Tag Archives: Jesse Eisenberg

Interview: Night Moves’ Peter Sarsgaard & Dakota Fanning

Night_Moves“To cook meat well, don’t touch it too much.”  According to Peter Sarsgaard, that’s the approach writer-director Kelly Reichardt takes to her movies and you can absolutely see that in her latest, Night Moves.  Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning lead as Josh and Dena, a couple and pair of environmental activists determined to blow up a dam in Oregon.  In order to get the job done, they team up with Sarsgaard’s Harmon, a former Marine who has a little more knowhow.  Even though the trio actually manages to pull it off, their success doesn’t have the intended effect and instead leaves them suffering the consequences themselves.

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‘Now You See Me’: The Magic Behind the Movie

Now_You_See_Me_Blu_RayNow You See Me may have opened at number two with a modest $29.4 million, but three months later, the film is still in theaters, has accumulated over $300 million worldwide, and earned itself a sequel. And that’s all before the Four Horsemen wow the crowds on home video. In honor of the film’s September 3 DVD and Blu-ray release, we take a look back at some of the best behind-the-scenes magic tricks, straight from the Now You See Me 5 Pointz set.

Producer Bobby Cohen pointed out, “If I do a magic trick in front of you right now, if I pull a rabbit out of a hat, it has power, right? Because it’s right in front of you. But, a movie audience, if they see you pull a rabbit out of a hat, they go, ‘Well, you know, you did a CG thing or you turned the camera off and then you put the rabbit in and turned the camera back on.’” Sounds pretty accurate, right? That’s one of the major challenges Cohen and company faced with Now You See Me, but the filmmakers also had a plan to ensure they pulled it off. Cohen elaborated, “The way to make a movie about magic work is that the whole movie itself has to be a trick, and so that’s sort of what we’ve done. We’ve constructed the whole movie as if it has sort of the three acts of a great trick, and that was really fun to do.”

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Tribeca Interview: Free Samples’ Jason Ritter

A guy like Jason Ritter likely has a nice pick of leading role opportunities, but when the right material and collaborators come along, he’s got no problem taking on a supporting part like Wally in Free Samples.

The film stars Jess Weixler as a law school dropout who bartends sporadically and indulges in booze herself far more regularly. After a hard night of drinking, she’s suckered into working on her friend’s ice cream truck for the day, a day that consists of no coffee, bad ice cream and a ton of customers that don’t go well with a hangover. However, a visit from her good friend Wally makes for a nice visit thanks to a certain lifelong dream of his.

While celebrating Free Samples’ world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, Ritter took the time to sit down and talk about working with Weixler and director Jay Gammill, dropping his pants on set, a certain little couch accident and much more. Watch it all in the video interview below.

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Tribeca Interview: Free Samples Director Jay Gammill and Star Tippi Hedren

A first feature is an intimidating task no matter what, but for Jay Gammill, the odds were in his favor in a lot of ways. 

Gammill’s film Free Samples stars Jess Weixler as Jillian, a recent law school dropout who’s drowning her sorrows in alcohol and letting anyone and everyone feel the wrath of her sour attitude. When her best friend suckers her into manning her ice cream truck for the day, Jess hands out some free samples, but not without giving every costumer a hard time. However, as the day progresses, not only does Jess encounter people she actually thinks deserve her respect, like Tippi Hedren’s former Hollywood starlet, Betty, but comes to some personal revelations as well. 

Not only was Gammill fortunate enough to find a writer he was totally in tune with, but he landed Weixler as his lead as well as Hedren, Jason Ritter, Jesse Eisenberg and more top-notch talent. Sure, it wasn’t easy shooting a film that takes place primarily in a rather small ice cream truck during a single sunny day, but they pulled through and came out with a film that was worthy of playing in the Tribeca Film Festival. 

Hear all about Free Samples from Gammill and Hedren in the video interview below.

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Review: 30 Minutes or Less

Why do pizza places offer the “30 minutes or free” deal? I’d like to bet most aren’t doing it to be nice. If your product is so-so, you’ve got to offer other incentives to beat out the competition. Well, 30 Minutes or Less falls into that realm. At a light 83 minutes, it doesn’t ask too much of you, making you far more accepting of the final product. No, not a compliment, but, admit it; you totally opt for the quick, easy and cheap pizza most of the time, right?

