Judd Apatow

Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, and Jason Schwartzman in "The Overnight"

Is Mainstream Comedy Getting an Overdue Shot of Bicuriosity?

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There’s a memorable/notorious scene in Judd Apatow’s 2005 breakthrough hit The 40-Year-Old Virgin that finds secondary characters David (Paul Rudd) and Cal (Seth Rogen) playing a video game and riffing on the different ways each man knows the other is “gay.” Their explanations range from stereotypical to obvious, and while the scene can be read as homophobic, I’ve always thought it a little smarter (and funnier) than that; it’s a commentary on stereotypes, but also on the sometimes imperceptibly thin line between admitted sexual attractions and the kind of affectionate “bromances” that populate mainstream comedies by Apatow and his contemporaries. But these things go in cycles, and it feels like we’re in the early moments of a new one, in which the sexual fluidity that was so often subtext in these comedies is finally moving into the foreground.
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Still from "12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer"

Meet the Reviled Movie Blogger Who Inspired Last Week’s ‘Amy Schumer’

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If you’re lucky, you have no earthly idea who Jeffrey Wells is. Writer of, in his words, “a daily stream-of-Hollywood-consciousness column for Hollywood Elsewhere,” Wells is the kind of fringe gadfly that can seem omnipresent when you live in a particular bubble (in this case, that of online film writing), only surfacing beyond the Twitter conversations of hate-readers and head-shakers when he writes something particularly noxious — which, to be fair, is pretty often. Such was the case last weekend when he penned this little missive, accusing The Village Voice’s Stephanie Zacharek and LA Weekly’s Amy Nicholson of some kind of lady groupthink conspiracy for daring to like Hot Pursuit, surmising that the pair “were guided by the same liberal compassion instinct that led Henry Fonda to vote not guilty for that Puerto Rican kid in 12 Angry Men.” But what’s particularly jaw-dropping/hilarious about Wells’ otherwise (typically) loathsome and sexist post is the idea that he would, this week of all weeks, drop a 12 Angry Men reference, considering that the week’s most-discussed half hour of television was not only a riff on that film but, at its core, a 30-minute middle finger to Mr. Wells.
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Tom Hardy in "Mad Max: Fury Road"

Flavorwire’s Guide to 2015 Summer Movies

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This Friday, just like the first weekend of every May since 2007, a new movie based on a Marvel comic book will open in thousands of theaters across the country, will make all the money, and will serve as the official starter pistol for summer movie season. And for many a seasoned moviegoer, that’s a cue for despair; after all, summer has become synonymous with big, bloated, stupid blockbusters of the Transformers school. And make no mistake, there’s plenty of those on the runway this season (how ya doin’, Terminator Genisys, it’s pretty funny that you’re actually going with that spelling). But don’t go into cinematic hibernation just yet; there’s also a steady stream of first-rate indie-flick counterprogramming on the runway, and some of the big movies actually sound pretty good. So, as a public service to you, the discerning moviegoer, we’ve assembled a month-by-month look at what might actually be worth your time and… Read More

Paul Dano in "Love & Mercy"

The Best and Worst of the 2015 SXSW Film Festival

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The SXSW Film Festival will continue through the weekend (albeit mostly with repeat screenings and music-related films, pegged to the concurrent music fest), but your correspondent has returned from Austin, with a belly full of BBQ and a head full of leftover images and snatches of dialogue from the 21 narrative and documentary films I took in over my week in Texas. Here are a few thoughts on each, along with the best and worst films I saw there.
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Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy at the SXSW premiere of "Spy"

How SXSW Became a Haven for Mainstream Studio Comedies

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AUSTIN, TX: “So do we like to laugh here at South by Southwest?” asked festival director Janet Pierson in the introduction to Monday night’s premiere of the Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart comedy Get Hard, and the reaction was, unsurprisingly, affirmative. Yet not all festival crowds might react the same way. The common perception of the “film festival movie” is something staid and serious and perhaps even dull: micro-budgeted black-and-white relationship dramas, documentaries on puzzlingly esoteric topics, maybe a coming-of-age-in-the-summer movie with a few mild chuckles. Director Paul Feig announced Sunday night, at the premiere of his comedy Spy, “Film festivals are a very dangerous thing, because we’re comedians and we do comedy, and we tend to be looked at the bastard children of real movies.” But comedy filmmakers — even those like Feig who work with big budgets for big studios — have found an unlikely home at SXSW. “Austin really opens up its heart and just allows us to entertain you,” he explained to the sold-out crowd at the Paramount Theater, which cheered wildly in response.
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Amy Schumer at the SXSW Film Festival.

“People Don’t Know What the Word ‘Feminism’ Means”: Amy Schumer on Internet Trolls, Her Comic Persona, and ‘Trainwreck’

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AUSTIN, TX: “Judd Apatow is like an oracle,” Amy Schumer says of the director of her new starring vehicle Trainwreck, which premiered Sunday at the SXSW Film Festival. “If you look at people that are huge stars now, he put them in movies before you knew who they were, and he just has a good sense.” Then, as she does onstage, she catches herself, hears herself, and continues, “Not that I’m saying, like, ‘Guys, this is the last time you’ll see me, I’m about to blow up,’ but I’m saying…” We laugh, and she laughs, but it’s not exactly a joke; based on Trainwreck’s gangbusters reception, Amy Schumer is about to be a major movie star. And we’re ready for it.
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Amy Schumer and Bill Hader in "Trainwreck"

10 SXSW 2015 Movies We Can’t Wait to See

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Hold my calls, I’ll be in Austin. Yes, tomorrow marks the start of the 2015 SXSW Film Festival, one of the most purely enjoyable weeks of the movie year (and, no small side plus, a welcome blast of sunshine after a particularly miserable winter). With a remarkable 145 features in this year’s fest — from a record 2,385 submissions — there’s no way to even come close to seeing everything that looks interesting, or striking, or fun. But here are a few of the movies we’re looking forward to seeing, either in Austin or soon thereafter.
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