Will LISTEN UP PHILIP Get Your Attention?October 16, 2014

Will LISTEN UP PHILIP Get Your Attention?

LISTEN UP PHILIP (Tribeca)

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today's review: LISTEN UP PHILIP (Tribeca).

Considering that writing is such a singular pursuit, it’s ironic that chasing the elusive muse has long been fodder for film fiction. From WONDER BOYS to BARTON FINK to MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, writers toiling over their works have populated film since the birth of the medium. The life of the scribe is examined once again in Alex Ross Perry’s LISTEN UP PHILIP.

Perry’s film focuses on one Philip Lewis Friedman, (Jason Schwartzman, THE DARJEELING LIMITED) a Brooklyn-based novelist living with his increasingly disengaged photographer girlfriend (Elisabeth Moss, THE ONE I LOVE).

Once something of an enfant terrible and now just a terrible adult, Philip is a narcissistic, self-obsessed writer methodically destroying every one of his relationships, whether romantic, platonic or professional. In need of both a place to work and and an escape valve, Philip accepts an invitation from once-great novelist Ike Zimmerman (Jonathan Pryce, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END), to stay at Zimmerman’s country house for a spell.

 

 

Jonathan Pryce and Jason Schwartzman in Listen Up Philip distributed by Tribeca Film.


Once Perry places the two scribes within close proximity of one another, it becomes clear that literary talent isn’t the only thing they have in common. The bitterness and dissatisfaction that both Philip and Ike exude makes them kindred assholes, with each considered such by Ike’s angry daughter (Krysten Ritter, "Breaking Bad"). Her encounters with the two novelists are marked by a surly churlishness that Ritter conveys without alienating herself to the audience.

 

 

Krysten Ritter in Listen Up Philip distributed by Tribeca Film.


Schwartzman imbues Philip with a measure of vulnerability that keeps him from being totally irredeemable; he employs the same inflated sense of self that we saw from him in RUSHMORE, keeping the world at arm’s length as a defense mechanism. It’s a daring, if not altogether pleasant performance.

LAST HIJACK Filmmaker InterviewOctober 14, 2014

LAST HIJACK Filmmaker Interview

LAST HIJACK

The below interview is a repurposed interview by permission with the filmmaking team of Tommy Pallotta and Femke Wolting to the revealing new documentary LAST HIJACK. Available On Demand, including Amazon Instant Video, Comcast, Google Play, iTunes, Time Warner Cable, Sony PlayStation, Vimeo On Demand, Vudu and XBOX Video. - ODW 


ABOUT THE DIRECTORS Tommy Pallotta & Femke Wolting
Tommy Pallotta  first connected Richard Linklater with animation when he produced the award-winning feature film WAKING LIFE. He followed up with Philip K. Dick's A SCANNER DARKLY, starring Keanu Reeves and Robert Downey Jr. He then directed the Emmy nominated "Collapsus". Femke Wolting co-founded Submarine, a multiple award-winning production company. She produced numerous projects such as Peter Greenaway's feature Rembrandt's J'Accuse and the groundbreaking documentaries like MY SECOND LIFE.

 

 

 

What sparked you interest in the issue of piracy in Somalia, and how did you decide to develop a feature film on this subject?
We were watching news reports and the image of these tiny boats versus the huge oil tankers fascinated us. We wondered what drove these men to take such enormous risks. As we researched further and found out about all the underlying aspects of piracy, the waste dumping in the waters around Somalia and the broader impact of piracy on Somalian society we got even more interested. Most media stories and news stories reported on Western ships being hijacked and the experiences of the passengers. That made us curious to know more about the pirates themselves.

When we started to look into it, we quickly became fascinated by how the pirates were perceived within their own communities. Until recently they were seen as heroes, as the little guys who fought the big Western ships. And many people also profited from their actions, whether directly or indirectly. But then things began to change. A whole generation of young men disappeared, were thrown in jail or simply vanished at sea. That had an enormous impact on the people who were left behind, the families and the women. People in Somalia turned their backs on the pirates. This tension interested us, and made us to decide to make a film from the perspective of the pirates and their families.

Was it clear from the start that this film would be something else than a 'classic' documentary?
We clicked with the subject because we immediately thought it would be ideal to combine animation and documentary footage. We didn't want to make an observational documentary. Because the hijacks were something you could never be part of. Once we thought of the combination opened up so many possibilities.

