24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: John C. Reilly

Sundance 2012: Tim and Eric walk into a film festival

January 28, 2012 |  2:57 pm

Comedians Tim Heidecker, left, and Eric Wareheim in Park City, Utah.
Nobody does absurdity quite like Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, better known by their personas of Tim and Eric:  hapless bunglers with a mean streak, part lovable friends, part total jerks. So it somehow makes sense they should have two very different projects this year at Sundance, a place where absurdity often reigns, a weird mix of glitz and grunge, scrounging and branding, swag in the snow.

The duo premiered their own debut feature film, "Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie" here as part of the Midnight section, playing to crowds beyond their usual fans. They also both appear as actors in the Narrative Competition film "The Comedy," directed by Rick Alverson. One film is a ridiculous tour of their comedic world and the other a quietly crushing look at coming to the stark realization of what a mess you are.

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'Carnage:' Jodie Foster has no sense of humor [video]

December 16, 2011 |  2:23 pm

Opening Friday, "Carnage," director Roman Polanski's adaptation of Yasmina Reza's stage play "God of Carnage," tells the story of two sets of parents who come together to discuss an altercation involving both of their sons and descend into bitter squabbling inside the confines of a New York apartment.

The film stars Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly, and Reza told the Times that she was quite pleased with the A-list cast. "They were so right in each part, so I was very thrilled and confident," she said of the actors -- two of whom, Winslet and Foster, were nominated for Golden Globess Thursday for their performances in the film.

Reza, whose other works include the international hit dramatic comedy “Art,” said she previously hadn’t wanted to adapt any of her works for the screen. But her friendship with Polanski, whom she has known for 20 years, helped persuade her to write a screenplay for “Carnage." Reza first met the Oscar-winning director of “Chinatown” and “Rosemary’s Baby” when Polanski asked her to translate his stage adaptation of Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis."

"Roman saw all my plays and followed my work, but we never spoke about doing something together," Reza told The Times in an interview. "It was for me really very obvious that he might be the most right person to do it."

In this exclusive video clip, the bickering between the couples has already begun.


'God of Carnage' original cast is ready to fight again

'Carnage' review: Civilized adults descend into chaos

-- Reed Johnson and Gina McIntyre

'Carnage': Sometimes it's good when actors phone it in [video]

November 11, 2011 | 12:00 pm

A scene from Roman Polanski's Carnage
As Alan Cowan in "Carnage," Christoph Waltz constantly interrupts the conversation he's having with his wife (Kate Winslet) and another couple (Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly) -- the parents of a boy their son has injured in a fight -- by taking phone calls. He not only interrupts others by answering his cellphone, he picks it up in the middle of his own thoughts. It says a lot about his character and his willingness to be in the parental discussion in the first place. But those tinny voices you barely hear on the other end of the phone? Real actors holding a real conversation with him, Waltz reveals.

In this clip from the Q&A at the Envelope Screening Series with Waltz and Reilly and Times film writer Rebecca Keegan, Waltz discusses the phone calls, and Reilly reveals a couple of Alan's other social faux pas.


'Carnage': Alliances swiftly change during a 'civil' conversation

'Carnage'John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz on Roman Polanski

'The Descendants': George Clooney on why he took the Matt King role

--Elena Howe

Photo: Jodie Foster, from left, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet in a scene from Roman Polanski's "Carnage." Credit:  Guy Ferrandis/Sony Pictures Classics

'Carnage': Even fake vomit isn't pleasant [Video]

November 11, 2011 |  7:00 am

Kate Winslet on the set of Carnage

In "Carnage," a film about two couples who gather to discuss a fight their boys have had, Kate Winslet's character takes a turn for the worse. After complaining that she feels nauseous, Winslet proceeds to vomit pretty much all over the other couple's living room -- and its prized possessions.

In this video from the Envelope Screening Series, co-stars John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz discuss with Times film writer Rebecca Keegan the ins and outs of working with stage vomit.


