by Dianna Agron, Blythe Danner, Griffin Dunne, Joe Manganiello, and Richard Masur.

This was a film near and dear to my heart, based on plot and circumstance. The filmmakers and cast hit the nail on the head when it came to recreating a small New England town in Maine and the effect a death has upon it’s entire population. Loss and grief are combined with super smart writing. Sudeikis and Hall own these roles. – Liz

(read full review & podcast of interviews here)

Virgin Mountain TribecaVirgin Mountain

Fúsi is a mammoth of a man who at 43-years-old is still living at home with his mother. Shy and awkward, he hasn’t quite learned how to socialize with others, leaving him as an untouchable inexperienced virgin. That is until his family pushes him to join a dance class, where he meets the equally innocent but playful Sjöfn.

Heartbreaking, yet hopeful, this Jury award winner for narrative and lead performance will grab ahold of you and squeeze. – Melissa

 

This was one of the most endearing films I’ve seen lately. The “I think I can” attitude and transformation of the lead is so compelling from the very beginning. You cannot help but root for this character. -Liz

When I Live My Life Over Again-00002 TribecaWhen I Live My Life Over Again

Jude (Amber Heard) is a would-be singer-songwriter still struggling to make her mark. Cash-strapped and homeless, she begrudgingly returns to the Hamptons home of her father (Christopher Walken), an over-the-hill crooner desperately charting his musical comeback, in this spunky, soulful dramedy about the personal costs of artistic ambition and the bonds that carry us through.

Christopher Walken is charming and tragic. The dialogue is so subtle and natural, you’d think you were watching a documentary. The dining table scene alone is worth the price of admission. – Melissa

 

The tremendously organic dialogue in this film is top notch. It’s an honest portrait of family dynamics we can all relate to on some inherent level. Walken is a gem, as always, and I was blown away by Heard’s level of comfort behind a guitar and piano. Color me impressed.- Liz


Favorite Scary

Backtrack_Press_2 TribecaBacktrack – acquired by Saban Films

In this spine-tingling supernatural thriller, troubled psychotherapist Peter Bowers (Adrien Brody) is suffering from nightmares and eerie visions. When he uncovers a horrifying secret that all of his patients share, he is put on a course that takes him back to the small hometown he fled years ago. There he confronts his demons and unravels a mystery 20 years in the making.

I liked this film as the credits rolled. Speaking of credits, the opening sequence is one of the most beautiful and creative I’ve seen in some time. As I hashed out all the little moments in the script, the makeup, the music, I adored this film. Very smart writing and some really nicely timed jump scares. File this film under paranormal- thriller. -Liz

Hungry Hearts_0341Hungry Hearts – releasing June 5th

After a chance meeting and a whirlwind romance in New York City, Jude (Adam Driver) and Mina (Alba Rohrwacher) become pregnant. Convinced their child will be harmed by the pollutions in the outside world, Mina becomes consumed by protecting her baby, forcing Jude to recognize a terrible truth about why his son’s life could be in danger.

Told like a 70s horror flick, this is a Rosemary’s Baby kind of scary. Crazy camera angles and eerie music make this a very unsettling story that will leave you shivering. – Melissa


Favorite Documentaries

Birth of Sake_Press_2The Birth of Sake

Traditional and labor-intensive, the production of Saké has changed very little over the centuries. Erik Shirai’s love song to the artisans who have dedicated their lives to carrying on this increasingly rare artform follows the round-the-clock process for six straight months, offering a rare glimpse into a family-run brewery that’s been operating for over 100 years.

The gorgeous imagery is enhanced by slowmotion and a calming score. Whether you’re a lover of saké or not, you’ll appreciate the amount of work that goes into its creation. – Melissa (3 docs you must see)

 

Visually breathtaking  with a whole lot of heart, this doc was so enjoyable  for me to watch. It is  akin to a work of art and could easily (and should be) shown on a constant loop in museums. -Liz

Code_web_02CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap

At a time in the United States when the tech sector outpaces the overall growth of the employment market, CODE asks the important question: Where are all the women?

Instead of focusing on one aspect of the gender gap in coding, this film really shows that everyone has something to give. The field of information technology is only getting bigger and we need all hands on deck. The more diverse the people building the future technologies are, the better the world is for it. – Melissa (3 docs you must see)

Crocodile Gennadiy imageCrocodile Gennadiy

Crocodile Gennadiy, real-life, self-appointed savior, who works tirelessly to rescue homeless, drug-addicted youth from the streets of Mariupol, Ukraine. At the same time, he challenges dealers and abusers. Despite criticism, Gennadiy is determined to continue his work. Sundance Award-winning director Steve Hoover’s second feature is a bold portrait of a man on a mission.

