Well, here's an early contender for the title of "Feel Bad Movie of 2013." Scenic Route stars Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler as two life-long friends whose relationship is, um, tested after they're stranded together in a desert. Unexpected fault lines in their friendship rise to the surface and eventually erupt into homicidal violence.
But even with the bond between Duhamel and Fogler's characters being strained to the point of psychosis, the scariest thing about the movie, directed by brothers Michael & Kevin Goetz from a script by Awake's Kyle Killen, has gotta be Duhamel's freaky, grease-stained mohawk.
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What Open Water did for scuba diving with your spouse, Scenic Route should do for road trips in the desert with your best friend. Directors/siblings Kevin Goetz and Michael Goetz have made for one of the most intense, effective movie-going experiences of SXSW... and it's only day two.
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The premise is simple: two best friends Mitchell and Carter (Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler, respectively) hit the road to catch up for old times sake. The two have drifted, as adults tend to do, with Mitchell in a stable, if not passion-free marriage and career, and Carter as the aimless slacker. On paper it seems like Duhamel and Fogler are simply playing into their usual archetypes, he the handsome leading man and he the wacky sidekick, but Scenic Road turns it on its head and lets the actors beat the ever-living s**t out of them. Literally.
In fact, that's exactly how Scenic Route begins. We see two men, one of whom is sporting a Travis Bickle-esque mohawk (Duhamel, in what marks his most daring, impressive performance to date), in the middle of the desert, bloodied and bruised, fighting as dirty as the tattered clothes they are wearing. We haven't yet learned that these two are lifelong friends who have let unkind words and the unforgiving elements get to them. One of them takes a crutch to the other one's temple and everything goes dark. Only, that's not the beginning of the story, or the end for that matter.
The movie starts, innocently enough, as almost a buddy road trip comedy, but it descends into something else entirely. It is part-jet black comedy, part-horror film, part-moral drama, part-human study, and completely and utterly f**ked up. When we meet Mitchell and Carter moments after that shocking opening sequence, they look completely fine. Even more confusing, Mitchell doesn't have a mohawk. So how do they get there exactly?
After Carter makes his old truck they're driving through the desert in break down intentionally to spend more quality time with Mitchell, the two not only have to battle the elements (with no food and no water in the desert, which is as unrelenting in the day as it is the night), but each other. With nowhere to go and increasingly mounting tension, the two friends begin to unravel on each other, saying things they can't quite take back.
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High emotions, mixed with the delirium of being stranded in the vast desert — who knew wide open spaces could feel so claustrophobic? It sends the men into a tailspin, not only leading to that ill-advised mohawk (the free-spirited Carter somehow convinces the straight-laced Mitchell to get the haircut he always wanted... in the middle of the night, with a blade from a pocket knife) and eventually that vicious, violent fight.
What happens next, well, I don't want to spoil it for you. But whatever you think happens to these guys after their blood, sweat, and tear-soaked fight doesn't. The last 40 minutes of the movie, fittingly enough, takes a much different road than you thought it would. Somewhere at the intersection of 127 Hours and Buried, you might think you have finally figured out Scenic Route's path, but then it takes its own winding, twisted detour.
While there are some frustratingly distracting moments (including Carter's inane decision to turn down help when they first break down), the dialogue-heavy feature, which spends most of its running time on the side of a dirt road in the desert, never loses your attention. You hang on these men's every action, every word uttered, determined to find out if they make it out of this journey unscathed. Well, relatively speaking.
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A veritable case study in grown men, and their relationships with each other (a few visions of Fight Club danced through my head), Scenic Route will make you no less scared of what nature will do to you as compared to what the ones you love are capable of doing to you. Scenic Route is a movie that crawls under your skin and stays there for a while, thanks largely in part to its haunting ending.
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Comedy lovers, the big-screen pairing you've been waiting for is finally coming to fruition. Deadline.com reports that Josh Duhamel (New Year's Eve, the Transformers trilogy) and Dan Fogler (Balls of Fury) will join forces for Scenic Route, a comedy in which they'll play "two former college buddies who go on a road trip and become stranded in the desert." One's mind reels at the comic sparks that will fly when Duhamel's irresistible force meets Fogler's immovable object, with the hot desert sun there to stoke the flames of their screwball rivalry. Anyone who's seen Danny Boyle's 127 Hours knows that such a scenario is a fertile recipe for hilarity. The potential for this project is, literally, limitless.