"Carnage": Alliances swiftly change during a 'civil' conversation

"The Descendants": Judy Greer, George Clooney on Alexander Payne 

"Carnage": John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz on Roman Polanski [Video]

-- Elena Howe

Photo: Kate Winslet on the set of "Carnage." Credit: Guy Ferrandis / Sony Pictures Classics

'Carnage': Alliances swiftly change during a 'civil' conversation

November 10, 2011 |  1:06 pm

Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet star in "Carnage"
In "Carnage," the Roman Polanski-directed film adaptation of the play "God of Carnage," two couples -- played by John C. Reilly and Jodie Foster, and Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet -- gather to discuss a fight their boys have had. But what begins as a civil, amenable conversation looking for resolution quickly devolves into arguments and bitter accusation -- and not just couple against couple. The alliances shift and reshift continuously. 

In this video from the Envelope Screening Series, Reilly and Waltz discuss with Times film writer Rebecca Keegan the role of parenthood in the script and those changing dynamics.


"The Descendants": Judy Greer, George Clooney on Alexander Payne

"Carnage": John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz on Roman Polanski [Video]

"The Lady": Luc Besson's film about Myanmar's Suu Kyi was risky business

-- Elena Howe

Photo: From left, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet star in "Carnage." Credit: Guy Ferrandis / Sony Pictures Classics

Kenneth Turan's film pick of the week: 'Terri'

July 7, 2011 |  8:35 am


Films about disaffected teenagers having trouble in high school are hardly a rarity in today's movie landscape, but one done with the empathy, sensitivity and skill of Azazel Jacobs' "Terri" is another matter entirely.

A gently melancholy film about loneliness and hope revolving around a way overweight high school misfit who so doesn't belong he wears his pajamas to class, "Terri" doesn't observe its characters, it gets inside them.

Jacob Wysocki is just right as the kid no one cares about, and John C. Reilly is just as good as the assistant principal who takes an interest in him.

This may sound like a film you've seen before, but you haven't seen it done like this.


Movie review: 'Terri'

'Terri' star Jacob Wysocki asks, 'Why me?'

More film picks from Kenneth Turan

-- Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times film critic

Photo: Jacob Wysocki, left, and John C. Reilly in "Terri." Credit: ATO Pictures

Duplass brothers look to put a 'Pitchfork' in it

June 8, 2011 |  4:06 pm

EXCLUSIVE: Mark and Jay Duplass made the jump from mumblecore to mainstream with the well-received black comedy "Cyrus" last summer and will bring out the Jason Segel-Ed Helms feature "Jeff Who Lives at Home" (produced by Jason Reitman) later this year.

Now the "Puffy Chair " pair seek to continue their bigger-budget pattern — and possibly, as with "Cyrus," using Jonah Hill in a mother-son theme.

The writer-directors have penned a new script that has been making the rounds in the past few days to Hollywood studios, say two people who've gotten a look at the script but asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak about it.

Titled "Pitchfork," it's a dramatic thriller about the middle-aged mother of an indie rocker who, after her son is killed in a car accident, seeks vengeance on an online blogger who had peddled snark about her son (on the music site Pitchfork, hence one of the title's entendres). Things take a turn, though, when she finds out the snarker is just a teenager.

The film contains a juicy role for the mother (Susan Sarandon is one of the actresses who's being sought for the part) as well as the teen blogger, with Hill having discussed it with the filmmakers, said a person familiar with the pitch. It's not known if Mark Duplass, a performer whose most prominent acting appearance came in the indie buzz title "Humpday" in 2009, will take a supporting part in the film himself. Mark Duplass did not immediately reply to a message seeking comment.

The brother filmmakers began their career with the 2005 Sundance darling "The Puffy Chair," a dramedy that explored a troubled couple on a road trip and was one of the best-known of the brand of offbeat verite known as mumblecore. After another indie, the genre-inflected "Baghead," they made the jump to more star-driven pictures with "Cyrus," which starred Hill, Marisa Tomei and John C. Reilly and was made by 20th Century Fox subsidiary Fox Searchlight.

