Grant Pearse and I designed the kinetic costume/weapon suit for Patrick Spring in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. Here are some nice shots by Grant of the helmet. We relied on the amazingly talented guys at IRL Creative for fabrication. White Monkey Studio made the awesome back pack piece.
Never Gonna Fall for Modern Love: Doremus Deftly Navigates the Hurtles of Millennial Romance
Acute technological advancement has proffered up new, albeit problematic conceptions as regards human interaction, despite an increased, viable sustainability as far as globalization, mobilization, and efficient worldwide communication. But the onslaught of social media over the past decade, a tidal wave of increasingly derivative hook-up apps as a logical extension of the ‘connection initially suggested by Facebook, has only become a bane to the romantic notion of romance, sold to us through centuries of classical literature, poetry, and eventually pop songs, or contemporary box office ‘women’s pictures,’ such as the now vintage American Sweetheart icons like Meg Ryan or Julia Roberts. All of these venues have set certain standards, certain manipulations, and nearly all of them are incredibly false, dangerously doctored, even maddeningly inept. And worse, it’s been even harder to capture the mood of such a swiftly changing social interaction landscape, especially as regards the generation coined millennials, a group of youngsters coming up in the world who have seemingly found succor in the new now casualness of love as a revolving door of romantic interludes. Perhaps it’s because many of us have little interest in the inherent navel gazing which would accompany a realistic portrait of young pretty people and their way of interacting—because we’d be staring at them as they stare at their smart phones. But one of the most compelling and sincerely engaging examples of this has to be Drake Doremus’ latest film Newness, a project quickly conceived and filmed, inspired by the death of actor Anton Yelchin (to whom the film is dedicated and who starred in Doremus’ 2011 film Like Crazy, heretofore a beloved indie standard on the propinquity problems regarding love). In his latest, a young heterosexual couple attempts to navigate a relationship within a new social media crazed era of casual hook-ups and no strings attached interaction.
Pharmacy tech Martin (Nicholas Hoult) and rehabilitation therapist Gabi (Laia Costa) are two young twentysomethings grappling with the dwindling shelf-life that is modern romance amidst the hook-up app culture. Both engaged in a series of non-committal flings in Los Angeles, they meet one night after both experiencing milquetoast interaction earlier the same evening. A night of unexpected flirtatious chemistry eventually leads to a complicated series of situations leading the couple through the fluctuations of an open relationship.
What is perhaps most refreshing about Doremus’ Newness, despite its incontestable heterosexual perspective, is how hook-up apps have contributed to the erosion of archaic attitudes regarding monogamy in the heteronormative assertions of what a relationship is supposed to look like. For any couple, no matter the sexual orientation, to exist outside of the perceived standard is difficult, even when, admittedly, it’s a standard most people find oppressive. And so, Newness has, perhaps accidentally, a universality to it considering young straight people now having access to the same platforms to consume one another as casually as gay men have been so furiously doing over the past decade. In the realm of heterosexual cinematic coupledom, Newness feels invigorating compared to something like Katie Aselton’s The Freebie (2010), which is only a few years older but seems grueling, torturous and hopeless as regards challenging the status quo.
Doremus and DP Sean Stiegemeier refreshingly keep the film focused tightly on their characters, rather than letting them disappear into (or pose as cyphers for) their iPhones. The devices play an important, catalyzing role, but aren’t the main focus, allowing for a strong emotional pulse as we watch Gabi and Martin go through (perhaps familiar) stages to anyone who has felt themselves devoted to another’s happiness and pleasurable fulfillment. The Los Angeles setting, a sprawling, contemporary metropolis filled with interactions regarded as transactions, and filled with transitory personalities constantly hustling for either money or fame rather than something as complicated and time consuming as love, is the perfect arena to explore this modern ennui. Shots of Silver Lake, Echo Park, and downtown Los Angeles add to the film’s gilded beauty, and we can sense the pulse of the city and its nightlife oozing around the central couple, who allow themselves to be more defined by ‘dating’ than their occupations, even.
