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‘The Comedian’ and ‘The Book of Love’ Seeing Limited Release This Weekend

Two independent films are seeing a limited theatrical release this weekend. The first is a comedy from Oscar-winning director Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentlemen, Ray) titled The Comedian. Robert De Niro stars as an aging insult comic who must learn to adapt his art for the modern world of technology, YouTube, and social media. De Niro is backed by an outstanding supporting cast including Leslie Mann (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), Danny DeVito (Hoffa, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), Billy Crystal (When Harry Met Sally, Analyze This), Harvey Keitel (Mean Streets, Reservoir Dogs), Edie Falco (The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie), and Patti Lupone (Witness, City by the Sea). Despite having an impressive cast and director, the film has received incredibly harsh reviews from critics, who complain the potential of the cast and director are overshadowed by asinine, old-school comedy. Judging from the trailer, however, it looks like an entirely crowd-pleasing, worthy-of-the-times comedy, so don’t leave it off of your list just because of a few critics with no sense of humor! The Comedian is expected to see an expanded release in early February, so look for it in theaters for a good Valentines date! Continue reading

New Indie Drama ‘Captain Fantastic’ Seeing Limited Theatrical Release This Weekend

A new independent drama starring Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, A History of Violence) is seeing a limited theatrical release this Friday. Written and directed by Matt Ross (The Aviator, Silicon Valley), Captain Fantastic tells the story of a man who raises and home schools his six children in the countryside. After his wife commits suicide, however, they are forced to move into the city, and he soon discovers the children are not prepared for the realities of life in the city. The film won Un Certain Regard Award for directing at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and also took home the Golden Space Needle Award at the Seattle International Film Festival. Starring in the film are actors George McKay (Defiance, Pride), Samantha Isler (Sean Saves the World, Dig Two Graves), Annalise Besso (Standing Up, Oculus), Nicholas Hamilton (Long Shadows, Strangerland), Shree Crooks (Ray Donovan, American Horror Story), Charlie Shotwell (The Comedians, Shot Down), and comedic vets Steve Zahn (Saving Silverman, Sahara) and Kathryn Hahn (Step Brothers, Parks and Recreation). Continue reading

Check Your Local Listings For This Week’s Limited Releases

Along with Papa Hemingway in Cuba, there are some great limited releases hitting theaters this weekend. First off is a new drama from actor-turned-director Jason Bateman (Arrested Development, Horrible Bosses), Nicole Kidman (Eyes Wide Shut, The Interpreter), Christopher Walken (Pulp Fiction, Catch Me If You Can), and Catherine Hahn (Step Brothers, Parks and Recreation) titled The Family Fang, which is based on the book by Kevin Wilson. The film follows a brother and sister as they return home in search of their famous parents, who have gone missing. Seems fairly promising, but you can be the judge.

Next up is an Italian film titled The Wait (L’attesa) from director Piero Messina (La Porta, Terra) and starring internationally known actress Juliette Binoche (The English Patient, Godzilla) about a mother who unexpectedly meets her future daughter-in-law at a villa in Sicily and waits with her for her son to arrive, concealing some dark secret the entire time. Continue reading

New Biopic On US President Johnson Underway With Woody Harrelson

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Actor Woody Harrelson in full make-up and costume on the set of LBJ.

Principle photography is currently underway on a new biographical drama from Oscar-nominee Rob Reiner (The Princess Bride, A Few Good Men), titled LBJ. Leading the film as President Johnson is fellow Oscar-nominee Woody Harrelson (Zombieland, True Detective), with Jennifer Jason Leigh (Road To Perdition, The Machinist), C. Thomas Howell (E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, The Amazing Spider-Man), Bill Pullman (Spaceballs, Independence Day), Jeffery Donovan (Changeling, Burn Notice), and Richard Jenkins (The Indian in the Cupboard, Step Brothers). The plot is expected to range from 1959 to 1964, covering Johnson’s time in the Senate, Vice-Presidency under John F. Kennedy, and his subsequent term as President after Kennedy’s assassination, coming from a script by Joey Hartstone (Project Runway). Johnson faced several large issues during his time as President, including the beginning of the Vietnam conflict and the Civil Rights Movement. We’ll keep an eye on this one as it progresses, but as of now the film does not have an exact release date. Stay tuned.

