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Who’s one to let kids come between friends? This week on Player Affinity we get a new spin on the rom-com with Friends with Kids starring Kristen Wiig, John Hamm, Adam Scott and Maya Rudolph. Next, cult director Wes Anderson returns with his project Moonrise Kingdom, which assembles the eclectic cast of Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray and Frances McDormand and centers on a pair of pre-teen runaways in love, much to the chagrin of the search party tasked with finding them. After her breakout success in Martha Marcy May Marlene, Elizabeth Olsen tests her ability to anchor a horror flick in the one-take thriller Silent House. Last off you’re on Thin Ice in this black comedy with Greg Kinnear as an insurance agent who gets tangled up in a murder plot, also starring Alan Arkin. No need to test the water here; we’re always solid – it’s Trailer Tracker.
Friends with Kids
Last year both Friends with Benefits and No Strings Attached explored the raunchy realm of doing the deed while simply remaining buds. Now, Friends with Kids finds Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott and Jon Hamm’s lady Jennifer Westfeldt (who also directs, writes and produces) as two platonic individuals who opt to have sex not for pleasure, for love or for the sake of having a traditional family, but simply to make a baby. Rising comedic stars Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph also star, as does tumbling starlet Megan Fox as a woman that Scott’s character begins seeing. The cast is extremely strong and the trailer very funny and frankly any unique spin on the faltering rom-com genre is welcome.
After gaining raves at the Toronto International Film Festival, Lionsgate picked up Friends with Kids for a release date this coming March. It very much has the Judd Apatow vibe in that it combines raunch, heart and laughs and could be the beginning of a fruitful directing career for first-timer Westfeldt. You may remember her as the titular star of 2001’s acclaimed sleeper lesbian dramedy Kissing Jessica Stein, and she has since done work on television including a run on 24. This is her first notable big screen appearance in some time. If anything, Friends with Kids looks to be the kind of comedy a gentlemen can escort a lady to without cringing discreetly throughout.
After experimenting with stop-motion animation in 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, cult director Wes Anderson returns to his quirky roots with Moonrise Kingdom, about a pair of young lovers (played by unknowns Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward) who run away from their small New England town. But this tale is not really about those two but rather how they upset the lives of the local sheriff (Bruce Willis) a camp instructor (Edward Norton) and the girl’s parents (Frances McDormand, Bill Murray). Moonrise Kingdom looks bizarre to no end and seeing these great character actors play against type is just too enticing to ignore, not to mention it looks pretty darn funny in its own unique way. Moonrise Kingdom will crest on May 25.
With the horror genre recently struggling to find inspiration and resorting to retreads and found-footage fare, Silent House could be a very welcomed breath of fresh air. Although it is a remake of Uruguayan film The Silent House, this thriller finds Elizabeth Olsen (critical darling of Martha Marcy May Marlene) and her father terrorized by a sinister force. The catch? The entire film is done in one, unbroken take. This is not a revelatory technique to be sure, Alfred Hitchcock did it with Rope in 1948, but with the great Olsen in the lead this could be one of the most interesting projects of the year even if it fails to fully live up to its ambitious goal.
Dark comedies are one of my favorite subsets of the genre, but also one of the absolute hardest to pull off properly. A delicate balance between violence and ugliness and genuine laughs needs to be found. Greg Kinnear, Billy Crudup and Alan Arkin will do their best in Thin Ice, the tale about an insurance agent (Kinnear) who crosses paths with an unhinged locksmith in his attempt to steal a valuable violin belonging to a clueless elderly farmer. Kinnear is always great and has recently starred in a number of little gems that almost nobody has seen. Thin Ice honestly looks to join that camp but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye out for it when it’s released sometime this year. It could surprise us.