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Mike Nichols, the Oscar-winning director of “The Graduate” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” was remembered by friends and colleagues as an artist, a mentor and a constant source of laughter and inspiration.
Condolences and remembrances from across the entertainment industry poured in after news broke that Nichols had died suddenly at the age of 83.
“An inspiration and joy to know, a director who cried when he laughed, a friend without whom, well, we can’t imagine our world, an indelible irreplaceable man,” said Meryl Streep, who worked with Nichols on “Silkwood,” “Heartburn” and the HBO adaptation of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America.”
Over more than five decades, Nichols moved seamlessly between Broadway, television and movies, becoming one of the only people to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony — achieving “Egot” status. His notable films include “Working Girl,” “Primary Colors” and “The Birdcage,” and »
- Brent Lang
Despite the lottery-esque sounding odds, the U.S Dramatic Competition section which produces the finest American indie specimens such as Frozen River, Winter’s Bone, Blue Valentine, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station and Whiplash is fairly consistent in terms of quality. Last year’s crop of sixteen have almost all had their theatrical releases with Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter being the last one out of the gates (pegged with an early 2015 release). Last week we individually looked at our top 80 Sundance Film Fest Predictions (you’ll find 30 other titles worth considering in our intro) and below, we’ve split the list into narrative and non-fiction film items and have both identified and color-coded our picks in an AtoZ cheat sheet. You’ll find 2015′s answer to Whiplash located somewhere in the stack below. Click on the individual titles below, for the film’s profile. »
- Eric Lavallee
Robert Eggers appears to be soaked in horror, noir fairy-tale lore. His Filmmaker Magazine 25 New Faces profile over at Filmmaker Mag informs us that the final October weekend that just passed would have been an event for the Brooklyn based prod designer. For his previous outings as a director, he turned to Hansel and Gretel and Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart for his short form debuts and created an original stage adaptation of F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu. A Sundance Institute Cinereach Feature Film Fellow, The Witch (formerly titled “The Witch of New Canaan Woode”) was shot this past April/May in slightly north of the border – Ontario seconds for a circa 1630-looking New England in this pic.
Gist: 1630s. Sam, a newborn baby, has disappeared without a trace. William’s eldest daughter, Thomasin, 14, has become idle and temperamental. Caleb, 12, often wantonly glances at Thomasin and believes he hears the voice of God. »
- Eric Lavallee
It landed at the Toronto Int. Film Festival and already had a Nyff playdate in place before A24 films plunked down 4 million on the title. Where does Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young figure in indie distribs’ short or long term plans? Starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver, Amanda Seyfried, and Charles Grodin, our Jordan M. Smith called the dramedy a “running social portraiture has never been as broadly conventional in his humor,” this doesn’t have a long shelf life and looks like a Spring ’15 item. Conceivably this could go the Locke route, with a Tiff in September showing, followed by a Spotlight section at Sundance in January plan. And if by some film god miracle Baumbach’s other untitled film makes its world premiere, then it would be a fitting double dose from the filmmaker who has only made one appearance at the fest with Directing »
- Eric Lavallee
Despite one feature film under his belt with 2006′s Land of the Blind (the Ralph Fiennes and Donald Sutherland starrer won the Nicholl Fellowship from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences award and landed at Rotterdam, but didn’t gain much traction after that), Robert Edwards isn’t an unknown entity for Sundance programmers. His 2002 docu short, Voice of the Prophet landed at the fest and American Prometheus, a project that hasn’t yet materialized, was awarded a the 2011 Sloan Science-in-Film Initiative Commissioning Grant. It appears that the filmmaker has had several high profile projects that didn’t materialize, but this April, is when he finally got a greenlight. When I Live My Life Over Again sees Christopher Walken, Amber Heard, Kelli Garner, Hamish Linklater, Ann Magnuson and Oliver Platt in a New York city set drama.
Gist: The New York-based drama sees Walken play Lombard, dubbed “The King of Romance, »
- Eric Lavallee
It might still be too early to mention the brothers in the same breath as Frederick Wiseman, but the Ross brothers’ filmography to date in 2009′s 45365, 2010′s Tchoupitoulas and perhaps 2013′s River is awe-worthy and awe-inspiring in an observational mode type of manner. A non-secret to SXSW programmers, the brothers who’ve given us Americana portraits set in suburban, dryland and floating bodies of water get some sand in their face with Western. By the looks of it (see pic above), this is in the last stages of being readied with a recent trip to the Sundance Institute and Skywalker Sound Select Independent Filmmakers and Film Composers for September Music and Sound Design Lab for Documentary. It is currently among the finalists for the San Francisco Film Society’s Documentary Film Fund.
