As an internet aficionado, both as Tom on Parks and Recreation and in real life, it makes sense why Aziz Ansari would be eager to do a Reddit AMA. The comedian was predictably hilarious as he discussed his new standup comedy on Netflix and much more. Here are his best answers.
The funniest non-comedian he knows: "My brother Aniz makes me laugh harder than almost anyone."
On his childhood dreams: "People always ask whether I dreamed of being a comedian, but I grew up in a really small town in South Carolina and you just don't dream that big there. When you're growing up in Bennettsville, your dream is to just get out of Bennettsville."
The show he's love to guest star on: "I'm gonna start lobbying to play a corrupt Indian senator on House of Cards. Really want to film a scene at Freddy's Ribs."
His Halloween costume: "I was Idris Elba dressed as Thomas the Tank Engine. I dropped in as Thomas at the Comedy Cellar and did standup too. It was super fun."
Why his fake twitter account for Homeland's Sgt. Brody has been inactive: "Lost the password for that account!"
His favorite up-and-coming standup comedians: "Chelsea Peretti, Hannibal Buress, Michael Che, Moshe Kasher, John Mulaney."
On the representation of Indians on TV: "I made the decision early on not to take roles whose sole source of humor is ethnic stereotype humor. And I think over the years, that trend of staying away from that is obviously taken off between myself, Mindy Kaling, Danny Pudi, and many others. As an Indian American, I'm proud because I don't ever remember seeing Indians represented on television or film growing up and now we are. Just think 25 years ago, Fischer Stevens PLAYED an Indian guy in Short Circuit 2!"
On whether he'd ever do white face: "I'm gonna play a white guy in the reboot of Short Circuit. Bring things full circle."
His most memorable scene on Parks and Rec:"Very easy. Ben and Tom are having lunch with a drunk Joan Calamezzo who is creepily hitting on Tom and we have this exchange...Probably the hardest scene I've ever had to get through without breaking. Adam and I just had to skip doing it for the first few takes. It's on the blooper real I believe. Also, props to Mo Collins, who always brings it as Joan."
On voicing DRL on Bob's Burgers: "Getting to do Bob's Burgers is so fun. The next DRL episode is NUTS. I can't give away what they did, but its a great idea and anyone that is a fan of Terminator 2 is going to be VERY pleased."
On why Jerry from Parks and Rec is so disliked: "Get off of reddit Larry"
His favorite Game of Thrones characters: "Tywin Lannister is pretty amazing. Also Hodor."
His favorite on-set experience with Nick Offerman: "When that little puppy licked his mustache."
The actor's new role will see him advise bosses at Mobli, a visual media firm which was introduced to him by a friend while the technology was still being tested several months ago.
Mobli CEO Moshe Hogeg tells the Huffington Post, "Leo is not a tech guy and we're not looking for advice on technology, but he is a very, very smart guy concerning marketing, so he will be advising us in this territory - branding marketing and stuff like this. Leo is very excited. He believes in the vision of the company and thinks that this is the future of media. He wanted to get on board in the beginning, influence it, and give his input into the company."
Other stars who are investing in technology include Ashton Kutcher, who has funded companies including Flipboard, Chegg, GroupMe and Hipmunk, and Justin Timberlake, who is working to revitalise social networking site MySpace.com.
With its 2010 iteration, Fantastic Fest can now claim the title of Largest Genre Film Festival in the U.S. What does genre exactly mean, though? Basically, it's an oddball amalgamation of horror, fantasy, martial arts, obscure dramas, sci-fi, thrillers, experimental films -- you name it; if it's something that's not likely to be up the alley of most mainstream moviegoers, chances are good that it's right up Fantastic Fest's alley.
That's not to imply that the movies that play FF are weird and inaccessible; they're just not what you're going to find in an 18-screen megaplex on a Friday night. And that's why I love the fest. So here's a look at what's playing at the fest that anyone reading a weekly column on sci-fi films is going to want to put on their radar.