Through the animation we could view the world through the eyes of the pirates. We could visualize their subjective reality, their dreams, from their memories of the civil war to the hijacks they had undertaken.

 

Animated Scene / LAST HIJACK (Filmbuff)



Documentary, fiction, animation and interactive media have all been combined frequently throughout both of your filmmaking careers. What inspires this openness to hybrid forms? Do you think these kinds of projects will take on a larger importance in the industry in future years?
We are interested in hybrid forms because they offer so many more possibilities in terms of storytelling. In terms of non-fiction, they challenge the idea of objective reality that a documentary should capture.

So LAST HIJACKis a hybrid incorporating live action and animation, but also feature film and documentary. Feature films and documentaries have been made for more then a century, and there are still all these conventions of genres and specific ways to tell a story. We are excited about these new hybrid forms because you can experiment and search for new forms of storytelling that don't yet have rules. More and more feature films combine live action, effects and animation to create new worlds, and now that is possible in documentaries too.

Tell us about your experience working on similarly "non-traditional projects" with directors such as Richard Linklater (WAKING LIFE, A SCANNER DARKLY) and Peter Greenaway (REMBRANDT'S J'ACCUSE).
Currently we are shooting a feature film by Peter Greenaway in Mexico, called Eisenstein in Guanajuato. It's a love story about the famous Russian filmmaker Eisenstein, and how he felt in love for the first time when he was making a film in Mexico. It's a feature film but Greenaway mixes archive footage from Eisenstein and his films in the fictional narrative. Also we just started working on a new film for a Hollywood studio, a feature film that is a hybrid as well, half live action and half animated.

Somali pirates have lately been represented in several documentary and fiction films (CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, A HIJACKING, STOLEN STEAS, FISHING WITHOUT NETS). What do you think has inspired this widespread interest? Do you have an opinion on the films made as a result, and how is your film different?

LeBron James Produced SURVIVOR’S REMORSE Airs On StarzOctober 13, 2014

LeBron James Produced SURVIVOR’S REMORSE Airs On Starz

Rich Paul, left, Tom Werner, Maverick Carter, Mike O'Malley, LeBron James, Carmi Zlotnik (Phil Long/Invision for Starz)

Starz has teamed up with NBA superstar LeBron James to create “Survivor’s Remorse,” a comedy based on James’ personal experiences as a basketball phenomenon.

 

 

Karen Civil, Tom Werner, LeBron James, Johnny Manziel and Maverick Carter. (Photo by Phil Long/Invision for Starz Entertainment/AP Images)


 The six episode series follows Boston native Cam Calloway, played by Jessie T. Usher (WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL). Cam has just signed a multimillion dollar contract with the unnamed Atlanta basketball franchise. Young and excited, Cam throws down money on a high-rise condo, a truck for his high school coach, and everyday expenses for his uncle, played by Mike Epps (THE HANGOVER III), and sister, played by Erica Ash (SCARY MOVIE 5).

 

 

Cam (Jessie Usher), Cassie (Tichina Arnold), M-Chuck (Erica Ash), Missy (Teyonah Parris), Uncle Julius (Mike Epps)


 The series really picks up when Cam and his cousin/agent Reggie, played by RonReaco Lee (MADEA GOES TO JAIL), are confronted with a scandal that could destroy everything they’ve built. Cam’s mother, played by Tichina Arnold (MARTIN), just before leaving her smaller Boston home to go live with Cam, gives away a bunch of stuff to people in the hood. Marcus, played by Mo McRae (LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER), owes money to some gangsters and comes across a video tape of Cam getting high and spewing racial profanities and an old notebook of Cam’s, filled with sexual drawings.

 

 

Cam (Jessie Usher), Reggie (RonReaco Lee), Uncle Julius (Mike Epps)


 Cam doesn’t want to forget where he came from. Reggie wants him to distance himself from the problems that weigh heavily on Cam’s mind. Cam feels guilty that he can’t solve every issue that someone from his past faces.

This is LeBron James’ second foray into entertainment. The 29-year-old just filmed TRAINWRECK, a comedy directed by Judd Apatow, staring some of Hollywood’s funniest people, is due July 24, 2015. 

NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC Documentary - Now On DemandOctober 13, 2014

NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC Documentary - Now On Demand

NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC (@TribecaFilm)

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC (Tribeca Film).

 

See the latest Independent Movie On Demand (IMOD) Trailers here...

 

NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC
By Ric Whitney

 
Public Enemy front man and rap music luminary, Chuck D often described rap as “CNN for Black people.” As such, Nasir Jones’ (Nas) 1994 seminal debut album “Illmatic” was musical reporting at its best live from the Queens, New York projects where he grew up.

Writer Erik Parker and director One9 recount the period and person behind “Illmatic,” NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC in this endearing and special tribute to Nas’ classic album. Nas has been quoted that “New York City wrote “Illmatic.” This suggestion is bolstered by the glimpse this documentary offers into life in Queensbridge both in 1994 and 20 years later.

NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC does a wonderful job of focusing the story on what twenty year-old Nas saw, how he lived and who and what influenced his “NY State of Mind.” One9 beautifully frames Nas, his Queensbridge Projects home, and his family and friends, setting the stage for Parker’s largely positive, but exceedingly informative narrative surrounding “Illmatic.”
 
 
NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC distributed by Tribeca Film. Credit: Danny Clinch


Some of the inevitable struggles that first time recording artists face are diminished in the film. However, the manner in which the viewer meets and gets to know the key characters in Nasir’s life far offset this one-sided nature.

Whether learning the details of Nas’ best friend, Willy "Ill Will" Graham’s death and its effect on the young artist, or becoming acquainted with Nas’ father, Jazz legend Olu Jones, and realizing his influence on Nas musically and more; the quality documentary style of NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC showcases an interesting account of Nas’ creativity and character. 
 
NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC distributed by Tribeca Film. Credit: Nasir Jones

THE AFFAIR - He Said, She SaidOctober 12, 2014

THE AFFAIR - He Said, She Said

The Affair (Showtime)

On Demand Weekly provides new reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: “The Affair” (Showtime).

A perfect life: four beautiful, healthy children, a gorgeous, funny, smart, sexy wife, a newly published book, a brownstone in New York City and an estate on the beach in the Hamptons at which to summer. So you’re a little sexually frustrated because, well, four kids, and the summer house (and the money that paid for the brownstone) are really your smugly successful father-in-law’s, but it really is a perfect life. Why would you even be tempted to do anything to mess that up? That is both the question and the answers in “The Affair”, Showtime’s new series debuting October 12th.

Dominic West ("The Wire") is Noah Solloway, the man with the perfect life. He is tall, dark, and handsome, but in a rugged/sensitive way that would make him catnip for any predatory female. However, you get the sense he is not easily distracted away from his wife. His wife, Helen, is played by Maura Tierney, whose warmth and intelligence radiate out of her every pore.

 

Dominc West, The Affair (Showtime)



The other couple whose lives collide with the Solloways are Allison Bailey and Cole Lockhart. Their life is not so perfect. They are barely holding onto their folksy beachside full time home in the rapidly fancifying Hamptons with its weekend estates for the very wealthy. They are also mourning the death of their little boy. Allison works as a waitress in the local diner, which is where she first encounters the Solloways. Ruth Wilson (SAVING MR. BANKS) and Joshua Jackson ("Fringe," "Dawson’s Creek") are well-matched for Dominic West and Maura Tierney.

 

Ruth Wilson, The Affair (Showtime)



Since Helen (as played by Maura Tierney) is so utterly flawless, it would take quite an actress to be able to portray a character lovely enough and sympathetic enough to make it believable that someone married her would consider cheating on her. Ruth Wilson is well up to the challenge. With her incredible bone structure, her beauty is ethereal, but her tiny overbite brings her down to earth in a very sensuous way. Since her husband is portrayed by the handsome and lovable Joshua Jackson, it makes it hard to believe Allison could be drawn to anyone else. Yet, the attraction of Allison and Noah is obvious, and, at least so far, neither come off as bad people.

Told in a Rashomon-style showing the same events as remembered differently, "The Affair" isn’t in a hurry to get to the action. Instead it lets us get to know the characters, as experienced by Noah and Allison (at least it is their points of view in the first episode). It’s fascinating to see how each remembers the other as much smoother and cleverer than they remember themselves being. Retelling from varying aspects is an intriguing concept for a television series, and except for the heavy-handed voice-overs, it works well.

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