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    Indie filmmaker Joe Swanberg continues ‘Mainstream’ march, to direct New-Line Cinema’s ‘Work Wife’

    Joe Swanberg, known and loved for his “micro-budget” indie dramas, has been making further steps into the mainstream and is set to direct Work Wife. The script, written by Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins of ABC’s Trophy Wife (2013), promises to be full of the “delightfully un-sitcomy-y performances” that defined Trophy Wife . The ABC […] More

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    Sundance 2015: ‘Digging for Fire’ is pleasantly bland

    Digging for Fire comes perilously close to having something interesting to say about relationships and lurking curiosities. Unfortunately, it lacks the narrative focus and observational humor to be more than a mild diversion. It’s the kind of film where the secondary characters exist only to further the plot, while the main characters always say exactly what’s on their mind. It’s not a bad movie, exactly, but it never quite reaches the emotional heights that it’s reaching for. More

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    “Happy Christmas” spells a different kind of giddy holiday cheer for one wayward woman and her beloved bunch

    It is an inherent belief that the holiday season and family gatherings go hand-in-hand like puffy earmuffs on an exposed frozen ear. Well, writer-director (and co-star) Joe Swanberg backs up this assertion with his dysfunctional familial gem Happy Christmas. The gift-giving in Happy Christmas is predicated upon breezy disillusionment, personal and professional malaise, and the underscoring of being unfulfilled. Once again Swanberg puts his unique stamp on the microscopic root of relationships and the fragile consequences of coping with the pressures of such interaction. More

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    AFI Fest 2014: ‘Thou Wast Mild and Lovely’ is a sexually charged nightmare

    If Terrence Malick had a twisted little sister, it would be Josephine Decker; the resemblance is clearly discernible in her sophomore feature, Thou Wast Mild & Lovely, utilizing Malick’s uninhibited and experimental handheld style but with her own dash of psychosexual drama. Decker’s story is framed against the backdrop of a quiet country farm, and shells out the kind of chills that not even Malick could muster. More

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    Found Footage Friday: ‘The Sacrament’

    Just when I thought there weren’t any great filmmakers working in horror anymore, Ti West just scared the shit out of me. West bust out on the scene with the moody throwback The House of the Devil showing that he could replicate period aesthetic with ease. His first several films were shot standardly, but for The Sacrament, West dips his toes in the waters of the found footage genre. More

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    LFF 2014: ‘Thou Wast Mild and Lovely’ is wild and creepy

    The rustic, lyrical sophomore feature of writer-director Josephine Decker, Thou Wast Mild and Lovely proves as slippery and elusive a film as its characters do to one another. A work of atmospheric dread enhanced through loose editing and heightened colours and sound design, it opens with a sensual female voice discussing an unknown lover – “But the way my lover opened and closed my legs, the way my lover folded and unfolded me into my lover’s breast, my lover knows how to love me” – over the image of a perturbed, barking dog, this coming right after footage of a father and adult daughter playing in a field with a headless chicken, each with the exuberance of running puppies. What follows rarely deviates from that enigmatic prologue’s register. More

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    Looking, Ep. 1.06, “Looking in the Mirror” turns forty, reluctantly

    Looking’s sixth episode, “Looking in the Mirror”, is a very pleasant surprise. There’s an energy and vitality in this half hour that had been missing from the show up until now. Maybe it’s because almost all the characters finally interact with one another, or maybe it’s because the editing and dialogue are paced less leisurely than usual. But a theme Looking has been exploring – going after what you want rather than what you should want – comes into focus and propels the stories forward in an exciting way. More

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    Without Theatres: ‘Silver Bullets’ a romance of werewolves and art

    The term “mumblecore” is usually evoked as a derisive umbrella-term for the films of Joe Swanberg, the Duplass brothers, Andrew Bujalski, and several other twentysomething directors of the 2000s working with little to no budget and a lot of talking. Critics such as Vadim Rizov reject the labeling entirely, noting their disparate qualities, yet the term […] More

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    Interview with Joe Swanberg, Director of ‘Drinking Buddies’

    I spoke with Joe Swanberg about performance and beer at a Philadelphia sneak peek of his new film Drinking Buddies, starring Jake Johnson, Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick, and Ron Livingston. Neal Dhand: I really love the performances in this film.  They’re so real and believable. Joe Swanberg: I’ve always been into performance.  With everything I’ve […] More

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