This past Friday, the Toronto International Film Festival hosted the premiere of Imogene, the highly anticipated “feel-good dark comedy” from Kristen Wiig. Wiig served as both executive producer and leading lady for Imogene, heading up an all-star ensemble cast including Annette Bening, Matt Dillon, Christopher Fitzgerald, and of course, fandom’s favorite son Darren Criss, in his first feature film.

Imogene tells the story of the title character, a failed New York playwright who fakes a suicide attempt to win back the attention of her former boyfriend. The plan backfires, and she is carted back to the family home in New Jersey. Imogene Duncan, played by Wiig, attempts to re-examine her life whilst living with her mother (a gambling addict called Zelda, played by Bening,) Zelda’s boyfriend (Dillon) – an alleged CIA agent known only as the Bousche; her reclusive brother Ralph, played by Broadway veteran Christopher Fitzgerald, and Lee, the Yale-graduate lodger renting Imogene’s bedroom while he moonlights as a Backstreet Boys impersonator (Criss). The film was a passion project for Wiig, who fought hard to get it made after reading Michelle Morgan’s script, and it is directed by husband/wife team Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman. Here’s a round-up of what the critics had to say:

The Hollywood Reporter:

Straight comedy is pretty far removed from what Springer Berman and Pulcini are usually up to, though one can feel the wry influence of Woody Allen sprinkled like stardust over the characters, notably in the scenes set in uptown Manhattan at its most pretentious. Imogene is superbly introduced as the 10-year-old star of a school production of The Wizard of Oz, who has issues with sending Dorothy back to Kansas. She is next seen all grown up (ironic Saturday Night Live star Wiig) and living in New York, trying to fit in with an insufferable bunch of false friends and a boyfriend who doesn’t like her.

Read full article

This past Friday, the Toronto International Film Festival hosted the premiere of Imogene, the highly anticipated “feel-good dark comedy” from Kristen Wiig. Wiig served as both executive producer and leading lady for Imogene, heading up an all-star ensemble cast including Annette Bening, Matt Dillon, Christopher Fitzgerald, and of course, fandom’s favorite son Darren Criss, in his first feature film.

Imogene tells the story of the title character, a failed New York playwright who fakes a suicide attempt to win back the attention of her former boyfriend. The plan backfires, and she is carted back to the family home in New Jersey. Imogene Duncan, played by Wiig, attempts to re-examine her life whilst living with her mother (a gambling addict called Zelda, played by Bening,) Zelda’s boyfriend (Dillon) – an alleged CIA agent known only as the Bousche; her reclusive brother Ralph, played by Broadway veteran Christopher Fitzgerald, and Lee, the Yale-graduate lodger renting Imogene’s bedroom while he moonlights as a Backstreet Boys impersonator (Criss). The film was a passion project for Wiig, who fought hard to get it made after reading Michelle Morgan’s script, and it is directed by husband/wife team Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman. Here’s a round-up of what the critics had to say:

The Hollywood Reporter:

Straight comedy is pretty far removed from what Springer Berman and Pulcini are usually up to, though one can feel the wry influence of Woody Allen sprinkled like stardust over the characters, notably in the scenes set in uptown Manhattan at its most pretentious. Imogene is superbly introduced as the 10-year-old star of a school production of The Wizard of Oz, who has issues with sending Dorothy back to Kansas. She is next seen all grown up (ironic Saturday Night Live star Wiig) and living in New York, trying to fit in with an insufferable bunch of false friends and a boyfriend who doesn’t like her.

Hollywood.com:

Wiig may have shtick, but she’s a capable performer who is capable of stretching her style to fit riskier vehicles (Paul was one such attempt). Imogene touches the surface of a twisted, dysfunctional family antics and but with Wiig at the wheel, it could have (and should have) pushed harder. The saving grace is a lovely dynamic between Wiig and her young costar Darren Criss.

Indiewire:

…there is Kristen Wiig, and she once again proves her value. Whether smuggling a library book under her old phys. ed. shirt or weeping in the rain on a broken chair, she is adorable, heartfelt and smart. Bening is typically wonderful, of course. She’s been on a heckuva run during the past few years, and her role in “Imogene” plays to her acerbic strengths. Quite simply, the pair, and their co-stars, elevate the material.

But the real surprise is Darren Criss. For audience members who have never turned the channel to “Glee” (guilty), his name stands for little. Yet in “Imogene” he is likable, funny and poised, and plays remarkably well opposite Wiig. This could be a breakout role for the actor, whose character, the singer in a Backstreet Boys tribute band, is one of the film’s highlights.

Variety:

An amusing scene at the halfway mark, featuring one of Lee’s nightly performances as a Backstreet Boy lookalike in a hokey ’90s-nostalgia lounge act, marks a turning point for their relationship as well as for the film, as Wiig and Criss begin to generate an appealing older-woman/younger-man chemistry, and Bening and Fitzgerald bring animating subtleties to their broadly eccentric roles.

