Monthly Archives: April 2012

Tribeca Interview: Knife Fight’s Bill Guttentag, Chris Lehane and Rob Lowe

What are you going to get if you opt to catch Bill Guttentag’s Tribeca Film Festival entry Knife Fight? Guttentag’s co-writer, Chris Lehane, says it best. “Sometimes it takes the lowest blows to achieve the noblest ends.” Lehane works as a political consultant and, more bluntly, a crisis averter. When a contender’s campaign turns south via scandal, Lehane steps in to spin the situation in his or her favor.

And so is true of the star of Knife Fight, Paul Turner, played by Rob Lowe. In Paul’s case, he’s got a Kentucky governor (Eric McCormack) with a thing for young office employees and a California senator who can’t help but to take a massage a little too far. With the next election on the horizon, their only hope at holding onto their positions is if Paul, with the help of his trusty assistant, Kerstin (Jamie Chung), can work some magic.

Guttentag, Lehane and Lowe not only hit New York City to celebrate the film’s big premiere at Tribeca, but the trio also sat down to talk about the truth behind this project, the challenges of working on such a small budget with so little time, how they hope audiences will respond and more. Read all about it in the interview below.

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Tribeca Interview: Teacher Of The Year’s Rachel Dratch

As someone who’s working on some short films of her own, I know that there’s nothing more helpful that attaching a “name” to your project, and for Rachel Dratch, all she really wanted was to be part of a film playing in a festival, so she and Teacher of the Year turned out to be the perfect match.

The film focuses on a teacher named Ethan Collins who’s devastated by his wife’s recent infidelity. Rather than sulk on his own or even give his wife a piece of his mind, Ethan uses the predicament to impart his wisdom on his class of elementary school students. Dratch steps in as the school’s vice principal, someone who doesn’t appreciate Ethan’s lecture on the connection between marriage and settling.

Living right around the corner from the Tribeca Film Festival venues, Teacher of the Year’s big debut was mere blocks away for Dratch. Just after watching the film for the first time on the big screen, Dratch hit the Teacher of the Year after party and took some time to sit down and tell us about her experience working on the project, what’s she’s got coming up and more. Check it out in the video interview below.

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Tribeca Interview: Jackpot Writer-Director Magnus Martens

Magnus Martens’ producer may not have like his crime comedy very much, but he did like something Jo Nesbø wrote and so the core concept for Jackpot landed in Martens’ hands.

The action comedy focuses on an innocent factory owner named Oscar (Kyrre Hellum). When Oscar’s employees, all ex-cons, aren’t churning out little fake Christmas trees, they’re up to no good. Well, at least Thor, Dan and Billy (Mads Ousdal, Andreas Cappelen and Arthur Berning) are. The trio convinces Oscar to join in on their can’t-lose soccer bet, but when guys actually win, rather than split the cash and enjoy their riches, people start dying.

In honor of Jackpot’s international debut at the Tribeca Film Festival, Martens was in town and took the time to talk about bringing Nesbø’s story to life his way, his choice to cast while writing the script, balancing the bloodshed and humor and more. Hear it all straight from Martens himself in the video interview below.

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Interview: Caroline and Jackie’s Marguerite Moreau

Regardless of whether or not you know what you’re getting into when catching a new movie, there’s no way to prepare yourself for such raw performances like the ones you get from Marguerite Moreau and Bitsie Tulloch in Caroline and Jackie.

They star as Caroline and Jackie, sisters who haven’t seen each other in quite some time. When Caroline comes for a visit, Jackie is thrilled to play host to her sister. She even cooks dinner for Caroline’s first night there. However, being the more impulsive one, Caroline insists they go out for dinner instead. Jackie adapts, enjoying what turns out to be a surprise party, but when the focus shifts from celebration to interrogation and anxiety, we’re left to figure out whether Caroline’s accusations are true, or if Jackie’s insistence that her sister is just desperate for attention is the case.

Caroline and Jackie isn’t anywhere close to your average family drama, both in terms of the emotion of the final product and the production process. In honor of Caroline and Jackie’s world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, Moreau sat down to chat about working on a film with just an outline, working in a highly improvisational environment, sustaining notably long takes and more. Catch the full video interview for yourself below.

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Tribeca Interview: Knife Fight’s Jamie Chung And Richard Schiff

I’m not as politically savvy as I’d like to be, but isn’t that part of the reason folks running for office have campaigns? Yes, the ultimate goal is to get votes, but they’re educating the public on their policies in the process. Now the question is, what happens when scandal swoops in and steals that spotlight? That’s where folks like Chris Lehane and characters like Kerstin (Jamie Chung) and Dimitris (Richard Schiff) step in.

Knife Fight stars Rob Lowe as Paul Turner, a fictional version of Lehane, the film’s co-writer. When a political candidate sleeps with a young office aide or takes a massage a little too far, Paul steps in to spin the situation in their favor. Paul’s incredibly good at what he does, but when a Kentucky governor and California senator screw up big time right before the election, there’s no way Paul can patch things up without the help of his assistant, Kerstin, and Dimitris, an operative who specializes in uncovering secrets.

Just six months away from the next presidential election, Knife Fight brings the campaign process to the forefront at the Tribeca Film Festival. In honor of the movie’s world premiere, Schiff and Chung were on hand to discuss their political knowhow, the pressure of shooting the full feature with a big ensemble cast in just a month, hopes for the film’s reception and more. Catch it all in the video interview below.

