Make 'Em Laugh: Tom Green Smacks Us in the Face with His First Stand-Up Comedy Special

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Tom Green. The man had his fifteen minutes, and they were actually fairly well-played. An irreverent and oddball MTV talk show, roles in a few pretty fun films – and a pretty magical film of his own.

At the start of Tom Green Live – Green’s first stand-up special – he explains that career trajectory. “I started my show in Canada, it got picked up by MTV, now I do a web show from my apartment. So my career is going well...”

“At least he’s philosophical,” I thought. I didn’t imagine how true that would be.

Apr
29
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: What Richard Did

whatricharddidRichard spent the weekend hanging out with his friends. Richard started dating Lara. Richard had a family cookout with his rugby coach. Richard grew jealous of Conor’s intimate friendship with Lara. Richard went shopping. And Richard slept with Lara at his family’s beach house. That’s what Richard did. Oh, and Richard killed someone.

Apr
29
2013
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Writer Brandon Auman Talks "Iron Man: Rise of Technovore", Marvel Animation, & More

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While Marvel has been kicking collective box office arse for the last few years when it comes to the increasingly popular blockbuster genre of comic book movies (with another one-two punch slated for this year via Shane Black's Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World), one area where it's been lagging behind its DC rival is in the department of animated features (and even animated series). Earlier this month, Marvel released the direct-to-video anime feature Iron Man: Rise of Technovore, and while far from perfect, it has some elements to make it memorable. We recently had the chance to fire off a few questions at Brandon Auman, the man behind the film's story and a longtime collaborator in Marvel's animation world, and here's what he had to say about Rise of Technovore, other Marvel projects, and the other animated series he's been working on.

Apr
29
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Mr. Jones

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Scott (Jon Foster) is an aspiring filmmaker with ambitions of making the most beautiful nature documentary the world has ever seen. He has sold his apartment and convinced his girlfriend Penny (Sarah Jones) to move with him to a dream house in the middle of nowhere. With no TV and hardly any cell phone coverage, there should be nothing to distract Scott from his work. Unfortunately, there is also nothing to distract Penny from the cracks forming in their relationship, and Scott's procrastination and increasingly poor decisions like going off his medication are pushing her to the edge. Everything changes, though, after Scott has a chance encounter with a stranger in the woods. Scott discovers the stranger is the enigmatic Mr. Jones, a legendary modern artist who mailed out his frightening scarecrow-like art pieces to complete strangers around the world back in the 1970s. Like Banksy, Mr. Jones isn't really his name, and no one knows his true identity or his motives behind sending his work to complete strangers, but as Scott and Penny dig deeper, they find that dark forces are at work in his art.

Apr
29
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Bending Steel

bending_steel_pubAt the core of humanity, there is a fundamental need to be accepted and find a place to belong. Some people find it in their family, friends, or romantic partners while others find it in their career or their religious faith. Bending Steel is the story of a man finally finding his place in the world in the most unexpected place, the world of olde time strongmen.

Apr
29
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: A Birder's Guide to Everything

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David Portnoy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) may have spotted the extinct Labrador Duck. Sure, David’s only a 15-year-old birder and still reeling from his mother’s death over a year ago, but he needs to place his faith in something, so why not this extinct bird (although he will deny later in the film that the bird is a metaphor for anything). It also doesn’t help that his father (James LeGros) is about to marry Juliana (Daniela Lavender), who was David’s mother’s nurse no less. Thus it is understandable that David wants to evade the wedding to track down the supposedly extinct duck.

Apr
27
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: The Pretty One

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Once upon a time not too long ago, in a land not unlike rural California, there were twin sisters (both played by Zoe Kazan) who were as different as night and day. Audrey was a social butterfly. She won every competition. She stole boys’ hearts. She had a chic sense of style. And she moved away from home not long after her mother’s death. Conversely, Laurel was a wallflower. She had only one winning ribbon to her name. She only got the boys who weren’t good enough to attract Audrey. She had a hipster sense of style. And she stayed home to take care of her father after her mother’s death.

Apr
26
2013
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Make 'Em Laugh: Kristen Schaal Pulls an Andy Kaufman While "Live at the Fillmore"

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Chances are if you're familiar with Kristen Schaal it's not as a stand-up comedian but as a voice actor (on the increasingly hysterical Bob's Burgers) or in various appearances on shows like 30 Rock, Flight of the Conchords, and The Daily Show with John Stewart. She's made a name for herself playing absurdly strange characters that often have more than a few screws loose, and it works for her. She plays that part extremely well because that's her sense of humor. Maybe that's why her stand-up special Kristen Schaal: Live at the Fillmore is such a polarizing one; it's not "ha ha" funny after its first 10 minutes at which point it nosedives into an Andy Kaufman-esque experiment of seeing just how conventional her audience's sense of comedy really is.

Apr
25
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

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While it may seem odd that acclaimed Indian filmmaker Mira Nair is tackling a film centered around a Pakistani man, she certainly doesn’t think so. What drew her to The Reluctant Fundamentalist was its new look at the Iraq and Afghantistan wars. She read the novel (of the same name) by author Mohsin Hamid and fell in love with the fresh new look at the psychology of this subject. While those stories are normally told from the American point of view, Fundamentalist looks at it through the eyes of a Pakistani man. The film delves into “the mutual suspicion with which America and Pakistan (or the Muslim world) look at one another.” And through this unique point of view, we can gain a deeper understanding of the cultural differences that have informed so much hate in our country.