Gist: Eagle Pass, Texas and Piedras Negras, Mexico are border towns and the vision of the modern frontier. »
- Eric Lavallee
Akin to Michel Gondry’s low-budgeter We and I, the shot in 2013 campus comedy still doesn’t have a name, doesn’t have a release date, in fact, the project which is described “looser and wonkier” Frances Ha was leaped-frogged by While We’re Young. Mum on details, we’re guessing that this might be Noah Baumbach’s least commercial, more experimental and offbeat offering to date. Sundance is the best time to let the genie out of the bottle.
Gist: Co-written by Baumbach and Greta Gerwig , this is called a mix between “The Great Gatsby” and “Something Wild”. Lola Kirke plays a Barnard undergraduate who aspires to be just like Gerwig’s character.
Prediction: Premieres category.
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. Tbd (domestic). Tbd (international)
More 2015 Sundance Film Festival Predictions 2015 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Kirby Dick’s Untitled »
- Eric Lavallee
The list of Kirby Dick signed films that have made it into the festival date back to 1997s’ Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist and since then the assembly line has churned out Chain Camera, Derrida, Twist of Faith, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, Outrage and most recently, The Invisible War. His latest, promises to be another distress call. Going by workshop titles of “The Campus Project” and “Campus Assaults”, this received coin and was part of the 2013 Sundance Documentary Film Grant and 2013 Catalyst Weekend. Three weeks back, and certainly in lieu of the upcoming festival, RADiUS and CNN Films teamed for a pick-up: a theatrical run in 2015, followed by broadcast on CNN.
Gist: Undergraduate assault survivors fight to pursue education and justice in this groundbreaking project that exposes the epidemic of rape on U.S. campuses, their institutional cover-ups, and the devastating toll they take on students and families. »
- Eric Lavallee
The British-born, New Jersey-raised Lila Yacoub has collaborated with directors Noah Baumbach (“Frances Ha,” “Greenberg,” “The Corrections”) and Marina Zenovich (“Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out,” “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired”), as well as producing projects for Wes Anderson (“Moonrise Kingdom”) and working on films for Robert Redford and Stephen Daldry.
“I always wanted to be in films, and I started out doing musicvideos and gradually worked my way up,” says Yacoub, who has several new films due for release. First up is “Rosewater,” the directorial debut from “The Daily Show’s” host Jon Stewart due out Nov. 14, on which she has exec producer credit.
The drama, adapted from Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari’s memoir, used Jordan to double for Iranian locations — “because no other country would let us shoot there,” she says.
“We used local crews and shot for a very tight 33 days, as Jon had just a 12-week hiatus from the show, »
- Iain Blair
British distributor Icon Film is ramping up its 2015 slate with the addition of Ben Younger's boxing drama Bleed for This. Icon recently picked up Shane Black's detective thriller The Nice Guys starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, which Warner Bros. is releasing stateside, as well as Noah Baumbach's While We're Young starring Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts. Bleed for This, which Boiler Room director Younger co-wrote with Pippa Bianco, is a biopic of five-time world champion boxer Vinny Pazienza, who recovered from a near-fatal accident to return to triumph in the ring. Miles Teller, who will
- Scott Roxborough
Icon Film Distribution has acquired several new titles for UK distribution.
They include Ben Younger’s Bleed For This starring Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart in the story of champion boxer Vinny Pazienza as he recovers from a car accident. Younger (Boiler Room) co-wrote with Pippa Bianco. Martin Scorsese executive produces and The Solution sells internationaly. Younger also produces with Bruce Cohen, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Chad Verdi and Noah Kraft.
Icon also bought live action family feature A Bollywoof Tale to be directed by Racing Stripes and Underdog director Frederik Du Chau and starring Kunal Nayyar from the hit Us TV show The Big Bang Theory. The story follows a London spaniel who is set to move with his family to Delhi; but he gets separated during the journey and turns to help from a street dog and a cow. The »
- email@example.com (Wendy Mitchell)
Who doesn't love to laugh? Whether your taste runs to R-rated raunch, classic yuks or witty British humor, you'll find something hilarious to stream on Netflix.
Right now, there are movies starring Robin Williams, Walter Matthau, Jack Black, Goldie Hawn and a nice selection of films showcasing the comedy chops of Joan Cusack. (Availability subject to change, so get streaming now!)
1. "The Addams Family" (1991) PG-13
Everyone's favorite macabre family is wonderfully portrayed by Anjelica Huston as Morticia, Raul Julia as Gomez, Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Fester and Christina Ricci as Wednesday. Spooky fun, just in time for Halloween.
