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Nicolas Winding Refn has made a provocative career out of blending the avant grade with traditional genre elements (see his latest shocker “The Neon Demon” for proof), and given the following seven films on his list of cinematic inspirations, this speciality of his somehow all makes sense. As part of his current publicity tour for the Elle Fanning-starring horror film, Refn has partnered with online streaming service Mubi to curate a season’s worth of titles based on the movies that have inspired and excited him most.
Read More: Here Are 12 of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Most Provocative Statements
Refn has always been an outspoken fan of Federico Fellini and giallo master Dario Aregnto, so seeing films like “La Dolce Vita” and “Suspiria” on his list shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, especially since the latter seems to have been a major influence on “The Neon Demon. »
- Zack Sharf
Days before Gus Van Sant‘s newest film The Sea of Trees premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate acquired the drama. 13 months after the acquisition, and after the film has already been released in a few foreign territories, it’s still without a domestic release date. But we may finally see Van Sant’s latest […]
- Jack Giroux
The film, starring Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts, had been picked up by Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate before its debut in competition at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. The film was booed at its premiere.
Gus Van Sant directed the movie, in which McConaughey portrays an American who travels to Japan’s “Suicide Forest” with the intention of taking his own life after the death of his wife, played by Watts, and decides to help a Japanese man (Ken Watanabe) who is lost. Roadside Attractions had not given the film a release date.
A24 took a similar step in February when it picked up U.S. rights to Yorgos Lanthimos’ dark comedy “The Lobster,” which had been purchased by Alchemy at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Alchemy was hit by financial problems earlier this year. A »
- Dave McNary
Thanks to films like “Ex Machina,” “The Witch,” “Room” and “Spring Breakers,” A24 have built up a reputation as the distributor every filmmaker wants to be in business with. Their unconventional marketing techniques have proven that they can connect with younger audiences who are tough to get to the arthouse, and their taste for difficult […]
- Oliver Lyttelton
ABC’s gay rights miniseries “When We Rise” has filled out its cast with a slew of A-list guest stars, Variety has learned exclusively.
Rob Reiner, T.R. Knight, Phylicia Rashad, Richard Schiff, Mary McCormack, Arliss Howard, Henry Czerny, William Sadler and “NCIS” favorite Pauley Perrette will appear in the highly anticipated project in undisclosed roles.
The casting news comes as “When We Rise” wraps shooting today in Vancouver.
The group of guests join “When We Rise” regulars Guy Pearce, Mary-Louise Parker, Rachel Griffiths, Michael K. Williams and and Ivory Aquino, plus previously announced guest stars Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, Denis O’Hare and David Hyde Pierce.
“When We Rise” — hailing from “Milk” scribe Dustin Lance Black — chronicles the personal and political struggles, setbacks and triumphs of a diverse family of Lgbt men and women who helped pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. Civil Rights movement from its turbulent infancy in the 20th »
- Elizabeth Wagmeister
In honor of this Friday’s release of “Wiener-Dog,” Todd Solondz’s first directorial effort since 2011’s “Dark Horse,” Le Cinema Club is presenting the exclusive online premiere of Solondz’s 1984 Nyu short film, “Babysitter.”
The nine-minute short focuses on a boy’s recollection of the babysitter of his youth. Click here to watch the short film on Le Cinema Club’s website.
Solondz’s new film “Wiener-Dog,” follows a dachshund that goes from one strange owner to the next, serving as a central character in four stories that bring out the pointlessness of human existence. The offbeat comedy’s stellar cast includes Greta Gerwig, Danny DeVito, Julie Delpy and “Girls’” Zosia Mamet. Amazon nabbed all domestic media rights to the film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, while IFC Films is handling the theatrical release. »
- Graham Winfrey
This month, Brooklyn plays home to the annual BAMCinemaFest, featuring both some tried and true festival favorites (imagine if Sundance just happened to take place in New York City in the summer) and some brand-new standouts. Here’s the best of what’s on offer, as curated and culled by the IndieWire film team.