This is the first bigscreen production directed but not also scripted by Springer Berman and Pulcini, working here from a screenplay by Michelle Morgan (who had a role in their 2011 telepic “Cinema Verite”). As such, the originality and conceptual ingenuity of the filmmakers’ 2003 breakout debut, “American Splendor,” are even less in evidence here than in their prior two pictures, as “Imogene” tells a thoroughly predictable tale of a needy, self-pitying city girl forced to renew bonds with the unsophisticated beach-town folk who really care about her.

Variety also listed the film as one of the most likely to sell within 24-48 hours, and this proved accurate – on Monday night, Imogene was picked up for U.S. distribution by Lionsgate, who will release the film in conjunction with its partner, Roadside Attractions.

We also found this fantastic report on Tumblr from a fan who attended the premiere screening:

On paper Imogene is somewhat similar to her character in Bridesmaids— a bit of a trainwreck, jaded, her life a total mess. However, Kristen really made this character different. It was just the way she carried herself…I was just surprised that she was able to differentiate the role from the one in Bridesmaids.

Annette Bening – I mean, not that it’s any surprise, but she was flawless. It’s a really great character role and she did fantastic with it. Her rapport with Matt Dillon, who plays her boyfriend, was hilarious, and Matt Dillon himself KILLED in his part. Christopher Fitzgerald played Imogene’s brother and again, just really fantastic.

And Darren! He was honestly, genuinely great in the role. It was not Blaine-like at all. He played Lee as much more laidback, a little sarcastic but not too biting, and charming as hell in a not slick at all way. His role is significant, but like the other characters, firmly in the supporting role of Imogene — as far as material, it was a lot of banter with Kristen Wiig, charming Kristen Wiig, and getting a little hot and heavy with her too. There wasn’t much in the dramatic department, though he has a few sweet, sort of earnest scenes with her character. It’s definitely a bit of manic pixie boy syndrome but it fit him perfectly. The writing is smarter and just better than what Glee churns out, and so I think that helped elevate him too – personally I’ve always thought of Darren as an actor who can carry strong material, but when the writing isn’t there, he can fall down on improving it, if that makes sense; if you give him dialogue that sounds like a HUMAN BEING, he is much stronger.

You can watch a cast Q&A from the premiere right here, as well as a cool video featuring Darren and the directors discussing the ensemble piece:

And because we’re us, we just wanted to make sure you also saw this video posted by Darren Criss on the day of the premiere:

“In the car, on the way to the world premiere screening of Imogene… Don’t have many words other than this:”


Darren Criss on WhoSay

How are you liking the sound of Imogene so far? Will you go see it in theaters?

Legion M president Jeff Annison introduces the first fan-owned entertainment company

"Opening the gates to Hollywood" with fandom-powered entertainment production.

2:12 pm EDT, August 24, 2016

Hypable speaks to co-founder Jeff Annison about Legion M’s goals, fan engagement, and potential impact on the entertainment industry.

An exciting new project launched over the summer: Legion M, the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company.

At San Diego Comic-Con, Hype Podcast sat down with co-founder and company president Jeff Annison, in order to learn more about the ambitious startup that promises to give fans more creative control of entertainment production.

Read full article

Hypable speaks to co-founder Jeff Annison about Legion M’s goals, fan engagement, and potential impact on the entertainment industry.

An exciting new project launched over the summer: Legion M, the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company.

At San Diego Comic-Con, Hype Podcast sat down with co-founder and company president Jeff Annison, in order to learn more about the ambitious startup that promises to give fans more creative control of entertainment production.

The full interview is available to download here or via iTunes, or you can stream it below:

In the interview, Annison explains the mission of Legion M, which is to bring fans directly into the production process. Says Annison, “For the first time in history, we are architected to be built from the ground up to be owned by fans.”

With a ‘Legion’ of fan investors behind them, Annison believes that Legion M’s approach to selecting and developing projects will be very different from anything else we’ve seen in Hollywood.

Where usually creators will struggle to make their content stand out from the crowd, “bringing the audience into the process [of creating entertainment], we’ve already got a built-in audience,” Annison explains. “If you can have the audience of content be invested in content, it gives that content a competitive advantage.”

One of the key ways in which Legion M hopes to influence the creative industry is by opening the door for more diverse projects.

As Hollywood is so revenue-driven, oftentimes the ‘risk’ of letting a movie’s lead character be a woman, a person of color and/or a member of the LGBT community is simply considered too great. But Legion M, being owned by fans, has the opportunity to tip the scales. Because if the investors want more diversity and new kinds of stories, that’s exactly what they’re going to get.

“The reason that there are so many superhero movies and reboots and remakes… Hollywood’s figured out the formula. You pick something with an established fanbase, and if you make the movie you know it’s less risky because you know those people are gonna come see the next Superman movie,” says Annison. “Whereas if it’s an unknown story, you just don’t know. So we believe when you make the audience part of the process, these fans that are part of our studio … if you’ve got an audience that’s baked into it, that gives you so much more creative leeway.”

