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Sundance 2013: The Midnight Movie lineup

Sundance’s Midnight Movie selection can always be counted on for some high-octane weirdness.

This year brings Rob Corddry and Leslie Bibb in a comedy about a pregnant couple who move into “the most haunted fixer-upper in New Orleans,” a provocative documentary about sex, submission and domination, and Star Wars‘ own Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill, co-starring in an action-adventure about young men obsessed with a first-person shooter game.

Yesterday was the indie film fest’s competition announcement, with a lineup filled with sex and comedy. Today, the organizers announced their picks for the deeply offbeat corner of the annual showcase, which runs Jan. 17-27 in Park City, Utah — and it kind of has the same theme.

“We always hope for a balance of stuff in the Midnight section — from horror, to comedy, to even a little sex in there. This year we have everything,” says Sundance chief programmer Trevor Groth. “It’s kind of a fun, crazy midnight lineup.”

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Sundance 2013: Sex and comedies dominate competition

Daniel Radcliffe in a murder story involving the icons of the Beat Generation. Keri Russell in comedy about a woman obsessed with Jane Austen. Kristen Bell as a lifeguard in a dangerous relationship. And the return of the filmmaker behind the sci-fi indie classic Primer.

These are among the films making their debut in the competition category at the Sundance Film Festival, which runs January 17-27 in Park City, Utah.

Other announcements — such as those for the Midnight Movie and Premiere sections — will come in the days ahead, but first the festival likes to highlight those films that will be competing for the jury prizes this year.

As for trends, this year … ?

Sundance Festival director John Cooper and Trevor Groth, the chief programer, share a look before venturing forward with slight smiles. READ FULL STORY

'Tim and Eric' star Tim Heidecker talks about his new movie, 'The Comedy'

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Writer-director Rick Alverson’s new movie is called The Comedy and stars funny man Tim Heidecker. But the film is actually a semi-improvised drama about a New York slacker-type who spends a good deal of screen time hanging out with pals played by Eric Wareheim and LCD Soundsystem singer James Murphy. So what’s up with the title? “You can interpret that as being sarcastic but I don’t think it’s purely a ‘F— you,’” says Heidecker, who together with Wareheim stars on the Adult Swim’s Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! “We talked a lot about the way these characters almost exclusively communicate through their own wit.”

While the film may be deliberately short on belly laughs it is long on footage of Heidecker’s own naked, and rather cuddlesome, stomach. “I said to the director before we shot it, ‘This guy’s supposed to be a hipster. Shouldn’t I get really skinny?’” says the actor. “He was like, ‘No, I think you’re just like a guy that drinks too much Pabst. We’ll go that direction.’ At a Q&A someone was like, ‘Why would I want to watch some fat guy?’ I was like, ‘I’m not Dom Deluise!’”

Below, Heidecker talks more about The Comedy — which can be seen in select cinemas over the next month and is also available on VOD — and why he wrote a 13 minute song about the Titanic.
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'Miami Connection': Check out a clip from our new cult obsession -- EXCLUSIVE

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This month, Drafthouse Films is releasing a desperately obscure but engagingly nuts 1987 martial arts film called Miami Connection in the hope of turning this slice of chop-socky mayhem into a midnight movie-style cult success. In the magazine we recently ran a story on the twisted history and revival of the movie, which was financed by, produced by, codirected by, cowritten by, and starred a Florida-based tae kwon do guru named Grandmaster Y.K. Kim (and we’ll be posting a longer version of the article later in the week). But mere words cannot fully convey the lunatic nature of this film, even when those words include “amateurishly acted,” “awkwardly scripted,” “hopelessly bad,” and “Every single person said, ‘Hey, Y.K. Kim, this is trash.’”

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'The Hangover: Geriatric Edition'? 'Last Vegas' begins production -- PHOTO

How will the Wolf Pack look after retirement? Probably something like the cast of Last Vegas, an upcoming comedy about a wild bachelor party thrown by group of old friends — accent on the old.

