24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Jennifer Garner

Toronto 2011: Moonlyn the sexy butter carver to the rescue

September 15, 2011 |  7:12 pm

Butter party
On Tuesday evening, the Weinstein Co. was set to throw a pre-premiere cocktail party at the Toronto International Film Festival for its new comedy “Butter,” starring Jennifer Garner as an uptight, competitive Iowa housewife who sees her family’s legendary butter-sculpting skills as the ticket to a political career. But three hours before the event, something was obviously missing: a butter carver.

That’s when Moonlyn, a buxom 25-year-old Toronto musician who claimed to go by one name, said she got a call from her agent, who normally books her for modeling gigs.

You know how to do airbrush tattoos, he said, so maybe you can do this butter job? he inquired. Oh, and can you dress like a “sexy milkmaid”?

As luck would have it, Moonlyn had carved butter before: In high school, at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, held each November in Toronto. With that, the deal was sealed.

By 7 p.m., Moonlyn, in blond, Heidi-esque plaits, a black micro-mini and a cropped peasant blouse that covered more of her shoulders than her breasts, was at work at the party at the Burroughs Building on Queen Street, molding dozens of 1-pound unsalted butter bricks into a 2-foot high tower that she would then carve into a form vaguely resembling a bottle of Vitamin water (a corporate sponsor of the soiree).

Soon Garner appeared at the event, and upon seeing the emerging oleaginous objet d’art, exclaimed: “I want to get in there!” Learning about food sculpting from a pro in preparation for her role, she explained, was very tactile and very fun. Not that she really learned how to carve; it was more about holding the tools properly and such.

“The guy told me, ‘Don’t quit your day job,’ ” Garner said.


Toronto 2011: Who's the inspiration for Olivia Wilde's stripper?

Toronto 2011: Harvey Weinstein carves 'Butter' into political statement

Toronto 2011: Sarah Palin gets a Bronx cheer in new documentary

-- Julie Makinen in Toronto

Photo: Moonlyn, butter carver for hire, explains her art to the author of this post. Credit: Chris Libby.

Toronto 2011: Harvey Weinstein carves 'Butter' into political statement

September 13, 2011 | 11:24 pm

"Butter" premiere in Toronto

It wasn't enough for Harvey Weinstein to unveil his new movie, "Butter," at the Toronto International Film Festival's largest theater, Roy Thomson Hall, on Tuesday night. The film stars Jennifer Garner and treads lightly into political satire. But in a classic move from the Weinstein promotional playbook, "Butter" was served up with a saucy, quasi-incendiary statement from the studio chief -- in what seemed to be a blatant effort to make the movie into something people will be talking about.

Though Weinstein was in the theater, he chose to have one of the film's actresses, Olivia Wilde, deliver a statement on his behalf to the crowd of more than 2,000 people. After reading through some typical pleasantries, Wilde said: "In 20 years of coming to the Toronto Film Festival, I've never released a statement for a film. But I would like to take this moment to formally invite Republican congresswoman from Minnesota and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann to co-host with me the big premiere of 'Butter' in Iowa in a few months from now."

The statement continued: "I know Michele will already be in Iowa for the caucus, so we can save some money on airfare and travel. I would of course be more than happy to fly in the other leading members of the "tea party" movement to make an entire day of it. We could take some math classes in the morning to help balance the budget, brush up on the Constitution in the afternoon, play some ping-pong and then maybe some verbal ping-pong on gay rights and women's rights (especially the right to choose). 

Continue reading »

Telluride 2011: Jennifer Garner spreads 'Butter' at festival

September 4, 2011 |  8:07 am

Photo: Jennifer Garner in "Butter." Credit: The Weinstein Co. There’s no shortage of serious subjects at this weekend’s Telluride Film Festival, including new movies about obsession (“Shame”), infidelity (“The Descendants”), the death penalty (“Into the Abyss”) and climate change (“The Island President”).

But the lineup isn’t all grim, and one of this year’s sneak previews — Jennifer Garner’s “Butter” — is as broad a satirical comedy as Telluride has ever shown.