No doubt toasting their good fortune as we speak are Kevin and Michael Goetz, who will direct Scenic Route from a script by Kyle Killen (The Beaver).
Click on the image below for more awesome photos of Dan Fogler:
Britney Spears has been hit with a legal bill of almost $400,000.
A Los Angeles court ordered the pop star to pay the cash to the numerous lawyers involved in all her legal affairs over the past three months.
That includes her custody battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline and her conservatorship issues.
At a hearing on Thursday, Commissioner Reva Goetz ruled that Spears' court-appointed attorney Samuel Ingham will continue to receive $10,000 a week and Andrew Wallet, the co-conservator of Spears' finances, will receive an advance of $100,000.
People.com reports Wallet has not received a salary for his services to Spears since taking over her estate issues with the pop star's father, Jamie, in February.
Meanwhile, the law firm that won Jamie Spears control of his daughter's affairs will also be advanced $175,000, and a lawyer representing the singer's brother Bryan has been handed a $22,000 windfall.
Finally, Spears' new divorce lawyer, Stacy Phillips, has been awarded $75,000.
COPYRIGHT 2008 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All Global Rights Reserved.
Britney Spears has been given a $1,500-per-week debit-card allowance by a Los Angeles judge.
Superior Court Commissioner Reva Goetz set the "Toxic" singer's spending limit at a Spears estate conservatorship hearing on Monday.
As her court-appointed conservator, Spears' father, Jamie, fought for the allowance, explaining the cash would give the singer more freedom.
His attorney, Geraldine Wyle, told the court the allowance would allow Spears to "spend money, have her freedom, and make choices about how she wants to enjoy her life."
Spears herself skipped the hearing, despite being advised to attend by her attorney Samuel Ingham--who revealed to reporters that she objected to elements of the hearing.
In court, it was also revealed that a probate commissioner has hired two specialist lawyers to help Spears, who is worth an estimated $100 million, and her legal team to organize her estate.
The first, Tom Hansen, will be paid $15,000 per month to preside over Spears' entertainment contracts.
The second, Jorge Hernandez, will pick up a $25,000 retainer to act as a consultant on all questions relating to the conservatorship.
Meanwhile, at a separate hearing concerning Spears' ongoing custody battle with her ex-husband Kevin Federline, her lawyer Stacy Phillips objected to her client paying Federline's $500,000 legal bill.
Phillips told the hearing that Spears has already spent over $1 million for custody of her two sons and shouldn't have to pay her former spouse's legal expenses too.
Spears' lawyer also accused Federline of paying his attorneys too much, and leading an overly excessive lifestyle.
She cited an example of one incident, during which Federline allegedly left a $2,000 tip on a $365 restaurant bill, arguing that if he can afford to be so frivolous with money then he should pay his own legal costs.
Commissioner Scott Gordon didn't rule in the private hearing, although Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini says a ruling may be made on Tuesday.
COPYRIGHT 2008 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All Global Rights Reserved.
Misery loves the Savages--always has. Ever since they were kids Wendy (Laura Linney) and Jon Savage (Philip Seymour Hoffman) have been plagued by the blasé blues. Even though they went their separate ways the siblings have remained somewhat close geographically--she lives in Manhattan he in Buffalo--and in their discontentment. But what made them this way in the first place their father (Philip Bosco) is about to reunite them. After losing his mind to dementia and his longtime girlfriend (Rosemary Murphy) to well death the old man officially needs to be looked after and that’s where Jon and Wendy reluctantly come in. Despite having not seen their estranged father in ages they fly out to his Arizona senior-citizen-friendly community immediately upon word of his downfall. What they didn’t plan on however is staying more than a couple days. Ultimately they take him back to Buffalo and place him in a nursing home about which Wendy constantly feels guilty. Now forced to live together and look in the metaphorical mirror the siblings Savage learn about self-discovery mortality each other and how to revive a decades-old rivalry as though it had never gone away. Given the way Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman constantly one-up each other in The Savages you’d think there was a real sibling rivalry at play. Of course it’s merely two of today’s very best actors giving par-for-the-course flawless performances. In so doing they create something beyond chemistry: a relationship so fractured and imperfectly perfect that it could only exist between an aging brother and sister. Whether the scene calls for