Alexander Payne

Why Did It Take Chris Rock So Long to Make a Great Movie Like ‘Top Five’?

The moment he dropped his 1996 breakthrough stand-up special Bring the Pain, Chris Rock was dubbed the heir apparent of Richard Pryor, one of the few comics on the scene to approach the king’s potent mixture of social commentary, personal confession, and performative brilliance. But that wasn’t all they had in common; Pryor spent most of his film career failing to find a vehicle that captured his unique gifts, and Rock has experienced much of the same struggle. “Richard Pryor has two good movies out of 30 or 40,” Rock told Rolling Stone. “Rodney Dangerfield had one. So it’s easy to look at history and go, ‘Maybe I’m not going to get one’… But I guess you’ve got to make your own history.” And Rock has done just that with his new film Top Five, writing, directing, and starring in a picture that plays like a cross between Stardust Memories, Funny People, and Before Sunset, but refracted through the prism of Rock’s distinctive comic sensibility. So why did it take him so long to make a movie worthy of his talent? … Read More

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9 Great Movies to Stream This Holiday Weekend

As the long holiday weekend looms, the to-do checklist stretches out in front of us: buy food, buy booze, attempt insanely complicated recipe that sounded so delicious in the Times, drink, toss recipe away half-finished and just make a goddamn ham, drink more, order a pizza because the ham couldn’t possibly take that long, drink more, fill up with pizza and go buy a Christmas tree, drink more, leave the Christmas tree half-decorated to deal with the ham we totally forgot about, spend the rest of the night in a drunken stupor trying to decide what the hell to watch on Netflix. Well, we can help with the very last item on that list; watch or queue our suggestions now by clicking the title link. … Read More

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Matt Damon Cast in Alexander Payne’s Geopolitical Thriller ‘Downsizing’

Alexander Payne’s Downsizing has been in development since 2004, but because of technological issues and scale, he hasn’t been able… Read More

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10 Fun and Fascinating Facts About the 2014 Oscar-Nominated Films

Tomorrow night, we’ll finally be able to cash in on those Oscar bets when the best of Hollywood are honored at the 86th Academy Awards. Nine feature films created by some of the greatest directors working today will compete for Best Picture gold. We’ve selected ten fun and fascinating facts about each movie, recognizing the extreme and sometimes unusual methods these filmmakers and stars employed to create a memorable motion picture. … Read More

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‘Nebraska': Bruce Dern Is Great, But Don’t Overlook June Squibb

Despite being an Alexander Payne fan, I was not particularly pumped to see Nebraska, a seemingly bleak, black and white road movie following a sad old guy. To be honest, nothing really grabbed me in the film’s opening minutes, and I was fully prepared for a major downer of a movie that veered dangerously close to a coastal director’s ridicule of those living in the flyover states. But at some point very early in, Nebraska becomes a very touching film, albeit a quiet and reflective one. By the end of the movie, I was so surprised at how satisfied I felt leaving the theater that it took some effort to remember my hesitations going in. In short: Nebraska is a charming and surprising movie that exceeds all expectations. … Read More

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Flavorwire’s Guide to Indie Flicks to See in November

Though we’re in the midst of fall and the serious award contenders should presumably fill the theaters, the slate of big studio releases looks more like summer than Oscar season: this month’s big contenders include another Thor, another Hunger Games, a new Disney flick, and a Vince Vaughn sperm donor comedy. So, as usual, the independent filmmakers and distributors are picking up the slack; here’s our overview of the month’s best and most promising indie flicks. … Read More

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Bruce Dern Revives the Spirit of ’70s Cinema in Alexander Payne’s ‘Nebraska’

“There’s not an actor alive who doesn’t wanna work with Alexander Payne,” announced Bruce Dern at the conclusion of Nebraska, the new film from the director of Sideways and Election, which is playing this week at the New York Film Festival. And he’s probably right — but it’s also easy to say that when said director hands an actor a role as plum as Dern’s. Like his longtime friend Jack Nicholson’s collaboration with Payne on About Schmidt, Dern’s performance in Nebraska transforms our perception of the iconic New Hollywood actor. Forever typecast as nutjobs and con artists, Dern’s Woody Grant is a little chubby, a little bewildered, and a lot unkempt. He’s grizzled, resigned, and wonderful, and so is the film. … Read More

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Flavorwire’s Big Deal, All-In Fall Movie Preview

There’s a particularly juicy crop of Movies for Grown-Ups™ to look forward to this season — daunting, even. It’s all exhaustive and a little overwhelming, but hey, that’s what fall moviegoing is all… Read More

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Hollywood’s All-Time Most Memorable Meltdowns

That Kanye West, he just keeps on giving. Gawker has gotten its hands on a surreptitiously recorded audiotape of West having a rather nonsensical meltdown after the Tyler Swift-VMA debacle back in 2009. It’s a pretty entertaining bit of tape, and it immediately reminded this viewer of the notorious David O. Russell tape, and other movie-related throwdowns. After the jump, a roundup of the most notorious tempter tantrums in movies — both on-screen and off. … Read More

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