Lost in Florence – Review

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Lost in Florence is an open love letter to its namesake, the Italian city of Florence, filtered through the lens of a visiting American football player. Written and directed by Evan Oppenheimer, the romantic drama mixes love, sport and Italian culture to the beautiful backdrop of a timeless city.

Eric Lombard (Brett Dalton) is visiting his cousin Anna (Stana Katic) and her Florentine husband, Gianni (Marco Bonini), when he decides to propose to his long-time girlfriend, Colleen (Emily Atack). Unfortunately for him, she rejects his proposal and flees back to the US, but not before telling him that it’s time to give up on his football dreams and face reality. Devastated, Eric decides to stay in Florence a while longer.

After days of watching him sulk, Gianni decides to bring Eric to a game of “calcio storico”, a sport that seems to meld American football, rugby, and soccer all into one brutal match. Despite the dangers of the historic game, Eric proves himself to the captain, Paolo (Alessandro Preziosi), and joins the team. It isn’t long before Eric meets Paolo’s attractive girlfriend, Stefania (Alessandra Mastronardi),  and things start to unravel as the two pursue a secret relationship.

Dalton gives a strong performance as the would-be football star, and expertly plays the indecisive vulnerability of his character. Also memorable is Dalton’s comedic timing, which gets the chance to shine through in one particular scene as Eric pretends to be a local to two inquiring tourists.  Alongside him is co-star Mastronardi, who is engaging in her role as Eric’s Italian love interest. Perhaps the most surprising onscreen relationship, however, is that between the two cousins. Katic brings a genuine charm to her character, and the honest and playful affection between her character and Dalton’s is a pleasure to watch.

Whilst Lost in Florence is somewhat predictable, its moments of humour and doses of Florentine culture makes for an enjoyable film. At every turn, the audience is treated to Florence’s astounding architecture and wealth of art, which is proudly woven into the film’s core themes. One can’t help but envy Eric’s brief interlude with the picturesque countryside amongst the vineyards, moped excursions and gelato. In the end, it would come as no surprise if you end up googling flights to Italy once stepping out of the film.

 

Lost in Florence is out on VOD platforms now.

Lost in Florence release information

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Starring Dalton as Eric Lazard, Lost in Florence is the tale of a former football player who tries to escape his failures at home by visiting his cousin, Anna, in Italy. Anna, played by Stana Katic, gives Eric some sage advice and welcomes him into her life in Florence. Through her, Eric is introduced a tight-knit community, and throws himself into a new challenge – the brutal sport of Calcio Storico.

The movie will be out on limited release in theaters on January 27, with simultaneous release on video on demand platforms. Early release on Jan 26 is available at many theaters. The list below may be subject to change.

Theaters
Los Angeles – Laemmle Music Hall
San Francisco – The Vogue
Cleveland – Great Lake Cinema
Denver – The Kress
Minneapolis – Gopher Theater
Boston – The Wellfleet
Seattle – The Dragonfly
Chicago – Facets
Detroit – TBC
 
On Demand:
iTunes, Amazon Video, Google Play, Vudu, Microsoft Movies & TV, Sony PlayStation, and Vimeo.

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone – Review

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Ever since The Resurrection of Gavin Stone was first announced 2 years ago I’ve been eagerly awaiting its release. We’ve been treated to vlogs from the director, Dallas Jenkins, and a wealth of stills and behind the scenes photos, all of which has served to make me even more excited to finally see the film in the theater. Honestly though, it was definitely worth the wait. Before I continue, I should warn you that this review will have some mild spoilers, so if you’d rather not be spoiled at all prior to seeing the movie then don’t go any further. Once you’ve watched, hurry back to this page so you can read all about why I, personally, loved the film so much. Otherwise, read on!

