Movie stars Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette were shocked when they watched their new film Boyhood and saw in stark detail how they have aged over the course of 12 years.
Director Richard Linklater's ambitious project involved shooting scenes on an annual basis for 12 years to achieve a realistic ageing effect on its stars. The groundbreaking concept tested the actors' commitment to the role, but it also left them in a stunned silence when the finished work was unveiled at the Sundance Film Festival this year (14) and they saw themselves growing older over the course of the movie.
Hawke tells British magazine Radar, "It was pretty intense. When the movie started, I was like, 'Man, I still look good!'. But by the end... Everybody acts like it's surprising (when humans age), but it's happening all the time to everyone. We act freaked out about it but it's just the reality. The second you buy a car, it's a used car. That's the way we are: this machine is in action. I tried to be proud of it."
Arquette adds, "It was brutal."
It might not be as glamorous as Cannes or as cool as Sundance, but the Los Angeles Film Festival has just as much to offer as its larger counterparts. Between high-profile premieres of blockbuster films, international competition entries and some of the most exciting indies around all premiering at LAFF every year, there's plenty to pay attention to. But if you were unfortunate enough to let the this year's fest — which ran from June 11 to 19 — we've got you covered with a rundown of the most talked-about films to premiere at LAFF, and what the critics are saying about them. Now you can make all of your friends think you're cooler than you actually are.
They Came Together The Amy Poehler/Paul Rudd romantic comedy you’ve been waiting for is less about the relationship between the central couple, Joel (Rudd) and Molly (Poehler), and more about skewering every last trope of the genre. Written and directed by Wet Hot American Summer’s David Wain, the film lovingly parodies the traits, characters, conversations, and comically large apartments that appear in every rom com ever made, while allowing two funny, good looking people to fall in love in an entertaining way.
“The script’s on-the-nose descriptions of each character (as described by the characters themselves) actually works to frame them as self-aware people forced to play out roles we have seen before and allows the hilarious cast to play within those lines. Poehler and Rudd have a natural chemistry that makes them believable as the two leads in love, but their comedy also blends well making it clear they are having fun with each other and the characters they are playing.” – Allison Loring, Film School Rejects
"Wain leads his well-known cast through spoofs of such classics as When Harry Met Sally, Annie Hall, The Graduate and the sharp-elbowed comedies of Tracy and Hepburn. Each gag makes you wish you were watching the original, although a clench between Joel and his grandmother (Lynn Cohen) that almost leads to incestuous coupling deserves credit for sheer audacity. Most of the time, however, the actors on the screen seem to be having much more fun than the audience will." - David D'Arcy, Screen Daily
Cut Bank A small town crime drama set in Cut Bank, Montana that centers on a former high school football star (Liam Hemsworth) desperate to find a way out of his town. After he accidentally films the murder of the town mailman, he is offered a reward that would give him enough money to leave for good, but things aren't a simple as they seem, and he finds himself caught in a tangled web of deception and danger.
"...Shakman lets the scenes unfurl with a clunky pace and little verve, simply exaggerating the irony and naivety in the town as his main go-to points. It only makes sense that [John] Malkovich’s sheriff has never fired his gun and carries an aversion to violence; likewise with Palmer, who itches non-stop after a Miss Cut Bank pageant title even while she wants nothing more than to skip town. Thankfully humor seeps in through the edges of the film and its characters, sometimes on purpose and other times not." - Charlie Schmidlin, The Playlist
Dear White People A satire of college movies that tackles race relations and privilege in society, Dear White People follows four students as an Ivy League university — golden boy Troy (Brandon P. Bell), activist radio host Samantha (Tessa Thompson), Colendra "Coco" Conners (Teyona Parris), who has dreams of being a reality TV star, and shy misfit Lionel Higgins (Tyler James Williams) — after a planned "African American"-themed party thrown by a group of white students starts a riot on campus.
"If it ultimately feels modestly edgy rather than shocking or dangerous, 'Dear White People' nonetheless provokes admiration for having bothered to ask some of the hard questions without pretending to know any of the answers. It also works as a fine showcase for its actors: Fleshing out characters that could have been little more than one-note mouthpieces, Williams, Thompson, Parris and Bell all make strong, distinctive impressions, with Thompson perhaps the standout as the film’s sharpest and most enigmatic figure." - Justin Chang, Variety
The Last Time You Had Fun With a cast full of comedians and sitcom alums, The Last Time You Had Fun puts a grown-up twist on the standard "wild night out" comedy. After Ida (Eliza Coupe) forces her sister Alison (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) to blow off some steam with her, they find themselves bickering and partying with Clark (Kyle Bornheimer) and the sweatpants-clad Will (Demetri Martin), as the four of them attempt to have the most fun that four older, dysfunctional adults could possibly have.
"Granted, the excesses of Bridesmaids or The Hangover are not essential to sparkling relationship comedy, but Fun lacks an edge, or even much of an attitude. Blandly risqué situations, featherweight banter and a hint of implied sexual impropriety have all the heft of an extended cable sitcom episode. Or maybe it’s the casting, which draws extensively on the TV comedy background of the four leads, who all acquit themselves adequately but can’t achieve sufficient character differentiation within the ensemble. Undistinguished locations, flat lighting and primarily static setups perpetuate the small-screen aesthetic, which at least bodes well for the film’s transition to home entertainment formats." - Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter
Echo Park The debut film from photographer Amanda Marsalis, Echo Park is a story about two people who come together "across cultural, economic and racial boundaries." Sophie (Mamie Gummer) is an unhappy housewife who moves from her Beverly Hills home to the up-and-coming neighborhood of Echo Park in order to shake up her predictable boring life, who finds herself drawn to Alex (Tony Okungbowa) after she buys his couch. But their burgeoning relationship might have to be put on hold, since he's about to leave for London...
"It’s Marsalis’ direction, and the fine performances from Gummer and Okungbowa that elevate the film above what it might have been, given the issues with the script and story that hover around the edges of cliché and stereotype (the worst offender: Sophie’s mother). While the dialogue, especially the scenes between Sophie and Alex, works well, the story beats are oddly laid out, rushing through some important character and relationship establishing moments, and dwelling too long in moments where the characters are making frustrating, selfish choices. Still, the end of the film avoids falling into the traditional romantic film trap, leading to a message that’s a bit more complicated and nuanced than expected." - Katie Walsh, IndieWire
Scandal star Tony Goldwyn has sparked rumours he is heading back to the stage after taking part in a reading for a musical version of Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil. Goldwyn recently joined Tony Award-winning director Rob Ashford and a cast including Roots actress Leslie Uggams, As the World Turns' Michael Park and The Carrie Diaries' Jake Robinson to read through the play, an adaptation of John Berendt's bestselling 1994 non-fiction.
A workshop is reportedly set to take place in September (14), with plans to test the show in London before taking it to Broadway.
However, casting details for the proposed theatre runs have yet to be released, reports Deadline.com.
The Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil book, based on the real-life death of a call boy and his accused murderer in Savannah, Georgia in 1981, was previously turned into 1997 Clint Eastwood film starring John Cusack and Kevin Spacey.
Goldwyn previously graced the stage in a 2010 Broadway revival of Promises, Promises, while he also tested his vocal skills as Captain von Trapp in a concert performance of The Sound of Music at New York's Carnegie Hall in 2012.
Lea Michele honoured her Glee co-star Kristin Chenoweth as she was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame on Saturday (21Jun14), and credited the Broadway star for helping her heal following the death of her boyfriend Cory Monteith. The Tony and Emmy Award winner became the 43rd artist to receive the honour at the fabled Los Angeles venue, taking the stage for the opening night concert of the 2014 summer season.
Veteran comedienne Carol Burnett inducted Chenoweth into the Hall of Fame, but it was the honouree's performance with Michele that proved to be the highlight of the evening.
Chenoweth brought Michele on stage to sing her For Good duet from the hit musical Wicked, and the young actress had some special words of tribute, revealing Chenoweth was there for her after Monteith died from a drug overdose last July (13).
Michele told the crowd, "Last summer I got an email from Kristin saying music will heal everything. At the time, I really didn't get how that would be possible, but it really did."
In addition to Chenoweth, orchestral collective Pink Martini and female rockers the Go-Go's were also inducted to the Bowl's 15th Hall of Fame ceremony, with stars such as Kathy Griffin, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Dita Von Teese, Natasha Bedingfield and Barbara Eden among the stars in the audience to celebrate the event.
Carole King's ex-husband and former songwriting partner Gerry Goffin has died at the age of 75. The New York-born lyricist passed away early on Thursday (19Jun14) at his home in Los Angeles.
Goffin and King became a songwriting powerhouse in the 1960s, penning classics such as Will You Love Me Tomorrow for girl group The Shirelles, Aretha Franklin's (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, and Little Eva's The Loco-Motion, which also became a big hit for Kylie Minogue in 1988.
Among their other notable tracks include Bobby Vee's Take Good Care of My Baby, the Monkees' Pleasant Valley Sunday and Some Kind of Wonderful for The Drifters.
Goffin and King divorced in 1968, but he continued writing songs and scored hits with Whitney Houston's Grammy Award-winning Savin' All My Love for You, Marianne Faithfull's Something Better and Gladys Knight & the Pips' So Sad the Song from the film Pipe Dreams, which earned him and co-writer Michael Masser a Golden Globe nomination.
He and Masser also landed an Oscar nod for the theme tune to 1975 movie Mahogany, which starred Diana Ross.
Goffin and King were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and later the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
Paying tribute to her former partner, King writes, "Gerry was a good man with a dynamic force, whose words and creative influence will resonate for generations to come.
"His legacy to me is our two daughters, four grandchildren, and our songs that have touched millions and millions of people, as well as a lifelong friendship."
The former couple's relationship has since become the subject of the Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
Daniel Radcliffe, Pitbull, Pharrell Williams and Will Ferrell will be among the celebrities unveiling stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015.
The selection of next year's inductees was announced on Thursday (19Jun14). The Hollywood Chamber and the Walk of Fame Selection Committee members will also welcome author Raymond Chandler posthumously, Jennifer Garner, filmmaker Peter Jackson, Paul Rudd, Melissa McCarthy, Christoph Waltz, chef Bobby Flay, Seth MacFarlane, Julianna Margulies, Chris O'Donnell, Jim Parsons, Sofia Vergara and Kool & The Gang, among others, to Hollywood Boulevard.
Idina Menzel suffered an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction when she accidentally flashed her breast on stage this week (beg16Jun14).
The Frozen star was about to launch into a song during her concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York on Monday (16Jun14) when her right breast slipped out from under her leather top.
In an online video, an audience member appears to alert her to the slip and Menzel asks "Are (they) popping out?" before a crew member walks on stage to help the star rearrange her outfit.
Menzel took the incident in her stride and joked, "These divas need their stage... that's going to be all over television. Well, f**k it, they're real!"
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett surprised a group of students in New York City by hosting a masterclass on their final day of school. The duo reunited at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, a facility Bennett opened in 2001 in his hometown of Astoria, Queens.
The legendary crooner usually attends the annual graduation ceremony, but is unable to make it to this year's (14) event due to his hectic tour schedule. To make up for his absence, he recruited Gaga to join him for a special performance and masterclass at the school's Tony Bennett Concert Hall on Monday (16Jun14).
Bennett and Gaga began the event by discussing jazz music before answering questions from members of the 700-strong audience. Bennett gushed about his eccentric pop star pal, telling the crowd, "When I first heard Gaga sing, my reaction was that she is going to be bigger than Elvis. "She is so bright and intelligent and she has 'it'. In jazz you either got it, the syncopation, the rhythm, or you don't, and when I heard Gaga I said she's got it!"
The pair then performed for the audience - Bennett sang The Very Thought of You, while Gaga performed a cover of Cole Porter's Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye. They then came together to sing the standard I Can't Give You Anything but Love, while dancing cheek-to-cheek. A student choir gave the final performance of the event with covers of Bennett's Smile and Gaga's hit song Applause.
Bennett and Gaga first collaborated on his Duets II album in 2011, covering The Lady Is A Tramp, and are currently working on a jazz record slated for release later this year (14).
Baseball legend Tony Gwynn has died at the age of 54. The Hall of Fame member spent 20 seasons with the San Diego Padres, and played in the franchise's only two World Series.
He passed away on Monday (16Jun14) at Pomerado Hospital in Poway, California.
The current baseball coach at San Diego State University, Gwynn had been on medical leave since late March (14) as he recovered from cancer treatment.
A statement released by the Padres via Twitter.com reads: "We are terribly sad to say goodbye to our teammate, our friend and a legend, Tony Gwynn. Rest in peace, Mr. Padre."
Bachelorette star Andrew Rannells is to replace 2014 Tony Award winner Neil Patrick Harris on Broadway in Hedwig & The Angry Inch. Former Tony nominee Rannells will take on the role he played in a 2001 production in Austin, Texas in the hit revival for eight weeks when Harris departs the show in August (14).
The production picked up four awards at the Tonys on Sunday (08Jun14) - Best Revival, Best Actor in a Musical (Harris), Best Lighting and Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Lena Hall).
Rannells previously picked up a Tony Awards nomination for his role in The Book of Mormon.