'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' is a potential Oscar winner.
Though the movie world was distracted by the box-office monster Jurassic World this weekend, a promising new release was making its own headway. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was a massive Sundance favourite and opened to a respectable $210,000 from just fifteen theaters.
Thomas Mann stars in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
"We felt the film was strong enough to go in the summer," said Frank Rodriguez, senior vice president of distribution at Searchlight. "There was no indication ['Jurassic World'] would do $200 million, and that kind of sucked up all the air, but there was still space for us and we got the press and reviews we needed."
Continue reading: Is 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' the next 'Napoleon Dynamite'?
High school can be the worst time for some people, and for Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann), it turned out to be especially horrible. His parents inform him that his classmate, Rachel Kushner (Olivia Cooke), has been diagnosed with leukemia. The two make a fast friendship out of a mutual intention to not be sympathetic, but that plan doesn't work out as well as planned. Greg and his best friend Earl make 'bad films' in their spare time, and decide to devote a film to Rachel. Unfortunately, as they specialise in bad films, they struggle to make something that will truly honour her and cheer her up.
Continue: Earl and the Dying Girl Trailer
Oprah obsessed Alice Klieg suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder which causes her to be socially awkward, impulsive and stubborn, and she's about to find out that money truly can buy you anything. After winning an impressive $86 million in the lottery, her first port of call is a major TV station, where she pitches an idea for hosting her own talk show. They offer her a slot at a cool $15 million, and she subsequently decides to stop taking her medication and pursue fame and recognition. The only problem is, she sucks at hosting her own show. The producers know they have to do something to save their embarrassment over this fiasco of a deal, but with Alice stuck in her own world and resolutely ignoring advice from friends and family, there's not a lot they can do to help her.
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'Me and Earl' sold to Fox Searchlight for several million dollars.
You've probably heard plenty about Me and Earl and the Dying Girl over the past couple of weeks. The indie-drama premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews and currently holds a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Thomas Mann stars in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Last night, at the Sundance awards ceremony in Park City, the movie won both the U.S Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, echoing the same feat achieved by Whiplash at the 2014 ceremony. That movie was recently nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars and its likely Me and Earl will be a serious contender at next year's event.
Continue reading: 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' Wins Both Major Prizes at Sundance
The Sundance Film Festival has seen a ferocious bidding war this week.
We'll be talking about Me and Earl and the Dying Girl a lot. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's drama debuted at Sundance on Sunday and sparked a ferocious bidding war for the rights to distribute - with Fox Searchlight trying to hold off Lionsgate and Focus Features.
Nick Offerman stars in the critically acclaimed Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which should sell for $12 million at Sundance
According to Deadline, the bidding has reached $12 million for the worldwide rights, which would overtake the previous Sundance sales record of $10 million, paid for Spitfire Girl, The Way Way Back, Little Miss Sunshine and Hamlet 2.
Continue reading: Sundance: 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' in Ferocious Bidding War
Made in Germany, this raucous adventure merrily refuses to follow the usual Hollywood route of blanding-down a fairy tale for the lowest common denominator (see both Snow White movies last year). It's still pretty stupid, but it's so unapologetically over-the-top that we're consistently entertained. And it helps that the filmmakers are clearly aware of how ridiculous the plot is, so they push it even further.
The film opens with a horror-style version of the Grimm Brothers' fable, then jumps years ahead as Hansel and Gretel (Renner and Arterton) achieve notoriety as bounty hunters specialising in tracking down and dispatching witches. When they arrive in a small village, they rescue innocent young Mina (Viitala) from the bloodthirsty mayor (Stormare), then vow instead to capture the area's real wicked witch Muriel (Janssen). The sheriff is sure they're con artists, so forms his own posse. Meanwhile, Hansel tentatively falls for Mina, and the duo also meet their teen super-fan Ben (Mann), who joins them as they head into the woods.
Norwegian writer-director Wirkola has created a gonzo action-horror movie out of the familiar bedtime story, complete with wildly outrageous creatures, fiery battles and almost as many explosions as a Michael Bay Transformers movie. Meanwhile, Renner and Arterton strut through medieval Europe like 21st century action heroes, wearing skin-tight leather, head-butting their foes, swearing like sailors and shooting massive guns at anything that moves. In other words, Wirkola's approach is essentially satirical, which allows him to indulge in astounding levels of grisly violence without it ever getting too nasty.
Continue reading: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Review
While this package has all of the key marketing elements to reach the Twilight audience, the film itself is rather a lot more fun, made with some wit and intelligence, plus a cast that's happy to chomp on the scenery. Based on a four-novel series, this film actually has more in common with True Blood than Twilight, with its Deep South setting and the clash between religious fundamentalism and supernatural beings.