Apr
25
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Trust Me

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The newest movie by filmmaker Clark Gregg (aka The Avengers' Agent Coulson) delves into his surprisingly “ambiguous feelings” for the movie-making business—specifically the world of child actors and their agents. Playing one of those notorious agents himself, Gregg brings to life the down-on-his-luck Howard Holloway. Struggling to retain a single client while combating his highly successful archnemesis Aldo Shocklee (Sam Rockwell in a mercifully focused and comedic performance—unlike in A Case of You), Howard fears his days in the business are numbered.

Apr
24
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

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Elaine Stritch is an iconic actress of both the stage and screen. Now well into her mid-80s she is still pushing herself to produce quality performances. But between her battle with alcoholism and combating a serious case of diabetes, Stritch is starting to grow weary. Not that she’ll let that stop her from helming yet another one-woman cabaret show (with a multi-city tour to boot). So one week after spotting Stritch at her hair salon, filmmaker Chiemi Karasawa agreed with her hair stylist’s suggestion that she should make a documentary about Stritch.

Karasawa immediately went home to research Stritch, having only a passing knowledge of her career. And after only a brief examination, Karasawa was hooked on the actress. Through Stritch’s close friend and music director Rob Bowman, Karasawa was able to woo the actress; and the result was the enlightening documentary Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me.

Apr
24
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys

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Comedian Patton Oswalt once said the reason why he loved the Coen Brothers' films is because they drop you in a place and a time, and they don't explain much. Rather than acting as tour guide through their world, they expect the audience to be smart and guide themselves through the experience. Jessica Oreck takes a similar approach to the animal documentary with Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys. There is no Morgan Freeman narration to lead the audience through the happy shiny world of reindeer herding, but as someone who has seen plenty of those Morgan Freeman nature documentaries, this was a needed change of pace.

Apr
24
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Deep Powder

large_DEEP_POWDER_2It’s the early 1980’s; and the Deep Powder Alpine Country Club is a secret society at the savvy and prestigious New England boarding school, Mount Ambrose. The teenage members of this club—easily resembling Gossip Girl characters—enjoy skiing (both kinds); and, once a year, one lucky member makes a drug run to Ecuador for some high-grade cocaine. Based on true events, Deep Powder follows the dramatic final year of this club and the resulting investigation into their illicit actions.

Apr
23
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: A Case of You

large_a_case_of_you_1A Case of You is a romantic comedy for the 21st century. When Sam (Justin Long) tries to woo the aloof girl at the coffee shop, Birdie (Evan Rachel Wood), he stalks her Facebook profile to transform himself into the man of her dreams. Such is the exact setup you would expect from a rom com, and A Case of You does not fail to meet the rote expectations of its genre.

Apr
23
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Reaching for the Moon

large_reaching_for_the_moon_1_pubsReaching for the Moon is based on the real-life romance between poet Elizabeth Bishop (Miranda Otto) and architect Lota de Macedo Soares (Gloria Pires) in Rio de Janeiro in the 1950s. At the start of the film, Elizabeth travels to Rio de Janeiro to visit her best friend from college Mary (Tracy Middendorf) who lives in Brazil's lush paradise with her lover Lota. She only plans on staying for a few days, but circumstances change when Lota and Elizabeth unexpectedly fall for each other.

Apr
23
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: G.B.F.

large_gbf_2In suburban high schools, the G.B.F. (or Gay Best Friend, for those not up on the vernacular) is the hot new thing. The only problem for the students in G.B.F.? There are no gay students at the school—at least not openly gay. But Brent Van Camp (Paul Iacono) plans to change all that by coming out and using the most popular girls in school to launch him to the top as Prom King. What ensues is a pop culture-infused meta comedy with Game of Thrones manipulation.

Apr
23
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Interview with “Dark Touch” Writer/Director Marina de Van

MarinadeVaninSitcomThe day after her film Dark Touch premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, I got the chance to sit down with the film's writer and director Marina de Van and ask her a few questions about the film and her philosophy toward filmmaking. Why does she tackle such dark subject matter? What was her favorite scene to film, and which one was just painful? Why does pop culture love telekinetic girls like Carrie, Matilda, and Neve? All these questions answered and more.

Apr
23
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

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Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? is a sweet and often silly ensemble comedy in the vein of Love Actually following two couples as they stand at the crossroads in their relationship. Weichung (Richie Jen) and Feng (Mavis Fan) are seemingly happily married. Weichung has just been promoted to manager of a local eyeglass store, and Feng does well enough in her job to remain employed, though her constant tardiness is a problem. Together, they have a son, and though he might lack a few social skills, he is a well-behaved kid. Feng's parents, however, are pushing Feng and Weichung to have another child so that their son will have a sibling and by their logic won't be such an odd introvert. What Feng's parents don't know is that Weichung is gay and deeply in denial about his true feelings. 

Apr
21
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Oxyana

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I am a huge fan of the FX series Justified, a show about drug trafficking and Southern “mountain justice.” Before I saw the documentary Oxyana, I had a hard time believing that characters like Boyd Crowder actually existed in real life. Now, I suspect that if the town of Oceana, West Virginia was adapted into a TV show, people wouldn't believe the insanity happening in this real town.

Apr
21
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton

1196751612001_2255539658001_vs-51521627e4b064b78be6269a-1592194044001At the pre-festival screenings for the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival, I happened to see two documentaries about two very different filmmakers in one night. First up was Michael H – Profession: Director, a profile of Michael Haneke's work and approach to filmmaking, and the second film was Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton, a look at the life and work of filmmaker/poet James Broughton.

Apr
21
2013
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