The film stars an impressive quartet who have garnered six Oscars and 14 nominations over their long, celebrated careers: Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline. Kline, the youngest of the group, is a sprightly 65; Freeman, the oldest, is 75. READ FULL STORY

'Cockneys vs. Zombies' will lurch into U.S. cinemas next year

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Rejoice, fans of cockneys, zombies, and British sitcom legend Richard Briers. Shout Factory! announced today that it has acquired distribution rights to the U.K. horror-comedy Cockneys vs. Zombies. The company plans a multi-platform roll out which will include making the film available through video-on-demand, DVD and Blu-ray releases, and distributing the movie to select cinemas. In addition to Briers, Cockneys vs. Zombies stars Honor Blackman (British TV show The Avengers), Alan Ford (Snatch), and onetime Bionic Woman Michelle Ryan.

Shout Factory! is also set to distribute the action-thriller Tower Block, which like Cockneys vs. Zombies was penned by James Moran, whose other credits include Doctor Who, Torchwood, and the 2006 horror film Severance.

You can check out the extremely foul-mouthed red-band trailer for Cockneys vs. Zombies below. READ FULL STORY

Jay Baruchel to write 'Goon 2'

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Jay Baruchel is set to write a sequel to Goon, the ice hockey comedy he co-wrote with Evan Goldberg and starred in alongside Seann William Scott, Liev Schreiber, and Alison Pill. Released earlier this year, the original Goon was loosely based on the minor league adventures of real-life hockey “enforcer” Doug Smith.

In a series of tweets, Baruchel announced he will penn the script with Goon associate producer Jesse Chabot and that Goldberg would be involved as a producer. He also confirmed that filmmaker Michael Dowse, who oversaw the first, extremely foul-mouthed film, “is directing the motherf—er.”

You can check out the trailer for Goon below.

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ORIGIN STORY: Melanie Lynskey makes sexy splash in 'Hello I Must Be Going'

The girl of Hollywood’s dreams has been right in front of it for a long time.

But like the clichéd end to some silly rom-com, she’s just been overlooked as “the best friend” all this time.

Shy, sweet, and hilarious, Melanie Lynskey made her debut in 1994 as the scowling teenage murderess opposite Kate Winslet in Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures, and since then has become a familiar face in movies and TV as the step-sister (Ever After), wacky neighbor (TV’s Two and a Half Men), doe-eyed housewife (The Informant!) teary bride-to-be (Up in the Air), and messed up mom (Win-Win). She’s the type of character actor who makes you snap your fingers and say, “Oh yeah … that girl.”

In the new bittersweet and funny love story Hello I Must Be Going, her name is no longer on the tip of your tongue – it’s above the title.
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'Gambit' trailer: Is that a naked Severus Snape?

The first trailer for Gambit is out and it features a nude Alan Rickman.

Gambit stars Colin Firth as Harry Deane, an art curator who tries to con England’s most powerful art collector (Rickman) into buying a fake Monet painting. To pull off the scheme, he hires an American rodeo queen (Cameron Diaz) to pretend to be the granddaughter of a WWII man who liberated the painting in question. The film is a remake of the 1966 movie starring Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. Check out the trailer below:

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Casting Net: Nicolas Cage attached to vigilante thriller 'I Am Wrath.' Plus: Joan Allen boards Stephen King adaptation

• Joan Allen has signed onto the domestic thriller A Good Marriage, an adaptation of a 2010 Stephen King novella about a wife and mother who discovers her husband of two decades is a serial killer. Peter Askin (Company Man) will direct from King’s screenplay. [THR]

• Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class) is in talks to star in Queen and Country, director John Boorman‘s sequel to his 1987 Oscar-nominated WWII film Hope and Glory. The new film would follow the lead boy, Bill, now a young man who gets drafted into the Korean War. Boorman, who penned the semi-autobiographical screenplay, would take the directing reins once more. [Variety]

• Misty Upham (Frozen River) has joined the cast of the feature adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning August: Osage County, as the Native American college student who begins working for and living in the house of family matriarch Violet Weston (Meryl Streep). John Wells (The Company Men) is directing from a script by the play’s author Tracy Letts. [Variety]

Read more:
Casting Net: Cynthia Nixon set to play poet Emily Dickinson. Plus: Sean Bean, Tom Wilkinson, Peter Facinelli
Casting Net: Nic Cage is ‘Joe’ and Heather Locklear gets ‘Scary.’ Plus: Alec Baldwin, Tom Felton, Juno Temple, more
Casting Net: Bruce Willis aiming to play CIA agent in ‘American Assassin.’ Plus: Chris Evans, Michelle Monaghan, Christopher Plummer

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