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Episode 15: A Play in Three Meals with UTM

This week I sit down with the cast and crew of “M’s Pamphlet,” the latest production from the incredible group known as Urban Theatre Movement. I am joined by Paul Tully, Sean E. Zilke, Marilyn Fitoria, Elizabeth Alvarez, Miguel Amenyinu, Gisla Stringer, Spencer Weitzel, Jon Lance Duran, Charlie Jake Sanchez, and Isabel Davila as we talk about new play-development, the ingredients for peace, and strippers.

Stay up to date on all the latest UTM news here!

Episode 14: The Importance of Being Picky with Aaron I. Butler

My guest this week is Emmy-nominated editor Aaron I. Butler who is responsible for such works as American Winter and I Am Michael (starring James Franco). We talk about his experience at Sundance, his advice for actors and “the orphan board.”

Check out an interview with James Franco, Zachary Quinto, and director Jusin Kelly here!

Episode 13: Dirty Backpacks with Katie Boeck

This week’s guest is the incredible Katie Boeck. We talk about Deaf West’s mind-blowing production of Spring Awakening, the pursuit of being present and getting Aaron Sorkin’s approval. Go see Katie on March 12th at ROOM 5 Lounge at 10PM!!! And in Deaf West’s Spring Awakening May 21st-June 7th at the Wallis Annenberg Performing Arts Center!!!

Check out Katie on Soundcloud here and on iTunes here!

Episode 12: Discipline with Lily Berlina

The first episode of the Highway to Havasu series! I get to know my lovely co-star Lily Berlina who plays Amber and Katie Andrews. We talk about fixing the education system, the future of movie making and growing up in post-Soviet Russia.

Check out her Model Mayhem profile here!

Episode 11: All Sorts of Hard Edges with Rachel Mylan

Let’s get musical! I’m joined by fellow songleader Rachel Mylan. We talk about steep learning curves, the darker side of following our dreams and we finish off the episode with a few tunes: New Growth, an original by Rachel, Rivers and Roads by The Head and The Heart and a little bedtime Hashkiveinu smiley

Grab a copy of Rachel’s EP here!

SideKickBack Radio’s Sundance 2015 Review!

Last Days in the Desert: Ewan McGregor masterfully plays a humanized version of Jesus (and a demon alter-ego) in an imagined chapter of his life in which he encounters a family that has fallen on hard times. It is an incredibly beautiful film, shot by Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, the genius cinematographer behind Birdman. The scene-work in writer/director Rodrigo Garcia’s true work of art is a joy to watch, one fireside scene in particular, where McGregor tries to outwit his own self.

Brooklyn: Saoirse Ronan plays a young Irish immigrant who comes to America in the 1950’s. The acting is stellar in this truly touching and delightful tale directed by John Crowley. It has some of the funniest of laughs, some of the sweetest of moments, with heartbreak and suspense throughout. Bring tissues.

Slow West: A throwback Western tale of a boy in search of his lost love with a little help from Michael Fassbender.  While it was not one of my favorites, there are some uniquely hilarious, stylized bits in this one and it most certainly does not lack in freshness. It did win the Grand Jury Prize of the World Cinema category after all, so it is definitely worth a gander.

Don Verdean: Sam Rockwell is a Biblical Archeologist in search of the next big discovery for the Christian people. This Jared Hess film is a charming and funny commentary on religion as we see it today.  Also, Jemaine Clement’s portrayal of an Israeli artifact smuggler is a must-see…the best I can do is to call him an Israeli Borat.

The D Train: An eternally dorky Jack Black tries to wrangle former high school royalty turned “Hollywood” actor James Marsden into attending their high school reunion.  Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel have written and directed one of the most unique and fun comedies of the last decade. With a fantastic cast and great writing, it really all comes together perfectly in this “late-bloomer coming of age tale.”

Results: Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders play personal trainers who try to handle a difficult yet endearing new, recently divorced client, an oddly brilliant Kevin Corrigan.  I’ve never seen a love story quite told like this and writer/director Andrew Bujalski wonderfully applies his avant guarde roots to the romance genre and what we get are characters so uniquely flawed and complex that I wanted to watch them all day.

The Stanford Prison Experiment: A dramatic portrayal of the famous experiment carried out by Dr. Philip Zimbardo. This was my favorite of the festival. It was extraordinarily fascinating as this intensely psychological event provided such rich terrain for all of the fantastic young actors to explore and director Kyle Patrick Alvarez puts together an incredibly deep experience.  Michael Angarano was a standout as the infamous “John Wayne Guard.”

I Smile Back: Sarah Silverman plays a housewife struggling to maintain normalcy as she battles her own demons with drugs, alcohol and adultery.  It is provocative in all the right ways. This was one of the more anticipated performances of the festival and while I may not be the biggest Sarah Silverman fan, she does a wonderful job in director Adam Salky’s sophomore Sundance film.

Stockholm, Pennsylvania: Saoirse Ronan returns home to her birth parents after being held captive by a child kidnapper for most of her young life. The family attempts to readjust to a normal life as Stockholm Syndrome lurks around every corner. It is a true work of fiction as writer/director Nikole Beckwith did not draw from a single real-life case and for this reason the story is exceptionally captivating with quite an unexpected turn.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: Thomas Mann is a high school senior who strives for social neutrality in the hopes of surviving high school.  His mother, Connie Britton, forces him to spend time with a family friend who was diagnosed with Leukemia.  It is a remarkably well-made, unique movie by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, as clearly evidenced by its taking of both the Audience and Grand Jury Prizes.  It is a fresh new look at coping with high school angst, fitting well into its deserved place in the Pantheon of high school films.  Bring tissues.

By: Andrew Fromer

Episode 9: The Sundance Episode

We’re back!!! Sam Tilson, Bianca Mihailov, Max Cutler and I had an amazing trip to the heart of independent cinema. Join us for a steak dinner with new friend Christina Leung as we recap our festival experience.

Get all the latest Sundance Institute news here!

Episode 8: A Little Cajun Spice with Jack Quaid

This week I sit down with herculean Hunger Games hunk Jack Quaid. We talk more Sasquatch comedy, mainlining Jolly Ranchers and working with Marty. Yea, I’m on the Quaid Brigade…

Stay up-to-date on Jack’s latest projects here!