Ever since making his directorial debut in 2007, filmmaker Joe Swanberg has quickly become just as prolific as fellow indie filmmakers Jay and Mark Duplass. Over the last few years, Swanberg has been delivering more commercial and accessible fare, including ‘Drinking Buddies’ and last year’s ‘Happy Christmas.’ And now he’s taking another big commercial step: helming his first film for a major studio.
Writer and director Joe Swanberg reunites with his 'Drinking Buddies' star Anna Kendrick for 'Happy Christmas,' an intimate indie dramedy in which Kendrick stars as a willfully regressive 27 year-old who moves in with her older brother and his wife, only to throw their world into (minor) upheaval. A charming counterpoint to popular man-child narratives, Swanberg's latest asks not for sympathy for its main character, but merely identification and a little empathy.
There's a moment in 'Happy Christmas' when Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey and Lena Dunham have a few cocktails in a basement converted to a tiki bar, and that moment quietly strikes gold. The scene – three woman jawing about the balance of work and life – doesn't gear up to be some big emotional breakthrough. It just happens au naturale, unladen with political pamphleteering or, quite frankly, even looking for any solutions. It is a great microcosm of Joe Swanberg's newest film. Insight does occasionally spring from this movie in what looks like an effortless fashion, but the movie as a whole looks like hardly any effort went into it.
As the summer movie season winds to a close and we've become exhausted by explosions and superheroes and giant portals in the sky, the perfect remedy are some of the fantastic indie movies that are hitting theaters. One of those films is Joe Swanberg's 'Drinking Buddies,' a romantic comedy for people who like to drink a lot of beer and generally hate romantic comedies. We caught up with stars Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson to talk about getting drunk, skinny dipping and having no idea what is going to happen next.
'Drinking Buddies' may have a cast full of popular film and TV actors, it might have a bigger budget and a more accomplished cinematographer, but it is still a Joe Swanberg movie through and through. As in previous works by the prolific independent filmmaker like 'Hannah Takes the Stairs' and 'Alexander the Last,' the plot advances glacially. The characters ramble, mumble and stammer in the extreme. The primary conflict in this movie is the protagonists' absolute inability to tell each other how they really feel beneath their flirtations and small talk.
We've been dying -- DYING -- for a release date for Adam Wingard's delightful horror flick 'You're Next' ever since it premiered at Fantastic Fest 2011. Now, almost a full year later, Lionsgate has graced us with an official release date. Good news: You can see 'You're Next' in 11 months!