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone has a pretty simple premise. A washed up actor lands himself in some legal trouble and, as a result, he’s sentenced to 200 hours of community service in a local church. The film follows a classic blueprint, familiar from many popular romantic comedies, but without the slapstick humor or unrealistic elements that can make such movies feel rather fantastical. In fact, I would say that the film focuses more on genuine friendships than it does romance, and that’s one of the things that makes it feel like a fresh take on a familiar genre.

As the film’s lead, playing the titular character of Gavin Stone, Brett Dalton proves his leading man status early on. Although we’ve seen him as a lead in an ensemble cast, this is the first time that we, as an audience, get to see him truly front and center. It’s also wonderful to see him playing a role so different in tone than those he’s already known for. Dalton’s comedic timing is sharp and many of the funniest moments in the film feature a light-hearted humor that he embraces as Gavin. It’s in the more dramatic moments, however, that he really shines. Dalton brings a necessary complexity to Gavin’s character, which could otherwise come off as somewhat obnoxious, that really makes the audience root for him. As a result, Gavin’s excitement is infectious, his sadness heartbreaking, and when he starts to make real friendships for the first time in his life, you can’t help but find yourself smiling and cheering for him.

Despite the heavy lifting done by the film’s lead, Dalton’s got a tremendous supporting cast, including a couple of genuine comedians. Anjelah Johnson and Neil Flynn (The Middle) might be two of the funniest actors in this cast, but here they embrace more serious roles with ease. Johnson delivers the most realistic performance of a Pastor’s daughter that I’ve ever seen. Having known people in my own church just like Kelly I know that they can come off as intimidating and unapproachable, and Johnson plays this character to perfection.

Ultimately, its Flynn’s gut wrenching performance as Gavin’s disillusioned father that is probably one of the more heartbreaking character arcs of the movie. One of my favorite moments in the film features an excited Gavin trying to talk about the day’s rehearsal with his dad, who isn’t all that receptive. We discover that they’ve been estranged for years, and the father-son dynamic between Dalton and Flynn is played beautifully realistically. Gavin’s backstory with his dad is presented at the start of the film when they present Gavin’s backstory in an entertaining newsbyte reminiscent of E! True Hollywood Story, but I would have liked to explore their dynamic more. Throughout the film, you get to see the two take steps toward mending their relationship, but the film never truly gives us a resolution to that arc. There’s a short exchange at the end of the film that lets you know they’re “working on it”, but considering the emphasis the plot placed on Gavin making up with his father, I would have liked an extra scene between father and son to give us some closure for their storyline.

I did, however, really appreciate the way that parallels were drawn between Gavin’s estranged relationship with his father versus Kelly’s very loving relationship with hers. Throughout the film, we get to see Kelly’s father, who is the Pastor, acting as a sounding board for his progressively frustrated daughter. He never shies away from giving her brutally honest advice, and she is always receptive to it, speaking to a closeness that doesn’t even need to be explicitly stated. Where Gavin and his father hardly speak more than a few words to each other, Kelly and her father speak often, and it’s a really lovely dynamic to watch.

For me though, Johnson shines the most opposite Dalton. The two bounce off each other beautifully and their flirtatious banter is a delight to watch. This isn’t a conventional romantic comedy with over the top declarations of love, but that didn’t stop me finding myself seriously rooting for Gavin and Kelly. He brings out a playful side to her that no one else can seem to tap into, and she makes him want to be a better version of himself. It’s also hilarious watching Gavin try to impress Kelly early on in the movie. Their first meeting, a classic meet cute involving a mop and lightsaber sound effects, will make you chuckle if not laugh out loud. It’s no wonder he fails at impressing her 9 out of 10 times. He even resorts to Google a couple times for tips on how to woo her, but eventually all it takes is a single moment for Kelly to see him in a different light.

This entire film was wonderfully cast with some really surprising performances, such as former wrestler Shawn Michaels. I didn’t know much about Michaels going into the film, but I definitely came out a new fan. As Doug, Gavin’s mentor in church, Michaels represents the ideal churchgoer, welcoming without judgement, even when the newcomer is hugely overcompensating in an attempt to fit in. Doug represented such a warm and genuine character that I couldn’t help but love him.

