Calling Miguel Arteta

Article: Calling Miguel Arteta

I recently googled “Miguel Arteta,” director of CEDAR RAPIDS, the new comedy about insurance executives attending a conference in the big city — Cedar Rapids, Iowa. My #1 hit was the movie section of a local Arkansas paper. The featured local film reviewer, “Big Screen Peter” of Fort Smith, is right out of … a Miguel Arteta movie. Or Alexander Payne. Big Screen Pete notes that CEDAR RAPIDS is not yet playing in the area, but he gives it a 4 out of 5 on his smile-meter, below:

As a filmmaker, I shudder at the lower part of the scale — the thin and dissatisfied lips of that menacing bottom image. THIS MOVIE SUCKS! What other art form is vulnerable to this sort of onslaught? THIS OPERA SUCKS! THIS PAINTING SUCKS! I don’t think so.

But indeed, I showed my students CHUCK AND BUCK (2000) a few weeks back — another Arteta work and in my view, a brilliant one — and I fear most of my trapped subjects were hitting Pete’s lower rungs.

Ed Helms, Now and Then

Article: Ed Helms, Now and Then

“Is it too early to declare 2011 as the year of Ed Helms?” wonders the Hollywood Reporter, citing the former Daily Show correspondent’s first starring role in the warmly received comedy CEDAR RAPIDS, which just debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as roles in the forthcoming HANGOVER sequel and what is sure to…

CEDAR RAPIDS: A Film With Heart

Article: CEDAR RAPIDS: A Film With Heart

Miguel Arteta’s CEDAR RAPIDS, which premiered Sunday night at the Sundance Film Festival, is garnering positive, if not rapturous, reviews. General consensus: The insurance-industry fish-out-of-water comedy, which stars Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche and Isiah Whitlock Jr.,  is slight, but sturdy, sweet and funny, with a lot of heart. A sampling of responses:…

Sundance Sales Force Is Out

Article: Sundance Sales Force Is Out

First reaction upon landing in this snow-covered oasis, where we couldn’t help but think of the back-drop of that Mormon reality TV show Sister Wives (not that we watch): It’s cold! Like, really, cold. Quite a shocker for our L.A. blood, and I imagine everyone else who was on the plane ride over feels the…