Posts Tagged ‘It’s Kind Of A Funny Story’

With The Novelist Of It’s Kind Of A Funny Story

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

With The Novelist Of It’s Kind Of A Funny Story

“A Teenager Flying Over A Cuckoo’s Nest” In Funny Story

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

“A Teenager Flying Over A Cuckoo’s Nest” In Funny Story

It’s Kind Of A John Hughes Story

Friday, September 24th, 2010

It’s Kind Of A John Hughes Story

TIFF Dispatch Day Five: It’s Kind of a Funny Film Festival Story …

Monday, September 13th, 2010

So tonight I want to talk a little bit about something interesting that’s happening at the fest around the film It’s Kind of a Funny Story, directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.

I was catching up with indieWIRE’s Day Four Hot Topic, where film critics drop in the Film Lounge to chat about What’s Hot and What’s Not at the fest (I will be chatting there myself on Wednesday). This episode included LA Weekly’s Karina Longworth and indieWIRE folks Anne Thompson, Eugene Hernandez and Eric Kohn, and one of the films that got a mention as “losing” at the fest was It’s Kind of a Funny Story.

TIFF Dispatch Day Three: The Best Laid Plans

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

I’ve finally gotten myself to the point of feeling more or less fully immersed in my Toronto routine (read: catching my sleep in four hour power sessions, fueling on coffee and Balance bars all day when there’s no time to eat between back-to-back screenings and Starbucks runs out of paninis, spending so much time in dark screening rooms that the sunlight, when you do come out, hurts your eyes) and have mastered the subway. I’ve seen 11 films in three days, and it’s getting to be kind of a blur (thank you, publicists who hand out press notes for us weary film crickets).

I Just Flew Into Toronto, and Boy, Are My Arms Tired

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

After a full day of travel, I finally landed in Toronto around 10PM tonight. I spent part of the flight watching screeners — I’ll have a review of Swedish film Behind Blue Skies up soonish, but in brief: it’s kind of a Swedish Holy Rollers (the Jesse Eisenberg, Hasidic Jews smuggling ecstasy flick), set in the ’70s, and stars Bill Skarsgård (Son of Stellan) in a soulful, impressive lead performance.

Best Picture Chart

Thursday, August 5th, 2010
The Films Most Likely (by release date)
June 18
Toy Story 3
July 16

July 30
Get Low



Oct 22
Dec 25
True Grit



The Next Tier Of Likely (by release date)
Dec 17
Everything You’ve Got


Oct 1

The Social Network
Nov 12
Morning Glory


Oct 8
Nov 24
The King’s Speech
Dec 1
The Black Swan
Nov 19
Made In Dagenham
Dec 25




The Rest Of The Legitimate Contenders (by release date)
Feb 19
Shutter Island

June 11 Winter’s Bone
July 9
The Kids Are All Right


Aug 13
Eat Pray Love
J Roberts
Sept 1
The American
Sept 15
Never Let Me Go



Sept 17
The Town




Sept 24

It’s Kind Of A Funny Story


E Roberts
Sept 24
Wall Street 2


Oct 15
Nov 5
127 Hours


Nov 24
Love & Other Drugs


Dec 1
Dec 10
The Fighter
O. Russell
Dec 10
The Tempest
Dec 29
Another Year


Dec 31
Blue Valentine




London Boulevard


30 Weeks To Go Yeah… It’s Time To Start Thinking Oscar Again

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

We’re a few weeks away from Venice/Telluride/Toronto, which kicks off the Oscar season in one 19-day period. What these festivals do is to get a few titles rolling, but mostly, they start eliminating would-be contenders from the race.

It’s not just press, fans, and reality in play here … it’s the studios too. Fox Searchlight has four Oscar-thinking films this fall, really leading the pack in density of potential. And they will throw all four at the wall and see what sticks in the next seven weeks. Darren Aronofsky and Danny Boyle, who shared the Oscar Wars of 2008, are both back with Black Swan and 127 Hours, respectively. The great Mark Romanek, who rarely makes features, lands in theaters just days after his Toronto slot with Never Let Me Go, featuring Oscar-nominated girl goddesses Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley (plus Spider-Man!). And then there is perhaps the wildest of the cards, Conviction, starring two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank as a hard-ass woman out of her depth, but unable to be deterred … sounds swanky, eh?

Searchlight, which is as good as anyone in the Oscar game, will do as they have done repeatedly in the past … put the work out there … test the waters … smell the breeze … set their real strategy for the fall. It’s ballsy, but they get the joke. There are two pushes going on for these films: the films need to work commercially, and if they can also work as Oscar-bait – especially if it improves their commercial prospects – great.