Perhaps Doremus’ most succinctly tantalizing and compelling film to date, Newness does fit neatly, even predictably within his already well-established oeuvre. It will garner most obvious comparison to 2011’s breakout Like Crazy, in which Anton Yelchin stars as a young man who carries on a lengthy long-distance romance with Felicity Jones in the UK, only to find his dreams and fantasies crumble. There is a different sort of crumbling in Newness, as well as a more mature sense of the constant rebuilding and frequent adaptation which must occur within any successful relationship framework. Screenwriter Ben York Jones (who penned Doremus’ Like Crazy and 2013’s Breathe In) does an admirable job building believable stages of experimentation and delusion in this central relationship, although many sequences feel the performers have been given room to improvise.
The irony of Newness rightly depicts how our constant online interconnectedness has only caused a deep seated sense of isolation, and like many of Doremus’ other films, two people must overcome a significant obstacle in order to be together (distance; marriage to another; a dystopic sanction against emotion). Eerily, his latest is perhaps more comparable to 2015’s futuristic Equals, also headlined by Hoult in a world where emotion and love have been completely eradicated. Here, the performer gives a well-rounded performance as a young man with considerable familial emotional baggage, and as his counterpart, Spanish actress Laia Costa (headliner of Sebastian Schipper’s single-take wonder Victoria, 2015) proves once more what a captivating screen presence she is as a young woman attempting to figure out what exactly she wants from life and love.
A tangential flirtation and eventually fatal distraction she develops with a non-committal older wealthy man played Danny Huston (perfectly cast) also unfolds naturally, building to a certain wisdom quite rare in cinematic endeavors on what people want and what they choose. A pit-stop moment where the couple visits a book reading by a woman exploring the nature and consequences of engaging in an open relationship yields the film’s best advice, “Think of it not as the destination, but the layover.”
Reviewed on January 25th at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival – Premieres Program. 117 Min.
- See more at: http://www.ioncinema.com/reviews/newness-drake-doremus-review#sthash.FRF2hbcA.dpuf
'Documentary Now!' a ridiculously wonderful anthology of doc parodies
I mean no disrespect — if anything, I mean respect — when I say that it is only the established star power of on-screen creators Fred Armisen and Bill Hader and off-camera co-creator Seth Meyers that could make a show like "Documentary Now!" a reality.
The series, whose six-episode season begins Thursday on IFC, is an anthology of affectionate, informed parodies of documentary styles and films, framed as a 50th anniversary celebration of landmark works from a fictional public-broadcasting program. (Your host: Helen Mirren.) The references range from Robert Flaherty's genre-defining "Nanook of the North," to a nostalgia-tinged rock doc, to the contemporary quick-cut, split-screen, graphics-happy, globe-trotting hipster journalism purveyed by Vice.
Even given the occasional raised profile of documentary film, as when "The Jinx" took over the world recently, there is something unlikely about this show — a show for geeks, by geeks.
And yet, as specific as the humor can be — there are jokes about Janus Films, "The Great Train Robbery" and craft services — it's also a framework for slapstick and dress-up, and an occasion for Armisen and Hader, old "Saturday Night Live" castmates, to work together in a double act. Their types are classically complementary. Hader is an all-American boy off the Great Plains who disappears into his characters, where Armisen's oddness shines through whomever he's playing. Even at rest, their pairing seems like a bottle you don't want to shake. They are clearly enjoying themselves.
Three episodes were offered for review, two of which have already been made available online. (The series has also already been renewed.) "Sandy Passage," which kicks off the televised series, begins by taking off on Albert and David Maysles' 1975 "Grey Gardens"; focusing on an eccentric mother and daughter sharing a tumbledown New England house with cats and critters and the detritus of disappointment, it mixes in a little bit of "Psycho" and "The Blair Witch Project" before it's done.
The humor has as much to do with the form as the content, and much care and cleverness have been devoted to making these pieces look right, from film stock and lighting, to period graphics, to furniture and clothing; the art direction is exceptional, and as such, delightful throughout.
Likewise, the subject of the Vice-themed episode, "Dronez: The Hunt for El ... ," is not the Mexican drug trade but the new-media "participatory" reporters covering it. (Vice is among the platforms previewing the episode online.) "Uncovering Kuluk" is supposedly a 1985 documentary about a 1922 documentary, the Arctic-life, "Nanook"-like "Kuluk the Hunter," and the circumstances of its making spool out into an extended joke about Hollywood filmmaking.
The ideas are clear enough that any of these episodes might have fit comfortably into the space of an "SNL" short — series directors Rhys Thomas and Alex Buono have also made those — but the re-creations are so perfectly done that it's nice to have the room to revel. You can feel the care and love that went into every ridiculous frame.
