Mark Scout (Adam Scott) works for Lumon Industries. He says he works in an archiving department, but he cannot be certain as he has undergone the “severance” procedure – a controversial surgery that involves a chip being implanted in the brain and separating any knowledge about work and personal lives in half. As he begins to train new employee Helly (Britt Lower), Mark begins to question what is really going on within Lumon Industries at the same time as he starts uncovering a much bigger conspiracy on the outside.
That may sound like a lot to digest, but after two episodes, it gets much easier to wrap your head around the intricacies of SEVERANCE. Both episodes are directed by Series Producer Ben Stiller (yes, I am just as shocked as you are) and boldly blends elements of Horror, Science Fiction, Dark Comedy and Conspiracy Thrillers into one mysterious nightmare that you will not be easily able to shake afterwards. Stiller frames the Series as clinically precise and sterile as he can, echoing the monotonous grind of the 9-to-5 office worker on a much larger scale. There are few brushes of colour, preferring to stay monochromatic in its costuming, lighting and production design. And having the sets be so expansive and high-ceilinged (likely due to Covid restrictions) make the few amount of on-screen characters feel genuinely small and isolated. The dystopic and sinister undertones flow through very well, giving just enough hints at the overarching mystery to keep viewers invested. I doubt the series would feel anywhere near as palpable and tangible had it been filmed prior to our new normal; everything here feels like you are looking into a mirror and the hellscape of our modern lives is looking right back at you.
I would not suggest it captures the Zeitgeist or has its finger on the beating pulse of modern office work, but I was having some serious déjà vu watching many of these scenes and scenarios play out.
The Cast is terrific and genuinely gifted, despite only getting to see fleeting glimpses of their histories and motivations so far. Scott is excellent as Mark, imbuing the greater themes of loneliness and despair quite wonderfully. Lower, who I loved on the short-lived series Man Seeking Woman, is a firecracker just waiting to explode, while character actor Zach Cherry has a lot of fun playing their no-nonsense, straight-and-narrow co-worker Dylan. And though their roles are small so far, I cannot wait to see John Turturro, Patricia Arquette and the legendary Christopher Walken dive into their roles.
I have not quite settled in on any theories about what is happening just yet, and am fearful for how the Series plans on balancing all of its competing tones and genre mashups. For now though, I am optimistic and excited to see just how SEVERANCE plays out over the next few weeks.
The first two episodes of SEVERANCE are available to stream now on Apple TV+, with new episodes arriving every Friday.
Elevation Pictures x Mr. Will want to take Readers in Toronto + Vancouver to see LANDLINE in Toronto (8/3/17) and Vancouver (8/9/17).
When two sisters suspect their father (John Turturro) may be having an affair, it sends them into a tailspin that reveals cracks in the family façade. For the first time, older sister Dana (Jenny Slate), recently engaged and struggling with her own fidelity, finds herself bonding with her wild teenage sister Ali (Abby Quinn). The two try to uncover the truth without tipping off their mother (Edie Falco) and discover the messy reality of love and sex in the process. Set in 1990s Manhattan, LANDLINE is a warm, insightful and comedic drama about a family united by secrets and lies, co-written and directed by Gillian Robespierre (OBVIOUS CHILD).
See the Trailer:
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Elevation Pictures release LANDLINEFriday, August 11, 2017.
Mongrel Media and Mr. Will want to give Canadian Readers a chance to win on DVD a copy of the Drama, GOD’S POCKET!
In the gritty, blue-collar neighborhood of God’s Pocket, Mickey Scarpato‘s (Philip Seymour Hoffman) crazy stepson, Leon (Caleb Landry Jones), is killed in a construction “accident,” and Mickey quickly tries to bury the bad news with the body. But when a local columnist (Richard Jenkins) comes sniffing around for the truth, things go from bad to worse. Mickey finds himself stuck in a life-and-death struggle compounded by a body he can’t bury, a wife he can’t please, and a debt he can’t pay.
Based on the novel by Pete Dexter.
GOD’S POCKET stars John Turturro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins and Christina Hendricks.
See the Trailer:
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Good luck, Willionaire$!
Mongrel Media release GOD’S POCKET on Blu-ray, Digital, Video-on-Demand and DVD Tuesday, September 23, 2014.
Mongrel Media and Mr. Will want to give Readers a chance to win on Blu-Ray, official TIFF ’13 Selection, FADING GIGOLO directed by and starring John Turturro!
Pragmatic Murray (Woody Allen), during a casual conversation with his friend Fioravante (John Turturro), mentions a visit to his dermatologist Dr. Parker (Sharon Stone), who confided her fantasy of having ménage-a-trois with a close female friend (Sofia Vergara) and a man who wasn’t her husband.
Murray volunteered Fioravante for the job. He meets Dr. Parker alone first, attending to her in a way that has less to do with sex than simply paying attention to her.
Just as Fioravante gets comfortable with this new sideline, Murray finds him another client, Avigal (Vanessa Paradis), the widow of a recently deceased Hassidic rabbi and probably the most uptight and suppressed woman in Brooklyn.
As part of the Front Row Centre Events Program’s Most Wanted Movies, 1998 Cult Classic THE BIG LEBOWSKI will be screening this week at 26 theatres across Canada! Front Row Centre, Touchwood PR and Mr. Will Wong want to give Readers across Canada a chance to win an officially-licensed THE BIG LEBOWSKI T-Shirt!
