10 items from 2014
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
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is a horror title. It is not. Well, actually it’s horrifying terrain in the docu scheme of things. Profiled couple in Filmmaker Magazine Top 25 New Faces of 2013, Lyric R. Cabral & David Felix Sutcliffe have received a ton of support for (T)Error. The long list includes BBC Storyville, Itvs, The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund Film Grant, Tribeca Film Institute (Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award Winner, 2013), International Documentary Association (Pare Lorentz Grant), Chicken & Egg Pictures, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival (Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant, 2013) and finally, they relished in the splendor of the Institute once again with the 2014 Creative Producing Summit, Creative Producing Documentary Lab and June Documentary Edit and Story Lab. A possible thematically linked companion piece to Citizenfour, this should be ready for 2015 – in the mean time, you can read about their filmmaker lab experience here.
Gist: This »
- Eric Lavallee
Who can forget 2003 when filmmaker-duo Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini landed at Sundance with a highly inventive biopic, a seminal film really in the indie film cannon. Featuring the debatably unlikeable Clevelander Harvey Pekar, American Splendor moved put the pair on a pedestal, and while they’ve been back to Sundance for The Extra Man (’10), they’ve pretty much stuck to commercial indie items in The Nanny Diaries (07), Cinema Verite – HBO ’11, and Girl Most Likely (aka Imogene) ’12. Starring Asa Butterfield, Ethan Hawke, Hailee Steinfeld, Emile Hirsch, Emily Mortimer and Julianne Nicholson, production began way back at the end of January on Ten Thousand Saints, which comes with a built-in fanbase due to the novel on which it is based on. Should be a high value sales item if included.
- Eric Lavallee
The scrooge in me doesn’t care much for Xmas themed films. But worry not, this Christmas without snow will surely bring out the yuletide spirit. Following Four Letter Words, Take Out, Prince of Broadway and Starlet, on paper, Sean Baker’s fifth feature film promises more of the same: an immersive experience with characters you’d never thought you had a rapport with in a scape you probably didn’t know existed. Think street National Geographic style d examinations of the human condition. A featured Ioncinephile filmmaker, Baker began filming Tangerine very early in the year, and as usual, we find a mix of non-actors (stars newbies Kiki Lee Key and Mya Taylor) with a seasoned pro in James Ransone.
Gist: Co-scripted with Chris Bergoch, this is a rip-roaring journey through various subcultures of Tinseltown on Christmas Eve.
- Eric Lavallee
Comic book movies are often seen as the domain of spandex-clad demigods who battle moustache-twirling villains, but if 300 and Sin City - which both originated on the pages of Frank Miller works - are anything to go by they're not essential to telling a great story.
With sequels to 300 and Sin City incoming, we take a look at 8 great examples of comic book-inspired films with no superheroes in sight.
Sin City (2005)
Co-directed by comic creator Miller and digital filmmaking pioneer Robert Rodriguez, this adaptation stayed faithful to the source material, with the filmmakers shooting actors on green screen and rendering the locations - almost exactly how they appeared on the page - in post-production.
Ghost World (2001)
Long before he was jousting with Shia Labeouf, comics »
• Russell Brand, Sasha Pieterse (Pretty Little Liars), and Austin Abrams (The InBetweeners) are reportedly in talks to star in Vernon God Little for director Werner Herzog (The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans). Based on Dbc Pierre’s Booker Prize-winning novel, the story is a dark, satirical portrait of a Texas town in the aftermath of a school shooting told from the point of view of its 15-year-old protagonist. [The Wrap]
- Lindsey Bahr
★★☆☆☆Largely ignored by cinema audiences both in the UK and across the pond, directing duo Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini's Girl Mostly Likely (2012) may also struggle to find adoration on the small screen. Whilst there are occasional moments of fun insight, it largely fails to harness the sharp comedic skills of star Kristen Wiig and suffers from a sketchy and unfocused script. Wiig is Imogene, a struggling writer who is part of an elitist New York literary circle, due largely to her 'connected' boyfriend and (now floundering) writing career. Her life begins to quickly fall apart when she loses both her lover and her job.
- CineVue UK
‘Whiplash’: Sundance Film Festival Awards’ rare double winner (photo: Miles Teller in ‘Whiplash’) Directed by Damien Chazelle — and acquired for domestic distribution by Sony Pictures Classics — Whiplash won the 2014 Sundance Film Festival U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award. The story of a young, ambitious 19-year-old drummer (played by 26-year-old Miles Teller) under the tutelage of a ruthless teacher (J.K. Simmons), Whiplash also features Melissa Benoist, Paul Reiser, Austin Stowell, Nate Lang, Chris Mulkey, and Damon Gupton. Whiplash‘s double Sundance Film Festival win is quite rare. Previous such instances in Sundance’s three-decade history include Tony Bui’s Three Seasons in 1999, Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland’s Quinceañera in 2006, Lee Daniels’ Precious in 2009, and Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station last year. Of these, Precious is — somewhat surprisingly — the only Sundance double winner to have succeeded both at the domestic box office and during awards season, »
- Andre Soares
Ethan Hawke and Asa Butterfield have been announced as the father/son combo at the heart of Ten Thousand Saints; the upcoming movie from American Splendor directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. The story follows teenager Jude (Butterfield) who, after his best friends’ death from a drug overdose, moves in with this hippie father (Hawke) and starts a straight edge lifestyle with the local youth culture. It is based on the 2011 book of the same name by Eleanor Henderson which has been described as ‘vivid’ and ‘incredibly unforgettable’.
Hailee Steinfeld was confirmed at the end of last year to play Butterfield’s love interest Eliza. Butterfield and Steinfeld first worked together in Gavin Hood’s Ender’S Game last year and this is their second project together based on a novel. Alongside Ten Thousand Saints Butterfield will also film King Of The Kastle alongside Clive Owen and Jacki Weaver this year. »
- Victoria Bull
Joel and Ethan Coen movie ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ tops 2014 National Society of Film Critics Awards (Oscar Isaac in ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’) The National Society of Film Critics is the last major U.S.-based critics’ group to announce their annual winners. This year, their top film was Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis, a comedy-drama about a hapless folk singer. Inside Llewyn Davis also earned honors for the directors, star Oscar Isaac, and cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel. Additionally, the Coen brothers’ film was the runner-up in the Best Screenplay category. Inside Llewyn Davis is the first movie directed by Joel and Ethan Coen to win the top prize at the National Society of Film Critics Awards. Back in early 2008, whereas most critics’ groups — and the Academy Awards — went for the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men, the Nsfc selected instead Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. »
- Steve Montgomery
10 items from 2014
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