After not getting into this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the makers of the movie about backroom intrigue, sexual dalliances and sabotage at an Iowa butter carving competition fine-tuned their movie, bringing it to Telluride for its world premiere.

Garner, who also produced, plays Laura Pickler, who with husband Bob (Ty Burrell) eats, sleeps and drinks butter carving -- transforming massive blocks of the stuff into three-dimensional tableaux.

When Bob, whose prize-winning butter sculptures include depictions of Newt Gingrich on horseback, “Schindler’s List” and the Last Supper, is asked not to compete because he wins too often, Laura decides she will take up the family’s carving knives.

At first, Laura may remind some people of certain right-wing political candidates — she complains about “the liberal media” and says “I believe in America, I believe we’re the best” — but it’s swiftly apparent that she’s actually a bit nuts.

When she discovers that her husband has been sharing more than a lap dance with a local stripper (a heavily tattooed and nearly naked Olivia Wilde), Laura’s determination to churn up a killer butter carving grows a little too intense.

If Laura’s going to lard her trophy case with another carving prize, she must first defeat Destiny (Yara Shahidi), a 10-year-old African American girl whose butter work includes a staggering rendering of Harriet Tubman on a freedom train — complete with an all-butter cloud of smoke coming from its locomotive.

To help improve her chances, Laura enlists former boyfriend Boyd Bolton (Hugh Jackman) to launch some dairy damage against Destiny.

Unlike several of the new features debuting in this former mining town, “Butter,” whose release date hasn't been set by the Weinstein Co., doesn’t have awards aspirations. Its udder heart rests with what you smear on your toast, on a much larger scale.


Glenn Close Gender Bends in "Albert Nobbs"

George Clooney Makes Waves with "The Descedants"

Joshua Marston Heads for Farther Shores with "Forgiveness of Blood"

-- John Horn in Telluride, Colo.

Photo: Jennifer Garner in "Butter." Credit: The Weinstein Co. 

Toronto 2010: Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Garner will have an affair (on screen)

September 15, 2010 |  4:41 pm

EXCLUSIVE: Those who liked seeing Jeremy Renner get tough in an Iraqi desert may soon enjoy the temperamental opposite: watching the actor get meek in a small-town pharmacy.

The Oscar best actor nominee is closely circling the indie film project "Better Living Through Chemistry," a film from writer-director team David Posamentier and Geoff Moore. Jennifer Garner is poised to star opposite Renner as a bored trophy wife who has an affair with the medicine man.

The movie, which has been packaged by ICM and is set up with "The Wackness" producer Occupant Films, looks at how the two break out of their respective ruts when they have a chemically-fueled affair. Up-and-comers Posamentier and Moore are set to direct from their own script.

Renner, who soon will be seen in Ben Affleck's crime drama "The Town," is next set to shoot "Mission: Impossible IV." He also will appear in Joss Whedon's upcoming "Avengers" movie. But he is said to be keen on "Chemistry," and could shoot it after the "M:I" film. Still left to be cast in "Chemistry" is the female supporting role of Renner's girlfriend.

Occupant, for its part, premieres the Rainn Wilson-Sara Silverman comedy "Peep World" at Toronto Wednesday night.

— Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner in 'The Town.' Credit: Warner Bros.

Will Jennifer Garner take on another film alias?

April 7, 2010 |  5:09 pm

"Alias" fans, take note.  Jennifer Garner could keep those multiplex appearances coming, After appearing in the ensemble "Valentine's Day" and opposite Ricky Gervais in "The Invention of Lying" over the past six months, Garner is getting ready to shoot the lead part in "Butter," that story of Midwestern country-fair jealousies that she's also producing.

Now comes word that producers are talking to her for a key part in Ron Howard's (at-the-moment untitled) movie about cheating. Kevin James, Vince Vaughn and Winona Ryder are already on board for the Universal/Imagine project. So, another sultry beauty in the land of average-seeming guys. But we guess if she could hook up with Gervais, playing alongside these guys should be as easy as, well, butter.

-- Steven Zeitchik


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: