Noah Baumbach is one of the most interesting and creative writer/directors working in cinema today and his new film Frances Ha, which opens in theaters on May 17th, proves it!
Baumbach first gained attention as a writer and director in the mid-‘90s for a string of independent movies including Kicking and Screaming, Highball, and Mr. Jealousy. But it was his 2005 film The Squid and the Whale that earned him an Academy Award-nomination for Best Original Screenplay and put him on the map in Hollywood as an important filmmaker.
Since then, Baumbach has collaborated with equally eclectic filmmaker Wes Anderson to pen two of the director’s best movies, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and Fantastic Mr. Fox, in addition to co-writing last summer’s hit family film Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted with director Eric Darnell. He also went on to make two more movies as a filmmaker including Margot at the Wedding with Nicole Kidman and Jack Black, as well as the critically acclaimed Greenberg starring Ben Stiller.
His new film, Frances Ha, features quirky young actress Greta Gerwig as a 27-year-old dancer named Frances who lives with her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner). But when Sophie moves out in order to live with her new boyfriend, Frances’ world spins out of control and the young dancer is forced to figure out how to live her life without the constant companionship of her best friend. Baumbach co-wrote the screenplay with Gerwig, who gives an impressive and commanding performance. While the film was shot digitally in color, it was was converted to black-and-white to emulate other New York set movies by classic filmmakers like Woody Allen, and Jim Jarmusch.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with filmmaker Noah Baumbach to talk about his work on Frances Ha. The acclaimed writer and director discussed his new movie, the decision to shoot it digitally yet convert it to black-and-white, the affects that choice had on set, the intricate process of color conversion, and his friendship with mentor and legendary filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich.
Hey Rogues and Roguettes, how about a handpicked compilation of some of a favorite fried gold IAR stories from the year that was 2012?
It's a frequent refrain that we're living in a golden age of television, a time in which the previously safe, formulaic tropes of the medium have given way to exciting deviations, more cinematic styles, daring storytelling, and – gasp! – actual artistic expression on the idiot box. The auteur theory of film is now evidence on many shows, but even with meticulous dramas like Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, and Breaking Bad, there is no series on television that is more the product of a singular vision than Louie.
Currently in its third season, the FX series is an almost astonishingly direct expression of Louis C.K.'s sensibilities. That makes perfect sense, since the show's creator not only writes, directs, produces, and stars in every single episode, but for the first two seasons, he also served as his own editor. If that sounds like a crushing workload for any mortal, consider that C.K. is also a father to two daughters almost undoubtedly the most respected stand-up comedian on the planet.
Even amongst the notoriously jealous, petty tribe that stand-ups comprise, Louis C.K. is accepted as a luminary. Unlike most of his contemporaries, C.K. generates a new hour of material every year, disposing of his familiar work annually and creating new material that comprises both his stand-up and serves as a framework for Louie. Last year, C.K. made an unconventional move by selling his stand-up comedy special Live at the Beacon Theater directly through his own site. With that having proven a huge success, he's now selling tickets to his latest tour similarly, eschewing price-gouging ticket services.
Along with other outlets, IAR was lucky enough to participate in a phone interview with Louis C.K. during which the comedian/director/producer/writer/actor discussed the third season of Louie, working with guest stars like Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, and Melissa Leo, working with an editor, story structure, becoming more recognizable, and what you can and can't do on cable television.
Since becoming managing editor of iamROGUE over a year ago, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to some of the most accomplished filmmakers of all-time including Francis Ford Coppola, John Carpenter, Lawrence Kasdan, Guillermo del Toro, J.J. Abrams, and Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. So you could imagine my delight recently when I was invited, along with several other members of the press, to attend a press conference with one of the most celebrated directors in the history of cinema … Woody Allen!
Allen, who very rarely does press, was in Los Angeles last week promoting his latest film To Rome with Love, which was the opening night film at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival and begins playing in theaters on June 22nd. The movie follows-up last year’s Midnight in Paris, which earned Allen an Academy Award for Best Screenplay and was also nominated for Best Picture. In fact, the director has now won four Oscars in total and has helmed such classic movies as Annie Hall, Manhattan, Zelig, Broadway Danny Rose, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Hannah and Her Sisters, Radio Days, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Husbands and Wives, Bullets Over Broadway, Mighty Aphrodite, Everyone Says I Love You, Deconstructing Harry, Sweet and Lowdown, Match Point, Scoop, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
To Rome with Love features another all-star “Woody Allen Cast” including Alec Baldwin (The Departed), Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful), Jesse Eisenberg (30 Minutes or Less), Greta Gerwig (Lola Versus), Ellen Page (Juno), Italian actress Alessandra Mastronardi, Italian tenor Fabio Armiliato, and Allen himself, as well as Penelope Cruz (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides), Alison Pill (Goon), and Judy Davis (The Ref), who have all worked with the director before. The film’s plot revolves around a number of different people in Italy, some American, some Italian, some residents, some visitors, and the romances, adventures and predicaments they get into.
Woody Allen continues his European tour this Friday with To Rome With Love. The legendary and prolific writer-director spent decades focused almost exclusively on his native New York, but starting with 2005's London-based Match Point, six of Allen's last seven yearly offerings have been set across the pond. Something of a renaissance (more accurately one of the periodic critical upswings in a career as long and varied as his) has involved Vicky Cristina Barcelona and last year's Midnight in Paris, which marked a commercial best for Allen.
To Rome With Love, naturally takes place in the Italian capitol, and as he did with London, Barcelona, and Paris, Allen trains his directorial eye on both seemingly obvious and trivial observations of what makes each city special. The comedy follows an ensemble of different unconnected characters, some denizens of Rome and others tourists. Allen himself appears in the film for the first time since 2003's Anything Else, and he's joined by Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Greta Gerwig, Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Alison Pill, Roberto Benigni, Judy Davis, and Alessando Tiberi.
In honor of the film's debut in limited release this Friday, we here at IAR decided to compile a list of ten notable films set entirely or partially in Rome. A city with thousands of years of history and a founding myth as dramatic as the story of Romulus and Remus is obviously a perfect place for a compelling film. So we present, in no particular order, ten examples of Rome-based movies. Keep in mind, however, that this is not a "Best Movies Set in Rome," as we always welcome a few outliers and oddities.
Synopsis: The film is comprised of four separate vignettes and tells the story of a number of people in Italy—some American, some Italian, some residents, some visitors—and the romances and adventures and predicaments they get into.
In May, it's the Cannes International Film Festival that rightly maintains the spotlight, but once all the craziness from the French Riviera's all over, June belongs to another sun-drenched, world-famous locale. That would LA, home to the Los Angeles Film Festival, currently gearing up for its 18th annual iteration. Today, Film Independent officially announced the LAFF lineup, consisting of just under 200 features, shorts, and music videos from all around the world.
Hey, Woody Allen fans, the trailer for the writer-director's next film, To Rome With Love, is viewable now and it is deliciously Allentastic, so much so that it actually includes the man himself in an increasingly rare onscreen role. He's but one member of a rock-solid ensemble whose separate tales of romance, eccentricity, and comedy play out on the streets of the historical Italian city.
With Oscar ballots due earlier this week, and only a few days to go until the Oscars on Sunday, February 26th, here is how things stand in the race for the gold...
We have but a week until the orgiastic display of congratulations, accolades, pomp, and circumstance that is the Academy Awards finally puts an end to the awards season that so consumes us for months, regardless of foreign wars, humanitarian crises, or potentially Orwellian national legislation. That leaves one week of breathless speculation based on the other awards being trotted out. The latest professional organization to unveil its winners and contribute to that speculation is the Writers Guild of America.