At the centre is Ethan (Ehrehreich), a 16-year-old who is bristling against the isolation of his small South Carolina town. His recently deceased mother instilled in him a love of books banned by the town's hyper-religious leaders, and the local librarian Amma (Davis) helps keep his interest alive. As a result, he's more open than the other teens when Lena (Englert) arrives at school. But she's shunned because her Uncle Macon (Irons) is the town's pariah, a landowner whom everyone thinks is a devil worshipper. Actually, the whole family are casters, people with special powers that are designated good or evil on their 16th birthday.
The plot stirs up some suspense as Lena's big day of reckoning approaches. She's terrified that she'll go over to the dark side like her man-eating cousin (Rossum) or, worse still, her spectral mother, who does her mischief by inhabiting the body of the town's most pious housewife Mrs Lincoln (Thompson). This of course gives Thompson two insane characters to play at the same time, and she has a ball with it. As does Irons with the shadowy, snaky Macon. And at the centre, Ehrenreich and Englert both show considerable promise, with their strikingly non-Hollywood good looks and a depth of character that makes the film more engaging than we expect.
Continue reading: Beautiful Creatures Review
Lena Duchannes is a Caster whose family has plenty of dark power between them, but rather than feeling empowered, Lena just wishes she can be mortal so she wouldn't have to hide and people wouldn't talk about her all the time. When she moves to the small and somewhat conservative town of Gatlin, South Carolina, she finds herself an outcast but is soon noticed by her school mate Ethan Wate who is enchanted by her and the excitement her arrival brings to this ordinary, unmoving town. However, their relationship is compromised by the fact that Lena only has a matter of days left before she is subjected to the Claiming; a process that will decide whether she will turn to the Light or the Dark side of magic. While her uncle does everything in her power to make sure she is claimed to the Light, the all-powerful Sarafine is convinced that she will have great magical supremacy which would better be served in the Dark.
'Beautiful Creatures' is the story of just how much love can conquer and, equally, the devastation it brings. It has been adapted to screen by Oscar nominated director and screenwriter Richard LaGravenese ('P.S. I Love You', 'The Mirror Has Two Faces') from the book of the same name by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. The fantasy romance will be released in time for Valentine's Day on February 13th 2013.
Director: Richard LaGravenese
Continue: Beautiful Creatures Trailer
You know you're in trouble when a madcap comedy is unable to even raise a smile. And it's worse when it strains to include a sentimentally emotional subplot without grounding anything in believable characters or situations. All that's left is a lot of corny toilet humour and eye-rollingly limp schmaltz. Even a decent cast can't rescue this one.
It all happens on one Halloween night in Ohio, when brainy 18-year-old Wren (Justice) and her oversexed pal April (Levy) plan to attend the party of the year hosted by the school hottie. But Wren's mother (Handler) runs off to her own party, leaving Wren in charge of her mischievous 8-year-old brother Albert (Nicoll), who hasn't spoken a word since their father died a year earlier. And Albert quickly ditches Wren, running off for an adventure with a lovelorn convenience store employee (Middleditch). To find him, Wren gets help from the nerdy Roosevelt (Mann), who has a crush on her.
The premise has potential, blending Adventures in Babysitting and Home Alone along with a bit of emotional subtext. But the screenwriters never make anything of it, instead indulging in startlingly unfunny slapstick, jokes about paedophilia and a sappy streak of half-baked sentiment. All of which means that the filmmakers waste their solid cast at every turn. Justice and Levy make an enjoyable if unlikely duo, while Nicholl is full of unpredictable energy. But the filmmakers manage to subdue the usually irrepressible Handler in a badly underdeveloped role that's still the most interesting thing in the film.
Continue reading: Fun Size Review
Fifteen years later, Hansel and Gretel are still suffering from the traumatic effects of a horrific ordeal they experienced when they were children when a wicked witch tried to make a meal of them after tempting them with her house in the forest made of gingerbread. After successfully slaying the evil creature, they became witch hunters; bounty hunters of the fairy tale world, constructing various brutal ways of trapping and exterminating the monsters that threatened villages around the world with the added benefit that malevolent curses and spells had little effect on them. One day, the Mayor of Augsburg, recognising their widespread notoriety and expertise, enlists the brother and sister duo to end the torment that is infecting one town and its surrounding forests at the hands of the sorceress Muriel who is kidnapping children with the intention of sacrificing them for the forthcoming Blood Moon. It seems Hansel and Gretel have finally met their match and, if that wasn't bad enough, the ruthless Sheriff Berringer has decided that he will embark on his own kind of witch hunt, endangering half the women in the town.
Continue: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters Trailer