Rob McElhenney to Make Directorial Debut With Kids Film Figment

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Sunny skies are not about to turn gray for co–star and co-creator of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Rob McElhenney. The Philly native will make his directorial debut with a kids adventure film called Figment.

Legendary Pictures has recently closed a seven-figure deal with McElenny to write, direct and produce Figment, an action film about an imaginative boy and his family. The family’s adventure will be enhanced by Legendary’s signature large-scale template and McElenny’s Always Sunny charm. Figment is expected to revisit heartwarming motifs analogous to that of the 1980s classics ET and The Goonies. Sounds like a long-overdue genre that hasn’t been tackled since Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves.

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Movie Meter: Michael Keaton Makes a Comeback, John Wick Is Surprisingly Good

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Birdman: Despite the brilliant devastation of his film Biutiful, Alejandro González Iñárritu has not received quite the same level of fame as other Mexican directors of his generation, like Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro. That likely ends now. His new film is a complex allegory concerning the nature of art, fame, and soulful pursuit, but it’s also just a hell of a lot of fun. Michael Keaton plays a former big-star superhero actor who, many years past his prime, yearns to produce something of significance on the Broadway stage. Edward Norton plays the actor just talented and/or uncontrollable enough to ensure his success or failure. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

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5 Questions With Whiplash Director Damien Chazelle

Damien Chazelle (center) with the cast of "Whiplash." | Photo: Shutterstock

Damien Chazelle (center) with the cast of “Whiplash.” | Photo: Shutterstock

Twenty-nine-year-old writer/director Damien Chazelle has found himself in career overdrive. He made quite a splash at this year’s Sundance festival with Whiplash, his latest work about a maniacally hard-driving jazz teacher and his equally obsessed drum student. (The film took home both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize.) The film, which offers star-making turns for both leads J.K. Simmons and Downingtown native Miles Teller, is an uncompromising exploration of true artistic attainment, and the heavy price of achieving it. It is also a brilliantly executed and savage back-and-forth between pupil and student that leaves the film’s audience shifting allegiances and sympathies—not unlike so many time-signature changes in a Thelonious Monk composition.

Ticket spoke with Chazelle over the phone the evening before his film finally opened outside the festival circuit.

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Meryl Streep to Play Famously Bad Opera Diva Who Lived in Philly

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Meryl Streep will play ear-splitting opera chanteuse Florence Foster Jenkins in “Florence.”

If you’ve never heard of Florence Foster Jenkins, the famous opera singer of the early 20th century, it’s probably because she was famous for being the worst opera singer of the early 20th century. A new generation will learn about the Wilkes-Barre-born superstar in the upcoming biopic, Florence, starring none other than Meryl “Oscar-bait” Streep.

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Airbender Movie Given Pa. Tax Credits for California Work

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M. Night Shyamalan is a hometown boy: He has long favored shooting his movies in and around Philadelphia. The problem for his 2010 flick, The Last Airbender, is that it was an effects-driven film that would be conjured largely inside a computer — and the kinds of computers that do that work are largely in California.

No problem for Shyamalan, nor for his studio Paramount Pictures. The physical movie was shot here, the visual effects were produced in San Francisco — and the movie claimed a Pennsylvania credit for the work done in California.
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Movie Meter: Brad Pitt Kills More Nazis, Channing Tatum and Zoe Saldana Get Animated

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Fury: Somehow, when Brad Pitt stars in a film it takes on a larger, more-important caste. It’s a good thing that David Ayer’s thoughtful WWII picture doesn’t shy away from its own gravitas. Moody, overcast and intense, the film—which follows Pitt as the commanding officer of a tank brigade making its way through bomb-blasted Germany in the last throes of the war—more than earns its stripes. Just a warning, though: It doesn’t spare much on the bloody, gruesome carnage of men killing each other. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

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10 Must-See Films at the Philadelphia Film Festival 2014

Ticket Film critic Piers Marchant calls "Two Days, One Night" the best film he's seen all year. You can catch it during the 2014 Philadelphia Film Festival.

Ticket film critic Piers Marchant calls “Two Days, One Night” the best film he’s seen all year. You can catch it during the 2014 Philadelphia Film Festival.

Ticket film critic Piers Marchant combed through the around-100 films playing at this year’s Philadelphia Film Festival to come up with 10 that you absolutely must get a ticket for. His choices comprise flicks he saw at the Toronto International Film Festival, and ones that have generated buzz on the year’s film festival circuit. 

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Trestle Inn is in the Spirit This Fall

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Trestle Inn is getting in the “spirit” on Thursdays this fall, by offering complimentary spirit and cocktail tastings from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. and cocktail specials til 10 p.m.

On Thursday, October 16th, the tasting will feature WL Weller’s Special Reserve. October 18th’s tasting will showcase the Trolley Car Cocktail, and the spirit of choice on October 30th is Western Grace Brandy.

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