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Alison Brie (#110 of 8)

The Little Hours, with Aubrey Plaza and Dave Franco, Gets Green Band Trailer

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The Little Hours, with Aubrey Plaza and Dave Franco, Gets Green Band Trailer

Gunpowder & Sky

The Little Hours, with Aubrey Plaza and Dave Franco, Gets Green Band Trailer

A little over a month after the official red band trailer for The Little Hours was released, the Jeff Baena film gets a much more safe-for-work green band trailer. Here’s the official description of the film:

Medieval nuns Alessandra (Alison Brie), Fernanda (Aubrey Plaza), and Ginevra (Kate Micucci) lead a simple life in their convent. Their days are spent chafing at monastic routine, spying on one another, and berating the estate’s day laborer. After a particularly vicious insult session drives the peasant away, Father Tommasso (John C. Reilly) brings on new hired hand Massetto (Dave Franco), a virile young servant forced into hiding by his angry lord. Introduced to the sisters as a deaf-mute to discourage temptation, Massetto struggles to maintain his cover as the repressed nunnery erupts in a whirlwind of pansexual horniness, substance abuse, and wicked revelry.

Mad Men Recap Season 7, Episode 11, "Time & Life"

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Mad Men Recap: Season 7, Episode 11, “Time & Life”

AMC

Mad Men Recap: Season 7, Episode 11, “Time & Life”

“Time & Life” opens with Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) getting gleefully teased by Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton), now the head of marketing for Dow Chemical, who denies Pete the easy approval of their mutual business for the sheer pleasure of watching him squirm. Once Don (Jon Hamm) enters, however, Ken quickly buttons up and agrees to SC&P’s plans for Dow. In essence, Ken’s unyielding dislike for Pete is simply outmatched by his idolization of Don, and last night’s episode catches Ken, along with several other characters, trying to move beyond intimate grudges in the dubious hopes of brighter skies ahead. Indeed, the dark truth at the center of “Time & Life” is that business is always personal, inseparable from the emotional baggage and mercurial philosophies each party brings to the table, to say nothing of the dreams, both failed and realized, that people naturally build into their careers.

Tribeca Review: Sleeping with Other People

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Tribeca Review: <em>Sleeping with Other People</em>
Tribeca Review: <em>Sleeping with Other People</em>

As in her debut feature, Bachelorette, writer-director Leslye Headland again manages to find some edgily intriguing ways to refresh a somewhat familiar rom-com setup in Sleeping with Other People. With its New York-based central male-female pair confiding in each other about their love lives and basically attempting to maintain a platonic friendship, the film sounds like a modern-day variation on When Harry Met Sally… But unlike Harry and Sally in the Rob Reiner film, the central relationship begins with sex, as Jake (Jason Sudeikis) first encounters an angry, horny Lainey (Alison Brie) in college in 2002 and ends up being her first. The next time they encounter each other, however, is roughly 12 years later—at a meeting for sex addicts. As we get to know them better, we discover that it isn’t necessarily sex addiction that fuels their behavior, but a deeper series of fears and hang-ups. Refreshingly, though, the film doesn’t offer any pat psychologizing in order to try to explain their neuroses. It may all have something to do with that one fateful night in college during which they hooked up, but Headland doesn’t belabor the point, instead preferring to leave that possibility hovering in the background, hanging over their every fraught interaction as they attempt to carry on a friendship without succumbing to sexual desire.

Mad Men: Season 4, Episode 10, “Hands and Knees”

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<em>Mad Men</em>: Season 4, Episode 10, “Hands and Knees”
<em>Mad Men</em>: Season 4, Episode 10, “Hands and Knees”

A couple of times over the course of this season of Mad Men I claimed that Don Draper (Jon Hamm) didn’t have much at stake anymore in continuing to conceal his true identity. Turns out I was wrong. Well, at least half wrong. In my defense, in a key scene of this week’s episode, “Hands and Knees” (written by Jonathan Abrahams and Matthew Weiner, and directed by Lynn Shelton), Don confesses his identity switch to Faye (Cara Buono) with very little in the way of repercussions. Don confesses as if speaking into a void, like he’s not even cognizant of another person being in the room with him; he’s simply saying the words because he can, because he needs to say them, and perhaps the most shocking part of his confession is how easily the words pass from Don to Faye. Faye even seems pleased that Don trusts her with the information, and tries to play the role of caretaker, reassuring Don that everything will be alright. At one point even Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) expresses sentiments similar to Faye’s, telling Don that his past isn’t really all that scandalous, and that they could ride things out should the truth be revealed.