Overall, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is an inspirational family film that appeals to all ages, regardless of religion. It’s a film about a regular guy who’s just trying to fit in somewhere new, and I think that’s something everyone can relate to. I would go as far as to say that this movie is a real gem, enjoyable and fun to watch, and impossible to walk out of without feeling better than you did when you walked in.

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is now playing in theaters.

Exclusive Interview with Dallas Jenkins, director of The Resurrection of Gavin Stone

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The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, starring Brett Dalton (Gavin Stone) and Anjelah Johnson (Kelly Richardson) will be released this Friday, January 20. The movie tells the story of a washed-up child star, Gavin Stone, who is sentenced to perform community service at a local church. Whilst trying to avoid mopping floors and cleaning toilets, Gavin stumbles upon the auditions for the church’s annual Passion Play. In order to land the role of Jesus, he pretends to be a Christian, but ends up getting much more than he bargained for. Struggling to work out who he really is, Gavin finds a community ready to welcome him as one of their own.

With the release only a few days away, we caught up with director Dallas Jenkins to find out more about this story of ‘faith and forgiveness’.

BrettDaltonOrg: What message do you hope will stay with audiences after they’ve seen this film?
Dallas Jenkins: That church, for all its flaws, is actually a place where a special kind of community is found that can change your life. That a good church welcomes without judgment, loves without condition, and forgives without limit. I hope churchgoers and outsiders are reminded of that.

Your son was involved with some of the casting – can you tell us a bit more about that process? 
Well, he was only involved with casting one certain actor we all know and love! He’s a big Marvel nerd and loves Agents of SHIELD, and I still have the text where he told me I should cast Brett Dalton as Gavin. Even after he explained who Brett was, I was skeptical. There was nothing about Grant Ward that said “this is Gavin” to me, as Gavin is charismatic, obnoxious, funny, etc.. But I relented and had our casting director send Brett the script, and he loved it. Once he auditioned it was pretty clear our search was over.

What was your favorite scene to shoot while making the movie?
For humor, I loved shooting the scene where Gavin is asked to pray on the spot and has no idea what he’s doing. Brett and the guys on the scene all did some good improvs and made the scene fantastic. For heart, my favorite scene is when Anjelah Johnson as Kelly tells Gavin why their church shows unconditional grace. They were both so good in the scene, and it’s both funny and heartfelt, I absolutely loved it.

What inspired you to tell this particular story?
I love the fish out of water element. I think if you want to make audiences identify with a character, make them an outsider. And I thought it would be really interesting to tell the story of what church is like through the eyes of an outsider. And the notion of him pretending to be a Christian so he can fit in I knew was ripe for great humor.

What is it about Gavin’s character that you hope audiences will relate to?
We’ve all felt out of place at some point. We’ve also all had that
moment when we realize the world doesn’t revolve around us. What happens then?

With the great chemistry between the actors, what onscreen dynamic is your favorite, or which are you most looking forward to audiences seeing?
I hope audiences see that while Gavin and Kelly don’t quite fit at the beginning, they both go on journeys that criss cross with each other. They both have a lot to learn, and I think when you start to see Kelly warm up to Gavin and warm up in general, and Gavin start to mature, it’s really cool, and not in the typical slapsticky rom-com way.

What three words would you use to describe this movie?
Heartfelt, authentic, and really funny. Wait, that’s more than three words.

Do you have any funny “behind the scenes” stories you can share with us?
In the moment in the trailer when Gavin greets the woman at church by kissing both her cheeks, she had no idea Brett was going to do that, and her reaction is real.

