Hypable Movie Review: ‘Smashed’

3:00 pm EST, October 11, 2012

There is nothing new about the premise for Smashed, a drama about a couple’s battle with alcoholism, but the execution is anything but conventional. With a truly tender touch, director and co-writer James Ponsoldt injects a refreshing energy into the film, which builds upon real-life experiences of co-writer Susan Burke’s own battles with alcoholism. What really makes this film stand out, however, is a breathtaking performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead that is truly one of the best I’ve seen in years.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars as Kate Hannah, a school teacher whose love for alcohol begins to send her life into a downward spiral of lies, deceit, and waking up in the streets of Los Angeles. With the help of her colleague, Dave (Nick Offerman), and another recovering alcoholic, Jenny (Octavia Spencer), Kate attempts to turn her life around as she struggles with living without alcohol for the first time in her adult life. This change turns her marriage to Charlie (Aaron Paul) upside-down, which was previously based upon a mutual love of drinking.

Exceedingly emotional and honest in its approach, Smashed mostly manages to breathe fresh life into a movie whose themes and issues have been explored countless times. Based in part on the personal struggles with alcoholism, co-writer Susan Burke effuses a distinct personal touch to the story, which briskly explores Kate’s problems without getting too bogged down in the melodrama that often comes with such a tale.

From a technical standpoint, the editing from Suzanne Spangler is top-notch, as the film often employs quick, startling cuts-to-black which add a much-needed technical finesse to the film. Ponsoldt proves he’s a capable director here, in addition to the excellent performances he’s able to get from the cast, using flashy camerawork sparingly to add to, not distract from, the narrative.

Winstead is an utter revelation as Kate, with a truly phenomenal and engrossing performance that is one of the best I’ve seen in some time. Going from warm, charming and relatable to terrifyingly uncontrollable at the flip of a dime, Winstead masters all asked of her character in an absolutely wondrous display of talent from a true up-and-comer. Paul is perfectly placed against this dynamic performance, as Winstead works marvelously against him, making for a believable pairing throughout. Supporting performers Offerman, Spencer, Megan Mullally, and Mary Kay Place all do their part in adding to the film, although they aren’t really given much attention during the short running time.

While it suffers from similarities in narrative structure and execution nearly all films dealing with addiction have, the performances really make this one stand out. No matter if you’ve seen all dramas dealing with addiction, Smashed manages to break new ground with, at the very least, a singular, soul-wrenching performance at its center. At times equally funny and touching, yet often devastating, Smashed is a truly special glimpse into alcoholism that never gets too preachy or melodramatic, and is complete with an absolutely soaring, tour-de-force performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead that demands Oscar attention.

Grade: B+

Rated: R (for alcohol abuse, language, some sexual content and brief drug use)

Smashed opens in theaters on October 12, 2012.

In interesting but potentially brilliant casting news, comedian Amy Schumer will be taking on the role of Barbie for a live-action film.

Take a moment to soak in the news. Now revel in the idea. This could be awesome.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amy Schumer is not only leading the project on screen, but she’ll also have an influence on the script.

Read full article

In interesting but potentially brilliant casting news, comedian Amy Schumer will be taking on the role of Barbie for a live-action film.

Take a moment to soak in the news. Now revel in the idea. This could be awesome.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amy Schumer is not only leading the project on screen, but she’ll also have an influence on the script.

Last year, Sony had their pick of three complete scripts for a live-action Barbie movie. Of those three, they chose Hilary Winston’s. Now that Schumer is on board, THR says to expect her and her sister, Kim Caramele, to rewrite Winston’s original idea.

The plot, given that Schumer doesn’t change the major details, “begins in a perfect land of Barbies where one woman slowly awakens to the fact that she doesn’t fit it. She is expelled from the idealistic land and journeys to the real world, where she discovers that being unique is an asset.”

The outlet also addresses the fact that Mattel has had to deal with plenty of criticism regarding body image and race when it comes to the Barbie toys. Schumer’s casting is a great way to speak to some of those issues, and will hopefully provide a positive and uplifting message by the movie’s end.

There will be, of course, some hesitation given Schumer’s previous work. One only has to look as far as Trainwreck and Inside Amy Schumer to see her comedy is often brutally honest and raunchy. Barbie would be shocked.