“Little Men” New York City-centric filmmaker Ira Sachs has long used his keen observational eye to track the worlds of the city’s adult denizens with features like “Love is Strange” and “Keep the Lights On,” but he’s going for a younger set of stars (and troubles) in his moving new feature, “Little Men.” The new film debuted at Sundance earlier this year, where it pulled plenty of heartstrings (including mine) with its gentle, deeply human story of two seemingly different young teens (Theo Taplitz as the worldly Jake, Michael Barbieri as the more rough and tumble Tony) who quickly bond when one of them moves into the other’s Brooklyn neighborhood. Jake and Tony become fast friends, but their relationship is threatened by drama brewing between their parents, as Jake’s parents own the small store that Tony’s mom operates below the family’s apartment.When Jake’s parents (Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Ehle) are bothered by looming money troubles, they turn to Tony’s mom (Paulina García) and ask her to pay a higher rent, a seemingly reasonable query that has heart-breaking consequences for both families and both boys. It’s a small story that hits hard, thanks to wonderful performances and the kind of emotion that’s hard to fake. – Kate Erbland “Kate Plays Christine”
It’s usually easy enough to find common themes cropping up at various film festivals, but few people could have anticipated that this year’s Sundance would play home to two stories about Christine Chubbuck, a tragic tale that had been previously unknown by most of the population (the other Chubbuck story to crop up at Sundance was Antonio Campos’ closely observed narrative “Christine,” a winner in its own right). In 1974, Chubbuck — a television reporter for a local Sarasota, Florida TV station — killed herself live on air after a series of disappointing events and a lifetime of mental unhappiness. Robert Greene’s “Kate Plays Christine” takes an ambitious angle on Chubbuck’s story, mixing fact and fiction to present a story of an actress (Kate Lyn Sheil) grappling with her preparations to play Chubbuck in a narrative feature that doesn’t exist. Sheil is tasked with playing a mostly real version of herself, a heightened version of herself as the story winds on and even Chubbuck in a series of re-enactments. The concept is complex, but it pays off, and “Kate Plays Christine” is easily one of the year’s most ambitious and fascinating documentaries. – Ke
This eye-opening documentary focuses on Brooklyn-based tailoring company Bindle & Keep, which designs clothes for transgender and gender fluid clients. Produced by Lena Dunham and her “Girls” producer Jenni Konner, the HBO Documentary looks at fashion through the eyes of several people across the gender identity spectrum, including a transitioning teen in need of a suit for his Bar Mitzvah and a transgender man buying a tuxedo for his wedding. The film has a deep personal connection to Dunham, whose gender nonconforming sister Grace has been a vocal activist within the transgender community. “Suited” is the first solo-directing effort from Jason Benjamin, who previously co-directed the 2002 documentary “Carnival Roots,” about Trinidad & Tobago’s annual music festival. – Graham Winfrey
Todd Solondz’s first directorial effort since 2011’s “Dark Horse” is literally about an animal this time. “Wiener-Dog” follows a dachshund that goes from one strange owner to the next, serving as a central character in four stories that bring out the pointlessness of human existence. The offbeat comedy’s stellar cast includes Greta Gerwig, Danny DeVito, Julie Delpy and “Girls’” Zosia Mamet. Amazon nabbed all domestic media rights to the film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, while IFC Films is handling the theatrical release. Financed by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures and produced by Christine Vachon’s Killer Films, the film marked Solondz’s first movie to play at Sundance since 1995’s “Welcome to the Dollhouse.” – Gw
Eagle Pennell has become lost to film history, despite making two of the most important films of the modern indie era. His 1978 film “The Whole Shootin’ Match” inspired Robert Redford to start Sundance and his 1984 classic “Last Night at the Alamo” has been championed by Tarantino and Linklater, who along with IFC Films and SXSW founder Louis Black is responsible for the restoration that will be playing at Bam. “Alamo,” which tells the story of a cowboy’s last ditch effort to save a local watering hole, is credited for having given birth to the Austin film scene and for laying the groundwork for the rebirth of the American indie that came later in the decade. Pennell’s career was cut short by alcoholism, but “Alamo” stands tribute to his incredible talent, pioneering spirit and the influence he’s had on so many great filmmakers. – Chris O’Falt