What challenges did you face making The Resurrection of Gavin Stone in comparison to other films you’ve worked on?
This was the first movie I made with Hollywood companies footing the bill, involved from the beginning, so making a movie with producers looking over my shoulder and very eager to make sure I didn’t screw up was a new one for me!

What was it like working with lead actor, Brett Dalton, whose character is in almost every scene of the film?
Brett’s fantastic. He gave me such a gift with his performance. And what I like about him is that he doesn’t just do what his idea is, and he doesn’t just do what I say, he’s thoughtful and passionate and makes sure that we’re on the same page with each scene.

Did anyone in this hilarious cast ad-lib any of their lines and did any of those ad-libs make it into the film?
Absolutely! There’s a scene where Gavin is in church for the first time trying to fit in, trying to look like a regular churchgoer, and I had him walk through the church lobby randomly greeting people. At one point he looks at someone, holds up his bible, and says, “hey, we have the same book!”


The Resurrection of Gavin Stone comes out on Friday. You can find a list of theaters screening the movie here. We’ll keep you updated with information about VOD platforms and international release as it becomes available.

Lost in Florence – Official Trailer and Website now live

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With the release date of January 27 getting closer, the official website for Lost in Florence is now live. The movie, starring Dalton as Eric Lazard, is the tale of a former football player who tries to escape his failures at home by visiting his cousin, Anna, in Italy. Anna, played by Stana Katic, gives Eric some sage advice and welcomes him into her life in Florence. Through her, Eric is introduced a tight-knit community, and throws himself into a new challenge – the brutal sport of Calcio Storico.

In addition to showcasing the traditional Florentine sport, the movie focuses on Eric’s growing feelings for Stefania (Alessandra Mastronardi), and the complications that their relationship brings to the close group of friends. The rivalry between Eric and his teammate Paolo (Alessandro Preziosi) is highlighted in the trailer, and promises to be one of the integral themes of the movie.

Lost in Florence is one of two films starring Dalton that will be released next month. The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is slated for release January 20th, with Lost in Florence scheduled to be released a week later on January 27. In addition to a limited cinematic release, the movie will also be made available on VOD the same day. 

New Trailer for Lost in Florence

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A second trailer for Brett Dalton’s upcoming film, Lost in Florence, has been released, giving us a more in depth look at what we can expect from the movie. The first trailer, leaked online several months ago, gave us hints of what to expect, but didn’t tell us much about the plot of the mysterious film. The new footage in this one definitely gives us the sneak peek that fans have been waiting for. 

Dalton plays Eric Lazard, a down on his luck former football player who is visiting his cousin, Anna, in Italy. The new trailer offers us clues on their remarkably close relationship, which is very welcome considering how little we knew before. We also know more about other key players within the film, such as Stefania (Alessandra Mastronardi) who will play Eric’s Italian love interest and his new teammate/rival Paolo (Alessandro Preziosi) who will be the third point of this unexpected love triangle.

This trailer offers much more drama and action than the previous trailer did. We’re also teased with some of the controversy surrounding the game of Calcio Fiorentino, and shown more of how Eric will be getting in over his head whilst playing the dangerous sport.

Lost in Florence is one of two films starring Dalton that will be released next year. While his other film The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is slated for release January 20th, Lost in Florence is scheduled to be released a week later on January 27, 2017.

 

Brett Dalton cast in new Thriller ‘A Bend in the Road’

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Brett Dalton is looking to the road ahead by jumping onboard director/writer David Frigerio’s newest project, A Bend in the Road, which is scheduled to begin filming sometime next year. Diego Boneta (Scream Queens) has been cast alongside Dalton, with actress Alexis Knapp (Pitch Perfect) reportedly in talks to join.

According to Deadline who broke the news earlier, the premise of the film will focus on two step-sisters who are at odds with each other after the tragic death their respective parents. One of the heiresses decides to hire a drifter to kill her step sister for the $100 million inheritance left to them after their parent’s deaths.