Few films playing this year's FF are as heavily stylized as Bunraku, a frenetic genre mashup that takes place in a distant future where guns have been banned and swords are once again the weapon of choice. It stars Josh Hartnett as a wandering stranger (think of him as a gunslinger without the gun), Japanese pop star GACKT as a samurai on a mission and Woody Harrelson as the bartender who unites the two in their common goal of killing the local warlord, Nicola (Ron Perlman). Standing in their way is Nicola's army of finely dressed killers, led by the always great Kevin McKidd.
Unfortunately for most, Bunraku is a little too stylized. Director Guy Moshe designed the film with a very specific artistic goal in mind, which sadly narrows the scope of a work that should feel much bigger. The camera can't simply pan across town; it must zoom through it like a pop-up book. Elevators don't go up and down; they move like the chambers of a revolver, and no scene can have too little color. A legion of camera tricks and groovy visual touches like those are bound to appeal to a very appreciative set of moviegoers (most likely under the age of 20), but for most, Moshe's film is perhaps a little too cool for its own good.
A few really standout sequences -- particularly Hartnett's violent charge down flight after flight of jailhouse stairs -- do make the style-over-substance nature of Bunraku entertaining, but their arrivals are poorly paced throughout. Despite there not being enough content to spread across the run time, however, the movie at least looks stunning at every turn.
Rubber is a hard film to get your head around, and writer-director Quentin Dupieux wouldn't have it any other way. After all, how does one make a movie about a sentient car tire that goes on a killing spree make sense? You don't. And that's the point. It's a nonsensical story that exists entirely because it's nonsensical. A lot of people will hate that; I loved the hell out of it.
Dupieux' film is one of the funniest at Fantastic Fest. It exists in a bizarre world where not only are there no rules, but there's no set of instructions to clarify that there are no rules. Things just happen, and it all makes sense in a very ethereal, dream-like way. Plus, it's got an absurd amount of exploding heads in it, which is always a good thing.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
I feel as though I don't deserve to enjoy movies as much as I enjoyed Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, film that might as well have dripped out of my brain while I was sleeping. Jalmari Helander's feature debut is about a corporation that tries to dig up Santa Claus' body from within its tomb in a mountain in Finland. Thing is, the Finnish version of Santa isn't the jolly, gift-giving version that the U.S. knows. All their Santa -- who sports not a red cap but a massive set of goat horns -- cares about is dishing out punishment to naughty boys and girls.
What's so great about Rare Exports, however, is that it's not the Santa slasher that plot description implies. It's less a horror movie and more a dark adventure with a child as the hero. Think of it as The Goonies meets ... I'm not even sure what. There are too many muses at play to single any one out. In an instant, Helander's film jumps from being a "kids trying to save their parents' livelihood" story to a twisted horror movie to a Die Hard-esque, against-all-odds action flick. It all comes together painlessly, though, and I can't wait for it to come out Stateside this Christmas. Check out the trailer here.
April 15, 2008 6:05am EST
Demi Moore has booked back-to-back indie films, says today’s Hollywood Reporter. The actress will join Parker Posey to star in Happy Tears from filmmaker Mitchell Lichtenstein. She will then team with Woody Harrelson and Josh Hartnett for Bunraku.
Tears, written and directed by Teeth’s Lichtenstein, follows a woman (Posey) prone to self-aggrandizement who returns to her Wisconsin home to deal with her bitter sister and father.
Moore will play the sister who is fed up with dealing with the hateful father who suffers from a rare form of dementia.
The film is set to begin shooting this month in Philadelphia.
Bunraku, meanwhile, written and directed by Guy Moshe, follows a man (Hartnett) on a revenge quest who finds himself in an even bigger fight than he bargained for, says The Reporter.
The film is set in an original universe a la Sin City and draws from a mixed bag of genres. Moore is set to play the enslaved concubine of a warlord who is forced to marry her captor. Harrelson plays a bartender.
The shoot is scheduled to take place in Europe.
Moore most recently starred alongside Kevin Costner in Mr. Brooks.