New Dramas ‘Black Mass’ and ‘Sicario’ Now Playing In Theaters

At last the day has come for Johnny Depp fans that have been dying to see him return to some more gritty and adult-oriented work to jump for joy! The new drama Black Mass from director Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace), which chronicles the relationship between notorious Boston-mobster Whitey Bulger and FBI special agent John Connolly that saw much of Bulger’s competition taken off the streets, is now playing in theaters across the country. Reviews, thus far, have been somewhat surprising: Depp’s performance has been praised as a triumphant return to more in-depth characters, but the film, itself, plays out more like a gangster-parody movie. Either way it remains one of the year’s most highly anticipated films. Also appearing in the supporting cast are actors Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Exodus: Gods and Kings), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Fifth Estate, The Imitation Game), Dakota Johnson (The Social Network, 21 Jump Street), Kevin Bacon (Apollo 13, Mystic River), Peter Sarsgaard (Flightplan, Jarhead), and Adam Scott (Step Brothers, Parks & Recreation). Also playing in theaters is the new drama Sicario from director Denis Villeneuve (Enemy, Prisoners), with actors Emily Blunt (The Five-Year Engagement, Edge of Tomorrow), Josh Brolin (American Gangster, No Country For Old Men), and Benicio Del Toro (The Usual Suspects, Traffic), which revolves around the War on Drugs along the US-Mexican border. I think it’s a fair bet that your money will be well spent seeing either of these, so put both titles on your ‘Must-See’ list and enjoy the weekend!

New Thriller From M. Night Shyamalan ‘The Visit’ Now Playing In Theaters

It seems like we’ve gone a long time without seeing a scary movie from M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs) open on the big screens, but a new thriller from the iconic writer/director is opening in theaters across the country today. This will be his first feature film since 2013’s After Earth; he most recently served as executive producer for the television series Wayward Pines, after writing a couple of episodes for After Hours. He also has an undisclosed project that is still in the early production stages. The new release is titled The Visit and follows two siblings on a visit to see their grandparents, but things turn very strange and the trip proves to be everything but an ordinary trip to grandma’s house. Leading the cast as the two kids are Olivia DeJonge (The Sisterhood of Night, Polarized) and Ed Oxenbould (Paper Planes, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day), with actors Deanna Dunagan (Running Scared, Dimension), Peter McRobbie (Spider-Man 2, Lincoln), and Kathryn Hahn (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Step Brothers) making up the supporting cast. Shyamalan screened the movie at ComicCon in San Diego and received positive reviews from audiences there, who report a really crazy twist in pure M. Night Shyamalan style. I’ll just say it’s about time. The trailer is featured above. Enjoy the weekend!

New Drama ‘A Walk in the Woods’ Now Playing In Theaters

A new drama from director Ken Kwapis (Malcolm in the Middle, The Office) titled A Walk in the Woods is now playing on big screens across the country. Screenwriters Bill Holderman (Lions for Lambs, The Conspirator) and Rick Kerb (who is actually Little Miss Sunshine writer Michael Arndt) adapted the film from author Bill Bryson‘s book about his returning to the United States after living abroad in England for nearly two decades and the “walk in the woods” trek across the American Appalachia he undertook with his oldest friend. Starring as Bryson in the lead role is Oscar-winner Robert Redford (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men), with fellow Oscar-winner Emma Thompson (Love Actually, Men in Black 3) and Oscar-nominee Nick Nolte (Affliction, Warrior) appearing in the supporting cast. Oscar-winner Mary Steenburgen (Elf, Step Brothers) and Nick Offerman (Parks & Recreation, 21 Jump Street) can also be seen in the film. The trailer is available here on MADE. Enjoy the weekend!