A laid-back Los Angeles Bowler named Jeff Lebowski, nicknamed The Dude, is beaten up by thugs who let him know that his Wife owes money to Jackie Treehorn. One problem remains; The Dude has never been married and has never heard of Jackie Treehorn. Realizing the situation is a case of mistaken identity, The Dude discovers another Jeff Lebowski living in L.A. This second Lebowski is a Millionaire who throws The Dude out of his house, but not before he gets a glimpse of Lebowski‘s wife Bunny. The next day, The Dude gets a call from Lebowski saying Bunny‘s been kidnapped for a $1 million ransom. Lebowski offers The Dude 20 grand to act as the courier for the money. The Dude agrees, taking along his Bowling Buddy Walter who suggests they blow off the kidnapping and steal the money for themselves. The Dude disagrees, but when Walter hands the kidnappers a bag of laundry, they are in deep. Things only get worse when The Dude‘s car is stolen with the $1 million inside.
THE BIG LEBOWSKI is directed by Joel Coen, who co-writes with Ethan Coen. It stars: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, David Huddleston, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tara Reid, Philip Moon, Mark Pellegrino, Peter Stormare, Flea, Torsten Voges, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Jack Kehler, John Turturro, James G Hoosier, Carlos Leon, Terrance Burton, Richard Gant, Christian Clemenson, Dom Irrera, Gerard L’Heureux, David Thewlis, Lu Elrod and Michael Gomez.
Watch the Trailer:
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THE BIG LEBOWSKI screens both Monday, November 25, 2013 and Wednesday, November 27, 2013.
A bit of a slower day today on the Photo front, Wongsters! It rained and rained and rained and finally after subsiding a bit I think we’re good to go again. We did spot some pretty exciting names though today, thus far!
Kate Winslet is just too perfect. Love her and it tears me apart that my first time seeing her today was under less than ideal circumstances. The Academy Award Winner arrived at her Press Conference for Labor Day (premiering tonight at Ryerson Theatre), throwing over a quick wave to Fans before being rushed in. On her way out she rolled down her window quickly and threw a hand wave. Mesmerized.
Josh Brolin, who stars opposite Winslet in Labor Day under more ideal circumstances would’ve given more to Fans, but I managed to get this Snap of him waving goodbye through a sea of Umbrellas to Fans after completing a Press Conference for the Oscar-buzzed Drama by Director Jason Reitman.
By total chance, I crossed paths with the lovely Jennifer Garner as she was downtown doing a bit of shopping. Mrs. Ben Affleck was seen without the Mr. and it is said she enjoyed a Salad for lunch today in advance of her Red Carpet Premiere for HIV-DramaDallas Buyers Club in which she stars opposite Matthew McConaughey.
Although not here for TIFF ’13 specifically, they sure timed it well. Brothers Donnie and Paul Wahlberg arrived in Toronto today to promote their upcoming upscale Burger Restaurant, WAHLBURGERS, meeting Fans at the Soho-Metropolitan Hotel today. After running out of Burgers quickly, the rest of the Fans were given Gift Cards for future purchase of a Burger when the first Canadian location opens in 2014!
Funnyman Tom Arnold made a surprise appearance at the Roy Thomson Hall Premiere of Mike Myers‘ Documentary, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon today and he was spotted out and about partying this evening, much to my surprise. The former Husband of Roseanne Barr was even awesome enough to stop to pose for Pics!
Jack Huston is definitely an emerging Talent to come into TIFF ’13 with a significant amount of buzz. The Nephew of Danny Huston and Anjelica Huston stars in Kill Your Darlings, which premieres tomorrow night at Roy Thomson Hall. He has been seen most recently on HBO‘s Boardwalk Empire.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises we’ve seen at TIFF was ’90s Megastar Crooner Michael Bolton out partying tonight with his Buddy, Toronto Director Paul Haggis (second below), who presents his latest work Third Person, a Romantic-Drama starring Olivia Wilde and Liam Neeson Monday night at VISA Screening Room! Both Bolton and Haggis were extremely gracious to stop and pose for Fans.
Maroon 5 Frontman debuted his first Feature Film, Can a Song Save Your Life tonight at the Princess of Wales Theatre. The handsome Singer was spotted at the uber-trendy Patria following his Premiere before calling it an early night. He soon will begin mentoring duties on the fourth Season of NBC‘s The Voice, premiering late September.
Still going strong, Director-Actress Couple Eli Roth and Lorenza Izzo are back at TIFF again this year with Green Inferno, premiering at the Festival’s Midnight Madness Program tonight. The two were spotted heading together to their Premiere. They certainly are not Strangers to Toronto having filmed Netflix‘s Hemlock Grove here last year.
Dane DeHaan‘s star is rising rather fast and in addition to starring in Kill Your Darlings alongside Daniel Radcliffe, he stars this time as Harry …Osborn in Amazing Spider-Man 2. The Actor was here last TIFF with The Place Beyond the Pines.
The stunning Freida Pinto is in Toronto partaking in the TIFF ’13 festivities and word is, she is raising awareness for an Indian Film Festival in development in the City. Definitely one of the few Actresses I know who can pull-off orange so effortlessly.
Actor/Director John Turturro and French Actress/Singer Vanessa Paradis (formerly Partner of Johnny Depp) were seen partying together in support of their TIFF ’13 Film, Fading Gigolo. Both were awesome to stop and interact with Fans tonight.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)
*Photos taken on Samsung Galaxy S4 and Olympus E-PL5.