A fictional fever-dream mystery crafted loosely from the notorious still-unsolved 1947 murder of wayward wannabe starlet Elizabeth Short (Mia Kirshner) the tale teams two rising L.A. police detectives whose bone-crunching boxing bout give them political juice—Mr. Ice cool young Dwight “Bucky” Bleichert (Josh Hartnett) and Mr. Fire hotheaded veteran Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart). Both men become embroiled in and obsessed with the sick horrific crime even as Dwight falls hard for Lee’s victimized world-weary live-in love Kay Lake (Scarlett Johansson)—with Lee’s unspoken approval: he’s too busy spiraling downward into a psychotic fixation with solving the murder having previously lost his sister to foul play. But Dwight’s also led astray by the more carnal temptations of voracious Madeline Sprague (Hilary Swank) the daughter of a bizarre high-society family with her own shadowy connections to the Dahlia. Sordid subplots abound simmering and swirling as in death the Black Dahlia threatens to suck everyone into an ever-widening abyss. Not entirely an epic of miscasting the film nevertheless falls short finding performers to essay Ellroy’s compelling cast: Hartnett demonstrates more depth here than in most previous efforts but comes fathoms short of the necessary mix of drive and angst to suit the complex role. Although she physically conveys a maturity beyond her years Johansson shows none of the wounded wisdom of the novel’s Kay—her seductive ethereal air would with an ebony dye job have served her far better as the Dahlia herself a cipher who becomes in the eyes of those obsessed with her whatever they dream her to be. Conversely Kirshner delivers in that elusive spectral role but the been-around-the-block-one-too-many times faded glint in her eyes would have made her a much more involving Kay. Eckhart has the spit and polish of a political-minded cop down pat but lacks the self-destructive inner fire that fuels the façade. Swank is mostly delightful by degrees—many of her choices are intriguing occasionally outrageous and give her femme fatale needed dimensions but others are overindulged. There are certainly macabre grand guignol moments in the story that make it more akin to Sunset Boulevard than its more obvious comparison Ellroy’s own L.A. Confidential but De Palma—never known for his subtlety—handles them with such an overt determined campiness any wry irony is wrung from them. The result is more of a parody—indeed an unflattering caricature—than a modern commentary on classic noir style. Add in his ceaseless camera-swooping swipes from Hitchcock and his ongoing fixation with meaningless gore—ham-fisted homages and hemorrhaging hemoglobin to ape Ellroy’s alliterative gossip-rag riffs—that distract from the intensity of the source material and all that remains is a bloody shame.
Hardened by years of brutal but loyal military service special ops officer Robert Scott (Val Kilmer) is assigned to find the president's apparently kidnapped daughter Laura Newton (Kristen Bell). Pairing up with his protégé Curtis (Derek Luke) Scott works diligently with a task force of presidential advisors the Secret Service the FBI and the CIA to find her and through their investigation they stumble upon a white slavery ring in the Middle East which may--or may not--have some connection to Laura's disappearance. The straightforward search-and-rescue mission is soon bogged down in political machinations and the girl's abduction starts to look even more suspicious than it did at first. In fact the mission comes to an abrupt halt altogether when the girl is supposedly found drowned from a boating accident. Scott returns to his quiet life until Curtis shows up and proves that Laura is still alive and most likely trapped in the white slavery ring. In a race against time Scott and Curtis embark on their own unofficial rescue mission--and put themselves at the center of a dangerous conspiracy that goes all the way to the top of the U.S. government.
Val Kilmer probably won't be joining Mamet's dedicated circle of players--which includes Joe Mantegna William H. Macy and Mamet's wife actress Rebecca Pidgeon--any time soon. While it's clear Kilmer took the role to work with the talented writer/director he isn't well suited to deliver "Mamet-speak"--the rapid fire delivery of terse dialogue the writer is known for--and Kilmer looks uncomfortable trying to do it. The gifted actor who can't help but bring in his own quirky sensibilities to the part still hits the nail on the head as steely resolute Scott. But the minute he starts dispensing sage advice--Mamet-style--Kilmer sticks out like a sore thumb. Same goes for Luke (Antwone Fisher) who is entirely miscast as Scott's sidekick. Others in the ensemble however handle the Mamet chores more adeptly including Macy and Ed O'Neill (yes the guy from TV's Married ... With Children) as presidential aides.