Nick and Chet (Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari) are best buddies and roommates. They’ve got their differences – Chet’s got a more promising career, Nick’s got a thing for Chet’s sister, Chet told a secret that ruined Nick’s parents’ marriage – but none of that matters today because today is the day that Nick gets a bomb strapped to his chest and they’re forced to put their differences aside so he doesn’t end up a big, fiery pile of mush.

The guys responsible for Nick’s situation are Dwayne and Travis (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson). Dwayne’s got a problem with his pop, a millionaire courtesy of the lottery, who gives Dwayne a tough time about his lack of brains and ambition. One day, his dad goes too far and Dwayne hatches a plan to hire a hitman, kill his father and then inherit the money for himself. Problem is, he needs money to pay a hitman. That’s where Nick comes in. Dwayne and Travis pose as dudes hungry for a pizza and when Nick comes to deliver the goods, they ambush him, strap the firepower to him and demand he robs a bank for them or they’ll blow him up.

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Oscars 2011: Forget Who Should Win, This Is Who I Want To Win

With just a day left to go until the big show, I’d like to bet you’ve had enough Oscar predictions – especially considering quite a handful of the biggest honors are considered locks. Well, I offer you something a little different; not who I think will win, but who I think should win.

Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Every Best Picture nominee achieves some degree of filmmaking prowess, otherwise, they wouldn’t be nominated in the first place. Rather than pick apart the elements and compare the contenders by the writing, directing acting, etc., this category comes down to something far simpler, yet something tougher to achieve – poignancy. Which of these films moved me most? Toy Story 3 left me in tears, 127 Hours with a knot in my stomach and Inception with my head spinning, but it was The King’s Speech that was overwhelmingly rousing. This is such a special film for so many reasons and those reasons will likely be rewarded in the other categories, but in terms of the Best Picture Oscar alone, my fingers are crossed for The King Speech based on its incredible ability to connect my heartstrings to those of the characters in the film and tug on them all the way through.

I’ll Be Pissed If This Wins: Inception
Inception may be endlessly interesting and responsible for countless summertime debates, but an Oscar for Best Picture? Come on. On top of that, even after all the discussions, who can say they really understand the movie through and through? It was fun while it lasted, but Inception’s infinite twists and turns aren’t enough for the film to stand the test of time as well as its contenders.

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Perri’s Top 10 Films Of 2009

I’ve always seen a lot of movies, but thanks to my ever-increasing workload at CinemaBlend.com and a few other film-related websites, I’ve spent a significant amount of 2009 in the theater. While it wasn’t always pleasant, the discovery of a handful of gems made every minute worth it.

Rather than go directly to the movies that achieved near-filmmaking perfection, my mind gravitates towards the ones that I walked out of with the biggest grin on my face. I have an easy time seeing why particular films are award-worthy, but that doesn’t mean they’re entertaining. While every film on this list isn’t without flaws, the immense amount of fun I had watching them makes those faults completely irrelevant.

I’ve made great memories with friends and family throughout the year, but a significant part of my life is movies, and these are the ones that made 2009 such a blast.

Having spent much of my childhood at the amusement park Adventureland is based on, I had very high expectations for the film. When it soared above and beyond my hopes, Adventureland became an instant favorite. Greg Mottola puts together a perfect combination of humor, romance and drama to create a film that strikes a chord on many levels. This is also where my infatuation with Jesse Eisenberg begins. He’s nerdy and awkward yet strangely appealing. He’s got an unusual charm that’s sure to make you sympathetic towards his character.

Awesome Quote: “If someone wins a giant assed panda on your watch you should just go home cause you’re fired, OK?”

This is the travesty of the year. How did this film not have a better showing at the box office? It’s novel, fun and features a stellar cast. Similarly to Adventureland, Whip It combines a wide range of emotions that successfully makes it a drama, comedy and action film neatly wrapped up into one. Drew Barrymore does an excellent job her first go-around in the director’s chair while simultaneously providing a chunk of the film’s comic relief. Ellen Paige carries the film with ease and is surrounded by a number of minor yet profound characters.

Awesome Quote: “I like smart girls. That’s why I married your mama. Well, that and I knocked her up.”

And so my Jesse Eisenberg obsession continues. I’ll always remember Zombieland as the film that turned around one of my worst days of the year. I walked into the theater in an intensely sour mood and walked out a different person. When you think about it, the plot (beyond the whole zombie thing) may be a little thin, but that flaw is completely washed over by the sharp dialogue and on point cinematography. Zombieland is Tallahassee’s (Woody Harrelson) zombie stomping ground and I had a blast being a part of it the entire time.