Family relationships, particularly those between mothers and grown children, have been a recent preoccupation for the filmmakers. "Cyrus" had Hill in a too-close relationship with his mother (Tomei), and "Jeff" has Segel as a grown man who is sent by his mother on a routine errand to find that the universe may be sending him strange signals.


The actor: Jonah Hill heads toward greater visibility

— Steven Zeitchik


Photo. Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei and John C. Reilly in "Cyrus." Credit: Fox Searchlight.

Sundance 2011: Echoes of John Hughes in 'Terri'

January 29, 2011 | 11:26 am


Azazel Jacobs first came to Sundance in 2008 and his film "Momma's Man" became one of the hits of the festival with its uncanny blend of the personal and the fictional. With "Terri," directed by Jacobs from a screenplay by Patrick De Witt and playing as part of the U.S. Dramatic Competition, Jacobs seems to be making a conscious bid for more mainstream acceptance, while still working entirely on his own terms.

Funny and strange, the film tells the story of an oversized teenager named Terri (Jacob Wysocki, in his feature film debut) who lives with his aging uncle (Creed Bratton). Having taken to wearing pajamas to school and all but giving up on the idea of a social life, Terri is taken under the wing of his eccentric vice-principal (John C. Reilly). Suddenly, and largely without meaning to, Terri finds himself with a sidekick best-friend (Bridger Zadina) and the interest of a girl (Olivia Crocicchia).

Following Thursday afternoon's screening to a jampacked Eccles Theater, there were huge bursts of appaulse for Jacobs, Wysocki and Crocicchia as they all took the stage with three of the film's producers. It is not unfair (and meant in a complimentary way) to say "Terri" is among the nicest films at Sundance, the most attuned to making the best of a bad situation and finding what's good-hearted in everyone. As Riley's character says at one moment by way of dispensing advice, "Life's a mess, dude."

I snagged a few moments alone with Jacobs as he walked down a long corridor alongside the theater just after the post-screening Q&A, enough time for a couple of questions about his sidelong take on the teen picture.

"I think inherently the story Pat gave me was a familiar story, and I wanted to respond to these movies that helped shape me just as much as other independent or abstract work," Jacobs said of the film's more accessible sensibility. Along the way he mentioned the films of John Hughes, "The Chocolate War," "Clueless" and the recent indie "Afterschool" as ones he looked at for inspiration and said he and Wysocki specifically watched Hal Ashby's "Being There" and Joseph Losey's "The Servant" with regard to tone.

"I felt that if I did this film from my point of view there could be something different than what we'd seen," he added. "And I still wanted to be part of that conversation."

Though he didn't write the script himself, Jacobs said he feels it comes from his sensibility.

"I had planned to co-write it and the pages were coming, like every five or six pages," Jacobs said, "and then I realized he didn't need any of my help. In a weird way, even though I didn't write it, because they were coming in bits and pieces I would help with editing and shaping and doing whatever I could. Pretty much every other day I'd get something, so instead of physically doing it, it still felt like something that was growing inside me."

-- Mark Olsen in Park City, Utah

Scene from "Terri." Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

Sundance 2011: 'Fight for Your Right Revisited' brings the Beastie revolution

January 20, 2011 | 11:45 pm


The Sundance Film Festival’s "Short Program I" had no shortage of visceral kidney punches and visual shockers for the jam-packed audience at the Library Theater in Park City, Utah, on Thursday night.

Director Ariel Kleiman’s “Deeper Than Yesterday” provoked deep unease depicting the rage that lurks beneath man’s civility –- or at least the simmering hostility manifest in pasty-faced mariners deep beneath the ocean’s surface in a Russian submarine. “The Terrys” (directed by Tim Heidecker and Eric Warheim) presents an extreme slice of White Trash excess (“ice” gets smoked, Zubaz pants are worn, a surprise pregnancy results in a not-quite normal baby). And “The External World” (directed by David O’Reilly) shows us a video game universe where Japanimation characters find themselves in disquieting –- but nonetheless hilarious -- predicaments that play up an almost shockingly complete list of comedic taboos: pedophilia, genocide, spontaneous combustion and gratuitous pooping.