Catch This Week’s Limited Releases Opening In Theaters This Weekend

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Indie films hardly get the public recognition they deserve outside of the circle of internationally known film festivals, or national premieres outside of New York City or Los Angeles (the recently released Mr. Holmes with Sir Ian McKellen and Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence serve as perfect examples). But that’s not to say I wouldn’t recommend seeing any of these. This week several such projects will be seeing limited releases on big screens across the country. First on the list is Grandma from writer/director Paul Weitz (About A Boy, In Good Company), which follows a young teenager, Sage, as she goes to her grandmother, Elle Reid, for help when finding herself in a tight spot. The two embark on a day-long journey of self discovery and life reflection that brings both a sense of comfort and motivation to the audience. Actresses Lily Tomlin (Nine to Five, I Heart Huckabees), Julia Garner (Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Perks of Being a Wallflower), and Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River, Into The Wild) will be leading the cast on this one. Next on the list is The Last Picture Show director Peter Bogdanovich‘s She’s Funny That Way, starring Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later, Filth), Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers, Midnight in Paris), Jennifer Aniston (Horrible Bosses, We’re The Millers), and Kathryn Hahn (Step Brothers, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty). Given the plot of this one revolves around a love-triangle on the set of a Broadway production in New York, I would recommend this one as a good date-night movie. Last, but not least, is another romantic comedy (you would think it’s Valentine’s Day weekend!) called Some Kind of Beautiful from director Tom Vaughn (What Happens in Vegas, Extraordinary Measures). Pierce Brosnan (GoldenEye, The Thomas Crown Affair), Salma Hayek (From Dusk Til Dawn, Desperado), Jessica Alba (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Awake), and Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, The Artist) lead the cast in this tale of a Cambridge poetry professor who comes to a type of midlife crises when he begins to reevaluate his life. All three selections are rated R due to some pretty heavy content, but I think they are all definitely worth seeing, so be sure to check your local theater listings for showtimes in your area, and as always…Enjoy!!

‘Black Mass’ Opening In Theaters This September

Oscar-nominee Johnny Depp (Blow, Public Enemies) has recently been working on new installments for the Pirates of the Caribbean and Alice in Wonderland franchises, plus dealing with his girlfriend being locked up in Australia for smuggling canine’s into the country. But his next big project with director Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace) is currently gearing up for the big screen this September. Black Mass, which we’ve been following for some time now, stars Depp as Whitey Bulger, perhaps the most violent and notorious gangster in the history of South Boston. The film comes from the book Black Mass: The Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill and chronicles Bulger’s partnership with FBI agent John Connolly, who long delayed the bureau’s capture of Bulger by focusing his attention on Bulger’s competitors. The movie has undergone several changes over the last year, including director Barry Levinson and actor Tom Hardy being attached at various points in the production. Making up the final supporting cast include actors Dakota Johnson (21 Jump Street, Fifty Shades of Grey), Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Exodus: Gods and Kings), Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Imitation Game), Kevin Bacon (Apollo 13, Mystic River), Adam Scott (Step Brothers, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), and Peter Sarsgaard (Jarhead, Flightplan). The book by Lehr and O’Neill was adapted for the big screen by Jez Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow, Get On Up) and Mark Mallouk (Rush, A Walk Among The Tombstones). Watch the full-length trailer here on MADE, and be sure to mark your calendars for September 18th!

Statue Stories-Chicago Launches In Lincoln Park

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The Bean in Chicago’s Millenium Park will also be featured as part of Statue Stories Chicago.

A new project here in Chicago is launching this week in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. The project is called Statue Stories Chicago, an idea which first launched in parks in Britain and Chicago is now the first US city to feature the attraction. 31 statues in Lincoln Park will feature new icons that Chicagoans and tourists can scan with their smart phones and then receive a phone call from ‘the statue’ informing them of who they are and providing a small bit of history behind the statue as well. For example, if you were to scan the icon next to the statue of Abraham Lincoln, you would receive a phone call from Abraham Lincoln, whose voice is provided by actor John C. Reilly (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Step-Brothers). The project is the work of Colette Hiller, who has worked with theaters around the city, including Second City, Steppenwolf, The Goodman, and The Looking Glass, to bring the attractions to life. Other actors taking part in the project include Steve Carrell (The Office, Little Miss Sunshine), David Schwimmer (Friends, Six Days Seven Nights), and Chicago-native Bob Newhart (The Bob Newhart Show, Elf), who provides the voice for his own statue at Navy Pier. So if you’re in Lincoln Park be sure to check out these new talking statues!