Doing what’s right is the main point of this extraordinary documentary. Saving the lives of innocent children that are being taken advantage of by a broken system mired in poverty, Gennodiy is the perfect example of what religion should look like. – Liz  (read interview here)

Democrats stillDemocrats

In the wake of Robert Mugabe’s highly criticized 2008 presidential win, a constitutional committee was created in an effort to transition Zimbabwe away from authoritarian leadership. With unprecedented access to the two political rivals overseeing the committee, this riveting, firsthand account of a country’s fraught first steps towards democracy plays at once like an intimate political thriller and unlikely buddy film.

The bravery of these people to be on film, speaking in the manners they do is enough to cheer for. Getting an honest look inside a corrupted political system outside our own is astonishing. Take note America.- Liz  (read review here)

DREAM KILLER_Press_1 TribecaDream/Killer

In the fall of 2005, 21-year-old Ryan Ferguson received a 40-year prison sentence for a murder that he did not commit. Over the next ten years, his father Bill engages in a tireless crusade to prove Ryan’s innocence. Interspersed with footage from the Ferguson family archive, Andrew Jenks’ film looks at the personal consequences of a wrongful conviction.

One of the most frustrating docs to watch, you learn just how lost our justice system can be. Unexpected and shocking, the combination of footage, audio, and interviews makes for one hell of a story. -Liz  (read review & interview here)

Exclusive Closing Night "Monty Python Live (Mostly)"Monty Python: The Meaning of Live

While perhaps best known for its eminently quotable films, Monty Python has performed its signature, surreal humor in live shows since the group’s earliest days. Dive into the history of Python’s stage work and the genesis of some of its most well-known pieces as they prepare for their last-ever live show. Monty Python: the Meaning of Life is a hilarious and illuminating survey of the process behind the Python.

I saw my first Monty Python films at the age of 13. Why it took me that long, I’ll never know. I have my theater friends to thank for introducing me into a world of absolute insanity and brilliance. This is an awesome look inside  the relationships between some of your most memorable laughs and the men behind them. -Liz

Orion is his iconic eagle suit. Photo credit Sun Records

Orion is his iconic eagle suit. Photo credit Sun Records

Orion: The Man Who Would Be King

Millions of Americans clung to the hope that Elvis Presley faked his death. For the executives at Sun Records that fantasy became an opportunity in the form of Orion, a mysterious masked performer with the voice of The King. But who was the man behind the mask? In this stranger-than-fiction true story, Jeanie Finlay explores a life led in service to those who couldn’t let Elvis go.

Everyone has heard of Elvis, but only a fraction have heard of Orion aka Jimmy Ellis. When Jimmy Ellis sang, he sounded like the legendary Elvis. His talent was brought to new heights when Elvis died and people didn’t want to let go. Never an impersonator, Jimmy did capitalize on this coincidence and attempt stardom on his own. – Melissa (read review here)

Artwork from "That Dragon, Cancer".Credit: That Dragon, Cancer

Artwork from “That Dragon, Cancer”.Credit: That Dragon, Cancer

Thank You For Playing

For the past two years, Ryan and Amy Green have been working on That Dragon, Cancer, a videogame about their son Joel’s fight against that disease. Following the family through the creation of the game and the day-to-day realities of Joel’s treatment, David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall create a moving testament to the joy and heartbreak of raising a terminally ill child.

Fair warning: bring an entire box of tissues with you to this truly important and thoughtfully crafted film. If most of us are being honest, usually when we see commercials for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital we change the channel, but in this instance we come to know and love the members of the Green family. Understanding “That Dragon Cancer ” is the only way to help save lives and support those  on their journey. Using art as an outlet for grief is a transformative way to share an experience, good or bad. – Liz

Wolfpack_Press_1 TribecaThe Wolfpack – releasing June 19th

Everything the Angulo brothers know about the outside world they learned from obsessively watching movies. Shut away from bustling New York City by their overprotective father, they cope with their isolation by diligently re-enacting their favorite films. When one of the brothers escapes, the world as they know it will be transformed.

