The Good Life

Friday, November 12, 2010

Star to Watch: SCOOT MCNAIRY

By R. Kurt Osenlund, The Good Life film critic

Scoot McNairy in "Monsters"

Don't be fooled by the playful name. American actor Scoot McNairy has a dedication to independent cinema that's serious and sincere. Born in Texas, and with a background in regional theater, McNairy set out for Tinseltown with ambitions to break into the indie film scene. While chasing his goals, he took bit parts in an eclectic mix of movies, including "Wonderland," "Herbie Fully Loaded," "Art School Confidential" and "Bobby."

His indie breakout was with 2007's "In Search of a Midnight Kiss," a black-and-white New York romance that starred McNairy as the lead character, Wilson. McNairy produced "Midnight Kiss" with his friend and manager, John Pierce, with whom he started the production company The Group Films. Since then, the company has worked on "Frank and Cindy," starring Rene Russo, and "The Last Time I Made Straight A's," which has yet to be cast.

McNairy can now be seen as the male lead in "Monsters," a highly impressive British thriller that makes extraordinary use of its meager budget. Written and directed by documentarian Gareth Edwards, the film sees McNairy star alongside his real-life wife, Whitney Able, in a story that's minimalistically told to great effect, and boasts topical immigration metaphors to boot. McNairy delivers an authentic, understated performance, which was good enough to nab him a British Independent Film Award nomination for Best Actor ("Monsters" received a total of six nominations, including Best Picture).

In addition to his projects as producer, McNairy now has at least five films on the horizon in which he'll be appearing on-screen, including "The Off Hours," "Everything Will Happen Before You Die," "Angry White Man," "The Listening Party" and "A Night in the Woods." True to the actor's pursuits, every film is an independent.

Trailer for "Monsters," which opens in Philadelphia today:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


The newest trailers for some of the most noteworthy upcoming flicks.

By R. Kurt Osenlund, The Good Life film critic


It's been 14 years since the original "Scream" movie became a massive self-aware sensation, lampooning other films in the horror genre and laughing all the way to the bank. I can still remember rallying a troop of friends and sneaking into the very R-rated thriller, one of my favorites. Two inferior sequels, varying levels of fame and a break-up or two later, we've got the much-awaited fourth installment, which revamps the "rules" for a new decade. Stars David Arquette, Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox return, along with Hayden Planetarium, Emma Roberts, Kieran Culkin and more. Take a look:


Nicole Kidman shoots for the awards traction she had in the early 2000s in this screen adaptation of the stage play about a couple grieving the loss of their young son. Kidman plays the mother, Aaron Eckhart plays the father, and Dianne Wiest plays Kidman's own mom, herself having dealt with the death of a son. In the director's chair is John Cameron Mitchell, the highly talented New Yorker who delivered back-to-back triumphs with "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and "Shortbus." "Rabbit Hole" is one of my most anticipated films yet to be released in 2010.


Jack Black is back in this modern-day retelling of Jonathan Swift's 18th century novel. Directed by Rob Letterman ("Shark Tale," "Monsters vs. Aliens") "Gulliver's" looks obnoxious as all get out, but it also seems to boast some coolly diverting funhouse efects. Starring alongside Black are Amanda Peet, Emily Blunt, Jason Segel and Billy Connolly. The film focuses on an underachieving mailroom worker (Black) who's swept away to a magical world full of action-figure-sized folk. It's set for release this Christmas.

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