I’m not saying that Searchlight won’t honor their directors and their sense of what’s necessary. But how realistic the future for these films is in awards season will be determined under festival circumstances. Aronofsky would likely have gotten a BP nod for The Wrestler in a 10-film field … so Black Swan will be measured in that way … unless it plays badly. Is the Boyle an Oscar-bait film or just commercial? The release date says that it is probably commercial, but they will see how it plays. And Conviction could be a dark horse surprise, hitting people hard in the heart and sticking. You never know.

Rule of thumb overall, not just for Searchlight, is that you can secure acting nominations in September, but you need to ride it out for much longer if you’re looking for a Best Picture nod. So from the outside, one can assume that the September 15 release date means that they don’t really think of Never Let Me Go “that way” and would be happy if Knightley or Mulligan can stir it up. (Carey also has Fox’s Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps due nine days after Never. There is some buzz for her in Supporting there.)

Looking back at 2010 to date … well, let’s not yank chains …

Shutter Island is brilliant, but its legacy is not the strongest. Still, it’s one of the very few realistic pre-September hopefuls. Toy Story 3 will test to see whether we are now going to see a Pixar film in the ten every year. The only other 3s to get nominated were Godfather III and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

Inception, which inspires lots of debate and discussion, won’t win many critics awards (though Nolan might, for director or writing), and would be very unlikely in a field of five … but becomes likely in a field of 10. And last, but not least by any means, Get Low, a very small, intimate portrait of a man considering the end … but funny … and with sure-bet nominated performance by Robert Duvall, possibilities for Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray (a long shot), and a first-time director.

That’s it for the pre-September titles with realistic Best Picture ambitions. There are plenty of additional titles with potential for acting, writing, and other noms. Of these four, I like three to get in.

Moving back into the fall … let’s start with the surviving Dependents…

Focus Features, like Searchlight, has an interesting line-up. They have the hit indie of the summer, The Kids Are All Right, though it seems more likely to break through in acting and writing than elsewhere. They are releasing The American, a George Clooney action-drama from Anton Corbijn, the legendary short-form director who is making his second feature here. The September 1 slot would smell funny … except that that is where they launched The Constant Gardener, which won Rachel Weisz an Oscar and did surprisingly strong adult business.

Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson and Sugar), who are highly thought-of young directors, are up next with It’s Kind Of A Funny Story, which seems to be a psych ward ro-mental comedy … (500) Days of Summer with better meds. And what seems to be The Big Dog for the distributor is Somewhere, the new one from Sofia Coppola, who puts Stephen Dorff in the Bill Murray seat in what seems to be her version of Jim Brooks’ failed I’ll Do Anything … but without music being anywhere near it. (Was that an obscure and twisted enough list of references for you?)

Sony Classics always makes a big splash in Toronto. This year, their new product will feel familiar, but with no expected 95 mph fastball like Capote or Penelope Cruz on hand. Nigel Cole gives Sally Hawkins another Oscar shot with the bright & breezy version of Norma Rae in Made in Dagenham. The great Mike Leigh returns with the Cannes-launched Another Year. And Sylvain Chomet, who threatened to upset Finding Nemo (which had that year become the biggest grossing animated film of all time) with The Triplets of Belleville, will now face this year’s threat to become the new biggest-grossing animated film of all time (Toy Story 3) with L’illusionniste. Of course, SPC’s big gun for Oscar will be Get Low, mentioned above as one of the few pre-September contenders this year.

In spite of being sold, Disney’s Miramax division is still scheduled to release The Tempest, now off the table for Toronto but premiering in Venice and then centerpiecing the NY Film Festival. However good or great the film, it is hard not to imagine that NY was a much cheaper choice than Toronto and that the plan was hatched from that perspective as much as any other. Taymor’s last two films (Across The Universe and Frida) played Toronto. Titus, a Christmas Day release, did not. I LOVE Titus. Hopkins was stunning. The imagery was truly spectacular. And for very tough Shakespeare, it was very accessible. We’ll see what comes of a female Prospero, though the cast, from Mirren down, is absolutely first rate.

There are only three True Indies who have shown themselves to have Oscar firepower.

The Weinstein Company is not without ammunition this season, even if the company hasn’t released a film this year (well … one … on two screens … oy.) They’ll release The Tillman Story in a couple of weeks, in time to qualify for Oscar noms without a sneaky run in a corner of LA. But that’s a doc play only. The loudest noise for Oscar will be around Julian Schnabel’s Miral, a Palestinian-Israeli flick that is all but guaranteed to get months of stories and op-eds in the NY Times, as well as being a favorite of Fox News for not being 100% pro-Israel. Julian and his pajamas will be the hottest Fox topic since Obama’s birth certificate.

Nowhere Boy is the John Lennon bio-pic-ish film, which has left both fans and the non-plussed in its wake. Also on the docket, Sundance slow-sellers The Company Men and Blue Valentine. Blue Valentine has more heat … but also more people who HATE the film. And perhaps the dark horse for their season … The King’s Speech, a Brit tale of a stammering king, loaded with faves like Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon, Tim Spall, Derek Jacobi and so on.

Lionsgate is not scheduled to be in the Oscar game this year. The one possible last-minute entry would be Tyler Perry‘s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, a classic piece of theater converted with an all-star cast. The film is currently slotted for Martin Luther King Day weekend, but it’s hard to imagine that Perry is going to settle for this to be another commercial success. We’ll see.

Summit won Best Picture last year, but has no film in position to chase the award this year. There are a couple of interesting floaters out there – no US distributor – in William Monahan‘s London Boulevard and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarittu‘s Biutiful. Either could end up with Summit just before or after Toronto … or not. All that really matters for Summit is caring for the fang hags, so it’s hard to imagine the studio getting into a tough sell like Biutiful. If London Boulevard gets some heat, maybe.

And this year’s Little Indie Distributor Who Could – last year, it was Oscilliscope with The Messenger – is Roadside Attractions, who could hit an awards jackpot with Jennifer Lawrence‘s performance in and Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini‘s script for Winter’s Bone, a film that drew a lot of LA eyeballs during a slow summer for quality films. Could that convert to a Best PIcture nod? It’s a longshot… but that’s a lot better than a no shot.

Moving on to The Majors …

The two major studios deepest into this season will be Warners, Sony, and Paramount, each with at least two serious contenders and at least one interesting Maybe Something.

Paramount closes out the season with big potential films David O. Russell‘s The Fighter (via Relativity Media) and, especially, The Coen Bros’ True Grit. Not much to say about those, except, “Let me at ‘em!” A dark, dark horse for the studio is the comedy Morning Glory, directed by Roger Michell. Could it be this year’s unexpected Working Girl? It has the right players. And you never know. I know that I am looking forward to seeing Harrison Ford playing a prick for laughs. And McA still remains The Superstar Most Likely.

Sony is relying on David Fincher, who scored 13 nominations with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, to deliver some golden action with The Social Network. The studio is very high on the film and decided to open the film at the New York Film Festival, precluding every festival before it. On either side of this one is Eat Pray Love, a film in the same slot as Julie & Julia, with similar awards aspirations and higher commercial expectations, and Everything You’ve Got, a James Brooks film with Oscar winners Nicholson and Witherspoon and princes-in-waiting Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson.

Warner Bros has Inception already in play and I think it’s safe to assume that they will push it. They also have the new Affleck film, The Town. The release date makes me nervous, but his first feature behind the camera was so promising, this film has to be considered. Also, they have a slightly more veteran director, Clint Eastwood, with what sounds like an Arriaga-esque triptych of stories involving death. Hereafter. The biggest surprise on this one is that it is not opening or closing NYFF? So the studio will know where they are before October is over – their commercial onslaught begins in December – and decide how into the Oscar game they are.

One additional potential player for WB is Due Date, the new comedy from the director of The Hangover 2 … and Robert Downey, Jr., who they could chase acting nods for after he managed to be nominated for being funny in blackface once before.

he other three majors are not going into the season with a deep awards line-up … but that doesn’t mean they can’t get nominations or even the Big Win.

“Big” Fox’s only real Oscar play this year is Ed Zwick’s Love and Other Drugs. If any director should be excited about 10 nominees, it’s Zwick, who has been right there and missed the cut a number of times in his career. Ironically, his two BP nominations are for Traffic and Shakespeare In Love … OPF … Other People’s Films. Of course, this is a romantic comedy, so not the serious turf of Glory or The Last Samurai or Blood Diamond. But who knows? Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps will be touted … but the September release date is not a good sign. Acting campaigning is the most likely trend here.

Besides Pixar’s Toy Story 3, Disney is also in the Oscar hunt with Secretariat. The owner is too female, the jockey’s from Entourage, the trainer’s too scary, and the audience is too forgetful to remember that Seabiscuit was only seven years ago … they hope.

And Universal is pretty much out of the Best Picture game this year. They will focus on a Best Animated Film push for Despicable Me … which will be most interesting because Universal stalwart Tony Angellotti handles Oscar for Disney for animation only. Universal will soldier along in-house with a hand from a consultant or two while Tony does his very successful thing for Disney.

So, there you go … a starting point. Things will change – including the design of this page after seven seasons – as we get through Toronto and into October. But you have to start somewhere, right?

Trailer: It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010
Stressed out from the demands of being a teenager, 16-year-old Craig checks himself into a mental health clinic. There he learns that the youth ward is closed and finds himself stuck in the adult ward. One of the patients, Bobby, soon becomes both Craig’s mentor and protege. Craig is also drawn to another 16-year-old, Noelle. With a minimum five days’ stay imposed on him, Craig is sustained by friendships on both the inside and the outside as he learns more about life, love, and the pressures of growing up.