In practice, this means that Legion M, “could come up with a completely new and novel story that’s never been tried before, and know that it’s gonna have some success” — which means that it’d actually get produced, unlike many original ideas that come to Hollywood to die.

Further, fan owners of Legion M can experience unprecedented involvement with the creative process. Not only are they involved with selecting and developing projects, but, “our promise to our investors is that we’re gonna take you along for the ride. When we film a movie, we wanna live-stream from the set. When we have project opportunities, we wanna put them in front of you. We give the Legion a voice.”

To start with, Legion M is partnering with Seth Green and Matthew Senreich’s Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, which created Robot Chicken. Annison explains that they still have “dozens” of projects that networks have rejected, and Legion M is working on bringing some of them to life.

In terms of representation, Legion M doesn’t necessarily want to commit to a quota of diversity. Instead, where they expect to be able to influence Hollywood is at the “table” where these decisions are made — and, “because we’re owned by such a broad, diverse group of people, we’ve got a better shot than anybody else at being able to affect that change.”

As Annison explains: “Fans have the ultimate power. Our money is what makes this whole thing spin around. When we combine and come together, we’ve got all the power.”

Read more about Legion M and how to get involved on their website.

As we approach the Captain America: Civil War Blu-Ray release date, a new deleted scene from the film has been released.

And it’s a Civil War deleted scene that is sure to please Stucky fans.

In the clip, Bucky quickly comes to the defense of bae (a.k.a. Cap) when War Machine briefly takes him down. Bucky gets back at Rhodey by throwing Cap’s iconic shield at him, and as the shield boomerangs back, Steve Rogers catches it. Take THAT, War Machine! #TeamCap

Read full article

As we approach the Captain America: Civil War Blu-Ray release date, a new deleted scene from the film has been released.

And it’s a Civil War deleted scene that is sure to please Stucky fans.

In the clip, Bucky quickly comes to the defense of bae (a.k.a. Cap) when War Machine briefly takes him down. Bucky gets back at Rhodey by throwing Cap’s iconic shield at him, and as the shield boomerangs back, Steve Rogers catches it. Take THAT, War Machine! #TeamCap

Watch below:

The movie’s airport scene was easily one of the most delightful moments of the film, so we’re loving this extra dose of Stucky brilliance.

Need more? The Captain America Blu-ray, with a release date set for September 13, includes the following special features:

  1. United We Stand, Divided We Fall – The Making of Captain America: Civil War Part 1 & Part 2 – As the tension mounts, sides are chosen and lines drawn. Learn more about the characters on each side—from Captain America and Iron Man to the latest recruits. In this complete behind-the-scenes look at a landmark in the Marvel saga, we’ll examine their stories through exclusive footage and interviews and discover just what went into selecting the Super Hero teams, filming the epic action sequences and introducing Black Panther and Spider-Man to the MCU.
  2. Captain America: The Road to Civil War – Explore the First Avenger’s fascinating evolution from loyal soldier to seasoned, conflicted hero who questions authority.
  3. Iron Man: The Road to Civil War – From Gulmira to Sokovia, delve into the development and evolution of one of the most iconic characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  4. Gag Reel – Break the tension of this high-stakes conflict with some hilarious outtakes featuring the lighter side of your favorite Super Heroes.
  5. Deleted & Extended Scenes – Check out never-before-seen footage that didn’t make the final cut of Captain America: Civil War.
  6. Audio Commentary – Directors Anthony and Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely deliver scene-by-scene insight and explain the storytelling challenges they faced creating the third installment of the Captain America franchise.
  7. Open Your Mind: Marvel’s Doctor Strange – Exclusive Sneak Peek – Go behind and beyond the scenes as Doctor Strange makes his journey to the big screen.

The Digital HD version of Civil War will be released on September 2.

Director James Gunn confirms the name of a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 creature with the release of some concept art from the film.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have been pretty busy lately while they gear up for Vol. 2. On Friday we learned that they’ll be showing up in Avengers: Infinity War, and tonight we got a sneak peek of a creature the team will be taking on in the GotG sequel.

Taking to Twitter, Gunn showed off a piece of concept art created by Andy Park.

Read full article

Director James Gunn confirms the name of a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 creature with the release of some concept art from the film.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have been pretty busy lately while they gear up for Vol. 2. On Friday we learned that they’ll be showing up in Avengers: Infinity War, and tonight we got a sneak peek of a creature the team will be taking on in the GotG sequel.

Taking to Twitter, Gunn showed off a piece of concept art created by Andy Park.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-2-concept-art

In his replies, he names the creature and states that, no, they aren’t fighting in space.

Then taking to Facebook, Gunn replied to fans who had questions about the image.

An updated synopsis for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 reads:

“Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.”

So it looks like for those who were lucky enough to see GotG 2 footage at San Diego Comic-Con this year, you’ve already seen this guy in action.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ lands in theatres on May 5, 2017