Nowhere Girl is a romantic comedy about Tyler (Josh Robert Thompson), a guy who refuses to move on after the end of his recent, heartbreaking relationship. Seeking the proverbial shelter in the storm, he shacks up with his best friends Michelle and Justin (a scene stealing Jennifer Aspen and David O’Donnell), a married couple who are gradually trying to get Tyler back to reality. When Tyler meets Katy (Ilana Guralnik), the possible girl of his dreams, at a local cafe, everything seems just fine, until Michelle and Justin realize that she’s a figment of his imagination.
Though Nowhere Girl’s premise is understandably far-fetched, the narrative is grounded in truth, as first time director Jed Rigney spent three months living on a couple’s couch after his own bad breakup. “When I was putting together the idea (for Nowhere Girl), I thought that was such a weird dynamic that we had,” said Rigney, who added that his friends had a ‘loving tolerance’ about his situation. “Because they wanted to help me, but at the same time, I felt like I was intruding.”
Shot in just 12 days with a limited budget, Nowhere Girl showcases Rigney as a solid comedic writer and also gives natural comedian Josh Robert Thompson a part with more of a dramatic, pathos induced edge (Tyler, though funny in his own right, is usually the set-up man for the other characters in the narrative, particularly Aspen’s character).
One of the film’s biggest surprises is the casting of Ilana Guralnik who brings a ton of sass and wit to her role. Rigney went through over 200 submissions on Let It Cast before going with Guralnik. “The producer, Justin Workman and I, we were meeting Ilana at a Starbucks and we walked in and she was sitting there,” said Rigney. “And she was sitting there, and I don’t know if she was setting up the lights, but it was just perfect. As soon as we saw her, (we knew) it was Katy. She just looked the part.”
Nowhere Girl is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and Video on Demand.
While Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is breathing a little harder these days, the Rocky film franchise is alive and well with the introduction of Creed. Though the aged pugilist has made for an intriguing lead over the years, Creed signifies a potential passing of the baton to aspiring boxer Adonis “Hollywood” Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), who initially seems intent on carving out his own path in life rather than relying on late father Apollo Creed’s name.
As we learn in the backstory, young Adonis never met his father, born out of a moment of infidelity for the late Apollo Creed and left to fend for himself in youth homes when him mother was no longer part of the picture. We’re told that young Adonis is a good kid, but loves to fight. When approaching his teen years, Adonis is introduced to a woman who we later learn is Apollo’s widow Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad), who takes him in and raises him.
Flash forward to his early 20s, and Adonis has a promising office job where he just earned a promotion, but at nights he’s been heading down to Mexico where his talent alone has led him to a solid list of wins. Adonis decides it’s now or never and when he learns that his local trainer won’t give him a look, he tells Mary Anne he’s quit his job and moves from Los Angeles to Philadelphia.
He seeks out Rocky, who appears worn down by life. He’s satisfied with his restaurant, but has left boxing behind as all those he’s loved have either passed away or left him. After Rocky initially turns him down, Adonis attempts to train on his own, but he’s not giving up, asking the former champ for any tips he can offer and it’s not long before Rocky drops by to check up on him.
What follows is a coming of age story, and while the love story between Adonis and his musician downstairs neighbor Bianca (Tessa Thompson) is told with sincerity, the real heart of this film is the relationship between Adonis and Rocky. Adonis is torn between wanting to live up to the legacy his father reached in the sport that he loves while also having a certain sense of anger over the man never being there for him. Meanwhile, in Rocky’s life, he’s alone and seemingly ready to live out his remaining years away from the sport that he loved. In each other, they find exactly what they need.
Rocky is Adonis’ key to understanding how to become the man he wants to be in life and in the ring, while Adonis provides Rocky with a shot at redemption. Rocky now has a defacto son, and one that can help ease his guilt over Apollo’s death. It’s not always an easy path between the two, but the journey to the final fight against the champ is ultimately more important than the final result, but no less entertaining to watch as the boxing sequences are equal parts brutality and poetry.
With Jordan as Creed, there’s a compelling new character for which the franchise can continue if it wishes to. And as long as Stallone is around and wants to portray Rocky, he proved that he’s as adept in a supporting role as he has been at carrying the franchise all these years.
Opening January 15, Norm of the North features the titular polar bear (voiced by Rob Schneider) and three lemmings heading to New York City after they’ve been displaced in the Arctic. The plotline has Norm attempting to thwart a money grubbing developer from building condos in his chilly hometown, and even though he’s a lovable klutz, Norm is determiend to save the day.
A co-production with Lionsgate and Splash Entertainment, Norm of the North is the feature directing debut of Trevor Wall, who previously helmed the animation series Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch. With a talented voice cast consisting of Heather Graham, Loretta Devine, Colm Meaney, and Bill Nighy and the innate likability of Schneider, Norm of the North should drum up some business in January. Although fart jokes are the lowest common denominator for humor (it’s featured in the trailer), Norm of the North is aimed at kids, so we’re giving the film a slight pass.
Check out the trailer below and tell us if you’re going to check this movie out or absolutely skip right over it. Feel free to comment below!
There has been talk of a Supporting Oscar nomination push for Sylvester Stallone, and considering Creed goes toe to toe with Cop Land as his finest performance to date, it’s well deserved chatter.
Creed may be the story of how Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) trains with Rocky Balboa (Stallone) to find his boxing destiny and continue the legacy of his late father Apollo, but it also embraces the larger themes of living and fighting through the inevitable onset of mortality.
“It made me definitely realize that the clock is ticking,” said Stallone. “We’re all very . . . any day nature can flip the coin on us and take away our health so it opened my eyes and made me very very aware of mortality.”
Click on the media bar below to hear Sylvester Stallone talk about the subtext behind the first rate drama Creed, which is now playing nationwide:
Opening December 4, Youth centers on Fred (Michael Caine) and Mick (Harvey Keitel), lifelong friends who are vacationing in a Swiss Alps lodge. Fred is a composer who’s grown weary of conducting symphonies while Mick continues to find inspiration as a filmmaker. During their vacation, the pair meet their respective passions head on to somewhat inspiring and heartbreaking effect.
Jane Fonda is Brenda, an iconic actress whose stardom originated from her work in Mick’s movies, and now she visits him during vacation with a bit of harsh news. Though her role in the film consists of just a few scenes, Fonda’s fiery exchanges with Keitel may land her an Oscar nomination.
During the press conference for Youth, Fonda said her love for director Paolo Sorrentino’s (The Great Beauty) was the main reason she took on the project. Click on the media bar below to hear Jane Fonda talk about Sorrentino’s vision for Youth: