By now, you’re either invested in the Twilight movies or you’re not.
If you’re a reader of Stephenie Meyer’s novels, eager to see her ever-expanding world of ageless vampires, hotheaded werewolves and hormonal teenagers evolve on the big screen, or merely seduced by Robert Pattinson’s smoldering glower and Taylor Lautner’s sculpted physique
Taking risks has never intimidated Mark and Jay Duplass.
Since debuting at Sundance in 2003 with This Is John, an eight-minute short shot on a three-dollar budget, the New Orleans-born brothers have gained fame (but not always fortune) as the founders of mumblecore, a verité-style approach to filmmaking that favors improvisation over scripted drama. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that they took an equally fearless approach in casting Cyrus, their first studio film, which opens Friday.
Oscar-winning documentarians Rob Epstein (The Times of Harvey Milk) and Jeffrey Friedman (Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt) celebrate the life and poetry of Allen Ginsberg with their most audacious undertaking to date: Howl, a rousing, almost hallucinatory cinematic interpretation of the author's most famous work and an effective re-enactment of the 1957 obscenity trial, held in San Francisco, that made it famous.
If Will Forte’s MacGruber reminded us that five-minute Saturday Night Live sketches seem less than inspired when stretched to paper-thin feature length, Grown Ups, a nominal comedy starring SNL alumni Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider, is even more confounding.
Based on an original story by Sandler and former SNL writer Fred Wolf, the movie contains not a single imaginative minute, much less the five needed to kill time between late-night commercials. It is as lazily conceived as anything Sandler has done.
Cyrus, a warmly received selection at this year’s San Francisco Film Festival, is a comedy that aims to make audiences laugh but seems willing to settle for making them cringe. But if you can stomach its enfant terrible – a selfish, shamelessly manipulative man-child, desperate to sabotage his mother’s latest romance – you might appreciate the lighter side of his Oedipal obsession.
Frameline34 continues through Sunday's closing-night presentation of Howl – an revealing portrait of poet Allen Ginsberg's early years, starring James Franco – with a full slate of screenings scheduled at the Castro, Roxie and Victoria theaters. As always, here's a list of some of the finest films currently playing at an indie theater near you.
1. I Am Love
The careers of Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn have seemed linked (albeit tenuously, of late) since starring together in Swingers, Doug Liman's 1996 comedy about wannabe actors braving the L.A. social scene. Since then, the pair has collaborated on Made (2001), the Favreau-directed farce about ex-boxers learning the ropes of organized crime, and The Break-Up (2006), in which Vaughn played a freshly dumped man-child and Favreau a sage bartender.
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