Mad Men Recap Season 4, Episode 7, “The Suitcase”

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Mad Men Recap: Season 4, Episode 7, “The Suitcase”

AMC

Mad Men Recap: Season 4, Episode 7, “The Suitcase”

Spy stories are great vehicles for exploring ideas of identity, and I’ve always loved the moment that often comes when the spy goes so deep undercover that there’s only one person who knows that the spy is actually working for the good guys. Invariably, this lone handler is killed, leaving no one to vouch for the spy’s true identity. The drama then becomes less about the spy convincing people of his lies and more about him trying to convince people of the truth.

This is largely the situation Don Draper (Jon Hamm) finds himself in in this week’s Mad Men, “The Suitcase” (written by Matthew Weiner and directed by Jennifer Getzinger). When Anna Draper (Melinda Page Hamilton) succumbs to cancer, Don loses the one person he feels ever truly knew him; she knew his past and his secrets, and she loved him anyway. Now Don has been robbed of his one connection to the truth he spent the first three seasons of Mad Men trying to conceal. Like a spy without a handler, he’s left stranded in a web of fabrication without any means to return to home base, and the foundation upon which he built his life has seemingly crumbled.

Mad Men Recap Season 4, Episode 4, “The Rejected”

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Mad Men Recap: Season 4, Episode 4, “The Rejected”

AMC

Mad Men Recap: Season 4, Episode 4, “The Rejected”

The early going of Mad Men’s fourth season has given us a whole lot of Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and his nonstop cycle of disintegration and reinvention. Which is largely expected, of course, but it’s nonetheless refreshing that this week’s episode, “The Rejected” (written by Keith Huff and Matthew Weiner, and directed by John Slattery) finally gives us a chance to catch up with Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) and Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss).

While the primary focus of the series has always been about plunging into the depths of Don Draper’s character, Pete and Peggy have given us a glimpse into characters who began the series young and undefined, largely unaware of who they were themselves. The two have changed more than anyone, and after “The Rejected” it has become increasingly difficult to remember Peggy as the non-descript, largely repressed Catholic girl working Don’s desk, or Pete as the entry-level accounts man hired for his family name, and who could barely open his mouth in a meeting with the big boys without making a fool of himself.

Mad Men Recap Season 3, Episode 12, “The Grown-Ups”

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Mad Men Recap: Season 3, Episode 12, “The Grown-Ups”

AMC

Mad Men Recap: Season 3, Episode 12, “The Grown-Ups”

AMC’s Mad Men is nothing if not thematically well organized, and typically, writing about an episode consists of picking out the throughline and explicating how it brings together all the disparate plot elements. Typically, though, that throughline exists in the subtext, which makes “The Grown-Ups”, written by Brett Johnson and Matthew Weiner and directed by Barbet Schroeder, both a deliberate change of pace and a difficult episode to write about. Well, that, or an exceedingly easy one: hey everyone, this episode’s about the Kennedy assassination!

Mad Men Recap Season 1, Episode 4, “New Amsterdam”

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Mad Men Recap: Season 1, Episode 4, “New Amsterdam”

AMC

Mad Men Recap: Season 1, Episode 4, “New Amsterdam”

“There’s a Pete Campbell at every agency out there”—Bert Cooper

With “New Amsterdam,” Mad Men enters the realm of bona fide tragedy via the most unlikely of avenues—a story about Pete Cooper, who heretofore came across as a superficial asshole with more ambition than brains. Well, he’s still a superficial asshole with more ambition than brains, but now we know why.

When Pete tries to ditch his wife, Trudy (Alison Brie), when she arrives at Sterling Cooper for a lunch date, the scene stands in marked contrast to his apparently sincere confession of an almost mystic transformation that swept over him while exchanging marriage vows. He’s got good reasons for his moderately less enthusiastic view of married life: The woman who last week asked what meal he wanted waiting for him at home is a spoiled daddy’s girl who sees no value in the importance Pete places on work, and who promptly sends him on a demeaning mission to beg his father for money to purchase the Park Avenue apartment she covets.