But Schumer is an actress, after all, and a brilliant comedian. For this “contemporary spin on beauty, feminism and identity,” she seems like just the right fit.

What do you think of Amy Schumer as Barbie?

It’s arguably the biggest day for Hamilton fans since the release of the original Broadway recording: The Hamilton Mixtape has arrived!

Following years of development, the Hamilton Mixtape was released around the world on Friday, December 2. Mixtape features, well, remixes of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton hits, sung by artists both big and small from various genres.

To celebrate the album’s release, a special #Ham4Ham was hosted at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Thursday night, where names like Ashanti, Ja Rule, Regina Spektor, and Andra Day performed their songs from Mixtape:

Read full article

It’s arguably the biggest day for Hamilton fans since the release of the original Broadway recording: The Hamilton Mixtape has arrived!

Following years of development, the Hamilton Mixtape was released around the world on Friday, December 2. Mixtape features, well, remixes of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton hits, sung by artists both big and small from various genres.

To celebrate the album’s release, a special #Ham4Ham was hosted at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Thursday night, where names like Ashanti, Ja Rule, Regina Spektor, and Andra Day performed their songs from Mixtape:

Stream ‘The Hamilton Mixtape’:

Spotify users can easily stream The Hamilton Mixtape below. You can also listen here via Apple Music.:

And you can purchase a physical copy from Amazon here (you know all the Hamilton fans in your life will want a physical copy):

Hamilton Mixtape tracklist

1. No John Trumbull (Intro) – The Roots
2. My Shot (feat. Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz & Nate Ruess) [Rise Up Remix] – The Roots
3. Wrote My Way Out – Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Aloe Blacc
4. Wait For It – Usher
5. An Open Letter (feat. Shockwave) [Interlude] – Watsky
6. Satisfied (feat. Miguel & Queen Latifah) – Sia
7. Dear Theodosia (feat. Ben Folds) – Regina Spektor
8. Valley Forge (Demo) – Lin-Manuel Miranda
9. It’s Quiet Uptown – Kelly Clarkson
10. That Would Be Enough – Alicia Keys
11. Immigrants (We Get The Job Done) – K’naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, Residente
12. You’ll Be Back – Jimmy Fallon & The Roots
13. Helpless (feat. Ja Rule) – Ashanti
14. Take A Break (Interlude) – !llmind
15. Say Yes To This – Jill Scott
16. Congratulations – Dessa
17. Burn – Andra Day
18. Stay Alive (Interlude) – J.PERIOD & Stro Elliot
19. Slavery Battle (Demo) – Lin-Manuel Miranda
20. Washington’s By Your Side – Wiz Khalifa
21. History Has Its Eyes On You – John Legend
22. Who Tells Your Story (feat. Common & Ingrid Michaelson) – The Roots
23. Dear Theodosia (Reprise) – Chance The Rapper & Francis and The Lights

What are our favorite performances on ‘The Hamilton Mixtape’?

Chris Pratt is currently on a press tour for Passengers. Jennifer Lawrence may or may not be there too.

Passengers, the new sci-fi epic starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, comes out later this month. The promo tour has kicked off in Europe, with the two stars on hand to answer all our questions.

To entertain himself (and his fans!), Chris Pratt has been updating his Instagram with funny photos and captions from the tour.

Read full article

Chris Pratt is currently on a press tour for Passengers. Jennifer Lawrence may or may not be there too.

Passengers, the new sci-fi epic starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, comes out later this month. The promo tour has kicked off in Europe, with the two stars on hand to answer all our questions.

To entertain himself (and his fans!), Chris Pratt has been updating his Instagram with funny photos and captions from the tour.

There’s some real gold in there, but the best part is when he realizes that fans really want to see some pictures of Jennifer Lawrence — who doesn’t have her own social media accounts — and proceeds to very decidedly not include her!

Update: He did it again.


See some of the hilarious posts from Chris Pratt below:

Finally got that selfie with Jen y'all wanted. #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Just hanging with my bestie Jen. #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Here Jen and I pose with @elrubiuswtf

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Here's an extremely artistic and meaningful video I made in which Jen is heavily featured. #passengersmovie

A video posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Another day down with me and my best buddy Jen. #London #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Not going to lie — we’re almost as excited for the press interview videos as we are for the movie itself!

‘Passengers’ hits cinemas on December 21