Awesome Quote: “Sno-Balls? Sno-Balls? Where the fuck are the God damn Twinkies?”

Moon is beautiful in its simplicity. With just one primary actor and one primary location, director and co-writer Duncan Jones is able to create an elaborate situation with an eerie undertone guaranteed to make your heart ache. Sam Rockwell’s work is remarkably powerful. The concept may have come from the mind of Jones, but it’s Rockwell’s performance that generates the raw emotion. Moon is completely character driven and Rockwell does exactly what’s necessary to make you frustrated yet enthralled by Sam Bell’s situation.

Awesome Quote: “I hope life on Earth is everything you remember it to be.”

When you can watch an entire movie from the theater floor and still not want it to end, it’s a damn good movie. Once The Hurt Locker began I completely forgot about the consequence I was suffering after arriving at the theater far too late. This movie is explosive in every sense of the word. Even when the film’s pace slows – deactivating a bomb is quite the tedious process – my heart is racing. The suspense is so intense it makes me sweat just as much, if not more, than Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner) himself.

Awesome Quote: “If I’m gonna die, I want to die comfortable.”

This is the alien invasion movie we’ve all been waiting for. The premise is ingenious, the story extremely well told and, best of all, the film isn’t tarnished after getting a look at the ETs. Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley) and Christopher Johnson are the ultimate tag team. The transformation of the two characters is immense and I am fully engaged every step of the way. The fact that they’ve got some pretty cool toys to play with only enhances the action. The movie leaves the door wide open for a sequel, and in this case, I really hope someone takes advantage of it.

Awesome Quote: “When dealing with aliens, try to be polite, but firm. And always remember that a smile is cheaper than a bullet.”

Paranormal Activity scared the absolute shit out of me. I let myself become fully engrossed in the situation and my openness paid off big time. It breaks my heart to see such a fantastic film tarnished by its own success. Of course if you walk in all macho with the attitude that this little film can’t scare you, you’ll ruin the effect. Well, that’s nobody’s fault but your own and you’re really missing out. Who needs blood and guts when just $11,000, some simple ingenuity and crafty camera work can give an audience nightmares? This really is the little film that could.

Awesome Quote: “How about we just get a Ouija Board, find out what it wants, and just give it what it wants, and then, you know, it’s gone?” “Because what it probably wants is Katie.”

It’s awkward to go from a movie with an ultra-low budget to one of the priciest, but every penny James Cameron spent making Avatar is justified. This is the most unlikely four-quadrant film. Between the stellar animation, the action, the romance and the fascinating characters, there’s something for everyone here, but what makes Avatar truly special is the quality of all of those elements. Between the complexity of the situation on Pandora and the planet’s vast amount of environmental details, you’ll forget Avatar clocks in at over two and a half hours. In fact, you’ll wish it were longer.

Awesome Quote: “Everything is backwards now, like out there is the true world and in here is the dream.”

Up In The Air made me feel funny. It took quite a while after I walked out of the theater to sort through a barrage of thoughts and realize I was emotionally overwhelmed by it. Director/co-writer Jason Reitman takes just what he needs from Walter Kirn’s book and adds wonderfully appropriate details to make the concepts just as effective on screen. As luck would have it (for Reitman at least), Up In The Air landed at the perfect time to hit home for anyone suffering from unemployment. It doesn’t put a fairytale spin on a brutal situation, yet doesn’t leave you hopeless and dejected. It just gives you the sense that things happen for a reason and change will come in due time.

Awesome Quote: “I’m like my mother, I stereotype. It’s faster.”

While putting this list together, nine of the movies were shuffled around until they fell into the appropriate spot, but not for a moment did I rethink awarding Inglourious Basterds the number one position. The more I watch it, the more I’m convinced that it’s absolutely perfect. It’s impossible to pick a favorite scene because there isn’t one second of this film I don’t thoroughly look forward to seeing. Every line of dialogue is quotable, every performance commendable and every moment well thought out by Quentin Tarantino. Inglourious Basterds is a technical, narrative and entertainment masterpiece and I look forward to making it part of my life for many years to come.

Awesome Quote: “That’s a bingo!”

Thanks for reading and have a happy and healthy New Year!

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