Friday, November 27, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, August 19, 2015, 5:15 PM
Jeff, Anne, and Principal Miller in "Slow Learners" (Adam Pally, Sarah Burns, Kate Flannery). (Courtesy Photo)

Back in April, Philly docu-film maker Don Argott reminded me of the romantic comedy that he and life-work partner Sheena Joyce directed. Starting Wednesday, August 19 the film hits select theaters.

Lensed throughout Center City, Slow Learners, starring Adam Pally (The Mindy Project), Sarah Burns (Enlightened), Kate Flannery (The Office) and Veep co-stars Reid Scott and Kevin Dunn, is the first film from Philly's MilkBoy Entertainment — the cinematic offshoot of MilkBoy Studio — and its co-producers Jamie Lokoff and Tommy Joyner.

"They had a fun, solid script and we were looking to break into scripted narratives, so it was a win-win," said Argott in spring, ahead of screening at Tribecca Film Festival.

"The initial idea for this project is not what we ended up shooting. In fact, we spent about a year developing that story when our co-producer Tammy Tiehel Stedman brought us this script." says Lokoff of a direction that he and partner Joyner long wanted to pursue.

The movie, which has Judd Apatow romantic comedy tones, follows highschool friends and co-workers Jeff (Adam Pally) and Anne (Sarah Burns) as they try to reinvent themselves into sexy risk-takers.

Though they chose a script that was seemingly easy to film, the planning for Slow Learners started 5 years ago and it took until May of 2014 to begin shooting. "There are just so many moving parts that you have to nail down...and until we were shooting it wasn't anyone's full-time job, so that contributed to the time-table stretching out," says Joyner.

POSTED: Thursday, July 30, 2015, 2:19 PM
Rebecca Ferguson and Tom Cruise attend the "Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation" New York Premiere at Duffy Square in Times Square on July 27, 2015 in New York City. (Getty Images)

With July 31's opening of another Mission Impossible film – this fifth one a Rogue Nation filled with high-flying, deep-diving, white-knuckle action work - its uber-star and producer Tom Cruise has finally taken to the talk show circuit.

This comes after much speculation as to why he didn't start the publicity machine moving sooner (word has it that Cruise frankly didn't feel like fielding Scientology questions connected to HBO's Going Clear).

Cruise left the heavy lifting of doing early interviews to his little-known MI:RN co-star Rebecca Ferguson.

As former British Secret Service agent 'Ilsa Faust,' Ferguson is, in her own words, "a formidable counterpoint to everything Tom's 'Ethan Hunt' is," she says in a low, light-as-whipped-crème voice. "He's truly met his match in Ilsa."

POSTED: Thursday, July 23, 2015, 2:57 PM
Mya Taylor as Alexandra in "Tangerine," a Magnolia Pictures release. (Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.)

Sean S. Baker’s film Tangerine made its world premiere to audiences in January at Sundance. The film finally opens in Philadelphia on Friday, July 24 at the Ritz at the Bourse for a short week.

Shot entirely on an iPhone 5s, Tangerine tells the story of best friends Sin-Dee Rella (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Mya Taylor), two transgender women of color living in Los Angeles.

The film begins on a hazy Christmas Eve morning at Doughnut Time, a doughnut shop home to pimps and prostitutes. Rella discovers her boyfriend has been cheating on her while she was in prison. After finding out this shocking news, we follow the women as they traipse around Hollywood Boulevard looking for answers and looking for work. The film also follows an Armenian cab driver who is hiding a secret.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 21, 2015, 4:32 PM
Barakka posing in the Tünel District of Istanbul after one of their band rehearsals - (L-R) Efecan Tuncer, Roger Mgrdichian, Baris Kaya, Bill Tayoun, Jim Hamilton, Joe Tayoun. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Geller)

If you live in Philadelphia, are over 35 years of age and the name "Tayoun" comes up, you think of Ed Tayoun's legendary Old City nightclub/restaurant the Middle East and onetime First District Councilman Jimmy Tayoun's Philadelphia Public Record newspaper.

