Sorry, What to Watch took a turkey day break as last week was really light on new product worth mentioning. This week? Pretty much the same but we don’t want you to miss us too badly. Here’s five recent Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming releases that may have caught your attention on new release shelves lately, ranked in the order we’d add them to our holiday wish list.
Fox Searchlight acquires dark comedy 'Choke'
I just received this press statement:
FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES ACQUIRES DARK COMEDY “CHOKE”
Specialty Arm Acquires Worldwide Rights
PARK CITY, UT January 22, 2008 – Fox Searchlight Pictures President Peter Rice today announced that the company has acquired U.S. and most worldwide rights to the dark comedy CHOKE, which had its world premiere last night in the Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Adapted and directed by Clark Gregg, CHOKE stars Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Brad William Henke and Kelly Macdonald. Gregg also has a supporting role.
The film was produced by Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson of Contrafilm and Johnathan Dorfman and Temple Fennell of ATO Pictures. Gary Ventimiglia, Mary Vernieu, Mike S. Ryan and Derrick Tseng served as executive producers. The film is adapted from the best-selling, critically acclaimed novel by Chuck Palahniuk. The film is scheduled to be released in 2008.
Said Fox Searchlight Pictures President Peter Rice, “Writer-director Clark Gregg’s wickedly funny and wildly original feature film debut brings a fresh filmmaking voice to the big screen with an incredibly engaging and provocative story.”
Added Clark Gregg, “I’ve watched the bold creative way Searchlight has handled films which take the kind of risks that we’ve tried to take with CHOKE, so when their entire creative team sat with me right after the screening and spoke so incisively about the film, it was a very easy decision.”
Actor-turned-director Clark Gregg shows he is as adept behind the camera as he is in front of it with CHOKE, a wickedly colorful dark comedy about mothers and sons, sexual compulsion, and the sordid underbelly of Colonial theme parks.
Victor Mancini (Rockwell), a sex-addicted med-school dropout, who keeps his increasingly deranged mother, Ida (Huston), in an expensive private medical hospital by working days as a historical reenactor at a Colonial Williamsburg theme park. At night Victor runs a scam by deliberately choking in upscale restaurants to form parasitic relationships with the wealthy patrons who “save” him. When, in a rare lucid movement, Ida reveals that she has withheld the shocking truth of his father’s identity, Victor enlists the aid of his best friend, Denny (Henke) and his mother’s beautiful attending physician, Dr. Paige Marshall (Macdonald), to solve the mystery before the truth of his possibly divine parentage is lost forever.
The deal was brokered on Fox Searchlight’s side by Executive Vice President of Worldwide Acquisitions Tony Safford and Executive Vice President of Business Affairs Joey DeMarco. The film was represented by Rich Klubeck of UTA with legal counsel provided by Andrew Hurwitz and Alan Sacks of Schreck, Rose, Dapello, Adams and Hurwitz. Clark Gregg is represented by Blair Belcher of UTA.
Fox Searchlight Pictures is a specialty film company that both produces and acquires motion pictures. It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and its films are distributed internationally by Twentieth Century Fox. Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, a unit of Fox Entertainment Group.
The /Film report on this is here and below:
In my review of Clark Gregg’s adaptation of the Chuck Palahniuk novel Choke (which was posted just minutes ago), I nervously wrote a plea to distributors, hoping that this film would get the big screen release that it deserves. Choke is not an easy film to market. It contains a lot of nudity and sex, and most distributors might not want to be associated with a Da Vinci Code-esque controversial subplot. Well good news Palahniuk fans, Choke was purchased for $5 million by…
Fox Searchlight is by far my favorite studio in terms in independent releases. Searchlight knows how to market a little film, and they know how to execute the platform release. Searchlight is the company behind the success of Juno, Little Miss Sunshine, Garden State, Once, Napoleon Dynamite, Thank You For Smoking, and Sideways.
I’m in line to see the new Morgan Spurlock movie, than after I will be off to interview Chuck Palahnuik. So please check back for that interview later tonight or tomorrow.
Official Plot Synopsis: Actor-turned-director Clark Gregg shows he is as adept behind the camera as in front of it with CHOKE, a wickedly colorful dark comedy about mothers and sons, sexual compulsion, and the sordid underbelly of Colonial theme parks.
Victor Mancini, a sex-addicted med-school dropout, keeps his increasingly deranged mother, Ida, in an expensive private mental hospital by working days as a historical reenactor. At night he runs a scam where he deliberately chokes in upscale restaurants to form parasitic relationships with the wealthy patrons who “save” him. When, in a rare lucid moment, Ida reveals that she has withheld the shocking truth of his father’s identity, Victor must enlist the aid of his best friend, Denny, a recovering chronic masturbator, and his mother’s beautiful attending physician, Dr. Paige Marshall, to solve this mystery before the truth of his possibly divine parentage is lost forever.
Adapted from the acclaimed novel by Chuck Palahniuk, CHOKE tickles the funny bone as it dives into darker areas of human behavior. At the heart of the film is yet another staggering performance by Sam Rockwell as Victor. He fully inhabits the character and nails both the comedic and dramatic aspects with indelible timing and delivery. A delicious blend of fresh writing, juicy performances, and sharp directing, CHOKE is actually quite easy to swallow.