January 7, 2014 |
Stage and screen credits abound in Zoe Kazan's family - her parents are the screenwriters Nicholas Kazan and Robin Swicord and her grandfather is the pioneering director Elia Kazan ("A Streetcar Named Desire"). But the 30-year-old actress and writer, who has lived in New York for the past 12 years, is wracking up a hefty IMDB page of her own. She is perhaps best known for having written and co-starred in the film "Ruby Sparks" with longtime boyfriend Paul Dano. Back when she was still studying drama at Yale University, however, her first play, "Absalom," premiered at the Humana Festival at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2009; its follow-up, "We Live Here," premiered off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2011. CRITICS' PICKS: What to watch, where to go, what to eat Kazan costars with Daniel Radcliffe in the recently released film "The F Word" and she's been cast in a Broadway production planned for spring, but she can't reveal the title yet. In the meantime, Kazan's third play, "Trudy and Max in Love," opens at the South Coast Repertory on Friday.
September 21, 2013 |
Actress Mackenzie Davis is probably about to go from a “who's that?” to a “that girl.” In only her third screen role, Davis gives a breakout performance in “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” a crime thriller that recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and plays again Sunday at Fantastic Fest in Austin. The film is directed by the sibling duo of Zeke and Simon Hawkins from a script by Dutch Southern. The story, as Davis recently put it, is a “sort of noiry, dirty Southern thing” that references the pulp fiction of author Jim Thompson in its tale of small town ambitions, bad deals, double-crosses and good love gone sour.
March 8, 2013 |
Just the name Neil LaBute can be a litmus test - garnering knowing smiles, dismissive eye rolls or even cursing. The filmmaker and playwright, who frequently shines a light into the darker corners of the male psyche, certainly gets a response out of audiences and critics; his work on stage and screen has been called misogynistic and even misanthropic. LaBute burst onto the film scene in 1997 by adapting his own "In the Company of Men," and in 2003 he adapted his play "The Shape of Things" with the stage cast including Paul Rudd and Rachel Weisz.
January 3, 2013 |
Independent filmmaking often acts as a farm team of sorts for Hollywood, a showcase for performers and filmmakers who go on to bigger, if not always necessarily better, things. The following is a look at some of the people - and some of the films - that made a splash in the indie waters in 2012 that are likely to have a ripple effect in Hollywood. As a writer and critic with a focus on independent cinema, it's gratifying to watch emerging talents as they make their way into the mainstream.
August 22, 2012 |
If you're looking for something light and lovely to finish out the summer before worrisome and weighty films fill theaters this fall, catch"Ruby Sparks"before it floats out to sea. Starring Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, it is a smarter-than-most romantic comedy that begins with writer's block. Dano plays the writer, but Kazan actually wrote the movie. In the real world they're a couple, so it's all kind of sweet. In the film, the block breaks when Calvin (Dano) starts to put the girl he's been dreaming about onto the page.
July 27, 2012 |
Six years ago, music video and commercial directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton made the transition to celebrated indie darlings when their sweet-natured family road trip movie "Little Miss Sunshine" emerged as the talk of the Sundance Film Festival and traveled a seemingly unlikley path to Oscar glory. Afterward, the two took on adventurous projects, working on adaptations of Tom Perrotta's "The Abstinence Teacher," the long-gestating comedy "The Used Guys" and Demitri Martin's "Will" script, but none of those made it past the development stage.