Read More: Indie Legend Who Inspired Sundance, ‘Reservoir Dogs’ And More Will Have Classic Films Restored
“Author: The J.T. LeRoy Story”
J.T. Leroy was an literary and pop culture sensation, until it was revealed that the HIV-positive, ex-male-prostitute teenage author was actually the creation of a 40 year old mother by the name Laura Albert. Jeff Feuerzeig’s documentary, starring Albert and featuring her recorded phone calls from the hoax, is the best yarn of 2016. You will not believe the twist-and-turns of the behind the scenes story of how Albert pulled off the hoax and cultivated close relationships (with her sister-in-law posing at Jt) with celebrities like filmmaker Gus Van Sant and Smashing Pumpkins’ Bill Corgan, both of whom play key supporting roles in this stranger-than-fiction film. Trust us, “Author” will be one of the most entertaining films you see this summer. – Co
Loosely based on the 2012 shooting in Aurora, Colorado during a multiplex screening of “The Dark Knight,” Tim Sutton’s elegantly designed “Dark Night” contains a fascinating, enigmatic agenda. In its opening moments, Maica Armata’s mournful score plays out as we watch a traumatized face lit up by the red-blue glow of a nearby police car. Mirroring the media image of tragedy divorced from the lives affected by it, the ensuing movie fills in those details. Like Gus Van Sant’s “Elephant,” Sutton’s ambitious project dissects the moments surrounding the infamous event with a perceptive eye that avoids passing judgement. While some viewers may find this disaffected approach infuriating — the divisive Sundance reaction suggested as much — there’s no doubting the topicality of Sutton’s technique, which delves into the malaise of daily lives that surrounds every horrific event of this type with a keen eye. It may not change the gun control debate, but it adds a gorgeous and provocative footnote to the conversation. – Eric Kohn
Musa Syeed’s tender look at a Somali refugee community in Minneapolis puts a human face on the immigration crisis through the exploits of Adan (Barkhad Abdirahman), a young man adrift in his solitary world. Kicked out by his mother and unwelcome at the local mosque where he tries to crash, Adan meets his only source of companionship in a stray dog he finds wandering the streets. Alternating between social outings and job prospects, Adan’s struggles never strain credibility, even when an FBI agent tries to wrestle control of his situation to turn him into a spy. Shot with near-documentary realism, Syed’s insightful portrait of his forlorn character’s life recalls the earlier films of Ramin Bahrani (“Man Push Cart,” “Chop Shop”), which also capture an oft-ignored side of modern America. With immigration stories all too frequently coopted for political fuel, “A Stray” provides a refreshingly intimate alternative, which should appeal to audiences curious about the bigger picture — or those who can relate to it. – Ek
After making a blistering impression at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, Andrew Neel’s fraternity psychodrama “Goat” comes to Bam with great acclaim and sky high anticipation. Starring breakout Ben Schnetzer and Nick Jonas, the film centers around a 19-year-old college student who pledges the same fraternity as his older brother, only to realize the world of hazing and endless parties is darker than he could ever imagine. In lesser hands, “Goat” would be a one-note takedown of hedonistic bro culture, but Neel’s slick direction brings you to the core of animalistic behavior and forces you to weigh the clashing egos of masculinity. By cutting underneath the layers of machismo, Neel creates a drama of insecurities buried beneath the war between predator and prey. It’s an intense and intelligent study of a world the movies have always been obsessed with. – Zack Sharf
