Fall Indie Film Preview

Fall Indie Film Preview (photo)

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October 9th

An Education

“An Education”

The Cast: Peter Sarsgaard, Carey Mulligan, Alfred Molina, Emma Thompson, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Cara Seymour, Sally Hawkins, Olivia Williams
Director: Lone Scherfig
Fest Cred: Sundance, Berlinale, Sydney
The Gist: Already tipped to be an awards season darling, “Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself” director Scherfig and “High Fidelity” author Hornby’s adaptation of Lynn Barber’s memoir of growing up in 1960s London stars Carey Mulligan as a middle-class teen who abandons plans to attend Oxford when she falls for an older man (Sarsgaard) who promises her much more, but may not be all that he appears. However, audiences at Sundance decided “An Education” was the real deal, bestowing an Audience Award to the film.

Director: Margot Benacerraf
The Gist: Venenzuelan female filmmaker Benacerraf’s 1959 classic will receive its first stateside release nearly a half-century after sharing the Cannes International Critics Prize with “Hiroshima, Mon Amor,” courtesy of a Milestone Films restoration. The film centers on three families who live in the Araya Peninsula and work hard to make ends meet as their community suffers from growing industrialization.

The Cast: Tom Hardy, Matt King, Kelly Adams, Katy Barker
Writer/Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Fest Cred: Sundance, Glasgow, Seattle, Los Angeles, Karlovy Vary
The Gist: “The Pusher Trilogy” director Winding Refn constrains his considerable skill for manic action to only one film this time around, but spares no energy in bringing the life story of England’s most terrifying prisoner Charles Bronson (a.k.a. Mickey Peterson), who spent 30 years of his 34-year sentence in solitary confinement. However, audiences and critics haven’t complained about spending time with him as played by “Layer Cake” star Tom Hardy, who added on 42 pounds for the part.

The Cast: Juliette Binoche, Liron Levo, Jeanne Moreau, Barbara Hendricks, Hiam Abbass
Director: Amos Gitai
Fest Cred: Venice, Toronto
The Gist: Juliette Binoche stars as a woman whose father’s recent death leads her to travel to Israel with her stepbrother in search of her daughter who she gave up for adoption two decades earlier, only to get tangled in the dangerous Israeli disengagement of 2005 when they attempt to travel to Gaza.

“From Mexico With Love”
The Cast: Kuno Becker, Bruce McGill, Steven Bauer, Angélica Aragón
Director: Jimmy Nickerson
Fest Cred: San Diego Latino
The Gist: A veteran stunt coordinator on such films as “Fight Club” and “Rocky,” Nickerson turns his attention to a drama that stars Becker as a migrant worker who learns he can make the big bucks in boxing and gets taken under the wing of an old-time trainer (McGill), who becomes weary when a promoter (Bauer) comes calling with a big payday.

“Good Hair”
Director: Jeff Stilson
Fest Cred: Sundance
The Gist: At the request of one of his daughters, Chris Rock gets to the roots of African-American hair, interviewing everyone from Maya Angelou to Al Sharpton to Ice-T about their own follicles and opinions about relaxers, weaves and natural curls. The doc spans from Atlanta, with its annual hair-care convention, to India, where women’s shorn hair can make a mint as future extensions overseas.

“Night of the Demons”
The Cast: Edward Furlong, Shannon Elizabeth, Monica Keena, Diora Baird, Bobbi Sue Luther, John F. Beach
Director: Adam Gierasch
Fest Cred: Film4 FrightFest
The Gist: Remade from the 1988 gorefest, “Autopsy” director Gierasch gives Elizabeth, Keena and Baird plenty to scream about by placing them in a haunted New Orleans mansion where they’ve come to party, only to discover after the cops have come and gone that their locked in with ancient demons.

The Cast: Michelle Monaghan, Joey Lauren Adams, Jimmy Bennett, Benjamin Bratt, Nathan Fillion, Mika Boorem
Writer/Director: James Mottern
Fest Cred: Tribeca, Vail, Austin
The Gist: After premiering at Tribeca ’08, Mottern’s directorial debut will come to a screen near you, featuring a sharp performance from star Monaghan as a single mom who is forced (somewhat) to change her hard living ways when a son she gave up long ago reappears in her life after her ex’s (Bratt) health starts to fail.

“Whip It”
The Cast: Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Alia Shawkat, Kristen Wiig, Marcia Gay Harden, Zoe Bell, Ari Graynor, Eve
Director: Drew Barrymore
The Gist: For a well-regarded screenplay that made the 2007 Black List (the industry’s tally of best unproduced scripts in any given year), Barrymore finally steps up to the director’s chair to helm this comedy starring Page as a beauty pageant contestant in a small Texas town who finds real joy in taking down competitors as part of a female roller derby team, much to the dismay of her mother (Harden). Eve, Wiig, “Death Proof” star Bell and Barrymore herself join Page on the track.

“The Yes Men Fix the World”
Directors: Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno and Kurt Engfehr
Fest Cred: Sundance, Berlinale, Buenos Aires, Hot Docs, Seattle
The Gist: A sequel of sorts to Chris Smith’s 2003 doc on the mischievous corporate anarchist duo, Bichlbaum and Bonanno (with the help of Engfehr) take matters into their own hands this time around, filming themselves in what’s best described as a “screwball comedy about the end of the world,” pulling pranks like posing as Dow Chemical spokespeople who accept full responsibility for the Bhopal Catastrophe on BBC Television (bringing down the company’s stock price) or printing an issue of the New York Times with only good news.

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Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was narrated by Robert Evans and based on his memoir of the same name. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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