But the short movie that a large contingent of the opening night showing had come specifically to see was “Fight for Your Right Revisited,” directed by an individual named Adam Yauch. That would be the guy better known as MCA from the seminal hip-hop trio the Beastie Boys.

Yauch’s aliases are myriad. He sometimes goes by an alter ego named Nathaniel Hornblower to direct short films and movies such as “Gunnin’ for That #1 Spot” and “Awesome I … Shot That.” And at the Indie movie distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories, he goes by the title chief executive.

Yauch directed the 20-minute movie as a kind of bizarro companion piece to the Beasties’ smash 1986 frat boy anthem “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party).”  The film follows actors impersonating the group in period-perfect costumes in the denouement to the wild party (where pies are thrown, Spanish Fly is dumped in punch and a TV is famously sledge-hammered) depicted in the video.

But not just any actors. Seth Rogen portrays the Beasties’ Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Elijah Wood embodies Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and a trash-talking Danny McBride channels '80s-era Yauch via four-day growth of beard and sleazy leather jacket.

The trio rob a bodega, spray beer all over passersby on a New York-esque (read: Hollywood movie studio backlot) street and generally raise havoc wherever they go, terrorizing a Who’s Who of movie bigshots in the process: Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson and Will Arnett among them -- but also Kirsten Dunst, Rashida Jones and Orlando Bloom (wearing a vintage Def Jam jacket in homage to the group's former record label). But the Beastie party mayhem doesn’t stop there. The “Beasties” are picked up by “metal chicks” portrayed by Chloe Sevigny and Maya Rudolph with whom they ingest whippets and drop liquid acid.

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'Cedar Rapids': Can Ed Helms pull off a leading-man role? [Trailer]

December 23, 2010 |  1:01 pm

Cedar-Rapids-movie-trailerUntil now, Ed Helms has largely been an endearing but supporting character on both the small and big screens: as a correspondent on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," as the whipped boyfriend in "The Hangover," as a sweet but slightly pathetic salesman on "The Office."

But Helms finally gets his turn as a leading man in February's "Cedar Rapids," in which he again plays what's becoming his stock-in-trade character of the lovable loser.

In the newly-released trailer for Miguel Arteta's film, we meet Helms' character Tim Lippe, an up-the-middle, uptight Midwestern insurance agent whose company sends him to a convention in Cedar Rapids. There he meets a group of agents with a penchant for partying (played by John C. Reilly, Anne Heche and Isiah Whitlock Jr.).

The movie, which will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, seeks to augur a comeback for Arteta ("The Good Girl") after his ambivalently received "Youth In Revolt" this year.

In a way, Arteta's new film almost seems like an indie version of "The Hangover," except that the cast of zany characters here seems more square. (Helms' character is the kind of person who finds that the car he’s rented is a run-of-the-mill Chevy and seems genuinely tickled.)

The movie hinges on the idea that Tim attends the conference as a last-ditch effort to save his struggling company. Instead, he becomes distracted by his new wild cohorts and a budding romance with Heche’s character. The stakes don’t seem all that high, but there appear to be plenty of enjoyable moments.

While Reilly is as amusingly over-the-top as he was in "Step Brothers," it's Helms who shines. He's reprising the entertaining role of naive goofball , and, fortunately, this time we're getting a lot more of him.

--Amy Kaufman



'Water for Elephants': Can Robert Pattinson perform under the big top? [trailer]

From a black swan, a tree grows

Preview review: Girls just wanna have fun in 'Friends With Benefits' and 'No Strings Attached.' Or do they?

Photo: Ed Helms, far right, stars in "Cedar Rapids." Credit: Fox Searchlight.


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