Saturday, November 28, 2015

Archive: May, 2013

POSTED: Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 3:48 PM

Chris Wedge, the animator behind the Ice Age franchise, behind Robots and now Epic – which sold $42.8 million in tickets over its opening four-day Memorial Day weekend – wants grownups to see his movies.  And so, in Epic, which is about a civilization superimposed on ours (“you know, tiny people living in the woods,” he says), the animation director has his leaf men and his super-diminutive teenage heroine acting like samurai warriors, “riding hummingbirds like jet fighter pilots.” It's an action movie.

“Animation tends to be thought of as entertainment for children, much to my chagrin,” Wedge explains. “And to cross over to broader audiences, most animated films have become comedies, so that the adults will think they’re funny and are getting something that the kids don’t get. But I wanted to try a different crossover technique, and that’s action. Spectacle.”

Per the Hollywood animated formula, Epic boasts a diverse all-star lineup of actors, lending their voices to the cartoon characters and critters. Colin Farrell, Beyonce Knowles, Amanda Seyfried, Chris O’Dowd, Christoph Waltz… it’s a pile-up of talent, corraled into the recording studio. But Wedge says there’s an art to matching the right actor with the right character.

POSTED: Friday, May 24, 2013, 8:45 AM
Filed Under: Movies
Michael Caine and vacant Morgan Freeman. (screen grab)

And on the seventh day, God rested.

A video of Morgan Freeman napping went viral Thursday because, well, he fell asleep during an interview. On camera.

The two reporters interviewing Freeman at the Fox affiliate in Seattle seemed enthusiastic about the opportunity to discuss his new film "Now You See Me" via satellite with the sleepy star and Michael Caine. Halfway through the live interview, Freeman slowly shuts his eyes as the segment switches to clips from the film. When the camera returns to Freeman's face, the actor is sleeping.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 12:19 PM
Jennifer Lame

For a short-and-sweet indie, shot on the cheap – and shot pretty much in secret – Frances Ha took an unusually long time to put together. And Jennifer Lame, a Merion native, was there in the editing room, literally putting it together.

The film, which stars Greta Gerwig as a single, late-20s New Yorker trying to figure out what to do with her life, opens Friday at the Ritz Five. Most of it was shot in New York City and thereabouts, but there was ”the Paris chunk” (Frances flies there for a weekend) and “the Sacramento chunk” (Frances flies there for Christmas) and other chunks that extended what should have been a six or seven week shoot into something much longer and more involved.

“It really took a year, but that’s so not normal,” says Lame, on the phone from New York the other day, where she’s been busy editing the new Baumbach/Gerwig film, The Untitled Public School Project.”It’s because of the way  they shot it that it took so long…But that’s atypical. The one we’re doing now is going at a normal pace.”

POSTED: Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 4:01 PM
Patients with yellow fever are treated in a hospital ward in this scene from the latest installment of Sam and Philip Katz's documentary, "Philadelphia: The Great Experiment."

Sam Katz is at it again. The trailer for the latest chapter in the mayoral candidate-turned-filmmaker’s amazing series, Philadelphia: The Great Experiment, is out, promising one of the most illuminating, and perhaps controversial, installments yet. (Click here to see previous episodes and webisodes.) 

From the very beginning, Philadelphia has proven itself to be “the testing ground for everything really important that goes on in this nation,” observes Sharon Ann Holt, Executive Director of the New Jersey Humanities Council, and one of the esteemed talking heads to be featured in the trailer – and the film. Episode V covers the city’s history from 1979 to 1994, a time of racial division, marked by  the election of the city’s first African American mayor, the MOVE conflagration, the breaking of the “gentleman’s agreement” on the height barrier, allowing for the skyscraper-ed cityscape we now enjoy, and other dramatic political, cultural and social changes.

Episode V, still being assembled as we speak (if you have archival material, contact Katz) will be broadcast in the fall of 2014. Episode IV, “The Fight – 1965-1977,” is set to be shown June 20 on Channel 6 ABC. In the mean time,  watch the Episode V trailer (below), and be sure to “like” The Great Experiment on Facebook,

POSTED: Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 2:39 PM

Wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper will be at the 25th anniversary screening of the 1988 cult classic "They Live," courtesy for this summer's Awesome Fest presented by Parx Casino, I've learned exclusively.

The John Carpenter sci-fi flick willl screen Sunday, July 21 at the Trocadero. Prices haven't been officially announced yet, but founder and artistic director Josh Goldbloom assured me that there will be various meet-and-greet packages at low prices so wrestling fans can get to chat it up with Piper.

For those painfully unaware, "They Live" features Piper as a drifer named Nada who discovers a pair of sunglasses. When he puts on the shades, Nada finds that the rich and powerful of Los Angeles are actually an alien race. He embarks on a violent spree in order to rid the city of the evil aliens, saving humanity.

POSTED: Sunday, May 5, 2013, 1:51 PM
Kristen Wiig arrives at the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday Jan. 29, 2012 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

The trailer for Kristen Wiig's first big post-"Saturday Night Live" movie arrived recently, and it's set right downashore.

"The Girl Most Likely" features an on-the-edge Wiig who is forced to move back into her mother's (Annette Bening) Ocean City, NJ pad, where she meets (and sleeps with) "Glee's" Darren Criss. There's not much of Ocean City to see in the trailer, but there is a nice shot of the 34th Street Welcome sign and the ferris wheel at Gillian's Wonderland Pier (aw! Memories!).

"The Girl Most Likely" is set for July 18 release.

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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
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