fireworks or subtlety solo or together Linney and Hoffman are always up to the task. Linney is especially wide-ranging as Wendy still fights her midlife crisis. The veteran actress is often heartbreaking because Wendy is often heartbroken even when she tries to convince herself otherwise but Linney still manages to leave the window of hope cracked open--for us and her character. She truly encompasses everything in this her best performance to date. Hoffman is slightly more of a supporting player here but no less impactful. The Oscar winner is apathetic through much of the film but his terse outbursts of anger and/or sadness are stark reminders of his awe-inspiring range as an actor. Perhaps the most savage Savage is the patriarch played with grace by longtime actor Bosco. But instead of vilifying Lenny or making him worthy of all your pity Bosco makes him a rollercoaster of emotion as per Lenny's dementia. It’s been nine years since writer-director Tamara Jenkins’ last--and only other--feature-length film the twisted coming-of-age tale Slums of Beverly Hills which has given her plenty of time to think grow older and think about growing older. She philosophizes aloud in The Savages a movie that addresses everything you don’t want to but with a sardonic edge to it; in fact maybe this is as much a coping mechanism for her as it is an artistic endeavor. While the movie is primarily about the title siblings it essentially explores the human condition under their guise. But Jenkins does so in a way that is never preachy never obnoxious never sappy and always astutely observed. It’s her naturalistic approach to moviemaking that will turn what is ultimately a sharp dramedy into too much of a downer to please casual moviegoers looking for lighthearted fare in wintertime--this is NOT Little Miss Sunshine--but those who go in looking for a drama will be moved occasionally to laughter. Because The Savages is that rare deep movie: heavy on symbolism and meaning light on pretense and contrivance.
A guy who usually doesn't have luck with the ladies Matt Saunders (Luke Wilson) has finally found the perfect girl. Egged on by his buddy Vaughn (Rainn Wilson) Matt pursues the mousy and innocent-looking Jenny Johnson (Uma Thurman) after the two meet on a subway. But Jenny has a few secrets--and what Matt doesn't know in this case can hurt him. See Jenny is really G-Girl a superhero and although it's a side most superheroes don't show G-Girl is a bit possessive and essentially has a borderline personality. So when Matt wants to dump her so he can go out with his quiet and cute co-worker Hannah (Anna Faris) Jenny er G-Girl goes ballistic. She unleashes her superpowers on Matt and unsuspecting Hannah doing things like throwing a shark through his window while they're making out tossing his car around immature things like that. What Matt doesn't do is obey the cardinal rule: Never break up with a girl when she's holding a knife--or when she can throw you through a wall by blowing on you. This should be Luke Wilson's moment to shine and he seizes it. He's had little chance to break away from his goofier-looking and more popular brother Owen and has never carried a movie as much as this one. It's perhaps his meatiest role in which he gets to show a restrained comedic side as well as a dramatic angry and perplexed side. Although it's a typical romantic comedy plot the storyline allows for more reach because of the absurd nature of the jealousy by G-Girl’s arch nemesis Professor Bedlam played perfectly by Brit comic Eddie Izzard as well as the persistently bad advice from Matt’s friend Vaughn played by scene-stealer Rainn Wilson (TV's The Office). Rainn is a definitely a talent to watch out for. Unfortunately Thurman is the biggest disappointment. She's exciting only when she rekindles her Kill Bill persona but is mostly outshined by the cute and fun Anna Faris who's so naively brilliant in the Scary Movie spoofs. Expectations would have to be high if you have director Ivan Reitman on board the guy behind such classic comedies as Animal House Ghostbusters and Dave. Perhaps that's why it's so disappointing--and so very familiar. The comic moments are retreads from the past. Sure we've seen the odd moments where mortals make it with super-human characters--Superman II Bewitched I Dream of Jeannie--and every once in a while the character with super powers gets a bit peeved and goes off the deep end. The best contribution Reitman makes is to keep the over-the-top comedic aspects in check. He doesn’t have the actors play it for laughs. But if you look at past history female superhero movies don't seem to do well at the box office (Elektra and Catwoman anyone?) maybe because guys don't like to take dates to see movies about women who will kick their butts. And guys will be cringing in their seats BIG time when Jenny is trying to analyze the real meaning of the color of a rose that she just got. "Red means that you're in love with the girl. Of course I'm not trying to pressure you." Ugh! Just take the flower.