2. "The Bad News Bears" (1976) PG
3. "Bernie" (2011) PG-13
Jack Black stars in the real-life story of a mortician who ends »
- Sharon Knolle
By Anjelica Oswald
Justin Simien’s feature debut Dear White People is a satirical comedy that deals with intra- and inter-race relations at a fictional Ivy League university after a group of white students throw a “black-themed” party. The film — which has been critically acclaimed and holds a 97% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes — opened this weekend in limited release, receiving an average of $31,273 from 11 theaters. The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival and won a Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent at the festival. Simien, who wrote and directed the film, used to work on studio publicity and is now getting his own Oscar campaign from Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions, the distributors for Dear White People. The film covers social issues that people often choose not to acknowledge and does so in a smart, humorous way. Though these types of films may cover topics the Academy is often wary of, »
- Anjelica Oswald
Bullets Over Broadway: Inarritu’s Vibrant, Exuberant Portrait Of Celebrity, Relevance, and Creative Passion
Not only is Birdman (or The Virtue of Ignorance) arguably the best film of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s impressive filmography (from a list that includes Amores Perros, 21 Grams, and Biutiful), it’s one of the most invigorating and passionately rendered films you could hope to see in this or any other year.
Exploding with a vibrant, restless energy, it’s one of those films able to manage the tricky balancing act of melding a real life persona with an allegorical dress. At its base level concerning a has-been Hollywood icon desperately trying to get out of the mainstream rut he sank into years before with a creative comeback to showcase his talents, the parallels between Michael Keaton’s career as Batman and another faded star with an avian-suited superhero background are, obviously, readily discernable, lending »
- Nicholas Bell
Upstart indie distributor A24 said today it has secured a $50 million line of credit from Comerica and Union Bank of California. It said it will use the facility to “build out its core film distribution business and finance initiatives in complimentary industry verticals.” The company is coming off a busy Toronto where it acquired Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young starring Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts for $4M. It was a big get for A24, which has been chasing Baumbach since the distrib didn’t get Frances Ha.
“A24 has quickly claimed a unique place in the marketplace and demonstrated the ability to repeatedly craft compelling distribution campaigns that are innovative on multiple levels,” said Todd Steiner, a VP in Comerica’s Entertainment Group. “We are pleased that we can help support their current business endeavors, and we look forward to being a part of their continued growth.”
- The Deadline Team
While We’re Young
Written and directed by Noah Baumbach
At age 45, it feels like writer-director Noah Baumbach is getting soft. Best known for his caustic tragicomedies like Kicking and Screaming, The Squid and the Whale, Greenberg, and Margot at the Wedding, he took a turn in tone for his 2012 feature Frances Ha, which starred and was co-written by Greta Gerwig. So, though the warmth of that film might surprise someone familiar with his work, that it’s a collaboration with Gerwig explains at least part of that tone. While We’re Young, though, Baumbach’s newest film which premiered at Tiff this year and made a surprise appearance at the New York Film Festival, manages to carry that affection. It’s hard to top Frances Ha, but his newest is pleasant and impressive all the same.
- Kyle Turner
Our Nyff coverage continues with Matthew Eng on this year's surprise screening -- which was less of a secret than usual this year, continually hinted at by the Nyff themselves, even spoiled ahead of time by IndieWire...
Noah Baumbach is showing his age.
Not that this is the first time, mind you. Anyone who stuck through his exquisitely harsh and thus totally divisive Greenberg will surely remember Ben Stiller’s crusty, titular protagonist sourly announcing to a party full of fuzzed-out twentysomethings, “I hope I die before I end up meeting one of you in a job interview.”
There’s something instantly more pronounced about Baumbach’s evident unease towards the current generational divide in his latest adult dramedy, While We’re Young, in which Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts star as Josh and Cornelia, a deceptively comfortable urban couple who »
- Matthew Eng
The film-festival circuit this time of year is not unlike presidential-primary season. Venice or Telluride are sort of like the Iowa caucus, an important first step for a film to generate some name recognition and Oscar buzz—but not exactly the setting for a coronation. Toronto is the traditional Oscar-campaign battleground, a sort of New Hampshire primary that often separates the contenders from the pretenders. Last year, Toronto unofficially nominated 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and Dallas Buyers Club, and those films went on to collect major awards.
But this year, the races still remain wide open after the first new rounds, »
- Jeff Labrecque
Yesterday it was announced that there would be a Special Screening at the 52nd New York Film Festival. Last year, the fest didn’t have a “Secret Screening” like it had done the prior two years, so the announcement has immediately led to some speculation about what title will be playing. There’s a highly likely choice, along with some longer shots that I’ll be discussing momentarily, but I just wanted to quickly state for the record…no, there’s no chance that it’s Star Wars: Episode VII. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can move on. Previously, Nyff has debuted early looks at big Academy Award players that year in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, but this year they’ve done something different in scoring a 2015 release. Depending on how you interpret that, it’s either something literally »
- Joey Magidson
Logan Sandler is directing the drama, which follows a young couple that travels to a small Caribbean island following a tragic loss.
Production begins next month. The pic is being written and produced by Thymaya Payne.
Hemingway can be seen next in Noah Baumbach’s “While We’re Young,” which bowed at the Toronto Film Festival.
- Justin Kroll
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