Brady Corbet has been one of the most reliable supporting actors in films like “Funny Games,” “Force Majeure,” “Clouds of Sils Maria” and more, and he even broke through as a lead in the great indie “Simon Killer,” but it turns out Corbet’s real skills are behind the camera. In his directorial debut, “The Childhood of a Leader,” the actor creates an unnerving period psychodrama that evokes shades of “The Omen” by way of Hitchcock. Set in Europe after Wwi, the movie follows a young boy as he develops a terrifying ego after witnessing the creation of the Treaty of Versailles. Cast members Robert Pattinson and Berenice Bejo deliver reliably strong turns, but it’s Corbet’s impressive control that makes the film a tightly-wound skin-crawler. His ambition is alive in every frame and detail, resulting in a commanding debut that announces him as a major filmmaker to watch. – Zs
Meet your new obsession: A spellbinding homage to old pulp paperbacks and the Technicolor melodramas of the 1960s, Anna Biller’s “The Love Witch” is a throwback that’s told with the kind of perverse conviction and studied expertise that would make Quentin Tarantino blush. Shot in velvety 35mm, the film follows a beautiful, sociopathic, love-starved young witch named Elaine (Samantha Robinson, absolutely unforgettable in a demented breakthrough performance) as she blows into a coastal Californian town in desperate search of a replacement for her dead husband. Sex, death, Satanic rituals, God-level costume design, and cinema’s greatest tampon joke ensue, as Biller spins an arch but hyper-sincere story about the true price of patriarchy. – David Ehrlich
Coming-of-age movies are a dime a dozen (and the going rate is even cheaper at Sundance), but Chad Hartigan’s absurdly charming follow-up to “This Is Martin Bonner” puts a fresh spin on a tired genre. Played by lovable newcomer Markees Christmas, Morris is a 13-year-old New Yorker who’s forced to move to the suburbs of Germany when his widower dad (a note-perfect Craig Robinson) accepts a job as the coach of a Heidelberg soccer team. It’s tough being a teen, but Morris — as the only black kid in a foreign town that still has one foot stuck in the old world — has it way harder than most. But there’s a whole lot of joy here, as Hartigan’s sweet and sensitive fish out of water story leverages a handful of killer performances into a great little movie about becoming your own man. – De
BAMCinemaFest 2016 runs from June 15 – 26.
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Related storiesChristine Chubbuck: Video Exists of Reporter's On-Air Suicide That Inspired Two Sundance Films'Wiener-Dog' Trailer: Greta Gerwig Befriends a Dachshund in Todd Solondz's Dark Sundance Comedy'Little Men,' 'Wiener-Dog' and More Set for BAMcinemaFest 2016 -- Indiewire's Tuesday Rundown »
- Kate Erbland, Eric Kohn, David Ehrlich, Zack Sharf, Chris O'Falt and Graham Winfrey
Back in April, Netflix picked up the rights to Death Note, after they expired while the project was at Warner Bros. This adaptation of the popular Japanese manga series is now moving forward, with Nat Wolff joining the cast in April. Now we have word of another casting addition, Keith Stanfield (Straight Outta Compton). No details were given for his character.
Almost exactly six years after Warner Bros. first acquired the rights to the http://movieweb.com/x-men-apocalypse-kodi-smit-mcphee-nightcrawler-photo/Japanese manga comic Death Note, Warner Bros. hired director Adam Wingard (The Guest) to take the helm last April. We reported last year that director Gus Van Sant was attached to the project, which previously had Shane Black set to direct back in 2011. Jeremy Slater (The Lazarus Effect) wrote the most recent draft of the screenplay.
The plot, based on the original manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, follows a student who discovers a strange notebook, which allows him to kill anyone whose name he writes in it. The student decides to rid the world of all men and women he deems to be evil, while a police officer starts tracking him down, as the bodies keep piling up. The script had been previously worked on by Charley Parlapanides and Vlas Parlapanides (Immortals) and the writing team of Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry, before Jeremy Slater came on board.
Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Jason Hoffs and Masi Oka are producing, with Doug Davison and Brian Witten serving as executive producers. Adam Wingard's other directorial credits include A Horrible Way to Die, You're Next and segments of horror anthology films such as V/H/S, V/H/S/2 and The ABCs of Death. Netflix hasn't issued a release date at this time, so stay tuned.