If you're younger, you've been exposed to another pair of Tayoun brothers – Philly musician/educators Billy and Joe Tayoun. The keyboardist and percussionist, respectively, play the authentic folk songs of Lebanon and beyond with the Mid-East Ensemble and modernist Middle Eastern rock group Barakka.

If you just happened to miss Barakka, you've surely been witness to The Roddenberries, the Star Trek tribute band that the Tayouns are a part of with members of the Peek-a-Boo Revue and filmmaker/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Geller.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 1, 2015, 1:45 PM
Philadelphia pedophile Ed Savitz – "Uncle Eddie" – is the focus of a new documentary. (Screenshot via Kickstarter)

Philadelphia film director, multimedia provocateur, Scrapple TV CEO and painter Marc Brodzik is an endlessly fascinating chap whose work as a movie maker ranges from doing various jobs with this city's original Gyro Advertising crew for the kitschy hyper-sexualized Bikini Bandits series, to more serious matters like the plight of Central Pennsylvania coal miners

Through his Woodshop Films banner, Brodzik's VICE TV-like escapades include looks at outsider locals such as Hello My Name Is Darren's Darren Finizio and murderous hardcore punk Sam "Sammytown" McBride.

POSTED: Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 11:35 AM
Director/producer Elizabeth Banks arrives at the World Premiere of 'Pitch Perfect 2' held at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Friday, May 8, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Elizabeth Banks has had some pretty great weekends of late.

The actress co-stars in Love & Mercy about the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, which was released on June 5, the same date that first photos from the blockbuster Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (in which she appears) dropped. That same weekend, her directorial debut, Pitch Perfect 2, accumulated $250 million internationally since its May 15 release (the number 1 film in America at that time).

This weekend, not only was it announced that the production company (Brownstone) she shares with her husband Max Handelman is gearing up to produce Pitch Perfect 3 (yes, they were amongst the producers of the other two as well), but word has it that Banks also has chosen her next directorial effort: Victoria Aveyard's YA novel Red Queen – think Cinderella spliced with Game of Thrones – for Universal. Then there's Magic Mike XXL, the Channing Tatum film which opens this weekend. Yes, she's in that film as well.

POSTED: Saturday, May 9, 2015, 12:58 PM
Filed Under: Movies
Actor Marlon Wayans attends the Republic Records Official MTV VMA After-Party at Project La on August 24, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John M. Heller/Getty Images)

Prepare yourselves for what may be a hilarious and terrific spin on the notoriously naughty film that took box offices worldwide by storm earlier this year.

Funny guy Marlon Wayans is teaming up with writer and producer Rick Alvarez for “Fifty Shades of Black,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“We're excited to be back in business with IM Global doing our comedic remix of this movie. Sex and comedy go hand-in-hand and I'm looking forward to having fun with this project. It’s amazing when a film of this caliber comes along begging to be made fun of. I’m really happy to be doing what I love with people I love to do it with. That double entendre was intentional," Wayans tells The Hollywood Reporter. 

POSTED: Wednesday, May 6, 2015, 6:32 PM
Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson attend The Broad City Season 2 Premiere Party at 26 Bridge Street on January 7, 2015 in New York City. (Getty Images for Comedy Central)

Wayne native Abbi Jacobson and comedy partner Ilana Glazer, the stars of Comedy Central's brilliant Broad City, have sold an untitled movie to Twentieth Century FoxBridesmaids director Paul Feig is attached to produce.

While Glazer and Jacobson are not attached to star, nor is Feig attached to direct, it's the first foray into film for the comedic duo, who play outsized versions of themselves on the hit Comedy Central show. 

Feig is a champion of female comedians and is set to helm the upcoming all-female Ghostbusters reboot, starring Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon.

About this blog
Consider our Movies blog your essential guide to new movies and classics, interviews with filmmakers and stars, news and views on the latest screen trends, reviews and the occasional rant.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
Gary Thompson Daily News Film Critic
Mare McKeever
Layla A. Jones
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