Frigerio is best known for sci-fi thriller The Signal which starred Laurence Fishburne and Olivia Cook. He authored the screenplay for A Bend in the Road with Suzanne Fitzpatrick, adapting it from a story he co-wrote with Darby Parker.

The film will be produced by Jordan Yale Levine, of Yale Productions, and Scott Levinson. Frigerio will also sign on as Executive Producer.

There is no official word yet on which character Brett will be playing in the film, or a potential release date, although the movie is set to film in 2017. Stay tuned for more updates as they become available.

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The Resurrection of Gavin Stone – Trailer Out Now

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It’s finally here! Vertical Church Films have just released the trailer for the upcoming romantic comedy, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, and we can’t wait to see the finished product.


Starring Brett Dalton (Gavin Stone) and Anjelah Johnson (Kelly Richardson), the movie tells the story of a washed-up child star, Gavin Stone, who is tasked with performing community service at a local church. He pretends to be Christian in order to land the role of Jesus in the church’s annual Passion Play, but ends up getting much more than he bargained for when he meets the director, Kelly.

A rough edit of the movie received an overwhelmingly positive response, and the film promises a lot of laughs in addition to some touching character moments. It’s clear from the trailer that the lead actors excel in their roles, and we’ve got a lot to look forward to when the story of ‘faith and forgiveness’ is released in January.

You can follow @GavinStoneMovie on Twitter for regular updates, and we’ll keep you posted as more news becomes available.

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is due for release on January 20, 2017

New Project – Milo Murphy’s Law

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Agent Grant Ward may be gone, but we’ve learned that Brett Dalton will be jumping back into familiar waters, playing another agent for Disney’s newest animated series.

In the show, titled Milo Murphy’s Law, Dalton will be recurring as high-level time-traveling ‘Agent Brick’. The project comes from the creators and executive producers of the award winning Phineas and Ferb, Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh.

The series follows 13 year old Milo Murphy, who is the great-great-great-great grandson of the man whom ‘Murphy’s Law’ is named after. It will star Grammy award winning Al Yankovic as the titular character, alongside Girl Meets World’s Sabrina Carpenter and Kirby Buckets Mekai Curtis.

Dalton first teased his involvement with the project back in February when he posted this photo with Yankovic on his social media.

Dalton will be joined by an all-star cast including Mr. Robot’s Christian Slater, and Dalton’s former Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. co-star, Ming-Na Wen.

Disney will have a preview of the first episode available on their Disney XD app, Disney XD’s YouTube channel and Disney XD VOD’s platforms as early as September 26th. The series is slated to officially premiere on Disney XD Monday, October 3rd at 8PM.

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Gavin Stone – Release date announced

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Save the date!

After many months of anticipation, Vertical Church Films has finally announced the release date for their upcoming film, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone! The romantic comedy, starring Brett Dalton (Gavin Stone) and Anjelah Johnson (Kelly) has been slated for release on January 20th, 2017.  There is no trailer as of yet, but we anticipate it’ll drop sometime soon now that there is an official date.

If you’re playing catch up, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is one of two recent projects for Dalton. The film follows a washed up child star, Gavin Stone (Dalton), who is forced into doing community service at a local mega-church. While there, Gavin lands the leading role of Jesus in the upcoming Easter production. There’s just one catch: he lied to get the role. Pretending to be Christian while simultaneously falling for the show’s director, Kelly (Johnson), Gavin quickly realizes there’s more on the line than he originally bargained for. Will it have been worth it in the end?

The film promises many laughs, witty romance and touching character moments throughout (not to mention Gavin’s obnoxious fashion choices). An early screening produced enthusiastically positive reviews.

Vertical Church Films is celebrating the film’s release date with a twitter contest for fans, giving them the chance to win a production still signed by Dalton and Johnson.

In the meantime, we’ll keep you updated on trailer news, international dates, and more! Are you guys just as excited as we are? Let us know!

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone will be released January 20th, 2017.