Go see it in theaters October 9th!
Check out our trailer! And see it in theaters October 9th!
Who doesn’t love a reunion? Former SNL cast members Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Seth Meyersare teaming up for American Documentary (working title) – a docu-parody coming to IFC in 2015. The show is a curated series of half-hour documentaries and biopics, each about a totally made-up subject (think Spinal Tap).
HE FINAL GIRLS Review | SXSW 2015
BY PERRI NEMIROFF MARCH 14, 2015
I don’t know if you can relate, but I always have a good deal of fun imagining how I’d fair in a horror movie. Odds are, I won’t have the opportunity to run away from a big screen slasher anytime soon, but at least now The Final Girls lets me live the dream a little.
The movie stars Taissa Farmiga as Max, the daughter of famous actress Amanda Cartwright (Malin Akerman) who’s known for one single thing, playing the shy girl with the clipboard and the guitar in the cult classic, Camp Bloodbath. Three years after losing her mother in a car crash, Max is still having a tough time moving on with her life, but thanks to the Camp Bloodbath legacy, she doesn’t really have to yet. During a freak accident at a Camp Bloodbath screening, Max and her friends must literally step through the screen and into the movie, giving Max the opportunity to reunite with her mother – or at least the Camp Bloodbath version of her mother.
The way writers M. A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller get the main characters from the real world into Camp Bloodbath is clunky and a bit of a stretch, but the scenario is such a blast, it’s only natural to go with it. The Final Girls is a dream come true for anyone with a soft spot for slasher movies. Max and her friends Gertie (Alia Shawkat), Vicki (Nina Dobrev), Chris (Alexander Ludwig) and Duncan (Thomas Middleditch) literally tear open the screen, walk through it and wind up in a horror movie. From there, it’s all about playing by some genre rules and subverting others in order to avoid getting hacked up by the film’s machete toting villain, Billy, and it’s tons of fun.
Image via Deadline
The characters are all familiar stereotypes – Max is the virgin, Chris is the boyfriend, Gertie is the best friend, Vicki’s the bitch and Duncan’s the movie geek – but Farmiga, Ludwig, Shawkat, Dobrev and Middleditch all manage to find the appropriate middle ground between adhering to the satirical quality of the film and giving their characters the humanity they need to ensure viewers are rooting for them to survive the movie. However, then we’ve got the Camp Bloodbathcounselors who aren’t just horror movie cliches, but horror movie cliches to the absolute maximum. Adam DeVine plays Kurt, the resident cocky jerk who wants to sleep with everyone and Angela Trimbur steps in as Tina, the slut who can draw out the killer by taking off her shirt. The whole point of their characters is to go to the extreme and DeVine and Trimmer certainly seize the opportunity. DeVine dishes out one outrageous one-liner after the next and Trimmer is responsible for one of the film’s most unforgettable moments, an absolutely hysterical slasher-summoning dance.
We’ve also got Akerman’s character who hits a nice balance between the two groups. On the one hand, she’s a Camp Bloodbath counselor and totally plays into her role within the film, but she also strikes up a rather genuine relationship with Max without knowing that she’s really her daughter in the real world. The Final Girlsis a horror comedy through and through, but Akerman and Farmiga build such an honest, heartfelt relationship between Max and her mother’s Camp Bloodbathcharacter that the movie actually manages to conjure a tear or two.
The Final Girls has rock solid performances across the board, but it is a highly stylized piece and there’s absolutely no way it would have worked as well had director Todd Strauss-Schulson not had such a firm handle on the visuals and tone of the film. Like the characters, his shooting style plays up familiar horror movie cliches. There’s shots of Billy wielding his machete while stepping out of the fog in the distance, a fun play on flashbacks, this especially clever 360-degree rotating shot and more standout visuals that let the movie go beyond just stating that the characters are stuck in Camp Bloodbath and rather, truly making it feel as though they’re trapped in it.
The Final Girls is an insanely entertaining horror spoof, but it’s also got enough authorial expressivity to make it feel like its own thing to a degree. Based on a mere synopsis you could certainly say that The Final Girls is doing what The Cabin in the Woods did a few years ago, but as far as the full feature goes, this is a fresh and highly effective approach to having fun with the genre cliches we love while finding even more ways to enjoy them.