Spartan's real problem however is that it's a thriller without much thrill. Mamet's expertise is in creating scenarios within a microcosm whether it's a world of con artists (House of Games; The Spanish Prisoner) salesmen (Glengarry Glen Ross) or even showbiz (State and Main). These Mamet films are even-keeled--almost devoid of emotion. He sets up characters and actions relevant to that particular world so when characters spout lines in Mamet's distinctive style it comes off as perfectly natural. Yet with Spartan Mamet is tackling a bigger grander picture and when his style is applied to the world as a whole it doesn't work. Plus in the thriller genre the audience needs to feel invested in the characters and Mamet's distant unemotional style doesn't lend itself to sending the audience's collective hearts racing. The only poignant moment in the film belongs to Bell as the wounded daughter who just wants a little attention from Daddy and the only truly exciting moments are during her rescue. That said however Spartan proves Mamet still knows how to craft a story. Although the script is at times vague and convoluted it thankfully never falls into any of the genre's usual patterns and it throws in enough twists to keep you on your toes.
Extreme Ops should be a James Bond movie. Then at least we'd expect the ridiculous plot--plus we'd see some sex. Alas the film takes itself too seriously and those wacky opportunities are simply missed. As it stands a crew of commercial filmmakers--director Ian (Rufus Sewell) producer Jeffrey (Rupert Graves) coordinator Mark (Heino Ferch) and cameraman Will (Devon Sawa)--known for going that extra mile to get extreme action shots are hired to shoot a commercial for a Japanese digital video camera. Their idea is to take three skiers to the Austrian Karawanken Range bordering Yugoslavia and have them outrun an avalanche. No sweat. Up for the task are Chloe (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras) a downhill gold medal winner; wild-child snowboarder Kittie (Jana Pallaske); and all-around adrenaline junkie Silo (Joe Absolom). They make it to Austria and shack up in an unfinished resort nestled in the mountains (you were expecting a warm chalet?) where a band of Serbian terrorists led by war criminal Pavle (Klaus Lowitsch) has also happened to make its base camp. Seems this group of not-so-happy campers has a master plan involving world destruction which the hapless filmmakers uncover. Darn the luck. It's going to take some fancy-schmancy stunts to foil these bad guys--but our motley crew of extremists is up to the task.
This is one of those times you wonder what initially convinced good actors such as Rufus Sewell (A Knight's Tale) and Rupert Graves (The Madness of King George) to make this film. Maybe they thought they could improve it along the way. Or maybe the extreme stunts tempted them to have a little fun in the Austrian Alps. Regardless only Sewell rises above the mire every once in a while; the rest of the cast wallows in it. Newcomers Pallaske and Absolom have very limited range and do better when they simply stand around getting snow in their hair while Sawa (Slackers) seems sorely out of place. Wilson-Sampras has some potential as an actress (her performance breaking up with Matthew McConaughey on their wedding day in The Wedding Planner comes to mind) but an awful script and a bunch of second-rate actors bring her down. The only exceptions are her scenes with Sewell. As for the villains it seems Hollywood has a new bad guy of choice. It used to be the Russians but these Serbs are mighty vicious and suitably over the top. It's their job to make the heroes look good and they do it adequately.
Putting aside a weak plot and bad acting the point to this movie would be the opportunity to see some amazing stunts right? Crazy snowboarders outrunning avalanches attack dogs and evil terrorists all while leaping off snow-capped cliffs and outmaneuvering other perilous terrain. This can make a movie worthwhile if done correctly but sadly that is not the case with Extreme Ops. Director Christian Duguay (The Art of War) manages to mess up even this simple task. The first few shots of the skiers shooting down the hill with the snow tumbling after them are pretty spectacular yet after about the eighth time you see this same shot it starts to get a little boring. On top of that there are some extraordinarily bad blue-screen moments when it's clear the actors are standing in front of a fake background. In this CGI age audiences have high expectations and are very unforgiving of shoddy filmmaking. The worst of the movie's offenses however happens in the editing room. With all the good guys bad guys skiing helicopters and running through snow you're never quite sure who's who or what's what.