Keith Stanfield made his feature acting debut in 2013's Short Term 12, and went on to star in The Purge: Anarchy, Selma, Dope and the blockbuster biopic Straight Outta Compton. He most recently starred in another biopic, Miles Ahead, and he will next be seen in Snowden and Memoria. We'll be sure to keep you posted with more on Death Note as we get closer to production starting this summer. »
George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, John Turturro, and composer Carter Burwell are among the talking heads who analyze the filmmaking brothers’ oeuvre in Vice Guide to Film‘s recent episode on the Coen Brothers (above). The segment, which amounts to an extended video essay, breaks down scenes from some of their most memorable films and delves into their collaboration process. Discussing the directing duo, Turturro says, “It’s like a two-headed monster.” Previous episodes of the show have focused on the work of Kelly Reichardt, Gus Van Sant, John Carpenter, Todd Haynes, and other directors. »
- Paula Bernstein
Nearly 20 years after Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon has returned to MIT aka Massachusetts Institute of Technology (although, to be fair, much of Gus Van Sant‘s film was shot at the University of Toronto). Rather than a mop in hand, the actor has given a commencement address to this year’s graduating class in which he touched on everything from villainous bankers to Donald Trump to his Hollywood experience.
“This world has some problems that we need you to drop everything and solve,” he said. “So go ahead and take your pick from the world’s worst buffet: economic inequality, how about the refugee crisis, massive global insecurity, climate change, pandemics, institutional racism, nativism, fear-driven brains working overtime.”
- Leonard Pearce
Sundance London: Author The Jt LeRoy Story review: A hugely watchable documentary on perhaps the biggest ‘hoax’ to have ever ‘rocked’ the literary world.
Author The Jt LeRoy Story review
Author: The Jt Leroy Story is the second feature documentary to make it across the pond from Utah to Sundance London (Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s Weiner is the other to be selected for British audiences). Writer and director Jeff Feuerzeig‘s (The Devil and Daniel Johnson) film is a mesmerising, first hand account of the true story of Laura Albert, a Brooklyn based writer who created a pseudonym to write under named Jt LeRoy, a HIV positive son of a West Virginia truck stop hooker, who became a much bigger entity when his/ her work started to get published.
In the early 2000s, Albert ’employed’ her sister-in-law Savannah »
- Paul Heath
“Mimosas,” the second feature from Morocco-based director Oliver Laxe, won the Nespresso Grand Prize at this year’s Cannes Critics’ Week, and Nespresso isn’t a terrible idea for anyone who walks in without preparation for this minimalist travelogue and crypto-Western, which offers relatively few clues to its goals and intents. Still, those familiar with the ethnographic works of Ben Rivers (who gets a thanks in the closing credits) and the films of Argentine director Lisandro Alonso (“Jauja”) will find much to admire in the movie’s combination of spiritual musings and stunning landscapes. Favoring longueurs by design, it is a decidedly noncommercial project that asks to be taken or left on its own terms.
Laxe’s first feature, “You All Are Captains” (which showed in Directors’ Fortnight in 2010), combined fiction and documentary elements, and he has said that “Mimosas” was inspired by his own travels with Saïd Aagli, who »
- Ben Kenigsberg
Roles don’t come much more to-die-for than Marion Crane, the unfortunate soul who took moviedom’s coldest shower in Psycho. And, since Carlton Cuse — executive producer of A&E’s sublime prequel, Bates Motel — recently revealed to TVLine that Season 5 would find Norman’s best-known victim checking in, the hunt is on for a top-notch actress who will really, er, kill in the part.
Marion’s stay at the Bates Motel “will be a big moment,” Cuse said. And a long one, too — he went on to »
There is a moment in Sean Penn’s new film — for some reason screening this week in competition in Cannes — when, having navigated the safe passage of a group of refugees from Liberia to Sierra Leone, Charlize Theron’s aid worker asks herself, “In this place of so much war, had I found peace?” It’s a paradoxical query in which basically everything right and terribly wrong about The Last Face can be found. Indeed, cakes are being had and eaten by all involved.
Penn — an active humanitarian who enjoys commendably passing bags of rice out of the backs of trucks — would like nothing more than to educate his audience on the daily horrors of this sort of work on the front line. Good for him. However, while perched upon that high horse, he chooses to also use those horrors as a backdrop and catalyst for a romance between two »
- Rory O'Connor
Contains spoilers for Bates Motel seasons 1-4.
