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IR Interview: Judd Apatow (Writer/Director) For “This Is 40” [Universal]

I Love You Man – Blu Ray Review

ilym-brThe necessity of “I Love You Man”, which I did not see during its theatrical run, is that it takes an uncomfortable subject and literally makes it more uncomfortable. Now this is done in no way in part to the presence of Paul Rudd, who has become the unlikely anti-hero of the Judd Apatow sect. Now granted Seth Rogen has the underdog situation down pat but he has a brother-in-arms in the form of Jason Segel who takes on a much more engaging role than his feature starring debut in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”. The essence of the story revolves around the fact that Rudd’s character is getting married to a girl whom he seems good with but the odd thing is that he doesn’t have any guy friends. He has always related more to women. Now while usually when this happens, it simply speaks to a simple emotional situation of being only able to relate to one person at a time (the ability not to multi-task if you will), here it is played for laughs in the texture that Rudd’s character goes on “Man Dates” to find some guy friends.

All sorts of shenanigans ensue (including many involving Lou Ferrigno) but ultimately things work out nice and soft after much carnage including lewd billboards of Rudd’s real estate character. The comedy is brisk but is never as funny as it thinks it is. The girls in “Spring Breakdown” (in terms of a recent comparison) went much more out on a limb. But the key here is that the filmmakers are also trying to appeal to a female audience which this picture definitely admits to.

The commentary by Rudd, Segel and director John Hamburg is self reflexive in its ability even pointing to the fact that Rudd gave everyone gifts on set but Segel didn’t give him one back until months later. It was a good one though: a signed bass from rock band Rush who figures prominently into the movie’s storyline. As the commentary continues, the aspect of what their humor is actually becomes self effacing which at times sort of throws off the aspect of whether the comedy elements are thought out or even funny in the first place. The aspect of not being able to stop laughing when shooting does happen as the extra improvs later in the disc show. This team however seem to have played these element out to the point of beating a dead horse. However they seem to understand that the movie that they are making needs to be loose but still have its heart focused.

“The Making Of I Love You Man” paints in this direction as well. The self effacing humor plays through everyone, even J.K. Simmons who gets into a little bashing. Jon Favreau is the best because he is playing Mr. Big Shot which is not him in person truly. His fellow actors play up the whole “Iron Man” thing but Fav still plays his angle. In the Extras section with all the improv, it is actually his and Jamie Pressly’s pieces that are fun to watch because they are so cruel. He outpowers her to a point at which she just goes quiet and almost starts laughing. It is interesting.

Paul Rudd’s two improv heavy scenes: on the phone in the office and in bed with his fiance show the amount of different permeations the guy goes through when the thinking is steady. But it is the Vespa riding sequence, especially with the “Facts Of Life” theme song, that goes a little long. In terms of extended and deleted scenes, the “ladies night” piece gets in a tad more with how graphic the girls get but by comparison the Johnny Depp elements at the wedding go on way too long. The deleted scenes don’t really add anything to the mix although the groomsmen photos are amusing. However it slows down the story.

The red band trailer adds some bits and lets the “fucks” fly but it is Jon Favreau’s last line that isn’t in the movie that has the most punch. The gag reel is usually used for the wrap party and highlights the fact that Paul Rudd finds himself funny sometimes more than anyone else and likes to laugh although the rubbing scene in Segel’s apartment set is a little much. But that is the movie through and through. Out of 5, I give it a 2 1/2.

Perfect Atmosphere & Common Ground: The 2009 Palm Beach International Film Festival

The sun sets over the cityscape as beauty rushes inside with the cool night air. The elevator rises to the top floor where wealthy patrons humbly support a tradition that is held so dear. The Atlantic sea breeze engulfs the roof of Boca Raton’s Mizner Park. Welcome to the Palm Beach International Film Festival.

Palm Beach has always been synonymous with wealth, culture, and relaxation. Where else could be such a perfect setting for a festival? The opening night party that swirled upon the roof gave everyone a taste of things to come. Local prestigious restaurants hosted their signature dishes and cocktail creations. Models showcased the newest designs. The vibe was high and yet this confab had barely begun. As a festival honoree gets into the swing of the evening surrounded by the previously mentioned models, the die is cast. In addition to fun, there is a sense of community everyone from staff to celebrities to attendees.

The Palm Beach International Film Festival has the unique ability to choose films that are timely and effective. The first of note is “Machan”, a brilliant film about a persecuted group of athletes who forge together to form a handball team and escape from the slums of Sri Lanka. However it was the comedic hijinks of this film that made it a winner. It spoke to the originality of the programming at the festival which offers everything from coming-of-age comedies to cutting edge animation to heartfelt documentaries.

Dream Riders“, a documentary starring former school teacher William Roulston, tells the story of a father reconnecting with his son by cycling cross-country. The festival audience applauded the film in that there was a difficult balance to be maintained between the real life relationship between a boy and his dad and the film they were making.  After talking to Roulston during a gracious ride back to the headquarter hotel,  a realization of the “truth” to the process of filmmaking became evident. “Dream Riders” shows that reality can actually be captured on film.

Another standout at the fest was “Only Love“, an animated short that breathes new life into 2D animation and is directed with gusto by Lev Polyakov. The film tells the story of a foreign dictator coming to grips with his own mortality and facing the demons of his past. Merging Russian archetypes and surrealist imagery, this jewel highlights a maturity that makes it exceptional.

In another highlight, the short film “Stealing Second” knows what it is and adheres to a current trend in American cinema. Young filmmakers are plentiful but one has to understand the market. The director and star of “Second”, Alex Richanbach, embraces the new wave of R-rated comedies and uses it to his advantage. The story involves his character needing to move forward with a hot blonde girl after accidentally going to “second base”. The dialogue shines and helps propel the film forward. Richanbach’s structure in the film mirrors other directors like Greg Mottola and Judd Apatow (who incidentally he worked for as a PA on the film “Stepbrothers”). Rising talents are hard to spot (especially in this industry) but with Richanbach, it was apparent.

After two days of festing, it is difficult to escape the surf and sun. But a big event awaits. The GALA. Every year Palm Beach invites the most prestigious of its citizens to the Boca Raton Resort & Club for a night of dancing and surprise guests. Celebrities from W’s James Cromwell to Emmy Award winner Christine Baranski walked the red carpet showing their support.  The ballroom was lavished in flowers, decorations and a vintage band right out of a David Lynch movie. Cromwell received the career achievement award which he shared with his family who attended the event.  The highlight of the the evening however was Charles Martin Smith (of “The Untouchables” fame) presenting the Visionary Award to director Joel Zwick (who directed “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”). The surprise was a video message from Tom Hanks that was both hilarious and heartfelt. Zwick had basically discovered Hanks for “Bosom Buddies”. The dance and drink continued into the night.

The aspect of this festival that differentiates it from others is the accessibility of the attendees to the talent. Everybody hangs out. Normally at most festivals, there are VIP lounges where only a limited few congregate. But, at the PBIFF, interaction is welcomed. A good example of this relaxed atmosphere was the Closing Night party at hotspot The Addison where an open courtyard lavished with gothic trees danced around as the award winners discussed the events of the day.

The Palm Beach International Film Festival is a place where the vibe is both relaxing and motivated, especially for young filmmakers. The atmosphere with the nearby ocean and mild climate is a perfect fit. It is a place where all can meet on common ground.

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