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Best/Worst Movie Promos of the Week: ‘Hotel Transylvania’ Rocks a Great Concept But Poor Executions

Poor The Expendables 2G.I. Joe Retaliation beat you to it. Both summer blockbusters delivered a slew of character posters this past week and not only were they released in a similar format, the collection of posters being distributed amongst a selection of online outlets, but both sets look quite similar. It’s tough to call one set better than the other, but G.I. Joe certainly stole some of The Expendables thunder.

We’ve got three new red-band trailers fighting for potty mouth glory. There’s the one for John Stalberg’s High School, which continues to look like an entertaining high school throwback, and then there’s the one for The Five-Year Engagement, which might incite a spike in the sale of the peony flower. Last up is the one from Hick and it proves that you don’t want to mess with Chloe Moretz. Forget all of Hit Girl’s crazy toys; all she needs here is a little firepower.

In somewhat tamer trailer territory, there’s a new one for the home invasion film Stash House. It looks tacky to the max, but the idea of Sean Faris and Briana Evigan battling with Dolph Lundgren just screams guilty pleasure. On the other hand, Lawless might be the real deal. The film was just selected to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and now it’s got a trailer with enough tension and drama to show it might be worthy of the honor.

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Tribeca Interview: Free Samples’ Jess Weixler

WARNING: You don’t want to be anywhere near Jillian if she has a hangover, hasn’t had her morning coffee, has to work on an ice cream truck for the day or if you’re in need of stamps. Sure, it’s fun to watch Jillian torment all of the customers at Mike’s Dream with her sour attitude, but lucky for me, Jess Weixler herself was quite the opposite and thrilled to talk about her Tribeca Film Festival entry Free Samples.

Weixler is Jillian, a law school dropout with little to do, but drink and give everyone around her a taste of her snarky personality. After a heavy night of drinking, Jillian’s best friend, Nancy (Halley Feiffer), wakes her far too early to beg her to operate her ice cream truck for the day so she can tend to family matters. While she has absolutely no problem showing Nancy how unhappy she is with the arrangement, Jillian gives in and boards the truck, Mike’s Dream, to dole out free samples.

While in New York supporting the film for its big debut, Weixler took the time to sit down and dish about taking on such a brash and potentially off-putting character, shooting in an ice cream truck on hot days and, perhaps most importantly, what happens if she doesn’t get her morning coffee. Check it all out in the video interview below.

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Tribeca Review: Deadfall

Antiheros can be a blast to watch on screen; there’s just enough heart to them to get you on their side, but at the same time, they’re deplorably ruthless. So is the case with Eric Bana’s Addison in Deadfall and on top of having him whip your perception around incessantly, there are a number of other lives at stake, making the situation wildly unpredictable and unnerving.

Bana and Olivia Wilde are Addison and Liza, a brother and sister that just wrapped a successful casino robbery. While trying to make their escape to Canada, their getaway car crashes, leaving their driver dead and Addison and Liza no choice, but to evade the police by foot.

They split up, Addison heading into the woods and Liza taking the road. Lucky for Liza, as a blizzard sets in, she comes across Jay (Charlie Hunnam), an ex-con heading home for Thanksgiving, and hitches a ride to a nearby hotel and bar to wait out the storm. Unfortunately for Addison, he’s stuck in the woods and the local police are hot on his trail.

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Tribeca Interview: Deadfall Director Stefan Ruzowitzky and Star Eric Bana

Who likes standing outside in the snow and freezing cold for hours on end? No one, but having material like Zach Dean’s screenplay for Deadfall and collaborators like director Stefan RuzowitzkyEric BanaOlivia WildeCharlie HunnamSissy SpacekKris Kristofferson and Kate Mara certainly helps.

Bana and Wilde lead as Addison and Liza, siblings who just pulled off a casino heist. However, while making off with their loot, they get into a car crash leaving them no choice, but to escape on foot. They split up, Addison heading into the woods and Liza taking the road where she hitches a ride with Jay (Hunnam). While she’s all comfy cozy at a local bar and motel, Addison is out battling subzero temperatures and the local cops for his freedom and life.

As Deadfall just made its big debut at the Tribeca Film Festival, Ruzowitzky and Bana were in town to discuss the project. We run through everything from getting into Addison’s head to working with a powerhouse ensemble cast to working on the more physically demanding moments and more. Give it a watch for yourself in the video below.

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Tribeca Interview: Sleepless Night Director Frédéric Jardin

How about a feature film involving a cop running frantically through a packed nightclub, music booming, and vicious fights and scuffles breaking out all over the place? Oh, and an in-motion car battle, too. Sounds like a blast right? Of course, but it also sounds like quite the challenge for director Frédéric Jardin.

Sleepless Night tells the story of Vincent (Tomer Sisley), a cop taking part in a drug heist that goes horribly wrong. Vincent gets the coke, but in the process, the enemy learns his identity. Shortly after, Vincent finds out his son has been kidnapped and the only way to get him back is to head over to Marciano’s (Serge Riaboukine) nightclub and return the drugs. Trouble is, a pair of Internal Affairs officers is onto him and when they spot Vincent in the nightclub, they complicate what could have been an easy handoff.

It’s been a little while since Jardin directed a feature film, but he’s certainly back in full force. Jardin was in town to celebrate Sleepless Night’s New York premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and took the time to sit down and chat about the process of bringing the story to life. We’ve got intimate shooting techniques, multi-country locations, sets packed full of extras and more. Check it all out in the video interview below.

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