Over the past few years a quirky, violent, blackly comedic and very clever television series has challenged the notions of exactly what a reboot can be. Adapting an iconic horror property invited cynicism from the first announcement and while early episodes didn’t exactly blow people away, the show gradually came into its own, subverting everything that was expected from it in terms of both quality and its approach to the original work it was reinventing. In the process it gained critical and cult adoration, and continued the legacy of a beloved classic of the macabre with impressive aplomb.
I’m talking, of course, about Hannibal.
Hannibal, while dearly departed, carved a niche into the hearts of its many fans, »
Updated: “Personal Shopper,” the new psychological thriller from Olivier Assayas, premiered to strong reviews, but also boos at Cannes this week. In a press conference on Tuesday, the French director and star Kristen Stewart shrugged off the negative response from some audience members.
“When you come to Cannes, you’re prepared,” said Assayas. “You’re prepared for anything.”
Comparing premiering a film to giving birth, he added: “Movies have a life of their own … people have expectations of a film and then the film is something else.”
Stewart and the rest of the “Personal Shopper” cast interjected to note that the harsh reaction was not universal. “Hey, everyone did not boo,” Stewart said with a chuckle.
At another point, Assayas argued that the audience was put off by the film’s ambiguous closing. “It happens to me once in a while where people just don’t get the ending,” he said. »
- Brent Lang
“There’s a certain perverse genius to unveiling a ghost movie at Cannes that relies on the audience to deliver the ‘boos’ as the final credits roll, although one doubts that’s quite what Olivier Assayas was going for with his peculiar ‘Personal Shopper,'” Variety Chief International Film Critic Peter Debruge wrote in his review.
Here’s what other critics had to say:
Personal Shopper got the first boos I heard at #Cannes2016, which led me to only clap harder. I found it beguiling. Stewart is mesmerizing.
— Nigel M. Smith (@nigelmfs) May 16, 2016
Heard some people booing and laughing at "Personal Shopper". Same thing last year with "Sea of Trees". #Cannes can't handle ghosts! »
- Variety Staff
A firmer hand with the plot – and with Shia Labeouf – might have benefitted this admirably loose-limbed and atmospheric immersion into a little-seen world
Andrea Arnold is the brilliant British film-maker who created two modern gems in the social-realist tradition in the form of Red Road and Fish Tank, and in my view a near-masterpiece in the form of her much-misunderstood Wuthering Heights, a work of such radical simplicity and raw experience it actually seemed to predate the literary work.
Now in American Honey she has created a long, often intriguing and humidly atmospheric film which sometimes dwindles into listlessness. It’s a road movie in the un-accented style of Gus Van Sant – particularly his Elephant and Paranoid Park. The drifting camera shots directed straight up into a blue sky, bisected occasionally with telegraph poles, are very similar to Van Sant’s Elephant. There’s something of Larry Clark or Harmony Korine in the featureless, »
- Peter Bradshaw
Nick Broomfield is no stranger to controversy.
Over the course of his career, he’s tangled with the likes of Suge Knight and Courtney Love, making provocative documentaries such as “Biggie & Tupac” and “Kurt & Courtney.” The director’s next project, a look at the life and career of Whitney Houston, has put him in the crosshairs of the pop star’s estate. But Broomfield says he’s not worried.
“I feel strongly that I cannot do a particularly insightful film into what happened with Whitney Houston and her life with the estate’s approval,” said Broomfield. “The reasons will become apparent when the film comes out.”
Although Broomfield is tight-lipped about the thesis of the film, he did give some indication about what his focus will be. He’s less interested in Houston’s troubles with drugs than he is in investigating the toll that her meteoric climb up the charts took on her psyche. »
- Brent Lang
James Schamus has spent most of his career as a tastemaker and acclaimed producer, working with filmmakers like Ang Lee, Michel Gondry and Gus Van Sant during his tenure at Focus Features, establishing the studio as one of the finest indie outlets. Now he’s getting behind the camera, and for his first feature film, he’s tackled an adaptation of […]
- Kevin Jagernauth
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