Tuesday, January 1, 2013

At the Movies – January 2013 – Part 1: Independent Films

Art-House Comedies:

Struck by Lightning (Brian Dannelly) – Dramedy – Jan 11
Summary: Carson Phillips has been struck and killed by lightning. Now dead, the young man recounts how he blackmailed his fellow schoolmates to writer for his literary magazine. Filmmakers: Director Brian Dannelly is back for his second feature film. His first was Saved!, which was kind of funny. Between the two features, he directed a number of TV episodes. He is working with composer Jake Monaco, cinematographer Bobby Bukowski (Rampart), and production designer Linda Burton (Bully). Cast: The film stars Chris Colfer (from Glee), who also wrote the script. Rebel Wilson, Sarah Hyland, Christina Hendricks, Dermot Mulroney, Allison Janney, Angela Kinsey, and Brad William Henke feature in support. Expectations: Struck by Lightning looks like a decent indie comedy. Chris Colfer is good on Glee and Rebel Wilson was one of the breakout stars of 2012 (she should have an even bigger 2013 with a prominent role in Michael Bay’s action comedy Pain & Gain). It played to positive buzz in its festival screenings in 2012. January is a slow month for good movies (unless you are catching up on all the great stuff release in December), so maybe this might be worth seeing. I will wait and rent it. Trailer: Here.

Movie 43 (lots of directors) – Comedy – Jan 25
Summary: A large ensemble cast litters multiple intertwining stories (with multiple directors). Filmmakers: The film has a lot of directors: Elizabeth Banks (making her debut behind the camera aside from a couple shorts), Steven Brill (Drillbit Taylor), Steve Carr (Pall Blart: Mall Cop), Rusty Cundieff (Chappelle’s Show), James Duffy, Griffin Dunne (The Accidental Husband), Peter Farrelly (The Three Stooges), Patrik Forsberg, James Gunn (Super), Bob Odenkirk (The Brothers Solomon), Brett Ratner (Tower Heist), and Jonathan van Tulleken (Misfits). Cast: The ensemble features: Emma Stone, Gerard Butler, Hugh Jackman, Chloe Grace Moretz, Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Bell, Kate Winslet, Anna Faris, Naomi Watts, Bobby Cannavale, Uma Thurman, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Halle Berry, Chris Pratt, Josh Duhamel, Richard Gere, Kate Bosworth, Patrick Warburton, Liev Schreiber, Justin Long, Seann William Scott, Leslie Bibb, Jason Sudeikis, Kieran Culkin, Jack McBrayer, Terrence Howard, Johnny Knoxville, Tony Shalhoub, Stephen Merchant, J.B. Smoove, Jeremy Allen White, and Jimmy Bennett. Expectations: From a director standpoint, Movie 43 mostly features mediocre filmmakers (if not bad filmmakers – aka Brett Ratner), with really only James Gunn standing out as someone who is interesting. However, the cast is overloaded with star power and very funny people (like Emma Stone, Chloe Grace Moretz, Kate Winslet, Chris Pratt, and Stephen Merchant, who is particularly hilarious in Extras). The film looks to be taking a very R-rated (if not vulgar) approach to its jokes (which will hopefully still have a biting witty edge, and not just be the same old tired stuff that has seemingly made R-rated comedies tame in recent years with their oversaturation). This is probably not worth seeing in theatres, but maybe a rental for comedy fans (plus, it does look pretty funny based on the trailer). Trailer: Here.

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