Something about this film grabbed my heart and held it for it’s entirety. These kids are among us here in NYC, but you’d never know since they’ve been essentially held captive their entire lives. The intense detail  in which these brothers re-create their favorite films is unreal. Their passion and intelligence should be on view for all the world to see and enjoy.- Liz

‘While We’re Young’ and think we know everything.

whilewereyoungposter

Being a grown up… firstly, let me say that phrase is so off putting, I can’t believe I actually wrote it, but I digress. Let’s start again. Being an adult, and by that I mean living by the expectation that we’ve made our path our own and are so brilliantly happy with those decisions that we feel self satisfied, is frankly a bunch of bullshit. Few of us who identify as adults are completely content to say we’ve plateaued at the level of “Everything is Awesome”. Most if us are simply lying. It’s much easier to tell the younger generation that they’re doing it wrong (Because, if we’re being honest, self loathing, fear, and envy throw those words and thoughts into our frontal lobe pretty swiftly on a regular basis. But, are we completely wrong? When I watch some of the “interactions” between millennials these days, I have to wonder: “How do they live this way?!” When did “swiping to the left” becoming any way to meet anyone? How conceited do you have to be to not even give an individual more than a few seconds of attention before writing them off completely? Were we just as annoying, bold, outspoken, talented, brash, lost, self aware, smart, lazy, passionate, and entitled? WHILE WE’RE YOUNG is Noah Baumnach‘s new film starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Driver, Charles Grodin, and Adam Horovitz. In a day and age where technology makes life easier and harder all at once, a middle aged couple, Cornelia and Josh, think they’ve got it made; no kids, free schedule, and creative passion for filmmaking. When they meet young hipster couple Darby and Jamie, their preconceived notions of what life should be like are thrown into a bit of chaos. Jaime is a huge fan of Josh’s work. The young couple boldly asks if Cornelia and Josh want to hang out with them. What would a middle aged couple have in common with a barely mid twenties couple? Turns out a lot, if a lot meant doing all the things we did in our youth that almost seem ironic to a millennial generation. But fondness might just be an act of manipulation forcing Cornelia and Josh to grow up themselves.

whilewereyoungbenandnaomistill

Ben Stiller gives us a really grounded performance. You know this guy. While still having perfect comic timing, he plays Josh as a genuinely earnest guy trying to reinvent his life and marriage. Naomi Watts as Cornelia is hilarious and heartbreaking. Struggling with fertility issues she attempts to pass off as not so big a deal, she connects with Darby over the simple moments, woman to woman. Speaking of Darby, Amanda Seyfried plays this character with a gentle ease. Her down to earth attitude is refreshing and she remains altogether likable. Adam Driver, whose stock is has taken off since GIRLS began, is fantastic. His combination of perceived sincerity and inflated ego trips are spot on for this generation. Charles Grodin plays Cornelia’s documentarian father, Leslie. He is the father we all wish we had. Loving, guiding, with a hint of cynicism, Grodin is a delight on screen.

whielwereyoungadamandamandastill

In a world where every moment can be edited with an app, Baumbach throws our societal downfalls back into our own faces. He has a habit of injecting personal moments into  his scripts. They play with an elegant ease and familiarity that touch a wide audience.  For Baumbach, writing what he knows has been extraordinarily successful in his previous films like The Squid and the Whale, Kicking and Screaming, and Frances Ha. The film has an eclectic soundtrack, with tracks from Vivaldi, The Psychedelic Furs, David Bowie and HAIM. WHILE WE’RE YOUNG is heartfelt, funny, and a real joy to watch. The struggle between Gen X and millennials is a revelation on screen. I highly recommend this film to audiences of all ages. You will walk away one happy camper, I assure you.

WHILE WE’RE YOUNG opens today! (Friday, March 27th)

Liz’s Review: ‘This Is Where I Leave You’ will have book club fans approval

306835id1k_TIWILY_FinalRated_27x40_1Sheet.indd Yes, I am in a book club. There. I said it. I own it. It is awesome. This past year we have been focusing on books that have been picked up for film production. We have a lot to see over the next 12 months. Selections like Wild, Beautiful Ruins, The Vacationers, Gone Girl, and so on. Jonathan Tropper’s novel This Is Where I Leave You was on my list as soon as it was released in 2009, although I only recently got around to reading it. As a bibliophile, I found myself laughing out loud from the get go. The tremendously descriptive imagery, the seemingly familial story, the witty banter, all grabbed me right away. As a fan of the book, Tropper‘s page to screen translation was a huge success. Read More →